April 25th, 2008
Is thankfulness a survival skill? Perhaps most of you would respond with, “No, Jim, thankfulness is not key to survival”, and I would tend to agree with you. Most of us have probably already solved the necessary problems of survival, gone beyond that and are now working to achieve our desires. But let me give you this key phrase, “Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” I believe one of the greatest and perhaps one of the simplest lessons in life we can learn is to be thankful for what we have already received and accomplished.
Both the years and the experiences have brought me here to where I stand today, but it is the thankfulness that opened the windows of opportunities, of blessings, of unique experiences to flow my way. My gratitude starts with my parents who raised me, gave me an incredible foundation that has lasted me all of these years and continues with the mentors that I’ve met along the way who absolutely changed and revolutionized my life, my income, my bank account, my future. I am also very thankful for the people, the associations, for the ideas, for the chance to work and labor, and to produce results, all of that has brought me to this place, to this weekend. I’m grateful for it all.
What a unique opportunity each one of you here has, so many of us; representing different countries, nations and cultures, to appreciate the uniqueness of our own experiences that has brought us all here, together, for these three days to learn new skills and sharpen old ones. For the countries we represent; we have freedom and liberty. These are extraordinary times, about eleven years ago the walls came tumbling down, in Germany, and it started a wave of democracy and freedom like the world has never seen before. We as a country and as a world have so much to be thankful for. Always start with thanksgiving; be thankful for what you already have and see the miracles that come from this one simple act.
Now thankfulness is just the beginning; next, you’ve got to challenge yourself to produce. Produce more ideas than you need for yourself so you can share and give your ideas away. That is called fruitfulness and abundance. Here’s what I think fruitfulness and abundance mean – to go to work on producing more than you need for yourself so you can begin blessing others, blessing your nation and blessing your enterprise. Once abundance starts to come, once someone becomes incredibly productive, it’s amazing what the numbers turn out to be. But to begin this incredible process of blessing, it often starts with the act of thanksgiving and gratitude, being thankful for what you already have and for what you’ve already done. Begin the act of thanksgiving today and watch the miracles flow your way
April 23rd, 2008
The pursuit of happiness. It’s one of our unalienable rights spelled out in The Declaration of Independence, but what does it mean to pursue happiness? When so many of us are unhappy and empty, how can we find joy?
To begin with, we must learn to reconcile the ambition to do with a willingness to be.
As change agents, leaders sense all is not well in the world. We see problems and search for solutions. Yet, if we only focus only on what is wrong, we miss the joy of the blessings in our lives – family, friendship, health, and freedom. We have to offset our discontent with the status quo by finding contentment in the life we have been given.
As leaders, we are lean and hungry, looking for opportunities to improve and grow. However, we find joy by being comfortable in our own skin. Happiness comes when we learn to take pride in our talents and to smile at our quirks.
We have an inner drive to do something – a restlessness to make something happen. At the same time, joy is discovered in the peaceful quiet of a soul at rest. Alongside our restlessness for change, we have a need for relaxation and recreation.
We won’t fully experience joy until we’ve answered life’s biggest question: Why am I here?
Without a life purpose, we flounder around without direction or joy. Life coach SuEllen Williams encourages clients to write out their life story in five-year increments, noting life-altering events and influential people. During the exercise, clients will often discover a predominant theme that has brought them fulfillment. By re-aligning with what has brought meaning in the past, Williams feels her clients put themselves on track toward the pursuit of happiness.
If we don’t nourish ourselves, joy will elude us.
We nourish ourselves whenever we enter into activities that build our energy reserves. Consider this list of common nourishment sources:
- Music – What songs lift me?
- Thoughts – What thoughts speak to me?
- Experiences – What experiences rejuvenate me?
- Friends – What people encourage me?
- Recreation – What recreation re-creates me?
- Soul – What spiritual exercises strengthen me?
- Hopes – What dreams inspire me?
- Home – What family members care for me?
- Giftedness – What gifts activate me?
- Memories – What memories make me smile?
To find joy, we must clean up our vocabulary.
We pursue happiness when we banish the shoulda, coulda, wouldas in life and decide that everything is fine the way it is. To reconstruct our vocabulary, it’s important to understand the difference between facts of life and problems. A fact of life is something we cannot change, but we can adjust our attitude about it. A problem is something we can change, and becomes possible when we take responsibility to fix it.
To discover joy, it’s important to celebrate success.
Timing is critical to celebration. Be sure to celebrate after the fact and not before the job is done.
The Kentucky Wildcat football team learned this lesson the hard way. In 2002, the Wildcats led the heavily favored Louisiana State Tigers 30-27 with two seconds left to play. The Tigers had the ball, but they were 75 yards away from the end zone – an impossible distance to cover in one play.
Wildcat players dumped Gatorade on their coach to celebrate the win. Kentucky students poured out of the stands and waited to charge onto the field after the final whistle. The Kentucky quarterback waved his arms toward the adoring fans in a salute of victory.
Then, the impossible happened. The LSU quarterback lofted the football as far as he could throw it. The ball bounced off the fingertips of a mob of players, and landed in the waiting arms of an LSU receiver who raced to the end zone! LSU had won the game on a desperation pass!
Shocked and silent, the Kentucky fans were left to stare at their soggy coach as the LSU Tiger players celebrated their stunning, last-second victory.
In closing, happiness doesn’t always find us, we have to pursue it. Doing so involves a number of steps:
- Willingness to Be Who We Are
- Searching for a Life Purpose
- Nourishing Ourselves Regularly
- Cleaning Up Our Vocabulary
- Celebrating Success
In this edition of Leadership Wired, I hope I’ve given you some helpful tips on chasing down joy. Best wishes as you pursue happiness!
April 22nd, 2008
Everyone makes mistakes and the busier you are, the more mistakes you will make. The only question is “How well and how effectively do you deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life?”In this newsletter, you learn the difference between a positive and negative worldview. You learn how to benefit from your mistakes and how to remain positive in the face of adversity.
Let the Light Shine In
This is achieved through the simple exercise of self-disclosure. For you to truly understand yourself, or to stop being troubled by things that may have happened in your past, you must be able to disclose yourself to at least one person. You have to be able to get those things off your chest. You must rid yourself of those thoughts and feelings by revealing them to someone who won’t make you feel guilty or ashamed for what has happened. Using Stumbling Blocks as Stepping Stones
There are two ways to look at the world: the benevolent way or the malevolent way. People with a malevolent or negative worldview take a victim stance, seeing life as a continuous succession of problems and a process of unfairness and oppression. They don’t expect a lot and they don’t get much. When things go wrong, they shrug their shoulders and passively accept that this is the way life is and there isn’t anything they can do to make it better.On the other hand, people with a benevolent or positive worldview see the world around them as filled with opportunities and possibilities. They believe that everything happens as part of a great process designed to make them successful and happy. They approach their lives, their work, and their relationships with optimism, cheerfulness, and a general attitude of positive expectations. They expect a lot and they are seldom disappointed.
Flex Your Mental Muscles
When you develop the skill of learning from your mistakes, you become the kind of person who welcomes obstacles and setbacks as opportunities to flex your mental muscles and move ahead. You look at problems as rungs on the ladder of success that you grab onto as you pull your way higher.
Two of the most common ways to deal with mistakes are invariably fatal to high achievement. The first common but misguided way to handle a mistake is the failure to accept it when it occurs. According to statistics, 70 percent of all decisions we make will be wrong. That’s an average. This means that some people will fail more than 70 percent of the time, and some people will fail less. It is hard to believe that most of the decisions we make could turn out to be wrong in some way. In fact, if this is the case, how can our society continue to function at all?Cut Your Losses
The fact is that our society, our families, our companies, and our relationships continue to survive and thrive because intelligent people tend to cut their losses and minimize their mistakes. It is only when people refuse to accept that they have made a bad choice or decision-and prolong the consequences by sticking to that bad choice or decision-that mistakes become extremely expensive and hurtful.
Learn From Your Mistakes
The second common approach that people take with regard to their mistakes, one that hurts innumerable lives and careers, is the failure to use your mistakes to better yourself and to improve the quality of your mind and your thinking.Learning from your mistakes is an essential skill that enables you to develop the resilience to be a master of change rather than a victim of change. The person who recognizes that he has made a mistake and changes direction the fastest is the one who will win in an age of increasing information, technology and competition.
By remaining fast on your feet, you will be able to out-play and out-position your competition. You will become a creator of circumstances rather than a creature of circumstances.
Now, here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.First, imagine that your biggest problem or challenge in life has been sent to you at this moment to help you, to teach you something valuable. What could it be?
Second, be willing to cut your losses and walk away if you have made a mistake or a bad choice. Accept that you are not perfect, you can’t be right all the time, and then get on with your life.
Third, learn from every mistake you make. Write down every lesson it contains. Use your mistakes in the present as stepping stones to great success in the future.
April 19th, 2008
My grandma, Mabel Reynolds Ostrander, and I shared one of those special relationships as rare as a double rainbow. She was fifty-three when I was ten. That’s when we planted our first “Victory” garden together during World War II. We planted seeds together — in the soil — and in each other.
Grandma lived eighty-seven seasons without a complaint. I was forty-four when I last saw her. But I remember every mince and lemon tart, every bite of “made from scratch” apple pie, and every lingering wave of her hand as she stood (out of sight or so she thought) behind the rayon, Priscilla curtains in the little house at 718 West Pennsylvania Avenue in San Diego, California, where I was born and raised. As our station wagon full of kids and contentment would slowly pull away from the curb, we would all look back at her and wave – and I would gaze at her fragile silhouette through the rear view mirror, wishing I could frame her there forever, just that way – wondering how many more Easter and Christmas dinners we would share.
Most of all, I remember my grandma and me planting seeds. We planted squash, beans, corn, watermelons, beets, pansies, mums and other flowers. I’ll admit I rode my bike those twenty miles each Saturday more for the bonus of the conversation and the homemade pastries, than for the vegetables and flowers. But no matter how full I was after I ate, I was always left hungry for more of the wisdom and optimism she shared with me.
I’ll never forget the day we tasted our first harvest as a result of crossing a plum tree with an apricot tree. The ripe fruit was pink, not purple like a plum, nor orange like an apricot; but a combination of both. “Gee, do you suppose they’ll be any good?” I asked. “Why of course they will be wonderful,” she chided. “Didn´t we do the planting, nurturing and pruning?”
Sure enough, they were delicious, even though they were different than any fruit I’d ever seen before. “That’s because they are uniquely unlike any other fruit you’ll ever eat. They are plumcots!” she exulted. “You always get out what you put in,” she continued as we sat under the tree eating most of what we had picked.
“Plant apple seeds and you get apple trees, plant acorns and you get majestic oak trees, plant weeds and you will harvest weeds (even without watering), plant the seeds of great ideas and you will get great individuals,” she said softly and intently, looking directly into my eyes. “Do you understand what I mean?” I nodded, remembering I’d heard her say the same thing before, in different ways.
I learned from my grandma that the seeds of greatness are not special genes, dependent on the gifted birth, the inherited bank account, the intellect, the skin-deep beauty, the race, the gender, or the status. The seeds of greatness are attitudes and beliefs that begin in children by observing, imitating and internalizing the lifestyles of significant role models and heroes.
“Model your thoughts and actions after men and women who have been passionate, excellent, honest, unselfish and creative in their service to others,” my grandmother had counseled. Armed with that affirmation, I ventured forth to sow and reap my own legacy in life.
I’ve traveled the world to the seven seas.
I’ve been up at the top and down on my knees.
I’ve been blessed with abundance and plenty of weeds.
But I’ve never stopped caring about others’ needs.
As you tend your own garden, unlike any other.
Remember the words of my lovely grandmother.
“If you’re hoping to harvest a life of great deeds, remember you first have to plant some great seeds.”
Taking Time for Yourself in a Relationship by John Gray
We have all heard this advice before. No matter how wonderful togetherness feels in a relationship, it is still crucial for partners to take time for themselves. There is simply no way that a man or a woman can fulfill all of their partner’s needs; it’s just impossible to do. Too often people will give up a favorite hobby, sport or pastime in the beginning of a relationship in order to devote more time and energy to making the relationship work. But, what happens down the road when one or both partners realize that they are terribly out of balance and not taking time for themselves? Relationship stress, miscommunication, or worse: resentment and emotional pain can result.
It is healthy to have different interests. In fact, giving up our own interests and the little things that we do to nurture ourselves when a relationship starts will eventually lead to resentment down the road.
It’s important for both partners to value quality relaxation time. There is absolutely no need to feel guilty about spending time alone. Independence is good for both men and women, no matter how close they may be in the relationship. Typically, when one partner actively takes some alone time, their partner is encouraged to do the same.
How our differences compliment each other:
Just as men and women have different needs in a relationship, they also have different reasons for needing time to themselves. Too much togetherness usually results in partners expecting too much from each other. Women may tend to smother their mates, while men may seem cold and uncaring. It is healthy for each partner to take time out to explore his or her individual interests.
What Men Need:
Men need to periodically pull away. Remember that men are like rubber bands. It is his natural cycle to get close, pull away, and get close again. It is important for men to fulfill their need for independence. Men automatically alternate between needing intimacy and autonomy. Give a man his space and he will be a better, more attentive, partner. When a man gets too close and doesn’t pull away, he often experiences increased moodiness, irritability, passivity, and defensiveness.
Also, when a man is in his cave, he wants to be left alone. He is working out his problems and frustrations by either doing something alone, like reading the paper or watching TV, or doing something active with his male friends.
Most men are happy when their mates do something fun for themselves at these times. It means that she is not sitting around waiting for him to come out of the cave. He will come out ready to talk and be intimate again, and she will have curbed her frustrations by being good to herself and having some fun.
What Women Need:
It is good for a woman’s self esteem to take care of herself. She can get wrapped up in taking care of her family and forget how much she needs to nurture herself. Particularly when a man is off in his cave, she can enjoy the time alone to go shopping, work in her garden, go to a class at the gym, or simply languish in the simple pleasure of soaking in a hot bath with a glass of wine.
It is especially important for a woman to cultivate relationships with other women. Women need to talk about what’s happening in their lives. On Venus, this is an important part of relationship building. Since this is not the case on Mars, it is wonderful for a woman to get together with her girlfriends so that they can talk about, and listen to, each other’s problems, without judgment or offering unsolicited advice.
Couples can even plan these separate times apart. For instance, Tuesday could be his poker night with the boys, and Thursday her night for dinner and a movie with her girlfriends. Both partners will not only appreciate the time to do the things that make them feel good, but will come back feeling renewed and excited to be in such a healthy, well-balanced relationship. — John Gray
April 19th, 2008
You have the ability right now to learn what it takes to earn whatever income you want. That’s a pretty strong statement, but don’t discount it until you’ve read the rest of this article.
Do you know that the majority of today’s leaders in business were in sales at one time or another? The selling skills they learned to make others feel welcome, comfortable, important, and to trust their expert advice has taken them far. It can do the same for you.
Whether you’re in sales now or thinking about going into sales what matters most is your attitude about what you’re doing to earn your living. What are you willing to do in order to achieve your goals? How many “no’s” are you willing to take before getting to the “yes’s” that you need? How much are you willing to change what you are today to get what you want tomorrow?
Let me give you a head start on your road to success. I already know what the great ones do. I have taught proven-effective selling skills to over four million students during the last 30 years. Selling is my hobby. It’s my passion. Helping others learn better and more professional ways to serve others is what my business is all about.
Begin by internalizing everything you can possibly get your hands on about your product or service. Become a product of your product. Use it yourself. Talk with clients who use it and love it. Believe in it! People will say “yes” to you more on your conviction and enthusiasm for your product than any fact or figure you may quote.
Note: If you are new to selling, don’t settle for selling just anything. Find a product you can become passionate about. It’ll make all the difference.
Next, start working on your people skills. There are right and wrong ways to approach people. Your #1 goal when you meet someone new is to have them like you, trust you, and want to listen to you. It may seem elementary, but to have someone like you, you must be likeable. That means you smile. You make eye contact. You introduce yourself. Ask their names. Repeat their names so you know you are pronouncing them correctly. Your desire to be accurate and correct makes a powerful, positive impression.
Establish common ground. People buy from people who are like them. If you like the same sports team, that’s common ground. If you live in the same area, that’s common ground. If you’re around the same age with kids in close grades in school, that’s common ground.
Your next step is to determine the clients’ needs. I’ve developed a quick and easy-to-remember method for this. It’s called the NEADS qualification sequence. Remember that you’re trying to determine their “needs” but spell it NEADS to remember what to say.
The first letter, “N,” stands for Now. Ask them, “What do you have now?” Unless they’ve won the lottery or inherited millions, few people drastically change what they have now other than to make their lives better. So, knowing what they have now will help you understand where they’re coming from.
The next letter, “E,” stands for Enjoy. “What do you enjoy most about what you have now?” They’ll want to keep the good stuff when considering any change. So your product or service will need to at least cover what they enjoy.
The “A” stands for Alter. “What would you alter (or change) about what you have now?” This is where they will tell you what they need. Ask as many questions as you need to get a clear picture of what they’re telling you. Repeat your understanding of their needs back to them and get them to agree that “yes, that’s what we’re looking for” before going any further.
The “D” in NEADS stands for Decision-Maker. You need to know if they’re truly the decision-makers. Ask, “John and Mary, if we’re fortunate to find the right home/investment/insurance program for you today, who other than yourselves would be involved in making a final decision?” If there’s someone else involved in the final decision, you’ll need to find out who and present your product to all of them. Never make a product or business presentation to a non-decision-maker unless you just need the practice. If they’ve told you what they need and that they’re the decision-makers, then and only then will you move into presenting the benefits of your product or service.
The “S” in NEADS is for “solution.” You must impart to your clients that you and your company are in the ‘solution’ business—the business of helping others resolve whatever challenge brought you together.
Since no one wants to feel they’re ‘being sold’ expect most potential clients to object about something. It’s a natural reflex. Know that if a potential client objects that they’re feeling moved toward making a buying decision. You see, people aren’t going to waste their time objecting to something they’re not interested in. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
The great ones in sales prepare answers to the most common objections for their product or service. The answers are psychologically sound and help the buyers rationalize the decision—only if it’s truly good for them.
Now don’t forget the final step: Ask for the sale! Don’t laugh this one off thinking you’d never forget that. A study was done years ago where people were asked why they didn’t make a purchase after a product had been demonstrated to them. The most common answer was, “We were never asked!” Top professionals in sales know anywhere from five to 25 ways of asking for the final “yes.” Those are called closes and if you’re in sales to be successful, you’ll want to start mastering as many as possible as soon as you can.
You have what it takes to learn to become the best in your field. Just make the commitment and get on with it!
April 17th, 2008
We can choose our attitudes about anything, including learning and education. That’s right. We get to choose what our attitudes are. Here is the definition of attitude: “The feeling or opinion about something or someone, or a way of behaving that follows from this.” We choose our opinion about people and situations. We choose the way we will behave in relation to other people and circumstances. We choose what we believe about learning. We choose it. Learning doesn’t have to be bad. It doesn’t have to be anything but what we want it to be. We have the option. We can have tremendously optimistic attitudes about learning – attitudes that will help us grow in ways we have never achieved before!
The choice of a right attitude will significantly determine new circumstances. Choosing to have the right attitude will change the world around you. This isn’t any sort of magic; it is just how the world works. Now, don’t get me wrong. It won’t cure everything and turn your world into a virtual Shangri-La, but it will significantly improve the world you live in. For example, let’s say that every day you go into work and you gripe about life and work from the moment you get there until the moment you leave. Will others want to be around you? Will others ask your opinion? Will others like you? Will others ask you to join them for lunch? Probably not! But what if you come to work every day and you are the positive optimist of the crowd? Will everybody love you? No, but significantly more people will than if you are the office pessimist! Your choice of attitude will determine what kind of circumstances you get!
The same is true with learning. What we feel about learning, and what we believe about it will determine the outcomes of our learning. And the outcomes of our learning will determine the outcome of our lives.
Ultimately, our attitude is a choice. Nobody else can force you to have a bad attitude. Nobody else can force you to have a good attitude. It is simply a choice we each make.
Where are you with your attitude about learning? Is it positive? Take some time to give it some serious thought. Then, no matter where you find yourself, decide to take your attitude to the next level! If you have a really bad attitude, decide to take it up a couple of levels!
So, if our attitudes determine to a great degree what kind of life we have, shouldn’t we focus on the best attitudes to have and then make them ours? Absolutely! If we want to soar with the eagles in this life, and if there are attitudes that will make us soar, shouldn’t we pursue them with all our hearts? By all means! So here we go!
Attitudes of Successful Learners
1. “I can.”
This is the most basic of all attitudes. We simply must choose to believe that we can learn. In our house we are not allowed to say, “I can’t.” We can say, “I’ll try,” or “I tried and failed,” but not “I can’t.” Telling yourself that you can’t will in effect make it so. But telling yourself that you can, will in effect enable you to learn much more. Even if you actually only achieve 50% of what you tell yourself, you will achieve at least that much more than if you told yourself you couldn’t. So many people were told at a young age that they couldn’t learn. Many others were allowed to engage in that kind of negative self talk (tell themselves, “I can’t learn”, “I don’t understand”, I’ll never get this”, etc.) and their parents and teachers didn’t intervene. This enabled them to develop the “I can’t” attitudes that become self-fulfilling prophecies.
I actually have a standard way of going about getting myself off of the starting block. I simply say if somebody else has achieved great learning heights, then I can too. I have to be smarter than at least one of those who has already done it. I have to be able to work harder than at least one other. There has to be at least one other person who has come from more difficult circumstances than me. And if they can do it then certainly, “I can!”
2. “This is a long-term approach.”
Learning isn’t something that happens overnight. Yes, you can learn individual facts, but the real growth comes when you see your learning build on itself and compound for years, when your knowledge meets up with your experience. When we take the attitude that it all has to happen immediately, we hurt ourselves in the long run because the fact is that it takes time to learn (even though we can accelerate it). If we expect it to happen immediately and it doesn’t, then we can get frustrated and stop learning altogether.
Instead, we need to take a long-term view just as we do in financial matters, weight management, leadership, etc. Long-term thinking, including our learning is always the best way to go for success.
3. “Learning is valuable.”
Some people have a “learning schmearning – who needs learning” attitude. They think that learning is overrated. I hate to tell you this, but not only was that wrong 5000, 500 and 50 years ago, it is especially wrong today. We live in the information age. We must gain knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge if we are going to be successful. We must tell ourselves and cultivate the attitude that learning is valuable and that it will affect our lives.
4. “I will make a difference in the lives of those around me.”
People who soar are generally people who have the attitude of helping other people. Yes, they may do it for monetary gain, but they are others-focused. They want to change the way people live and experience life for the better. They are difference makers all around. This is the same in what we learn. We learn first for ourselves, but then with the goal of taking what we have learned, and what we make of ourselves, and we then help others to do the same.
I live in a town that is very affluent. Most of the people I know, work with and have as friends are very successful in this world. They have learned a lot about life and how it works. They have learned how to make money and be successful in business. One thing I can say, as almost a universal truth, is that as people, they are not self-consumed but genuinely care about others and will do what they can to help others. This is what I know to be true about the attitudes of the genuinely successful.
These are the attitudes of people who are not just successful at getting information into their minds, but in becoming good people because of that information. Learn all that you can, and be sure to keep the attitudes that will make you a successful learner and a successful person!
April 17th, 2008
Money. Money. Money. There just seems to be less of it these days but there actually could be more in your pocket. If you were to think back to when your parents were making ends meet and you were about 12 or 13 you probably witnessed a lot of ways to save money.
Some place between 1990 and 2008 we lost our minds! We put value and created our reputation on things, labels and lavish dinners. So here we are today, did all that spending make a difference to anything more than debt? Don’t feel bad, we all got caught up in it at some time. Do we blame our parents? Most likely not. Do we blame the media? Maybe, movies and shows do influence us. Or do we just blame the keeping up with the Jones or better yet, let’s pass up the Jones again and again.
Here are some money saving ways to help you get back to a normal and healthy reality for life:
1) Plan your day and your errands saving gas. Make a list and pack up your trunk with laundry before you leave the house. If you can’t fit it in today you are prepared for a quick drop off on the way home from the soccer field.
2) Eat healthy and make your lunch each day. While preparing dinner, prepare lunch for work. Get the kids involved and teach them about eating healthy and about saving money.
3) Start a coop of sorts. Get your friends and family together and take advantage of low bulk prices at Costco or Sam’s Club. Rotate the responsibility of purchasing cleaners, meats and other staples then split the bill for added savings.
4) Use coupons! Each Sunday there are $10.00 to $20.00 in savings in the newspaper. Check the market’s ads for additional savings and go to a market that double your coupons. Often times you can combine the doubled coupon and market savings receiving an item for a savings and you might even get it for free. One week I saved $100 off my grocery bill. Yes, I said $100.00! It took me 30 minutes to cut and sort the week’s coupons.
5) Buy scout and school discount books helping a charity at the same time. This year the Boy Scouts in my area sold a book for $10.00. Within the book it offered 3 items for free, 1 coupon for $10.00 of my total grocery bill, another for $15.00 off my bill and other coupons.
6) Jump on the Internet in search of coupon sites or onto the manufacturer’s site.
7) Eat out during the week and save. Many restaurants are offering substantial savings or free desert during the week. It is a nice break and you can take your time on the weekend making something you enjoy.
8) Gas prices are up so use Mapquest.Com to find the best deals on gas in your area each week.
9) Google provides a free 411/information service on cell or other. Just dial (800) g00g-411 or (800) 466 4411.
10) If traveling or you want a change of atmosphere while on your computer check out Freewifi.Com for nationwide and international free wifi location and get connected.
11) Skype.Com is a great way to call and save. Easy upload and used all over the world.
12) Cheap.Cheap.Cheap.Com for deals of the week and coupons galore for all kinds of stuff.
13) Search local banks for free checking.
14) Go basic cable, do you really have time to watch the same movies over and over again. It will be summer soon and you will be outdoors and on vacation anyway.
15) Keep the blinds and curtains closed on hot days, it really does save money on your air conditioning bill.
16) Going on vacation? www.strategicconcepts-ca.com has vacations to amusement parks, Hawaii, St. Thomas and other fun places at a big savings. Their incentives are purchased in bulk by companies such as Pepsi, GE and others providing the consumer savings.
17) (800) contacts is the way to go if you are a contact wearer. Safe, quick service and delivered to your door.
18) Shop online and save at Target and other stores. Free shipping and/or discounted items all to encourage you to shop online.
19) I recently saved $50 just by walking across the parking lot from the Verizon Store to Circuit City. They offer all the same services and telephones a discount.
20) Talk to mom and dad, you will most likely find some great ways to save and invest in your future.
Learn to save and teach your children a valuable lesson. There is more to life than keeping up with the Jones!
April 16th, 2008
Emotions are the most powerful forces inside us. Under the power of emotions, human beings can perform the most heroic (as well as barbaric) acts. To a great degree, civilization itself can be defined as the intelligent channeling of human emotion. Emotions are fuel and the mind is the pilot, which together propel the ship of civilized progress.
Which emotions cause people to act? There are four basic ones; each, or a combination of several, can trigger the most incredible activity. The day that you allow these emotions to fuel your desire is the day you’ll turn your life around.
One does not usually equate the word “disgust” with positive action. And yet properly channeled, disgust can change a person’s life. The person who feels disgusted has reached a point of no return. He or she is ready to throw down the gauntlet at life and say, “I’ve had it!” That’s what I said after many humiliating experiences at age 25, I said. “I don’t want to live like this anymore. I’ve had it with being broke. I’ve had it with being embarrassed, and I’ve had it with lying.”
Yes, productive feelings of disgust come when a person says, “Enough is enough.”
The “guy” has finally had it with mediocrity. He’s had it with those awful sick feelings of fear, pain and humiliation. He then decides he is not going to live like this anymore.” Look out! This could be the day that turns a life around. Call it what you will, the “I’ve had it” day, the “never again” day, the “enough’s enough” day. Whatever you call it, it’s powerful! There is nothing so life-changing as gut-wrenching disgust!
Most of us need to be pushed to the wall to make decisions. And once we reach this point, we have to deal with the conflicting emotions that come with making them. We have reached a fork in the road. Now this fork can be a two-prong, three-prong, or even a four-prong fork. No wonder that decision-making can create knots in stomachs, keep us awake in the middle of the night, or make us break out in a cold sweat.
Making life-changing decisions can be likened to internal civil war. Conflicting armies of emotions, each with its own arsenal of reasons, battle each other for supremacy of our minds. And our resulting decisions, whether bold or timid, well thought out or impulsive, can either set the course of action or blind it. I don’t have much advice to give you about decision-making except this:
Whatever you do, don’t camp at the fork in the road. Decide. It’s far better to make a wrong decision than to not make one at all. Each of us must confront our emotional turmoil and sort out our feelings.
How does one gain desire? I don’t think I can answer this directly because there are many ways. But I do know two things about desire:
a. It comes from the inside not the outside.
b. It can be triggered by outside forces.
Almost anything can trigger desire. It’s a matter of timing as much as preparation. It might be a song that tugs at the heart. It might be a memorable sermon. It might be a movie, a conversation with a friend, a confrontation with the enemy, or a bitter experience. Even a book or an article such as this one can trigger the inner mechanism that will make some people say, ”I want it now!”
Therefore, while searching for your “hot button” of pure, raw desire, welcome into your life each positive experience. Don’t erect a wall to protect you from experiencing life. The same wall that keeps out your disappointment also keeps out the sunlight of enriching experiences. So let life touch you. The next touch could be the one that turns your life around.
Resolve says, “I will.” These two words are among the most potent in the English language. I WILL. Benjamin Disraeli, the great British statesman, once said, “Nothing can resist a human will that will stake even its existence on the extent of its purpose.” In other words, when someone resolves to “do or die,” nothing can stop him.
The mountain climber says, “I will climb the mountain. They’ve told me it’s too high, it’s too far, it’s too steep, it’s too rocky, it’s too difficult. But it’s my mountain. I will climb it. You’ll soon see me waving from the top or you’ll never see me, because unless I reach the peak, I’m not coming back.” Who can argue with such resolve?
When confronted with such iron-will determination, I can see Time, Fate and Circumstance calling a hasty conference and deciding, “We might as well let him have his dream. He’s said he’s going to get there or die trying.”
The best definition for “resolve” I’ve ever heard came from a schoolgirl in Foster City, California. As is my custom, I was lecturing about success to a group of bright kids at a junior high school. I asked, “Who can tell me what “resolve” means?” Several hands went up, and I did get some pretty good definitions. But the last was the best. A shy girl from the back of the room got up and said with quiet intensity, “I think resolve means promising yourself you will never give up.” That’s it! That’s the best definition I’ve
ever heard: PROMISE YOURSELF YOU’LL NEVER GIVE UP.
Think about it! How long should a baby try to learn how to walk? How long would you give the average baby before you say, “That’s it, you’ve had your chance”? You say that’s crazy? Of course it is. Any mother would say, “My baby is going to keep trying until he learns how to walk!” No wonder everyone walks.
There is a vital lesson in this. Ask yourself, “How long am I going to work to make my dreams come true?” I suggest you answer, “As long as it takes.” That’s what these four emotions are all about.
April 15th, 2008
You Get What You Give
Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essay, “Compensation,” wrote that each person is compensated in like manner for that which he or she has contributed. The Law of Compensation is another restatement of the Law of Sowing and Reaping. It says that you will always be compensated for your efforts and for your contribution, whatever it is, however much or however little.
Increase Your Value
This Law of Compensation also says that you can never be compensated in the long term for more than you put in. The income you earn today is your compensation for what you have done in the past. If you want to increase your compensation, you must increase the value of your contribution.
Fill Your Mind With Success
Your mental attitude, your feelings of happiness and satisfaction, are also the result of the things that you have put into your own mind. If you fill your own mind with thoughts, visions and ideas of success, happiness and optimism, you will be compensated by those positive experiences in your daily activities.
Do More Than You’re Paid For
Another corollary of the Law of Sowing and Reaping is what is sometimes called the, “Law of Overcompensation.” This law says that great success comes from those who always make it a habit to put in more than they take out. They do more than they are paid for. They are always looking for opportunities to exceed expectations. And because they are always overcompensating, they are always being over rewarded with the esteem of their employers and customers and with the financial rewards that go along with their personal success.
Provide the Causes, Enjoy The Effects
One of your main responsibilities in life is to align yourself and your activities with Law of Cause and Effect (and its corollaries), accepting that it is an inexorable law that always works, whether anyone is looking or not. Your job is to institute the causes that are consistent with the effects that you want to enjoy in your life. When you do, you will realize and enjoy the rewards you desire.
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, remind yourself regularly that your rewards will always be in direct proportion to your service to others. How could you increase the value of your services to your customers today?
Second, look for ways to go the extra mile, to use the Law of Overcompensation in everything you do. This is the great secret of success.
April 14th, 2008
One source reports that last month marked higher demand in Orange County, California since September 2005 when demand was better than 2007. Year over year statistics will not report until May or even June of this year. Demand is better now compared to last year. There is an increased showing activity, open houses, more buyers who are submitting offers, multiple offers in the lower ranges and more first time buyers. Buyers have been methodically entering the market place since the beginning of this year. The year began with 30 day escrow activity at 944 escrows. There were only 1,473 total escrows in January with 14,724 for sale. Representing an inventory of 16.45 months. Demand has increased to 2,286 escrows within the past 30 days, a 142% increase in volume. Currently, there are 3,066 total escrows throughout Orange County, a 108% increase from the beginning of the year.
Active home listing has only grown by 750 homes since January. This brought the inventory to 15,474 homes. Expected market time has dropped significantly to 6.75 months. The new FHA and conventional loan limits of $729,750 are now just hitting the market. This is being achieved despite a major liquidity problem in the financial markets, meaning loans above $417,000 have been extremely challenging to obtain approval on unless a borrower had a lot of money to put down and excellent credit.
With a 10% down, the old $417,000 conventional limit only covered 37% of the current active inventory on the market. The new limits now include an impressive 75% of the inventory. The old $367,000 FHA loan limit covered only 23% of the active homes for sale. Washington D.C. and strong institutions are focusing on programs and legislation aimed at further increasing demand and restoring our economy.
Slowly there are visible signs of improvement in demand. It be a few months for the recent increases in activity to start changing the headlines and stories in the press. Lower price ranges, where most of the higher risk loans occurred, are turning things positive first. The increased loan limits will assist in restoring demand up to $800,000. As liquidity improves those homes above $800,00 will turn start to gain momentum during the remaining months of this year. The conditions are good for purchasing and into the horizon: motivated sellers, wide selection of homes to choose from, lower rates, new loan programs are available. .
As a buyer, do not let price be your only determining factor as always. Price is important that is true, but current low rates will not last. Prior to the subprime mess and later economic downturn, the Federal Reserve was raising rates to counter inflation. The threat of inflation is once again high due to the Federal Reserve easing rates. Do not get too comfortable with our low interest rates, they WILL increase. For every 1% that interest rates rise, it erases much of the benefits of waiting for property values to decrease by 10%. The payments are virtually identical.