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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.

Keys to a Fit Brain

April 3, 2022 by  
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The human brain really is a very powerful instrument and is used for the most wonderful things, but it also can be very harmful, depending on what you put in it.   

For instance, we can read books that help move us towards our goals in life or that comfort us. Alternately, we could read garbage online that skews what we think or discourages us from even trying to make our dreams a reality. We can choose to be friends with very smart people, allowing us to learn from them and grow from that knowledge. Or we can surround ourselves with people that are vindictive, derogatory, or pessimistic. Which do you think would help your brain and improve your life? That’s easy to figure out.

But even if we read great books and keep the best and most positive people around us, we also need to keep our brains fit and ready to take in all that good stuff that helps us greatly improve our lives. Here’s a few ideas that might be just what you need to keep your brain in great shape.

1. Think about thinking. This is sometimes called metacognition, and it makes you aware of how you learn so you can improve your learning and problem-solving skills.

2. Read books about improving the brain. Just search my blog under the keyword “brain” for my many recommendations.

3. Associate with intelligent people so that you are constantly learning.

4. Look into food and supplements that can help the brain, like gingko biloba or DHEA. Be sure to read up on dosage and side effects as even natural supplements can be dangerous in certain situations. For instance, gingko is a blood thinner which could be a problem if you take a blood thinning medication. Other good supplements include B-complex vitamins, vitamins C, D, and E, magnesium, choline, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Meditate. It can help improve your concentration and memory, reduce stress and anxiety and help preserve your brain function as you age.

6. Exercise. Blood flow to the brain is a huge brain helper and exercise increases that blood flow. Running can be great, but if you don’t like running, walking is also tremendously helpful.

Speaking of walking, I have a daily 20,000 step goal and I almost always hit that thanks to the Fit Bit I keep in my pocket. I challenge you to set some walking goals to make you feel better, help your brain and most likely increase your life expectancy! That, along with the stuff listed above, will keep your brain fit and healthy for years to come, if not for the rest of your life!

Of Repetition and Courage

February 6, 2022 by  
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In the foreword of my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, I included a great quote from my friend and mentor Paul J. Meyer of Waco, Texas. He said, “Rather than read a thousand different books, find a few that are powerful and life-changing and read them many times. Wait between readings for the material to sift through your brain, then read the book again. With the repetition, you’ll remember more of the information and more of what you learn will really sink in.” Being taught this from my wonderful friend helped my life in so many areas that I couldn’t count them all, but one of the big things this practice has done for me is to boost my courage to do the things I want to do.

In Chapter One of my book, I explained that “it doesn’t matter how old you are—you can be a young buck or an old fart. However, sometimes the young may lack the courage to go for something BIG or they may doubt they have enough experience or knowledge or resources to make it happen. And those who are older sometimes fall into the thinking trap that it’s too late—that somehow they’ve run out of time.”.

In that same chapter, I also observed that a tragic thing can happen to your life as you’re on the way to your death. That thing that some call a midlife crisis can hit you hard. During this time you can begin to run out of steam, stagnate, lose confidence and trust in yourself, and even give up on life. Because of this, many people die inside long before they’re buried. I have to admit that most of these things started happening to me as well, although not until about the age of 70.

Make no mistake, even young folks can experience this! There are too many in their 30s and younger who quit on themselves and never reach their full potential. Others think they have all the time in the world and never quite grab a hold of their lives or find direction and true purpose. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Anyone can greatly improve their life and find the courage to rebuild their passion for living. I’ll talk about that next week.

One more thing. Are you as amazed as I am when so-called coincidences pop up? While writing this blog, another great friend, a basketball buddy (and the guy on our high school team that was key to our winning the finals game in the last 20 seconds of our tournament in Rome, Italy), Ed Beckcom called. And you know where he called me from? Waco, Texas, where Paul J Meyer is from! Wow. I do think that these things we call coincidences are really our brain waves traveling all over the globe to bring us the most unexpected connections. 

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.

Before We Lose It

August 15, 2021 by  
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A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I had no idea how important the social aspect of my life was until the pandemic hit. That made me realize just how much I valued my face-to-face conversations and hanging out with my friends. It also hurt that our annual trip to Europe and other counties was gone. We’ve met so many wonderful people and made so many new friends on those trips as well.

Most of us take way too much for granted and don’t take the time to be as grateful as we should be for what we have. But when one of those great things in our lives is suddenly taken away… wow, we certainly notice how much we appreciate those things when they are gone. 

Something that I took for granted for far too long was my daily long walk and comparing my daily steps total to my previous daily steps. As I’ve written before, I have given myself a minimum goal of 20,000 steps a day, although I usually go well over that. I use a super great gift my wife gave me years ago, a Fitbit, that counts each step I take and gives me weekly totals. That little device enhanced and lifted my life. It’s helped me stay fit, even now as the ripe age of 80 approaches, less than 3 years away.

Well, that little device that pushed me to regularly walk my 20,000 plus steps a day was a big deal and I totally took for granted what it was pushing me to do until recently. I got hit in the head several months back, which laid me up for a while. 

Then, just this last week, I had a big trip and fall at 2:30 in the morning. I hit my right knee so hard that I could hardly walk the next day and for many days to follow. The few steps I did try to take were too painful, so I would find myself in bed or sitting in a chair all day long. Ugh. Even taking a pain pill didn’t help much. Double ugh! 

That is when it hit me like a brick that I’ve taken the ability to walk without pain totally for granted. I know this happens to many of us when we get injured, but shouldn’t we start to appreciate what we have before we lose it?

I think all of us should take time to consider all the great things in our lives that we are just taking for granted. I talked about that here on my blog before. Back then, I made a list of the many things that I was taking for granted, but perhaps it’s time for an update.

I suggest now, as I did then, that all of us consider making or updating a list of that kind so we have time to enjoy and appreciate what we have while we have it. Doing so has the potential to make us more content as we begin to truly recognize all the great things we have in our lives. 

You can look at my prior list to help you start building your own. It’s in my post from 4/16/2020. You might also want to read or re-read what I posted on 11/29/2020 for an additional reminder. 

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.

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.

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

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