Pleasure and Production

December 7, 2018 by  
Filed under blog

Last week we talked about Authentic Happiness which is both a concept and the title of the great book written by Martin Seligman. In the book, the author continuously emphasizes how much of our happiness comes from inside our heads.

Most of us humans look at rich and famous people and think that they must be very, very happy and content because of all their fame and wealth. Well, guess what… if you look closely, you will find that many of these people are not particularly happy. I think a big reason is that most people think that once they attain great wealth and/or fame then it will automatically make them happy. Only it doesn’t. Then these folks, finding that their brains are not filled with great thoughts of happiness and contentment, start to wonder why. That doubt causes an internal dialog to start up which can work against them, quickly driving them and their mindset downhill. Also, money and fame don’t hold a candle to the kind of true and deep happiness we get from things like the love we give and receive from family and friends.

Although most of us are not rich and famous, we may still find ourselves falling into similar thought patterns. It is so very easy to let our internal self-talk persuade us that things are not going well which brings us down mentally.

There are lots of methods for overcoming this negative self-talk but one very big one is also a powerful antidote for depression – productive gratification. Striving for gratification is automatic but the way to use it so that it overcomes negativity and depression is through producing something truly meaningful to us and/or to others. What we accomplish when we produce meaningful things sends a powerful, purposeful message to our brains and makes us feel so very satisfied and happy.

Martin makes the very good point that “pleasure is a very powerful source of motivation but it does not produce change.” It also does not produce lasting authentic happiness. A simple example is the difference between the pleasure that we receive from watching a very entertaining television show versus the gratification, genuine happiness, and personal satisfaction that we receive from reading a particularly inspiring or informative book. Think back on how you felt after experiencing these two different activities yourself. The difference in how your attitude and your state of mind will probably be quite apparent.

The author suggests that if we really want true, deep and authentic happiness we should all create a list of activities, goals, and deep desires that produce for us, personally, a sense of gratification. Look for goals and things that you do that seem to make time stop and even has you thinking, “I don’t want this to ever end.”

Yes, it’s true that many pleasures take little or no effort to acquire and that the best kind of gratification takes a lot of work. But so be it. It is so well worth it, and I do think and hope you would agree!


Rewards Beyond Fortune and Fame

August 26, 2016 by  
Filed under blog


When I was young I was so very much into myself.  I craved success, financial and non-financial.  Oh man, how I wanted to be rich and famous! I went after both with great passion and energy. I worked hard and long to reach my goals. They consumed me!  And after many years, it paid off. I made millions and even got my 15 minutes of fame with a segment on Tom Brokaw’s nation wide NBC news show and a front page story in the Wall Street Journal. And yes, I thought I was pretty hot stuff. It was all very satisfying and rewarding.

However, over the years my idea about what is truly rewarding changed. Just 2 weeks ago I received the richest reward I could hope for, one that far exceeds the rewards that I had from fame and fortune. It happened on a little island called Whidbey, just west of Seattle Washington.  I had taken some of my kids and grandkids for a summer vacation and we stayed at an absolutely beautiful multi-acre estate called Quintessa owned by 2 lovely ladies, Tessa and Carrie.

My wonderful and huge reward came when Tessa, after learning my name, told me about how my books, tapes, and periodical, The Financial Freedom Report, was the key that motivated her to buy a number of income properties, including the heavily wooded Quintessa Estate with its ocean view and accommodations for up to 32 people.

Tessa stood there and thanked me so many times it was almost embarrassing. In the last 10 to 15 years, I have received many, many letters, emails, and phone calls with thanks and appreciation from people whose lives have been financially improved, but Tessa’s story and her enthusiasm given to me in person was like getting hit in the face with a brick–a good brick of course!  It brought to my mind, very forcefully, just how much more value and reward there is in helping people, so much more than fortune and fame.

The irony is that back in my younger days I was being very selfish, seeking my own fame and fortune but over time it led to helping many other people which was an unexpected bonus and a wonderful reward. It certainly made me want to work harder to help more people. I found I wanted more of that wonderful feeling, a feeling that surpasses anything I get from fortune and fame.  It took a bit of time to learn that lesson but I don’t think I will ever forget it.

So let’s all try to reach out and help those around us, whether it be family, friends or complete strangers. You may not even know what you have to offer but the rewards for finding out are amazing.

P.S. If you want to stay at the Quintessa estate, it is located at 3493 French Road, Clinton, WA, 98236, or contact them by email at Quintessa is set up in such a way as to help our kids and grandkids do some major bonding which is exactly what happened!


More Notes on Beautiful Uncertainty

December 11, 2015 by  
Filed under blog

As I promised in my last blog here, I have other high points from Pema Chodron’s wonderful book Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change. These super great gems will not only save you time but I really believe they can help most people’s lives in a big way. And maybe it will even motivate you to read her book.

Page 52: One big key that Pema talks about over and over about is “mindfulness”. I need to work on this more in my daily life.

Page 56: “And even when fame is achieved, does it bring the happiness that people anticipate?” Consider how common it is to have wealth and fame but be miserable, like Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis.

Page 72: When one gets to speak or teach, remember to not tune out others; try to pick up on their feelings, etc.

Page 73: Let go of negativity about other people.

Page 72-73: A monk taught Pema to practice saying to herself when waking up, “I wonder what will happen today; that’s the spirit of taking a leap.”

Page 104: Chogyam Trungpa’s comments on ‘enlightenment’. Basically it is when you hear or see or smell something for the first time like you did when you were a child; that’s enlightenment and I do need to pay more attention to those things around me to have more enlightenment, and look deeper to see or experience new stuff.

Page 108: Be fully open to whatever is coming along right now.

Page 111: To know self is to forget the self.

Page 112: To forget self is to be enlightened by all things.

Page 115: Embrace the world as it is.

Page 115: “Peace and prosperity come from how we, the citizens of the world, are working with our minds. By not running from the vicissitudes of life, be fearlessly opening to them all, we have the opportunity not only to change our own life but also to help change the earth.”

Page 133: Pema ends her book by saying “… so I leave you with a question: Are you ready to make a commitment? Is the time right for you to commit to not causing harm, to benefiting others, to embracing the world just as it is? Are you willing to make any–or all–of these commitments for a lifetime or a year or a month or even a day?”

It’s so interesting to me to write these words that I’ve read so many times before and realize that, once again, the review motivates me to work on these great principals to enhance my life. It’s amazing how most of us humans know something and know it well but tend to neglect that knowledge way too quickly. We get distracted and stop doing, thinking and living what we once learned. It tells me one more time to keep reviewing and reviewing and reminding myself. Remember this great quote “To know and not to do is not yet to know.” –Guru Neem Karili Boba

Be Sure To Have Joy In The Journey to Being Rich & Famous

July 11, 2014 by  
Filed under blog

Would you agree with me that most of us at one time or another, especially when we were young, had thoughts that 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 minds 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 a lot easier, but if you think that tons of money and fame will automatically bring you happiness and contentment, you’re dead wrong.  (In fact, speaking of “dead”, I think you will find a higher early death rate and more addictions in the rich and famous than 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 of what 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 dissing money and fame or going after great and lofty financial and glory goals. Those are energizing, lots of fun and can be very satisfying but 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. Nobody’s life is perfect and when you realize that and accept that fact, your satisfaction and contentment can begin to really soar. Trust me on that; I’ve been there and done that and learned it.  I have to remind myself of that on almost a daily basis and concentrate on the big multi-year goals but at the same time “live in the now” and have tons of “joy in the journey”.

After saying all that about what money is not, it doesn’t mean that money is not important. It is and it can do good things for you and your life. So I think next week I am going to talk about how I see the market right now and what you can do about it to make some pretty big financial gains.

Choose Inspriation over Intimidation

August 12, 2011 by  
Filed under blog

Last week I had lunch with 3 very talented authors–Richard Paul Evans, Lynn Lehmann and Keith J. Karren* and we got to talking about why people like meeting celebrities. My theory has been that it makes one feel better about oneself, either because it gives the individual a sense of importance (and maybe some bragging rights) or, like me, they come away realizing these are just ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things.

My companions did not agree though. The dominant opinion was that most people are intimidated by celebrities and they do not come away seeing them as ordinary. So I may be wrong or maybe there are just some people that see pretty much everybody as ordinary while the rest are awed by those who have gained the limelight. But this brings up a question–are our tendencies to be intimidated or inspired intrinsic to our personality or do we choose the way we react to meeting famous people? Because if you have the chance to meet a successful celebrity, don’t you want to get something more out of it than bragging rights?

I’m sure we can choose how to look at fame and being intimidated doesn’t do us any good so I think the obvious choice is to be inspired. Most every time I have met a well-known, prosperous person I become encouraged to do more with my own life. I usually end up setting more and tougher goals for myself. I feel that, in many ways, I’m no different from them, so why can’t I be super successful too?

There is no reason why not. And there is no reason why meeting a famous person can’t be turned into an opportunity to push yourself for bigger and better things.

*Richard Paul Evans has written about 18 books and sold over 17 million copies–his latest book is “Michael Vey- The Prisoner of Cell 25”. Lynn Lehmann’s latest book is “Clear Illusion”. Keith J. Karren’s latest book is “Boomer-Resilience Through Life’s Second Half”

Recognizing You Own Stardom

June 3, 2011 by  
Filed under blog, Chapter 3

Last week we went to a great concert and, using a few connections I had, we got backstage and meet some amazing people, like, well, Bono, as you can see in the picture here. Was I thrilled to meet him? Sure. But meeting that big of a star really isn’t what you might expect.

U2 009

It’s strange that we all kind of feel that if we meet a famous person it will somehow make us more important or more interesting or will somehow change our lives. It really doesn’t do that, except maybe in our own heads. In the end, they are just people, like anyone else you run into.

Knowing that they are just people tends to make you realize that these, essentially, regular human beings could be you. So what is the difference between you and famous people? Some of them were just lucky but more often they were persistent, highly motivated and had a great support system–all things that you can or do have.

So are there really any superstars? Well, yes. You. You are the superstar of your life. What you do, what you accomplish, even what you attempt, are all reasons to be proud and ‘star struck’. Your actions are what will differentiate you and your life, for yourself and the people closest to you, not meeting someone who has reached the kind of success that simply gets them noticed.

If you feel like success has been eluding you though, take a look (or another look) at my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, for some in depth ideas on setting and accomplishing your goals and get to work on your own life of stardom.