The Sky is Not Falling – Mark O. Haroldsen on the Economy

October 15, 2008 by  
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“You need to stand back from the masses because the masses almost always get it wrong.”

Some might wonder if because of my lifestyle I’m somehow immune to feeling the effects of a slow¬† economy. I’m not saying I haven’t been hurt by it, I have. I’m not immune to it. But my take is that we’re not at the bottom yet – but we’re near.

I talked to people on my trip about it. World markets are being creamed. Many are worried. Some blame the U.S. for problems with the economy, though they have made some of the same mistakes. There is no question that a person living hand to mouth is in a bad situation and this economic downturn. It scares them — and it should scare them.
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A Journey Takes Unexpected Turns

October 14, 2008 by  
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Passion, like life, is about journeys not arriving. Kimberly and I have been planning a trip to Europe for a year. This was a goal of ours. You see the brain craves the new, the unfamiliar. Living in the moment also stimulates the mind. Of course it’s easy to live in the moment when you’re in Paris.

Another way is to experience something familiar through someone else’s eyes. We took our good friends¬† Frantoise and Stein Eriksen (who is now in his eighties and has a Wikipedia page) with us. We’d been to some of the places before, but they came alive again when we showed them. Our brain loves new experiences.

Everywhere we went I asked people what there passion level was. We visited a farm of a cheese maker in Switzerland. We stayed at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad Switzerland which had unbelievable scenery and impeccable service. I got to introduce the Eriksen’s to an Australian tennis champ. We were in Germany for Octoberfest (I’ll put up some video of the trip).

Swiss Cheesmaker with Kimberly

The most exhilarating part of the journey though started with a train ride that had some curve balls. Getting on the train and going from Zurich to Croatia there was no one was there to greet us. We had a tough time finding a cab to make it to the ship. We finally found a cab and arrived an hour late. Luckily, they waited for us.

Once we got onto the ship we realized it was not like the spacious hotel with great service. It was tight quarters. The bathroom was so small you could hardly change your mind, let alone change a shirt in it. The shower was a spout hooked up to the bathroom sink. You turned it on and sprayed yourself, along with the rest of the room.

The week long ship ride was full of adventure. There were people from all different nationalities speaking different languages. We stopped on islands of all sizes. We bicycled 30-40 kilometers. One island was so small that license plates weren’t necessary – everyone knew everyone else. With only a few hundred people, there were maybe 25 cars.

Tiny Croatian Island

Then there were high winds – so high that the buses couldn’t run because they might blow over. So rented an expensive taxi, and headed back to make our flight home – which we barely made.

While we loved the more predictable parts of the trip, our real passion was in the unexpected – the missed rides, the cramped ship, the collage of cultures, and even the storm.

Do you fears prevent you from traveling (literally or figuratively) because you’re afraid to try something new? Sometimes people are so comfortable it scares them to do something different. Yet when they go ahead they look back that is what stands out, it’s what they talk about.

Stein Eriksen, Roy Emerson, Mark HaroldsonMixing things up, trying the new, seeing something through another’s eyes, being open to adventure. This is how you create passion.

Where Did all My Passion for Life Go?

October 10, 2008 by  
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“Passion can be an elusive pursuit. As people age they have glimpses of passion here and there and then they lose it and they don’t know why.”

Have you every wondered how you get passion and how you keep it? In my book “How to Ignite your Passion for Living” I make the point that, from my experience, as people age, passion has to be kind of set up – or jerry-rigged. To jerry-rigg – is to put something together in an unusual, better or temporary way. The key to jerry-rigging passion is to set difficult objectives and work towards them.

From about age 25 every year your brain produces less and less dopamine and serotonin – the hormones that help you feel good. A child’s body is awash in these hormones. As we age we need to create these hormones. You have to stimulate them. You do this with eating right foods, exercising, and most importantly, setting goals and going after them.

Traveling can be a great way to jerry-rigg some passion. In my next post I’ll talk about a trip to Europe and how some unexpected turns made us love the journey even better.