December 14, 2010

How To Make Tomorrow A Great Day

Why do we put off our better lives until the future? For most of us, tomorrow will be a better day. Or at least we're hoping tomorrow will be better. Many of us gently lie to ourselves day after day, "Tomorrow things will change." But for that same majority, that glorious tomorrow never does come.

How To Make Tomorrow A Great Day

We are constantly faced with a couple questions…
  • Why don't we make tomorrow a great day?
  • Why don't strive to make the rest of today a great day?

Do note that we are merely faced with these questions. We are not demanded to answer them.

Sometimes we will say tomorrow will be a great day, as if today is a forgone conclusion. Why is this? We can still make today a great day, can't we?

Well, there is good news and bad news to this.


The Bad News First


To put it bluntly, time is limited. You've heard it before and it's also super cliché that "time is valuable" but let's face the facts: One day you are going to be dead. That's flat out grim. But it's the truth, and sometimes the grim truth staring us in the face is the dose of reality we need to hear.

If you've read or listened to enough personal development you've probably done an exercise envisioning your own funeral. If you haven't done that exercise do it now. If you can't remember what that felt like then do it again… right now. What are people saying about you? What is your eulogy? As you look down on yourself what are you saying, feeling, and thinking to yourself? Never forget that you'll never be able to bargain for or talk your way into acquiring more time. Do you really want to spend a large portion of your life waiting? Heck, I don't even want to wait in traffic for 2 minutes more than I have to!

Some people are okay with waiting all their lives. Are you?


The Good News


Now the good news. And you knew there was good news if you've been a student in our virtual classroom for any length of time. We delight in learning about life, and in life the bad is balanced with the good. Both paths are always there for anyone and everyone, but we are permanently in charge of choosing which we will let into our lives. That's an important responsibility we have.

Did you catch all the good news in that last paragraph? If you didn't then read it again and understand what it means to your life.

We are constantly choosing. Even when we feel out of control the gap between stimulus and response is a true power point in our lives.

Even though what we are contemplating sometimes seems to be between disaster or perfection we are, in fact, usually choosing between decent and good. If we consistently tip the favor towards good in a few areas, we will have more than just good results. We will most certainly have great results. A few goods won't offset many decents though.


Your Better Tomorrow Starts Now


We must truly realize that the elusive tomorrow is now today. Tomorrow came numerous times now, but we probably haven't capitalized on it like we wish we had. However, the power is in the present moment and we can make today great. We can almost assure ourselves at that point that tomorrow will likewise continue the trend. We have shifted the momentum to favor our better lives. It will be a great day.

You know at least one or two things you could do to really capitalize on this day. You knew it yesterday too. The difference now partly lies in your very conscious choice at this moment to make that beautiful tomorrow a reality or accept that it will be another confused, decent day you'll never care to remember.

"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."
    Zig Ziglar

Challenge to You


My challenge to you is to see how great you can make the rest of today. And tomorrow, try to make that day great as well. And tomorrow evening I want you to come back to this post and tell me what you did to make your day special. If it seems trivial because it is "just" reading a few pages in a new book or taking that first jog around the block, remember that that is where it all starts.

Go!


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November 24, 2010

Dr. Oz Tells How to Get Happy and Crush Negativity!

What if I told you you could be happier in just 28 days?

That's what Dr. Oz put forth in a recent episode of his tv show, and he delivered on that promise.

Dr. Oz Tells How to Get Happy and Crush Negativity!This blog is quite different from other articles. It's a transcription I made while watching the show so that I could share it with you. I put a lot of time into this, and I am very grateful that my t.v. let's me pause and rewind because I am by no means a stenographer!

Dr. Oz offers a simple 4 step plan and we will break it down. First, let's "watch" the show!

Dr. Oz's 28 Days to Happiness Plan


Show Introduction:
What if I told you you could be happier in just 28 days? That's the challenge I'm issuing to my next guest. You probably know someone just like her: a Debbie-downer whose negativity brings everyone around them down. But that's about to change in just 4 weeks.

The show cuts to the guest, Mikayla, who explains her negativity and unhappiness...
Some people say every cloud has a silver lining, but I can't see it. I guess you could say I'm a very critical person. I have negative things to say about everything I come across. I just don't understand why people are so positive.

The truth is I don't get along with everyone. When I'm engaged in a conversation I always see the downside. I'm not depressed. I'm just not happy. It's not like I mean to be a killjoy. I just want people to have all the facts. This has been going on for 15 years. NO seems to be my answer to everything. Not everything in my life is negative. I have a wonderful husband and a son named Gabriel, who is the love of my life...

Maybe I'm so used to being a Debbie down I don't know how to be anything else.


Dr. Oz's interview begins...


Dr. Oz: So why do you think you tend to be so negative?

Mikayla: It's just the way I am. Some people see the cup half full. I see it half empty.

Oz: How has it held you back? The negativity you carry around with you.

Mikayla: It's stopped me from having the relationships I want with friends, family, work. It's just not working; it's holding me back.

Oz: So I was curious; I actually wanted to find out how happy you were and how negative you were. There's actually a scale for this called the Oxford happiness questionnaire. And we gave it to you, and there's the scale behind you. And the average is about 4 and a half, and you were about 3.2 out of a total of 6.

Mikayla: I'm not happy.

Oz: You're not happy. And you're not depressed; I want to emphasize that. We're not talking about someone who is wallowing in despair. You just find negative things. [...] I feel passionately that there are a lot of people like you who, like you said, are perceiving the glass half empty even when there's lot of other opportunities. And what were going to do is help you improve over 28 days where you are. And joining us to help do this is research psychologist and author of The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky.

We all have someone like Mikayla in our life and it's not depression. It's some other facet of our personality that drags us down to negativity. Explain that, why are they so negative?

Sonja Lyubomirsky: Well there are some people that feel they see the world the way it really is. And everyone else around them is walking around in rose colored glasses. They would rather be right than be happy. And my response to that is that there is no right way to see the world. The world is both a terrible place, there's suffering and injustice; but it's also a wonderful place, there's beauty heroism and kindness and it's what you choose to focus on that determines your happiness level.

Oz: So if you're negative or positive, talk us through some of the consequences. What are the differences?

Lyubomirsky: Well the consequences of being negative and unhappy can be really harmful to your relationship and to your work. It turns out that people who are happier and more positive are more creative, are more productive, they make more money. They are healthier.

In fact a study I just found out about today was looking at photographs of major baseball players and found that those who showed sincere, genuine smiles - who were more positive and happier - would live 7 years longer.

Oz: Now you have a 28 day plan that anybody can take part in. We're going to start today. Well explain it crisply and clearly in 4 steps. Step number 1 is a daily diary.

Lyubomirsky: That's right. I do this with my students; I teach a class on happiness. It turns out that a lot of people don't know what actually makes them happy. What situations or what individuals make them feel engaged, happy energized or motivated? So several times a day you write down what are you doing, who are you with, am I happy, am I absorbed, am I energized. And then you do more of those things that make you happy.

Oz: Mikayla, can I ask you a question? Do you know what makes you happy?

Mikayla: My family, going on walks with my son, staying home with my husband. That makes me happy.

Oz: Because this is what I want to do. That questionnaire is up there. It's very straightforward. I think it's a brilliant idea. I want to understand, and I think you need to understand what other things besides your lovely son and your husband give you happiness. Because there have got to be other things that give you happiness. It could be a piece of warm bread. It could be someone smiling at you as you walk outside the house. Those are the things we need to identify here.

Okay, step 2 is to figure out how we come off to other people.

Lyubomirsky: Yea, this is an idea that originally was proposed by Darwin. When you act happy - when you show the outward expression of happiness -that's going to intensify the feeling. There was a great study done on women. They got botox injections for their frown lines because they were frowning so much. And what happenened was they got a lot happier.

People respond to you more positively. You feel more attractive, more confident, happier. And so just acting happier and more positive can actually lead you to feel more positive and happier.

Oz: So essentially you're going to fake it 'til you make it. It works in other places too!

Week 3 has to do with combating negative thoughts that occur during social interactions. And I know this occurs to people who are negative. So step 3 is really all about creating a diversion so you don't focus on that.

Lyubomirsky: You mentioned seeing the glass as half empty. These are sort of negative thoughts – a lot of us especially women tend to over think. We're dwelling on our feelings and our problems. We do that alone. We do that with other people. And so the idea is that we need to find strategies that help us divert our attention from the negative thoughts onto something that's neutral or positive.

Oz: Mikayla, do you ruminate a lot?

Mikayla: Yes.

Oz: What do you ruminate over?

Mikayla: For example, if I'm a good mother. I keep asking my husband, am I a good mother? I don't see myself as being a good mother. I try.

Oz: So when you hear those thoughts we want you to create a diversion. This is one little tip. This is a rubber band I want you to wear around your wrist. When you start to ruminate I want you to snap it.

When reading your book (The How of Happiness) there's another good idea to count the number of times people says "um" or some other ridiculous but tedious-on-the-surface, but sort of funny way of keeping track of what's going on in a conversation so you don't go in your own mind and do destructive things to yourself.

Week 4 is about a random act of kindness. You're going to do 1 a day. Why is that important?

Lyubomirsky: Well research from my own laboratory has shown that people who practice acts of kindness on a regular basis become happier. And they can be really little things like emailing someone to thank them, saying to someone they look nice, feeding someone's parking meter. And those acts of kindness gives us a burst of positive emotion and those positive emotions can serve as antidotes to negative emotions or negative thoughts. And so they are very effective. They are very concrete.

Oz: Can we all do it Mikayla?

Mikayla: Yes, I want to do it. I want to become positive.

Oz: You have 28 days to do it. We're going to follow your story. I am fascinated and I want everyone at home to realize you can do it as well.

Mikayla, I want to thank you for coming forward with a story that I know is very common in this country. Sonja Lyubomirsky, I appreciate all your insights and I love the book.


Dr. Oz's 4 Week Plan in a Nutshell


To summarize the 4 week plan, the focus is on one unique area each week that helps improve happiness and beat negativity.
  1. Keep a Daily Diary
  2. Fake It 'Til You Make It (Recall the botox study just mentioned)
  3. Divert Negative Thinking and/or Distract Yourself (Try the rubber band trick or others in the book)
  4. Do Random Acts of Kindness

If you've made it this far, it's clear you want to improve your happiness or tone down the negativity in your life. Like Dr. Oz said, it's something that is so common in our world today. He puts his faith in this simple 4 week plan, and I brought it here to share with you because I, too, think it can help us all.

And, if you're looking to take another step, Dr. Oz thought Sonja Lyubomirsky's book, The How of Happiness, was a great, helpful read.

And now I pose to you: Can you do it? Will you make the effort to become happier and overcome negativity?


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November 3, 2010

Are You Sold on Your Self?

It's awesome and essential to your best possible self to set fantastic goals. Acting on, and reaching, those goals is the important next step, and it very well may require a lot more belief in yourself than you currently have. When I got started on my own personal development journey years ago I quickly learned how to set goals. In fact, I learned many ways to set goals. Setting goals is a subject with such a glut of information out there that you'll have the privilege of choosing what's best for you. However, it may become clear that as you embark on these goals you begin to doubt yourself. As a matter of fact, that doubt may even paralyze and prevent you from ever taking the critical first step.

There is good news though. As I have studied for myself, we can learn to improve our self confidence and the belief we have in ourselves. This is an essential quality that we must develop in ourselves to live as the person we dream to become. When you become sold on your self you will notice dramatic improvements throughout your life.


Who's Making Your Rules?


Are you worthy? Are you worthy to be alive? Are you worthy to be a fortune 500 CEO? Are you worthy to be the president? Whether you answer yes or no, who said you were worthy or not, and how do we decide what we deserve or not? Ultimately, isn't the decision up to you whether you're worthy or not? And if you had to choose, try to think of a few good reasons you aren't worthy. I'd be willing to bet those reasons are self imposed and probably poor reasons at that.

What we're really talking about here is belief – the belief in yourself. In your life the product is you, and you need to be sold on your self. In my opinion, whether our own personal beliefs about ourselves reach high into the sky or sink deep into nothing is a chief reflection of our self confidence. Make no mistake here: Becoming sold on ourselves is a major part of our growth as individuals. As super-successful life change expert Les Brown often comments, the hardest thing he's ever done in life was to "simply" believe that he could actually do it. And he did.


You Are Already in Sales


Telling someone they need to believe in themselves does little to actually help them believe in themselves. I've listened to countless audio books and read enough books and articles to know that belief is integral to personal growth and success. Even still, understanding that being sold on ourselves is paramount is very different from actually being sold on ourselves.

If you're sold on the product then selling the product is easy.


Have you ever tried to do any of the following?
  • Have you tried to get a date?
  • Court someone for marriage?
  • Apply to school?
  • Get an interview?
  • Ask for a raise?

Well, if you haven't been acquainted yet, let me introduce you to one of your many important roles you will fill in life. Welcome to the position of senior sales representative of yourself. Nobody will challenge you for the position, but please, take it seriously because the pay is far more valuable than money can buy.

When you're on an interview, date, or some situation where you have to sell, how comfortable are you? In my personal life, I've found that the majority of people are shy or reluctant to really sell themselves. Why is this? Don't we love ourselves enough to open the majestic doors of opportunity? Or do we fear being labeled egotistical? Perhaps it's for both of these reasons that we don't sell ourselves with the due respect we deserve.


Treat Yourself Like #1


In modern times "looking out for number 1" has gained a poor public opinion, although I see it starting to reverse. The reality is that by putting yourself first in your own life you become far more valuable to all people in your life. It's almost confounding, but it's based on the fact that the more you are the more you have to give.

Personally, I find it gut-wrenching at times when I talk with someone who has pretty much sacrificed themselves, and for little to no gain to themselves or the other party. For an extreme example, consider drug abusers and enablers. The enabler tries to convince themselves that it's the right thing to do, and the addict thinks they need the drugs. Win-win scenario? Hardly!

The truth is, self-sacrificers and enablers would almost always be far more valuable to others if they prevented themselves from reaching such a point. So forego your notions that looking out for yourself is somehow ignoble. Instead, learn to put yourself first and then help lift people up to your level.


How To Become Sold on Your Self


Now that you're (hopefully) putting yourself first and treating yourself with the respect you warrant, you need to really buy into your own worth and ability. If you just chant and wish for change, you may fall short. There are a number of things you can physically do and live by so that you can improve your self confidence and become sold on your self.

One of the easiest ways to increase the belief in yourself is to do something you know you can do, but haven't been doing. This doesn't have to be monumental either. Maybe it's just getting a check-up at your doctor to see how your body is doing or to answer some questions. Or maybe it's something like waking up earlier. The point here is that this is a task that you have complete and utter control over. Once you do such a task, you make a deposit into your personal self confidence and self image bank account. (By the way, investments in your self always pay the best dividends.)

The next step is to realistically evaluate and appraise your benefits to others. In a sense: Know your self. What do you have to offer people, employers, relationships, investors, friends, spouses?

And the second part, the appraisal, is critically important. I think just about everyone could think of someone in their life who was very unique or creative in some manner, but that person held back those talents from others for some almost-insane reason like, "Well, it's not the greatest" or worse "I'm not the best." The fact is pretty much nobody knows who the best at anything is! We have people literally making careers out of baseball and football analysis, yet we can't even reach a consensus as to who the best at either are!

As a populace, we self-select ourselves out of so many opportunities that it's nearly impossible to know who the best at anything is. I imagine somewhere out there right now is a 40-50 year old hall of fame baseball player who never allowed himself to step on the field. Appraise your abilities and traits and give them the merit they deserve, maybe even a little more.

Third, we need to live up to your own expectations, and make sure they are reasonable. Here's a philosophy that has helped guide some of my own actions in my personal life: Live life so that you'd be honored to have yourself as a friend. It also works in your professional or business life as well: Be the business partner you would always want. If that's not the philosophy you live by, try it for at least a day and take it from there. You'll love the results.

Finally, let's keep learning and exposing ourselves to life, and the experiences it has to offer. It seems to me that the more I learn about anything the more confident I become. Furthermore, the more I learn about different areas the more I see the connectedness of life. And it follows that the more we realize the connectedness of life, the more we see how our self confidence is bolstered throughout by improving ourselves in just one area.

To summarize the simple 4 step process to improving self confidence and becoming sold on your self:

  1. Follow through (with something you've been meaning to)
  2. Evaluate and appraise your benefits
  3. Live so you'd want to be friends with yourself
  4. Learn


Buy Your Self and You Will Sell Your Self


I would say that one of my pet peeves that I've developed over the last few years is when people consistently sell themselves short. I'll digress for a moment, but it's worth pointing out that I don't like when people sell themselves short because it ultimately leads to someone living a sub-par life. When you see people living so far below their potential it will affect you! As the saying goes once said, "In life you'll regret what you didn't do more than what you did do."

Ultimately, a major player in a situation where someone sells their self short is that they have a lack of self confidence. Being sold on your self, I believe, is the key to really being able to "sell yourself."

The good news is that as soon as you make the first change, you instantly reverse the erosion process and begin to improve your self confidence. When your confidence goes up you will naturally become sold on your self and your ability to sell yourself and all the values you have will improve dramatically. We've gone over a process that will help you become sold on your self, but it's ultimately up to you whether to buy or sell!


One of the foundational pieces in my personal development library is Jim Rohn's How To Have Your Best Year Ever. Not only has this incredible instruction helped me think beyond what I thought was reasonable, but it's also helped me lay a platform for which to model my life, and, importantly, how to live day-to-day to make effective change. I highly recommend you watch this program multiple times if you know there is untapped power within yourself.


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October 25, 2010

1 Weird Tip to Raise Self Confidence

Here is One Weird Tip to Raise Self Confidence
One of the weirdest things about human nature is that people will try to hide themselves by slumping over. There are some people who literally think that hunching over will somehow hide them. They often do this because of a variety of reasons including shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness and so on and so on. The sad reality, however, is that by not standing tall this only serves to worsen their negative feelings, further hurt their self image, and erode their wilting self confidence that made them want to hide in the first place. If you try to blend in to a crowd because of poor feelings then it's time to switch things around if your goal is to become more self confident. Furthermore, raising self confidence is one of the major steps along the personal development journey.

"Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are."
    Malcolm S. Forbes

In a very interesting study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology scientists uncovered a link between peoples' height and their salary. Perhaps unsuprisingly, there was a clear suggestion that taller people, whether male or female, earned significantly more money over their lifetime than their shorter counterparts. The exact reason for these interesting findings are debatable. On the other hand, what is more certain is how we can use this information to tie it into something we probably intuitively know and feel.


What can I do to RAISE my self confidence?


The study looked at height and how that relates to self confidence, and thus how others look at you. However, it doesn't take a scientist to know that a tall person who slouches over is sending incredibly strong non-verbal signals that they may be depressed, apathetic, disinterested, or very unconfident. The take home message here? Invest in some high quality platform shoes... Wait no that's not it!

What we have seen here is that you can't change your height, but you can improve your confidence by standing tall. Standing tall means your spine is erect, your chin is up, and both your feet are planted on the floor. If you haven't done it in a while, you'll probably hear a lot of crackling as you straighten out that spine!

"Who has confidence in himself will gain the confidence of others."
    Leib Lazarow

Instead of slouching over when you feel unworthy or your confidence is low, simply stand tall. It's a much more favorable thing to do although it may feel totally unnatural at first. But lets face the facts here: If you "shrink" by a few inches you're just as visible and people are still going to see you and know you're there. On the other hand, if you stand tall you will still be seen and you will feel better and more confident. Furthermore, other people get a more favorable impression because you simply look more confident.

Not only is standing tall very cost-effective (it's free if you weren't sure) but it's also instant. No chanting, praying, waiting, attracting, or dreaming required! So stand tall today. You might just like the higher perspective!



Additional Self Confidence Building Resources


If you're hungry for more tips to raise self confidence, a very thorough and helpful resource I personally use is from the Chicken Soup for the Soul co-author Jack Canfield called Maximum Confidence: Ten Secrets of Extreme Self-Esteem.

If you'd like to read the article referenced in this blog post, read "Standing tall pays off, study finds"

Still hungry to learn more about how to improve your self confidence and feel better about your own life? Then be sure to read a previous self improvement blog titled, 4 Easy Tips to Build Self Confidence.


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October 20, 2010

"How to Win Friends and Influence People" Book Review



A new favorite personal development book of mine is now Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." On the cover of Carnegie's classic book, a little gold medallion reads "Over 15,000,000 Copies Sold". There is no doubt in my mind that this book has sold that much and millions more by word of mouth. It's been said that word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertisement. And make no mistake, if you read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie you will recommend this book to your friends also.

When I first read the title "How to Win Friends and Influence People" I thought it sounded slightly manipulative, and I'm not interested in that. Fortunately, the book is anything but manipulation techniques. In fact, it's so grounded in being true, honest, and caring that to say you will "win" friends using the wise words in this book is almost a misnomer. To the contrary, you will develop a winning personality and that will make you an infinitely more attractive person.


"How to Win Friends and Influence People" Book Review


Although the book was originally written in the 1930's it has been updated and it is undoubtedly as relevant today as it could have been centuries ago.

"How to Win Friends and Influence People" is divided into 4 parts. Those four parts are:
  1. Fundamental techniques in handling people
  2. Six ways to make people like you
  3. How to win people to your way of thinking
  4. Be a leader: How to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment

Within each part there are information-packed chapters such as: The big secret in dealing with people, You can't win an argument, Do this and you'll be welcome anywhere, An appeal that everybody likes, How to criticize -- And not be hated for it, and Making people glad to do what you want. Do these sound like subjects that could dramatically improve the quality of your relationships and your life? It certainly did to me!

In general, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie stresses the importance of empathy — seeing things from other peoples' point of view, and trying to develop win-win scenarios. To the contrary, many people in today's world are simply thinking, "How can I get what I want out of this person?" But Carnegie's book is so much more than that as well. To me, it is a handbook in human relations whether they be friends, family, business or professional relationships.


Great Features of "How to Win Friends and Influence People"


The book is practical. Simple advice like using peoples' names more often can instantly let them know you're interested in them. Dale Carnegie points out that to each person their name is the most precious sound in the world. Not only is the advice very practical, but it's immediate as well. There's no voodoo or wishing or dreaming necessary. As Jim Rohn might say, you don't have to move to Sedona, Arizona and sleep under a crystal for this stuff to work! When you learn to make someone else feel important then you will notice such immediacy.


"How to Win Friends and Influence People" Summary


Carnegie was a teacher of his methods, and it shows through in the book. Rather than merely giving good advice or spelling out techniques, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie is delivered like a high quality instructional course. At the end of each chapter are reviews. Throughout the book there are relevant stories about how some of his students successfully applied the techniques. And, rather than a reader wondering "How do I apply this?" there are practical examples about how you can take what's written on these pages and transfer that information into noticeable changes in your life.

This stuff applies to everyone — not just for business or material success, but for life success. Everybody wants to have better relationships with the people in their lives, and "How to Win Friends and Influence People" delivers that.


Conclusion


When it's all said and done, my "How to Win Friends and Influence People" book review just begins to scratch the surface of the powerful messages held in Dale Carnegie's book. Not only has it quickly become a staple in my personal development and self improvement library, but I highly recommend it to you.

How To Win Friends and Influence People


If you want to learn some practical, applicable strategies, techniques, and ways of thinking to immediately help you improve your relationships with others then "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie has a lot to offer you.


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October 2, 2010

Positivity – Is it a Choice? Overcome Negativity

Positivity... Is it a Choice? Overcome Negativity


If you consider yourself a negative thinker or your emotions bring you down, is it possible to change and overcome negativity? I've been studying personal development now for over a year and it's what this blog is all about. One of the resounding messages that have been very subtle but pervasive among great teachers (for example The 7 Habits author Stephen Covey, Zig Ziglar, Anthony Robbins, and other very notable experts) that I have picked up is that our emotions and how we act are completely separate — if we make that choice. In spite of feeling or thinking negatively, we can choose to act positively.

For instance, Stephen Covey talks about a gap existing between stimulus and response. That is, when stuff happens to us that is part 1 of a 3 step process. Part two of Covey's idea is that we consciously or subconsciously make a choice; and part 3 says that we ultimately react. Make a special note that there is a special between stimulus and response where we choose our behaviors.


What does this gap mean?


This beautiful choice we are faced with is what makes us different from other species on Earth. As Jim Rohn puts it, the goose can only fly south in the winter. Humans, on the other hand, can do whatever they choose. Whether you wake up feeling vibrant and full of life or sluggish and downtrodden you can choose how you want to react. In the past, I made the mistake of thinking this was easy, and figured that I should feel like doing an activity before starting that activity.

Since then, I have learned that despite feeling or thinking negatively, we can choose to overcome negativity and act positively. Inevitably, this will make us feel better. I'd also be willing to bet you will start thinking better as a result as well.


Why bother with motivation?


The idea of behaving according to how you feel seems to play a large part in many peoples' motivation. For instance, I would wager that most people attribute very successful people to largely being very motivated. However, the entire idea of motivation is a huge pitfall for many people.

Zig Ziglar is a personal achievement guru, plain and simple. I've heard him make a great point before that motivation follows the act. Zig Ziglar a guy who was an aimless wanderer and underachiever into his early to mid 40's. Around this time he completely turned his life around and ends up leading his sales force virtually overnight. How did this happen? I don't think it was because energy usually picks up in your mid 40s. Rather, he was able to change his life because somewhere in his mind he started thinking and choosing to behave differently.


Stimulus > Choice > Response


The strongest emotions can drastically change our lives, but the beautiful part is that you can dramatically change your life by your own freedom of choice, whether you're feeling like a "go-getter" or a "maybe-later" attitude.

We can act according to how we want to act even in the face of negative thoughts. The choice and power ultimately lies with each of us. We can choose to act against our negative thoughts and live a higher life. That is exactly what I hope you have the enjoyment of doing today and tomorrow and beyond!


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September 25, 2010

Must See Personal Development TV!

Those serious students of life and self improvement who know a little about the personal development and life coaching industry know that Jim Rohn died last December. I'm certain that day moved a lot of you, as it moved me as well. Not only that, but my episodic memory kicked in, and I still remember that night thinking Jim Rohn is looking down on all of us now. (Hopefully he is watching the many seeds he planted in all of us grow and flourish!)

This blog post is not to make you or myself depressed, but much the opposite. It is a celebratory post and I want to share an incredible 117 minute video with you all about the inspirational Jim Rohn. It's about the life he lived, the lives he touched, and the legacy that will last far beyond even our days.

If you haven't seen the tribute video yet, it features some show-stopping names such as Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Harvey Mackay, Les Brown, Darren Hardy, Denis Waitley and Chris Widener. Not only that, but I was very touched to hear from some of Rohn's closest friends as well as his grandson Nathanael Pangrazio (You may have heard of Jim talk about Nathanael in his later works including Living an Exceptional Life and I thought it was really neat to see and hear from the progeny of the great Jim Rohn). The entire event really was done well. There's no self-glorification or false praise just to get some air-time. From start to finish, there is a lot of value to be had in this video.

Prior to watching the entire video I had only seen clips from various other web sites, but I sure am glad I got the opportunity to witness the whole thing. It really puts Jim Rohn the mentor and life coach in a broader light that simply illuminates his generous soul even more. And I owe it to you, my fellow students of life, to share this fantastic, inspirational, and memorable Jim Rohn event with you!

To watch the event just follow this link to the official video web site Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Jim Rohn Event. When you're done watching please do share what you thought about it!


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September 21, 2010

Create and Clean Up Your Messed Up List

You've messed up. Welcome to the club. We call it being human and messing up is part of life. Now, if you're like me and 99.9% of the rest of the population you've also got this little backlog going of things you've messed up in life that you've just never really cleaned up yet. We're going to identify those pesky traitors and then we're going to eliminate them for good!


Make Your Messed Up List


When it comes to lists and note-taking, I wasn't always a writer-down. I gave my memory too much credit! Although I consider myself bright, it's certainly a positive thing that I realized it's not always best to trust your memory, especially if you don't have to. I've found that writing things down is not only important but it's helpful. In this self improvement article we are going to look at a useful list – our "messed up" list.

Once we have this list drafted we are then going to translate that into a sort of "should do" list. Now, this is not to be mistaken for a must do list or a do-it-or-die list. To the contrary, our should do list is a compilation of areas or aspects of our lives where we knew that our outside actions were betraying our inner knowledge, awareness, feelings, and perhaps even betraying our greater wisdom as well.

It should be noted that the messed up list is not my creation. Rather, as this man has done so many times prior, Jim Rohn once again inspired me and informed me about this useful little list, we will call the "messed up" list. Jim talks about it along with probably hundreds of other great ideas in his amazing personal development program How to Have Your Best Year Ever.

While the messed up list plays just a small part in his seminar, we are going to examine it to the degree it deserves. Not only that, but we are going to actually create our own messed up lists. I'm even going to share mine in this blog post.


What is the "messed up" list?


Jim Rohn doesn't spend very long on the messed up list in his DVD seminar. Part of the reason for that is simple – the messed up list is a simple process. The other part of this is that I've come to learn that this is how Jim Rohn teaches most of what he offers us. He'll give you the idea, concept, or principle but then it's up to you – to us – to develop it and truly learn the lesson. I liken this method to planting a seed and nurturing it to adulthood. Jim Rohn plants the seed and we make it flourish… or perish.

In short, your messed up list is a quick run-down of the neglect in your life that has weighed you down and held you back from being your personal best.

For example, did you know that all that junk food you may have been eating was harming your health? If you answer "yes" then you've messed up. Put it on the list!

Other areas of your messed up list can include: health, spiritual, family, friends, relationships, professional, educational, planning and preparation, financial, charity, and anything or anywhere you've messed up!


How I've Messed Up



So, how have I messed up? Well, on my list I have a number of things that I am continuously paring down on since taking a proactive approach to handling this nagging little list. Some of what I have on my list I have: My exercise routine has been too off/on; finding inner peace has not been a priority in my daily life; I haven't written a friend in a while; I haven't stuck to my teeth-flossing regimen; and I let my office and house get messy or cluttered more than I'd like.

There is my messed up list. Now, where is yours? If you don't have one in writing then do create one now! The next part of this self improvement article hinges on your list. And the name of the game here is self improvement and personal development, so let us honor our intentions and put some activity into our lives. It's worth noting that I recommend writing your list on paper for reasons that will become clear.


What to do with your Messed Up List


Life coach expert Jim Rohn has a great choice of words on what to do with our personal messed up lists. It's a messy list, so we clean it up. Just start cleaning up your messed up list each day and each week. Meaningful intra-personal victory is ours for the taking!


The Knitty Gritty Process


What I have done is looked at my own list and calculated how long it would be acceptable to finish cleaning up the list. If my messed up list has 10 items and I want it clean in 60 days then every 6 days I need to check something off. That sounds easy, doesn't it? How long do you want your clean-up to take? Write this number down and divide by the number of items on your list. It's that easy.

Once you are underway on cleaning up your messed up list then there are a few tips that I believe will help you see it through to completion. First of all, keep your list in a visible spot. If you write up a top-notch list and have every intention of carrying it through then fantastic! But what if you forget about it 2 weeks from now? You can prevent that! Remind yourself of what's on the list daily, and work on it.

Next, a good tip is to use a schedule planner or calendar to mark the days when you decided ahead of time that you wanted to cross something off the list. This will help you continuously review and keep you on track towards living your better life, free of pestering thoughts that peck away at your potential. The aim here is to check off everything on our list in the amount of time we feel is best and reasonable.


From Idea to Paper to Results


The idea of the messed up list that we've talked about is merely the seed planted in your mind. You can I've a life with a shrinking messed up list as opposed to one that is growing. It can and will be a liberating activity as you see areas of your life where you once had it wrong turn into something true and right. Now, it's time to clean up!


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September 12, 2010

7 Free Kindle ebooks!

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.
    James Bryce

Today we have an offer straight from Amazon for quite a few free ebooks! Like all the free offers I post, chances are this one won't last very long!


Listed below are some free ebooks for the Kindle that I came across randomly. I'm not sure how long the offer will last, so you'd better jump on it fast! And for free and easy, it doesn't take much effort either! Listed below are the free book titles and short descriptions. I hope you find some value in them!

Free Kindle eBooks:



It's tough, but true—the people you're trying to communicate with, sell to, or convince don't really care about you. Nor do they care what you're offering them—until they understand exactly how it'll benefit them. If you recognize that one hard, cold fact—and you know what to do about it—you'll make more money, achieve greater success, and even have more fun!

In this book, world-renowned sales consultant Mark Magnacca shows you how to answer the “So What?” question brilliantly, every time—no matter who's asking it or what you're trying to achieve. This book will transform the way you communicate: You'll use it every day to get what you want—in business and in life!



Social networks are no fad. They're a permanent reality: one that offers immense opportunities to smart, innovative businesses. Now, top social networking consultant Juliette Powell reveals how dozens of innovators are driving real ROI through social networks–and how you can, too.

Powell's wide-ranging research, including coverage on Barack Obama's successful online strategy in his bid for the presidency, focuses on technology, media and gaming companies, leaders in fashion, beauty, publishing, finance, retail, event planning, and beyond. These powerful narratives illuminate the reality of doing business on today's social networks as never before seen!



Do you have to be perfect to lead a healthy life? Ann Smith discusses how perfectionism may have benefits but is ultimately an obstacle to quality living as it prevents intimacy and lowers self-esteem. This book offers practical hints to letting go of your superhuman syndrome and being imperfect.









Deepak Chopra brings the Buddha back to life in this gripping New York Times bestselling novel about the young prince who abandoned his inheritance to discover his true calling. This iconic journey changed the world forever, and the truths revealed continue to influence every corner of the globe today. A young man in line for the throne is trapped in his father's kingdom and yearns for the outside world. Betrayed y those closest to him, Siddhartha abandons his palace and princely title. Face-to-face with his demons, he becomes a wandering monk and embarks on a spiritual fast that carries him to the brink of death.

Ultimately recognizing his inability to conquer his body and mind by sheer will, Siddhartha transcends his physical pain and achieves enlightenment. Although we recognize Buddha today as an icon of peace and serenity, his life story was a tumultuous and spellbinding affair filled with love and sex, murder and loss, struggle and surrender. From the rocky terrain of the material world to the summit of the spiritual one, Buddha captivates and inspires-ultimately leading us closer to understanding the true nature of life and ourselves.



Three full books of proven solutions for supercharging personal performance! Prepare for any audience, negotiation, or decision-compel attention and motivate action-manage anxiety or anger-use nonverbal communication-negotiate with people you love (or hate)-build (or repair) trust-make decisions with imperfect data-and much more!








How did the lumbering fast-food giant McDonald's cure its own sclerosis and become a newly lean, hungry competitor? Its comeback offers lessons for leaders everywhere in focusing on what their customers really want. For example, don't react to competitors, react to customers. When you broaden your market appeal, don't abandon your first customers. Don't skimp on product development.








Can you be trusted? Right now, someone is asking that question. If they decide to trust you, they'll work with you, care about you, open up to you…help you live a more successful, more fulfilled, happier life. If not, you're on your own…
Build the Strong Personal Credibility You Need to Live a Truly Great Life
*Learn the secrets of personal credibility that make trust possible
*Use the plan to earn trust and respect from those you encounter in your daily life
*Enable others to have confidence in you by following the 7 easy steps
*Follow the Personal Credibility Factor's steps to repairing credibility when you've lost it


I would like to point out that these books are the for the very neat and useful Kindle ebook reader. I'm not sure if you can use any other devices to get these free offers. Have a great Sunday and read read read!

Finally, to be alerted immediately of more free offers in the future, be sure to subscribe to this blog for email updates. Never miss more free books, videos, or other free offers self improvement resources!


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September 1, 2010

Daniel Pink TED Video and Your Motivation Problems

Motivation is one of those great mysteries of the mind. Some have it, most want it, and a few just don't care. The chances are good that you want to increase your motivation in at least one or two areas of your life (I know I'm working on that!). But what is motivation? Where does it come from? Most importantly, how and what can we learn about motivation to make it actually improve our lives? In this Daniel Pink TED video we try to find out all of this, and learn a little about Pink's humorously bad time in law school.


Daniel Pink TED Video: Surprising Science of Motivation





Now, after watching this informational Daniel Pink TED lecture, are you using any If-then rewards for your own candle problems?

If you think you are, recall what was said. If the task utilizes even rudimentary cognitive ability or skill then the reward lowered performance. Challenge yourself today, and answer the following question. Are you making decisions based on unexamined assumptions?

The answer is to base your behavior on 3 areas of intrinsic motivation:
  1. Autonomy – An urge to direct our own lives
  2. Mastery – The desire to get better and better at something that matters
  3. Purpose – A yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves

Now, Pink points out that this is for business, but it is just as valid for people and individuals. Here's a powerful Daniel Pink quote from the video:

"The so-called 20th century rewards such as financial payoffs do work but only in a surprisingly narrow set of circumstances! Unseen intrinsic drive is the real behavioral motivator."
     Daniel Pink, TED speech

So what can we do with Daniel Pink's motivation information? Well, first of all we can examine what motivational tactics we are employing in our own lives, especially where we find our motivation is lacking or failing. For instance, even though you may want money (hence you get a job), once you have your basic needs met then you're almost certainly going to want more… but not more money. There are far more valuable things than money! Look to satisfy the 3 areas of Daniel Pink's intrinsic motivators:
  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

I do hope you gain the value that is in this Daniel Pink video and use it to increase your own motivation! On a final note, challenge yourself!


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August 28, 2010

Free Kaplan eBooks for Back-to-school!

free ebook downloads from Kaplan!

Today's blog blip is just to let everyone know that I stumbled across some free eBooks from Kaplan (the real big test prep company). Since many of you are serious students of life and also serious students in high school, college, and beyond (or know someone who would love to get their hands on these books!) I felt you would love this free offer!



http://kaplanpublishing.com/itunes

This offer is only going on until August 30th so get 'em before they're gone... or not free rather.

It appears as though you will need the ibooks application from Apple or iTunes to get these free Kaplan books. If you don't have iBooks

The list of free eBooks offered from Kaplan:

Call To Nursing
Collected Writings
Corpus
Crime: Its Cause and Treatment
Evolution of Modern Medicine
First Year Nurse
First Year Teacher
Get Into Graduate School Get Into Medical School
Impaired
Kaplan 101 Algebra Practice Questions
Kaplan 101 ASVAB Practice Questions
Kaplan 101 Biology Practice Questions
Kaplan 101 GMAT Verbal Practice Questions
Kaplan 101 GRE Quantitative Practice Questions
101 GRE Verbal Practice Questions
101 MAT Practice Questions
101 SAT/PSAT Critical Reading Practice Questions
101 SAT/PSAT Writing Practice Questions
ACT Strategies for Super Busy Students
AP Biology 2011
AP Macroeconomics/Microeconomics
2011 CCRN GMAT Math Workbook
GMAT Verbal Foundations
GMAT Verbal Workbook
GRE & GMAT Exams Writing Workbook
GRE Exam Advanced Math
GRE Exam Advanced Verbal
GRE Exam Math Workbook
GRE Exam Subject Test: Psychology 2009-2010
GRE Exam Verbal Workbook
MCAT Biology Review
MCAT General Chemistry Review
MCAT Organic Chemistry Review
MCAT Physics Review
MCAT Practice Tests
MCAT Verbal Reasoning and Writing Review
Medical Internal Medicine Question Book
Medical USMLE Master the Boards Step 3
Medical USMLE Step 1 Qbook
Medical USMLE Step 2 CK Qbook
Medical USMLE Step 3 Qbook
NCLEXPN 20102011 Edition
NCLEXRN 20102011 Edition
PMBR FINALS: Civil Procedure
PMBR FINALS: Conflict of Laws
PMBR FINALS: Constitutional Law
PMBR FINALS: Contracts
PMBR FINALS: Corporations
PMBR FINALS: Criminal Law
PMBR FINALS: Criminal Procedure
PMBR FINALS: Evidence
PMBR FINALS: Family Law
PMBR FINALS: Property
PMBR FINALS: Remedies
PMBR FINALS: Torts
Kaplan PMBR FINALS: Trusts
Kaplan PMBR FINALS: Wills
Kaplan PMBR: Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
Kaplan PMBR: Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
Kaplan Portable GMAT
Kaplan Portable GRE Exam
Kaplan Portable SAT
Kaplan SAT Critical Reading Workbook
Kaplan SAT Math Workbook
Kaplan SAT Score-Raising Dictionary
Kaplan SAT Subject Test Chemistry 2010-2011 Edition
Kaplan SAT Subject Test: Biology E/M
Kaplan SAT Subject Test: Mathematics Level 1
Kaplan SAT Subject Test: Mathematics Level 2
Kaplan SAT Subject Test: U.S. History Edition
Kaplan SAT Writing Workbook
Kaplan SSAT & ISEE
Law School Labyrinth
Lives in the Balance
Manual of Surgery
Math for Nurses
MBA Fundamentals: Accounting and Finance
Med School RX
Memorable Thoughts of Socrates
Notes on Nursing
Paralegal's Handbook
Path of the Law and The Common Law
Routine Miracles
Saving Lives
Sharp Vocab
Sharp Writing
Socratic Dialogues
SOS: Stressed Out Students' Guide to Dealing with Tests
SOS: Stressed Out Students' Guide to Handling Peer Pressure
SOS: Stressed Out Students' Guide to Saying No to Cheating
Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands
Reflections on Doctors
Real Life of an Internist
New Lives Meditations on Hope
Final Moments


That looks like an excellent list and if you're considering any type of graduate school, medicine, law, and others then this is a great savings on some high quality test materials. And who doesn't like FREE?!

Having said that, if you're interested in more free stuff, check out this page for free personal development and self improvement audiobooks and eBooks!


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August 25, 2010

What Makes Life Worth Living?

Part of life is to use your senses and be stimulated. I'm not sure what exactly makes life worth living, but the one thing I do know is that since we're here we might as well play the game. I favor the words of Og Mandino who says that life is precious and can be beautiful, but it's a game. And in the end, I cannot help but think life is simply a game. The rules of which I am still figuring out.

Let us just think about what makes life worth living for a moment today...

Og Mandino also says that to play the game we have to know the rules. This is something I just pondered about... what are the rules in the game of life?

I'd like to take a sentiment from another teacher of life, Jim Rohn, who says that there is no happiness/joy without suffering. So, surely both of those are part of life. We've got to have a little bit of both. A life led purely for pleasure and enjoyment certainly seems to me that it would be vapid and ultimately unfulfilling. It's quite a conundrum to swallow, but if you think on it for a while you may come to the same conclusion.

But then that begs another question, is it better to suffer than to live in happiness? That turns out to be a tougher question to answer than it seems at first. When it's all said and done, it's a question I certainly need to think more about. More importantly, it's something that needs to be weighed on both ends.

All of these seemingly oddball questions stemmed from my musings over the question, "What makes life worth living?"

If you dare to ask yourself this question, you may be in for some shocking revelations.

The following 2 life resources have served me and may help you muse over this question as well:
How to Have Your Best Year Ever (my favorite self improvement resource)
and
Og Mandino Secrets of Success an eye-opening audio book about life... far more than merely material success.


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August 17, 2010

FREE eBook and audiobook page added!

Alright well, in my time as a student of life and self improvement I've come across some great sites to find free self improvement resources. And what better thing to do than to share them with all my fellow students of life!

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
    Dr. Seuss

So, today's blog update is going to be this free page of self improvement resources, ebooks, and audio books. The link to this page will stay at the top of the blog for easy access.

Free Self Improvement Resources

I hope you do find some great books from this, and I encourage you to share your own links and I'll put them on the page if it will help other students out!

Other changes


You'll also notice a couple of other changes to the navigation bar.

The first of these secondary changes was that I added a link to my personally recommended "everything self improvement" resources store. I advocate them for a few reasons. They're fast, secure, they stand behind their product and have toll free customer service, and finally because they're the official store for personal development legend Jim Rohn and all his good company! They've pretty much got every base covered that you could want to work on.

And the last change was that I removed the link to the Videos section. Do note, the posts with videos are all still on the blog; it's just that I am temporarily removing that page. It will be back shortly in a much better format.

As a final note, our goal today is to find a book or audio book and start reading it. Information hoarding serves us no purpose unless put into practice. Enjoy!


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August 13, 2010

George Santayana Quotes and Biography

George Santayana quotes are evocative! Not only that, but he's uttered so many insightful, and profound quotes that this blog post just kept getting bigger and bigger. I came across him quite randomly as I was reading some inspirational quotes, and Santayana's poignancy just made me want to dig deeper. When it was all said and done I had a big ol' quote list and pared it down to just the gems you'll read below.

So, here are some of the fantastic George Santayana quotes I came across, as well as a brief biography in case you've never heard of this philosophy legend (it's ok... I never heard of him before this either!).





George Santayana Biography


George Santayana was born in Spain in 1863. He was known as a Spanish-born U.S. philosopher. He graduated from Harvard with a bachelor of arts and then went on to complete his Ph.D. also at Harvard by the age of 26. As an undergraduate he was said to have a very active social life and he was also a member of 11 clubs, as well as president of the philosophy club. After earning his Ph.D. George Santayana became a professor at Harvard until he retired from teaching in his 40's, much to the dismay of Harvard, who tried to get him back on numerous occasions. He was heavily recruited by many of the world's top universities for his incredible abilities.

After retiring he moved back to Europe and bounced around Europe, Britain and the United States. Unfortunately, World War I and then II prohibited Santayana's traveling lifestyle and eventually he was trapped in Rome, where he later died.

During his earlier years he partook in poetry, but later undertook philosophy as his major work. He wrote many books, and his only novel The Last Puritan was a worldwide hit and best-seller. George Santayana was also a great student of philosophy and he credits a lot of his learning to Aristotle, Spinoza, and Lucretius. Furthermore, William James, commonly known as one of the fathers of modern psychology, had an impact on Santayana since they worked together at Harvard.

As far as his views on philosophy are concerned, George Santayana quotes that philosophy attempts firstly to, make an account of "the shrewd orthodoxy which the sentiment and practice of laymen maintain everywhere" and secondly at drawing out "a distinct vision of the universe and definite convictions about human destiny [that] inspires and expresses the life of those who cherish it."

Santayana died of cancer on September 26, 1952 in Rome, Italy.



George Santayana on Life


"Before he sets out, the traveler must possess fixed interests and facilities to be served by travel."

"The truth is cruel, but it can be loved, and it makes free those who have loved it."

"For gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity."

"If pain could have cured us we should long ago have been saved."

"It is a revenge the devil sometimes takes upon the virtuous, that he entraps them by the force of the very passion they have suppressed and think themselves superior to."

"It is always pleasant to be urged to do something on the ground that one can do it well."

"We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past; remembering that once it was all that was humanly possible."
The Philosophy of George Santayana, Northwestern University Press, 1940, p. 560

"Religion in its humility restores man to his only dignity, the courage to live by grace."
—Dialogues in Limbo

"One's friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human."

"To possess things and persons in idea is the only pure good to be got out of them; to possess them physically or legally is a burden and a snare"

"... if you bravely make the best of a crazy world, eternity is full of champions that will defend you."
Dialogues in Limbo, Constable, 1925, p. 32



George Santayana Quotes on Education and Learning


"Before you contradict an old man, my fair friend, you should endeavor to understand him."

"A child educated only at school is an uneducated child."

"Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are."

"There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humour."
The Birth of Reason and Other Essays, Columbia University Press, 1968, p. 15

"The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas."

"The wisest mind has something yet to learn."

"Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated."


George Santayana "Doomed to repeat it..."Quote

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, page 284


George Santayana Quotes on Happiness and Character


"Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character."

"Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment."

"To be happy, even to conceive happiness, you must be reasonable or (if Nietzsche prefers the word) you must be tamed. You must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passions and learned your place in the world and what things in it can really serve you. To be happy you must be wise."
Egotism in German Philosophy, Scribner's, 1916, p. 152

"A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one's life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted."

"Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness."

"To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring."


George Santayana quotes from The Sense of Beauty


"Nothing so much enhances a good as to make sacrifices for it."

"Familiarity breeds contempt only when it breeds inattention."

"The only kind of reform usually possible is reform from within; a more intimate study and more intelligent use of the traditional forms."
The Sense of Beauty, MIT Press, 1988, p. 105

"Love makes us poets, and the approach of death should make us philosophers."

"Fun is a good thing, but only when it spoils nothing better."


Santayana Quotes from Letters


"... philosophy seems to me to be its own reward, and its justification lies in the delight and dignity of the art itself."
—To William James, 18 December 1887, The Letters of George Santayana, Book One, [1868]-1909, MIT Press, 2001

"... the idea that horrors are required to give zest to life and interest to art is the idea of savages, men of no experience worth mentioning, and of merely servile, limited sensibilities. Don't tolerate it."
—To G. Lowes Dickinson, 26 November 1913, The Letters of George Santayana, Book Two, 1910-1920, MIT Press, 2002

"The moment we turn the magic of the moment into a maxim, we have clouded the sky."
—To Llewelyn Powys, 20 October 1937, The Letters of George Santayana, Book Six, 1937-1940, MIT Press, 2004

"I have always liked understanding views with which I did not agree—how else could one like the study of philosophy?"
—To Daniel MacGhie Cory, 9 May 1939, The Letters of George Santayana, Book Six, 1937-1940, MIT Press, 2004

"Of course, I like agreement, it warms the heart, but I don't expect it; and I like disagreement too, when it is intelligent and carries a thought further, rather than contradicts it a priori, from a different point of departure. These different points of departure make discussion futile and unpleasant."
—To Charles Augustus Strong, 15 September 1939, The Letters of George Santayana, Book Six, 1937-1940, MIT Press, 2004


George Santayana Quotes on Philosophy


"The philosophy of the common man is an old wife that gives him no pleasure, yet he cannot live without her, and resents any aspersions that strangers may cast on her character."

"The hunger for facile wisdom is the root of all false philosophy."
Facile means: arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth; "too facile a solution for so complex a problem"


Quotes from Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense


"In order to discern this healthy life, for the soul no less than for the body, not much learning is required; only a little experience, a little reflection, and a little candour."
Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense

"An ignorant mind believes itself omniscient and omnipotent; those impulses in itself which really represent the inertia and unspent momentum of its last dream it regards as the creative forces of nature.
—Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, p. 187

"An ignorant mind believes itself omniscient and omnipotent; those impulses in itself which really represent the inertia and unspent momentum of its last dream it regards as the creative forces of nature.
—Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, p. 187

"Now the body is an instrument, the mind its function, the witness and reward of its operation."
—Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, p. 206

"A man's hatred of his own condition no more helps to improve it than hatred of other people tends to improve them."
—Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, p. 225


More George Santayana Insightful Quotes


"By nature's kindly disposition most questions which it is beyond a man's power to answer do not occur to him at all."

"The word experience is like a shrapnel shell, and bursts into a thousand meanings."

"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."

"Parents lend children their experience and a vicarious memory; children endow their parents with a vicarious immortality."

"Depression is rage spread thin."

"Sanity is a madness put to good use."

"I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because they would take away my liberty."

"Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men."

"Only when vitality is low do people find material things oppressive and ideal things unsubstantial."
—Winds of Doctrine, Scribner's, 1913, p. 19

"Wealth is dismal and poverty cruel unless both are festive. There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval."
—Soliloquies in England, Scribner's, 1922, p. 97

"I suppose people aren't ashamed of doing or feeling anything, no matter what, if only they can do it together. And sometimes two people are enough."
The Last Puritan, MIT Press, 1994, p. 227

"A need is not a good. It denotes a condition to be fulfilled before some natural virtue can be exercised and some true good thereby attained. To feel needs is to feel separated from the good by some unfulfilled prerequisite to possessing it."
—Dominations and Powers, Scribner's, 1951, p. 40

"Music is a means of giving form to our inner feelings, without attaching them to events or objects in the world."

"Many possessions, if they do not make a man better, are at least expected to make his children happier; and this pathetic hope is behind many exertions."

"Never build your emotional life on the weaknesses of others."

"Emotion is primarily about nothing and much of it remains about nothing to the end."

"A man is morally free when, in full possession of his living humanity, he judges the world, and judges other men, with uncompromising sincerity."

"Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better."

"The dreamer can know no truth, not even about his dream, except by awaking out of it."

"Habit is stronger than reason."

"The highest form of vanity is love of fame."

"Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality."

"To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say."


Finally, here is what I believe to be a very profound quote to end this page with:


"Our character... is an omen of our destiny, and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be."


Reading about George Santayana and tons of his quotes had me wanting to read more about philosophy. One of my favorite personal development mentors, Jim Rohn is very big on studying philosophy. And not just classic philosophy, but your own personal philosophy.

If you're interested in studying philosophy then a) keep reading this blog because philosophy is a big part of it, and b) look into reading The Last Puritan (I read that it's tough to read, but I'll be checking it out anyways) or a biography of the life of George Santayana. Have a great day, and work on those good habits!


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August 10, 2010

How many years should a kid spend in 4th grade?

How are you doing? How many? How much?

Ok, well to be a little less ambiguous we are going to talk about exactly how well you and I are doing with our personal development. And I say "exactly" with such emphasis because we're going to use some cold, hard numbers in today's blog. We are going to talk about results. As far as the seemingly outrageous title of this blog post... I will leave that up to you to find out after you watch the video!

Actually, I suppose it would be more appropriate to say we are going to talk and listen and watch about results and more. Because today we have a great video clip from one of my absolute most recommended self improvement programs How to Have Your Best Year Ever from Jim Rohn. So far, I've watched the entire 5 hour DVD at least 4 times. I actually started to keep track on a piece of paper inside the case.

As you'll see in this short clip, not only is Jim Rohn funny but he puts concepts, strategies and advice in such simple terms than you simply have to be effected. He's really a great story teller as well. You'll actually laugh quite a few times in this awesome program. So, let's watch Jim in action and follow up right after...

How to Have Your Best Year Ever - Jim Rohn video





Now let's look at our numbers...


Here's the question list that Jim Rohn was asked by his mentor Earl Shoaff:
  1. How much money have you saved and invested?
  2. How many books have you read in the last 90 days?
  3. In the last 6 months, how many classes have you taken to improve or develop your skills?

The short of all this information is pretty simple. If you don't like your own numbers then you have the power to change it. And only you can. Remember, if you have messed up then now is the best time to turn any one of these around!

You don't need to change countries. It's a lot easier than that! Maybe after all this toil and aggravation it's just because you bought the wrong plan. So, do yourself a favor and buy the right plan. Just like Earl Shoaff helped turn the young Jim Rohn around, Jim Rohn helped turn me around and he can help you too.

Look within and let your results teach you something about your own activity, your own attitude, and your own philosophy. What a fantastic, realistic analysis! And as Jim Rohn says in video, and this is critical, you've got to be willing to face the numbers.

Set yourself free to amend your errors!

Discover the day that turns your life around and puts you on the road to having your best year ever! In this five hour seminar, filmed before a live audience, you'll learn the keys to success in life and how to accomplish your goals. Everyone is interested in getting more out of life, but few are willing to turn that interest into action. In "How to Have Your Best Year Ever," Jim Rohn will show you how simple it is to begin to turn your dreams into reality! Decide today to make this one of the most valuable additions to your family or business DVD library!

Subjects include:
  • The Life Puzzle
  • Personal Development
  • The Five Abilities
  • Setting Goals
  • Self Esteem
  • Financial Independence
  • Communication

How to Have Your Best Year Ever - 5 Hour Seminar (DVD) Jim Rohn









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August 6, 2010

Perhaps My Best Advice... An Inch

Are you having trouble taking action? Do you know what you SHOULD do, but just can't get yourself to do it? Here's a little piece of advice that will give you big results.

Some great personal development advice... Inch by inch

The best part of the following self improvement advice is that it puts you in the power position. Sometimes people don't do something because it's easy to be overwhelmed. Some people won't do XYZ because it takes too much time. There really are a million and one excuses not to take action, and sometimes there's a good reason. But when it comes right down to it, there's no real good excuse to do nothing. And I will urge you to share (via a comment below or email) if you have a good - or even decent - reason to do nothing. I can't think of one.

Inch by Inch

Inch by inch, anything's a cinch. That's a philosophy I blew off for a large part of my life. I used to say to myself something along the lines of, "I have time to put it off for now. Besides I'll be sure to get it done later in grand fashion... it always gets done." In most cases it did get done. I'm older now though, and I'd like to think I'm a little wiser too. And with that wisdom it becomes too obvious that some things can't be rushed, and then there are other things that are simply better to do inch by inch, row by row, even if you're not even giving maximum effort. Perhaps the best advice I could ever give someone is to just do a little.

For a couple examples of this, consider your health. Even if you don't run a marathon, is it not better if you just walk around the neighborhood? Sure you might barely break a sweat but I guarantee the light walk is better than no walk for your general health. I used to figure if it wasn't my "best" effort then it wasn't worth doing. Too many times that led me down the path of putting it off or gettin' ready for the big show!

Another example relates to procrastination. now before your brain shuts off because you've already read or heard everything about procrastination just read the next sentence intently, think about it for at least ten seconds, then only continue if you think it might help. If you do just two earnest minutes of work on whatever project you're undertaking every day then you have beaten procrastination. how great is that? Now if you only do 2 minutes a day and never get done by your deadlines it will be a problem. But the important aspect here is that your problem was not you delaying endlessly because you failed to start. How much sooner could you get started if you just had to commit to do an inch or 120 seconds?

Jim Rohn Does It...

Jim Rohn is a personal development legend, and one of his stories talks about the apple a day philosophy. He actually has a pretty funny story with people who mix up an apple a day with a Hershey bar a day. I'll be sure to share a video about this in the near future. But save to say right now that the apple a day is one of those super simple fundamentals that lead to radical life change.

When I really thought about the apple a day philosophy it struck me as something a lot more meaningful. And it doesn't just have to do with an apple either. It can be anything so simple that you think it's meaningless. But the key to note here is that thinking something might not be effective at all does not make it so. If you drank one less can of coke today, then 10-15 cans later you'll have saved yourself from probably gaining a pound of fat. Sound incredible? Not really in my opinion. But what would be incredible is if you applied these small changes to your life, and every area of your life that you're trying to improve.

If it's worth doing at all, then it's worth doing badly until you get good at it.

In conclusion, what I want you to get out of reading this is very little. Really. I want you to simply get the fact that doing very little is better than okay. It's a great starting point and it puts you in the power position. try it out for yourself!


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