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Small Steps to Your Better Self

August 7, 2022 by  
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Do you ever wish you could just better yourself as a person? Do you feel overly pessimistic, especially judgmental, or too self-involved? If you aren’t happy with who you are, you can improve this just as you can improve your financial situation, health, or skills. Although it is less common to hear that someone’s goal is to be a nicer, more positive person, it isn’t any less important or admirable. In fact, it might be one of the most important goals you can have.

If you’ve read my book, you know about the power of the ‘Bite Size’ approach to reaching your goal. If you haven’t read it, you can get your copy here, then go to Chapter 6 on page 57 for the story of how this method kept a man alive and helped him rescue himself when everything was against his survival.

Becoming a nicer, more positive person may not sound as monumental a goal as keeping oneself alive in dire circumstances, but the approach that will get you there is not really any different. The most important thing to remember is to take it one small step at a time. That’s where the Bite Size approach comes in.

You became who you are over a long period of time, and you were affected and changed by many small influences and experiences. It makes sense that your road to changing your attitude towards others and how you live your life will likewise take many small gestures and encouraging encounters.

You can begin by taking note of the things you do that make up the behavior you want to change. Then take on just one of those little things and focus on eliminating or transforming it into something positive for others and yourself.

If something so simple as taking one bite size step at a time can be so powerful as to save a man’s life, it can certainly help you to improve the person you are and better your life and the lives of those around you. It just takes that first small step. What will be your first small step to becoming a better person than you are even now?

Don’t Kill Your Dreams

June 12, 2022 by  
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Over the last few decades, the amount of information we are exposed to daily has increased dramatically. But for all that abundance, we don’t necessarily get a clear picture of what is going on in the world. Most of the news we hear is highly negative, overly dramatic, and designed to inspire fear. So, it doesn’t surprise me that many people are afraid to take risks and go after their big dreams.

However, right now is exactly the time you need to jump in with both feet. Yes, even in the middle of all this economic uncertainty and our unprecedented times. You just need to believe in yourself. If you have that, all else will follow.

I started investing in real estate in 1972, in the middle of the worse recession in the US since the great depression. Fortunately, I didn’t know that and, even if I did, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference because I really believed that I could succeed.

Sure enough, not only did I not lose my shirt, I became a millionaire. That recession didn’t stop me and these crazy times shouldn’t stop you. Not believing in yourself and taking immediate action is the only thing that is guaranteed to kill your dreams.

Remember, all you need to worry about is your life, what you need, what you want, and know that if you keep working at it, you will get what you’re after. If your dreams are that important to you, you will want them bad enough to do whatever it takes. And no fear filled news story should get in your way.

So, turn off the TV, stop reading those dramatic posts, and unsubscribe from all those pessimistic newsletters. Instead, read up on all the great success stories you can find on-line, in responsible and inspiring periodicals, and in books like my classic, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. The most amazing stories of success are most often accomplished by ordinary people who simply have an extraordinarily strong belief in themselves and what they want. And there is no reason why you can’t be one of them.

Daily Joy

May 1, 2022 by  
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Years ago, after successfully building my wealth, I retired so I could enjoy the “good life”, including traveling and having plenty of time to spend with family. That is the kind of life everybody would love to live, right? Well, it did not end up being what I thought it would be. I was shocked at how unhappy and depressed I could get. Sometimes I didn’t even want to get up in the morning. I just didn’t see any joy in my day.

This situation was a mystery to me at first. Why would leisure make me so unhappy? I researched my symptoms and tried various methods to improve my health and my mind. Some techniques I found worked, to an extent, but if I thought back to my earlier years when I had been working really hard to build my wealth, there was no comparison.

The thing was, when I worked long days fixing up homes or, later, negotiating huge real estate purchases, I was happy, regardless of all the toil and pressure of those times. I had goals and a bright future, and I was intensely passionate about what I was doing. It was while pondering the past that I realized, for all the great things I had accomplished, for all the wealth and love I had in my life, life was not worth waking up for without a purpose and a passion.

As it turns out, I enjoy life the most when I am helping others better their own lives and knowing that led me to a solution for what I was feeling. With so many years of experience and knowledge, and having already written books on succeeding financially, writing another book, one that would help people not just become wealthy, but would help them reach any goal they desired, was just a natural choice. Once I decided to write the book, my days came alive again.

It was a long, arduous road, but eventually I published How to Ignite Your Passion for Living in 2008. It wasn’t long after publication that I began to see and hear the stories of people whose lives were changed because of the words and techniques in my book. It turned out, however, that the book would be just the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one where helping people find their passion and better their lives became a focus for my life.

To this day, I continue to work towards spreading these ideas through whatever channels I find, including this blog. I continue to hope that, through these posts, I can further inspire and motivate people. And I always love to hear the stories of struggle and success from my readers, so if you have one or more to share, please do write to me.

My readers are my purpose and passion now, the driving force that gets me jumping out of bed in the morning, looking forward to all the new day has in store. I hope you have found or are looking for that something that brings joy into your life every day as well. Joy really is working towards something you truly believe in.

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. 

2022: A Year of Action

January 2, 2022 by  
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Here we are again. We have a whole new year in front of us and many of us are making plans, renewing commitments, and generally trying to figure out what we want to accomplish this year. I know I have more than a few things that I’m ready to get to work on!

Regardless of what any of us plan to do, there is one thing we all have in common. We MUST take action, real solid action, for any plan, goal, or dream to become reality.

That first step, the one that shows true action and commitment, is more important than any other step you take because it will be the impetus and motivation for every step afterwards. But don’t fool yourself about what a first step is.

Reading a book, looking stuff up on the internet, or asking your friends’ opinions may feel like first steps, but they are really just part of the planning, and planning is not what actually makes things happen. The first real step occurs when you invest something valuable or take a real risk with your money, time, or ego.

For example:

  • Throwing out all the junk food in your house is a true first step to a better diet.
  • Paying a lawyer to draw up your business organization papers shows a real commitment to starting on your entrepreneurial path.
  • Joining a writer’s group that requires you to write 10 pages a week makes you accountable and shows yourself and other how serious you are about writing that novel.

So, what is that first important, substantial, and invested step you need to take to get your plans rolling? If you’re not sure, take the time to write out what your first steps are. Then ask yourself which of those steps require so kind of personal, time, or financial investment. The ones that do are your first real steps, the ones that will get you truly get you on your way. So, make those your priority.

If you feel like you might still need a little push to take those first substantial steps, or you need some additional inspiration, try reading my book again, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. If you haven’t read it, then definitely get a copy and read it. Then get to work.

Let’s see what wonderful things we can make happen in 2022 by taking action now!

Stimulating Passion

December 5, 2021 by  
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Most every human being loves their passion. There are so many ways to go after and build such passions. Some of these come easily and automatically, such as when we were young and everything was new. Those new things made our passions rise. That first day of school, seeing old friends and new, could be a quick and huge hit on the passion button.

In my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, I make the point that, from my experience, passion can start to fade a bit as we age. But, thankfully, passion can be manufactured. All you need to do is put something together in an unusual, better, or at least new-to-you way.

One of the keys to manufacturing passion is to set difficult objectives and work towards them. I clearly remember when I was 27 years old, and I set a goal to make a net worth for myself of $1 MILLION by the time I hit age 30. What a huge turn on that was for me. It raised my passion level big time. I was one year late in hitting that goal, but having that huge and exciting goal really kept me and my passion going.

From about age 25, your brain produces less and less dopamine and serotonin, the hormones that help you feel good and fan the flames of passion. Although a child’s body is awash in these hormones, we need to work on stimulating our system to produce more of these hormones as we age. We can do this by eating the right foods, exercising, and, most importantly, setting the right goals that keep us going after them.

Renewing your passions can really show you what you and your brain can do. It can give you a ton of energy as well as raising the quality of your personal and business life.

One of my biggest passions is travelling. I’m talking about everything from huge international travel, like going around the world on my honeymoon, to just driving through a neighborhood that I’ve never visited. I’ve been to 94 countries and still feel my passion rising just planning a trip to a new place, even if it’s a small country or an old neighborhood.

Passion for living comes and goes. Our big challenge then is to figure out what our passion is, what turns our lights on and gets us excited. When we figure that out, we can do it more and more. And it’s always a good idea to write down our passions and the goals that keep them going so it will stick in your brain, pushing you to do it and to keep doing it.

Investing, Writing, and Being Grateful

May 23, 2021 by  
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Like I said in my previous blog, money has not been the best reward that I’ve received over the years. The best reward has come from helping people and it’s fantastic when they take time to give thanks and tell me how very grateful they are for helping them. That makes me feel great.

A few days ago, I received a wonderful letter from Jay P. DeCima, also known as “Fixer Jay”. I want to share some of his words with you. He begins with, “Hi Mark; I hope you are well.” I was well and his letter made me feel even better!

He went on to say, “You may or may not remember me. I’m a real estate guy. I participated at several of your real estate seminars and conventions during the mid-1980’s. I was a speaker at your week-long seminar at your Salt Lake City home. William Nickerson was my long-time friend and mentor.

“What triggered this letter was a re-listening to the tapes you and Bill Nickerson recorded with Dick Hamilton as the moderator. The tapes were recorded in 1987 sometime before CD’s replaced cassettes. Recordings were made at Bill Nickerson’s beachfront home in Aptos, Monterey Bay, near Santa Cruz, California. Mark, I’m not exactly sure about your age, but your web page shows you graduated from Ames High School in 1962. I graduated from Shasta Union High School, Redding, California in 1952 and I’m one month shy of 87 years old.

“After listening to the tapes, something you said stuck in my mind (what’s left). At 87 years old I’m lucky to remember even playing the tapes! You said, without any fanfare or hesitation, that you planned on living 101 more years until you reached the age of 144. I must say, that’s quite a plan! Nickerson guessed 100 years. If you wish, we could call that a mulligan or I’m totally agreeable with giving you a ‘do over’. But given the water that’s passed under the bridge, are you still sticking by the same estimate? Forgive me, Mark, I just had to ask.

“Your website shows you’ve written a new book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Congratulations. I have oodles of passion, I just can’t tell for how long! I’ll order a copy. Perhaps it will shed some light on this longevity issue.”

 (By the way, I sent him a copy before he could order it.)

“I too have taken up the pen in my twilight years. I write real estate how-to-books. I’ve written six books. Three are self-published. My titles can be viewed on Amazon under the author’s name Jay P. DeCima (aka) known as Fixer Jay.”

(Note to readers: I too started by self-publishing since it can be so hard to get a publisher. After you have self-published a book or two, however, that gets their attention and then they are more agreeable to publish your books for you.)

“Both investing and writing have worked well for me. I had 300 screaming tenants at my high-water mark. I stayed so long I even miss the tenants. Senile perhaps might offer a better explanation. Mark, I’d love to hear from you sometime. We can talk about real estate, book publishing or even aging. Your choice—I’m open.”

So, I called Jay today and had a wonderful, long conversation with him. What a terrific guy! Managing Tenants & Toilets is one of his book. What a great title! You can order it by calling toll-free 1-800-722-2550 or send a fax to 1-530-223-2834.

A Glimpse Into My Past

March 7, 2021 by  
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I was going through some old papers and came across a biography I wrote about my life. I thought, since a lot of people ask me about my background, I would share some of that with you here:

Mark O. Haroldsen was born in Portland, Oregon, way back in 1944. He attended high school for two plus years in the Middle East before moving back to the USA where he graduated in 1962 from Ames High School in Iowa. Mark attended Utah State University on a basketball and track scholarship. His time on the bench, however, helped him decide to drop the basketball dream and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Business which he received in 1969. He followed this with some post-graduate work at De Paul University in Chicago.

His career began as a stockbroker with Goodbody & Co. in 1969. Later he worked for Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis, then went on to work as a manager for Bosworth Sullivan in Salt Lake City, Utah from 1972 to 1974. After a short political career, he lost his bid for the Utah State Treasurer and started buying real estate. This change was inspired by a Denver client that was making millions in real estate.

After gaining tremendous success in real estate, Mark started a real estate seminar company which he ran from 1978 to 1986. The multi-million dollar company set the standard for real estate conventions, retreats, and information, presenting up to 50 seminars a week using a huge staff and brilliant speakers.

Not only is Mark an extremely successful real estate investor, he is also the author of many books including his first and most successful book, How To Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You. The book sold over 2 million copies and landed him on several national talk shows.

After the enormous success of that book, he began publishing the Financial Freedom Report, a real estate magazine that ran for over 20 years. And yet, that was just the beginning. He then got into a much more profitable part of real estate, known as development. 

I’ll stop sharing my bio there as I would like to go more into how that development thing worked out in next week’s blog, including how I made millions of dollars in profit through real estate development.

Get Past the Depression

January 10, 2021 by  
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The news this week, and through much of this past year, has been terribly sad and is sometimes almost too hard to process. There is been a lot of news about depression and how much more of it there is right now. It’s understandable. So, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject with thoughts from past posts. Because although depression may be hard to avoid in times like these, it can be minimized and only fleeting if you are vigilant.

First of all, we need to deal with our disappointment and the restrictions this pandemic has put on our lives. Our advanced technologies have led us to habitually expect that we can access our wishes immediately. Super-fast internet, instant downloads, and multi-functional cell phones give us the ability to have some level of access to whatever or whomever we want whenever we want. But life, in general, doesn’t work that way. As a result, we are experiencing tremendous frustration and impatience with a world that is not changing quickly and fulfilling our needs and wishes immediately. This can ultimately lead to depression or anger.

In my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, I touch upon some of the depressive episodes I have been through and some of the ways I have dealt with them. I also think Eckhart Tolle, in his book, The Power of Now, has hit upon the true source and the most effective ideas to combat depression as well as other mood disorders.

The first few ideas on his list are some of the most important, at least in my experience. They deal with becoming a watcher of one’s thoughts and redirecting the mind when we start to buy into the idea of being a depressed person:

  • Learn to recognize how your mind labels thoughts and sits in judgment so you know what ideas lie at the source of your pain.
  • Accept whatever the present moment contains as if you had chosen it.
  • The pain or depression wants you to unconsciously identify with it, allowing it to survive in your mind. If you are not a careful watcher of your thoughts then you may come to believe that you are a depressed person and then this becomes your identity.

Letting your mind create this depression identity will make it very difficult to get past the dark feelings and the pain because you will then believe this is who you are. But if you start with these first few ideas of Tolle’s, recognizing how your mind is working and seeing the present moment as something under your control, you can avoid the mindset that makes you think of yourself as a depressed person.

These ideas are true for any issues of mood. I choose to talk about them in terms of depression because that has been a difficult battle of mine. However, if you are dealing with anger, guilt, low self-esteem, fear, etc. watching your thoughts and taking control can help you with all types of painful moods and attitudes.

So, if you are depressed, don’t just live with it. Find its source, accept that it exists, and then aim to let it go. Give yourself goals and make plans you can look forward to. Eat healthy and whole foods as refined and sugary foods have been shown to feed depression. Get out and move and boost that serotonin and dopamine in your brain.

You may also want to turn off the TV, stop reading those dramatic headlines, and unsubscribe from all those pessimistic reports. Instead, read up on all the great success stories you can find on-line and in responsible and inspiring periodicals. You can, literally, change your mood by changing your view of the world as well as your mindset.

 

Our Short Lives Needs Big Passion

September 13, 2020 by  
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I just asked a printer to print a couple thousand copies of my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, since I ran out of copies to sell or give away. I was reading a bit of what I wrote many years ago and I was surprised to realize that the words in that book were reigniting my passion, so I wanted to share some of those words with you.

Let me start with Chapter 2 which is entitled, “Short Life needs BIG Passion”.

  • Life really is too darn short to live without passion.
  • Time squandered is wasted–gone forever!
  • Don’t be like those who, later in life, realize that they missed out on so many opportunities. I believe most people, when looking back at their lives, are in more pain over the things they didn’t do than over things they failed at while trying to do them.
  • We receive long-lasting benefit, and yes, even deep satisfaction from working hard and giving something worthwhile our all.
  • There are many who think the way to achieve satisfaction in life is by going after pleasure. They think that more and more pleasure will put more contentment in their lives. So sorry. It doesn’t work that way.
  • There’s a huge difference between deep, enduring satisfaction and fleeting pleasure; between passion and a good time. At a gut level you already know this. The pursuit of pleasure for its own sake leads to misery.
  • It’s also not easy to always remain at a high level of satisfaction and contentment with an effervescent passion for life. There are plenty of setbacks. Even, at times, huge fists of adversity may pound us in the face.
  • Setbacks and adversity often reveal to us the great lessons of life if we would just learn from them.
  • I’ve certainly had my share of setbacks, even tragedies. I wouldn’t choose to be faced with these tragedies but I must say that, since they did happen, they served as huge life lessons and wake-up calls that I don’t think I could have learned any other way.

Give these words some thought, set big goals, and go after them with all your energy and heart. You won’t be sorry!

 

And if you would like a copy of How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, you can get it here on my website.

 

 

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