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Something New, Near or Far

December 27, 2020 by  
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The human mind is an incredible machine. Our brain can remember tons of facts, experiences, feelings, and more. I find it so very interesting and exciting that, after struggling to remember some situation, name, or fact and giving up, later that day or even the next day, like magic, while I’m not even trying, the answer will suddenly pop into my head. I’m pretty sure you’ve experienced the same phenomena.

Yes, our brains are amazing but they do need to be fed. There is this super great thing we can do for our brains when we are feeling down in the dumps. It’s a simple little thing called “novelty”. Our brains crave novelty! Being exposed to something new and totally different than we’ve ever seen or experienced before does amazing things for our brains.

Today I was very bored and a bit down (Thanks COVID for picking on me and, well, pretty much everybody!) That bad ole virus has kicked our social life in the face and it wiped out the wife’s and my travel plans this year. Nearly every year we fly to Paris and from there go on to visit new countries, seeing so many new sights and faces. We are missing the novelty that we get when we travel to new places and meet new and different people.

With my brain being a bit down, I have certainly had the urge to see something novel lately and a few days ago, I knew that I was going to need that very, very soon. So, I did a very simple thing that didn’t take an airplane or a lot of time. We just jumped in my car and started driving.

I drove to places, neighborhoods, and business districts that I had never seen and it worked! Yes, we found novelty in places nearby. Seeing pretty much anything that is new to your eyes and brain can lift your feelings and attitude. It was only a one-hour drive but, wow, it was a great lift for my brain and mood and it was such a simple thing to do.

In today’s COVID world, and especially around Christmas and New Year times, we need to push ourselves to seek out and find those new sights, sounds, people, and experiences that stimulate our brains. Yes, it may take some thinking and planning but that’s not hard to do.

So, I am going to challenge myself, my family, friends, and, yes, you the reader to look for and find things to see, do, and experience, especially now as we start a new year. Let’s all go do it and make 2021 and great new and exciting year!

A Season for Appreciation

December 20, 2020 by  
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The holidays are upon us. What a great time of the year this is! It’s a season of celebration that usually brings back many special memories of family and friends. To me, though, it’s mostly about giving. Okay, yes, as a kid it was mostly about receiving but that was a very long time ago!

The act of giving returns so many super wonderful feelings in such a big way to the giver, sometimes to the point that the giver can feel guilty for getting so much out of it. I remember one particular experience a while back that gave me a twinge of guilt after I had done a rather small thing.

I was coming out of a mall when I saw two young ladies, probably in their early to mid-20’s, sitting on a little wall taking a break from one of the shops they obviously worked at. As I walked by, I handed each of them a 2-dollar bill saying, “This is for luck. Don’t spend it. Just keep it for luck.” 

I usually give these to kids between 6 and 8 years old and watch their excited reaction and joy. It is one of my favorite giving things to do. But I guess, in this case, since I was struck by the season of giving we are in, I handed these to the young ladies without thinking. Both girls said “Oh, I’m sorry I can’t accept this.”

I replied, “Give it to a kid and watch the big smile on their face.”

Reluctantly they accepted. Then they began to thank me as if I’d given them $100 dollar bills.

As I started to walk away, they asked, “Hey, where are you from?”

I replied, “Oh, I’m from here but I grew up in the Middle East, in the country of Turkey.” And then, of course, I had to lay a little Turkish on them, what little I remembered.

One of the girls surprised me by answering back in Arabic (the two languages have a lot of common words) and then they explained they were from Israel where they’d learned a little Arabic. So, we had something in common.

As I walked toward my car, I began thinking about how their great appreciation for my very small gift made me feel so good. I realized that appreciation is really a gift too and, often, a big and glorious one.

Feeling a little connected to these young ladies and warmed by their great appreciation and friendliness, I got in my car and drove back to where they sat, giving both of them a copy of my latest book.

Wow, talk about receiving a huge gift back! Their appreciative words and genuine feelings absolutely overwhelmed me. You would have thought I’d given them a million dollars. They called me an angel from heaven and thanked me to the point that their appreciation was almost embarrassing.

What did I really take away from this experience though? I realized that the biggest gifts any of us can give are not objects or anything you can put a price tag on, but gifts of love and appreciation. These things, without a doubt, last longer than any gift wrapped present.

At this special time of year let’s all try to give more and return more with our sincere appreciation!!

A Little Charity and a Huge Return

February 23, 2020 by  
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A while back, at Christmas time, I was in Walmart and a single mom in line just in front of me was holding a few extra items as the clerk was will up her bill. She kept asking what the total was as she anxiously clutched the extra possible items she obviously wanted but wasn’t sure she could afford. When she got to $40, she told the clerk that would be all she could pay for and she laid the other items aside.

As she paid for her purchases, I reached over and pushed the items she was leaving behind over to my pile and told the clerk, “I want to buy these items for my new friend.” I made the purchases and handed them to the lady who thanked me over and over again. And so did the clerk!

I walked out of the store feeling on top of the world. You’d think I had given her $1000 cash although it was, in reality, only a $7.50 gift. On the other hand, it felt like a million dollars in satisfaction and warm feelings for me.

Even though I have done this type of thing many times before and for a lot more money, it never fails to feel like a unique and special experience. This last experience felt especially wonderful. Maybe it was that look in her eyes that let me know this truly made a difference for her during the holiday season. She said “Merry Christmas” to me over and over again as she took her 7 year old daughter by the hand, a child who, of course, I had just given a $2 dollar bill to for good luck, something I love to do and try to do almost every day.

I know a whole lot of people who do this same thing. There was a report on the news some time ago about a rash of anonymous people going into Walmarts and paying off layaways for complete strangers, some spending thousands of dollars so they could help multiple families. What I did was not unique, but it might be for some people, maybe even for you, my reader.  So, I’d say if you have never helped a stranger in this way, give it a try and see what a great feeling it gives you as well as the stranger that receives your gift. Try it at least once. I promise you’ll love it!

Be A Big Time List Maker and Lift Your Life

December 22, 2019 by  
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At this time of year, it’s good to make lists, not only shopping lists for Christmas, but to-do lists for items you will get done in the new year.

I’m pretty sure that you, like me, wonder and marvel at how very famous and successful people seem to get so much done in their lives and never seem to stop making more and bigger progress. In just 3 words, they are simply “super productive people”.  How in the world can they accomplish so much? After all, we have just 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week.

Well, I’ll tell you. One of the biggest factors to getting so much done is in the magic power of making, keeping and working off lists.

Take Richard Branson, the British billionaire, for example. He credits his lists of the things he wants to accomplish as the key to his getting so much done. He takes time to go down his list, checking each item as it completed. And, wow, today, his virgin Group of businesses owns about 200 plus different companies. Among these companies are business that specialize in air travel, retail, music, finance, cell phones, internet, hotels, and even a railroad. As you may remember, back in 1999, Branson attempted, and broke, world records in hot air balloon travel and in a transatlantic crossing in a small boat. There are many other celebs that give huge credit to list making – everybody from pop singer Madonna to Barack Obama to Bill Gates!

Why are lists so very powerful? There are many reasons. They allow you to prioritize what you really want to get done, keep you organized, and help you stay focused. For many people, and especially for me, actually writing my lists on paper helps me more clearly remember what are on my lists and pushes me to get stuff done. There is also great mental satisfaction in crossing off those items that I have accomplished. It’s an additional motivator.

There was a study done at the Dominica University in California which found that writing a list down increases the chances of completion of items on that list by 33%. I sure think that extra percentage is worth paying attention and making less a part of your life.

So, if you are not a list maker, I would encourage you to become one. It is a good idea to have big, overall, long-term lists and it’s also very important to break those lists into smaller daily and weekly lists. It is especially helpful for most people to write a daily list out the night before you hit the hay, because as soon as you wake up, you know what that to-do list is telling you to get done and you’ll stay focused and accomplish so much!

Give Big, Live Big

December 14, 2018 by  
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Have you ever noticed that with my blog I am never really trying to sell you a product? Well, I guess I’m selling something, or more accurately I’m trying to give you something and hoping that you’ll snap it up. What I’m “selling” is information and ideas and, hopefully, inspiration and motivation. It’s not that I’m against selling stuff such as books, seminars and, oh yes, an old beat up piece of real estate that I’ve fixed up and increased the price – and value! – substantially. But at this point in my life, I feel so much more like giving rather than selling.  As I’ve said before, “If you want to live big, give big.” And, of course, we are now in that wonderful giving time of year and I think you will agree with me that it feels so very good to give.

What’s amazing about giving is that it can be somewhat selfish. That may sound odd but when I give a lot it makes me feel so very good inside so wanting to feel that good is kind of selfish but in a very positive way. I love to share with others what I’ve learned about making tons of money and expanding the possibilities and experiences of one’s life and most of us need help and assistance to lift up our lives to higher levels. I mean who among us has a perfect life and doesn’t need some motivation and help in at least in at least a couple parts of our lives? Every single person that I’ve ever met that have been super successful, whether it was with money matters, business, sports, family, or love, have been helped by someone. Sometimes it is in person through work, networking, friends, people met at clubs, etc. Sometimes it is more indirect such as the things we learn from someone through books, seminars, or even blogs. We all have others to thank and appreciate.

I certainly have lots of great books, friends, coaches, and leaders who have lifted so many parts of my life. At this juncture of my life, I feel stronger than ever and so it’s time for me to give back – it’s time to pay it forward. I want to be of great help to others and not just through my books and lectures. I love to give my time and money to charities. And no, I am not talking about those huge charities that pay their CEOs or presidents one or $2 million a year. Ugh. I’m pretty sure they could find an equally qualified person that is retired or semi-retired that would do the same job for free or a small salary. It’s just not going to be me.

So, in the spirit of the season, I’d like to challenge you, my readers, to give, give, give! And, yes, even though it feels a bit selfish, you will see, as I’m sure you have in the past, that when you give BIG, you really do begin to live BIG!

Of Family, Friendship, and Love

December 23, 2017 by  
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I want to give you a HUGE Merry Christmas wish and thank you so very much for being you. I do sincerely appreciate the great opportunity you have given me to share my thoughts with you, my reader, and do honestly wish and hope that my ideas and advice helps your life and those around you. What would this world be if it wasn’t for great friends and family? At this time of year those people can, and should be, even more important to all of us.

What would your world and your life be like if you had a billion dollars but not a single friend or any family? I’m not saying money is not at all important but it’s almost completely worthless without people around you that you dearly love and that love you just as much.

So, at this very special time of year, let’s all go out of our way to give tons of love and appreciation to our family and loved ones and while we are at it, why not seek out more friends and push for deeper relationships with our current friends. Don’t you agree that it would be so worthwhile to do so? Okay … so, let’s all go out and do it!

P.S. In last week’s blog I said I’d write about how the right foods, vitamins, and exercise can boost your feel-good brain chemicals. And I will but I thought that could wait until after Christmas. So, we’ll see you next week.

A Passion for Your Goals

December 16, 2017 by  
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As we are quickly coming to the end of this year, and with the New Year just a couple weeks away, most of us are thinking not only about the holidays but all the shopping that we must do. I know most guys really don’t enjoy that part of the holidays but thank heaven for women! They do generally have a passion for shopping. But why are they so passionate about it while men aren’t? It really comes down to how we go about it. The people who like shopping aren’t just buying gifts, they are out to find the greatest stuff and to get the best bargains on them. It’s a challenge and an adventure. The rest of us just want to find something that will fill the bill and be done with it. So that’s the thing—when you have a passion for your particular goal and for how you reach it, it makes it much easier, and much more fun, to accomplish.

This is true for any goal, but not only do you need passion, you need the goal to be attainable or you may lose that passion. The thing is, if you set goals and objectives that are so big as to make it impossible to achieve, even by taking lots of baby steps, it can lead to a huge disappointment which can kill your passion. At that point, it can become very easy to beat yourself up and may eventually make you want to give up on goal setting itself. In other words, setting goals that are challenging but that you can achieve can help keep up your passion. Setting unattainable goals, on the other hand, can do major damage to your passion factor.

Passion is a very interesting feeling that is so very important in life and living but it can be an elusive pursuit. As people age, they have flashes of passion here and there and then they lose it and they don’t know why.  Unfortunately, there are physical reasons that passion starts to decline that make it hard to keep those fires going. From about age 25 or 30 your brain begins to produce less and less dopamine and serotonin–the hormones that make you feel good. A child’s body is awash in these hormones. There are things that stimulate and produce these hormones in young people that our aging bodies are missing.

The good news is, setting and reaching realistic goals can help the brain increase those important brain chemicals. Another helpful factor is eating the right foods and exercising, both of which will help restore those dopamine and serotonin levels. In the next week or two, I will talk more about what foods are best to eat that restore those 2 brain chemicals.

So, if you are like me, you will be thinking more and more about what next year will bring and what you want to accomplish in 2018.  Go big but with a touch of caution as you set your goals for the new year so that you’ll still have plenty of passion for each new dream you come up with.

 

Avoiding Those Holidays Traps

November 18, 2017 by  
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Next week is Thanksgiving. Soon after that there’s Christmas and then New Years. It’s that dreaded holiday time when we are faced with many temptations that make it hard to stick to our goals, especially healthy diets. It doesn’t take much to regain that hard-won weight loss or bring your health down and it can be infinitely harder to get back to where you want to be.

So, for the next few weeks I thought I’d focus on healthy eating in this time of endless traps. Staying healthy is important for you to keep up your energy and motivation which you need to accomplish all the great things you have planned.

Although you don’t want to let a bit too much pumpkin pie spoil things for you, staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. In fact, you should go out there and celebrate with gusto. Just be discerning about what and how much you eat or drink. To do so, just follow a few simple rules:

  • Go ahead and enjoy a small cupcake or one sugar cookie during festivities but stop at that. It’s not the sweets that are the problem as much as eating too many of them.
  • Eat slowly and savor the occasional treat you do have. Eating slowly will delay having to fight the temptation to have seconds and, hopefully, when you are done with it, you will feel satisfied enough not to feel.
  • Keep healthy snacks close at hand. Grab some apple slices or crunchy veggies when you have the overwhelming temptation to gobble up a whole plate of cookies.
  • Don’t fall into the “I’ve already been bad so it won’t matter if I keep eating too much of the wrong stuff” mentality and overindulge. Likewise, don’t brush off unhealthy eating by telling yourself you’ll do better after the holidays. Let yourself have the occasional treat then get back to your healthy diet.
  • At parties, stay active to keep your metabolism up and your mind off the food. Dance, participate in all the games, wander the room, and mingle.
  • Keep away from the food tables at parties. Move conversations to foodless corners of the place.
  • Keep your eye on the big picture. Review your goals and what you want out of your life daily so it’s at the forefront of your mind when the cookies get passed around the office.

You can also read more about the importance of health and great things you can do to improve it in Chapter Ten of my book, How To Ignite Your Passion for Living.

I’ll be talking about more helpful ideas for this time of year so to ensure you get my posts, sign up on this page here. If you find these posts really helpful, you might share this blog with your friends and family who can also sign up on the page I linked.

A Million Dollar Feeling

November 12, 2017 by  
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As we are quickly approaching the holiday season of celebration and of giving I couldn’t help but remember when, several years ago, just before Christmas, I was at Walmart and a single mom, who looked down on her luck, was in line just in front of me.  She was holding a few items as the clerk added up the bill. She kept asking what the total was as she anxiously clutched onto other items saying she only had $40.  As she paid for her purchases, I reached over and pushed the items she was leaving behind over to my pile and said to the clerk, “I want to buy these items for my new friend.”

I bought them and handed them to her and, wow, … she, very emotionally, thanked me over and over again.  And so did the clerk! I walked out of the store feeling on top of the world. You’d think I had given her a thousand dollars but in reality, it was only a $7.49 gift. On the other hand, it felt like I’d gotten a million dollars in satisfaction and warm feelings.

Another one of my favorite things to do is to give kids a $2-dollar bill and tell them it’s for good luck. Usually when the parent of the kid thanks me, I say, “Hey, I’m an investor and the $2 investment just gave me a thousand-dollar smile, and I think that is a super return on my investment!” And it is absolutely true!

That day at Walmart, that woman I helped wished me a “Merry Christmas” multiple times as she took her 7-year-old daughter by the hand who, of course, had a $2 bill in her other hand. From time to time, I’ve done the same thing I did at Walmart in grocery stores and at gas stations. Like the lady at Walmart, the look in these people’s eyes let me know that this small thing truly made a difference for them, not because of the dollar amount but because a complete stranger cared enough to help.

What I did was certainly not unique, as I know of many people that help strangers and know the great feeling both parties receive. But I thought, as we approach the giving season, that I would suggest to my readers, whether you’ve done this kind of thing or not, to give it a try this season. If you haven’t done this before, you might be very surprised at the great feeling that it gives you and as well as the stranger that received your gift. Try it and I promise you will love it!

 

I’ve been getting such great comments and feedback on my blogs since I began emailing it in addition to posting it at www.ignitemylifenow.com

 

The Giving and Sharing Season

December 23, 2016 by  
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Before we get to talking about financial goals and money as I promised you last week, let’s talk about giving first. We can all give more and next week’s blog will help you finance all that you give.

Christmas is upon us and it’s the very best of seasons if we all get into the giving and sharing. There is something about giving to others that makes you feel so good and warms the soul. Most of us start by giving to our loved ones–our kids, grandkids, and spouse or significant other. The gifts don’t have to be gigantic but giving big gifts and a lot of them certainly doesn’t hurt the receiver or the giver. But don’t stop giving at just the family level. Think about your friends, even ones that you haven’t seen or heard from in years. It’s also great to give to strangers that are in need.

I’ve loved giving lots and lots of small gift to kids, not just at Christmas time but all the year round. As many of you know I love to order up $2 bills from the bank and give them at random to kids (although only when they are with a parent. I don’t want anyone to think I’m a creep.) It’s quite funny that the parent many times says, “Oh, those are so rare,” and yet anyone can get them from a bank. The kid and the parent are usually very surprised and delighted and thank me up and down with huge smiles on their faces.

I order 100 of the $2 bills at a time and have given away thousands. But the amazing thing is that as happy and delighted as the parents and kids are, I am even more stoked and happy than them. I usually tell the parent, “I think I’m being kinda of selfish because I get more pleasure, satisfaction, and joy from giving than the kids get in receiving.” I usually add the comment, “Plus, look, I invest $2 and I get back a $1000 dollar smile. I think that is a fantastic return on my investment!” So, I guess that giving can be a bit selfish but then again everyone seems to benefit from this kind of giving. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, giving for the benefit of everyone?

So be more driven this year and give more and more for everyone’s benefit. And don’t forget that giving can be more than gifts and money–give love, give warmth, give complements … just give more of yourself.

 

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