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Write it Down

September 30, 2016 by  
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If you have followed my blogs you know that I am a huge believer in goal setting. Goal setting can change your life and lift it to a much higher levels in so many parts of your life. Recently I came across an incredible book that has expanded my belief in goal setting as well as teaching me, among other things, some very fascinating science about how the setting of goals effects and influences the human brain.

The book is Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. She talks about and explains how writing a goal or putting a thought or question on paper alerts or activates a part of your brain known as the “reticular activating system” or RAS. As I read, I thought about my own experience and what a huge difference writing it down makes in my own goal setting. When I actually wrote the goal down on paper, rather than thinking it though and trying to set the goal just in my mind, the written goal really got to me and it wouldn’t let me go without me taking some action or at least making progress toward that goal. It’s almost like that note on paper took control of my brain and wouldn’t let go until I did something. And now after reading Klauser’s book I see that there are some actual scientific reasons for that—the RAS.

Thinking back all those years ago when I was 27 and decided I wanted to be a millionaire, I remember writing out my goal to hit a million-dollar net worth by the time I was 30 years old. At that time, I was making about $35,000 a year, so I certainly didn’t have much of a nest egg to get started toward my goal. But some very interesting things started happening in my head. My brain seemed to take over and I couldn’t help but take note of rich people and how they made their money. I began reading everything I saw that was related to making money. I read and studied various wealth formulas and financial secrets then began following and duplicating the wealth methods that I was learning from other people. It seemed that all this financial stuff was automatically falling in my lap. I see now that it must have been that good ol’ RAS at work.

One last tidbit of advice would be to start using a “tidbit journal”. As Klauser recommends, “purchase and carry with you a small memo pad to gather your ideas immediately as the come to you.” That’s great advice since it’s so easy to forget those little things that cross our minds when we are out and about. This little notepad/journal will become like a suggestion box for your brain.

Klauser goes on to say, “Carrying a tidbit journal makes you keener to the workings of the RAS. Having a wheel book or a tidbit book ready at hand stimulates your thalamus to alert the cortex, telling it, “Wake up. Open your eyes. Look and see. Be present to the signs all around you. Life is on your side”.

This is all so much good stuff. Remember writing it down starts to make it all happen. Our brains are so much better than I think most of us fully realize.

 

Appreciating Human Beings

August 5, 2016 by  
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My weekly blog started out showing people how to make tons of money–I do know how to do it having made millions of dollars myself. I have also shown thousands of others how to do it and many have gone right out and used that knowledge to make their own fortunes. However, life is about so much more than making money. Having lots of money certainly does give a person a lot more choices and can enhance one’s life and those around them greatly. But the older I get the more clearly I can see the huge and lasting value we get from other human beings.

Imagine for a few minutes what it would be like if you found yourself all alone in your city wondering if you were the only human on the planet earth. How would you function? I mean other than gathering food and finding shelter, what would you do day to day? I think, like most people, I would spend all the rest of my time trying to find other human beings.

I don’t know about you but I think I would go absolutely crazy after a while if I didn’t find anyone else! Yet, I think it’s so very easy for most of us to take other human beings for granted and not fully realize how very important other people are to our lives. Other people give our lives so much meaning and happiness and push us to do great things. And let’s not forget about the love that we receive and have the chance to give to so many others. Can you imagine doing something utterly fantastic with an invention or an accomplishment and wanting to tell or show someone what you’ve done but there is nobody around for you to share it with?

I couldn’t help but think of Tom Hanks in the wonderful movie Castaway where he ended up on a deserted island and his only so-called friend is a Wilson ball that floats ashore that he constantly has conversations with just like it was another person. It just shows how desperately we need other people.

I think we all need to take time and observe and appreciate the fact that we need other people. And I’m, not talking about just people we know and love but also total strangers and even people we don’t like. If you thought you were the only person left on the earth and you came across another person, I think you would be absolutely thrilled even if that person wasn’t very likeable. Being all alone really can be miserable. The prison system knows that and uses solitary confinement as a huge punishment.

Ever since I began thinking about being the only person on earth and all the implications of living that way, I’ve really started appreciating other people–even people I really don’t care for. When I’m around those people I sometimes find miserable and ornery I quickly choose to think that if I had their upbringing and past life I’d probably be an ol’ grouch just like they are, but they still are human beings and they are important to all of us and the world.

So yes, I will continue to blog and try to share what I know about making millions but I want you to know that I greatly appreciate other human beings and I am going to work harder to go out of my way to show and demonstrate that appreciation.

 

Powerful Daily Questions

July 29, 2016 by  
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In the last few posts, I’ve been talking about Marshall Goldsmith’s great advice that you can read about in his book Mojo. He reveals ways to greatly improve your odds of lifting your Mojo (your personal happiness and fulfillment in life) and increasing your chances of making greater progress toward your goals and what you want your life to be.

One of Goldsmith’s very effective methods was to ask his friend, Jim Moore, to pose a daily list of questions that Marshall had put together. These questions included want Marshall wanted to get done and how he wanted his life to be. Both men were amazed at how well that daily questioning worked. Even though they lived miles apart and Marshall does a lot of traveling, their commitment to this has them connecting on the phone and going through the process of asking those same questions about 85% of the time. The process has kept Marshall focused and moving forward.

So if you want to greatly increase your Mojo and reach your goals, write a list of what you want to get done and how you want your life to be and then find a good friend or a close relative to ask you those questions on a regular basis. Remember that it’s important to keep track of your progress as well so you can be inspired by your success and work on the areas that might need a boost.

Although you will want to come up with your own questions, I thought Marshall’s basic 6 questions might be helpful:

“Did I do my best today to …

  1. Be Happy?
  2. Find meaning?
  3. Build positive relationships?
  4. Be fully engaged?
  5. Set clear goals?
  6. Make progress toward goal achievement?

After this list, Marshall goes on to list questions he specifically needs for himself such as, “How many minutes did you spend writing?

Then there are some health questions such as,” How many sit-ups did you do?” To which he gets to answer with statements like “Today I did 200 sit-ups at once. Not bad for a 64-year-old guy.” You know that has to be encouraging!

As for work, it might be “With how many clients are you current on your follow-ups?”

Then there’s family and relationships. “Did you say or do something nice for your wife? How about your son or daughter?”

In the book he also asks himself, “Why does this process work so well?”  The answer is that it forced him and his friend Jim to “confront how we actually live our values every day. We either believe that something matters or we don’t.  If we believe it, we can put it on the list and do it! If we really don’t want to do it, we can face reality and quit kidding ourselves.”

The above is just a brief sample. Your list should be much longer but how long depends on what you want to get done in your life.

Marshall asked his wife, Lyda, a psychologist, if she thought this process would work as well with a computer-generated list of questions instead of sharing with another person.  She said, “No, it is a lot easier to blow-off a computer than another person.”

So the bottom line for you and me is to start making our list and then find a friend to help, the kind of friend that you trust and one that won’t criticize you when you fall short of your goals and ambitions. You can do likewise for your friend and together you can really build up your Mojo!

 

 

Small Things and Metrics for Increased Mojo

July 22, 2016 by  
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I’ve got a little bit more to share with you about building your Mojo—that level of happiness and zest for life you have. As I mentioned in the last couple posts, there are a number of things you can do to greatly increase your Mojo as described by Marshal Goldsmith in his book MOJO, How to Get it, How to Keep it and How to Get it Back.

One particularly great Mojo builder for me is to be proactive and make things happen that can lead to greater happiness and more fulfillment in your life. For instance, the other day I asked my old friend Lynn Lehmann to go to lunch. Lynn is a great guy and has done many big things in his life including being a talented radio announcer and both writing and producing for TV. At lunch, our conversation and interaction raised my Mojo by stimulating my mind and enhancing the friendship we have. I think the meeting helped increase his Mojo as well.

In this case, having a great conversation was a relatively small thing I did to increase my Mojo but it only happened because I made it happen. Being proactive by asking people to go to lunch, planning a party, or setting up a golf or tennis outing is pretty simple and the interaction can do wonders for your Mojo.

Another trick that helps all of us improve our Mojo is to use metrics. Metrics are measurements of our progress and, yes, even our failures. Goldsmith says, “We all employ personal metrics to measure our progress during the day. If we’re on a diet, our metric is stepping on the bathroom scale each morning. If we’re trying to quit smoking, we’ll count the number of cigarettes we light up each day. If we’re training for a marathon, we’ll track our weekly mileage. If a number can be attached to it, we’ll measure it. The most pervasive metric, of course, involves money: how much of it we’re earning, how much we’ve saved, how much others are earning, and so on.”

Goldsmith goes to say that, for the most part, we tend to ignore and not measure the negative stuff that is not to our liking and that’s not good for us. He suggests that measuring the “bad numbers” is precisely what we need to do more often. Measuring only positive progress is like surrounding ourselves with sycophants as it is “good for the ego perhaps but not the most accurate picture of how we’re doing.”

So my bottom line advice is for all of us to be more proactive and to start using metrics of both the positive and negative things to see how it ramps up our Mojo. Then next week we’ll talk about Goldsmith’s great advice when it comes to having another person give you feedback and how it greatly increases your chances of success.

 

Talking Yourself into Great Mojo

July 15, 2016 by  
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Last week I introduced you to a terrific book by Marshal Goldsmith entitled MOJO, How to Get it, How to Keep it and How to Get it Back. Mojo is basically your happiness factor, your zest for living and your feeling of fulfillment. There are a few secrets that can help you get your Mojo back if you’ve lost it, or increase your Mojo if you want to have even more of it.
Some of these methods of are from Goldsmith’s book and some are from my own experience. From his book, Marshal says “When we define ourselves by saying we are deficient at some activity, we tend to create the reality that proves our definition.” I’ve said for years that I am no good at doing the details of anything. Saying that so much to myself and to other people cements this belief in my mind. Then I go on to prove that I was right. However, according to the book, Mojo, I can change that.

Goldsmith makes a big point about this. He says that if we want to change ourselves, we need to ask ourselves who we want to become in the future and/or what we want to accomplish then if we want to become that person we can.

So how do we change ourselves and increase our Mojo? There are several ways to do it. One way is by simply changing our self-talk, what I also call that chatter box inside our head. We need to start saying the positive things that we want to do and become.

I’ve started telling myself that I’m becoming better at detail stuff and I’ve notice a change for the good. Another negative thought that I’m working on is to be more decisive, because as they say, ‘making a bad decision sometimes is better than indecision.’ So I am pushing myself to be more decisive. I’m also working on a lifetime habit of telling myself that I’m no good at fixing things. That’s going to change and, believe me, my wife will love that.

Mojo Insights

July 8, 2016 by  
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Last week my wife and I hopped on a non-stop flight to London spending a few great days there in a hotel right by the Thames river and the London Eye.  We were also only 2 blocks away from all that Parliament action and the Brexit vote for Great Britain leaving the EU so it was a fairly historical moment to be there. Then we were off to Paris on the wonderful 200 mile-per-hour Eurostar train under the English Channel. It is such a smooth ride and we had such superb views of the English and French countryside and villages. The whole trip was wonderful but the beautiful ride and great times in London and Paris would not have been nearly as wonderful and fulfilling without the incredible book that my son gave me for Father’s day.

The book he gave me is called Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith. It re-opened my eyes to things I already knew but, like so many people, I had not been paying attention to or acting on. The mojo that Marshall is talking about is that positive spirit that speaks to what we are doing now, the spirit that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside. Mojo is at its peak when we are experiencing both happiness and meaning in what we are doing and when we communicate these experiences to the world around us.

Let me give you a few “factors”, as the author calls them, that jumped out at me and motivated me to again look at myself.  He asks 4 questions and, of course, in the book he addresses each one of them with some very good answers. They are listed categorically:

“Our professional and personal Mojo is impacted by …”

  1. Identity (Who do you think you are?)
  2. Achievement (What have you done lately?)
  3. Reputation (Who do other people think you are–and what have you done lately?)
  4. Acceptance (What can you change–and when do you need to just “let it go?)

Those questions really got me thinking and I took a much deeper look at myself because I really have lost some of my Mojo. So much of my identity is based on what I was years ago and what I did then.  But the good news is that whoever we are now we can change if we really want to as long as we are willing to look at ourselves deeply and fairly.

Here are 2 other great points he makes that are very powerful and helpful. Marshal says, “…worrying about the past and being anxious about the future can easily destroy our Mojo. This sort of thinking afflicts the high and low, the rich and the poor, the achievers and the struggling.”  The other point has to do with a way to regain your lost Mojo, encompassed by the simple statement “Forgive yourself for being who you are.” In other words, we all need to work on our acceptance of others and of ourselves. He goes on to say, “I am in no way suggesting that you should not try to create change and try to make the world a better place. I am suggesting that you change what you can and let go of what you cannot change.”

Next week, I will to continue to give you some other wonderful insights into our Mojo from Marshall’s book and talk about what we can do to make it that much better. In the meantime, answer the questions you see here and see what insights come to you from this simple exercise.

 

 

Our Indebtedness to the Past

June 17, 2016 by  
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I just watch a wonderful documentary narrated by Robert Redford called The Barnstormers which told and showed some great pictures of the history of how the game of tennis was changed from an amateur to a professional sport and how after that changed its popularity grew at an enormous rate.  I was particularly impressed at the end of this wonderful production when the great world champion Roger Federer said how much he and all the other pro tennis players of today owe a huge debt of gratitude to the players and key figures who brought about the big changes in tennis.

It got me to thinking about how all of us today owe a humongous debt of gratitude to so very may people of the past that did so many things to make the world a much better place and made our lives so much easier today.

Think about it … how would our lives be without those many people who over time collaborated with many others to bring us the automobile, the airplane, advanced medicine and medical procedures? We can cut open and fix a human brain and cure terrible diseases. And just look at the advances in technology.  From computers to cell phones, rockets to space probes, and on and on and on.  I couldn’t begin to build even a basic radio or TV, let alone figure out how to do open heart surgery.  And so much of these incredible advances have come in just the last 100 to 150 years!  Going back 150 years we didn’t have even a simple telephone or an internal combustion engine or even a simple light bulb.

We are so very indebted to so many people that have lived before us. We all could do with being a bit more grateful as well as taking a look at our own lives and seeing how and where we can put our efforts and talents to work to help others and make this wonderful world even better than we found it. Let’s not only do it for those around us now but for future generations.

There is also an extra benefit for you. I’ve seen studies that show that the more a person shows and has gratitude for others, the more it lifts that person’s level of satisfaction and happiness.

In my upcoming blog posts, I will attempt to acknowledge and give thanks to the people that have contributed to my life, both in my financial life, my personal life and in my self-development. Who do you have to thank for the wonderful advantages you have?

 

Risk is Not for Herds

June 10, 2016 by  
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Last week I talked about risk taking and how the willingness to take risk when it comes to investing is critical.  Those people who really want to attain Financial Freedom or FF need to look at themselves to determine their tolerance for risk.

As a real estate investor working towards achieving FF, it’s important to understand your own temperament, and your ability to assume that element of risk.  It’s important to know your limitations and not torment yourself with sleepless nights by taking unnecessary risks in trying to keep up with others whose capacity to assume risk might be much greater than yours.  This decision may slow you down on the road to FF, but what is FF without some enjoyment, comfort and happiness along the way?

Everyone has a level and a threshold for tolerance and excessive and unnecessary risk will only create anxiety and tension and may well shorten your life.  So take a hard look at yourself and measure how much risk are you willing to take that doesn’t make you worry you to the point of causing pain, anxiety and suffering in your life.

But keeping in mind our objective, achieving FF, it is important to remember that the greater the potential risk the greater the inherent reward will be. It is also almost impossible to avoid every risk at any one time in selecting an investment. In order to achieve and maintain high rates of return, which are critical for achieving total FF, one must be prepared both mentally and emotionally to incur a higher than average risk. So look hard at yourself and measure how much risk you can handle.

Remember that “eagles don’t fly together in flocks.”  So if you are going to make it big you can’t just go along with the flock or the herd.  If you earnestly desire to achieve FF today, you must learn to assemble all the facts, calculate the risks, be decisive, and then act accordingly.  Statistics and history prove that the majority of people fail to ever become FF because they do not have a specific plan. They are content and willing to wait patiently throughout their lifetime for Social Security or they are looking for that one super great investment or the lucky lottery number to suddenly become super rich.  Don’t follow those kinds of people. Work on your plan that will take you to total FF over a reasonable period of time and you will reach the level of Financial Freedom that you set as your goal.

Making the Next Year Last Twice as Long

April 8, 2016 by  
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Is it just me or does it seem like every year time speeds up?  Today, April 8th, is my 72nd birthday. It seems like my 71st birthday was only about 3 or 4 months ago! So now what do most of us do on our birthday? Yep, we celebrate.  But do we actually rejoice that we are getting older and closer to the end of our life?  Or maybe we are celebrating that we survived one more year?

The question really is, though, is there a way to slow down the passage of time?  Before I get to my ideas on that, I must tell you that one year ago I said to my wife without thinking it through, “Ya know honey, I don’t think I want to have any more birthdays,” and she quickly and wisely said, “Oh babe, I really think you do want at least a few more!” Duh. What was I thinking?

I guess when we are celebrating our birthdays what we really are doing, or at least what we should be doing, is some thoughtful reviewing of what we’ve spent our time on and what we’ve accomplished in the past 12 months. It should be rather like what we do around New Year’s eve.  And then after our reviewing we should take time to do some planning and goal setting for the next 12 months.

As far as what I think will work to slow down the passage of time, I have noticed that when I work at becoming totally aware of the present moment, in the ‘right now’, it does seem to slow down the clock a bit.  This last year I kind of moved away from taking notice and enjoying the ‘right now’ moments and spent too much time thinking about what I am going to do in the future.  True we all need to take time to plan and set goals but after we’ve done that we really need to concentrate our efforts to do more of living, enjoying and rejoicing in the moment. And that is what I plan on doing a lot of now before the big 73 rolls around.  Yep I’m going to slow Father time down.  Let’s all try to do that and see if it will make the next 12 months more rewarding and satisfying and, just maybe, those 12 months will seem to take twice as long to travel though. Let’s all slow the next 8760 hours down by living in the great ‘right now’.

The Breath-Mind Connection

January 29, 2016 by  
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So how about this breathing thing.  I showed you last week how just the simple act of smiling can help to change how you think and how you feel. But how can breathing change your brain?

I’m pretty sure all of us have seen this–when we experience a big scare, our breathing speeds up immediately. This response in the increased speed of our breath also occurs, to varying degrees, when we are under any kind of stress. And as you might guess from reading my posts the last couple weeks, faster breathing can also increase your feeling of stress. The obvious conclusion is that you will want to slow your breathing to help manage and alleviate stress.

I will never forget watching this TV special with a yoga practitioner that had been hooked up to heart rate and blood pressure machines before sitting down to meditate. He assumed his yoga position and began using his mind to slow down his breathing. As he did, the monitors showed that his decreased speed in breath also resulted in his heart rate and blood pressure dropping.  It was a great demonstration of that mind-body connection we’ve been talking about.

Amy Cuddy in her book Presence quotes a psychiatrist and a PTS expert Bessel van der Kolk who said, “Some 80 percent of the fibers of the vagus nerve (which connects the brain with many internal organs) are afferent, that is, they run from the body into the brain. This means that we can directly train our arousal system by the way we breathe, chant, and move, a principle that has been utilized since time immemorial in places like China and India.”

Amy goes on to say “That’s one of the reason yoga can change the way you feel–it naturally prompts you to breathe slowly and rhythmically, as you do practices such as chanting, tai chi, qigong, and meditation. But you don’t need to do any of those; you can reap the benefits of breath control almost anywhere at any time. With a few deep, slow breaths, you’ve just changed your body and your mind.”

She goes on to give this good advice: “Take a second right now to focus on your breath. Inhale quickly, then slowly exhale.  One more time. Inhale for two seconds, then draw out your exhale for around five seconds.”  Go ahead. Do it over and over again and see how it makes you feel.

I find the beauty of all this–power posing, smiling and controlling the breath–can all be done at the same time or done one at a time at almost any time or in any place. Such simple practices can make changes for the good in your life.

Ok … maybe we are better off not power posing on an airplane. You never know how the crew and other passengers will take that.

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