Looking Back for Gratitude

May 28, 2023 by  
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Life can be so interesting, sometimes a bit crazy, and yet, still somewhat logical. However, when we look back at something that happened to us, our views can change over that time into something quite different, something that doesn’t seem all that logical but really isn’t all that crazy either.

I sure learned that recently. A week ago, I was walking in front of my house and, suddenly, I slipped on a wet spot and went down very hard. It was so hard and painful that l couldn’t stand up. Oh, the pain!

I kept trying to stand but just couldn’t get up. Fortunately,  I had my cell phone which I struggled to get out of my pocket. That caused even more pain. Finally, I got the phone out and called my wife who was in the house. She came out immediately and then struggled to help me get up. With her help I managed, but it wasn’t easy.  We went into the house, but the pain wasn’t going away, so Kimberly rushed me to the hospital where x-rays showed that I had cracked 4 or 5 ribs. They sent me home with pain pills but for more than a week now, the pain has interfered with so many things in my life.

One big lesson I was reminded of, again, since I’ve had similar upsetting events happen in recent years, is that we all should take time to appreciate the many things we have to be grateful for in our lives. I have many things to be grateful for, but I think we all could be helped by making a list of the good, and the great, things in our life. Do this then add to the list over time as you realize all the many things that you take for granted and don’t usually think about or feel thankful for until we lose them.

Life is filled with bad stuff that happens that we don’t see coming. It’s too bad we usually don’t take time to think of all the many good things we have in our life until after bad stuff happens. And that’s what I meant by looking back and seeing things that aren’t all that logical or crazy. How do we go about not realizing all the good things we have a lot more often?

So, I made a decision that I would think about all the good things in my life and, yes, I’m going to make a list of them and add to that the many wonderful experiences I’ve had in my life. And then I’m going to review that list from time to time so I remember them and can be more grateful more often.

My challenge to you, my readers, is to think about doing the same thing—list of all the good things in your life and then review that list from time to time, adding all the great things that you experience in your life, and be grateful. Then, next time you are hit with a bad event or a negative twist in your life, go back and re-read that list of all the good things you have. I’m preaching this to you but as I do that, I’m also preaching it to myself. Now let’s go make our lists.

Unique Humans

May 21, 2023 by  
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I’m sure that you would agree that no two lives are exactly the same. The same is true with personalities, physical fitness, intelligence, disabilities, routines, etc. I have always been amazed at how all humans are so unique. Sure, many of us are very similar to other people but we are never exactly the same. I’m pretty certain if you met someone that looked exactly like you and their thinking seemed to match yours as well, you’d be immensely surprised, maybe even shocked. I’ve lived in and visited countless cities in 94 countries and, of course, in my travels I met thousands of people, but I’ve never met another person just like me!

When it comes to travel, I have to say I owe my father big time for showing me how wonderful it can be. My father and I were very different, but he introduced me to travel and all the benefits it brings to a person and pretty much their entire lives. So even though I think my father and I are different in most ways, we both certainly learned to love travel and his sharing this passion turned out to be life changing for me, in very good ways.

When I was only 15, he took the whole family to Ankara, Turkey. It was because of a job change but it was still a pretty big deal to do that. And, wow, did that change my whole life and the way I see the world, for the better. Of course, it gave me the travel bug and it introduced me to all these different cultures, which I still find very exciting. That excitement pushed me to travel, and not just occasionally. So now, not only have I visited 94 different countries, that travel bug even motivated me to plan my honeymoon as a travel-around-the-world-in-28-days trip! That’s a trip I will never forget!

I am of the belief that if all humans traveled a lot and really experienced other cultures, it would make the world safer and so much better inasmuch as we would see and understand other people’s beliefs, practices, and cultural differences, allowing us to better appreciate and accept them. I do think that today’s technology is very helpful as we can get a better sense of how people live through TV, news, and online sharing.

Sure, the news, videos and other information also show the problems and highlight the bad in people but for the most part we can see how people in so many different countries are getting along, working to make a living, taking time off to have a good time, traveling, and going to exciting events, just like we do.

I think that all this information we have access to shows us the differences in our cultures, but we also get to learn how we are alike, and that opens our minds and our views. And seeing how we are alike can help us accept and appreciate the differences between all of us unique humans.

How Muscles Help Your Weight

May 14, 2023 by  
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There is one thing that almost all people pay some attention to which is very, very important for our lives. In fact, if you pay a lot of attention to this one very important thing, you most likely will live much longer. And what is that one thing that can help give us a longer and better life? It’s a healthy weight.

Watching our weight and keeping it at the right levels usually makes our lives much more enjoyable, healthier, and longer. Thankfully, there are a lot of things we can do that can keep our weight where it should be and, wow, that can really help make for a great life.

Most kids don’t pay a lot of attention to their weight and eat everything they want. When we get a little bit older—like in our teens—we pay more attention to how we look and try to eat the right foods in order to become more active in sports or to look better. But a healthy weight is good for us, no matter our age.  

I was quite surprised when I discovered that your muscles can actually help you lose weight or keep you at a good weight. Most of us don’t realize that doing things like working out, weightlifting, and even just plain old walking can help with our weight management, not just because these burn calories but because they build muscle.

As we age, it is very common for people to stop working on their muscles all that much, at least until they come to the understanding that building or maintaining a lot of muscle helps their health big time. One of the challenges we have as we age is a loss of muscle which can contribute to gaining more fat. We lose muscle because, as we get older, our muscles wear down and that along with often being less active in our 50s, 60s, and 70s means our muscles are getting smaller and with that comes weight gain as our calories go to fat instead of being burned by muscle.

One of the best types of food we can consume to help us build muscle, get rid of a lot of fat, and control our weight is protein. There are a lot of studies that have shown that eating plenty of protein—like 25 to 30 grams first thing in the morning and then the same amount for lunch and dinner—along with lots of moving and lifting weights–will help you keep and build your muscle and burn fat. Some great, healthy foods that are high in protein include fish, chicken, lean beef, eggs, soy, beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, nuts, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, cheese, and milk.

When it comes to exercise, you don’t have to run to burn fat or build muscle. A lot of walking and staying very active helps build muscle which helps you burn more fat. I usually walk 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day and it’s done wonders for my health. It makes me feel so good in addition to helping me maintain my ideal weight while sending more blood to the brain which helps our memory and thinking.

So, let’s all of us humans work out regularly and eat more protein so we can look forward to a longer life and a healthier body.

Re-Start Your L-Factor

May 7, 2023 by  
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Last week I started talking about the many important points in my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. One of the really big ones is in the chapter entitled, “Clone Yourself with the Amazing L-Factor.” So, what is that L-Factor? It’s all about making lists!

Show me any super-successful person who has accomplished big things and I’ll show you an accomplished list maker. There is something magical that happens in our brains when we reduce our desires to a list. When we write those items down, it’s like our brains push us to act on them and won’t let us go until we do it.

Of the many specific techniques that have huge value in helping catapult a person to the top of whatever they’re going after, I have to say that list making is at, or near, the top of that list. It’s just flat-out amazing how much more enhanced your life will become and how many more dreams and goals you will be able to achieve by using lists. In addition, daily task lists or to-do lists are the key to keeping track of accomplishing all the bite-size components into which you’ve broken down your big picture goals.

For instance, a number of years back, I talked about how important that first hour of your day can be as the book, The Miracle Morning, talks about. Getting tons done in that first hour can be helped by using that L-factor as well. Just make a list, before you go to bed, of the items and tasks that you want to address in those first 60 minutes. You can break it down to six 10 minute items or four 15 minutes tasks, but no matter how you do it, making a list can, and will, greatly increase the odds of you following through on what you want to accomplish.

So, if you have gotten away from that ole list making habit, it’s probably a good time to re-start making lists in order to drive yourself to get lots of stuff done. And I don’t mean just for that first hour of the day, but make lists for everything, especially your big, huge goals, and read over your list often, checking off those items that you’ve accomplished to give you a boost by seeing how much you’ve accomplished. Then you can give yourself a nice pat on the back for getting the job done!

Life’s Lessons in Failing

April 30, 2023 by  
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17 years ago, I wrote a letter for an advertisement that introduced a book I wrote. I then sent the letter to many friends and followers. I started with this:

Dear friend and reader,

This is my new book on the subject of GOAL SETTING–which I strongly believe I owe my prosperous lifestyle to!

And I still believe that! The book is also full of great stuff that is as useful today as it was then. The book I’m talking about is called How to Ignite Your Passion for Living and I still sell it here.

One of the highlights of the book is the stuff about trying, even if you might fail. It doesn’t take much thought to realize that life is really is too short to not try so we can live our lives with more passion!

Don’t be like those who look back on their lives and realize that they missed out on so many opportunities. The poet Alfred Tennyson said, “It’s better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would’ve happened if I had tried.” I do believe most of us would be happier to try and fail than never try at all.

Why is that? I think it’s basic human nature to want those long-lasting good feelings we get from success and, even if we fall short of our objective, knowing we tried. And yes, I certainly had my share of failures and tragedies. But I wouldn’t have it any other way because there is so much to learn from failure if we are paying very close attention. We have the opportunity to realize why we failed and what to do in the future so it won’t happen again that way.

Setting big goals in things that you are interested in is one of the biggest contributors to igniting your passion, even if you fail. I hope you see this and go for those big goals and other things that you want to do with your life. And, as I always preach, be sure to write your goals down. By doing that you are much more likely to achieve those goals. It really works!

Remember, if you fail, don’t give up. Keep trying and study what happened and why so you can keep it from happening again. That’s my challenge to you and to myself. I am, right now as I write this, recovering from heart surgery and doing great but even with this, I will still set some big goals to create more passion in my life!

My Amazing Heart Helper

April 23, 2023 by  
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Life can be so unreal sometimes. For the most part, life is predictable, but sometimes we are hit with big surprises, good and bad.

For example, I just got hit with a big surprise and not a good one. After having my heart checked recently, the doc called and told me that I needed a procedure, and it should be done soon.

What was it that needed to be fixed? Well, the scan they did showed that my heart was not beating correctly. So, they told me that I had to go to the hospital and have an ICD. Of course, I asked what an ICD was. ICD stands for Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. It’s like a pacemaker but it does more than that. I was in shock at this. I have been in very good health for a long time and had no idea there was this kind of problem going on inside me.

So, what did I do? I went ahead and scheduled an appointment at the hospital and a few days later the doctors did their job, and a great job they did. I went home from the hospital the very next day and have felt fine ever since then. Now I knew why I had been so out of breath when climbing a bunch of stairs.

What they had done was very interesting. They cut a small hole in my chest then placed a very, very small computer device in my heart, complete with a few wires put down into some of my veins. This device monitors the heart to keep it beating with a regular rhythm and its one small battery lasts about 7 years before it needs to get replaced. I was so impressed that all that could be implanted and set up so fast. And the recovery was very easy.

So, after all that was done, I talked to my kids and grandkids and told them that now I have a better computer than they do, so they’d better watch out for me because I might be as smart or smarter than them. They got a big laugh out of that.

Isn’t it absolutely amazing what humans can figure out? So many inventions are absolutely incredible, and many of them have changed our world and our lives to make things better and to help us to live longer and in good health.

I now want to wish all my readers “good health” and encourage all of you to check into and do research on the latest discoveries that help us live longer and stronger and healthier than ever.

The Wonder of Work

April 16, 2023 by  
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I’ve been talking a lot about retirement and how to keep busy and motivated. Not only is it helpful to create more goals, it’s also really smart to become friends with a word we mostly think of as a bad thing–work.

In the book, When All You Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough, Harold Kushner lists the many super benefits of working. He notes that, “we work for meaning as much as for money. We work so that our days will not be empty of meaning, but the key to our happiness, to our being able to find pleasure in our work, is the sense that we are using our abilities, not wasting them, and that we are being appreciated for it. Whatever it is in your power to do, do it with all your might.”

Wow. There is some real wisdom and truth in what he is saying and, of course, that’s a big reason we all should be involved in the kind of work that we have a real passion for, even if that kind of work doesn’t pay much. Kushner says, “If we are lucky, we will find ourselves at a place in life where we can derive pleasure from our work. Some of us, if we are lucky, will see ourselves launched on new careers in mid-life which will give us that elusive feeling of pleasure.”

Kushner, paraphrasing a couple lines from Ecclesiastes in the bible, also wrote, “If you are not going to win a Nobel Prize for your work, if it is not going to make you rich and famous, it still can give meaning to your life if you take it seriously and do it with all your might.”

I am absolutely convinced that work is a powerful and wonderful thing for our lives and makes us feel so much better about everything. As the novelist Wallace Stegner said, “More people than would probably admit it find in work the scaffolding that holds up their adult lives.”

After I read Kusher’s book some 12 years ago, I began to re-dedicate and re-motivate my life with the work I loved to do. Of course, I still spend plenty of time enjoying life so I’ll keep playing and traveling but let’s face it, you can’t realistically play tennis, work out, hike in the mountains, and watch movies for 8 to 10 hours a day, every day, but you can work that long!

In other words, if you’re feeling bored or aimless, you can find great fulfillment in the accomplishments found in hard work. You can also meet fascinating people, contribute to humanity and, as an added bonus, make a bit more money along the way. So don’t try to get away from work. See it as another wonderful thing that can lift your life to great new heights.

Refire Your Life

April 9, 2023 by  
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I’ve written a bit about retirement recently, and how it kind of kicked me in the face, mostly because I hadn’t made enough plans or lined up enough activities to fill my life and all those hours that were suddenly open and free. The big problem was I hadn’t realized I needed to plan all those “to do” things so, instead of enjoying being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I found myself going a bit crazy.

This really surprised me but I hadn’t really thought about how important a routine, a purpose, or a to-do list was. Once I started to understand what was missing, I did set up new goals and tried to come up with, and stick to, a daily and weekly routine and it worked for me. Well, at least somewhat. There were still tough days to deal with.

Then, recently, I came across a book—I think one of my kids gave it to me. Its title, Refire! Don’t Retire, really grabbed me, as did the subtitle, Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life, by Ken Blanchard and Morton Shaevitz.  It’s a great book that has motivated me to plan more, set better routines, and go after more in life.

The author outlines four keys to the best life: Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, and Spiritual. This made me look closer at each of these areas of my life.

After reading this great book I concluded that I certainly couldn’t play tennis, my favorite game, all day, every day, so I decided to look at other things I could do that would give me great satisfaction and use up my free time.

When I stopped to really look, wow, did I find plenty of things to put on my list. There is everything from spending more time planning stuff with my family and friends to going out of my way to meet new people. Then I also thought, “Wait a darn minute. What have I always loved to do and now can do even more of? That big something that I’ve always loved is traveling. Yes, it takes money and can take quite a bit of work to plan, but that is just another thing I get to do with my free time.

I’ve found, over the years, that traveling to new places expands and excites the mind and we can all learn so much from looking at and being with other cultures and in other countries. It really does open up your life.

Then another thought that I haven’t followed through on yet, but I will, is to do more coaching and teaching of others, young or old, about the things I’ve learned about life and living. I want others to know that life is fun and fulfilling but it really does help to help others. I’ve had so many people come up to me or write to thank me for showing them the way to make a fortune and the many ways there are to expand their lives. Doing that has been the most rewarding part of all. It is better than money even.

Big Time Persistence

April 2, 2023 by  
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One of the best kept secrets to big time success is focus, focus, focus. And persistence. These apply to so many things, especially wealth and health. If you do a lot of thinking on the things you want to do in life, whether it’s a huge goal or small, whether you want it to happen in the next hour or month or year, it is super critical for you to take time to think it through, do some planning, set goals, and put it on a time schedule. Do this and you may be big time surprised at how much you can get done.

There are certain things you can do that can almost guarantee your success if you stay on track, focus, and are persistent. In addition to writing your goals and dreams down, read, read, read articles, books and anything else that tells you about the success of others that wanted to do what you want to accomplish. Reading their stories should motivate you to get going and go after your goals.

Next, go out of your way to meet those people that have done what you want to do. Just be persistent, and when you meet them, pick the brains of those super successful people. I’ve done this with so many of my goals and it really works.

Okay, it’s not easy to do all this but persistence is one of the keys to making this happen so keep up that persistence. You can start with friends and family who have been successful. Once you’ve picked their brains and discovered how useful it is, this should supercharge you to go out and find others. 

So head out and find the people that have done the kinds of things you want to be doing. You will discover that there are some super successful people who love to coach and will give great advice on how they made it big. Maybe you can even get them to make you a list of what worked for them. Most super successful  people love to coach and be a mentor for other people who are really sincere about doing what they did.
For next week’s blog post, I want to share with you my story about all the many things and people that helped me big time, and I want to do the same for you!

The Time for Gratitude is Now

March 19, 2023 by  
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In the past few days, it’s been very shocking to see in the news all the damage left by these huge storms we’ve had lately all over the world. The damage wasn’t what most people expected and so many didn’t see it coming but then it hit, quickly and so very powerfully that thousands of people lost their homes, businesses, and for some, sadly, their lives.

What we humans experience hits us at all different levels but sometimes what hits us the most is the loss of things we’ve taken for granted. It’s only then, after we lose them, that we realize we haven’t given much thought and appreciation for all that we have. Everything from small possessions to big things like a best friend or family member can be lost in an instant.

I have experienced this many times in my life. There were big losses, but I also lost many small things that I’ve felt kind of stupid for not being very grateful for when I had them. There are things, like being healthy,  that don’t seem like a big deal when you have it, but it can be devasting when you lose even small parts of it. I have been realizing that a lot lately, that great health is something we need to always be grateful for. We need to take notice every day and be thankful for our good health and well-being.

If you take a look at our lives here in the good ole USA, compared with most other countries in the world, wow, we have it so good here! We really ought to take time to notice all the good things we have in our lives right now and not wait until we lose them to appreciate them.

Recently it struck me hard that I have not taken enough time to appreciate so many things.  One of the big things that was taken away from me, that I realized I always took for granted, was my ability to play tennis.

I took up the sport when I was 35 years old and was given lessons by a former professional that had big time success and even played at Wimbledon, a tournament considered one of 4 greatest in the world. I was later in many big tourneys myself, receiving 2 gold medals at the annual Huntsman World Senior Games. I even met some of the game’s greatest and most famous players like Roger Federer and Andrew Agassi while hanging out in the player’s lounge at that tournament.

Then my time playing some pretty good tennis all changed when I had an unforeseeable accident, falling so hard that I was knocked out for over 15 minutes. Talk about things I took for granted! I didn’t really appreciate all those great games I got to play and all the tournaments I was able to win until I lost my ability to play. I could hardly hit the ball or even run.

Luckily, I have able to start playing again and I am loving it. Not being able to for a time made me realize how very important it is to take time to appreciate all the good things in life and do that before something hits you hard and changes everything, for the moment or even forever. In other words, let’s all appreciate the good things, big and small, when we have and do that before we lose it.

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