9/30/2008

Chicken Little Would Be Proud


We know the story of Chicken Little. He was the one who was always proclaiming that "the sky is falling". The recent events with the financial situation reminds me of the children's story. Unfortunately, in this scenario we are not referring to a child's game. The crisis we are confronting is a serious and difficult one. It will take some navigating on the part of many to get through it.

Nevertheless, for the last week I heard from the political leadership that we will enter into extreme chaos if this bill is not passed. First, it had to be done last week and that delay would mean the end of life as we knew it. Of course, Congress did not pass the bill last week, one which we all survived. Then, we were told it had to be done yesterday. Again, we saw the same results. Congress does not act yet the world was still in one piece this morning. Each time demonstrated an over reaction.

How often do you make like Chicken Little? The reactions to the present circumstance teach us how important it is to step back and relax. Even when faced with a tough situation, knee jerk reactions rarely solve anything. Panic is a state that is best avoided if we want a productive outcome. Operating in a state of frenzy diminishes our capacity to rationalize through a series of problems. I believe we are witnessing this at a national (if not worldwide) level. The 778 drop in the stock market is evidence of how panic is taking hold. Fear is the primary motivation.

Can you keep your head while everyone else is losing it around you? We need to seek the calm in the middle of the storm. Here are some helpful reminders. Most people are going to come through this situation remarkably well.

Here are four things to consider:

1. The banks might be at risk; your deposits are not.

The FDIC insures all account holders up to $100,000 with the possibility that limit will be raised. This money is secured by the government and you are protected. Most people have accounts that are well below those limits.

2. Your 401K and IRA are still there.

These balances are being hammered. However, unless you are retiring tomorrow, there is time to get back what was lost. Anyone who is under 59.5 cannot touch the money without penalty and taxes being applied. For these people, the money is going to be there for another 5,10, or 20 years. There is plenty of time for it to rebound.

3. Stocks will come back.

If you are holding a stock in a good company, it will recover. The losses in the market recently are not company or industry specific. The market is being pounded by macroeconomic factors. Even if the stock is off 30%, that will be recouped in the next bull run provided you are in a good company. Anything you incurred is a paper loss that can be overcome with a bit of long-term perspective.

4. People are always in need of goods and services

The Chicken Little's will tell how the economy is about to collapse. While downturns will occur, the world will not stop. People all over the world will continue to need goods and services. Medical attention is always needed. So is food, clothing, and shelter. Lawyers, I am sad to say, will always be around looking to put in their two cents. We still need to prepare our taxes, fill our cars with gas, and put shoes on our feet. A multi-trillion dollar economy will not go to zero.

With each set back there is opportunity. Warren Buffet is on a buying spree. He is finding incredible bargains which will make him a lot of money over the next few years. We will rush to the local department store to buy all kinds of stuff the day after Thanksgiving because of the sales yet fret when the stock market goes on sale. That is consumerism logic at its finest.

There is no doubt there are some tough times ahead. However, do not compound them with thoughts of doom and gloom. This only makes recovering from it that much more difficult. Be wise in your decisions and you will prevail. There are fantastic opportunities at this moment for you to exploit. If you doubt that, consider that one of the most famous companies in the world got its start in the middle of The Great Depression. Look up the history of Hewlett-Packard to motivate yourself. Good times are ahead of you.
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9/29/2008

Keep Moving Forward II

There was a surprise today. The United States House of Representatives decided to can the bill that would bailout the financial markets. If you listen to all the pundits on television, the end of the world is here. We are heading into the worst times since the Great Depression. Everyone ought to throw in the towel.

Well, I for one am not willing to do that. My last few posts emphasized the need for everyone to take control of their lives. The situation makes this more obvious with each passing moment. Basically, the government said that it is not going to stand behind the mistakes of the financial sector. We will omit going into who caused this problem. However, there are many who are in deep financial trouble as a result of what went on the last few weeks. It is time for these people to own up to their part in the creation of the mess.

Housing seems to be a point where there is a lot of difficulty for individuals. Foreclosures are up simply because people cannot afford their homes. The speculators were removed from the equation over a year ago. People who are behind on their payments now are the ones living in the homes. These are the ones who risk being put out on the street. The politicians like to point at these people as the ones they need to protect. Perhaps that is true, but the help is not coming.

My question to all those who are reading this who find themselves in this situation is "why are you behind on your payments?". This is something that most are unwilling to look at. Many are experiencing financial trouble because they overbought a couple of years ago. They were allowed access to credit that was beyond their means and they abused it. Again, perhaps the lenders had a hand by not being diligent in their lending practices. Yet, personal responsibility entails looking at our part in it.

This is not to imply that everyone who is facing foreclosure overextended. Traditionally, foreclosures happen as a result of divorce, loss of job, or some other financial devastation. Certainly, these factors are present for many today. In addition, there were instances of fraud and misrepresentation made by unscrupulous lenders. Personally, I hope these people are tracked down and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Nevertheless, fraud is not the major culprit in this crisis either.

Getting honest with ourselves is the first part in getting past it. Playing the blame game gets us nowhere. The actions of our political leaders epitomizes this point. There is not a single person standing up and saying that "I failed the people". Each person is pointing the finger at the Administration, the other candidate, or the other party. "It is their fault" we are told. We that is horses***. Everyone involved is responsible for creating such a mess.

So where is your responsibility? What part did you have in creating your own financial circumstances? Even if you are not behind on your mortgage, how is you family savings account looking? Did you put away money with each paycheck in case of economic downturn? If you are like the average person, the odds are that your personal savings are almost non-existent. This is a situation that lies squarely on your shoulders.

Let us look at something else. How many of you have maxed out your credit cards? We are well over $1 trillion in credit card debt in the United States. Obviously, we all know how the outlandish interest rates affect one's finances. Who is responsible for that? Many want to refer to the new laws that favored the lenders. Or they point the finger at the lenders because they issued the credit. The bottom line is it was you who chose to use it. This is identical to taking all your equity out of your house. Too many thrived on credit the last few years without any thought as to how to repay it. Well, it is time to pay the piper and many cannot do it.

Is this offending some of you? Good. I want to get under your skin. This is a wake up call. Ignoring the problem means that you are going to repeat it. Stop living life like it is someone else who is at fault. It makes you weak as an individual and us weak as a nation. Own up to your mistakes while learning from them. That is the only thing that will make this experience of any value. It is turning a negative into a positive.

So where do we go from here? Individually, it is time to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Take responsibility for it all. This is how we can begin to make progress.

Here are a few other facts that will assist you.

1. You are not the only one.

Get over the self-pity that comes with failure. You are not the only one who is in this situation. There are millions of people (if not tens of millions) from around the world who are in the exact same situation. Because of the scope of this problem, there is a slowed system at present. This will work to your advantage.

2. Things are not as bleak as the media makes it out to be.

The media sensationalizes everything. That is their job. They are experts at writing eye catching headlines. Fear is a wonderful method to capture your attention. This tactic is being exploited as we speak. Everyone is promoting doom and gloom. Chicken Little out in full force at the moment.

Along the same lines, there are two men who are both vying to become President. They will utilize whatever tactic garners attention. Minimizing the problem will not get either elected. Expect there to be constant talk about how bad things are (and how the other is to blame). While things might be entering an extremely difficult stage, bet the ranch it is not as bad as these two will make it out to be.

3. Banks only care about money and defaults hurt them tremendously.

The money you owe will bankrupt nobody but yourself. However, these institutions have millions of people just like you owing them money. They are not interested in your credit nor your house. The only thing that interests them is minimizing the financial damage. Use this to your advantage when negotiating with them.

4. You can get past this.

You are an incredible person. There are so many talents that reside within you. This is the perfect time to put your creativity to use. Regardless of your situation, there are a multitude of ways to solve it. Think of different paths you might follow which will help you. Perhaps it is time to start that new business. Many successful companies were started in economic down cycles. Find a problem and solve it. There are many to choose from at the moment.

This is not the end of the world. Tomorrow, the sun will rise the same as it always has. The human spirit is one that is unstoppable by anyone other then ourselves. You are the only one who can prevent yourself from succeeding. With each downturn there are many opportunities created. Go after them. Be responsible for your actions and take control of your life. Remember, the most dangerous person is one with nothing to lose. If you are totally broke, what do you have to lose? GO FOR IT!!!
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Keep Moving Forward


The world is awaiting the vote by the United States Congress on the "bailout" of the financial system; a move that will cost $700 billion. The intention is to shore up the markets and institutions to avoid a worldwide recession (depression). As I write this, the House is voting on it. Will it pass? It looks like it will. How does this affect you? Only time will reveal that answer.

It is easy to get caught "standing around". I like the analogy of the players at the end of a basketball game watching the superstar take control. Often, the team loses because everyone else is standing around watching. In effect, the star goes 1 on 5. He is left all alone.

We can follow a similar path if we are not careful. This morning the President addressed the nation regarding the need for this legislation to pass. However, most people got up and went to work. They are carrying forward in spite of what is transpiring in Washington. Yet, there are a few who are waiting the results to help them out. It reminds me of the people who were waiting helpless after Katrina for someone to come in and save them. They turned all their personal power over to another.

The last few days I wrote about personal responsibility and taking control of your life (click here). These examples show how people choose not to do that. Please bear in mind that I am not trying to make light of those who suffered in the hurricane a couple years back. Nevertheless, there was a time before the storm hit where people could have done something. The same thing with this financial mess. There was a time when you could have done something different. The fact that you did not put you in this situation. That is the "I am responsible" attitude.

How do we go about changing the situation that we are in? It starts with us continuing to move forward regardless of what anyone else does. If the financial bailout benefits you, wonderful. In the intern, decide to resolve the situation yourself. Do what is necessary to handle to circumstances on your own. Resist the temptation to depend on the government to help you. Remember, approximately 1,500 people in New Orleans put their faith in that source only to lose their lives. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself.

Get proactive in your life. Those in Washington will carry on with their lives regardless of what happens to you. Their concern ceases the minute they leave work. Trust me; you are not on their minds at cocktail parties. Responsibility means that you take care of yourself. Begin by taking the steps to move yourself forward.

The benefit to all of this is that what does not kill you will make you stronger. This is an old saying. My experience is that a saying becomes old because it is true. You will be a better person for enduring what you go through. Success is the result of experience. Sometimes we learn the most from the negative experiences in life. This is where growth comes from.

Where do you go from here? "Onward and upward" is what one of my employer use to say. It was his favorite saying. He died with a net worth of around $225 million so I believe he knew his stuff. Wherever you are at this moment, keep moving forward. The next thing you need to do is whatever is in front of you. Make it your goal to do that task to the best of your ability. Then, follow it up with the next activity. That is how we get past times such as these.

Remember that situations are temporary. Bad stuff only happens for a certain period of time. If you are broke now, that does not mean that you will be that way forever. Take responsibility for your financial situation to resolve it. The opportunity to learn is often worth the price you pay for the lesson. The key is to prohibit the situation from stopping you. This is the guaranteed way to fail.
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9/28/2008

What Have You Been Up To?

How often are we asked this question? This is the natural question that is asked when two people have not seen each other for a while. It provokes a conversation where the two parties catch up with each other. Unfortunately, most times there is nothing new to report. Today, we are going to focus upon changing this routine.

When you are asked this, what is your common answer? If someone came to you and asked you what went on in your life the last 6 months, what do you say? Most come up with the proverbial "nothing much" or "same ole, same ole". In others words, this person is saying that my life is just as boring as it was when you saw me last. Somehow, I managed to accomplish nothing worthwhile in that entire time. This is the existence of most people.

Of course, sometimes people offer up what the kids were up to. "Johnny entered high school" or "Jamie won the dance recital". These people live vicariously through their kids. Since they have nothing to report, the accomplishments of the kids are provided as an answer. Again, nothing worthwhile is transpiring in their lives.

What is the solution to this dilemma? It is simple: create some talking points that you are going to give to someone 6 months from today. This is a primitive, yet effective, form of goal setting. List some things that you want to tell to another when you are asked "what is new with you". Think of all the wonderful answers you can develop.

Here are a few to stimulate your mind:

-I got a promotion at work.
-Recently I took a class on ballroom dancing.
-I learned a foreign language.
-We took a cruise (or any type of trip).
-I lost 25 pounds.
-My gold handicap is down to a "X"
-We started skydiving.

You can add to this list as much as you want. The idea is to create noteworthy objective for yourself. Too often people allow life to pass by. They exist rather than live. This is not how life needs to be. You can decide this moment to alter that reality. It is a matter of setting some things out on paper and getting started.

Today is the end of the regular baseball season. For those teams that did not make the playoffs, the process of preparing for next year begins tomorrow. We will see some managers (and general managers) fired in the next few days. This is the first phase of the process. The leadership for the different organizations will meet to decide on payroll and other off season moves they intend making to improve their clubs. There will be a noted difference by next April in all these teams.

What is your life going to be like by the first pitch on Opening Day (April 2009)? There is roughly 6 months for you to create those changes. It begins right now by sitting down and putting some ideas on paper. What did you always want to do? Omit activities such as cleaning the garage unless that is a lifelong dream of yours. Think of hobbies or other recreational things that you want to get involved. There is surely many topics that you want to learn about. Begin to set out a path to study them. Whatever your desire, get after it now.

To help motivate you, I will tell you that, on Opening Day of the next baseball season, I am going to ask you what you have been doing with yourself the last 6 months. Try to come up with something better than "not much". I want everyone to have a huge list that is really inspiring.
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Time To Step Up


The baseball season is rapidly coming to an end. Today is the last day of the regular season. There are a number of teams fighting for a couple of playoff positions. One of the teams, the New York Mets, found themselves in a must win situation yesterday. If they lost that game, their season was pretty much done. The chances of making the playoffs would be reduced drastically.

To prevent that outcome, they put out their best pitcher, Johan Santana. He is the one in the who signed an astronomical contract in the off season. Many thought it was ridiculous to pay such money for a player who only plays once every 5 days. Yesterday, he proved why the team paid so much.

Santana's performance goes deeper than his on-field accomplishment. This situation is a lesson what we all need to do in our lives. Too often, people avoid these type of circumstances. Only a few step up and get the job done. Here are three things that Santana did which you can apply to your own life.

1. Have the desire to be in there

He threw the most pitches in any outing just 4 days before. However, knowing the situation, he went to the manager to offer to pitch on 3 days rest. This is a day shorter than is usual. Yet, he was not about to defer to a teammate. He wanted to be the one pitching in this situation.

2. His mindset was one of victory

Santana told his manager that he would win the game. That is the outlook of the successful. Our results first appear in our mind. Santana never allowed the possibility of defeat to enter into his thought process. Also, notice how there was no uncertainty in his outlook. He was not hoping, desiring, or wishing. He knew he would win that day.

3. He performed his best.

There are many who want to be in this type of situation yet bomb when they get there. According to one of the announcers who watches the team all year, Santana threw his best game of the year. That is what the highly successful do. They perform their best in the most important situations. It is one thing to throw a wonderful game in April; a different matter when your team's playoff hopes are on the line.

How many times do you encounter a situation where there is a of pressure? Do you relish these times by asking to be involved? Or do you cower from them? This is what determines whether you are an ace or not. Consider yourself the all-star in your life and match all your actions to that belief. This will instantly make a difference in how you perform.
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9/27/2008

Beliefs Lead To Focus



I watched the Presidential Debate last night. It was interesting to notice the perspective that everyone took when watching the same thing. Both McCain and Obama did very well. According to the "experts", each scored points in certain areas. However, there was a diversity of opinion who did better.

Most felt that it was a close debate resulting in a tie. Yet there were others who felt that Obama won in a landslide. And still others believed it was McCain who dominated. It is critical to remember this is the "impartial" media who is producing these results. We are ignoring the statements made by the campaigns themselves since we know the bias.

So what does all this mean? I noticed the conclusion that one reached was a result of what that person chose to focus upon. When the part that covered the economy is isolated, Obama seems like the winner. At the same time, when one looks at foreign affairs, McCain pops out into the lead. The focus determines one's experience.

This goes a little deeper. What one focuses upon is based upon the beliefs that person carries. I noticed the ones who were Obama fans gave him a more favorable rating. The reverse is true for McCain. The beliefs about what is important to that person causes him/her to look at things differently than another with opposing beliefs. Therefore, it is the existing belief system that determines what one focuses upon.

Your life is the same way. If you are one who believes that life sucks, your focus will be a lot different than the person who believes that life is a gift. The first looks at all the negativity while the later concentrates on all that is good. Both are looking at the same thing, life, but getting two different results. To get another experience, we only need to change our focus. This is something that fairly easy at the conscious level. However, when our focus is unconscious, stemming from our beliefs, it is more difficult. It is here where we need to look at our belief system.

Most of our beliefs come from others. Rarely do people consciously choose a belief. We are products of our environment. It is common to see people in the same family carrying similar beliefs. They look at life the same way. "Sameness of thought" is a result of being around people with like minds. This is a natural occurrence. Take a look at your beliefs.

How do we go about this? The easiest way is to write down our beliefs. What do you think about life? How do you feel about your job or the people you work with? What is your religious/spiritual concepts? Get it all down on paper. Once you did that, ask yourself "why do I believe this" and "is this belief working for me". We often find that we believe something simply because that is what we were taught. If the belief no longer serves you, get rid of it. This will begin the process of changing your focus.
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9/26/2008

The Housing Crisis

There is a lot of political rhetoric running around pertaining to this recent situation that we find ourselves in. Yesterday, I wrote a post detailing how the lack of personal responsibility had a hand in this mess. However, I can across this video today which tells a story of what was the initial thrust of this dilemma. The bottom line is that the leadership elected to represent us let us down. This short video is slanted politically. Nevertheless, the fundamental message is there.

It is about 9+ minutes. The first 8 are what sums it up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5tZc8oH--o

Check this out for yourself.
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9/25/2008

Financial Crisis

It appears the United States Government is going to try to stabilize the financial markets by putting the tax payers on the hook for over $700 Billion. This is the classic definition of a "government bailout". Private firms took the risk for profit with the risk of loss eliminated since the taxpayer ends up compensating for the loss. Is this a good plan or not? Heck if I know. The world of high end macroeconomics is something that is past my level of comprehension. However, I do see a huge lesson in it.

The natural question in this situation is "who caused it?". We want to know who is at fault. I think this is a reasonable request from the taxpayers. Of course, anyone watching the media knows that no answer is coming anytime soon. Nancy Pelosi responded that Congress held no responsibility for the financial mess. I am certain President Bush is not going to say it is his fault. Is the Bernake and the Fed the cause? How about Greenspan? He led it through much of the housing bubble. Someone please tell me if anyone is owning up to their part in this crisis because I do not see that occurring.

We can extend this conversation to the heads of the financial institutions, the real estate speculators, or the mortgage brokers. The truth is that blame lies at every level. However, responsibility is something that most avoid. We prefer to play the blame game. This is nothing new. People are always complaining about the boss, spouse, educational system, or government for their woes. It is an easy way to approach life. Nevertheless, the victim mindset never succeeds. This is the fundamental flaw in this mess.

So, who is responsible for the financial crisis. I AM!!! You read that properly. I am one of the participants in the creation of this entire affair. Everyone can blame me for the loss of their portfolios over the last few weeks. If a family ends up on the street, I am at fault. The increase in the national debt also lays at my doorstep. I am responsible for all that occurs in my life.

How can I be the one to take the heat when I am not a political leader, head of a financial institution, or major Wall Street player? I do so because I am unwilling to play the victim. And, I am one of the people who stood by while others who are in position of power failed to take responsibility for their actions. We should all be outraged by these people. They all let the general public down in pursuit of their own self interest. Now the blame game begins.

Sadly, this attitude is not relegated to the powerful. Many of the readers of this blog fall into the same category. It is time to grow up and take responsibility for your life. If you do not like what is transpiring, change it. You are the only one who can. The entire nation needs people who are willing to step up. Tell all who will listen that you are responsible. Take ownership for it all even if it is not your fault. The habit is crucial to your future success.

Will this change in mindset influence the global economy? Probably not. It will, however, alter the effects on your life. By taking responsibility, you are then able to change what is ailing in your life. This is a radical difference as compared to giving all your power to another. With this situation, you need to change the other person to have an effect. This is impossible. The only one you can change is you. Therefore, proclaim that you are responsible for all that occurs in your life. Give yourself the opportunity to succeed. It starts with taking your power back.
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Improve Your Life Immediately


We are creatures of habit. People do the same things each day, often without realization. They wake up at the same time, follow the same routine in the morning, leave for work, etc... Most operate on autopilot throughout the day. Very little mental input is needed. The consciousness is continually focused elsewhere. For example, have you ever had an item one moment only to find yourself searching frantically for it the next. You put the item down without giving it a thought.

Habits are what play a large role in the success or failure that we experience. Regular readers of this blog know that I am fascinated by those who attain the highest levels in sports. The habits they have are what determines how much success they enjoy. Consider the marathon runner. He or she is in the habit of running a certain distance everyday. While there are days that he or she does not feel like doing the work, this person does it anyway. Often, it is without thought. This individual is so conditioned that leaving the house with the running shoes on is done without thinking. How would you like to be able to approach your exercise routine in that manner? I only takes the development of the habit.

So how do we find out about our habits? This is an easy process that can be completed in under an hour. It starts by putting everything that you do on a daily basis on a piece of paper. Begin by listing the time you wake up and end when you go to bed. List everything that you can think of in between. This will lay for the foundation for creating your daily plan. It is important to remember that all successes are achieved one moment at a time.

Once you listed all that you do each day, take another piece of paper and list all the daily activities that will improve your life. For example, if you desire to be more spiritual, write down the time you want to spend in prayer/meditation. The same is done for health. List out the exercise routine you will put into practice. If writing is your thing, make sure you put on there the time you will sit getting your ideas down.

Now it is time to look at our initial list. Most people see some glaring habits immediately. These are the activities which move you further away from your goals. There will be 3-5 that jump off the page. Some lay on the couch watching television after work. Others light up a cigarette as soon as getting out of bed. Whatever the habit is, circle it. It is necessary to bring the problem to the conscious level. Now you are aware of what you are dealing with.

Changing behavior is one of most difficult things in the world. The next phase can be rather tough depending on how long the habit was in play. However, now is the time that we begin to alter what we do. It is helpful to start with an easy one. If showing up late to work is one of the circles on your list, get there on time starting tomorrow. Make this commitment to yourself and keep it. This will enable you to develop some momentum. Approach each item that is circled and set out to change it.

A wonderful aspect to this entire exercise is that the two lists can work together. If we choose an item that will enhance our life, we often find that the opposite is already circled. Exercise is a prime example. Often people want to reduce the amount of television watched. This time can be used to exercise. We just replaced a bad habit with a good one. One can also read books that increase his or her knowledge in a particular field. This is more beneficial than watching the"idiot box" or surfing the net.

Success is made up of action. Those who are highly successful take different actions than the rest of us. This exercise allows us to see the daily actions that hinder while fostering the development of beneficial activities. Habits are nothing more than actions. When we are concentrating on changing habits, we are really seeking to change our actions.

A final thought: this ought not be a one time deal. This plan is a tool that I continually use. Even though I might make a few corrections immediately, I found that more existed. Self improvement is often like peeling an onion. We take it in layers. Do this exercise today, then revisit it in about 10 days. See how your progress is. You will find where you are still falling short. Also, the improvement you made will be noticed, thus opening up the possibility of making more changes. Follow this for a few months and you will see success at your doorstep.
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9/24/2008

The Joy Of Achievement

Have you ever had one of those days where you could not get motivated to do anything? Of course, we all have. The question is, how did you feel at the end of that day? If you are like many, it was not a terrific feeling. Most of us prefer to be productive people. It is what makes us feel better about ourselves while making life enjoyable.

There is joy in achievement. This is one of the secrets that many fail to remember. I believe it is something that is ingrained in us. Picture a child's face when he or she does something for the first time. The pride in accomplishment is clear for anyone to see. It matters little the scope of the task. A child is simply happy with the achievement.

As adults, we seem to fail to take the same pleasure in this. Learning and growth are two of the primary factors with achievement. As we do more, we typically learn and grow. Yet, many believe that learning ended with graduation from school. It is sad to see how many never read another book after getting out of formalized education. Their learning ceases the moment they walk out across the stage.

It is time to recognize the joy that you receive from achieving. To do this, it is necessary to get into the habit of learning more. As you knowledge increases, so does the scope of your world. The Internet makes it easier to study up on any subject. You can literally find thousands of web pages in less than a second with a search engine. All this knowledge will help you to achieve.

Many live quiet, unstimulated lives. This is a result of not expanding. The joy of achievement is lost. Work is done for a paycheck as opposed to a means to accomplishment. However, those who achieve great success do so because they accomplish a great deal. And, in this, they take tremendous pleasure.
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9/23/2008

Success Key: Thrift

Thriftiness is not something that is valued as an admirable quality in this era. We live in the age of consumerism. The "me" generation is also adept at living for the moment. Buy now, pay later is the common motto. Easy credit on items such as cars, appliances, houses, and electronics creates the habit making impulse purchases. We are a society that is rapidly burying ourselves with debt.

Those who succeed have the ability to be thrifty. Two of America's greatest (and most successful) men emphasized this trait. John D. Rockefeller was legendary for his penny-pinching ways. His "Ledger A" is the most famous bookkeeping journal in history. At the same time, Benjamin Franklin espoused the virtue of thriftiness. He felt that one who lack financial discipline also lacked it in all areas. Both of these men were extremely wealthy when they died.

The Millionaire Next Door tells about the success of this mindset. In the book, it details how the average millionaire is not living in a mansion while driving an exotic sports car. Instead, the typical millionaire drives a used car. He or she resides in a middle class neighborhood. Whatever the profession, that person usually owns a business since wealth is accumulated through ownership. However, they are more likely to own a "blue collar" company as be involved in the world of high finance. As you can see, thrift is one of the basic components to wealth building for these people.

Recently, the world saw what happens when people go beyond their financial means. It matters little whether one is referring to a personal budget or a multinational corporation. When people enter into excess without a plan for savings, disaster is the result. Borrowing instead of saving is a fatal habit for any entity regardless of size. The devastation to our financial institutions prove this point.

It is time for each of us to take control of our financial condition. Thrift needs to be the new mantra. Borrowing against our assets to satisfy a internal lack will cause further problems in your life. It is time to reel in your expenses. Start by eating meals at home as opposed to spending money eating out. Put the money into the car repairs to get another 12-24 months out of it. Cancel the yard service and cut your own lawn. A $75 lawnmower is paid for usually in a couple of months. Make thrift a central part of your lifestyle. I am here to tell you that the consumerism of the last few decades is coming to an end. Those who continue to behave in such a manner will ultimately pay for those habits. There are fewer places to turn for bailing people out. As a nation we need to do this. Yet, this is something that starts at home. It is up to you to take control.

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9/22/2008

As A Man Thinketh

"Mind is the Master-power that molds and makes, And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:-- He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass."

-James Allen

Our world is the result of what we consistently focus upon. Reality is a natural result of the state of mind we continually approach it with. We are the creators of our own universe. What we focus upon expands into the physical world. Man is the master of his own domain; both the positive and the negative.

These are the ideas present by James Allen in his revolutionary book “As A Man Thinketh”. People often want to play the victim by blaming others around them. This is the way of the unenlightened. Our thoughts are the hardest thing to master. Yet, it is also the path to complete freedom. These are the devices that will create the reality that we want.

Volumes were written about the power of thought. However, none captured the essence as well as James Allen did in this text. His book is short and to the point. Every word packs the power to influence how we view the world around us.

Download this provoking publication for free at http://www.dennisharting.com.
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7 Lessons From A Bad Manager

1. Do not micromanage people: Micromanaging completely kills an individual's morale. This individual had to be involved in everything. There was no detail too small for him to concern himself with. The overriding belief was that he could not trust anyone to handle the most basic of activities. In reality, it was his own fears and lack of confidence that led to his behavior.

2. Take time when increasing expenses: Upper level management hates nothing more than to see expenses increasing as soon as someone else is brought in. This is especially true when one is hired in a sales management position. Do all you can to increase revenues first. If some expenses are necessary, try to spread them out over a period of time. This will lessen the negative impact on the profit/loss statement.

3. Take care of your “stars”: If there is someone who is a high producer, consider this person when making your decisions. Making changes that affect this person's work situation could really come back to harm you. Losing this individual's production makes it extremely difficult to increase revenues. Often, it becomes the fatal blow to the manager.

4. Be teachable: This is especially true if you are new to the industry. Even if you have experience in that field, realize that every company operates differently. Your present knowledge may not be sufficient to succeed in the other culture. Also, the people that you are leading tend to without their expertise when they are dealing with someone who comes across as a know-it-all. Accept that you do not have all the answers.

5. Focus on the things that make a major difference: There is a tendency to get caught up in making changes to areas that are irrelevant to productivity yet have a negative impact on the staff. Let the little things go while attending to the major shortcomings of the enterprise. Long-term employees typically resist change. Easing the pain with the process by altering the big things nets greater dividends.

6. Be sure to understand the 'hierarchy': Many companies have a written chain-of-command. However, these same organizations also can have an informal hierarchy that is even more powerful. Although you might have the authority, the power might reside with others. Long time employees tend to have relationships with upper management. These people often have the ability to circumvent you. If the situation is bad enough, they can turn your supervisors against you.

7. Earn the respect of the people you are leading: People will not follow those they have no respect for. This is earned by being an example to all those who are around. Be willing to do whatever you ask someone else to do. Make sure that you learning is continual so that other's understand that you know what you are talking about. And be consistent with the decisions made so that they are based upon merit, not personalities. This leads everyone to feel that they are treated fairly.
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"I Want It All"


The Ryder Cup provides lots of wonderful fodder for us to write about. There is so much that can be learned by applying the principles used by those who are highly successful in any field. Last month, during the Olympics, we saw the mindset of a champion. This situation was repeated this weekend at the Ryder Cup. The 24 players are considered to be some of the best in the world. They did not get to that plateau without having the mindset of a winner.

There is one individual that I want to focus upon. That is the 23 years old Ryder Cup rookie Anthony Kim. This individual is only a few years removed from high school. Yet, he went out and beat one of the best Ryder Cup players of all time, Sergio Garcia. And he did so in convincing manner. It was a match that he took control of early. His victory set the tone for the rest of the team.

What is it that makes this noteworthy to me? Aside from the obvious implications on the match, I was impressed with the way that he approaches life. The announcers mentioned an interview they had with him where he stated "I want it all". This is something they chalked up to naivety of a 23 year old. Actually, to me, it shows how powerful Anthony's outlook is on life.

How many of you reading this have the same mindset? My experience leads me to believe that very few people have this belief. Instead, their aspirations are more in line with "I want to be able to pay my bills" or "I want to make it through this week". Obviously, these are not inspiring goals. This is a major reason why many lead unfulfilled lives. They simply do not allow the potential that is within them to be released.


Why can't you have it all? The answer is because you believe that you cannot. There are doubters and naysayers everywhere. Listening to them will lead to one believing that it is hopeless. We are told that we must be realistic. The dreamers of the world are scoffed at. Yet, they are the ones who change it. Nobody ever invested like Warren Buffet before him. Personal computing was a theory before Bill Gates got the operating system. Man could not fly until that day at Kitty Hawk with the Wright Brothers. These dreamers provided us with things that we utilize daily as a society.

I hope Anthony Kim does get it all. With his mindset, there is no reason why he will not. I only hope that you acquire some of this same belief. You, too, can have it all if you believe that you can. That is the first step.
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9/21/2008

The End Is A New Beginning


Tonight is the last game at Yankee Stadium. The fabled structure is closing after the game this evening. Next season, the Yankees go into a new ballpark. This brings up an example a lesson of life.

Yankee Stadium is one of the most famous stadiums in the world. For the last 90 years, it housed one of the most storied franchises in professional sports. People such as Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, and Dimaggio all worked their magic there. For many baseball fans, it is a sad day. To see the structure where thousands of baseball's greatest moments were written is disheartening. The end will be here with after 1 more game.

Next season, the Yankees will start scripting memories in the new stadium. It will be a new beginning. This is a lesson for life. Each end brings a new beginning. The closing of one aspect of life means that another opens up. Consider the path of one's education. Each graduation leads to the advancement to the next level. The final graduation, usually college, leads to the start of one's career. It is a new beginning.

The same concept applies to seemingly "bad" situations. Let us use the example of divorce. A divorce is the ending of a marriage. Yet, this is the beginning of one's life as a single person. Many view it in this perspective and take advantage of it. Some, however, dwell in the loss. They view the end as the end. This is an unhealthy outlook.

Life is full of new beginnings. With each one, there is a different level of excitement and enthusiasm. Think of the last time you started a new job. It was something that you most likely approached with passion. Newness brings about a different attitude. Remember this the next time you are confronted with the "ending" of something.
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The Courage To Be Great

How would you like to have the fairy tale life that only comes from greatness? Many like the idea when it is presented to them. However, few are willing to do anything about it. They prefer to use excuses as a reason why success is not possible. It is far easier to blame other people for one's failures then to take responsibility for the direction of one's life. This is the situation that the majority of people find themselves in.

The thing that stops most people is fear. It takes courage to be great. Consider anyone who attained any degree of greatness in any field. That person exposed himself or herself to many things. First, criticism is something that anyone who is chasing after a dream encounters. There are many critics who love nothing more than to tear others down. Actors are told how bad their movies are. Writers pen how a certain athlete is terrible even though he or she is one of the best in the world. In addition, people are always willing to second guess one. There is some "Monday morning quarterback" in everyone. Yet, once again, these are the people who are on the sidelines.

The bottom line is that it takes courage to be great. When one decides to make something of life, there is a process of overcoming a lot of fear. Many self help writers will begin by telling one to find his or her passion. This is the starting point of greatness. I take exception with this belief. One begins the quest for greatness by first deciding if he or she wants it. In addition, one must be willing to accept all that goes along with that. You can be passionate about something to the nth degree. However, if you are not willing to overcome the criticism and challenges that go along with excelling at the highest level, failure is almost certain. Jealousy is a powerful trait. There are many who are waiting to tear you down the moment you begin to enjoy some success. Understanding this will help you in your quest.

Decide today that you want greatness. There is no reason to settle for mediocrity. You can attain the highest level of love, satisfaction, and success. It all starts with the decision to make this your goal.
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9/18/2008

Increased Productivity


Do you want increased productivity? Would you like to be able to accomplish more in less time? Many people desire this yet few fulfill it. Sadly, the process to doing more is rather simple. We will discuss an easy way to achieve this outcome.

Often, I like to watch what others do. The actions of others provides me with so many wonderful lessons. It seems those who "do it all wrong" teach me more than those who are succeeding. For example, I found it easy to understand why so few are productive. Have you ever noticed how people behave when they first get to work? What is the typical person's agenda when he or she begins the day? This is what I found to be rather common.

When one gets to the office, the first thing he or she does is turn on the computer. While the computer is booting, this person may go get a cup of coffee. Along the way, our employee sees a colleague who happened to watch the same game last night. Of course, a chat ensues for a 5-10 minutes. Once back at the desk, it is time to check emails. Personal emails accounts come first in out procrastinator's mind. After the emails are completed, there are a few websites that need to be checked out. A recap on the game is a great place to start. Checking the box score is crucial.

I could go on but I think you get the point. Our example illustrates how people waste a large amount of time. They key to productivity is to get stated. This is the one thing that guarantees more output. We lose so much time focusing on other non-vital activities.

Here is a system that will help you in getting you day started.

1. Make a list.

Do this the night before. Write down all the important activities you need to focus upon the next day.

2. Prioritize.

A report for the boss due at noon is more crucial that cleaning your desk. Assign the priorities with an ABC or 123 system. I do like to put a rather easy task as my first priority to build momentum.

3. Get Busy.

Start immediately on the first task. Momentum really help multiply your output. Beginning your day in a productive manner sets the tone for the rest of your day.

These are a few steps you can take to increase you output. Use them starting today.
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9/17/2008

Habits Determine Success or Failure


Have you ever thought about how your habits affect your success? If you are like most, the answer is "no". Many people overlook the impact of the things that they do at the subconscious level. Sadly, this leads to them leading a life that is less than they are capable. Today, we are going learn how catastrophic habits can be.

Are you one of those people who walks into the house an immediately turns the television on? It is interesting to watch people who do this since they are rarely aware of their actions. The need to have some noise is so ingrained in them. Then, after changing, they sit down to relax. Of course, for many, this is how the entire evening is spent. Watching hours of television is a habit for them.

Let us look at this in a different light. What if this individual developed the habit of going for a walk after getting home from work. How much of an effect would this have on his or her life? The same idea can be applied to reading. Creating the habit of reading enables one to increase his or her skills for advancement. Perhaps it could be some reading on something that pertains to the present job. Or, more importantly, one could learn new skills for future advancement in another area. The point is this habit is beneficial for all to develop.

The hardest part about changing a habit is to be aware that we are doing it. Most often, they operate at a subconscious level. Thus, we first must be aware of what is destructive to us and then work on correcting it. Here are three steps that can help us.

1. Make a list of all the bad habits you presently have.


List everything that you feel stands in the way of your progress.

2. List at least 10 habits that you would like to have that will help you move forward.


It is important to get concise with them.

3. Choose both a bad and a good habit to work on.

Select things that can work with each other. For example, if one of your bad habits is sleeping too late while one habit you want is to read more, then decide to get up an hour earlier and read. This will replace the negative habit with a more positive one.

A habit needs to be worked for 3 weeks until it becomes ingrained. Once you have developed your new habit, then select another one from your list. This is how you can create drastic changes in your life, three weeks at a time.
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9/15/2008

Getting Through Crisis


As I write this, the financial markets around the world are being shaken. The United States saw the disappearance of two of the world's largest institutional banks. In the last 24 hours, Lehman Brothers announced the filing for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch was bought out. These events send shock waves throughout the financial community, with many fearing the fallout.

It is safe to say this is a crisis. How much each person is affected will obviously vary. For those who were employed at Lehman, this is a disaster. Others such as those seeking a loan will also suffer since it is anticipated that credit will now be tighter than before.

What can we do to weather a crisis? Here are three things that one can do to change the outlook that typically comes from such events.

1. Empathy

Feel some compassion for your fellow man. There are many who are being destroyed by this situation. I watch a newscast last night where people who worked at Lehman were interviewed. These people are now unemployed. If you have a job this morning, you are in better shape. Also, some of the younger employees were feeling for the older ones who had a lot more invested in the firm. For the most part, these people are wiped out. Feeling empathy for the plight of others helps to remove the focus off ourselves.

2. Be grateful

This is similar to the last one for the same reason: there is always someone who is affected worse by this than you. Even those who lost it all can find solace in the fact that they are still able to work. Also, Wall Street is in chaos, yet all those people have a roof over their head at the present time. The same cannot be said for those in Texas. Again, there is always something to be grateful for. Dwelling upon what you have will aid you in overcoming the mishaps that are happening.

3. Persevere

Persistence is one of man's greatest qualities. The media will make it to be the end of the world. It is not. The sun is going to come up tomorrow. It is time to begin the rebuilding. Those involved will overcome this. A few years ago we were hit hard in Florida with hurricanes. In the three years since, all was rebuilt. The same will happen in Texas and in the lives of those on Wall Street. This will be just a bad memory for most of those affected a year from now.

Life offers up hard challenges at times. It is how we handle them which determines the quality of our life. Focus on what you still have while looking towards a brighter tomorrow. This is how we get past these catastrophic situations.
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9/14/2008

5 Things The Average Millionaire Avoids

The word millionaire conjures up thoughts of extravagant wealth. While that was true in years past, being a millionaire today means that one is enjoying much less of a lifestyle. A millionaire does not live in a huge mansion while driving fancy exotic cars. Instead, as was summed up in The Millionaire Next Door, this person lives a rather modest lifestyle. He or she is financially free because the expenses are kept in check. This person values putting more money into the portfolio as compared to engaging in poor habits which cost a lot.


Here are 5 things that your average millionaire does not do. If you want to enjoy the lifestyle of the affluent, implement these into your life.


  1. Buying or leasing a new car every few years.


A new car is the worst investment that you can make. It is no secret that you lose thousands of dollars the second you drive off the car lot. If you are in need of an upgrade of your old vehicle, consider purchasing a quality used car that is a couple of years old. This vehicle already went through the major depreciation and, if it has low mileage, will deliver years of service to you.


  1. Purchasing a new one when the old can be fixed


A little handiwork goes a long way. Often, when items are broken, the fix is simple and inexpensive. Yet, many choose to purchase a new item instead of fixing the old one. I once had a light that stopped working due to a loose cord. It took less then 10 minutes to fix it. This saved $30 for a new light. That equates to an hourly rate of $180 per hour. Not a bad return.


This example shows how a single item will not determine success or failure. However, it is the habit that is important. Millionaires seek to maximize their return on everything. If you can spend a few dollars on an item while getting another year usage, that is improving the return on your money.


  1. Buy name brands


Have you ever noticed that the store brand cough medicine has the same ingredients as the name brand. The difference is about $3.00 a bottle. That equates to 45% of the purchase price. We see the same situation with clothing. Why buy name brand when a large percentage of the purchase price is the marketing dollars spent to make the name a household word? It does not make the product work any better.


The exception to this is with quality. Paying a bit more for quality is often a wise investment since the overall cost is less with the increase in longevity. A prime example of this is with shoes. Usually, an $80 pair of loafers will last substantially longer than a $30 pair. The length of usage makes it a better deal over the life of the item.


  1. Eating out a lot


Food offers the nourishment that is required for us to survive. However, it is something that ends up in the same place regardless of how much it cost. Dinner at a nice restaurant can easily run $40+ a person. The same meal can be prepared at home for under $10. Those who reach the level of millionaire realize this fact and choose to eat at home. The same mindset is applicable to lunch. With the average lunch going for $6-$8, one can slash 75% off that amount by packing one. Brown bagging is a way to affluence.


  1. Paying for lawn care


When I moved into my house, I checked into getting a lawn service to take care of the yard. When I got the estimate, I almost fell over. They want $75 a week for something that would take them less than 30 minutes to do. Instead of paying that, I purchased a used lawn mower for $75 and do it myself. This gets me out of the house for a little exercise while allowing me to enhance my investment portfolio. The extra money that I save is invested on a monthly basis.


The average millionaire knows exactly what his or her time is worth. Mowing the lawn may seem like a waste of valuable resources. Again, when I notice that it takes me 45 minutes to do my entire yard, I realize that I am earning $100 per hour. This is a terrific return for most people.


Here are 5 things that your average millionaire will avoid doing. Controlling one's expenses is a key part of amassing wealth. Start implementing these simple ideas into your life. Keep track of the monthly savings and invest it. This way, you are paying yourself instead of a particular vendor.



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Life Is Passing


"Youth is wasted on the young".

Time is an interesting concept. It seems that we fail to appreciate it until it is running out. Today, I want to stimulate you to think about how fragile this commodity is.

Time can either be invested or wasted. We are all given a certain amount of it. Of course, that varies for each person. The fact that we never know when it is going to run out opens up the opportunity to waste it. A healthy idea is to live each moment to the fullest since you never know if it will be your last.

"Get busy living or get busy dying" -Timothy Robbin's character in the Shawshank Redemption

Life is passing one day at a time. Each day brings us closer to the end. What are you doing to put your stamp on life? People tend to put off their dreams believing there is always time. There is not. In addition, many settle for less than they fully desire in hopes that someday it will all change. Sadly, these people get to the end of their lives only to realize they did not live. They got busy dying instead of living.

Time is the only thing that everyone is equal in. Each person walking the planet is given 24 hours in a day. No more. No less. What separates people is how each chooses to spent that time. Is it invested or is it wasted? Do you prefer to lounge in front of the television every night? Or do you utilize that time reading materials that get you closer to your dreams? It is a choice that determines the quality of the time passing.

Here is a warning: your life is passing with every moment. It is time to get busy if you want to avoid looking back over your life with regret. Dust those dreams of your youth off and begin to create a mental image of a better life for yourself. Start to take the action that will make a difference. Invest the most precious asset, this moment, wisely.
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9/13/2008

The Power of a Magnifying Glass


As children, many of us lit things such as leaves and sticks on fire using a magnifying glass. For those who failed to undertake this worthwhile endeavor, one simply magnifies the rays of the sun to a point where they will set an object aflame. The magnifying glass is held over the item until the rays get hot enough to cause ignition. This is a childhood activity which has it's foundation based in science.


The magnifying glass is an example of how we can increase the power of something. Left on their own, the sun's rays are not hot enough to set something ablaze. Magnification is required to attain this result. The same holds true in life. Often, we do not have the power to accomplish something when operating in a natural way. Magnification is needed to attain the result we are seeking. Harnessing the power that comes along with magnification allows us to increase our overall productivity.


What is life's magnifying glass? How can we increase the power that already exists within us? The answer to these questions is focus. Focusing our attention is what allows us to tap into resources that presently reside within us. The more that we are able to focus all our attention on the task at hand, the better our results are. Concentration is a discipline that few mention. Yet, it is critical for long term success.


I like to compare focus with a firearm. To me, this offers a visual which makes it easy to understand. Consider the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. A rifle fires a bullet while a shotgun sprays pellets. The rifle gives the shooter precision even at long distances. The shotgun, on the other hand, creates quite a mess of whatever it hits at a close range. The power that it has diminishes as the distance gets further. Think of this as being effective in the short term. The rifle is more effective at a longer distance. The bullet, when aimed precisely, will kill. This is similar to a long term approach.


Focus is like using a rifle to get through life. Waking up in the morning with no plan on what we are going to do is like attacking life with a shotgun. It will create a mess for the short term while having little positive effect over the long haul. A lack of focus is what causes many to leave projects unfinished. It is also the trait which enables people to bounce from one activity to the next without any standardized approach. It is a hit or miss situation. There is no precision in the actions taken.


Those who attain long-term objectives do so because they concentrate on the outcome. Goal setting or planning is a part of this equation. One needs to sit down and map out where the desired destination is. After that, a plan for the achievement of that goal is formulated. Maintaining focus on the end result is what allows one to attain the heights of achievement that is wanted. The unsuccessful, if they take the time to establish an objective, lose focus whenever a distraction arises. One needs to develop the ability to return focus when the distraction is eliminated.


At present, I am writing this article. There are many potential distractions to take me away from my goal of completing this. The cat is here wishing to be fed a couple hours early. Sadly, like a child, he does not understand the word “no”. Technology provides some ever present obstacles such as email and instant messenger. Of course, there are also a few hundred billion websites for me to go peruse through. Yet, I am maintaining my attention on the goal of completing this article. My focus helps me to overcome the distractions which are not eliminated. This goal is reaching a successful conclusion due to my dedication to finish it. I am focused on the objective until it is done.


Remember the power of the magnifying glass. The sun, as powerful as it is, cannot set a stick ablaze on it's own. Add the power of magnification and that item will burst into flames in a few seconds. Magnify your powers by focusing on what you are presently working on. Maintain that concentration until you complete the task. This single action will increase your productivity substantially.


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A Lesson From Astronomy


Have you ever looked up into the night sky and got the feeling of "smallness"? The universe is an incredible thing that transcends our comprehension. Using this as an example teaches a great deal about the importance of focus. Anyone who looked through a telescope knows how the slightest shift causes one to loss the constellation that he or she is looking at. Maintaining a steady hand is crucial to see what is desired.

People tend to go through life jumping from one galaxy to the next. They shift their focus on a whim while not controlling where their attention goes to. This causes us to lose the precision that comes from having persistence in this area. Distractions have a greater impact when lacking the ability to return our attention to the previous project. This reduces our productivity.

Planning helps us to maintain our proper concentration. It is helpful to eliminate as many distractions as one can. However, it is impossible to get rid of them all. Life still happens even when we have other plans. As I write this entry, the cat is next to my desk howling to be fed. This distraction will persist for the next 3 hours since that is his feeding time. Nevertheless, I cannot allow that to take away from what is needed here. My attention remains on completing this article.

My feeding of the cat would be an example of how people typically handle these situations. Follow this example with me. I could stop my work here and go into the kitchen to feed the cat. Once that was done, I could do some of the dishes which are piling up in the sink. Of course, knowing that my writing needs attention, I would only do a few with the intention of getting back. I then realize that the garbage was piling up. So, I take it out to make someone else's life easier. While outside, I pull some of the weeds I see covering the walkway. This exercise could continue on forever.

This shows how easy it is to get distracted. The ability to get back to the previous project and see it through to completion is vital. This requires discipline and training. Yet, it is a quality of the most successful. Here are a few things that you can do to begin to develop this habit.

1. Make a list.

This is one of the easiest ways to improve one's focus. The compiling of a list means that you spend some time planning. Consider what needs to be done allows you to move seamlessly from one activity to another. Once an activity is completed, you can easily move onto the next.

2. Break larger projects into smaller parts.

An elephant is eaten one bite at a time. A book is written one page (or word) at a time. Most activities can be broken into smaller pieces. This allows you to maintain the momentum while trying to complete larger activities.

3. Know the value of an outline.

This relates in part to the last item. An outline helps one to break a project into smaller parts. It also serves as a reminder should a distraction arise. Focus is improved by getting back the previous point before the interruption occurred. Unfortunately, this is not always possible without assistance. Having an outline helps us to achieve this.

The stars tell us so much. To really get the full experience from one planet when looking through a telescope, we need to focus steadily on it. Any movement away from it will alter our results. Similarly, maintain focus on the task which you are presently involved in until it is completed. This will increase your overall productivity.
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Personal Responsibility

"It is all your making". "You created the situation that you are in". These are words that make people tremble. It goes against the prevailing belief that so many have. Most want to absolve themselves of any responsibility. The "blame game" is the preferred method for dealing with issues. We want to blame anyone that we can for our plight in life.

The successful do not partake in this. Sure, the economy might be lagging. However, a successful sales person knows that sales are made each day regardless of what the economy is doing. He or she overcomes the excuses while taking responsibility for what occurs in life. This is what allows one to change circumstances. If I am responsible for it, then I am the one who can change it. Yet, if you are responsible, then I must change you. The later shows the impossibility of making any adjustments.

Each decision you made led to the point that you are at. It is understandable that you do not like you ex-wife. However, who forced you to marry her. Hating your job is a common idea; who forced you to go to work there? The point is that somewhere along the line we made a choice that gets us the result we presently enjoy (or despise).

Begin today by taking responsibility for all that occurs in your life. When something is not going how you wish, look back to see where a choice you made created this situation. Often, this will hold the insight into resolving the situation. It will enable you to make a decision today that will move you in a different direction.
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9/11/2008

The Precision Of A Rifle

Do you ever feel that you aren't getting anything accomplished? Are there times where you feel completely "scatterbrained"? A lack of focus can cause one's productivity to drop by 75%. Improving in this one area can turn someone into a success in a few hours.

Focus is like implementing a rifle into our arsenal. The scatterbrained approach is like trying to take something out with a shotgun. It is effective at close range but lacks the precision for long distances. Life is a long distance shot. To succeed in the long term, it takes precision in what we do. Focus is what allows us to be more effective in all areas.

A large part of success is momentum. Have you ever noticed in sports how hard it is to stop a team that is on a winning streak? It appears that they play at a higher level during this period. The confidence is greater while having the expectation of winning. This is the result of having momentum.

The action that you take requires the same effect. You will be more productive when you remain focused on one activity. Bouncing around necessitates starting all over again. Momentum is build by focusing in one direction until that activity is completed. This is how we can harness the precision and power of focus. It is like replacing a shotgun with a rifle.

How can we go about doing this? Here are two things that can be done immediately to get you started.

1. Make a list of all that needs to be done.

A list helps a great deal in allowing you to see what needs to be done. It also is beneficial in helping to determine the next course of action that we will take. Moving seamlessly from one activity to another enables us to see the results we are getting.

2. Set out a long-term thought process.

Many seem to just go through life handling whatever comes down the road. It is good to do those activities that are in front of us. However, we need to keep everything in the proper context. Is what we are doing moving us closer to a desired objective? Activity that leads us somewhere is effective. Determine where you want to be long term to notice whether what you are doing today is helping get you there.

Focus is a crucial part of success. Fortunately, it is a trait that everyone can acquire. It is a habit that can be developed over time. Begin practicing it by writing up a list of the things you want to accomplish today. This will train your brain to focus upon those tasks which are important to you.
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9/10/2008

Maintaining Flexibility

Football season is here and we already saw a number of key injuries around the NFL. The biggest of them all is the New England's Patriot's loss of Tom Brady. This man is the heart and soul of this team. He is most likely the only player the Patriots could not afford to lose. They went from a team that was looking at the Superbowl to one that can only hope to make the playoffs. How quickly things change.

I allude to this situation as a way to illustrate how things can occur. Life can change in an instant. There are no guarantees that what we become accustomed to will repeat itself today. Each day carries with it new perils and risks. For most, nothing dramatic happens. However, occasionally the star quarterback is unexpectedly hurt.

The Patriots were planning on the World Championship. Everything they did in the off season and training camp was geared to this end. Now, all those plans are altered. This is how life is. We can plan all we want, but the outcome is out of our hands. Make financial plans to retire at a certain age and you might find the market turned against you. Consider the plight of those who owned Enron stock as an example. All their planning went out the window because of fraudulent behavior of others.

Successful people remain flexible in how they approach life. Planning is an important exercise the successful use often. However, no matter how well one plans, circumstances have a way of going awry. Being able to handle the surprises that life can serve is crucial. This begins with taking responsibility for what occurs. It is this mindset which allows us to take control of situations. Remember, if it is their fault, then you must fix them before the situation is handled. Maintaining the power of responsibility is a terrific enhancement.

Flexibility helps to determine our attitude. One who has an optimistic outlook while encountering the bumps along the way will enjoy greater success. A proper mindset is a crucial part of achievement. Often, our results are created in our own minds before any action is taken. Be versatile in your approach to life.

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9/09/2008

A Social Networker's Rant


I belong to a few of the ‘ social’ media groups,, digg, reddit, stumble to name just three and I enjoys those sites; they are basically places where people from around the world find interesting stuff on the internet and ‘post’ it onto these sites for others to read and enjoy, the ones reading it can either vote for it by ‘ digging’ it, thumbing it up or down or arrowing it, all of the sites give people the option to review the articles and comment on them, what they liked/disliked etc.

The internet is a vast place, full of many fascinating and wonderful things, its also full of some really bad stuff that make you want to cringe, all of these go to make up the internet, as in life there is good and bad and what appeals to one person does not necessarily appeal to another and that is fine, its how it should be, imagine how boring life would be if everyone liked the same food, dressed the same, spoke the same and followed the same path as everyone else.

Guess the reason for writing this is that over the time that I have been on these sites I have seen a marked decrease in the comments, the comments are still on the submissions that’s true but they seem to be nastier, the tone of them more scathing and bitchy if you like, and that is such a shame, someone had gone to the trouble of thinking, “ Hey this is good, I will share it with everyone” only to be met with scorn and abuse in some cases, and to be honest I cannot understand why

If you don’t like something, don’t vote for it, there your job is done, finished, unless the article is plainly offensive then report it, again your job is done. The old saying, “ If you can’t say something nice then say nothing at all “ rings true in most cases, if someone has posted a picture that they thought was lovely or amazing, that is their opinion and should be respected as such, the same is true for currant affairs articles and jokes, even the weird and wacky odd ball things that can be found are interesting to some people and if you saw it awhile back then that’s fine, you properly already have an opinion on that so there is not need to comment “ Damn this is older than I am, what a waste of my time “ How were we to know you had seen it ? How were we to know you liked/disliked it?

Comments on all submissions are welcome I know but at times the comment are just plain rude and offensive and to be honest, there is no need for it, if you don’t like something, move on to the next one, or submit your own and tell us what it is that you like.

Ok I am done



This article was published on http://akittenone.wordpress.com. It really touched a nerve with the Digg community based upon the diggs and comments that it received. I hope this allows us to all look at our own behavior.

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Courage

Courage is a trait that I found necessary if one wants to achieve success in any area. Fear is an enemy which all encounter. However, those who know how to handle the fear are the ones who move ahead. The ones who are left behind are those who allow fear to control them.

Many think that successful people do not have fear. They mistakenly believe that courage means the absence of fear. It is not. Courage is the taking of action in spite of fear. It is alright for one to experience fear. This is a part of the human experience. Nevertheless, those who are the most successful are the ones who take action regardless of what they are feeling.

What is your greatest fear? The answer to this question holds the secret to your success. Look into the face of fear and take the action. This is your path to whatever you desire in life. It is how one exhibits courage.

A soldier is the example many use to symbolize courage. He or she enters battle risking the most precious asset-life. However, this person forges ahead because of a higher calling. Fear certainly is a part of the equation. Yet a soldier carries on in spite of that fear. It is the basis for all his or her accomplishments.

Facing up to your fears allows for more success. Display some courage in your daily life. Accept the times in which you experience fear while moving ahead. Fear is a natural part of life. By the same token, so is courage. It is one of the main factors which will determine the quality of your life.

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9/08/2008

A Life Of Choices


Life is nothing more than a series of choices. All day long we are making choices which affect the quality of our lives. This is not a novel concept to anyone. However, most choose to focus upon the major decisions which have a big impact on life. "To change your life, these choices must be made differently" is the common belief. Unfortunately, these aren't the selections which usually hinder people's lives. Instead, it is the day-to-day decisions which determine how life progresses.

Improvement is a daily activity. The best way to improve in any area of life is to make daily progress. Over time, this adds up to result in a major difference. Each decision will build on the previous so that after a few months, one literally thinks completely different. Many small changes do have an effect.

Here are three areas where you can make a difference in your life right now,

1. What you focus upon.

You choose what you focus upon at any moment. Are you thinking how awful things are? Do you look at how much work needs to be done? Or are you considering how fortunate you are? The difference in our focus affects how we approach our day. People often derive their attitude based upon what they focus upon. Dwell in the negative and that is what you will get.

2. How you spend your time.

Do you come home and plop in front of the television for hours at a time? This is a decision that affects your life. How you choose to spend your time, especially those non-working hours, is what reveals the life we are leading. Instead of spending time watching television, why not read a book that will enhance your knowledge? Perhaps the time would be more beneficial if you started a side business. Exercising as opposed to lounging around really has an impact on the life you lead.

3. Who you interact with.

Have you ever noticed how negative people associate with other negative people? Like seems to attract like. The quality of people that you are around has an impact of the success that you will experience. There are some who simply will always focus upon what is wrong. If you are one who seeks to move forward in life, these are the people who need to be removed. They are like a cancer that will strangle your progress. Be aware of who you choose to interact with.

Consider these areas when making you daily selections. We can improve in each of these incrementally to make a huge difference in the quality of our lives. Try this and notice how the "compounding" affect really takes hold. You will be amazed in a short period of time.
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9/07/2008

A Rifle Versus A Shoutgun


Most know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. A rifle is packed with a bullet that can be aimed with tremendous precision. It is the standard weapon used by snipers. A shotgun, on the other hand, is ideal for creating a mess of human flesh. In essence, a shotgun sprays a bunch of pellets into the person. The shot is not very accurate but will destroy anything it hits at close range.

Why do I refer to these different weapons? The reason is the analogy to life that they bring. Focus is what makes the difference between using a shotgun versus a rifle. People who lack the ability to concentrate are going through life trying to use the shotgun. If they hit anything, it is because they put so much out there. The results gotten will be more haphazard.

A more effective way to accomplish this "mission" is to use the rifle. Focus is the tool we use in this arena. When we concentrate our efforts, we access all the power that we have within us. Our actions are not deluded because we are all over the place. All the power is aimed at one specific area.

To take out multiple people, a sharpshooter needs to hit one person before moving onto the next. This is what produces the desired results. Life is the same for us. We need to aim our power on one activity until it is completed before moving onto the next. This is how we are effective.

Remember this analogy when you find yourself drifting aimlessly. At those times you are trying to use a shotgun when a rifle is the proper weapon. Concentrate your efforts so that all the power within you is aimed where you need it to be. This is how you can immediately increase your success.
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