10/31/2008

Early Morning

Before dawn
As the rest of the world
Lay sleeping

We stood
Silent
On top of the hill

And slowly
The day awoke
In deep blue
Optimism

by Marcus Edward John Cross

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Leadership Quote

If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.

Admiral Grace Hopper
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10/30/2008

Clarity Is Key


"Most people do not get what they want because they do not know what they want."

Never was a truer statement uttered. The sad thing is most believe they know what they want. Yet, when they are questioned, it is realized they have no idea. Their life is spent expending effort energy chasing a moving target. It is little wonder that most fail miserably.

What do you truly want? This is the question from which all your success comes. Without answering this clearly, you will be mired in an endless loop. All great achievements stem from the clarity that comes with making a decision. It is now time to decide what you want.

Focus is an important aspect of success. I find that it is impossible to focus completely when there is a lack of clarity. Concise ideas are much easier to follow. A builder cannot construct a home without accurate blueprints. The same is true for your life. Without the clarity that comes from knowing exactly what you want, your masterpiece will be substandard.

Get clear about what you want. Spend some time writing the type of relationships that you want. Set a path for your life. This is a fantastic journey. It gets better when you get concise about how you want things to transpire.
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What You Have

We are a generation of insatiable wants. It seems that no matter what people have, they always want more. This is a conditioning that we are accustomed to. Advertisers are experts at striking the emotional cords within us that makes us crave a particular product. It gets to the point where people cannot distinguish between wants and needs.

This conditioning has made people unhappy. Regardless of what one has, it is never enough. The "more" syndrome becomes an endless cycle. We have an appreciation level of about 3 minutes. This causes us to continually look forward at what we are going to get next.

Gratitude is an emotion that many philosophies teach is central for lifelong happiness. It also is something that we lost as a culture. If you want to be happy in this moment, get grateful for all the things that you have now. You are blessed in so many ways. Recognize that and be grateful for it.

This is true no matter what your present situation is. Regardless of your struggle, there is always a worse situation you could find yourself in. The old saying is "I was unhappy about my shoes until I met a man with no feet". This insight provides the shift in perspective necessary to be grateful.

Here is an exercise: instead of comparing yourself to those who have something you want, begin to compare yourself to those less fortunate. We tend to envy the neighbors for the new car, house, or pool. This puts a sense of longing within us. The problem is that we are overlooking what we have when we do this. We are not grateful with this mindset.

We take things fro granted until we lose them. This seems to be a fact of human nature. Here is an example: are you grateful for your car battery. Most fail to think about it until they go out and the car won't start. Then we wish we had a battery that worked. The same can be said for anything in our life.

Remember this little exercise when you are beginning to feel down. If financial circumstances are beating you up, go online to view some pictures of life in Africa. This will give you an instant shift in perspective. We think we know what poor is in the western world. Not really. The continent of Africa takes poverty to a level that most of us cannot imagine. Those people would most likely sacrifice parts of their body to be in our shoes. Yet we complain because those shoes are not the latest Nikes. It is time to get appreciative for all that we are given.
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10/29/2008

Broke Versus Poor

I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday who is going through some rough times financially. His business is off 90% from it's peak a couple of years ago. As you can guess, he is in the mortgage arena. During our discussion, he mentioned how "poor" he is. That is the basis for today's lesson.

My friend was incorrect. He is not poor. At the moment, he is broke. There is a major difference between the two. Understanding how these two concepts differ is what allows one to transform the circumstances.

Being broke is a reflection of a situation. It is temporary in nature and can be reversed. Circumstances sometimes go unfavorably which leads us to go broke. Many wealthy people experienced this in their life.

Poor, on the other hand, is not a situation. This is a state of mind. And most who are poor remain there. It is something that is not changed based upon financial circumstances. Many wealthy people remain poor which eventually reflects in the physical world. In the end, they lose whatever money was accumulated.

The only way to stop being poor is to change one's mindset. Getting back to my friend, he is broke because his circumstances are temporary. He still has the mindset to go out and create. Wealth building is something that he did not lose. I am certain there will be a time when he will reverse his fortunes.

Donald Trump went broke a few times. Yet he maintained his ability to create wealth. Also, the inner belief that he would rebound remained. That internal self confidence is common among those who alter these types of circumstances. They have the persistence to succeed in spite of the present difficulties.

It is easy to see how being poor is greatly different from being broke. If you are experiencing a rough time financially, remember this idea. Having the proper mindset is the first step to changing the physical circumstances.
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10/27/2008

The Big Picture

Do not worry. This is not a suicidal note or anything like that. However, periodically, I think about death. It usually occurs upon the anniversary of somebody's death who I was close to. This occurred over the weekend since I lost a buddy of mine a little over a year ago.

What I often dwell upon is "what does it all mean?". We spend our days dealing with the trials and tribulations only to wake up dead. Many plan for life in their later years only to pass on long before ever reaching it. It makes me wonder what the point is.

This is a rather pessimistic view. The flip side is there is a perspective which we need to adhere to. How important is it all? Consider the last time you were enraged. Was it worth it? What was it over and how important is it really? These are questions which will help you keep things in perspective.

Many philosophies teach that there are no big deals. This is true. Another way of looking at it is "what will this matter in 100 years?". If something is not lasting, is it really a big deal? Probably not.

So where does this leave us? I really do not have the answer to that. I guess it all comes down to individual faith or belief system. However, I can tell you whatever you are upset about is not worth it. In the grand scheme of time, we are only here a short while. It is best to make the most of it.

This begins by concentrating on what is important in life. Too often people spend their waking hours pursuing things that are of little relevance. Remember this while you are angrily plugging along at your "to do" list. Most of what is on their is absolutely inconsequential.

Ask yourself "what can I create that will have a lasting impact?". While few ever are remembered past the people who knew him/her, there is a chance you will create something that has impact. Books, businesses, paintings, and organizations all can outlive their originators. People who look to build something lasting often do.

Begin today by shifting your mindset. If it is important, pursue with complete vigor. In the end, even if you fail to create something lasting, you will have led a fulfilled life. And, that should be the goal of each person.
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10/26/2008

10/25/2008

Finish Each Day

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

F
inish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.



This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.

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Less Is More


George Carlin had a skit where he use to talk about "stuff". It was a play on the Western world's quest for more material objects. He mentioned how people would get stuff which required them to clean, insure, maintain, and house it all. Then, when we go too much of it, we got a storage unit to put the excess in. This comical skit epitomizes the mindset of our culture.

Here is an exercise for you. Try living the next 6 months with the "less is more" mindset. Materialism is a disease to many. Now, don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with material objects or wanting the "finer things in life". The problem is when people identify their worth by what they own.

Where do we start? Look in your closets and cupboards. What is there that you can get rid of? A good rule of thumb is to rid yourself of anything that was not touched in the last year. If you haven't used it in the last 12 months, you can get rid of it. Being a pack rat is a disservice to you on many levels. When we clear away excess, it has an incredible cleansing effect on us.

We became a culture which forgot what is important. It is not uncommon for a household to have a television for each person. Quickly, the same is true for computers. We have lots of devices which can alleviate the need to interact with each other. We become mindless robots who are entertained by inanimate objects.

The age of consumerism led us to buy lots which was not needed in our lives. The concept of "well I got it on sale" is a mainstream idea. Recent events might necessitate changing that behavior. Many are now forced to tighten the belt. Begin this practice before you are put in a position where you have to do it. This will make the transition a lot easier.
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10/24/2008

Do Your Own Research

This election cycle is really showing me how impressionable people really are. Consistently, I hear individuals talking about the political campaign and drawing conclusions without having a clue what they are talking about. They hear a talking point or a television ad and instantly believe what they hear. How foolish this is.

We are being taught a valuable lesson. Do your own research. Approach everything you hear with a degree of skepticism. If it is on television, bet the ranch that it is skewed. Everyone has an agenda. Find out what that is will reveal how trustworthy that source is.

Rush Limbaugh, America's favorite loudmouth, calls this situation with the media "drive-bys". I think that sums it up. A person draws a conclusion about a situation or a person based upon a few minutes of exposure. How do you know what you are receiving is the truth? You cannot.

Remember, there are always two sides to every situation. When people set out to distort the facts for their own agenda, they invariably present a slanted view. It might not even be on purpose. Nevertheless, this is what they do.

The way to avoid this is to get information from different sources. Researchers do this all the time. They uncover facts and then research in an effort to prove or disprove them. Hanging out with people who think exactly like you will not reveal new ideas. Businesses encounter this stagnation often when the same decision makers are allowed to exercise their power. Basically, nothing changes. New blood is necessary.

Put some new blood into your situations. Take everything you uncover at face value until you research it thoroughly. It is important to remember that everyone has a particular agenda. This single point will change you viewpoint of what they say.
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Blame In Action

Anyone who is a regular reader knows that personal responsibility is one of the highest values we promote here. Unlike the "handout" concept of society today, I believe it is the one way to happiness and prosperity. It also eliminates the ability to play the blame game.

I had the opportunity to witness how the societal conditioning of society affects people. I got discussing politics with a friend of mine yesterday. As you can guess, this particular individual has a different political outlook than I do. Naturally, we got into some cross hairs rather quickly.

To start, this individual is 62 years old drawing social security. It is his only means of financial support. He is presently living with his daughter (rent free) because he is paying child support for his three children (all under 10). He married and divorced 5 times leaving a path of destruction in each situation. By now you can guess which side he is falling on.

He claims that we need people in Washington who are going to take care of us. All the benefits for the rich are what hurts this country. This is his belief. Of course, nowhere in his life did he take responsibility for any of his actions. Thus, he feels the government should take care of everyone.

My issue here is not to create a political debate. Rather, I want to illustrate how a destructive outlook creates concrete results in people's lives. This individual believes in others taking care of it all with him being at fault for nothing. That played out in his life.

Personal responsibility is the only path to happiness and success. My friend is jaded because he was let down. That is the natural result when your dependence is upon others. They will fail you. Take responsibility for your own life and then you can take the corrective action when things go differently than anticipated. This is a much better result than waiting for the politicians to fix the government. That is a long wait.
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Motivation For The Day


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10/23/2008

People Are Going To Lose Their Jobs

There is a sad series of events that are going to occur which will make it more difficult for individuals affected. To begin with, unemployment is going to go up over the next year. This is an unavoidable situation since we are in a recession. During times of economic downturn, companies are forced to lay off workers.

The second event that is going to hurt people is the impending tax increase on businesses from the government. It now appears that Obama is going to win the election (if the polls are correct) and the leader in Congress are itching to hit business with a tax increase. This is their agenda.

I was talking the other day with a business owner who told me that a 5% increase in the corporate tax rate will force him to lay of 3 employees. It is curious to think that the people who will be forced to lose their jobs most likely will have voted for the man who promised to raise the corporate tax rate.

This gentleman's company is in an industry that is having it's margins squeezed. There is a simple lesson that many fail to consider when taxing corporations. They respond in two ways: either pass the tax on in a price increase or cut expenses. If the margins in a particular industry are tight, the former is not possible. Thus, people are let go.

Many think this is "mean-spirited". They point out that businesses always let people go to save money. That is because it is a move that realizes instant savings. Closing locations will save on electric but the company is still responsible for the rent until the lease expires. Cut personnel and you will realize a savings the next pay period.

It is time that we got realistic about what is going on. The media is leading us down a road where surprises occur. Everyone was shocked at the financial crisis as a result of the mortgage meltdown. How come the American people were not forewarned? We were living in a dream world.

Prepare yourself for things to get worse. Do whatever you can to increase your abilities so you are not one of those chosen. The owner I mentioned might lay off 3 people (he employs 135). If I worked there, I would do all I could to ensure that I was at least 4th from the bottom.
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Become Obsessed

The present election cycle is a wonderful teacher for the power of obsession. Regardless of which candidate you are for, you will agree that many of the supporters are obsessed with gaining victory. At the same time, both Obama and McCain have that same desire for winning also. Their obsession leads to passion.

How does this differ from most people? Look at your life as an example. What is you overriding desire? Is there something that you want so badly that you are willing to commit everything you have to attaining it? For most, this simply is not the case. The average person does not have an obsession. Instead, they have hopes and wants. Notice the difference. The first is a full blown commitment, the later a pipe dream.

People who are passionate live happier lives. Sadly, it is easy to find people who lack this imperative emotion. Watch the demeanor of most when they arrive at work each day. They act like they are in for a death sentence (this is closer to the truth than they realize). Contrast that with someone who loves what he or she does. That person is invigorated when arriving at the office. He or she is passionate.

My recommendation is to become obsessed with something. Excellence stems from the passion that comes with this outlook. Developing passion is critical for our success. An effective way to begin practicing this is to create this with a hobby. Find something that you love to do in your spare time. Get passionate about it and see how much better you perform at it. Harness the power of focus to increase your effectiveness. This is what a healthy obsession can do.
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10/22/2008

It Takes Strength

It seems people want to take the easy path. America's recent move to the left shows how this sentiment is becoming commonplace. How soon people forget the history that made the United States the world leader. The qualities that made us great are gone. It is replaced with the "handout" mentality.

This is what is turning us into a second rate nation. Nowhere is personal responsibility promoted. Instead, our leaders teach the blame game. Also, we are taught to look for what we can get from each situation as opposed to what we can give. Many feel they are owed something by society. My vote is that we owe them a good swift kick in the ass.

For those of you who visit this site on a regular basis, you know that we believe in people taking control of their lives. It takes strength to do this. As mentioned, most do not want to engage in this. It is easier to sit back and see what someone will offer. We want a handout from the government. Or we believe that we deserve a raise based upon tenure instead of merit. Or we want our parents to buy us a new car. The list is endless. Rarely do we see anyone promoting the idea of earning something.

I am a firm believer that there is an opportunity in every situation. The shift over the last 20+ years to the "handout" mentality means that the path for others is easier. Simply put, there is less competition. People adopting the outlook that others need to do for them enables the go-getters to stand out.

Pursuing one's dreams opens up the possibility of ridicule and ostracizing by others. It is far easier to pull another down rather than lift oneself up. Remember this as you travel down your individual path to success. Many who are close to you will become your biggest detractors. It is a sad but true fact.
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Get Off The Pity Pot


I hear so many complaining about how bad their plight is. Hold on, let me get my violin. I apologize for my sarcasm but this concept goes against everything that we promote on this site. People love to dwell upon their misery. They cannot help but throw themselves a pity party. "Woe is me" is the theme.

Get real. One of my closest advisers likes to say that "we live in the land of milk and honey". How true that statement is for anyone who lives in the industrialized countries of the world. If your life is pathetic, that is your fault. Until you accept this fact, life will continue to go as it is. Blaming others for our plight gives them all the power.

It is time to get off the pity pot. If you want to have something to bitch about, try living for a few years in Africa. There is a continent which knows poverty. Go and visit the roughly 3/4 of a billion people in India who are living in a state of starvation. Regardless of your situation, there are millions of individuals around the world who would trade places with you in an instant.

I heard of a man who was in the process of losing his $350,000 home outside Los Angeles to foreclosure. His response to this "tragedy" was to kill his family then himself. Are you kidding me? A family is wiped out because of the shame and guilt someone felt over losing a piece of real estate. This is insane.

Fortunately, few ever go to this length. Nevertheless, they will continually complain about how awful their life is. This is so childish. Stop the desperate cries for attention and grow up. If you need something to pay attention to you, get a dog. Other than that, shut up. We all have our troubles in life. That is part of the deal. We do the best we can while learning the lesson in each situation.

For those of you who cannot identify with the behavior I am describing, I have great news. Since the majority like to do this, it is easy for you to stand out. Resist any temptation to throw/join a pity party. Get off you duff and do what is needed to succeed. There are opportunities arising everyday if you will seek them out. Just be sure to wave to those who are wasting time bitching as you pass them by on your road to success and happiness.
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10/21/2008

Two Choices

"Get busy living or get busy dying" -Andy Dufrane (Shawshank Redemption)

This is one of my favorite quotes. To me, it sums up the only two choices we really have. Many will disagree with this sentiment. Yet, when we break it all down, everything ultimately comes back to these two choices.

Sadly, many choose to "get busy dying". They allow others to dictate the type of life they will lead. This allows them to blame others when their life fails to turn out the way they desire. Of course, they will use all kinds of justification for the way things are. However, their deep-seeded resentment and unhappiness comes from settling for a meager existence.

Personal responsibility means that you take control of your own life. Too many want to cede that to others. We are taught that we need to conform to the ideas of others. Going to school, getting a career, marrying, and raising a family are the keys to happiness. Others whom we respect tell us that we need to be responsible by getting a good paying job. Everything revolves around the financial aspect of life. Pursuing one's dreams is often discouraged because of the risk involved.

Studies show that over 75% of the general population hates their job. This is an overwhelming statistic. It is no wonder that so many people are unhappy. They despise how they spend 1/3 of their total week. And how do these people respond to this situation: by complaining about it. Rarely does one take the initiative to improve his or her skills. They eke out a living doing something they hate so that they can get the paycheck.

If you want to change your life, the first step is to take personal responsibility for where you are. Nobody is forcing you to work where you do. Unless the law changed, it is illegal to put a slavery clause in an employment contract. Decide what your dreams are and lay a path to pursue them. This is what "getting busy living" is all about.

Settling for less than you truly desire is the path to death. There is no reason why you cannot attain all the levels of success that you crave. It does entail shaking off the limiting beliefs that hindered you for so long. Expand the possibilities of your mind. Let us all embrace life.
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Self Reliance

Who can you count on? This is an important question in this generation. The world that we live in is rapidly changing. Unfortunately, many are ill prepared to deal with the circumstances that are arising. What is one to do with things moving at such a fast pace? Where do we turn to seek the solutions?

We are in the midst of the greatest "responsibility absolution" program ever seen. The overriding tone is that "it is not your fault" regardless of what occurs. Governments all over the world are stepping in to save institutions from failure. Why? Because we simply cannot let them fail. At the same time, individuals are receiving assistance due to mortgage circumstances where they are not at fault. Again, today, nothing is your fault.

Sadly, the ones who are telling us they provide the rescue are the same ones who let us down in the first place. Our leadership failed to offer any insulation against corporate and governmental greed, institutional manipulation, and corruption. Now, they are saying "trust us, we will help". Sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but this is a lie. If you are looking for someone else to save you butt, you are holding a losing hand.

Self reliance is where you need to focus your attention. The economy is in rough shape. Many good employees will be let go due to circumstances. Companies do not have the loyalty to protect you. Even small business owners will decide on their paycheck over yours. This is a fact of life. Even union employees, those who supposedly are protected, will find how little the union does for them when there are massive layoffs. Imagine the position union negotiators are in when dealing with GM. "Take the layoffs or we will be out of business in 24 months when we run out of money". Notice how limited their choices are. Take something now or get nothing in the long run.

Here is a memo: there is nobody looking out for you. The politicians do not care. These people only care about getting re-elected and gaining power. Some will say this is a cynical view of the political process yet I challenge anyone to debate the opposing point.If they cared so much about our situation, how come none of them have mentioned cutting their salaries by 50% from $130K-$150K until this crisis passes.

Of late, I have written a great deal about personal responsibility. It is something that vaporized over the last 20 years. We are a generation that excels at the blame game. Watch the politicians. It is interesting to note how nothing is ever their fault. There is someone else who can always be blamed. They mention how we can look to them to protect us while failing at every turn. How many times are we going to fall for that?

The bottom line is there is nobody to care for you but you. People, by their nature, have a degree of selfishness. They are going to tend to their own interests first. Understand this and get on board. Tend to your own interests (and that of your family). Become a person who is self reliant. Take those actions which will improve the circumstances for your family. Personal responsibility is the attribute we all need more of today. If we can do that, there will come a time when we can tell those who are promising to take care of us "thanks but no thanks".

Begin this process today.
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10/20/2008

The Secret


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Success Through Failure


There is a great deal of controversy with the idea of bailouts, both for Wall Street and for individual home owners. Many seem to feel that those who are hurting should get assistance from the government. These individuals believe that it is the government's responsibility to protect it's citizens from harm. While I would agree with this idea regarding security matters, I do not feel that it is proper at a personal level.

I state this without a particular ideology. Rather, I come from the simple perspective that success is achieved as a result of failure. The government does a disservice when it hinders people's path to success. Often, this road is wrought with failure.

History reveals hundreds of examples of people who failed before they succeeded. Abraham Lincoln is one in particular. He lost numerous elections during the course of his life. However, he presided over one of the most important periods in U.S. history. Donald Trump is another financial success who bounced back from bankruptcy. Colonel Sanders was retired scratching out an existence on Social Security before starting Kentucky Fried Chicken. Robert De Niro took 10 years to become "an overnight success". The list goes on and on.

The point is that failure is often a prelude to achievement. When we fail, if we are reflective, we learn valuable lessons. These insights help us to avoid pitfalls in the future. It is through the act of failing that we are strengthened.

This is all lost when we are "taken care of". The government stepping in to insulate us causes more harm. It weakens that individual. In this situation, many people got loans they could not afford. This is a lesson that they need to learn. Refinancing one's house, thus increasing debt, to pay for "toys" is a lesson in financial irresponsibility. This is something many need to learn.

As for the institutions, some banks need to fail. They were grossly negligent and irresponsible also. Those which have weak balance sheets should be absorbed by one that is more stable. This is the way of business. With the depositors protected, the only ones at risk are the shareholders. This is another group that needs to learn a lesson. If they do, their chance of investing success increases. We are strengthened by our failures.

I use the term "government" here since that is what is in the headlines at the moment. However, we could substitute anyone or anything that insulates us from our grow opportunities. This could just as easy be an overly protective parent. Before a child learns to ride a bike, he or she needs to fall a few times. It is part of the process. One who prevents this child from experiencing the "failure" also robs him or her the joy of riding a bicycle. Success is a result of failure.

It is said that Edison ran over 10,000 tests before discovering the electric light bulb. Imagine if the government steped in after 5,000 failures and told Edison that they would pay him even though he didn't achieve his goal. It would be a pretty dark world right now.
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Get Excited About Your Life

"Most people live a life of quiet desperation" -Henry David Thoreau

It is over a century since Thoreau uttered these words. However, never were they as applicable as they are today. People are struggling because they lost touch with what is important. There is so much more to life than what people are experiencing. Yet so many just trudge along hoping things will change.

We are a generation of instant gratification. The "MTv" generation grew up needing to be continually entertained. We were taught that "stuff" was important while holding the key to our happiness. To fulfill this quest, we went into debt praying that someday things would turn out right. They never did.

This left many people jaded. The prescription for happiness turned out to be flawed. In the end, many are confronted with the same misery each day. They exist in a comfort zone which they are accepting. The idea of venturing outside of this is incomprehensible to these individuals. They rationalize their plight by telling themselves that "it is not that bad". Nevertheless, they are living a life of quiet desperation.

I caught Dr. Phil's show over the weekend. He brought up an interesting point. His idea is that it is time to get excited about your life. If you are not, there is no one to blame but you. The choices that we make lead to the results we get. I wrote last week about the concept of personal responsibility. This is an example of it. The decision to be excited about the life we lead is a personal choice each of us can make. Failure to do so is not the fault of another. Now is the time to start.

Get excited about your life and exciting things will start to happen.
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Mindset In Action


Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays for their worst-to-first season. They are now headed to the World Series with last night's victory. This is an amazing story on many levels. The best aspect of it in my opinion is the mindset that went into creating this reality.

For those who are not baseball fans, here is a brief rundown of the situation.

Tampa was the worst team in baseball since their inception 10 years ago. Over that time, they won about 40% of their games. This was an organization that had a loser's mindset. They were expected to lose. I think the players believed this as well. There was nothing that countered this idea.

In came Joe Madden. He was named manager and the first order of business was to begin changing the mindset. It is my understanding that he gathered the team together the first day of spring training and told them that losing was no longer tolerable. The team had the talent to win, something that he was determined to do.

Here we are 6 months later and the Rays are off to the World Series. This shows how powerful the mindset is. This was the worst (by far) organization in baseball. Everything was working against them, including payroll limitations that comes with being a small market team. Yet they won.

How does this compare to your own life? Perhaps you have achieved results that are less than you desired. Resolve to turn it around. Losing is no longer an option. If the change in mindset can reverse the fortunes of a baseball organizations, I guarantee it will work in your life too. Success first starts in your mind. Decide to win that battle today.
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10/18/2008

Implementing Change

Change is something that few people embrace. The comfort zone is a powerful mechanism whether we are referring to personal development or implementing new methods into the workplace. Resistance is common. Overcoming it is imperative if success is to follow.

According to Harold Stolovitch, professor at the University of Montreal, there are three areas which we need to focus upon.

1. Novelty:

In general, we like novelty when it is not a great disruption to our lives. We will try a new restaurant, travel a different route, or read something in a different genre. However, we resist the major changes which stay with us. This is the novelty we resist.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the workplace. Major changes in procedures tend to throw an entire organization off. We find productivity decreases even if the changes are of benefit.

The solution: reduce the novelty by implementing things where the people feel a strong sense of control. Give them some input into the implementation process.

2. Complexity:

People resist that which they do not understand. The success rate diminishes the more complicated something is. Most need to know only the basics to utilize something. Technology is a prime example which often scares people. Reduce the fear by making everything as simple and as possible.

3. Abstractness:

How does this apply to me? This is something that each person asks themselves whenever we are confronted with something new. Any changes need to be explained in a manner that the individual knows how it pertains to them. For example, a shift in policy that the VPs understand might not translate to the custodial staff. To be effective, the implementation needs to include a benefit to each individual.

Too many ideas operate in the abstract world. They make sense on paper but not to the people who really matter. Be sure to connect the larger concept with the individual that is being asked to change.

These three ideas will help to reduce the resistance to change. Implement it both at work and in your personal life. If there are some changes you need to make, and are resisting, look at these three areas. Adopt these ideas and you will make those changes easily.
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How Bad Will It Get?

The economy is in rough shape. We finally saw the economists admit what the rest of us knew, that we are in a recession. There is a Presidential campaign with new ideas being bantered about. Will they have any impact?

The big question is: Will this be a recession or a depression?


Cast your vote in the upper right hand corner.
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Getting Knocked Down


There are many who are being knocked down with the circumstances so difficult. Foreclosures, loss of job, health issues, etc... can arise in one's life without notice. Take Seve Ballesteros as an example. For those who do not know him, he is one of Europe's greatest golfer. Many believe he is the one who made European golf what it is today. In the last few weeks, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Naturally, an event like this radically alters one's viewpoint.

We are all dealt circumstances that are difficult. There is no shame in having hardship. The shame is allowing those situations to win. It is not how many times you are knocked down that matters; it is how often you get back up. Never is this more necessary than today.

There are always two choices when we encounter tough times. First, we can allow them to beat us. This is where one throws in the towel. Second, we can resolve to win. While we might lost that particular battle, we will be stronger for it, thus winning the war. Learning the lesson in each circumstance is a terrific way increase your strength. Life is one of the greatest teachers.

How are you going to respond to what you are currently experiencing? Watching human behavior provides the above choices clearly. Some opt to mope around while blaming everyone else. These are the ones who throw in the towel. Life wins repeatedly because their behavior is repeated. Others get motivated. They muster up the determination necessary to excel in spite of trying circumstances. Which direction are you headed? Consider this when you look at what you are going to do in the next 24 hours. Select those actions which will move you forward.
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10/17/2008

Passion Leads To Energy

Have you ever noticed how much energy you have when you are excited about doing something? At the same time, ever consider how lackluster you feel when you have to do something that you would rather not? This seems to be a common trait among all people. We witness this behavior regularly when studying other people.

Monday has the highest absentee rate of any day during the week. Is this a surprise to anyone? Not when you consider that statistics show that 75% of the population dislikes their job. People simply dread going into work. And those that do make it there, lack the passion necessary for excellence. Instead, they drag through the day anxiously awaiting the time when they can go home. This occurs throughout the world on a daily basis.

When we are excited about something, suddenly we have the energy necessary for that activity. Have you ever seen a child too tired to get up Christmas morning? Of course not. Yet this same person is unable to get up for school without a crowbar being applied. The amount of sleep is not what makes the difference. It is the excitement that creates the energy.

How does this apply to you? Well, it is time to make everyday like Christmas morning. Get excited about your life. This is done by doing things that you are passionate about. It starts with your profession. If you are in the 75% who detests what you do, find a different avenue to pursue. This might not be possible immediately. Nevertheless, set out a goal to be employed in a field that you love within the next year. This will set you off on a different path.

Too many spent their lives trudging through each day. A life without passion is really no life at all. Implement this simple emotion into all that you do to find out how much life can change.
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How Knowledgeable Are You?

We are in trying economic times. Many are fearful about losing their job. This is a legitimate concern in today's environment. Layoffs are common when things slow down. There will be many valuable people let go due to the circumstances. This is a reality that we all must face.

Nevertheless, my question is "how valuable are you?". In the work field, value is often equated to knowledge. Those who are the most knowledgeable about their field/company often attain the greatest success. This brings up the million dollar question "how knowledgeable are you?". This is something that is within your control. Increasing what you know decreases the likelihood that you will be let go if there are cutbacks. Also, if you are one who gets cut, your chances of securing another position are increased.

Begin today to increase your knowledge drastically. Put down that trashy romance novel and read something that pertains to your business. Most industries have trade magazines. There are always resources within your company that offer training. Spend some time looking at competing websites. The goal is to increase your value as quickly as you can.

Like was mentioned, time are difficult. The business environment is not a pretty one. However, companies always need valuable people. Become a student of your industry. The more you know, the more valuable that you are.
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10/16/2008

Lesson From A Cup of Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university Professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the Prof. went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups:
porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the Prof. said "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.

While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

That all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups."


"Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups.

They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change.


Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it."


So friend, don't let the cups drive you...enjoy the coffee instead.


Originally posted at wordlyideas.blogspot.



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Taking Money Out Of The 401K


Both McCain and Obama suggested allowing people to remove money from their 401K without penalty for the next couple years. The idea is to help people meet their short-term obligations. Sadly, this is the identical mindset that created the financial crisis to begin with. It is the product of short-term thinking. The long-term never enters the thought process.

Taking money out of one's 401K is the dumbest thing you can do. I know this since I did it a number of years ago. This cost me substantially over the last few years. Here is the scenario.

I had the opportunity to invest in a property. I hit up my 401K to finance part of the acquisition. This enabled me to get the property upon which I was going to build my real estate empire. Of course, an interesting occurrence called the collapse in the housing market altered those plans. I ended up losing the house.

Let's look at what I did to myself. The money in my 401K was put there tax free. It was pre-tax dollars. After I took it out, since it was a loan to myself, I repaid it with after-tax dollars. When I reach the age of 59 1/2 (or whenever I take it out), I will be taxed on it again. Thus, I pay tax twice on the same money.

Another thing occurred during that time period; the stock market shot up. The money that remained in my fund realized an average 24% annual return for a number of years. I missed this opportunity with the greater portion of my funds since they were removed. Therefore, my opporunity cost was substantial.

This example should show why the proposal of the candidates is stupid. However, there is one other point I want to make. People who take the money out of their 401K to meet short-term needs might alleviate the problem today. However, the odds are they will be in the same situation in the future. Also, when they finally do reach retirement age, I would guess the money will not be replaced. They will need a "bailout" at that time.

Remember this the next time you hear someone suggesting taking money from your retirement fund. It is a dumb move and I have the scars to prove it. Learn from my mistake.
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Obsession: The Overriding Desire


Obsession is defined as the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, or desire. This is something that received a bad rap in our culture. We all heard of people who were diagnosed with OCD. These people are obsessive in everything they do. For them, it is a psychological disorder because they carry their ideas too far. Perfection is their only criteria.

However, if you look at any successful person, you will find that they are obsessive about what they do. They strive for excellence in all areas. Unlike the one with a mental disorder, this person knows when to let go. Nevertheless, their goals are the dominating thoughts.

If you want to change any aspect of your life, it is vital that you start to obsess about it. An prime example is fitness. People who are obsessed with being physically fit will do all the things necessary to achieve that end. Those who lack this will get different results.

People who are obsessed are committed to reaching their ends. This is a drastic difference from just wanting something. With 60% of the population overweight, I would venture to say half the populous wants to lost some weight. Yet few do. The reason is that only a small percentage make it an overriding desire. Obsession is what creates different results.

What are you obsessed about in your life today? Uncover this and you will instantly find passion. Obsession offers the motivation which is otherwise lacking. Do you want a better career, earn more money, attract the person of your dreams, or learn a new language? Whatever your desire is, start obsessing over it. Let it become the dominant thought you carry throughout your day.

A word of caution: do not obsess about everything. This leads to the state of mind first mentioned. People who are OCD obsess over every little detail. Those who use obsession to their advantage have one or two single concepts that are focused upon. They maintain the ability to "let go" of the unimportant.

Spend some time in the next 24 hours pondering how obsession could play a role in your life. This will enhance the success you achieve ultimately.
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10/15/2008

3 Ways To Instantly Cut Your Budget

Here are 3 easy ways to reduce your monthly expenses.

1. Brown Bag It

Pack a lunch at home and bring it to work each day. Lunch typically costs anywhere from $6-$12 depending on where you are. This will save $132-$264 a month based upon 22 work days.

(Along with this, pass on eating dinner out: another $40-$100 is saved there)

2. Mow Your Own Lawn

Lawn maintenance companies charge $50-$125 a month for their services (more if you need hedges trimmed, etc..). Buy yourself a good used lawnmower for $75 and mow your own grass. Besides, you probably need the exercise.

3. Streamline Technology

Cut out the movie channels. Get rid of the super-duper, lightening fast, from here to the moon and back in no time flat Internet connection. Drop or stop using the Internet connection on the phone. This will cut your expenses by a minimum of $50 a month.

Times are getting tight for many people. Forgoing some of the "extra" will save you a fortune.
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10/14/2008

The "Sprint" Method

Think about the Olympic sprinters. Get a clear picture in your mind of their bodies. Have you noticed how every muscle is seemingly molded out of steel. The arms and legs of these individuals are sculpted from years of training.

Now compare that to the physique of the marathoner. This individual is lean and thin. Many look bony especially in comparison to our sprinters. Obviously, the muscles required for each event differs greatly. One would not want to enter a marathon after training to be a sprinter.

This could be the very reason why your life is less than you prefer. Most trainers and coaches talk about life being a marathon. That is true. However, this mindset overlooks the fact that it is really a series of sprints. From an energetic perspective, it is necessary to have the ability to tap into this resource when needed.

A study was done of the top tennis players in the world. The idea was to compare what made them winners versus those who were lacking. Ability was something that was not even considered since all of the world's top players are close in that area. What they looked at was the energy each used, specifically, the ability of the athlete to recuperate.

The results of this particular test found that the winning players had the ability to replenish their energy in between points better than the others. This made them stronger later in the match. The level of energy they are able to access is what makes the difference.

Think about how a sprinter approaches a meet. The runner will enter the blocks, prepare for the run, burst out exerting everything he or she has, only to slow down after crossing the finish line. For that 4-12 seconds, every ounce of energy is poured into the race. Nothing is held in reserve.

In between races, it is not uncommon to see a racer laying down on the grass. This is the time spent replenishing the energy. Top level athletes are masters at managing their energy levels. They know the exact time until the next race.

Utilize this principle as you travel throughout your day. We are all confronted with certain things that need attention. Throw all your energy into the task at hand. However, remember to replenish your energy after completing the task. This is done by taking a walk, engaging in some deep breathing, listening to some music, or any number of another methods which will allow you to relax for a few minutes. This is in direct contrast to the prevalent mentality which says "move onto the next activity immediately". This concept tries to turn us into marathoners when we are most effective as sprinters.

Use this for the next few days and you will see a difference in your success rate.
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10/13/2008

How Intelligent Are You?

Intelligence is made up of more than "book knowledge". Those who are the most successful have the ability to think through different situations. This requires a specialized ability to reason things out. Having this capability will lead to higher paying positions and more success in all areas of your life. The following was put together by Albert Einstein many years ago.

Einstein believed that only 2% of the people in the world could complete this. That means 98% cannot. If you do, according to him, you are in the upper percentage with an IQ over 132. Give this a shot to see how you do.

-There are 5 houses in 5 different colors.
-In each house lives a person with a different nationality.
-These 5 owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet.
-No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar or drink the same drink.

Here's the question: Who owns the fish?

1. The man living in the house right in the middle drinks milk
2. The Norwegian lives in the first house ( the house on the left end)
3. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house
4. The green house owner drinks coffee
5. The green house is on the left of the white house
6. The Brit lives in a red house
7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill
8. The man who keeps horses lives next door to the man who smokes Dunhill
9. The Swede keeps dogs as pets
10. The Dane drinks tea
11. The person who smokes Pall Mall has birds
12. The owner who smokes Blue Master drinks beer
13. The German smokes Prince
14. The man who smokes Blend lives next door to the one who keeps cats.
15. The man who smokes Blend has a neighbor who drinks water


With these 15 clues the problem is solvable. Here are some suggestions. Draw 5 squares or boxes across a paper to represent the houses. At the top of the box, you can put in the color. Under that you can put nationality. Under that put in beverage and so on. At the point where it gets hard and you cannot do it step by step, then you use elimination like in Sudoku. You figure out which of the 5 cannot go in there. When you eliminate 4, then the 5th one is your answer.

Good luck!


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Energy Management


We heard about the merits of time management for years. It seems that every self help expert and business coach offers insight into managing our time better. This is the "holy grail" for success. You will be a total success if only you manage your time efficiently.

Time management is a valuable tool. There is no question that it has merits. However, there is one factor that time management misses: energy. This is the one factor which determines the level of success we are to achieve. Mismanage your energy and you are doomed to fail.

Here is an example. Someone who takes the day off work because he or she is physically ill has plenty of time. The 24 hours are at that person's disposal. Nevertheless, nothing gets done on that day other than sleep. Why? Obviously because of the lack of energy. When we are sick, the only thing we concern ourselves with is feeling better. The proverbial to do list takes a back seat.

Time management tells us to handle the most important tasks first. This is a valid concept. The question is why are we doing this? We do this since that is typically the time that our energy level is the highest. Our success rate increases when we attack the activities which are the most difficult when we are strongest.

How many of you have the "afternoon crash"? For most people, this is a common occurrence. It is also an example of how time management fails to solve this situation. After lunch, there are a number of hours still left in the day. If we attended to the difficult tasks earlier, they are out of the way. Nevertheless, there is still business to attend to. Many find they have the time yet not the energy. Physically they feel the crash.

Experts will tell you that life is a marathon. In the general sense, it is. This teaches us to look at the long term perspective while persevering. Yet, when it comes to energy, life is a series of sprints. We are confronted with a situation that requires an exertion of energy like a dash. After that, we need time to recoup. This is how the successful excel. They build in the periods to restore the energy level.

In the next post, we will delve more into the energy/sprint concept.
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10/12/2008

10/11/2008

Use This Time To Reaffirm Your Dreams


Now is the time to start making the changes in your life. The world is in turmoil at the moment. People are strong and we will get past this crisis. However, many are being affected negatively but what is occurring. The plans that many set out are being eliminated with each 100 point drop in the stock market. Everything that some worked for is gone.

Hopefully, you are not one of these people. I pray that you are in a position where you can survive until things reverse course. Circumstances will vary for each individual with the overall tone being negative. Life still will continue on.

My training tells me to look for the lesson in each situation. There is something that I can carry from this which will improve my life in the future. What is it? At the same time, there is an overriding lesson that I believe all need to look at.

The people who are in the process of losing it all spent years working to get to the position they were in. They toiled at professions to someday be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Sadly, this is going to be difficult for most. Their plans changed in a short period of time.

This brings me to the lesson. We all heard the story about the man on his deathbed looking back over his life. The idea is that few ever say "I wish I spent more time at the office". When we look back, we often have regret over opportunities missed. It always comes down to how we choose to spend our time.

Our present crisis is offering an opportunity to look back over our life without being on our deathbed. Thankfully, there is still time. We can take the corrective action now to create the wonderful life that we crave. This situation is serving as a wake up call to all.

Each of us has dreams that we buried long ago. The childish ideas of our youth was replaced with the concept of being responsible. Typically, the career we chose was one out of necessity rather than desire. Nevertheless, following that path led us to the place of starting over. Many are now broke and facing the possibility of being out of work. Following the responsible path led to the place of unhappiness and regret. It is less of a burden if there is something to show for the years of effort. In many instances, this is not the situation.

Therefore, I beg you to start re-evaluating. Are you doing something that you love? Is there something else that you prefer doing? Are you happy with the life that you chose? Answering in the negative to any of these questions is a reminder to wake up. The time to change in now.

Transforming one's life is usually very risky. There are choices made which are often done on faith. However, never is it easier to do this as when there is little to lose. Unemployment is projected to increase another 1-2 points at a minimum. Many people will find themselves out of work. They will be forced into a career change. I am asking you to voluntarily make this decision if it is what you want.

Unleash your dreams on the world. What is it that you would do if you had no limitations? This is a critical question. Remove the barriers of self doubt and "realism". It is time to get unrealistic. The crisis we are enduring is one we never saw before. There are similarities to the past yet nothing that measures up to this in magnitude. The entire world is being affected.

You are responsible for your life. I wrote in the past about playing the "blame game". Resist the temptation to do this. Circumstances might well be beyond your control. However, blaming others gives your power away. Take it back by first starting to dream again. Write out your ideal life without limitations. This is the initial step of formulating a new path.

Life can be changed by doing many little things to create a new direction or by totally revamping everything through a major move. Many can follow the path of the former. The later, however, is a more viable option with the circumstances as they are. People now have less to lose then they did a few weeks ago. The time to dream of a different reality is here.
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The Little Changes

I meet lots of people who want to change their life. They finally get to the point where they are not happy with how things are transpiring. Getting past the tendency to blame, they want to take personal responsibility for the course that life follows. That being said, they want to focus on making the major changes which can instantly transform things. This works in many instances. However, often there is a better way.

The desire to move, change jobs, get into/exit a relationship, or travel to a far away land all have a large impact. Each of this will set one's life in a different direction. Nevertheless, for many, these are not the steps one needs to take.

Most can radically alter their life if they are willing to make minor changes. This is a secret that is mostly overlooked. Small differences in behavior will offer a major impact down the road. This process is enhanced when one seeks to make many changes of this magnitude.

Health is an area that is viewed as a long term proposition. It also is the perfect example of how small changes have a large impact. What is the difference in your life if you started walking for 15 minutes everyday? Over a 20 years time period, it would be great. The same is true for eating fruit early in the morning. The positive effect long term is great.

This concept applies to all areas of your life. Look for those actions which seem minor. The benefit of focusing upon these activities is that it is easy to succeed. Also, the time invested is usually small. Spending 5 minutes a day doing something that will provide a tremendous difference in the quality of your life is a fantastic trade-off.

Begin today developing a list of changes you can make immediately. You need not choose a different career path. What are 5 activities that will profoundly affect you? Here are some examples:

-stretch daily
-return unanswered phone calls
-clean up your workspace
-drink 8-10 glasses of water a day
-work out 4 times per week
-clean out your car
-read a book for 1 hour a night

How many more can you come up with? There are thousands of actions which will alter your life. Individually, the impact might not be that large. However, the total effect will be. Begin taking some control today.
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10/10/2008

Weak People


We are rapidly becoming a nation (and a world) of weak people. For most, the American Dream is dead. The concept of starting then building something up is no longer part of our society. Instead, everyone is looking for the handouts from the government. What can we get for free? Individuals are trained to get something for nothing.

The recent political statements are reflective of this. Barak Obama wants to give tax cuts to 95% of the American people. The fact that 45% of the population pays no income tax means they will actually receive a handout. John McCain wants to spend $300 billion to bail out the people who are facing foreclosure. Many of these people made the conscious decision to purchase the house without any fraud or deception. Yet the government feels the need to place the responsibility on the taxpayer. Finally, Nancy Pelosi mentioned yesterday that we need another stimulus package that gives everyone a check.

Most seem to feel that it is the government's responsibility to take care of us. If all goes bad, they are there to step in and make things right. This is how people become weak. It is the reason why welfare system is a miserable failure. People become second and third generation recipients simply because they know nothing else. Society conditioned them for weakness.

How can I make this assertion? The basic premise is that people grow from failure. It is only through repeated errors that we become stronger. Use the child learning to ride a bike as an example. He or she falls until eventually learning to ride the bike. The same is true for a toddler walking. That child takes a few steps and falls. This occurs until walking is mastered.

Life is the same way. Failure is a wonderful teacher. And this is something people are being sheltered from. Pain is one of the most powerful motivators. It is often one of the driving forces for success. Tony Robbins like to relate "people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure". I agree with this assertion. Experiencing pain pushes us to avoid putting ourselves back in that same situation.

I would like to know how these government policies will make people stronger. My belief is that most of them will do the same thing in the future since they experienced no pain. There is a lack of growth occurring which would make someone better able to handle the situation in the future. This is a tragedy of life in this generation. Handouts are making entire sectors of our society weak.

It is time to take personal responsibility for your actions. If you are one in a situation I mentioned, stop playing the blame game. Take responsibility for being where you are. For example, being behind on your mortgage because you purchased "too much house" is your fault. Of course, if assistance does come from the government, I would suggest taking it. But, learn the lesson. It is a gift and be grateful for it. However, resolve never to be in that situation again. That is what responsible people do. And this world sorely needs people like this now.
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10/09/2008

There Is A Silver Lining

We all heard that the world is coming to an end; at least that is the impression we get economically. Each day the market slides another couple hundred points. This means that millions of people's retirement accounts are being washed away. Bank failures are surely to follow since the actions of the government are having little effect. Overall, it sucks right now.

But does it really? It is true that the circumstances are difficult on many fronts. However, of all that is going on, what is really within your control? How much has your life changed? If you are one who is seeking to retire soon or lost your job, this is certainly a tough situation. Yet, for most of us, what is the real impact on our daily affairs? When one really considers it, there is little that changed.

Let us look at housing. The odds are great that your home is worth less than it was a year ago. Most people are facing this reality. The housing market is in terrible shape with sales at historic lows. Nevertheless, this is not a problem for most since they are not looking to sell at the moment. Only those who are trying to move a house are feeling the change in the market. Those who are making their mortgage payments each month realize little difference.

The same is true for the retirement accounts. It is horrible to see people lose trillions of dollars over the course of a year. Yet again, unless you are at retirement age, you are not affected by this. A person who is 40 cannot touch a retirement account until the age of 59. Therefore, the downturn is an advantage to those who put in a portion of each check. Your regular contribution will now buy more shares than it did just a few weeks ago. This is to your benefit. Sure, it looks awful on paper when you compare it to where it was. However, try to view it in terms of the number of shares that you have. This viewpoint allows you to see how your account is actually expanding.

Markets recover with time. It might take a decade but it will come back. Focusing upon this does little to solve our situation. These are things which we have no control over. We are better served to concentrate on those factors we can affect. Each day, we are confronted with a choice: sulk about how bad things are or make the most of the day. Attending to those situations which have an immediate impact upon our lives is what helps us overcome the macro circumstances.

With each dark cloud there is a silver lining. This sounds like a bunch of garbage to many. Yet the above example about the retirement fund shows how our outlook dictates our success. Most choose to focus upon the issues which have little immediate impact on their lives.

Over the past few months, my retirement fund is down over 40%. Nevertheless, my fund is growing every couple of weeks when I contribute. The dollar value shrunk but my shares increase. Also, this horrible economic news is leading to a worldwide recession. Because of this, the price of oil plunged from all-time highs. This led to a reduction in the price I pay for gasoline. The fact that a gallon of fuel is now 75 cents cheaper impacts me more than a failed bank in the Midwest. This is the silver lining in all of this.

Why do I mention all of this? The reason is because it is easy to fall into the "Chicken Little Syndrome". Things are tough, there is no question about that. Yet there are opportunities available if you are of the frame of mind to take advantage of them. Looking at the current circumstances differently is the starting point for this. There is a silver lining if you are willing to look for it.
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10/08/2008

Paying Off Credit Card Debt


In my book, Your Easiest Million, I mentioned a simple, but effective, way to eliminate credit card debt. It is a method which bucks conventional wisdom while addressing the mental aspect of this form of debt. The burden of credit card balances overwhelm people. For many, it is a situation where they see no way out. Each month is another mountain of bills coming in.

Here is a simple 2 step solution for getting this monster under control.

1. Pay all the minimums on each card except the one with the lowest balance. For this particular card, you will pay the minimum plus whatever extra that you can. Continue this until that balance is eliminated.

2. Take the money that was applied to the first card and couple it with the minimum that was paid on the next card with the lowest balance. This will increase the monthly contribution considerably. Continue on this course until that balance is eliminated.


Apply this technique until all balances are paid off. The conventional belief is to focus upon the cards with the highest rates first. While this makes some financial sense, it fails to consider the mental state that goes with debt. This method allows the debtor to feel that some progress is being made. As one who was in the credit card abyss at one point in my life, I know the elation that comes with paying something off. It is a wonderful sense of accomplish while giving one the feeling that there is a way out. Utilize this method to get yourself on the path to financial freedom.
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The Power of "No"

"No is one of the most effective terms in our language. The word is clear and concise. It also is a vital tool for successful time management.

There is an old saying "you can have anything you want in life, you just cant have everything". The reason is that there are trade-offs we need to make in terms of time. Each minute that you focus upon one thing is a minute that is taken away from something else.

We want to do everything. This is a condition that is natural. Many of us fail to realize where our limitations are. The desire to say "yes" when asked is too much to resist. However, it is this behavior which often puts us in a state of overwhelm. It is crucial that we gain control of our time if we are ever to attain success.

Saying "no" is a powerful tool in preventing this situation. There are always people who are looking for assistance from us. Nevertheless, we need to prioritize our time so that we are spending it most effectively. This starts with turning down those low priority activities. Unfortunately, there are many things that we do which have little impact on our lives. These are the tasks which we need to eliminate. Remember this the next time someone asks you to do something that is not consequential.

People have a tendency to dump on others. This is something that many of us conditioned them to do. Whenever they are in a bind, they come to us. Over the years, we always say "yes" to whatever they need help with. This trains them to turn to us before trying to work things out themselves. We need to reverse the behavior by telling these people "no". It is the only way for you to gain control over your time. You success depends upon acquiring this essential skill.
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10/07/2008

The Blame Game


Recently I wrote about taking personal responsibility for our lives. This is something that is not being done by our leaders. Instead, they want to place the blame for the current financial crisis on other people. It is sad to see those who are in positions of oversight claim that others are at fault. The political environment dictates that if you are a Democrat it is the Republicans fault. Of course, the reverse is true if you are a Republican. Nobody is accepting responsibility.

The fact that our leaders fail to take responsibility shows an epidemic that is present in our society. Someone else is always at fault. Racism is the reason. The education system is failing. My parents did not raise me right. Wall Street and the greedy CEOs are the cause. The litany of excuses can go on forever. People are programmed to automatically place the responsibility on another.

Take a look at your own life. How often do you look to blame someone else for your lack of success? Most people live the "if only" life. This is the idea that one would be a success if only ______________. Fill in with any excuse and you will feel better about your situation. We are not responsible since someone else is to blame.

Our present financial crisis contains many lessons. Personal responsibility is one of the biggest ones. You are faced with two choices. One, you can continue blaming everyone else while looking to others to fix your life. Or you can elect to take responsibility for the things that occur. These are the only two options that we are confronted with; both individually and collectively.

What is going to get us out of this mess? It will take millions of people starting to take responsibility for their actions. If our elected officials will not do it, we can vote them out. However, before this can occur, you must implement this idea in your life. Blaming others puts us in a position of powerlessness. It is time to regain our power and place the emphasis on our personal responsibility.
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10/06/2008

Opportunities In Chaos

The world is coming to an end. This is the impression that we are given by the media. Each day, the market drops another astronomical number. At the same time, the government commits another $100 Billion to alleviate the recession. It seems that there is bad news on every front.

Recently, I was discussing the business climate with a friend of mine. He was telling me that his company is in position to grow next year. This was an astounding statement to me considering that the company is over 40 years old in an industry that most consider to be mature. For anyone to have growth in this environment, let alone double digit which my friend claims, astounded me. Of course, I asked him to explain how.

To begin with, this company is debt free. It owes money to nobody. The banking crisis is entirely a situation that revolves around debt. Nobody was upset with Lehman Brothers sales or revenues. It was their debt that caused the panic. Being debt free is a ticket to success in this environment.

The debt issue is affecting a number of his competitors. Many of them are starting to fold. This is a situation that is also starting to play out in the automobile industry. The largest Chevrolet dealership in the United States closed their doors. My friend mentioned how his industry became too saturated the last 5 years. Now, there is a thinning of the competition.

Finally, there is consolidation occurring within his industry. A number of the national companies were bought out by manufacturers. This is reducing the number of companies in each market. Recently, the largest dealer was purchased by a manufacturer, a move that will eliminate one in each area. This is the second time this year, and the third in the last two, that this occurred. My friend mentioned how three big competitors were eliminated through this process.

How does this apply to you? I write this to show you there are opportunities regardless of what is occurring. In fact, the more upheaval, the greater the potential for one who is looking. Warren Buffet bought into GE for a song because they were desperate. The financial chaos presented him with a buying opportunity. Therefore, stop fretting about how bad things are and getting creative. There is a silver lining in all that is going on if you are willing to seek it out. Those who do stand to profit substantially.
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Finish What You Start

The world pays for things that are completed. Our entire global economy is based upon this premise. Anything that is incomplete has less (or no) value when compared to something that is finished. A prime example is the savings found when buying "unfinished" furniture. People opt to do the varnishing and painting themselves to save substantial money. A finished product commands more money because the work is done by someone else.

In business, people are promoted based upon their ability to get things done. It is the finishers who move up in the organization. It is the only basis which we are judged. Projects that are not completed are held against us. Almost everyone worked with someone who was a terrific starter. These are the people who are always beginning projects. Unfortunately, they rarely complete anything.

Where do you fit into this model? Are you one who starts but fails to finish? Consider for a moment all the projects that you started yet are still awaiting completion. This gives an indication of how bad an issue this is for you. Procrastination is an enemy that many cannot overcome. Improving your completion rate is something which you need to make a goal of yours. Remember, it is the sole criteria by which you are judged.

Here are a few things that you can do:

1. Look around to determine how many things you left after starting.

Are there unfinished projects awaiting your attention? Perhaps there are things that you meant to throw out yet never got around to doing. For me, I know there are at least a dozen writing projects sitting patiently until I decide to get back to them. Make a list of these projects and write "In the works" next to each item.

2. Think of all that you wanted to do

Consider all the wonderful ideas that you wanted to start but never got around to it. Perhaps you wanted to get involved with a particular hobby. Was there something that is on your goal list that you keep putting off? Write these items down and put "Pending" next to them.

3. Choose one of each and get moving on it.


Within the next 48 hours, do something on each activity. It is a good idea to write some steps that you need to take to bring them to completion. A plan often makes the taking of action easier. Breaking larger projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks is what allows us to forge ahead. It is a simple way to eliminate overwhelm.

Follow these three steps to finish what you started. This takes a bit of persistence but can become a habit in a short period of time. It will help you gain the reputation as a finisher.
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