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GBAs and PBAs

May 22, 2022 by  
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Just the other day, I was going through a ton of old stuff of mine. Most of it was old paperwork including my past journals in which I wrote mainly about my thoughts and actions, from work stuff to family trips.

I began reading a journal I wrote between 2003 and 2004. That brought back both good and bad memories. I particularly liked reading of my thoughts when going to a foreign country which always lifts my brain and body. I took my kids and, later, my grandkids on these trips. They were so much fun and always pushed my enjoyment of life to a higher level. It did the same for the kids and grandkids. When I just stay home and do almost nothing, the lack of activity causes me to get depressed.

In my journal, I wrote about Martin Seligman, and was reminded of his advice. Martin Seligman is a psychologist and author who gives talks and writes about positive psychology and what it can do for our well-being. He believes we should follow our passions, the type that takes us away to that wonderful place of total engagement. For me, that is usually writing. Amazingly enough, however, I spend so little time doing it these days!

Seligman believes it is vitally important, especially as an antidote to depression, to engage oneself in activities and projects that challenge us and cause us to think. That effort gratifies us as opposed to activities that take little or no thinking and require very little effort. For me, it is obvious that writing is in the first category of gratification-based activities, or GBA. That second category is pleasure-based activities, or PBA.

Here are two lists — one of gratification-based activities (GBA) and the other of pleasure-based activities (PBA). Which one do you think lifts the mind and body to a higher level?

PBA:

  • Watching T.V.
  • Shopping
  • Drinking at a bar
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Eating favorite foods
  • Back rubs/massages

GBA

  • Writing
  • Reading good books
  • Stimulating conversations
  • Playing tennis
  • Hiking in the mountains
  • Social gatherings

There are lots more on my list, but I don’t want to bore you. I’m sure you can make a great list of your own.

I should note that pleasure-based activities are not necessarily bad. The thing to remember is that when indulging in pleasures, you should try to enhance them by being very mindful and aware of what you’re doing, taking time to savor those pleasurable moments. It also helps to spread out the PBAs as well as change them up to keep them fresh and novel. The brain really loves novelty.

Paying attention to how the things we do in our life lifts our brains and bodies, or doesn’t, can help us to make better choices in how we spend our time. Pleasurable things are nice in the moment, but doing something that leaves us feeling gratified can give us a boost for days, weeks, or even years. We humans can, in fact, choose to change and lift our minds and find greater levels of gratification in so much of what we do.

Before We Lose It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Appreciate

August 1, 2021 by  
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As I was walking down our very long driveway to pick up the garbage cans, I looked up at the same sky I see every day, but this time I focused in on the absolutely beautiful blueness and the great billowy white clouds. It almost took my breath away. 

Probably the biggest reason that I was so moved is because for the last few days we’ve had thick, ugly, smoke-filled air caused by the huge fires in the western part of Utah and from all the way over on the west coast. Seeing the beautiful blue sky I had missed over the previous days just made me really appreciate it.

While I admired our clear skies, the thought hit me that there are so many times in our lives that we just take things for granted. The truth is, we often don’t really appreciate them until they are taken away from us.

That was certainly the case for me when the pandemic restrictions started to be pulled back. The lock downs took away my social life and, as I wrote several posts back, the pandemic restrictions made me realize how very important my social life and friends are in my life.

So, up until the day all that dirty air and smoke hit our city and state, I took all that good clean air for granted. Ugh! But now, wow, I notice and totally appreciate our beautiful sky and clear air. 

After this mental breakthrough, I started making a list of the many things I love but don’t always take time to appreciate. Here’s part of that list. The first 6 are all good “F” words:

1. Family, especially my wife

2. Friends

3. Freedom

4. Finances

5. Fun

6. Future

7. Health

8. A brain that works fairly well. (Okay, my wife may dispute that one!)

9. Home

10. Country

11. Nature

12. Kindness

I think I need to make more and more lists and review those lists and on a regular basis. I am sure that will lift my spirts and my life. I would encourage and challenge you to do the same!

The Power of Gratitude

May 9, 2021 by  
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It looks like we are slowly getting this COVID thing fixed, or at least we are making some progress. I must admit, I’m a pretty lucky guy. Not only did all my family make it through with no super serious problems, but there were some great rewards and big payments that lifted my brain and heart.

There is one type of big payment that comes to me constantly that I am so very grateful for. And no, I’m not talking about financial payments but something much more rewarding and pleasing, something that lifts my brain to a higher level. I’m talking about the messages of gratitude that so many of my blog and book readers send to me because the things I shared in my writing helped their lives.

There’s not a lot of things more rewarding in this life than gratitude and love from friends, family, and followers. I just received a great letter from a guy who calls himself Fixer Jay DeCima who thanked me for helping him. He writes books and training programs on profiting in real estate. You can find them at www.fixerjay.com. Also, there is the super billionaire, Dell Loy Hansen, that gives me credit for him making a fortune. His letter crediting me is in the front of the latest edition of my book, The Next Step to… Waking up the Financial Genius inside You.

These notes of thanks and words of gratitude come in randomly and, yep, they certainly lift my mind, body, and soul. There is almost nothing like that feeling in the world, and it’s so much more important than money. If you have experienced helping other people and then receiving thanks and gratitude from them, you know what I mean.

Also, this darn COVID thing has taught me a lot of lessons about the power and mind lifting benefit of being social and, especially, giving your friends and loved ones big hugs. Our social life and these experiences with gratitude and love drive, in a good way, our existence here on planet earth.

Now I’m not one to say that I know what happens to us after we die. I don’t know whether there is a next life or if we will live again with family and friends, but I do know that only a fool wouldn’t at least hope for that. So, my challenge to myself, and you, is that we take more time to express our gratitude and appreciation for other people and remember that these things are so important for a happy and fulfilling life on this planet earth.

The Neglected Key to a Long Life

October 25, 2020 by  
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I started to re-read the book entitled I’ve Decided to Live 120 YEARS: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Transformation written by Ilchi Lee. I’ve written about this book in a previous blog post but I didn’t mention an incredible statistic I learned about in these pages.

It turns out, you can do this very simple thing that, on average, can lengthen your life by 7.5 years. That conclusion was reached based on data from 143 studies with a total of 300,000 participants. In that previous post, I mostly talked about how a long and healthy life is primarily about eating nutritious foods and staying physically active but there’s a bit more you can do.

So, during my second read of the book, what really jumped out at me was something that I’ve not been doing much of since I retired. I’m kind of surprised that I’ve ignored this critical part of living a long life and I have suffered because of it.

What is it that I’ve ignored that could have possibly lengthened my life by 7.5 years? It’s this thing called a social life! Having and keeping a good strong and active social life does things to the brain including sending signals to various body parts that keep it healthy and helps you live longer.

When I retired, I let my social life slide down big time! I stopped going to the office and so I stopped seeing my coworkers, clients, partners and business associates. I also moved into a big house on the mountain side with no neighbors, so that made it even worse. And this COVID-19 has certainly not helped in the least. In addition, there’s no kids here at home anymore. It’s just me and the wife in our big, empty nest.

Lee says in his book, “The isolation of the elderly doesn’t only cause loneliness, it has been shown to have a negative impact on physical and mental health, increasing conditions like chronic disease, high blood pressure, depression, cognitive decline, and dementia”. In addition, he notes, “Having people around us with whom we can communicate on a heart-to-heart level may also reduce the effects of stress.”

We all want to be happy but things can quickly change when we suddenly retire–Lee goes on to say “People, especially as they get older, are experiencing deeper and more frequent forms of unhappiness in many spheres of life: chronic illnesses, alienation or disruption of personal relationships, weakening of economic power. Suddenly facing their social roles greatly reduced during retirement, people are likely to find their self-esteem withering away.”

Most of that has hit me hard so I’m here to tell you that, whether you are retired yet or not, it’s a good time to start making a list of plans and actions that you are going to take on when that day arrives and be sure an active social life is on there. Personally, I’m bound and determined to catch up and do just that!

In Lee’s book he also talks about another thing that can lengthen and make your life more pleasant and happy and it’s something that I’ve talked a lot about over the years – having a good strong purpose and hopes and dreams. I will talk more about those issues in my next week’s post.