February 28, 2014 by  
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Ok … this week I will give you what I think are some of the high points from Kelly McGonigal incredible book, The Willpower Instinct. These are more of those notes taken from my summary sheets that I make and keep from the best books I read and want to revisit and remember.

The Willpower Instinct is a truly life changing book if you put the concepts and findings into practice.  I highly recommend you get it and read it carefully.  Below are the points that jumped out at me. In some cases I am giving you quotes and in others I am giving a summary in my own words.  The subtitle of the book is great: “How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More”. The book covers all this and more.

Mark’s notes from The Willpower Instinct:

P. 20 Most of our choices are made on autopilot.

P. 20 Self-awareness is one big key to will power.

P. 21 When you are distracted, your impulses usually over rule your long term goals.

P. 21 To have more self-control, develop more self-awareness.

P. 23 The brain is remarkably responsive to experience.

P. 24 Ask your brain to _____________________________ (you fill in anything you really want) and your brain ends up helping you do it.

P. 26 Meditate on a regular basis — it will help you increase self-control. For example: lose weight, kick bad habits, etc. Meditate 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

P. 42, 43 Exercise is like meditation it makes the brain bigger and faster and improves willpower.

P. 43 A big mood booster is a simple 5 minute walk outside.

P. 45 Exercise gives you more energy than you spend.

P. 69 If you are looking for a big change of any habit, look for small ways to practice self-control.

P. 129 When we free ourselves from the false promise of reward we often find the thing we were seeking happiness from was the main source of our misery.

P. 132 We must distinguish between wanting and happiness.

P. 144 Many studies show that self-criticism gives less motivation and worse self-control and is the biggest predictor of depression.

So, without even reading the book, you can see the value of the information just in these notes. And how easy is it to review and remind oneself of this great information this way?

My Treasure of Quotes, Part 1

February 21, 2014 by  
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Last week I talked about how I get so much out of the books I read because of the way I take and record notes and quotes. Here are a few of the quotes and the page numbers, which I logged onto my summary sheets from a couple of the best books I’ve read lately in recent years.

From Robert Lustig MD’s great book Fat Chance:

P. xiii Sugar is killing us.

P. 137 High fiber appears to limit total food intake.

P. 119 Orange juice is worse than sugar soda.

P. 125 Alcohol increases fat around the liver.

P. 140 Exercise works at so many levels (mainly improved health) except your weight.

P. 145 Diet is about weight and exercise is about inches and health.

P. 148 Consistency in exercise is the key.

P. 207 Eat real food.

P. 214 Don’t eat anything 4 hours before bedtime.

P. 186 Vegetables give you fiber and micro nutrients.

P. 154 Resveratrol is very good for you–keeps inflammation down.

P. 144 Protein does not stimulate insulin or hunger.


And from the excellent book called Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

P. 2 Ask yourself if you’re happy and you will cease to be so.

P. 2 Happiness… gained by being fully involved with every detail of our lives–good and bad.

It’s the unintended side effects of one’s dedication to a course greater than oneself.

P. 3 The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretch to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult or worthwhile.

P. 6 Flow will happen by examining the process of achieving happiness through control of one’s inner life.

P. 6 Investing in consciously chosen goals creates a more complex being –by stretching skills, by reaching toward higher challenges.

P. 10 Regardless of your material conditions you can improve the quality and happiness of your life.

P. 18 A person who can’t override their genetic instructions when necessary is always vulnerable. Instead of deciding how to act in terms of personal goals, they have surrendered to the things that their bodies have been programed for.

p. 24 A person can make himself happy, or miserable regardless of what is actually happening “outside” by just changing the contents of consciousness.

P. 31 The mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will–to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal and not longer.


Did you feel a little overwhelmed by all the nuggets of wisdom in these two short lists? Pick out two that really struck you and ask yourself what it means to you. This is what you will get from reading and making note of the important items in important books like these. As you can see with the book Flow, I was only able to list here what I pulled from it through page 31. There are so many other great quotes and ideas in there that can be tremendously helpful. You should go out and buy the book.  Then when I cover some more quotes from this book and others next week, you can compare your list to mine.


Active Reading

February 14, 2014 by  
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Great books can do great things for you in your life. They certainly have for me and I use a simple method to make sure I don’t forget what I’ve learned from the best books I’ve read. It’s really simple and I highly recommend you give it a try.

First, as I read, I underline the best points made by the author, the ones that jump out at me and instruct, inspire and motivate. Next I make a note in the front or back of the book, with the page number and a short summary of what struck me as a real gem. After I have finished the book I take an 8” X 11” piece of card stock paper and transfer all the page numbers and quotes onto that paper. Then, anytime I need a mental, emotional or motivational push I quickly and easily review my notes of a particular book. It’s easy and simple.

As I have said in the past, and as it was preached to me by my mentor Paul J. Meyer, “It’s better to re-read or re-view over and over, 20 or 30 or 100 great books than to read 1,000 average books”. I have never forgotten that and it have served my life and dreams very well.

In looking through my stack of 8 X 11 cards I see my notes on books like “Satisfaction”, “Outliers”, “Flow”, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”, “Tipping Point”, “Fat Chance”, The Power of Now”, “The Willpower Instinct”, The Four Doors”, and of course a couple of my books “The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You”, “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. That is to name just a few. Next week I will give you a few of what I think are the best short summary statements from a few of those books to show you exactly what I mean, what jumps out at me and what helps me like I am pretty sure it can help you.

Asking for Courage

February 7, 2014 by  
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In last week’s blog I promised I would give you my definition of  ‘Courage’ so that we can look into what it can mean to you and how you live your life.

Courage is going against the odds or against popular opinion.  It’s doing what most people are unwilling to do because of the criticism and lack of support they know they will receive from family, friends, or even strangers.  Courage is living your life for you.  It’s setting your own rules and policies and taking full responsibility when you fail or stumble. It’s resisting other people’s attempted manipulations of you.

Courageous people do not accept traditions, conventional wisdom, or pat answers without close scrutiny and severe questioning.

I came up with that definition in 1983 when I was 39 years old,   for my book The Courage to be Rich and I think it holds true today.  (Side note … Susan Orman used that title later for her own book which I found out, to my disappointment, is totally legal.) But sometimes it’s hard to know what you are accepting without question or not. So let’s ask ourselves a few questions.

Before reading this list of questions that can help build your courage, let me suggest you make a list of the areas in your life that you might want to focus on, areas you think would benefit from a big dose of courage.

Did you write those down? Good. Now, ask yourself,  Do I want to have …

The courage to be rich?

The courage to be famous?

The courage to be the very best in my field?

The courage to be super generous?

The courage to be super healthy?

The courage to be totally physically fit?

The courage to write a great book or give super speeches?

The courage to love and be loved without conditions?

The courage to help others to the max?

The courage to win at the game of life?

This is not a complete list. If you have other things you want or think you want, add them. And keep asking yourself, what do you want courage for?

It is not just a matter of asking yourself about your courage. You have to act in a courageous way. Here are a few keys items to help you obtain and keep that courage.

1.  At first take small steps in areas that you want to build courage, especially if you have great fears.

2.  Repeat those small steps over and over again.

3.  Slowly begin to take larger steps.

4.  Use plenty of “self-talk” or “positive affirmations” and always be aware of what your internal voice is saying so you can direct it towards your positive courage goals.

5.  Involve allies to help you stay on course.  Be sure to pick those that will fully support your objectives and goals.

7.  Practice confronting your fears and then analyze the reasons for those fears.

One last thought….I just read this line in a novel and thought that it was very profound……”The more you learn, the less you fear.” Arm yourself with knowledge, primarily the knowledge that you can and will face and overcome your fears.