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The Influence of Self-Talk

July 12, 2020 by  
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We all do it – some of it is very good and some is very negative. I’m talking about all of our self-talk. The good news, as you already know, is that you can somewhat control whether your self-talk is helping or hurting you. And that, my dear followers, is all about your brain and what you choose to let dominate and rule. Sadly, most often, self-talk is negative. It’s hurting you and keeping you from reaching your full potential.

Self -talk should say:

  1. This is something I can do.
  2. I’m so looking forward to this.
  3. I can do this very well.
  4. This is going to make me what I want to be and get me where I want to be.

But self-talk can say:

  1. I can’t do this.
  2. I’m not good enough.
  3. I’m not going to be able to pull this off.
  4. Why do things always happen like this?
  5. I’m afraid I will fail.

As Henry Ford famously said, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, either way, you’re right!”

Think about this when playing golf. If you think you will hit the ball into the water, you probably will. The body follows the mind. It listens to the self-talk. It believes you. The body says, “Your wish is my command.”

I’ll never forget my self-talk as I was playing in this one tennis tournament. I got to a crucial point where I knew that I could not afford to double-fault. As I hit the net on my first serve, my self-chatter was very negative and said, “Wow, I just can’t double fault here.” Ouch!

What a negative thought and message I sent to my muscles. My mind probably only heard the word “double fault” and that’s exactly what I did. My second serve went long—I pretty much did exactly what I programmed my mind to do. My wish was the body’s command.

The point I’m trying to make is that life is lived mainly inside your head, so you’ve got to know what’s in your mind and how your mind works and the great influence of self-talk!

We all need to understand how the mind works and that you can control the self-talk and the self-chatter. You need to know how to direct the self-talk that’s hurting you and your life and keeping you from your full potential.

I learned a great lesson from that tennis double fault. From the terrible loss that day, I went on to win 4 gold medals at the Huntsman Senior games held each year in southern Utah. Before every match I would have some very positive self-talk with myself, saying things like, “Mark, you have a great serve and a super topspin forehand and a great underspin backhand and you will win this match today!” And yes, I did.

The bottom line is, we all need to practice controlling our self-talk and make it very positive. It’s pretty much all between your ears and mind. Sure, sometimes we will lose but if you are using a ton of positive self-talk, you will find yourself a winner in many, many situations – in sports, business, and relationships. Try it and you will see.

Pushing Out the Negative

June 28, 2020 by  
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This darn pandemic is certainly creating a lot of problems, challenges, and tons of stress. For me, it’s not just the boredom, although I do miss my social life, but rather it’s the stress that has been getting to me. It has done some strange things to my sleep.

Of course, some of it is due to my age, as most of us have more trouble sleeping as we get older. On some nights, I am only able to sleep for 2 or 3 hours. Ugh! But other nights are normal. So, a couple days ago I spotted a book by Sasha Stephens titled The Effortless Sleep Method. The book is beginning to be of great help, mostly because of my change in thinking.

One section of the book jumped out at me – “The Two Negative Principles of the Mind”. Stephens said, “It is strange but true that most human beings tend to focus chronically on what they do not want. It can be difficult to spot this tendency in yourself, especially if you do not consider yourself to be a particularly negative person. But just try observing yourself for a few days. See how much of your thinking time is spent focused on what is wrong with your life. Then notice how little time you spend even noticing the good things, let alone celebrating them.” Sasha goes on to say, “If, for example, they had one bad night’s sleep along with three or four good ones, most insomniacs would focus on the one bad night. Not only does this give an inaccurate and exaggerated picture of the problem, it can actually worsen it.”

As I write this, I have just realized that by my talking to my wife about my terrible sleep and now writing about it, what I am doing could make my sleep problems worse because I am emphasizing the negative. So, I guess I will take that risk and maybe what I am writing can help others, not just with sleep problems but addressing other challenges and changing your thinking so you spend more time on the positive stuff.

I find that to spend more time on the positive things of my life and to ignore the negative, it helps to write down specific goals that I want to reach. It makes is much easier to keep my brain thinking on the positive side.  Let me give you a list of questions that I have asked myself over the years. They help me come up with specifics which helps me be more positive.

  • Do I want to substantially raise my level of contentment and fulfillment?
  • Do I want to become a better person?
  • Do I want to be known as a person of great accomplishment?
  • Do I want to be in great physical and mental shape with ideal health my entire life?
  • Do I want to live a very long, active life?
  • Do I want to make a fortune – a million dollars, $10 million, or even 100 million dollars? (Just think of the great good you could do with that money.)
  • Do I want the greater choices and possibilities in my life that making my own fortune would give me?
  • Do I want to leave the world a better place than I found it?
  • Do I want to be a big help to others as I help myself?
  • Do I want to travel and experience the entire world and its cultures? (I will continue this one when the pandemic has let up–I’ve already visited 92 different countries!)

May I strongly suggest that you make up your own list. I think if you do you will be pleased with how it helps your life.

Great Opportunities in Uncertain Times

June 7, 2020 by  
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Okay, we are still in a pandemic and, I must say, with all this spare time to think and visualize the future, it may be an ideal time to look for those motivated real estate sellers. A purchase now could greatly improve your financial situation while, at the same time, you could be helping the seller who might be struggling to bring in money since they may not be receiving a regular paycheck.

In most American markets, real estate values and prices have been pretty tight and it has made it tough to find real bargains that will produce a cash flow. However, things have started to change and it may well be the ideal time to make a lot of low priced offers in order to find super motivated sellers. As some of you that know me well probably remember, when I was on my way up to the millionaire status and had tons of energy and drive, it was common for me to make many, many offers each week – like dozens.

I would just go through the listings and send the listing brokers offers that were 20% lower than the asking price and sit back and wait for their responses. I called it my “shotgun method”. I did this before I even drove past the property. I didn’t want to spend my time checking out and walking through the property until I had an acceptance or counter proposal. Of course, I made all offers with a “subject to my approval” clause. And, of course, most of my offers came back with an absolute rejection, but some would come back with a counter offer and a few even with a total acceptance of my low, low offer. Then, and only then, would I take my time to go check out the property and accept or reject their offer or even make a counter offer to their counter offer.

So now, with this terrible virus thing, we’re seeing more motivated sellers that really need the money and are much more willing to accept a lower price than just a few months ago. This could very well be a great financial opportunity for you and, for many sellers, it could be a great financial relief. Think about it and then add some ACTION!

So, hey, maybe this pandemic may have a few good things for us. Tracking down opportunities is certainly a much better thing to do with you extra time verses attending a protest with the potential of doing great harm to yourself and others. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame most of the demonstrators and, personally, I feel for people of color and I totally believe all humans are equal and should be treated the same. But I think you might agree that looking for investments is a better use of your time.

One last thought. When I told my wife about this week’s subject she said, “What you say is all true, but it does take one thing more and that’s COURAGE.” Wow, she’s so right and having written a book titled The Courage to be RICH, I certainly should have thought of that. So, add courage to making all these offers so you can be more aggressive and really take advantage of these opportunities.

Be Your Own Champion

May 31, 2020 by  
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These pandemic times have pushed me to go back and read some of my journal entries starting in February 1975 all the way to right now. My writing and the goals I logged has excited me to do more goal setting and more writing in my journals.

I have also been re-reading my blogs. I just re-read a post I wrote back in 2009 where I talked about my good friend and Olympic champion Jimmy Shea. He set goals for himself and then, with a ton of perseverance and very hard work, he won, not one, but two gold medals–one in the World Championships in 1999 and another in the winter Olympics in 2002.

I hope you will take the time to read the attached blog about Jimmy Shea and hopefully it will motivate you to make lists and set goals for yourself.

From the post “Meeting a Champion …” April 29, 2009:

This is a picture with me and Jimmy Shea Jr. He came to one of my book signings at Costco. Jimmy is an Olympic champion with quite a story. Jimmy describes his life and reaching his goals, overcoming blocks to becoming a champion:

As a youth growing up in Lake Placid, NY, Jim’s involvement in sports helped him overcome the doubt he experienced due to his battle with dyslexia. Having a severe learning disorder taught Jim the importance of perseverance and hard work, a lesson emphasized by his father and grandfather, both Winter Olympic athletes.

When Jim competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics (in the Men’s Skeleton), he became the only American to have the distinction of being a third generation Olympian. In 1932 his Grandfather, speed skater Jack Shea, became the first American to win two Winter Olympic Gold medals. In 1964 Jim’s father, Jim Shea, Sr. competed in the Nordic Combined at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics.

Jimmy also believes in giving back. He founded the Shea Family Foundation to help young Olympians in the sports he and his family have competed in for generations.

It’s great meeting people like Jimmy at book signings – thanks for coming!

 

So, while we all have tons of time, we should be putting our minds towards great goals we want to set for ourselves. We have the time to make those lists. And, as you know from reading my blog, making lists is critical to future success as is the act of writing them down. Those are great first steps to being your own champion!

You Can Always Be Ambitious

May 3, 2020 by  
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I was going a little stir crazy with all this time on my hands and missing my social life, but then my thinking was quickly interrupted when I was contacted by an old friend who suggested we get together and play tennis. I said, “Absolutely, but we must be careful and safe.” So, we got together but didn’t touch the tennis ball until we had applied extra layers of disinfectant on our hands.

This friend, who I hadn’t talked to for a long time, is a great guy who had what most people would call a HUGE setback. Regardless of that, he’s a nationwide motivational speaker who plays tennis, golf, and basketball and has won some great national titles. But what was his huge setback, you may ask. Well, many years ago, when he was 22 years old, he told me that he fell off a 40-foot barn roof landing straight up. It paralyzed him from the waist down, but that terrible accident didn’t stop him and his athletic ambitions even though he’s been in a wheelchair ever since.

So I told Jeff Griffin I would love to play some tennis. We played on my home court and, man oh man, was he ever good. The rules are that when you play a person in a wheelchair the ball can bounce twice before your wheelchair opponent hits it. I only get one bounce. However, he didn’t even need that small advantage. He hit the ball very hard, his placement of shots was near perfect, and the way he changes direction in his wheelchair with such speed and quickness was amazing. So, I find myself, a 4 times gold medal winner at the Huntsman Senior games, getting kicked by my friend in a wheelchair.  He beat me 6-3. (We only played one set since he totally wore me out.)

Jeff is an amazing person and has won so many awards that the list is too long for me to write out, but you can look him up on Google and read with amazement what he has done in his life so far. Sadly, most people, or at least many people, would look at such a huge setback like Jeff suffered and pretty much give up. Jeff didn’t let that terrible accident stop him though and, wow, has he ever gone to work on so many parts of his life to make himself better and, sometimes, even the very best!

When I get a little frustrated or disappointed I try to push my mind to think about people like Jeff and say to myself, “Hey, I am not going to let my little setbacks or failures stop me from whatever project or goal I’ve set out to do.” And neither should you!

Persistent Genius

March 29, 2020 by  
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Let’s look at another famous and super successful person this week, someone who had some very tough times and setbacks that, for many if not most people, would have forced them to give up and say goodbye to their big dreams and great hopes. I think you may have heard of him – his name is Albert Einstein.

Einstein didn’t even start talking until he was 3 years old and didn’t read at all until he was 7. That by itself wouldn’t be classified as tough times or a big setback but later, when he was in school, he poorly. He wouldn’t respond to the teacher when asked a question or he would take forever and then would whisper a response. He was also known for being incredibly forgetful and absent- minded. He would often forget to put on his socks and many other basic things. Many people believed that Albert Einstein was mentally retarded although he did excel at mathematics from a young age and even taught himself algebra and geometry one summer when he was 12 years old.

At the age of 16, he applied to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zürich but was turned down after he failed the entrance exam. He was advised to finish his secondary schooling, which he did, successfully enrolling in the four-year mathematics and physics teaching diploma program at the Zürich Polytechnic school at the age of 17.

Quoting from Darcy Andries great book, The Secret of Success, Is Not a Secret, “It was not until after the first of Einstein’s theories, the ‘Special Theory of Relativity’, was published that the scientific community truly recognized his talent. However, even then many scientists attacked his theories, calling them ‘worthless and misleading’ and asserted that Einstein ‘has not a logical mind.’ None of these kinds of comments and failures stopped him. He became professor extraordinary at Zurich, and later a professor of theoretical physics at Prague. The highlight of his scientific career came in 1921, when Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics.”

So, here’s a guy who had many reasons to pack it up and not chase any big dream or goal but, wow, look at what he did and who he turned out to be. Even though I am pretty sure that good ole Albert didn’t have a clue that 100 years after winning the Nobel Prize he would still be famous and known worldwide. Alex Johnson, a reporter for MSNBC, said this about Einstein: “Albert Einstein’s impact on the world was so immense that any assessment must range beyond science to take in the multifarious ways he changed culture.”

These stories and many others certainly inspire and motivate me to never give up on my hopes, dreams and goals. I hope you feel the same way.

Success is Measured by Obstacles

March 15, 2020 by  
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The famous Booker T. Washington once said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”  Darcy Andries, author of The Secret of Success is Not a Secret, certainly underscores that comment in terms of the obstacles that have often proceeded the rise of so very many famous and successful people. Her book lists more than 250 super successful people who persevered through huge setbacks and failures to become big-time successes.

Take Rowland Hussey Macy, who tried and failed many times before he found success. He tried to start and operate a needle and thread store in Boston, and later a store that sold European-made dry goods. He failed both times. Then, after an unsuccessful store in Marysville, California, opened with his brother during the 1849 goldrush, he returned to the East Coast to open another dry goods store in a town north of Boston, an endeavor that eventually forced him into bankruptcy. He then moved to New York City and opened yet another store which ended disastrously when it was robbed and then burned down. Ugh.

Most people, I think, would have given up at that point but not Rowland Macy. He rebuilt, opening a little fancy dry goods store at 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City, north of the city’s other dry goods stores, called R. H. Macy & Co. After initial encouraging sales, he expanded, eventually occupying 11 adjacent buildings, each selling different categories of merchandise and effectively launching what we now call a department store.

By the 1870’s Macy’s store was averaging more than $1 million in annual sales and it has grown ever since. Now known simply as Macy’s, would you believe that little shop has grown into more than 850 stores and has gross sales in the double-digit billions?

I don’t know about you or your significant other, but my wife certainly helps Macy’s stay in business and thrive. I don’t know whether to thank Rowland Macy or complain! Unfortunately, I can’t do either since he checked out of life in 1877 at the young age of 55. But I’ve got to hand it to him – with all those setbacks spanning a period of nearly 14 years, he kept at it anyways and, I think most people would admit, he did okay for himself in the end.

 

Never Giving Up

March 8, 2020 by  
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Last week I talked about the fact that there is really no big secret to big success. In the beginning of the great book by Darcy Andries, The Secret to Success, she quotes a very smart and very successful man, Colin Powell. He said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Then Darcy made the wise comment that “You can learn a lot from failure, but that requires you to continue moving forward despite having failed.”

As promised, I want to share with you some of the setbacks and failures of a few famous people who never would give up and who eventually were very, very successful. I want to start with the great basketball player Bob Cousy, who was my hero when I was a young man playing in a great basketball tournament in the Olympic stadium in Rome, Italy.  I wanted so badly to be like Bob Cousy and play professional basketball. We won the Rome tournament and I got a basketball scholarship to Utah State University but that’s as far as I got. No pro basketball for me.

I wish I had known back then Cousy’s story of all his setbacks, turndowns, and losses.  I really think that if I had read that story back when I was struggling as a University player, I would have doubled down and not given up. I think I would have done more and practiced more and pushed myself to the limits, maybe even seeking out a personal coach. Here is a summary of Cousy’s story.

Bob Cousy didn’t pick up a single basketball until he was 12 years old and although he tried, he was cut from the school team twice back then. He kept practicing and practicing though. Then he slipped and fell and broke his right arm but he still didn’t give up. He just switched to using his left hand to shoot ball. Wow. He was now ambidextrous and became the star player of the team. After high school, he went on to play college and earned an All-American statue 3 times, helping his team win 26 straight games. He turned pro in 1950 and went on to be voted MVP in 1957 and then received many other great honors including induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970.

Think about that and what huge determination and perseverance it must have taken for him to stick with his dream. We all have setbacks and losses so the real key or secret to success for almost any goal or venture is to NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! It’s a very wise person who seeks help from others through books and seminars, or pushing super successful people to be your coach, your teacher, and your inspiration.  So, bottom line here is, if you have set big goals and dreams and you haven’t yet been successful yet, rededicate yourself to those dreams and never give up.

Try, Try Again

March 1, 2020 by  
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My beautiful wife, Kimberly, gave me a great book not too long ago. I read it and set it aside but then couldn’t find it, until last week. Yay! The book, by Darcy Andries, is entitled The Secret of Success…It’s Not a Secret.  The book gives the details of the struggles, the setbacks, the failures, and the great losses that many eventually successful and now famous people had. Elvis Presley, Billy Crystal, Michael J. Fox, John Grisham, Tennessee Williams, Colonel Sanders, Andrew Carnegie, Al Pacino, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Bob Cousy, Sylvester Stallone, and Robin Williams are just a few of the names from the list Andries gives of over 200 people who were initially rejected and pushed aside, only to come back strong and become super successful.

One name from that big list of super successful people is a guy I know by the name of Richard Paul Evans. He wrote the immensely successful book, The Christmas Box, which sold over 7 million copies. What is so fascinating about Richard’s beginning as an author is that it’s so similar to mine. We both got rejected and turned down by many, many book publishers. Nobody seemed to care or be interested in our books at all.

Both Richard and I did the same thing after all those rejections. We both went to print shops and paid to have our book printed. I printed 1,000 copies of my book and began selling and giving them away. Richard, however, really out did me on that one. He eventually printed 700,000 books – although not all at once – and sold them over time.

The big news was that after we had our own publishing successes, we each had big time New York publishers contact us, eventually getting contracts with them to print and distribute our books to bookstores. Richard’s publisher actually paid $4.2 million for the rights to his book. No, my book deals were not that profitable, but I must say, selling all those books myself did lead me to doing seminars and publishing a newsletter which itself became a huge part of the fortune that I’ve been so blessed to have amassed.

It is so amazing that so very many big time famous names and people had huge struggles when they started but they stuck to the old proverb, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I would add that if you keep trying, and never give up, you will most likely end up with your big dreams coming true.

I think, in the next few weeks, I will share with you some of the stories of these famous people who had big time failures but went on to have super successful lives, people who dug themselves out of a deep hole because they never gave up.

 

Writing Down the Urgent Stuff

February 16, 2020 by  
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Last week I wrote about how important it was to write down your goals, your intentions, your dreams, and your to do lists. Why do that? Because if you do, the odds that you will follow through and complete those tasks and dreams increases big time.

There are many other benefits to writing. If you commit your dreams to paper, or on a document in your computer, for some strange reason, the act of writing your fears and negative thoughts down helps you  deal with those bad thoughts and then you can more easily  overcome them.

So, getting into the habit of not only writing your good dreams and goals down but also those fears and negative feelings we all have, can become a huge asset in your life.

Here’s 17 questions from a list in Ilchi Lee’s wonderful book I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years. Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers.

  1. What things have I achieved in my life?
  2. When was I most joyful?
  3. When were things most trying?
  4. How did I overcome hardship in those trying moments, and what did I learn through them?
  5. What moments in my life do I regret?
  6. When did I do things that made me feel proud and that I found rewarding?
  7. What momentary choices became opportunities that changed my life?
  8. What values did I try to remain true to throughout my life?
  9. What goals have I had so far?
  10. What motivated me to establish those goals?
  11. Which of my goals have I had so far?
  12. Which of my goals have I achieved?
  13. Which goals have I failed to achieve?
  14. Who has had the greatest impact on my life?
  15. With whom have I shared my gratitude?
  16. With whom do I have emotional issues that I need to resolve?
  17. Which of my habits do I want to keep and develop?

Lee goes on to say, “If possible, write down your thoughts about these questions. Organizing them in writing and not just thinking about them will help you unravel the tangle of thoughts rolling around in your head.”

Like Mr. Lee’s book, Henriette Klauser’s book, Write It down, Make It Happen, makes some of the same points. Klauser likewise emphasizes how absolutely critical it is to get into the habit of writing your goals and dreams down, explaining how, “putting it on paper alerts the part of the brain known as the reticular activating system to join in the play.”

She goes on to explain this mechanism. “At the base of the brain, about the size of a little finger, is a group of cells whose job it is to sort and evaluate incoming data. This control center is known as the reticular activating system (RAS}. The RAS sends the urgent stuff to the active part of your brain and sends the nonurgent to the subconscious. The RAS awakens the brain to consciousness and keeps it alert.”  So, if you write something down, then it becomes the urgent stuff and your brain will keep it accessible to the active part of your mind.

Hope I’m not getting too scientific but knowing all about the RAS and what good it does all of us should be good motivation to keep writing our goals and dreams down. So now we know, when it comes to bad feelings, ideas, or worries, paper is a good place to park those negative mind games.

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