Being the Right Kind of Person

July 7, 2024 by  
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I’ve been looking back at some past posts, and one mentioned a book that has been super helpful since I first read it in 2005. The book is Goals! How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. I’ve always felt it a privilege to call its author, Brian Tracy, a friend. He’s not only a warm, friendly person, but he’s also smart and wise. His advice in Goals! is fantastic. I have reaped huge rewards from following his wonderful and sage advice.

When I read, I often make notes on the ideas and quotes that I find particularly wise. In the front blank pages of Brian’s books, I scribbled page number references so I could go back to my favorite parts and lines such as, ‘Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution after the enthusiasm with which the resolution was made has passed.” That’s on page 263.

But what Brian wrote about the concept that gives a person a huge advantage to be successful that really influenced me was written under the subhead, “Get Around the Right People”. In that chapter, Brian says that you should, “make it a point to associate with the kind of people that you like, admire, respect, and want to be like sometime in the future. Associate with the kind of people that you look up to and would be proud to introduce to your friends and associates. The choice of a positive, goal-oriented reference group can do more to supercharge your career than any other factor.”

When I set my goal to be a millionaire, one of the first things I did was to set in motion a plan to meet and get to know wealthy people. On that list were two billionaires who didn’t know me from Adam but who, with persistence and a plan, I was able to meet and get to know as well as get advice and financial formulas from. The two billionaires were Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, and Curt Carlson, founder of the TGIF restaurant chain.

However, my very first adviser, who also became a good friend, was a multimillionaire by the name of Larry Rosenberg. 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. Later I was fortunate enough to connect with businessman Paul J. Meyer, who built a half-billion-dollar fortune starting from nothing. He shared many ideas and formulas for achieving success at a quick pace with me.

Besides the notes I made in the front of Brian’s book, I also found this note that his words inspired me to write in one of the margins: “In order for me to be able to associate with the right kind of people, I must work hard on myself to be that likable and right kind of person.” It’s a thought that has stayed with me ever since I wrote it.

When I think about it, I know that for me, and most people, we would all much rather do business with people who we really like, and we tend to shun people that are difficult or unfriendly towards us. I don’t even enjoy playing tennis with people I don’t like, even if I beat them. So, the bottom line here is that in order to meet the right kind of people you must work on yourself to become that right kind of person as well. Once you have, then you can surround yourself with the kind of people that will help you become the kind of successful person you want to be.

Live Large, Take Risks

June 16, 2024 by  
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Back in 2015, Mitt Romney, former GOP candidate for President made some memorable and powerful comments to the graduating class at Utah Valley University. He advised the students “to experience a fulfilling, purposeful life.” But then he took it a step further and went on to say, “One thing you’re going to have to do is live a ‘Large Life.’” 

What great advice. That is something all of us need to think about and pay attention to. We need to go out and live large and do it our entire lives. So many times, we hesitate to “Live Large” in meaningful and fulfilling ways. Why? Because most of the time we fear that we will fail.

“Failures don’t have to define who you are,” Romney said in that same speech. “Through all my occupations, I have experienced successes and failures. I am asked what it felt like to lose to President Obama. Well, not as good as winning. Failures aren’t fun, but they are inevitable.”

How about you? Have you racked up a lot of failures or just a few? Do you think the frequency of your failures compared to your successes has motivated to try harder and go bigger or has it held you back?  

It seems to me, from my experience, that the number of failures I’ve had is in direct proportion to how large I’ve tried to live.  So, yes, I’ve had a ton of failures but I’ve also had some really huge successes. And I think I had those big successes because of all that I learned from my failures.

I remember one huge loss that I learned a valuable lesson from which led me to some of those very, very large successes. I had decided to lend a large amount of money with a restaurant as collateral. This turned out to be a huge mistake on my part! Why? Because I don’t know much about that kind of business so if it failed, I had little knowledge or skills to save it or run it. And guess what? It did fail and I lost almost all of what I had loaned.

What did I learn? Well, first of all, I found out that restaurants have a very high rate of failure, and, second, I learned that I shouldn’t stray from what I know best.  Not that I shouldn’t ever loan money but if I do, I should loan it on assets that I understand as well as sticking to improved real estate which, ideally, would also be income producing.

I forged ahead and made many millions of dollars worth of loans that were backed by real estate and I was very successful there.  Later, I discovered that I could do even better by owning the right kind of income producing properties. I also, very successfully, ventured into the development of condos and warehouses, where the profits were even bigger although they did come with increased risks. The thing was, those were risks I was willing to take because I knew the business. 

Had the restaurant been successful, I might have gone on to make bigger mistakes in that and other businesses that I knew nothing about.  So, yes, I would say that much, if not most, of my success with real estate backed loans came from lessons learned from that one particular failure and, confident that I’d learned a valuable lesson, I went on to “Live Large”.

So, don’t be afraid to take those risks and make mistakes but just be sure you are paying attention to the really valuable lessons you’ll find in living large.

Teaching Your Way to a Better Life

June 2, 2024 by  
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I am often struck by the thought that there is this huge life enhancing potential available to everyone on the planet that maybe we don’t always take great advantage of. It’s our ability to teach other people and, through it, help ourselves and others by sharing the things we have learned by educating ourselves and through our successes and even our failures.

Doing this has been changing and helping my life for years now. I have been teaching and preaching from the time it occurred to me that I had some really great stuff to share. But, strangely, it took me a long time to really identify what it was that I was doing, at least enough to put it into words.

So, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on why teaching and sharing your knowledge can be so important to you as well as to the people around you. Please, think deeply and intently about this and then put it into practice in any way you can. See if it doesn’t profoundly enhance so many parts of your life, even in the areas you’re already super successful in.

Here is what makes teaching so great for the person doing the teaching. Any goal, habit, human quality, or desire that you start preaching, teaching, or pontificating about will automatically, and almost without effort, push you to do more of it yourself. The knowledge you share, whether spoken or written, is like a truth drug for the mind, pushing you to do what you are encouraging and teaching others to do.  I am totally convinced this will, and does, work that way for everyone.

If you have been reading my past blogs you might remember me setting some pretty tough and maybe even overly ambitious goals through the years. Some I reached, and some I didn’t quite manage, but I know I wouldn’t have done as well as I did if I had not been constantly sharing my thoughts and ideas with you, my readers. After talking about any particular subject or goal setting item, I usually find my mind fixating on the advice I gave to you and pushing myself to do more and do better in that area. I can now see that it’s been my inner brain keeping me on track as I dig up and share these ideas with you.

I guess you could say that my brain pushed me to remain “true to myself” and to my readers as well. You see, if you teach and preach to others what they could and should do for self-improvement, or just about any subject, your inner self gives you the message that you must live up to what you put out there. We all know the saying, “practice what you preach”, and our inner brain and soul does not want us to be a hypocrite, therefore our subconscious pushes us to be true to our words. I am pretty darn convinced that is the best way to become better at whatever subject, goal, or life enhancing idea we want to improve upon. We just need to talk and teach others about it.

What knowledge do you have, or have you learned, that you want to be reminded and pushed to improve in your life? If you want to do better at it, there will be plenty of others that will want to do better at it too. So, why not teach and share what you know and help yourself do better and better at these things?

I challenge you to start teaching and preaching now about something that you want to improve in your own life. Be sure to write down your goals and objectives as well so you can stay on track. And then, in a few months, take a look back and see what it has done for you as well as for other people’s lives. Once you see how well it works and how it is a win-win for everyone, you just might be hooked on teaching and preaching your way to a better life.

The Wisdom of Your Past Self

April 7, 2024 by  
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Anyone that has followed my blog over the years knows that I think very highly of the power of words, especially the words that you and I write down. I encourage everyone to “journal their journey” through this life. Your own words can be so powerful in helping you through it.

Usually at the end of a year or the beginning of a new year, I go back and revisit myself when I was 30, 40, 50 or 60 years old. In fact, I can even visit myself when I was 18 and 19 years old since that’s when I started my journal. Believe me, some of my thoughts back then were downright funny and crazy. But, more often, I am amazed at the things I wrote. Oh yes, there were many dreams and goals that I set for myself that didn’t turn out the way I hoped. But I did succeed with many and made progress on others so even though I was a failure here and there, I can see that overall, I did very well for myself.

But the big stuff that often jumps out at me as I read these old journals are the words that push myself to do better and, more importantly, to enjoy my life right now. Not only are there lessons to be learned in those pages, those words from my past self still continue to be very motivating years later.

I have such a wonderful time reviewing my past experiences including recalling my trips, the people I’ve met, the way my various goals changed and re-focused over the years and, most importantly, my inner thoughts along the way. Think about it–what a great thing it is to be able to relive and bask in all that was great in the weeks, months, and years of your past and also have the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons from both the good and the bad stuff that happened.

Many times, when I go back and read my inner thoughts and ideas, I say to myself, “Wow, I wrote that?”, or “Wow, where did that come from?” It’s like it came from some other person’s brain.

It’s very interesting to me that our own words and our past selves can give us motivation and inspiration. Here is a sample of some of the words I’ve come across in re-reading my journals. These were from January 29, 1998, in an entry entitled simply “Thoughts”. I should have titled it “Random Thoughts” though as they aren’t very connected, but they are still really interesting and important things to remember.

  • We involve ourselves in so many activities –games, sports, work, relationships, eating, drinking etc.–to distract ourselves from ourselves. Is making it in the world the most important thing about our being?
  • Climbing and coming back down from Mt. Everest is a perfect metaphor for life. When you get to the top you are only halfway.
  • Love is what we were born with, fear is what we learn. Love is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.
  • Meaning doesn’t lie in things because things don’t love us back; meaning lies in us.
  • We overvalue what we perceive with our physical senses and undervalue what we know to be true in our hearts.

And the last, but not least, of these random thoughts:

  • Time only exists in the moment of right now. Time is an infinite series of “nows” strung together. The way we spend each “now” creates our destiny. When you are focused, time is your partner.

I do sincerely wish and hope that these few random thoughts might enhance your life and those people, friends, family and loved ones around you. And once again I strongly encourage you to write notes to yourself in a journal, on a notepad, or on a computer or even your phone. Later on, as you re-read your own words, you will be so very glad you did, and you may even be inspired by those words, ideas, and inner thoughts that you put down.

So, start writing in your own journal and you can look forward to experiencing similar thoughts and feelings when you read them in the coming years.

Wealth, Fame, and a Perfect Life

February 25, 2024 by  
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Wouldn’t you agree with me that most of us, at one time or another, especially when we were young, had thoughts of being rich and famous? And maybe those thoughts were followed by, “If I was rich and famous, my life would be perfect!”

If you were at all like me, you certainly had those thoughts. Most people I’ve talked with over the years have mentioned that they had those thoughts run through their minds at some point. But I’m here to tell you that a perfect life does not necessarily follow fame or wealth. Yes, wealth can make a lot of things in your life easier, but if you think that tons of money and fame will automatically bring you happiness and contentment, you’re dead wrong. I think you will find that early death and addiction rates are higher in the rich and famous than in the middle class. I think that says something about how imperfect life can be with wealth and fame.

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 putting down money and fame or going after great and lofty financial goals. Those are motivating, lots of fun, and can be very satisfying to carry out but be sure you enjoy each hour and day of your life as well as your pursuits and be aware that whatever the end results of your journey, it won’t make your life perfect.

Nobody’s life is perfect. I would even say it shouldn’t be perfect since a perfect life would mean there’s no need for improvement, no goals to reach for, and nothing left to really accomplish. And when you realize this and accept that as fact, your satisfaction and contentment can begin to really soar. Trust me on this; I’ve been there and back and learned that lesson the hard way. In fact, I have to remind myself of that on an almost daily basis. I have found that it is better to “live in the now” where I can recognize what I have and enjoy all the happiness I find on this journey we’re on.

I want to remind you that recognizing that money doesn’t create a perfect life doesn’t mean that money is not important. It is important and it can do so many good things for you and your family and the way you get to live your life. And when you have lots of wealth, you can also help out a lot of other people.

So, you don’t need to set aside your dreams of being wealthy or famous. Just know that those things don’t make your life perfect. It’s the good things that you do with that fame and fortune that will help you lift your life and the lives of the people around you and give you the happiness you want.

Precious Days

January 28, 2024 by  
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One day doesn’t seem like very much time and if we get a lot of good stuff done or we do nothing but watch TV all day it may not seem to make much difference in our world let alone the rest of the world.  Hey, it’s only one day. No big deal. But those single goof-off days can add up quickly and none of us have nearly as many days as we might figure to accomplish what we want, especially if we set our minds on big and lofty goals.

Even if you are only 25 years of age right now, that still gives you just over 27,000 days to age 100.  Now to some people that might seem like a lot of days but to me it’s a pretty small number, therefore I am inclined to think that to waste even one day is a very serious matter, unless of course you don’t have any big and lofty plans and goals.

The good news, however, is that if you are keenly aware of your hours and days as you experience those days of your life then you will be much more likely to not only set good, worthwhile and important goals but you will be many times more likely to reach those goals. And because we all have a limited number of days—whether it’s 10,000 or 27,000—we need to set strict time deadlines for those goals. If we do that, then we are much less likely to waste those precious days and more likely to reach our goals.

When I was only 37, there was an article about me that appeared on the front page of the Sunday Register Star, a newspaper in Rockford, Illinois. The article was titled “He Quit Bragging after his First Million”.  Every once in a while, I re-read the story that they wrote about me and I am always a bit surprised at the mention of my beginnings as a construction worker, 16 years prior, in Rockford. I was making only $4.50 an hour back then but I had already set my sights on becoming a millionaire. 

Even at the young age of 21, I was acutely aware of this thing called “time”. I had figured that even working as hard as I was, making just $4.50 an hour would only bring me a mere $9360 in a year and even after 50 years, I would only have made $468,000. Of course, when I considered that I would have to spend money to live, I quickly figured out that there had to be some formula or secret to becoming a millionaire because just working an hourly job wasn’t going to do it.

I was to find out later, using each precious day to look for the answer, that there was, in fact, a formula to making millions and one that doesn’t require a person to invent Facebook or Amazon or some hi-tech computer program. I’m convinced that if I hadn’t realized how critically important each and every day was and how few days there are in a person’s life, I wouldn’t have spent my early days searching for the right financial formula. The idea of my limited days kept me motivated.

So, please, never forget the great and precious value of a single day in your life and spend it like the precious thing it is.

Getting Serious About Deadlines

January 21, 2024 by  
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While I was making plans for a trip to Kauai recently, I was hit by a pretty powerful thought. I was thinking about how I am really organized and efficient when it comes to traveling. I make lists of items I need to take, the things I have to do before I leave, and the people that I need to meet with, email or call before I go. My trips can be lengthy sometimes, so I know all these things need to be done, without question, and there is always an immovable deadline to meet — my flight out. This kind of deadline pushes me to become an almost perfect picture of efficiency and effectiveness.

In other words, when I am truly motivated, I can plow through dozen of tasks quite quickly and smoothly. The motivation for this when I travel is usually that very fixed and non-movable deadline that I couldn’t easily change without a huge expense and hassle. And so, it’s a deadline I am not willing to miss.

Especially now, still early in the beginning of a new year when setting big goals is still on my mind, I get to thinking about how important this is — having goals with deadlines we are not willing to miss. Deadlines, ones we adhere to, are a huge part of what pushes us to be more effective, more efficient, and ultimately more successful!

Think about that for a moment.  Look at your own habits and behavior when you know you have a flight or other seemingly immovable deadline to meet. Don’t you get done what needs to be done? The great lessons here are:

  1. We all need to recognize how very beneficial it is to have deadlines attached to our goals.
  2. We need to be serious about setting goals with absolute time deadlines that will drive us to do what needs to be done.

Never forget that you and I only have maybe 700,000 hours to get things done in our lifetime, so it’s important to use our time wisely. If you want to accomplish a lot in your life and do big things for yourself, your family, your friends, and for mankind, you need to be efficient and well-motivated.

So, with your next goals, pretend that your deadline is like a flight you have booked to Paris or Hawaii and if you miss it or have to postpone the flight it will cost you a lot of time and money.  Depending on what your goals are, missing a time deadline may actually be more costly than changing a flight. In the long run, a missed goal could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars or even worse if you have a huge loss of confidence or damage your self-esteem. 

The bottom line here is that you should make time deadlines your biggest friend, helper and partner by seeing them as the important, unnegotiable deadlines they really are.

The Best Year Ever

January 14, 2024 by  
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Have you recovered from the holidays yet? If you are like me, probably not.  It sure is a great and special time of the year, just super busy.  But there’s nothing like family, friends, and lots of giving at this time of the year.

So, now that it’s over, most of us have been thinking of this new year and what it is likely to bring. And if you are smart you will plan and set goals so that the new year brings you what you want it to bring, rather than what just might happen to you.

For me, I usually begin my planning by reviewing the past year.  I go through my planner week by week, reading my notes, my do lists, and my activities.  Then I review my goals and see which ones I’ve accomplished and which ones I didn’t.  Yes, that can be a bit of a downer, but it also gives me a gentle kick in the butt and a renewed determination to work harder in the coming year. And if you don’t have a record of your past year’s goals and accomplishments, just write down all the things you can remember and maybe ask your family and friends to help you remember all you did or hoped to do.

Then sit down and write out what you want to do this coming year. I think it is best to remove yourself from all distractions so you can really stay focused on the task of planning your life for the next 12 months.  I love to sequester myself on a long flight where I can’t be interrupted by phone calls, texting, and emails. On a plane, I also don’t get diverted by picking up a book or file or any other stuff like that since I am not at home or in my office where I can see and easily pick up something that takes me away from my planning.

We don’t all have regular travel plans and flights to do that on, but you can go to a coffee shop or a park or a library or whatever eliminates your usual distractions.

Once you have that place and time, look over your review of what you did and didn’t do the previous year, and begin writing down what your goals and objectives are going to be for this year. And don’t undersell yourself. Aim to make it the best year of your life. There’s no reason that it can’t be. It’s all up to you.

Like I’ve said many times before, “I am preaching to myself as I preach this message to you!” So, let’s you and I get to work on this and make 2024 the best year ever!

A Matrix for Your New Years’ Goals

January 7, 2024 by  
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Last week I talked about a book, The Five Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made. Those decisions will be discussed in the future, but it got me thinking about a lot of the great books I’ve read over the years. One super helpful book that I keep going back to is Super Brain by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi.

In this book, they basically give you the power to accomplish whatever goal or goals you set for yourself. As they put it, the “secret isn’t exerting more willpower or beating yourself up for not being perfect. The secret is changing without force.”

So, what does that mean? It means that to achieve goals and objectives in your life without force you need to create a type of matrix, or set of rules, for making better choices.

Obviously if you are trying to lose weight you wouldn’t set up a matrix that includes things such as:

1.         Eat more meals at fast food places.

2.         Stock more ice cream and donuts in the house.

3.         Watch more T.V.

4.         Drink more beer.

5.         Hang out with unhealthy people.

For your matrix to work with a weight loss objective you would list items that were the opposite of those listed above because you would be better served if the list contained 10 or 12, or even more, positive directions that you would follow that directly support your weight loss goal.

For example, the book Super Brain gives a wonderful matrix for a positive lifestyle:

1.         Have good friends.

2.         Don’t isolate yourself.

3.         Sustain a lifelong companionship with a spouse or partner.

4.         Engage socially in worthwhile projects.

5.         Be close with people who have a good lifestyle–habits are contagious.

6.         Follow a purpose in life.

7.         Leave time for play and relaxation.

8.         Keep up satisfying sexual activity.

9.         Address issues around anger.

10.       Practice stress management.

Another thing the authors wrote that I really liked was that, “Success comes when people act together and failure tends to happen alone.” This has certainly been the case with me and my life with everything from making tons of money to losing weight to being in great shape. I’ve been so blessed to be able to hook up and hang around all the right people who have made it so much easier to start and stick with a particular matrix and reach my goals.

Go ahead and start creating your own matrix for what you want most at this time in your life! It will be a strong start to achieving any goal and is a great way to start out in this New Year.

Analyzing the Beatles

December 31, 2023 by  
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I just finished reading a great little book titled, The Five Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made, by Bill Stainton. Bill is an excellent writer who outlines and explains the many great circumstances, ideas, and achievements that made the Beatles famous and quite wealthy. That’s right, they weren’t just a great band with great songs. There is a lot going on behind the scenes that helped make them so super successful.

As Bill says, their success wasn’t just luck mixed with their unusual genius. There were actually a lot of conscious decisions made along the way to push them towards their great success. These decisions aren’t something just for musicians and mega superstars. They can help pretty much any business or individual and Bill tells us about them in this book.

Not only that, this book is an easy and entertaining little read, and with so many great things about success and how to put them into practice, I’m sure any one of us can learn them and lift our lives. Or as Bill puts it, have “top of the charts success”.

Now, how is it that Bill Stainton came to write a book about the success of the Beatles? Well, it started with him becoming a fan.

The day Bill became a Beatles fan was February 9th, 1964, and he was only six years old. On that Sunday he joined the 73 million Americans who were watching The Ed Sullivan Show. Bill describes his first impression of the Beatles and what initially impressed him.

I don’t think it was the music –not yet at least. It probably wasn’t the hair although I clearly remember laughing myself silly because it seemed so long (times change, don’t they?) To be honest, I’m not sure what it was that turned me into a Beatles fan that day. They just had something.

I’ve subsequently spent many years analyzing the many “somethings” that made the Beatles what they were. I’ve never grown tired of listening to the music. I’ve never stopped being a fan.

And that’s how it all started for him. Now Bill gives keynote speeches on the Five Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made for various businesses and industries on top of the many other wonderful and successful things that he is done with his life. Including writing this great little book.

Now, you’re probably wondering what those five decisions are, right? Well, I will talk about that in a future blog post but for now, I want to wish you all a wonderful new year and all the best in 2024.

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