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A Very Special Message

April 21, 2024 by  
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We are sorry to report that Mark had a big fall earlier this month and hurt his head which has left his thinking a bit foggy. Because of this, Mark requested of his team that we rework and offer old posts for you while he focuses on mending. However, Mark just celebrated a very special day in his life and his family decided they wanted this post to be special as well.  So here are some very heartfelt thoughts about an exceptional man you know as Mark O. Haroldsen from his son Marcus.

Mark (MOH) and his kids: Front going clockwise around MOH – Cammy, Mark Ed, George, Marcus, Dave, and Nicky.

We all celebrate things in our life, whether it’s a baby being born, a wedding, a birthday, a new job, a big move, or a special relationship. It’s part of what we do, as a species, to recognize and generate joy in our lives.

Earlier this month we had just such an occasion for none other than Mark O. Haroldsen, celebrating his life as he turned 80! That’s a lot of revolutions around the sun, probably too much birthday cake, and a whole lot of life to be grateful for! Since Mark is celebrating his 80th birthday this month, I thought it might be a nice little change to jump in here and share a few things with you from the perspective of one of Mark’s family members.

In these past 80 years, Mark has seen more than his share of world issues, changing economic conditions, family and health issues, love, and loss. He has been a part of many organizations, been on TV multiple times, written a number of bestselling books, and dedicated time every week for nearly 15 years to writing this blog. With all that he has seen and done though, his love of people is what shines brightest. In the recent days and weeks, we’ve heard so many stories from so many people illustrating the connection, friendship, genuine love, and kindness he has shown others.

We all strive in some way or another to create joy in our life, yet often those things that we seek aren’t where we find the greatest joy and love. Human connection is part of our nature, but we all do it differently, and that’s okay! Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert like Mark, we each have our own unique way of expressing ourselves and connecting.

Years ago, I saw this firsthand with my dad. I had gone to the airport to pick him up, and as soon as I saw him, he began to introduce me to some people he was with. His friendly tone and jovial demeanor with these unfamiliar people, made me confidently conclude that these were long lost friends. He traveled frequently in those days and knew so many people at the airport. Whether they were baggage handlers or some form of concierge, Mark got to know a wide variety of people the various airports he frequented.

Wanting to confirm my assumption, I interrupted the introductions to find out how these unfamiliar people knew my dad. Their answer was something along the lines of, “Oh, he just started talking to us on the plane. He is so nice. He gave us this book and he gave each of my kids a $2 bill.” The smiles on their faces showed the joy they had on the flight because of Mark’s kindness and his uncanny ability to talk to anyone, anywhere.

Mark has given us many examples of how to befriend and accept others. From a young man that he played tennis with in Germany who became a lifelong friend to the family, to the exchange student who enjoyed a summer with us and likewise has remained a close family friend, Mark’s ability to make people feel welcome and accepted is inspiring. While some impromptu invites he offer while on vacation led to just casual and entertaining meals, others resulted in all present becoming so close that you’d think they were blood relatives.

There is so much joy to be shared in making these connections. So, as Mark celebrates his 80th birthday this week, as well as working to get back to full strength and health, I hope we can each spread MOH love and think of his examples in befriending others and letting people know that we care. Cheers to each of you and thank you for allowing me to interrupt the usual weekly blog. Mark will be back soon to continue to share his thoughts and build his connection with you.

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.

Reinventing Yourself

November 5, 2023 by  
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of reinventing yourself. If you’ve done this before, just think back on that great feeling of fulfillment brought about by the process of reinventing yourself. Although it’s not something we do all the time, it can be a huge boost to your life when you do.

Let’s take the physical part of our lives for example. Think about pushing yourself to lose weight and get in great physical shape at age 45, 55, or even 65. Building muscle, staying lean, and gaining flexibility can improve your health to the max. But can it be done?

Sure it can! Is it easy? Of course not. If it was, everyone would do it. But is it worth it? Well, that all depends on you because I’m not saying a super health goal is the only way to go. What goal you have that pushes you to reinvent yourself is up to you. Maybe it’s a whole new career, starting a new company, sailing the South Pacific, or any one of a hundred different things. But whatever you choose, at whatever age, it all can be done and it is so well worth it. And while you reinvent and redefine your life, you will also be reinvigorated, giving so much more life to your, well, life!

Now, reinventing yourself doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and a lot of effort to redesign your life. It takes setting your mind on your goal and the changes you want to make and sticking with it. But, oh, the results you can gain! The results are a life that is so well worth the wait and all the hard work.

Right now, take a few moments to imagine your own ideal life.

  • What does it look like?
  • How does it feel?
  • Who’s there with you to share and enjoy it?
  • Where are you going to live?
  • How are you going to vacation?
  • What are you going to give back to the world? (You have probably noticed that when your give to others it raises your mood and happiness levels so much.)
  • How are you really going to make a real difference in your life?

Now, please know this — you can have all that you just imagined, exactly like you visualized, if, for one, you want it bad enough and, secondly, you are willing to make a plan, write it down, and follow the steps that you outline. I can’t pretend that reinventing yourself is easy, but all the best stuff we do for ourselves in life usually comes from hard work which just makes reaching those goals that much more fulfilling.

Beyond the Average

September 3, 2023 by  
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Over the years, I have written a lot about goal setting and how it can change and improve your brain and life. Am I saying that if you spend a little time setting a few goals then lots of benefits will automatically flow to you? No, I’m not saying that.

What I am saying is, if you seriously want to improve your life, you can, but it takes effort. With enough intense time spent thinking about how your life has been in the past and what you want it to be in the future, you will lift your mind and body to a new and higher level. And that’s over and above the real successes you will derive from goal setting.

Ask yourself, “What do I really want out of life?” I’m pretty sure you don’t want to, as Henry David Thoreau said, “live lives of quiet desperation,” as seems to be the case with most people.

Hinduism tells us that every human being wants four things: pleasure, success, a responsible discharge of duty, and liberation. But you have to find your own version of these things.

To help you figure that out, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you want your life to be just another life?

2. Do you want to be average?

3. Do you want to make a difference in this world?

4. Does accomplishment mean a lot to you?

5. Do you want to become a better you, a better person?

6. Do you want to be in great physical and mental shape with ideal health your entire life?

7. Do you want to live a very long active life?

8, Do you want to make a fortune –a million dollars, or ten million, or even a hundred million? (Think what good you could do with that money!)

9. Do you want more choices in your life, the kind that making your own fortune could give you?

10. Do you want to leave the world a better place than you found it?

11. Do you want to help others as you help yourself?

12. Do you want to travel and experience the entire world and its cultures?

13. Do you want to substantially raise your level of contentment and fulfillment?

I dare say there’s not a single human on the planet that has not, at one time or another, entertained some great big dream for their life. What have you thought about and dreamed about doing? Are you doing things that will lead you to that goal now, things that will lift your life along with the lives of your friends and family?

There’s no reason to live a life of quiet desperation. You just need those goals and to take those steps to move your life beyond the average.

The Great Gift of Travel

August 13, 2023 by  
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For many years, I have preached about how great travel is for the human brain and body. To visit new places or countries lifts or expands the mind so much and can help you understand and accept the differences between us and people from other countries and totally different cultures, beliefs, religions, and political views. I strongly believe that travel makes the world a much better place for you and your children and your grandchildren.

I was introduced to travel at a very young age when my father was assigned to a job in Turkey to help people there get more out of what they were doing for a living. Mostly he showed them how to improve their production, whether it was farming, ranching or writing their own story. He did a great job and helped lot of people.

That experience, and our family traveling to nearby countries like Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Italy, France, England, and many more, really grew my love of travel. Those experiences motivated me, later in life, to travel to many other places. I have now traveled to 95 countries!!

For example, earlier this year Kimberly and I visited Barcelona, Vigo, and Cadiz in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal, La Harve and South Hampton in England, and when that all was done, we took that fantastic train ride that goes under the English Channel to Paris, France!

Then just last week we got back from a celebration of my upcoming 80th birthday with all my kids and grandkids — 38 of us all together. I took them on a European Disney cruise! What a great birthday gift. Well, oops, I was the one who paid for it all, but it was worth every penny.

When you want to give a great and powerful gift, it’s my opinion that one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids, grandkids, and even friends is the wonderful gift of travel to new and different places. It doesn’t matter if those new places are just new states or cities that they have never been to. It’s still a new experience that will lift their minds and spirits.

My advice to you, my readers, is that you think about what kind of traveling you’ve done recently and maybe look for different places that you can take your loved ones and friends. I can guarantee that they will remember those trips and thank you for the rest of their lives, especially those young kids. It’s a super gift that they can’t just throw away like stuff you might give them. It lasts a lifetime!

Thats my challenge to you — give the gift of travel and I’m pretty sure you will enjoy the experience immensely in giving it, traveling, and seeing how much your family and friends will love it!

All the Humans We Meet

August 6, 2023 by  
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So, we’ve been traveling again. I just got back from a couple weeks in Europe. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I love to travel because of the stimulation it gives my mind and my spirit. The newness of the experiences and the variety of the places and cultures all combine to inspire and energize me. But there is one thing I don’t find much different from place to place–people.

As much as we might want to imagine it, people around the world are, at their center, pretty much the same. I know that, in my experience, most people are good and kind and want to help regardless of race, religion, or country. We all have this binding similarity that is all too easily forgotten—that we are all human and we all want the same basic thing… to be happy.

That’s why it’s so upsetting when I see in the news about people segregating themselves from each other. Whether it’s one culture feeling distrusting another culture or the one political party trying to make it look like members of the other political party are another species, these divisions just make it harder for us to understand each other. It really makes no sense for us to think this way and, even worse, to teach our kids to think this way.

What would really help is for us all to stop and think that each individual person and realize that we all have the capacity for love and caring as well as hate and anger. Everyone we meet is someone’s child as well as someone’s friend and maybe even a mother or father or sibling. Each of us struggles with pain and misunderstanding. We all have dreams and desires. That is who these other’ people are–not a complete stranger but someone that is an awful lot like ourselves.

Knowing this I am not at all surprised to find, as I travel, smiling faces and kind gestures in every country and every culture I get to experience. I think if we expect animosity, we will find animosity, but if we expect compassion and generosity, it will be there for us to find. So, let’s all try to get past these divisions and try to understand that, like us, these other people we hear about or meet as we travel, they are struggling, wonderful humans too.

As much as we might want to imagine it, people around the world are, at their center, pretty much the same. I know that, in my experience, most people are good and kind and want to help regardless of race, religion, or country. We all have this binding similarity that is all too easily forgotten—that we are all human and we all want the same basic thing… to be happy.

That’s why it’s so upsetting when I read in the news about people segregating themselves from each other. Whether it’s one culture feeling hurt by what they are told about how another culture sees them or the one political party trying to make it look like members of the other political party are another species, it really makes no sense and is not helpful to keep pushing that division.

What would really help is for us all to stop and think that each individual person and realize that we all have the capacity for love and caring as well as hate and anger. Everyone we meet is someone’s child as well as someone’s friend and maybe even a mother or father or sibling. Each of us struggle with pain and misunderstanding. We all have dreams and desires. That is who these other’ people are, not a complete stranger but someone that is an awful lot like ourselves.

Knowing this I am not at all surprised as I travel to meet smiling faces and kind gestures in every country and every culture I get to experience. I think if we expect animosity, we will find animosity, but if we expect compassion and generosity, it will be there for us to find. So, let’s all try to get past these divisions and try to understand that, like us, they are human too.

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.

Where My Success Comes From

December 25, 2022 by  
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Last week, I wrote about some of my success and how terrible it was to get sued by the government. It was a time of huge stress but, in the long run, the judge ruled that I was totally innocent of any wrongdoing. This week I want to give you, the reader, some of my background and what led me to my multi-million-dollar successes.

So much of my success has been based on my constant goal setting and the idealism that exists at the core of the American dream. Combining that with proven elements of timing and perseverance, as well as good old luck, I created products that struck a chord with millions of people.

My first public success came in the form of a book that sold over 1.5 million copies. All those books were sold from my advertisements in newspapers and magazines, so I ended up with the locations and addresses of most of those buyers. That gave me a great mailing list. I later sent out huge mailings asking those people to sign up for my monthly newsletter, which, in turn, brought in a huge monthly income.

My book, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You, helped many, many people achieve their financial goals when they took part in the notion that free enterprise works if you’re willing to give it all you’ve got!

So, when I hit it big time, I had this thought—how did a boy who managed mediocre grades in school and struggled through numerous dead-end jobs come up with a combination of ideas that empowered thousands and made Mark O. Haroldsen a millionaire?

I was born in Portland, Oregon on April 8th, 1944, to Edwin Haroldsen and Kathryn Baird Haroldsen. I had three sisters and three brothers. My parents were wonderful people who taught me tons of stuff that helped me tremendously. My father worked for newspapers as a writer and moved our family many times. He grew up on an Idaho Falls farm but later got a great university education, which gave him terrific credentials and helped our family travel the world.

As a kid we traveled to many countries, and it gave me the travel bug. I graduated from high school in Iowa after going to an American high school in Ankara, Turkey. Those days with the family traveling to Turkey, France, and England were so thrilling for me. I later traveled with my wife around the world. To date, I have visited more than 90 countries. Travel certainly can and does expand the human mind.

I want to share more of my story and maybe give you the incentive to travel. It can add so much to your life. So, I will continue with that theme in next week’s blog.

The Power of Personal Questioning

December 4, 2022 by  
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Last week I talked about having a great passion and how, especially when you lose that passion, it can be really hard to move forward and chase what you want. The uncertainty and fear and can be such a big hurdle. So, as I promised in my last post, here are some things you can do to move forward.

First of all, doing some writing for yourself can be a huge boost in helping you reach your goals and improve your life. Ask yourself specific questions, like the ones below, then, don’t just think about them. Write down the thoughts that these questions bring up to make them more substantial and harder to ignore.

  • Do I want to significantly raise my level of contentment and fulfillment?
  • Do I want to become a better person?
  • Do I want to be known as a person of accomplishment?
  • Do I want to be in great physical and mental shape with ideal health my entire life?
  • Do I want to live a very long, active life?
  • Do I want to make a fortune—a million dollars, $10 million, or even $100 million? (Just think how much good you could do with that much money!)
  • Do I want the increased choices and possibilities in my life that making my own fortune could give me?
  • Do I want to leave the world a better place than I found it?
  • Do I want to help others as I help myself?
  • Do I want to travel and experience the world and its cultures?

Again, write down your honest responses to these self-searching questions. Develop some of your own “life questions” and answer those as well.

If it’s really about the missing passion in your life or because you are feeling unfulfilled, try answering these questions instead of, or in addition to, the ones above.

  • What do you have a true passion for in your life?
  • What part of your recent or past life—even during your childhood—really got you excited, to the point that you totally lost track of time when involved in it?
  • Think about specific things you love and how they make you feel. Do you get excited about music, art, ballet, sports, outdoor adventures, writing, gatherings, social interactions, running your own small business, helping others…?
  • What kind of breakthrough would you be ecstatic to have in your life right now? Would it be in the area of health, wealth, personal expression, spiritual development, or something else?
  • In what would you love to excel?

Think about all that. You may find, after taking time to really go through all your interests, that you have many unfulfilled passions. Which ones do you get the most excited about?

After all this questioning, take some time to contemplate and think about it, then write down what you believe to be your true, unfulfilled passions.

If you are doing something you are passionate about, there are a few more questions you should ask.

  1. Am I actually doing that special something that I have a great passion for?
  2. If so, am I doing it for the right reasons?
  3. What are those reasons?

Asking questions gives us the opportunity to really come to understand ourselves, what we are thinking, and maybe even what we want. But mostly, asking and writing our thoughts down make them more concrete and can jumpstart a plan to get more out of life, to find or chase a passion you may have been ignoring because you were afraid, uncertain, or just let life distract you.

The new year is just around the corner, so this is the perfect time to define what you want and start in on a plan to make that happen for you so you are living a fulfilling and passionate life in 2023.

Safe in the Skies

November 6, 2022 by  
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Anybody that knows me knows that I love to travel. I’ve been to 94 countries, and I still hope to go to all 195 countries on this planet, if I live long enough! That leaves me only 101 more counties to visit. I don’t need to worry about going to Russia or Ukraine right now since I’ve already visited them. Plus, I love to visit new places since it excites my mind and totally energizes me.

One of the other reasons I love to travel is that I love to fly. It’s so amazing to me that there are so many people that are very, very afraid to fly and try to completely avoid it. I can somewhat understand that since any time a plane crashes and people perish, it frightens many of us.

I recently experienced that fear myself as my wife and I flew back from Washington state where we attended my wife’s mother’s funeral. About an hour into our flight, we hit a huge windstorm that threw the plan around big time. It went up and down and even on its side. I can’t say I wasn’t worried. That huge windstorm threw that plane around so much that I thought it might rip a wing off or at least break a few windows.

The captain finally announced that we needed to turn around and head north to get out of the storm. We ended up landing in Idaho falls, about 200 miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah, our destination. We stayed on the airplane there for over an hour, but then took off again for Salt Lake and landed safely. 

Upon leaving, the head flight attendant told us she’d been flying for over 18 years and had never experienced a windstorm that powerful. She confessed that she was scared to death that we would crash. That was both surprising and comforting because it showed how unusual our experience was.

I have over one million miles on Delta airlines and, yes, I still love the idea of flying. One reason I keep flying with little thought or fear is that the statistics on airline safety are incredible and you get to your destination so much faster than driving, which is much more dangerous. Your odds of dying in a car crash are 1 in 114 as a driver and 1 in 654 as a passenger, while the chances of meeting your end in a plane crash are 1 in 9821.

I should also note that those plane statistics include small planes which, compared to commercial flights, have a high accident and crash rate. Even so, they are still much safer than driving a car. There are only 2 small plane accidents a week while there are over 100,000 car accidents a week. The biggest cause of small plane crashes, though, is that they run out of fuel. I saw that firsthand.  

Back when I owned my own small plane, with my good friend as was my pilot, we were flying back from Florida where I had done a real estate seminar. When we were close to Texas, I looked out my window and saw that one of the 2 propellers had totally stopped. Wow, did that scare me! We quickly found a small airport and landed safely. It turned out that the maintenance guy in Florida had not screwed the gas cap on tight enough. Ugh!

You never hear of those kinds of things happening on commercial flights, though. The safety of each plane is taken super seriously. So, hey, if you are one of those who fears flying, just think about the statistics and how safe you will be, especially if your fear of flying is holding you back from seeing the world and all the great things that can really elevate your mind and spirit.

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