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Quality Living is in the Moment

July 18, 2021 by  
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With age, and the experience of achieving great success, it has become glaringly clear that wealth, power, status, fame, possessions, etc. do not, by themselves, add anything significant to the actual quality of our lives. Yes, I find having wealth is nice and allows me to do many wonderful things like travel a great deal. I do thoroughly enjoy many of my physical possessions, like my house and all the bits and pieces my wife has brought in to make it a home. These things, however, are not how I measure how well I live.

Most of what makes a life worth living cannot be bought or collected. They can only be found in the experiences you have, what you give to others, what you accept, and how you choose to look at the world. It’s those many small steps that make up the journey that determine the true importance of the destination, not the destination itself.

If your ‘destination’ is great wealth, gaining that wealth will only be important if you’ve lived well, struggled often, and celebrated your small successes along the way. This is why lottery winners almost always end up unhappy. There is no journey, no sense of success, and no memories that make up the path to their wealth. The money just becomes a condition of their life, not something that engages their sense of personal achievement.

This idea brings together much of what I’ve been talking about these past few weeks — that your quality of life is made up of what you experience in the great right now. You want to live in the moment and choose to be happy or your life will be made of many disappointing moments, making the whole of your life disappointing as well.

Also, don’t forget to look for joy in the wonderful act of giving to others. Generous, kind acts will infuse your life with the kind of treasures that you could never buy or fabricate — they can only be given. When you give, you’ll often find that even more is given back to you.

Go ahead. Go for the wealth and the status and whatever else you dream of. Just remember to live a quality life along the way, and keep up your passion for living, not just for the future life you’re after.

Beautiful Mindfulness

July 11, 2021 by  
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Recently, I re-read Pema Chödrön’s great book, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change. It got me thinking again about the human mind and how our thinking can be super helpful or just terrible for us.

It’s so very, very important that we try to “live in the now” as much as we can. It’s not easy but we do need to keep working at it because it really can lift our life and happiness.

In last week’s blog, I talked about meditation and how important and helpful it can be for our lives. Pema says in Living Beautifully that, “Meditation is one form of mindfulness, but mindfulness is called by many names: attentiveness, nowness, and presence are just a few. Essentially, mindfulness means wakefulness–fully present wakefulness.”

I totally agree with her.

She goes on to say that, “The specific details of our lives will, of course, differ, but for all of us, wakefulness concerns everything from how we make dinner to how we speak to one another to how we take care of our clothes, our floors, our forks and spoons. Just with other aspects of this commitment, we’re either present when putting on our sweater or tying our shoes or brushing our teeth, or we’re not. We’re either awake or asleep, conscious or distracted.”

Later she says, in reference to creating a comfortable life that this, “means setting up your life so that you have time for meditation and self-reflection, for kindhearted, compassionate self-honesty”. Those things and thoughts are so very important to our happiness. We all need to put a lot of effort into really living in the present moment. Doing that can lift our mood and our life tremendously.

To help me with this, I’ve made a list of what I call My 10 Natural Mood Boosters:

1. Get into a routine

2. Set goals

3. Exercise

4. Eat healthy

5. Get enough sleep

6. Take on responsibilities

7. Challenge negative thoughts

8. Take good supplements

9. Do something new

10. Try to have fun

I’d like to add one extra thing that has always worked for me when I am feeling down. It’s so simple — just go outside and take a walk to anywhere, although a place that’s new for you is best. And yes, it’s very important to live in the now as much as you can—you will be glad and much happier if you do this as often as possible!

Lift Your Life — Focus on the Present

July 4, 2021 by  
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One of the best ways to increase happiness in your life, and therefore maintain and lift your passion, is to stay in the present.

This can be challenging for most of us, if not all of us, when things are stressful. Most of the time we are worried about the past or the future and not really paying attention to what is happening right now, so we miss life as it is happening. That can make it tough to live passionately in that “right now” time and place.

Living this way takes practice. You have to train your brain to live in the moment. It’s something I’ve worked to achieve all my life. It is easier now than when I started, but it still takes a concerted effort. It is, however, more than worth it.

As you learn how to redirect your thoughts and focus on the present, it’s important not to be hard on yourself. (Take a look at my previous blog where I talk about good ole USA—not the country but “Unconditional Self-Acceptance”!) Just keep working at it and when you get cut off, when your mind wanders, take the time to steer your thoughts and yourself back to the present.

Yoga and/or meditation are ways that we all can practice keeping our focus on the present moment, making us happier and more content. Yoga and meditation are way underrated in this country. They can be such great tools and you don’t need to go to a gym or studio to do either.

For instance, you can do yoga at home with tools such as the Yoga for Beginners with Patricia Walden DVD or through videos found on websites such as Yoga with Adriene. There are also many websites designed to help coach you and I on the best ways to meditate, such as Mindful.org. Even just 10 minutes a day on either of these can make an enormous difference in your life.

Keep practicing and you will lift your life and get better at it the more you do it. You’ll be amazed at how much spending even just 10 minutes a day focusing on the present can increase your life and happiness factor. It’s the real deal!

The Joy in the Journey

June 27, 2021 by  
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Would you agree that most of us, at one time or another, especially when we were young, had thoughts of being rich and or famous? And maybe those thoughts were followed by, “If I was rich and famous, my life would be perfect or darn near perfect!”

If you were at all like me, you certainly had those thoughts. Most people I’ve talked with over the years had those thoughts run through their mind at some point. But I’m here to tell you that a near-perfect life does not necessarily follow fame or wealth.

Yes, wealth can make a lot of things in your life an easier, but if you think that tons of money and fame will automatically bring you happiness and contentment, you’re dead wrong. In fact, I think you will find a higher early death rate and more addiction in the rich and famous than in the middle class. That is saying something about how imperfect a life with wealth and fame can be.

Riches and fame can give you a lot more choices, but you do need to be extremely careful with the choices you make. For example, gifting your wealth to charitable causes can bring far greater and longer lasting satisfaction than feeding a cocaine or alcohol addiction with all that money.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that money and fame, or going after great and lofty financial glory, are not worthy goals. Those are energizing, lots of fun, and can be very satisfying. Just be sure you enjoy each hour and day of your pursuit and be aware that whatever the end results of your journey, it won’t make your life perfect.

The thing is, nobody’s life is perfect and when you realize that and accept that fact, your satisfaction and contentment can really begin to soar. Trust me on that. I’ve been there, done that, and learned it. I have to remind myself that life is never perfect on an almost daily basis, pushing myself to concentrate on the big multi-year goals while, at the same time, remembering to “live in the now” and have tons of joy while on the journey.

Money can do great things for you, your family, and your life, but it is simply not everything. It is not the key to a happy, fulfilled life. Look beyond the wealth to what you can do to make things better for others as well as exploring and enjoying life. You don’t want your life to just be about making money. You want it to be about what that money can do for you and others. That’s where you will find the joy.

Unconditional Self-Acceptance

June 20, 2021 by  
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I do a lot of self-talk, as I’ve said before, saying all kinds of positive things to myself. I use things like, “I’m happy and healthy,” “I am very upbeat and positive,” and many more.

You probably know that self-talk can lift the brain to greater heights, so you can imagine how happy I was when, just last week, I came across another great thing to say to myself every day, several times a day.

It was something that a wise coach and counselor from years back said to me. He had asked if I had ever heard of USA.

Of course, I said, “Yes, we all live here, right?”

“No, not that USA,“ he said.

As it turned out, he was talking about it being the abbreviation for “Unconditional Self-Acceptance”. Remembering this, I thought, wow, I like that saying and thought.

So, last week, I started reminding myself of the concept of unconditional self-acceptance. I repeated the phrase many times each day and, yes, it lifted my spirits and confidence in myself. It’s so simple but so effective.

The thing is, when you totally accept who you are and accept what you have done so far in your life, your life feels better and, yes, it builds up your confidence. And while you’re accepting yourself and your life in a more positive way, you can start accepting your friends and even people you don’t like for who they are and the good that they’ve done in their lives. This acceptance of others, as well as yourself, will lift your spirits and happiness factor.

Looking back at the famous and super successful people that I’ve met, like the Dalai Lama, Joe Biden, other past presidents, and other accomplished people, it almost always strikes me that they seem to believe in themselves immensely, even when they failed at different things or at different stages in their lives. Yes, they all seemed to believe in “Unconditional Self-Acceptance”.

I will certainly stick with that saying. It’s already making a difference. Maybe you should consider saying that to yourself and see if it makes a difference in how you think about yourself and your world too.

A Winning Legacy

June 6, 2021 by  
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I’m pretty sure virtually all humans understand and appreciate how important it is to have friends, especially good ones and maybe lots of them. However, it’s so terrible and sad when one of them dies.

I was very shocked and saddened when, a few days ago, I heard that my good friend Mark Eaton had suddenly died. He was a great guy, very smart, and a very famous and talented superstar basketball player. He was also very nice, super friendly, and always looking to help other people.

Mark was also a brilliant writer. He wrote a wonderful book entitled The Four Commitments of a Winning Team. You really ought to get his book and read it cover to cover. Here’s a quick summary of the Four Commitments:

1. Know your job

2. Do what you’re asked to do

3. Make people look good

4. Protect others

What is amazing about his story is that even though he was a giant at 7’4” tall, he didn’t want to play basketball. He actually worked as an auto mechanic. He didn’t have any interest in basketball and resisted many attempts by coaches and others to talk him in to playing.

Finally, he was persuaded to take up the sport and, man oh man, did he ever become a superstar player. He broke several MBA records while playing for the Utah Jazz. Quoting from the inside flap of his book, “As a starting center for the Utah Jazz for over 10 years, Mark Eaton experienced the transformation of his team from cellar dweller to one with an extraordinary 20 consecutive playoff appearances.” 

What surprised me the most about the recent news is that Mark was in such great physical shape. He worked out regularly and was very sharp and smart. He was only 64. To me that’s very young since I’m 13 years older than that and I’m pretty sure he exercised more than I do.

How very sad to lose a great friend and great human being. His death certainly brought back the heart-breaking memories of my daughter, Kristin, who died at the young age of 16.

My wife and I headed for his ranch the day after he passed to comfort his wife and their children. We will all miss Mark very much! Please keep their family in your heart and thoughts.

Keys to Wealth Building

May 30, 2021 by  
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Most of us want to build our wealth and I have been very fortunate and quite successful in that regard. Friends as well as strangers have asked me many times about the secrets to my success. I wouldn’t call all my methods secrets but I guess if you don’t know them, then they are secrets to you.

So, here’s a few of those so-called secrets that have helped me a ton:

1. Read good books about finance, then think about what you’ve learned, and find someone who has been successfully building wealth to discuss your ideas with.

2. Record your thoughts in a journal as you read. This will help you retain knowledge.

3. Write down your goals along with the time frames for reaching them. As you probably know, writing goals with time frames drives your brain and body to follow through and do it.

I love this quote: “Always have two books—one to read from and one to write in.”

Let me explain a bit more about the first point—the part about finding people that are good at what you want to learn. All my life I’ve looked for mentors—those people that are good at what I wanted to learn and do.

The famous billionaire Warren Buffett said, “I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own, and that, if practiced, will become habit forming.”

I was very fortunate to meet Larry Rosenberg, a very, very rich man, and he was kind enough to mentor me. He not only referred me to the best books to read to lead a person to huge wealth, he also spent lots of time with me over lunches. He gave me great advice, hints, and direction concerning where to look for the best properties and what to do to fix them up to greatly increase value and then sell them. Wow. His advice sure worked wonders for me.

If you want great wealth, or more wealth, start digging. Read the right books and research who you should get to know. Find the right super successful, wealthy people and asked them to mentor you! Yep, if you want it, go do it.

Investing, Writing, and Being Grateful

May 23, 2021 by  
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Like I said in my previous blog, money has not been the best reward that I’ve received over the years. The best reward has come from helping people and it’s fantastic when they take time to give thanks and tell me how very grateful they are for helping them. That makes me feel great.

A few days ago, I received a wonderful letter from Jay P. DeCima, also known as “Fixer Jay”. I want to share some of his words with you. He begins with, “Hi Mark; I hope you are well.” I was well and his letter made me feel even better!

He went on to say, “You may or may not remember me. I’m a real estate guy. I participated at several of your real estate seminars and conventions during the mid-1980’s. I was a speaker at your week-long seminar at your Salt Lake City home. William Nickerson was my long-time friend and mentor.

“What triggered this letter was a re-listening to the tapes you and Bill Nickerson recorded with Dick Hamilton as the moderator. The tapes were recorded in 1987 sometime before CD’s replaced cassettes. Recordings were made at Bill Nickerson’s beachfront home in Aptos, Monterey Bay, near Santa Cruz, California. Mark, I’m not exactly sure about your age, but your web page shows you graduated from Ames High School in 1962. I graduated from Shasta Union High School, Redding, California in 1952 and I’m one month shy of 87 years old.

“After listening to the tapes, something you said stuck in my mind (what’s left). At 87 years old I’m lucky to remember even playing the tapes! You said, without any fanfare or hesitation, that you planned on living 101 more years until you reached the age of 144. I must say, that’s quite a plan! Nickerson guessed 100 years. If you wish, we could call that a mulligan or I’m totally agreeable with giving you a ‘do over’. But given the water that’s passed under the bridge, are you still sticking by the same estimate? Forgive me, Mark, I just had to ask.

“Your website shows you’ve written a new book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Congratulations. I have oodles of passion, I just can’t tell for how long! I’ll order a copy. Perhaps it will shed some light on this longevity issue.”

 (By the way, I sent him a copy before he could order it.)

“I too have taken up the pen in my twilight years. I write real estate how-to-books. I’ve written six books. Three are self-published. My titles can be viewed on Amazon under the author’s name Jay P. DeCima (aka) known as Fixer Jay.”

(Note to readers: I too started by self-publishing since it can be so hard to get a publisher. After you have self-published a book or two, however, that gets their attention and then they are more agreeable to publish your books for you.)

“Both investing and writing have worked well for me. I had 300 screaming tenants at my high-water mark. I stayed so long I even miss the tenants. Senile perhaps might offer a better explanation. Mark, I’d love to hear from you sometime. We can talk about real estate, book publishing or even aging. Your choice—I’m open.”

So, I called Jay today and had a wonderful, long conversation with him. What a terrific guy! Managing Tenants & Toilets is one of his book. What a great title! You can order it by calling toll-free 1-800-722-2550 or send a fax to 1-530-223-2834.

Better Brain, Better Life

May 16, 2021 by  
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Two weeks ago, I wrote about the human brain and its huge power. The more research I do on the human brain, the more impressed I am about its amazing powers, which are greater than most people realize.

When I look back in time, I am so surprised how recently our human brains invented the automobile, TV, radio, airplanes, rocket ships, submarines, and the many amazing medical breakthroughs. Airplanes were invented in 1903, television as recent as 1927, and the cell phone first came about in 1973.

When I realize that I’ve been on this planet for 77 years, and that those inventions and discoveries occurred mostly in the last century while the earth has been here many millions of years… It’s just remarkable how much we’ve done in such a small amount of time! I can’t even imagine what breakthroughs and inventions we will see in the next 20 or 30 years.

Brains are amazing and they can do a lot more than we fully realize. I was blown away by what scientist were able to teach monkeys to do. They actually taught two monkeys to move an avatar hand by just using their brain. That seems impossible to me, but if a monkey can do that, our brains should be able to do even more very extraordinary things.

Incredibly, our brains also have the power to heal certain diseases by thinking and repeating certain thoughts. Our brains can make us happy or depressed depending on what thoughts we run through our grey matter. It can bolster our immune system and help us heal faster from various medical problems and, yes, it can even make us feel younger as well as stave off the effects of dementia. It can make us feel more relaxed, happier, and increase our social well-being as well as our very lifespan.

So, my challenge to myself and to you is to work hard on making our brains work for us. Let’s get our brains working on giving us a better life and talking our brains into giving us greater inner happiness. But how can we program our brains to do this? Use positive self-talk to change your brain.

Here are a few of my favorite self-talk lines:

1.  I am happy and healthy.

2.  I’m very upbeat and positive.

3.  I love my life. I love my wife.

4.  I have many great friends.

5.  I feel like a healthy 40-year-old with great energy, not a 77-year-old!

Now, let’s all work on and use good, mind-lifting self-talk comments to teach our brains to take care of our bodies and lift our life.

The Power of Gratitude

May 9, 2021 by  
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It looks like we are slowly getting this COVID thing fixed, or at least we are making some progress. I must admit, I’m a pretty lucky guy. Not only did all my family make it through with no super serious problems, but there were some great rewards and big payments that lifted my brain and heart.

There is one type of big payment that comes to me constantly that I am so very grateful for. And no, I’m not talking about financial payments but something much more rewarding and pleasing, something that lifts my brain to a higher level. I’m talking about the messages of gratitude that so many of my blog and book readers send to me because the things I shared in my writing helped their lives.

There’s not a lot of things more rewarding in this life than gratitude and love from friends, family, and followers. I just received a great letter from a guy who calls himself Fixer Jay DeCima who thanked me for helping him. He writes books and training programs on profiting in real estate. You can find them at www.fixerjay.com. Also, there is the super billionaire, Dell Loy Hansen, that gives me credit for him making a fortune. His letter crediting me is in the front of the latest edition of my book, The Next Step to… Waking up the Financial Genius inside You.

These notes of thanks and words of gratitude come in randomly and, yep, they certainly lift my mind, body, and soul. There is almost nothing like that feeling in the world, and it’s so much more important than money. If you have experienced helping other people and then receiving thanks and gratitude from them, you know what I mean.

Also, this darn COVID thing has taught me a lot of lessons about the power and mind lifting benefit of being social and, especially, giving your friends and loved ones big hugs. Our social life and these experiences with gratitude and love drive, in a good way, our existence here on planet earth.

Now I’m not one to say that I know what happens to us after we die. I don’t know whether there is a next life or if we will live again with family and friends, but I do know that only a fool wouldn’t at least hope for that. So, my challenge to myself, and you, is that we take more time to express our gratitude and appreciation for other people and remember that these things are so important for a happy and fulfilling life on this planet earth.

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