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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.

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

Writing Down the Urgent Stuff

February 16, 2020 by  
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Last week I wrote about how important it was to write down your goals, your intentions, your dreams, and your to do lists. Why do that? Because if you do, the odds that you will follow through and complete those tasks and dreams increases big time.

There are many other benefits to writing. If you commit your dreams to paper, or on a document in your computer, for some strange reason, the act of writing your fears and negative thoughts down helps you  deal with those bad thoughts and then you can more easily  overcome them.

So, getting into the habit of not only writing your good dreams and goals down but also those fears and negative feelings we all have, can become a huge asset in your life.

Here’s 17 questions from a list in Ilchi Lee’s wonderful book I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years. Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers.

  1. What things have I achieved in my life?
  2. When was I most joyful?
  3. When were things most trying?
  4. How did I overcome hardship in those trying moments, and what did I learn through them?
  5. What moments in my life do I regret?
  6. When did I do things that made me feel proud and that I found rewarding?
  7. What momentary choices became opportunities that changed my life?
  8. What values did I try to remain true to throughout my life?
  9. What goals have I had so far?
  10. What motivated me to establish those goals?
  11. Which of my goals have I had so far?
  12. Which of my goals have I achieved?
  13. Which goals have I failed to achieve?
  14. Who has had the greatest impact on my life?
  15. With whom have I shared my gratitude?
  16. With whom do I have emotional issues that I need to resolve?
  17. Which of my habits do I want to keep and develop?

Lee goes on to say, “If possible, write down your thoughts about these questions. Organizing them in writing and not just thinking about them will help you unravel the tangle of thoughts rolling around in your head.”

Like Mr. Lee’s book, Henriette Klauser’s book, Write It down, Make It Happen, makes some of the same points. Klauser likewise emphasizes how absolutely critical it is to get into the habit of writing your goals and dreams down, explaining how, “putting it on paper alerts the part of the brain known as the reticular activating system to join in the play.”

She goes on to explain this mechanism. “At the base of the brain, about the size of a little finger, is a group of cells whose job it is to sort and evaluate incoming data. This control center is known as the reticular activating system (RAS}. The RAS sends the urgent stuff to the active part of your brain and sends the nonurgent to the subconscious. The RAS awakens the brain to consciousness and keeps it alert.”  So, if you write something down, then it becomes the urgent stuff and your brain will keep it accessible to the active part of your mind.

Hope I’m not getting too scientific but knowing all about the RAS and what good it does all of us should be good motivation to keep writing our goals and dreams down. So now we know, when it comes to bad feelings, ideas, or worries, paper is a good place to park those negative mind games.

The Lasting Joy of Family Time

August 5, 2011 by  
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This week was a very big week at the Haroldsen household. We had 70 plus people here for a big Haroldsen/Baird reunion. It gets a little stressful preparing for these big family events but during and afterwards, the warmth, the joy and the closeness I feel to all these wonderful people in my life is just priceless.

When we get busy and have such a sharp focus on our goals and dreams, we can sometimes forget the very reason we are working so hard. Yes, personal fulfillment is usually a primary motivator, but our families and close friends are what make that personal fulfillment so gratifying. Sharing what you’ve accomplished and seeing how it improves or enhances the lives of the ones you love is what truly makes all the effort so worthwhile.

If you don’t have plans to get together with family and loved ones soon, I’d really encourage you to plan something. Take time to share what you’ve done, let them encourage and support you, and give yourself the chance to encourage and support them as well. It’s these kinds of experiences that we always remember and, looking back, give us the greatest and most lasting joy.