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The Mutual Benefits of Writing

January 23, 2022 by  
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Life can be so very interesting and exciting. It’s amazing to me that such a great source of excitement and energy, as well as fascinating discoveries for my brain, comes from just writing. I’ve found, over the years that I’ve been writing, that my words can affect me as much as they can affect any reader.

Whether it’s a book or my weekly blog, and especially if I’m writing about a subject that I’m not very good at or one that I’m not actively doing, I often find that the writing gets me thinking about it, and I begin changing and improving myself. So, not only do I write about it, writing about it makes me do it as well. I’ve said this many times over the years — whenever I preach or write to others, I am also talking to myself!

Whether it’s reading more, exercising, getting more social, or, actually, pretty much anything, I do more of the helpful things I write about after I write about it. I guess the process of writing about a behavior or habit makes an impression on my brain and that little nudge can make a big, big difference in my life. What the brain is reminded of can really make a huge difference in the lives of so many of us humans, including both good and bad things.

I don’t think most of us fully realize the great power of the brain and how we can direct it to help us accomplish almost anything we want to do in our lives. When we spend time writing about a particular subject, our brains take the hint and push us to do more about it. That is one huge benefit we can get from writing. Whether we write it in a letter to someone or in a journal or diary (or, for me, writing in my weekly blog), we usually come to understand and retain that information as well as having a chance to learn a lot about ourselves.

Wow, having now written about all the good stuff writing can do for me, I’ve decided to do a lot more of it. How about you?

Statistics Are on Your Side

January 16, 2022 by  
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So many things in our lives can be looked at as a matter of statistical probabilities. To me, one of those statistics that people either don’t know about or haven’t really considered is the chance of dying in an airplane. I think this lack of knowledge may be why so many people are afraid to fly to the extent that they rarely or never do. Or if they do fly, it’s not very often and they spend most of the flight scared senseless.

It’s too bad that fear of flying is so common. There is so much of our great world to see and explore. I love visiting new countries and meeting people that are so different from me. I find those differences fascinating. Those experiences are part of why I think this fear of flying is such a crazy thing. It seems like people would want to get over that fear for the chance of having all those wonderful experiences.

The thing is, the statistics about the safety of flying are impressive and should be encouraging. The odds of dying on a commercial airplane are around 1 in 11,000,000. That’s 11 million! In 2019, the chance of your plane having an accident with any fatalities on board was one in 5.58 million flights. Those are very great odds and should take most, if not all, of your flying fears and set them aside. Take those odds and compare them to dying in a car, which was around 1 out of 9000 in 2019. Also consider that, in the United States, there has not been a fatal commercial flight since 2009. That’s how safe flying is these days!

The comfort found in those statistics can also be found in statistics about other things, such as starting and running your own business or investing in more or bigger real estate deals as well as finding great deals. Starting a small business, which most people think is a terribly hard thing to do, has a success rate of 80% after two years and over half will continue to have viable businesses after five years. That’s pretty encouraging, especially if you’re one of those who work hard and work smart! And investing in real estate has long been considered one of the best ways to have a successful financial life.

It’s not a bad idea for all of us to do a bit of research on anything that we fear, especially those things that hold us back from enjoying life or being successful. You can look up statistics on almost anything online.

You not only have great access to statistics on the Internet, but you can also find people who can help encourage you with their success and maybe even give you a leg up on your own. People who have done what you want to do and have been very successful are a wonderful source and can lift your goals, objectives, and success to great heights. My mentors have been a huge part of my success. And finding mentors greatly increases your statistical chances of succeeding and reaching your goals!

Narrow Your Focus

January 9, 2022 by  
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I know I’ve been talking a lot lately about acting on your goals, but there are smart ways to go about that and not so useful ways. So, this week, I wanted to talk about a really important part of taking action that makes the action you take not only more productive but makes it far more likely that you’ll achieve those goals. What I want to talk about is summed up really well in this quote:

Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets. — Nido Qubein

How true. Trying to work on all of your goals at once requires that you split your time and resources among them. That makes it far less likely that you’ll accomplish what you’re after, or at least not to the extent that you might have hoped. But what if you spend all your time and resources on just one goal?

For example, maybe you’d like to be a great at a bunch of sports like tennis, baseball, hockey, and football. Can you imagine trying to work out, learn, practice, and play all four of those sports at the same time? You might be able to do it, but you wouldn’t be great at any one of them. Now, if you picked just one sport and put all your energy and practice time into improving your skills and stamina in it, don’t you think you’d be very good, if not great, at it in a fairly short span of time?

If you have set multiple goals this year, take a step back and choose just one or two to work on for now. Pick the most important or the most urgent. If you choose two, try to pick ones that are in two very different areas of your life. For instance, you can work on jumpstarting a new career while aiming to do some sort of exercise every day. With those goals, you won’t be trying to focus on more than one objective during any one part of your day.

I’m not saying you need to put aside or forget your other goals. You can always work a little here and there on them, preparing for the time when you can give them the focus needed to work on them productively. You just need to keep in mind that you should concentrate on a “limited set of targets” so you have enough energy and enthusiasm to take the action needed and be super successful!

2022: A Year of Action

January 2, 2022 by  
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Here we are again. We have a whole new year in front of us and many of us are making plans, renewing commitments, and generally trying to figure out what we want to accomplish this year. I know I have more than a few things that I’m ready to get to work on!

Regardless of what any of us plan to do, there is one thing we all have in common. We MUST take action, real solid action, for any plan, goal, or dream to become reality.

That first step, the one that shows true action and commitment, is more important than any other step you take because it will be the impetus and motivation for every step afterwards. But don’t fool yourself about what a first step is.

Reading a book, looking stuff up on the internet, or asking your friends’ opinions may feel like first steps, but they are really just part of the planning, and planning is not what actually makes things happen. The first real step occurs when you invest something valuable or take a real risk with your money, time, or ego.

For example:

  • Throwing out all the junk food in your house is a true first step to a better diet.
  • Paying a lawyer to draw up your business organization papers shows a real commitment to starting on your entrepreneurial path.
  • Joining a writer’s group that requires you to write 10 pages a week makes you accountable and shows yourself and other how serious you are about writing that novel.

So, what is that first important, substantial, and invested step you need to take to get your plans rolling? If you’re not sure, take the time to write out what your first steps are. Then ask yourself which of those steps require so kind of personal, time, or financial investment. The ones that do are your first real steps, the ones that will get you truly get you on your way. So, make those your priority.

If you feel like you might still need a little push to take those first substantial steps, or you need some additional inspiration, try reading my book again, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. If you haven’t read it, then definitely get a copy and read it. Then get to work.

Let’s see what wonderful things we can make happen in 2022 by taking action now!

Mindful Aging

December 26, 2021 by  
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Wow, the end of 2021 is already here, just a few more days. Time is such an interesting thing and I find it fascinating that the passage of time seems to change its speed depending on your age and/or things you have planned in your life. When most of us were young, anxious to be old enough to get our driver’s license, time seemed to be moving so very, very slowly. I remember counting down the days until I could get mine. But things do change, especially when you get older.

At my age now, just a little more than 3 months until I hit 78, the years seem to speed up. I can remember, easily, the new year’s celebration I was at last year at my good tennis friend Al Ficker’s house in Kauai. It’s like it was just a couple of months ago. Wow, this year just flew by in a flash.

I am re-reading the great book by Jo Ann Jenkins called Disrupt Aging. I’ve written and talked about her book in previous posts. There are so many good and smart things she says about “really owning your age” and being proud of whatever that age number is. I loved her quote about a woman who said, “No one’s going to deprive me of my age.”

Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org, and author of The Big Shift wrote, “In Disrupt Aging, Jenkins offers the generational call to action we’ve been waiting for—to break free from outmoded ideas about age, to embrace the rich possibilities present in the decades opening up beyond fifty, and to join a growing movement of individuals determined to live lives infused with purpose. Beautifully written, full of humor and inspiration, and powerfully argued, this book offers the definitive map for making the most of the longevity revolution, as individuals and as a nation.”

Jo Ann has so many good thoughts and ideas for our lives as we age, such as:

  • The best life includes contributing to the well-being of others.
  • Try new things and take chances…don’t live in fear of aging.
  • Focus on health, wealth and self. 
  • This is a time to shift from “mindless aging” to mindful living.

If you are retired now, take a hard look at your life and determine your thoughts about aging. How can you age more mindfully? And if you are not retired yet, then it’s a good time to start making plans for what you are going to do when retired. Yes, write it down, make lists, set priorities and write down your future schedule. You’ll be glad you did when you finally retire.

And when you do retire, as well as right now, be sure to strive for always living in the right now moment!

The Responsibility of Knowledge

December 19, 2021 by  
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Here is a very simple thing to think about for our lives as we head into a new year. 2022 is going to be a good one for you, especially anticipate having the best for you, your family, and your friends and then work hard to make it that way.

I just read a great little piece by Carlos Castaneda about what it means to be “a man of knowledge”. I wanted to share it with you, my readers. I did change it a bit to make it a “person” of knowledge as I this applies to all humans, not just men.

A [person] of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what [they] will think when [they have] finished acting… [They] know that [their] life will be over altogether too soon… [they] know, because [they] see that nothing is more important than anything else… Thus a person of knowledge endeavors, and sweats, and puffs, and if one looks at [them, they are] just like any other ordinary [person], except that the folly of life is under control. Nothing being more important than anything else, a [person] of knowledge chooses any act, and acts it out as if it matters to [them. Their] controlled folly makes [them] say that what [they do] matters and makes [them] act as if it did, and yet [they know] that it doesn’t; so when [this person] fulfills [their] acts [they] retreat in peace, and whether [their] acts were good or bad, or worked or didn’t, is in no way any part of [their] concern.

So, what are you doing, or will you be doing, with the knowledge you have? I think that would be a great focus for the new year. Let’s look at our lives and consider the things that we know but aren’t acting on and make it a goal to act on all this great knowledge we have.

Turn Knowledge to Action

December 12, 2021 by  
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In this chaotic world we live in, it’s good to remind ourselves about the importance of keeping our inner chatter positive rather than negative. I’ve talked a lot in the past about our inner voice and how it can really affect our attitude and our success in life, so this is not a new subject for my longtime readers, and maybe not even for some new readers. The question is, however, if you’ve heard about this before, what have you actually done about it? Have you tried to improve your inner voice’s attitude?

As I’ve said before, knowing something is not useful until you actually do something with the knowledge. Years ago, I really got into programming my brain with lots of positive thoughts and affirmations, but then I had this period of 10 or maybe even 20 years where I didn’t do that because I was doing pretty good. It’s not that I didn’t believe in positive self-talk anymore, and I didn’t lose that knowledge, but I did fall out of practice with it, and that made all the difference.

For example, you can’t say you’re a great tennis player no matter how well you know the sport, unless you’re actually out there practicing and playing! Years ago, when I was playing in one of the Huntsman Senior tennis tournaments, I lost in the final round because I had sabotaged myself with lots of negative self-talk. That’s when I really started to think seriously about how much I let my thoughts turn pessimistic, causing me to worry and piling on self-induced stress. I knew it was not helpful. I even knew how to combat it. I had just stopped putting my knowledge into practice.

The great news is that once you get the hang of monitoring your inner voice and you practice enough positive self-talk, you can use that positive reinforcement to change and improve just about any part of your life including losing weight, overcoming addiction, and making more money. When you do, you can stop worrying about the many things that add unnecessary stress to your life and actually live! Try it and I promise you that it will work, especially if you keep practicing.

So, here’s how you put this knowledge to work for you. First, start observing what that inner chatter is saying and, secondly, feed yourself lots of positive thoughts and affirmations, especially when you observe your self-talk going the wrong way. It’s not hard, it just takes turning your knowledge into action and practicing!

Stimulating Passion

December 5, 2021 by  
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Most every human being loves their passion. There are so many ways to go after and build such passions. Some of these come easily and automatically, such as when we were young and everything was new. Those new things made our passions rise. That first day of school, seeing old friends and new, could be a quick and huge hit on the passion button.

In my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, I make the point that, from my experience, passion can start to fade a bit as we age. But, thankfully, passion can be manufactured. All you need to do is put something together in an unusual, better, or at least new-to-you way.

One of the keys to manufacturing passion is to set difficult objectives and work towards them. I clearly remember when I was 27 years old, and I set a goal to make a net worth for myself of $1 MILLION by the time I hit age 30. What a huge turn on that was for me. It raised my passion level big time. I was one year late in hitting that goal, but having that huge and exciting goal really kept me and my passion going.

From about age 25, your brain produces less and less dopamine and serotonin, the hormones that help you feel good and fan the flames of passion. Although a child’s body is awash in these hormones, we need to work on stimulating our system to produce more of these hormones as we age. We can do this by eating the right foods, exercising, and, most importantly, setting the right goals that keep us going after them.

Renewing your passions can really show you what you and your brain can do. It can give you a ton of energy as well as raising the quality of your personal and business life.

One of my biggest passions is travelling. I’m talking about everything from huge international travel, like going around the world on my honeymoon, to just driving through a neighborhood that I’ve never visited. I’ve been to 94 countries and still feel my passion rising just planning a trip to a new place, even if it’s a small country or an old neighborhood.

Passion for living comes and goes. Our big challenge then is to figure out what our passion is, what turns our lights on and gets us excited. When we figure that out, we can do it more and more. And it’s always a good idea to write down our passions and the goals that keep them going so it will stick in your brain, pushing you to do it and to keep doing it.

The Stories They Leave

November 28, 2021 by  
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I met Richard Harvey when we played on the championship basketball team while attending high school in Turkey. We became fast friends back then. However, we went our own ways after moving back to the states. Years later, Richard saw me on TV driving a Mercedes. This was after I had written my book How to Wake up the Financial Genius Inside You. Richard looked me up and called. I was shocked because I’d been looking for Richard for 20 years!

It was odd that we had been out of touch for so long. Richard and I had been inseparable back in high school. However, there were some problems, primarily prejudice. Richard was never allowed inside my house because my dad was Mormon.

Years later, I got to see him again, in person, at my wedding reception. It was a difficult time for Richard. His youngest son, Kyle, had cancer and Richard was in the hospital every day with him. It almost kept him from coming to the reception, but he managed to make it. When he got there, my dad started walking towards him. Richard thought he might be coming over to ask him to leave. Instead, he thanked Richard for coming. Then my dad, having heard about Richard’s son, said he would put Kyle’s name in the Mormon temple where Mormons all over the world will pray for him.

Later, when Richard was back at the hospital with his son, there was a huge commotion in the playroom. A man was passing out teddy bears to the kids. However, when the man saw Richard’s son Kyle, he walked up to him, hugged him, and just held him. Richard learned that the man was the famous singer, Donnie Osmond.

It had only been 3 days since Richard had been told that Mormons were praying for his son when he saw the most famous Mormon embrace him. For Richard, this was a confirmation that Kyle would beat cancer, and he did. A year later, Donnie came back and called Kyle to check on him. Richard didn’t know how the singer got their number, but the two men talked, and Richard told Donnie about how the Mormons were helping him and his son. Donnie was very moved.

It was just about a year ago that Richard passed away. With the recent death of my brother, my friend’s memory has come to the forefront of my mind, and I was reminded of this story. They were similar as well, my brother and Richard. Passionate and determined, they lived life to the fullest and never gave up. I am missing them both, but I still have the memories and all our great stories.

That Natural High

November 21, 2021 by  
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I’ve written about my kid brother Scott a lot in the previous few posts. I was with him the last day of his 75 years, but, wow, were those 75 years packed with adventure, excitement and quite a bit of risk! Danger and risk can certainly bring on a big rush, increasing the heart rate and pumping adrenaline into your system. Some people really love that kind of excitement. My brother Scott was one of those people. He loved that adrenaline rush, and he went about his life looking for more of it.

Scott loved being a cop and enjoyed working the shifts that had the most risk and excitement. He loved going after the bad guy, especially the worst of the bad, like Cameron David Bishop who was on the FBI’s most wanted list. Scott and his partner were brave enough, and aware enough, to bust this big-time crook. Yes, it was a high-risk job, and it was very fortunate that neither Scott nor his partner were injured, but these two brave guys brought the bad guy to justice and enjoyed it.

I’m not a person who likes to take the kind of risks that could cost me my life or where I could end up in the hospital. I guess it’s probably a good thing that some people, like my brother, are out there saving us from the bad guys and the terrible things they do. Of course, I do take some risk when it comes to buying certain properties, but I’ve always done a lot of calculations that showed me the financial risk was not great compared to the possible profit and financial gains.

As I mentioned in the last post, Scott wrote a book not long before he died. His book is entitled Cop Living On the Edge and Scott certainly did that. You can tell in his words that he absolutely loved the excitement, risks, and rewards that came with catching criminals. Bringing in the bad guys was very satisfying, as well as being so very helpful to his community, family, and friends.

It may seem odd that anyone would seek out situations that cause fear, but our brains are pretty complex and amazing. If we are faced with a scary situation, our brains can quickly generate the raw energy we need to deal with it. Fear can stimulate the release of endorphins which act on the opiate receptors in our brain, reducing pain and boosting pleasure, giving us a natural high.

However, taking a big, scary risk is not the only way to raise our energy level or get a natural high. Here’s a short list of other things you can do to boost your energy and mood:

1. Positive thinking

2. Being around great people

3. Being very grateful

4. Reading the right books

5. Living in the now

6. Decluttering the mind

7. Getting outside for a walk

8. Having fun

9. Meditation

10. Trying new things

Go ahead and make your own specific list of things that raise your energy and mood. It’ll give you something to turn to next time you crave a natural high.

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