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The Four Pillars of Well-Being

August 27, 2023 by  
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Years ago, I noticed that when I became engrossed in my goal setting state of mind (almost a meditative state of mind) I would, at times, begin to feel very calm and at peace with the world. I focused even more with a pen in hand, writing goals and steps down, and I would feel even more euphoric. I didn’t understand why, I just knew it felt good. In fact, it felt fantastic!

Of course, it was a wonderful triumph to reach or exceed the goals I had set down, but why did the process of thinking about my future goals or writing them down give me such a mental boost, one even more euphoric than the actual accomplishment of my goal?

There is a brilliant scientist who thinks he knows the answer and, in my mind, he has proven it. This University of Wisconsin professor, Richard Davidson, was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2006. He established the four pillars of mental well-being: awareness, connection, insight, and purpose. I think my goal writing does all of that.

Davidson was actually asked by the Dalai Lama to study the possible connection between the meditative state of mind of some of the Buddhist Monks and their emotional and mental lives. So, he hooked up 128 electrodes to the head of a French monk, Mattieu Ricard. When Ricard began to meditate, Davidson recorded an immediate increase in gamma activity, those brainwaves associated with higher functions like cognition and memory. Later, they studied more monks as well as a control group of college students and found that the monks produced gamma brainswaves that were thirty times stronger than the students brainwaves.

But what does all this mean? Simply put, this, along with other research, unveils the real possibility that the brain, like the rest of the body, can be altered intentionally. Just as we build muscle through exercise, we can build our brain through mental exercises.

Davidson actually found that meditation results in a redistribution of gray matter in the brain as well as a decline in the loss of gray matter. A person’s physical health can also be affected by his or her mental state. According to Davidson, it might also be used to modify emotional response like depression.

I think all of this research and the conclusions Davidson came to can be very helpful for all of us as we focus on adding more awareness, connection, insight, and purpose to our lives. We can work on this and, as a result, use our brains to do so much more.

Should We Really Set Huge Goals?

September 29, 2019 by  
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Is there any great advantage of setting very BIG goals?

Well, yes, there really is a good reason to set very big goals, as long as they are realistic. Setting huge goals excites the mind and actually can stimulate the brain enough to create extra energy. But if you do set big, big goals be sure to break them down into smaller steps and be sure to WRITE down both the big goals and the smaller steps with time frames for each.

While working on this blog, I saw that Holly Richardson, a regular contributor to our daily newspaper The Salt Lake Tribune, happened to put out a very interesting and helpful article on goal setting entitled, “Autumn is the perfect time to set new goals”. In it she writes “We’ve all heard the stats: The average New Year resolution setter makes it about mid-way through January before they’ve given up on the ‘resolutions.’ Maybe the reason is those resolutions are the ones people feel they ‘should’ make, not the ones they really want to make.”

Vancouver based educator Mehrnaz Bassiri, drawing on the work of organizational theorist Carl Weick during her, “To Achieve Success, Start Detecting Your Small Wins” TEDx talk, explained that, “Small wins have a transformational power. Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion to favor another small win and another small win until the combination of these small wins lead to larger and greater accomplishments.”

Small wins really do add up and keep you motivated and excited about those big, huge goals. That has certainly worked for me.  I vividly remember when I was 27 years old setting, what was a huge goal for me at the time, to have a net worth of one million dollars by the time I was 30 years old. Believe me, a million bucks back then was a ton of money especially since I was only making about $30,000 a year. That huge goal gave me so much energy. It kept me excited and working hard.

I was one year late in hitting that goal, but it inspired me and motivated me to set some much bigger multi-million dollar goals which I was very fortunate to accomplish as well. And yes, I did set lots of little time driven goals along the way to each big goal, writing them down complete with dates to have them accomplished. Plus, as I hit those numbers, I made a record of my successes in my personal journal.

Holly Richardson gives one more bit of very good advice: “Pick one or two people to share these goals with and who will cheer you along the way and get going!”

Next week I want to share with you some very good stuff I’m reading and learning from. I am reading a super great book by Charles Duhigg called The Power of HABIT. You’re going to really like the wonderful advice that can change and lift your life to a much higher level.

Motivation in Words

April 19, 2019 by  
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It happened at the airport. I was in big hurry-I had to get a 13-year-old German boy on his plane back to Berlin. As I ran down the concourse, a handsome, 40ish stranger said as I hurried by, “Hey Mark, good to see you.”  I had no clue who he was, but I waved and kept running. Five minutes later, after they boy was on the plane, the stranger approached me again. This time he put out his hand and introduced himself.

He told me how he bought my first book How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You and gave me credit for making him tons of money and dramatically improving his life. The chance meeting was a catalyst and a huge motivator for me to keep writing so that I might help more people with their financial lives. There are not many things that make me feel more content and satisfied as being told that I helped a person make a fortune which lifted their lives to a new level.

I’ve had so many people thank me for writing my books, my blogs, for sharing my methods, formulas, and experience, that I am sometimes overwhelmed. But it also motivates me to write more. I’m a total believer in the power of setting goals, but there is a critical part of goal setting that many people don’t use and that critical part is a pretty simple process that almost guarantees that you will reach the goals that you set: it’s the simple act of writing your objectives and goals down on paper or on your iPad or computer. By doing that, you more permanently plant the goal in your mind and the likelihood of reaching that goal increases exponentially.

Anne Klauser, in her great little book, Right It Down… Make It Happen, talks about the huge power of writing your goals down and what it does that pushes you to follow through and reach the goals that you’ve set for yourself. Quoting her, she said, “Writing it down feeds the inner mind… the other than conscious mind.”  There is something in that inner mind that drives a person to go after and reach the goal that was set.

She goes on to say, “Create your own list of what is meaningful to you. List your intentions and begin your day by writing them down.” Do that enough and it will become a habit that you don’t even have to think about.

Personally, I’ve noticed that when I write down my goals—long term or even just a to do list for today—it’s like my brain won’t leave me alone and it coaxes me to follow through and do what my list tells me to do.  It’s almost like magic, the way it works in my head. It doesn’t seem to matter whether my goals are putting aside time to work out, taking my 20,000 steps a day, a list of people I need to talk to, or even taking time to write this blog, my brain works overtime to make sure I get it done.

If you haven’t been writing down your goals and to do lists, try it and I think you will be impressed and pleasantly surprised how much more you’ll get done and how much progress you’ll make towards your big goals not to mention finishing your daily list of goals, which always feels great.