The Key to a Great Life, At Every Age

September 27, 2013 by  
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When my wife Kimberly and I were riding on the Eurostar from London to Paris, (I highly recommend you ride that if you get the chance!) I overheard an American guy behind me telling a Frenchman how sad it’s going to be in a few years when, in his opinion, Social Security will be bankrupt and people won’t be able to retire or they may (God forbid) have to work till they’re 68 or 70 before they can retire. I heard that and thought, “Really? It would probably be a good thing!”

I started back in on this topic last week, I know, but it’s so important to realize that you get very little out of just sitting around, relaxing and doing nothing … at least not in the long term. A little downtime here and there and when on vacation is great but overall, work is what will keep you going and make you feel alive!

I was very impressed recently when my wife and I bumped into Robert Redford. He is so engaged and active and he still looks great to boot. He has just a few more wrinkles but at 77 years young he’s still working hard. He has a new movie coming out this year, “ALL IS LOST”, which struck me as a great phrase to add to this conversation. What I’m trying to say is, if you stay active and keep working then ‘All is NOT Lost’ but without work and goals and a really great reason to get up every morning, it might feel that way.

Having a purpose is critically important for every human being. A big driving purpose will keep us alive, active, and excited and can boost our self-esteem, keeping it up there where it should be. So don’t look at your Golden Years as the time to step back and do nothing. Think of it as a time to set new, huge goals, to renew your zest for life. That’s really what my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, is all about—keeping that passion going by working on big goals with new challenges whether you’re 30 years or 50 years or 80 years young! An active life is a great life, at every age.

Just a little fun side comment about Robert Redford … as we were chatting I said to him “Oh, I see that my wife was kinda hitting on you,” and Redford quickly replied “Yes, and she missed.” A good and quick quip from a pro. I’m sure he’s had lots of practice!

Don’t Retire–Keep Engaged!

September 20, 2013 by  
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A few weeks ago my message was all about how critically important “Work” is for every human being on the planet. Well, I was waiting to catch a flight from Paris to Salt Lake City earlier this week and when I saw the cover story on Fortune Magazine. It really grabbed my attention. Why? Get this … the story is all about a 72 year old guy who is still working his buns off and risking huge amounts of money. Shouldn’t he be retired and taking it easy?

Ok you could assume that maybe he needs the money and can’t retire yet. But no, he’s a multi-billionaire! So why then is he still working and on top of that risking mega money to develop what Fortune calls “America’s Biggest Real Estate Project …Ever”.

I will tell you at least one very good reason why. Because he knows that to retire and just sit by the pool drinking Mai Tai’s–which he certainly can afford to do–will greatly diminish, if not totally destroy, his physical and mental health and at the same time it will do major damage to his sense of self-worth. So instead of letting himself wither away, Stephen Ross, the 72 year old I’m speaking of, is working on a 20 billion dollar project that is set to reinvent a huge swath of New York City. That would keep someone as sharp as they can be and certainly engaged!

As anyone who has been reading my blog knows I am closing in on the big 70 (only 200 days now), and I find myself, even though I don’t need the money, looking for and engaging myself in more and more projects and adventures (like these last 3 weeks in Europe.) I find that the harder I push myself towards social, physical, and financial goals the better I feel. However, because I don’t need to do anything at all I need to push very hard to stay active and keep on working! But I always see the result and I can tell you, it more than just a little worth it.

I think you can probably tell that I am trying to push any and all of my readers to do the same. Even if you are still young and not facing the 65 year old retirement number or are already pushing yourself towards big goals you can probably still be much more engaged and excited by setting even tougher goals. Plus you could encourage your parents, siblings, friends and neighbors who might be on the verge of retirement or already retired and give them a gentle nudge (or a kick in the butt!) to encourage them toward enhancing their lives by more fully engaging in work and staying super active in all parts of their lives. They will reap such huge rewards if they do.


Experience a Great Lesson

September 13, 2013 by  
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Most of the time the best way to learn the great lessons of life are through experience. And, wow, I sure saw the truth of that the last few days. What is kind of crazy is that just a handful of days before I had read about this exact same life lesson I recently experienced and skimmed right over it not learning a thing.

What lesson am I talking about? I’ll tell you but let me back up a bit first.

Right now, as I write this I am flying from Rome to the island country of Malta. It has taken this great getaway vacation, traveling from Paris to Rome to Brindisi to Malta and eventually to London, to learn what a few simple words in a book had just tried to tell me. This lesson is very simple but in our fast paced high tech world too many of us are forgetting about it, losing touch, and it is hurting us.

So what is the huge and simple great life lesson I learned or I should say relearned? Well, when you need a quick but solid mood boost, get up off your butt and go outdoors! See, I told you that it was simple. But it is no less important than any of the other great lessons in our lives. Just a bit of “green exercise” has been proven in ten different controlled studies to decrease stress, boost mood as well as self-control, and even enhance your ability to focus. All that from what might be just a 5 minute walk around the block.

I had read all this and agreed with it in my mind but it didn’t really hit home until I was cycling around the south of Italy. Then I felt it. And wow, it made such a huge difference in my mood and my mental clarity. I could sit here and just tell you about it but my own experience showed me that you really need to just get out and experience it for yourself. Remember the studies on this showed great improvement in the above categories with even very short outdoor time. So why don’t we all start adding this simple habit to our daily routines? Yes, take your kids cell phones and I pads from them and kick their butts out of the house too. It is a great experience for everyone.


The Self-Forgiveness Experiement

September 6, 2013 by  
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OK let’s explore the “What the Hell” effect I mentioned last week and the research that was done about self-forgiveness as it affects your future behavior and success or failure. The “What the Hell” effect was first coined by dieting researchers Janet Polivy and C. Peter Herman. Quoting from Kelly McGonigal’s book The Willpower Instinct, “These researchers noticed that many dieters would feel so bad about any lapse even if was just a piece of pizza or a bite of cake that they felt as if their whole diet was blown. Instead of minimizing the harm by not taking another bite, they would say, ‘What the hell, I already blew my diet. I might as well eat the whole thing.’”

Kelly goes on to recount the circumstances and outcome of an experiment on this behavior. “The two psychologists invited weight-watching women into the laboratory, then encouraged them to eat doughnuts and candy in the name of science. These researchers had an intriguing hypothesis about how to break the what-the-hell cycle. If guilt sabotages self-control, they thought, then maybe the opposite of guilt would support self-control. Their unlikely strategy: Make half these doughnut-eating dieters feel better about giving in.”

The women in the study were asked to finish off a doughnut then they had the women drink enough water to feel full. In the next step, the researchers divided the women into two groups giving the first group “a special message to relieve their guilt” while the second group were not told anything about going easy on themselves.

These same women were then served three large bowls of candy and asked to sample each candy and rate it. They could eat as much or as little as they liked. The idea was that if the women still felt guilty about eating the doughnut, they would likely say to themselves, ‘I already broke the diet, so what does it matter if I inhale these Skittles?’

After this taste test the candy bowls were all weighed to see what group ate the most. The results? “The women who received the special self-forgiving message ate only 28 grams of candy, compared with 70 grams by the women who were not encouraged to forgive themselves,” Kelly reports.

Wow, when you think about the overall implications of this experiment they are absolutely huge! Just forgiving yourself can be life changing. If you are paying attention and directing all or at least as most of that “self-talk” and “chatterbox” toward cutting yourself some slack, you would certainly be able to stay on track with your goals, even when you slip here and there. Just give yourself tons of forgiveness and watch your life get better and better by the day.