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Travel: A Needed Boost

September 11, 2022 by  
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I’ve said this before, mostly because it is so very true — traveling lifts the mind and spirit! Right now, we are in Vienna after traveling a couple of nights ago from the Slovak Republic. Before that we had been in Budapest. Just wow, wow, wow! Talk about lifting one’s spirit. Our trip is doing that for me big time!

Even after all that flying around, we still have two more countries to visit — Austria and Germany. I’ve been to these countries before and just love the culture and the variety of people, buildings, and landscape we encounter along the way. I’ve now been to 94 countries and loved all of them.

You may wonder why I travel so much and why I’ve been to so many countries. Well, for one, I really love it. The reason for that, and another reason that I keep doing it, is because our minds really crave new and different things. There are a lot of ways to introduce novelty in your life, but going to new places and meeting new people is one of the best.

All this travel makes me want to do more and more things with my life and it is so mind expanding. Sometimes I take my kids and grandkids. They love all the new experiences and I get even more out of it because I get to share it with them.

Now, we have been to Europe many times, so maybe it doesn’t sound like such a new experience. However, this time was quite different for us, and I think I like it even better. Why? Because this time we took a cruise ship called the Viking. They do so much for their passengers. They arrange all the land tours at the various stops, and they serve a great food and drinks. They are also always there to answer any questions that passengers may have.

Having the cruise staff take care of all the details really took the pressure off our minds and reduced the stress on our bodies. If you haven’t taken a cruise, you might want to look into the cruise lines available and all the places they travel. Yes, we will sure do this cruise thing again and again.

Whether you choose to take a cruise ship, a plane ride, or a road trip, I highly recommend that you do more traveling, especially now that we can travel so much more than we had been in the past couple of years. It’ll be good for your mind and your spirit.

The Great Gratitude List

August 28, 2022 by  
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Although I’ve had a few small health challenges of late, I’ve been feeling a bit better and even more healthy in some ways. I was also grateful that I had not gotten COVID but, oops, it finally caught me! Ouch. Talk about feeling strong and healthy and then suddenly losing all of it and feeling ten times as terrible or even more!

COVID sure got its revenge, but I am finally feeling much better. My terrible experience of feeling so sick struck me hard and made me realize more fully how much good stuff we really have in our lives. I’ve been reminded of just how much we tend to take for granted, at least until we lose some of that great stuff. It’s not just health we take for granted, but happiness and our great friends and family as well. Not many people, including myself, take time to think about these things, maybe taking even less time to count them or make a list of all the wonderful things in our lives so we can really appreciate how much we have. But when things turn bad, and the things we just assume will be there each day aren’t there, that’s when we finally come to truly understand what they mean in our lives. However, it really shouldn’t be just at those times that we realize that.

It’s no surprise that my recent fight with COVID had me thinking about how much I have to be super grateful for. It led me to the idea of listing all the things I am grateful for right now, with a goal to add to that list over time. Of course, I’ll need to include reviewing that list when I’m feeling poorly, am hard on myself, or when my thoughts or actions are bringing my mind and attitude down.

I think that last part is particularly important. Reviewing these kinds of lists can really help the human mind focus and see the positive in our daily lives and beyond. And I do think I have one of those human minds that can use that kind of help. Okay, maybe sometimes my wife doesn’t think my mind is very human!

Sorry! I was just kidding about my wife. She is always so supportive and a really great person. She is one of the things I am super grateful for and I never want to forget that, not even for a moment.

I’m not alone wishing I was more grateful more often for all the many wonderful things I have, am I? If you’re like me, why don’t you give a “Gratitude List” a try. See if it doesn’t help you focus and appreciate all the great things your life has in it!

Contentment is in the Right Now

July 24, 2022 by  
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There are so many things in our lives that we view as priorities — many, many things. There are obvious ones like getting an education, finding a good job, staying in good health, and taking care of the ones you love, including parents, siblings, your spouse, kids, grandkids, and friends. And you want to be sure you have time and energy to pursue the things you love in life as well.

All those things are so important and critical to a good life and even a great life. But many of those items can be thrown off track if we lack contentment and satisfaction. And, I think, there’s one big thing that gives us great contentment — living in the “right now”.

Of course, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for us to always “live in the now”. Our busy lives distract us, causing us to worry and contemplate what’s coming next. But, I think, our greatest contentment and satisfaction comes from living in the now, so it’s important to make that a priority, too. Luckily, there are easy ways to help us spend more of our mind time living in those right now moments.

  • On a regular basis, ask yourself, “Am I at ease at this moment and living in the now?”
  • Visit the future but don’t stay there. Keep coming back to the right now.
  • Visit the past but don’t bring back any regret or guilt.
  • Make a habit of monitoring your mental and emotional state through self-observation.
  • When you are stressed, stop, pause, take a big deep breath and count in your mind. That’s right. Just count numbers. You can start at 1 and count to 500 or start at 100 or 500 and work backwards. Then refocus on living in the now.
  • Buddha said, “The root of suffering is found in our constant wanting and craving…” so let’s all work at reducing our wanting and craving so aren’t as anxious and can be more present.

Of course, living in the now should be a priority, but you also want to prioritize those things that require planning. The question is, how do you stay in the moment while planning, dreaming, goal setting, and doing all those things that help you get what you want out of life?

Well, you can go ahead and set future plans, dreams and goals, but once they are determined, write them down. That way, when you don’t need them, you can physically set them aside until you want to work on them or need reminders to keep focused. So, as you see, it’s not that you can’t think about the past or the future, but rather that you need to be aware of how much you do think about things that are not part of the moment you are living right now.

Awareness of what your mind is doing is a big part of living in the right now moment. When you are aware of what your mind is doing, you can steer it back to the right now after you give yourself the time to plan future things or momentarily ponder the past. Once you have, try to become totally absorbed in what you are doing, thinking, or being right now and enjoy the contentment that comes with it.

Surprising Reminders

June 5, 2022 by  
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It had been quite a few days since I’d been to my office, but when I went in recently, I was surprised to find 3 books on my desk from years ago, all signed by the authors. I took them home with me to refresh my memory as to why they were out.

The book that really caught my attention was Leadership Fitness by Homer Rice, so I re-read parts of this great book. I didn’t remember Rice from past years, although I’m pretty sure I did meet him. I was, however, very pleased to see that the foreword was written by my very good friend Paul J. Meyer. Paul was a very smart guy who made a fortune and became my hero and mentor. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago.

Paul really liked Rice’s book. He made this statement about it: “Homer identified, from his comprehensive reading, the significant elements of success: attitude, desire, belief, visualization, spaced repetition, habits, and focus.”

I was super surprised at how much I learned going through Homer Rice’s book. He reminded me of things I knew but had stopped using. Oh yes, he wrote about things that I had been writing about and preaching at my seminars, like how critically important it is to set goals and how super critical it is to write down those goals with a time limit on them. But what I hadn’t done in the past was to set goals in all the many other areas of my life.

Homer Rice writes that a person should set goals in every part of their life, not just in regard to business and money. Goals for family, friends, donations, traveling, and more should be included. For example, travel goals for me would include going to different cities and neighborhoods, as well as different countries, especially since the mind and the body really crave novelty and making lists. Putting a time limit down to accomplish those items helps tons in seeing them get done.

Reading through Rice’s book, I became really motivated to set more goals and go after them with energy and passion. Although I was surprised at how inspired I became re-reading this book, the real surprise came at the end of the book where he listed “Suggested Titles to Read”. In that list of books, I found Financial Genius by Mark Oliver Haroldsen. I was surprised and even a bit shocked to see my name. Remember, I’m not sure I ever met him, but he knew me, or at least knew of me.

I’ll try not to get a fat head over his recognition of my book. I totally love helping people and seeing so many people become super successful or more successful is just as much of a thrill as having that success myself.

So, I do encourage you to pick up Homer Rice’s book, Leadership Fitness. It’s very helpful in many ways that go way beyond just making money. You might also want to look up some of the work by Paul J. Meyer. These are two really smart men who have a lot to teach us.

Reliving Memories

November 7, 2021 by  
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After posting last week’s blog about my younger brother Scott’s sudden death, with a picture of him and me, I began looking through old pictures of my past days and years, reminiscing about my life, all that I’ve experienced, and all the great people that I’ve known and loved.

Wow, that reminiscing hit me hard. Pictures can bring back so many memories. They help us relive our past lives and what we’ve gone through, both the good and the bad! It was such a big shock to lose my little brother and then relive our past times, the good times and some of the painful times, too. And now I can hardly go an hour without thinking about Scotty boy.

It started me thinking about how great it is that simple things like pictures can stir up such wonderful memories and help us relive past experiences. For this week’s post, I’ve attached some of the many pictures of my past life. I know they won’t mean a lot to you, but you can see all the many experiences and people I’ve had in my life.

I hope you will take time to go back and revisit some of your old pictures and relive some of your life, especially the good parts! It’s so interesting that our modern times, with our phones and other easy to carry digital devices, has allowed us to take a lot more pictures but then, we don’t take the time to get them printed out and place them around the house and hang them on the walls where we can pass by and take a quick look at those great memories. On the other hand, we can review those pictures when waiting for appointments, sitting at a stoplight, or flying on an airplane. So, I guess it’s a trade-off.

Here are some of the pictures of my past wonderful memories.

My two high school friends from Ankara Turkey high school
My two high school friends from Ankara Turkey High
My kids and the famous ventriloquist Jeff Dunham.
My daughter Kristin (who died at age 16) and I in Egypt.
The famous gold medal skier and good friend Stein Eriksen and I.
Myself with the Dalai Lama
Myself with former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev
Me, my father, and my brother Scott.

Time to Appreciate

August 1, 2021 by  
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As I was walking down our very long driveway to pick up the garbage cans, I looked up at the same sky I see every day, but this time I focused in on the absolutely beautiful blueness and the great billowy white clouds. It almost took my breath away. 

Probably the biggest reason that I was so moved is because for the last few days we’ve had thick, ugly, smoke-filled air caused by the huge fires in the western part of Utah and from all the way over on the west coast. Seeing the beautiful blue sky I had missed over the previous days just made me really appreciate it.

While I admired our clear skies, the thought hit me that there are so many times in our lives that we just take things for granted. The truth is, we often don’t really appreciate them until they are taken away from us.

That was certainly the case for me when the pandemic restrictions started to be pulled back. The lock downs took away my social life and, as I wrote several posts back, the pandemic restrictions made me realize how very important my social life and friends are in my life.

So, up until the day all that dirty air and smoke hit our city and state, I took all that good clean air for granted. Ugh! But now, wow, I notice and totally appreciate our beautiful sky and clear air. 

After this mental breakthrough, I started making a list of the many things I love but don’t always take time to appreciate. Here’s part of that list. The first 6 are all good “F” words:

1. Family, especially my wife

2. Friends

3. Freedom

4. Finances

5. Fun

6. Future

7. Health

8. A brain that works fairly well. (Okay, my wife may dispute that one!)

9. Home

10. Country

11. Nature

12. Kindness

I think I need to make more and more lists and review those lists and on a regular basis. I am sure that will lift my spirts and my life. I would encourage and challenge you to do the same!

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.

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.

Poetry of Life and Love

April 25, 2021 by  
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The other day I was thinking about love and how many people I love and feel loved by.

Just after having those thoughts, my wonderful wife, Kimberly, came across a poem I wrote for her about love. I wrote it back in 2006 and had totally forgotten about it. When I read it, I was really surprised. I didn’t remember writing a poem that she thought was so great.

So here it is. I hope you like it and that you love lots of people and they return the love back to you! 

 Life, Life, Life!
 It’s what we live… a day at a time.
 At times so sad, sometimes sublime.
  
 Most moments pass without much thought…
 Others stop us cold, as we challenge what we’ve sought.
 Tonight so silent and serene, by myself but not alone.
 Waiting for Her, the sound of her walk…
 Such comfort knowing we will soon talk.
 To share the details and feelings of her day and night,
 Our lives, our family and friends — the future so bright.
  
 So we finish the day and start all over tomorrow
 Grabbing each second, each minute, we steal or borrow.
 Those seconds turned hours, then two years
 Giving more time for great joys and sad tears.
  
 65, 70, 80 years we’ll soar.
 Why not 90, 100 or even more?
 Shoot for the stars and do all that you can.
 Maybe only the moon you’ll hit, for you’re just a man.
  
 Share your love along the way
 With kids, lovers and strangers each day.
 For to make a difference on this place called earth,
 Giving love and compassion will breed and give birth.
  
 Now, so many others whom you’ll never know…
 Will spread your influence for good and continue to grow.
 And whether the credit is given to you or not,
 Lives will be helped, easier battles will be fought.
  
 Lifting their sights to a higher plane…
 Giving all more courage to do the same.
 Making the world such a better place…
 Giving good reason you took up some space.
  
 — Mark O. Haroldsen, November 2006

Gratitude Pays Off

April 11, 2021 by  
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I’ve written several posts on the powerful benefits of gratitude and what good things it can do for your life. In these days of the pandemic, I would guess most of us look back and see all the things we took for granted that we have not had or been able to do this past year. I sure have!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize how very, very important being social is to us humans until it was almost totally taken away from us all. But now, as we slowly pull out of this COVID thing with so many people getting vaccines (and yes, I got mine), we can really appreciate and be more grateful for all we have.

Recently, I read about scientific studies that found that we gain dozens of significant benefits from having gratitude in our lives. For instance, having gratitude…

  • Fosters very positive feelings.
  • Gives you a sense of wellbeing.
  • Eases our anxiety and depression.
  • Promotes physical health.
  • Improves our relationships.
  • Helps us sleep better.
  • Improves our psychological health and gives us more mental strength.
  • Helps us relax.
  • Makes you friendlier.
  • Helps your marriage.
  • Deepens friendships.
  • Increases your productivity.
  • Helps you make friends.
  • Can benefit your career.

There are many more benefits to having a high degree of gratitude in your life, but for me, this list is a darn good start and a great reminder for me to be more and more grateful.

We should be really super grateful for living in this great country of America. Most of us have a fairly high standard of living. Having traveled and visited 94 countries and having seen the poverty and poor people of China, South Africa, and many other places, I am very grateful for what I have and where I live.

Also, I think of all of my good friends and family, how grateful they are for us. They are close most of the time and are there for us when we need them. I think, of all my great friends and kids and grandkids and am so grateful for all of them, especially my great wife Kimberly. She is the best and I am so lucky and grateful to have her. Even my ex-wife Lois seems to be grateful for me and I certainly am grateful to her for being so accepting of me and my new family.

I encourage you all to take time to make a list of those things, people, and situations that you are grateful for. Taking even just 5 minutes to start your own “Gratitude Journal” could have some fantastic benefits. I’ve done that, and it quite surprised me to see how long the list became. Yes, go do it. You’ll be glad you did.

And yes, I’m also very grateful to you, my readers. Thank you so much for reading and for your support.

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