Sunday, June 25, 2017

The #1 Way To Improve The World

Much of what we see each day, especially through our media and our own minds, tends to be focused on the negative.  We tend to see what is wrong with people and situations. It could be bad weather, bad people, bad service or bad news. Or, all of the above.

The media focuses on these bad things because it attracts and holds viewers which in turn sells advertising. Our minds focus on bad things because it is trying to help us survive by keeping us safe and out of bad situations.

But, the world is not all bad.

There are situations that are good. There are things that are getting better. There are people and situations that can inspire us and make us feel good. But, only if we choose to see those situations.

Whether it is a good situation or a bad one. It could probably be better. Obviously, we want bad things to be better.  And, if you can make a good thing better, why not?

So, what do you do? What can you do to improve the world?

First, recognize what you can control and not control.

You cannot control the weather. Complaining about the weather is a waste of time and energy. And, you cast off a negative vibe to the world. You simply deal with it. 

You cannot control the economy. Whether inflation if high or low, whether interest rates are high or low, or whether the market is high or low is not under your control. You simply deal with it.

You cannot control world events. Terrorism, natural disasters and political scandal are going to happen. You cannot control them. You simply deal with them.

How do you deal with things you can't control? You deal with them with something you can control. Your attitude and response to them.

Your attitude and the way you respond are within your control. You get to choose how you think and respond in every situation. It is your choice.

So, the #1 way to improve the world is to improve yourself. 

Of all the things you can control in the world. You and your choices are the things you control the most. And, when you improve your choices, you improve yourself and, in turn, improve the world.

If all 7 billion of us focused on just improving ourselves, the breadth of our collective human potential is absolutely staggering.

There is another way to improve the world.

Another way is not something you control but something you influence. This can be a very grey area because your influence operates along a continuum or a spectrum. Some things you have a lot of influence over and some things not so much.

You can't control the economy but you can influence it. When you buy things you influence the economy.  But, let's be honest, your greatest purchase, usually your home, is insignificant on the overall economy. You have low influence here.  But, in other areas you have high influence.

You can't control other people.  But, you can influence them. Some you can influence to a greater degree than others. If you've ever had children you can experience the change of how much influence you have over their lifetimes. As infants you have a great deal of influence.  But, as a teenager...well, let's just say not as much.

So, the #1 way to improve the world is to improve yourself. Improve your mind, body and spirit.  Seek to find your potential. If you do this everyday, your ability to contribute to the world increases.  If you don't, it diminishes. 

How do you improve yourself?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Friday Five - June 23, 2017

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “There is a set of advantages that have to do with material resources, and there is a set that have to do with the absence of material resources- and the reason underdogs win as often as they do is that the latter is sometimes every bit the equal of the former.” 
Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

2.  Book I am reading - David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell. This is the fourth book by Malcolm that I have read.  Unfortunately, for now, it is the last.  He has no more to read. Like the others, Malcolm reads his own books ( I listen to books ).  And, he reads them like the word art they are. In this book, he reveals the secrets behind why the Davids' beat the Goliaths'. The best part of the secret is that it no secret at all. You may actually have it...

3.  Song of the Week - God of the Impossible by Everfound. This song was used, very well I might add, as the sound track for a David versus Goliath scene.  Here is where it is paired with video.

4.  Video of the Week -  "David & Goliath" this video depicts the story with a pretty good accuracy. To really understand the story you need to know the details which are revealed in Malcolm's book. David had a greater advantage you might realize.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - get your nutrition! Athletic Greens makes it simple. I start each day with a water and Athletic Greens. It will help your David beat your Goliath everyday.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Friday Five - June 9, 2017

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “You are a victim of the rules you live by.” ― Jen Sincero, You Are A Badass.

2.  Book I am reading - You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero will launch you past the fears and stumbling blocks that have kept financial success beyond your reach. Drawing on her own transformation—over just a few years—from a woman living in a converted garage with tumbleweeds blowing through her bank account to a woman who travels the world in style, Jen Sincero channels the inimitable sass and practicality that made You Are A Badass an indomitable bestseller. She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results.

3.  Song of the Week - American Bad Ass by Kid Rock. Nothing encapsulates the badass attittude like Kid Rock and his music.

4.  Video of the Week -  "Go Ahead and Get Rich" from Jen Sincero herself, here is one of the techniques she features in her book You Are a Badass at Making Money. Jen has a particular flavor that makes reading and especially listening to her books really cool.  This video gives you a little taste of her flavor.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein - This is simply the best value protein powder out there.  Highly rated on every supplement rating scale it combines the essential proteins, BCAA's and Glutamine. It mixes well, tastes great and comes in over 20 different flavors.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Today's Kids Need Yesterday's Cures

Today's kids face challenges much different than previous generations. There is no doubt they are growing up in a much more complicated and pressured world than we ever did.

The pressures of social media, and media in general, high levels of communication with cell phones, laptops and tablets put the people they know, and don't know, at their fingertips.

It's a scary world at times. We used to let our kids play outside until it got dark not even knowing where they were. Now we panic when they get out of our sight.

And, to be fair, they also have greater opportunities.

Social media presents kids with opportunities to market themselves and their accomplishments to colleges and future employers. They can stay in touch with distant relatives. The internet and technology make researching and writing a paper for school easier than it has ever been.

But, even with all this pressure, and opportunity, we should not feel sorry for them. But many of us do. Every generation has its challenges. In the fifties, there was the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation. The sixties had race riots.  And, in the seventies we had out of control inflation and Jimmy Carter.

Today we have a tendency to want to shelter our children from the realities of society.  There is certainly some ugliness out there but there are positives too.  Especially when you look for them.

We even want to protect them from their own feelings. The feelings of injustice, unfairness and losing. This kind of protection does not help children grow to realize their greatest potential especially in today's very competitive environment.

Too often parents are paying more attention to their children than they do to each other weakening the marriage in the process. The children have become the focus where we place their needs above all others. Where is this leading us?

Children today end up growing later because they are not taught the fundamentals they need to care for themselves and cope with their own feelings. They end up leaving the home later in life than previous generations. Some kids, called boomerang children, end up returning home unable to the handle basic responsibilities necessary to begin an independent life.

Most parents are good people that love their children and want what is best for them. But, have we gotten confused in this society of convenience and instant gratification as to what is really best for our children? 

When you look around you see too many instances of institutionalized fairness as in participation trophies. Go to any store or restaurant and you see children talking to their parents in tones and language that would have earned you or I the reprimanding side of your father's hand. What are we doing?

I have been to friends' homes for dinner and watched the parents clear table, do the dishes and take out the trash while the kids jumped onto the latest version of Madden Football. And, the schedules we keep for kids today with one activity after another makes me think they need Personal Assistants. And, they have them in their parents. Where is all this leading to?

I interview many young people for jobs.  Fresh out of college, the jobs they seek are often the first ones in their young careers. Some of these recent grads ask questions around promotions, expense accounts and corner offices before they have even been offered a position. They never make the second round of interviews. And, I'm sure they sulk away thinking how unfair my company was.

This is what today's youth looks like.  Entitled, self-centered, and more concerned with the reward they think they deserve rather than the contribution they need to make. But, it is not their fault.

We raise kids differently these days. We lean towards comforting and coddling them more than we should. We are not doing them, nor ourselves, any favors. We need a return to some of the classic values that were the hallmark of previous generations.

Here are five of those values:

1. Family Time - this starts at the dinner table. This daily meeting is a hallmark tradition of the family unit since the dawn of time. In the earliest time of human existence, when food was scarce, the family would gather around the harvest or the kill to eat. Of course, this has evolved as food sources have become more abundant. But, the premise is the same. We gathered daily to be together, eat and bond. And, it doesn't end there.

Family time spent together playing games, watching movies, doing chores would all contribute to the building of a bond that would strengthen the family and establish its value systems. It is time well spent.

2. Allow Failure - as parents we need to stop shielding our children from the natural consequences of competition and life. It is unfair of us to prepare them for life this way. Life is not that way.

We should be preparing our children with the tools to be able to deal with the inevitable times when they will fail. For more on that see "Should You Let Your Kids Fail."

3. Good Manners - nothing says more about the kids we meet than the manners they keep. Yes Sir, Yes Ma'am, Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, etc. These go a long way when our kids meet other parents.  But, they go an even longer way when they use them with their own parents.

The manners kids use outside of the home start inside the home with their siblings and parents. If you insist on the best manners at home, you won't have to worry about them using them outside the home.

And, tone of voice counts. Nothing says more about a kid's personal self control and respect for his parents than when he yells at them in public. And, it says even more about the parents.

4. Chores - kids who end up becoming responsible, productive and contributing members of society weren't born that way. They learned those basic values by taking care of some simple responsibilities at home from a very young age. 

Making the bed is less about the bed and more about child. The good habits, discipline and sense of pride that grow in a child from this simple responsibility spill over into other areas of their lives and sets the stage for a productive adult life.

5. Playtime - remember "Kick-the-Can, Hide-and-Seek and Tag?" Whatever happened to these games? They involved imagination and physical activity. These days kid's dexterity is found in the speed of their thumbs on a game controller. And, forget about imagination! Every time I hear a kid say their bored I wonder what planet they woke up on.

The job of parents is to prepare their children to be productive, contributing members of society. The principles used by parents in previous generations were more effective at reaching that objective than what parents are doing today. We need to give those values more serious consideration for today's youth. 

Not only do they need it, the parents and society need it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Friday Five - May 25, 2017

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else. A routine is exceptionally powerful.” 
Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect

2.  Book I am reading - The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.  You often hear advice around thinking BIG.  And, there is validity in that statement in certain circumstances.  But, the things we do daily are little things.  I wrote about that before in the post Little Things Do Matter.  Little things done over and over again, whether positive or negative, add up.  Darren Hardy shows you how those little things compounded over time become the big things.

Well written in almost a conversational tone anyone can relate to. Darren Hardy is personable, compassionate, and challenging in his writing style, compelling the reader to go a few extra steps!

3.  Song of the Week - Little by Little by Robert Plant. It's an old song showcasing the point that little things add up.

4.  Video of the Week -  Small Things Can Make a Difference.  A heartwarming and very touching video of how one person doing small little things can make such a big difference in people's lives.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - It's the Little Things - If you’re frustrated because you’re not seeing the results that you want to see on the scale, even while working out regularly, maybe you should consider some of the “little things” that can certainly add up to be “big things”!

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

I Am A Movie Screen

You are the movie.

Your movie projects onto my screen. I watch it. I might laugh, I might cry. I may grimace.

What do I think of it? Do I want to keep watching? Do I have to? Do I want to?

Good questions.

Some people, some movies are dramas that not only am I not interested in, I don't have the time for. They become an emotional suckfest leaving you without energy or motivation.

Some movies are horror shows. Lives that have taken some bad turns whether by accident or by bad decision. It's usually the latter.

Some are sad documentaries. Again, maybe an accident, maybe some bad decisions. Who knows?

What if I don't want to watch that movie?

Change it.

It is just that simple. Don't like the movie, change it.

Don't want see the drama that features some spoiled queenie that behaves like a entitled, self-centered bitch where every minute of film feels like slow death. You know the person that can't possibly see enough of themselves. Every event in their life is a tragedy beyond human endurance and they need to tell you every painful detail.

Change it.

Not interested in the horror flick that shows how one person can somehow, almost impossibly, make one bad decision after another as if they had no control over their own lives. Everything they do is a controlled crash landing. They have the self-awareness of an earthworm and make you wonder if they will ever have a clue.

Change it.

You're the movie screen.  Not the movie.

Change the movie. Change it to something you like.

So, you like that comedy where the person makes you laugh and feel so good it almost feels as if time stops. The kind of person that makes you feel energized and forget that you even have any problems.  As least for a little while.

Watch it.

You like the movie where a person takes you on an adventure with intellectual twists and turns that leaves you with an "aha"feeling. Their story is so interesting that when it is over you want to watch it again. Right away.

Watch it.

You like the movie where the underdog overcomes impossible odds and inspires you to take on the world with your personal passion? The movie that makes you think, if they can do it, so can I?

Watch it. 

Again and again.

You choose the movies you watch. Choose movies that make you laugh, learn and feel inspired. Don't watch the movies that drain the life out of you and leave you haggard.

But, always are a movie too.

Are you worth watching??

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Friday Five - May 19, 2017

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - "There's an inherent reward in letting go." – Judson Brewer

2.  Book I am reading - The Craving Mind - From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits by Judson Brewer. We are all vulnerable to addiction. Whether it’s a compulsion to constantly check social media, binge eating, smoking, excessive drinking, or any other behaviors, we may find ourselves uncontrollably repeating. Why are bad habits so hard to overcome? Is there a key to conquering the cravings we know are unhealthy for us? You will be very surprised by the things you learn in this book.

3.  Song of the Week - Constant Craving by k.d. lang. Great song by a great artist that addresses the greatest craving in us all.

4.  Video of the Week -  How to Eliminate Cravings by Elliot Hulse.  The founder of Strength Camp has some knowledge and solutions to deal with those cravings for food. We all have them. Here's how to deal with them.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - 10 Ways To Control Cravings - You can lose weight by overcoming your cravings now. Here are the latest tricks of the trade from researchers and experts.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cancer Sucks!

We all know someone or know someone who knows someone.  The phrase is all too familiar.  And, it will remain that way until we do something about it.

Here's your chance...

My father-in-law was recently diagnosed with Melanoma.  This is a skin cancer but it can have devastating effects.  In my father-in-law's case it ended up being a brain tumor which was successfully removed by the very talented staff at Mass General.

As happy as our family was that he has received the treatment he needed. It would be better for all of us if we just didn't have to deal with it at all. Here's how we do it.

Money. Yeah, that stuff.  

Money funds research to find a cure. Money funds research for better treatments. Money funds education of all of us.

My wife will run 26.2 miles in the New York City Marathon to support the cause.  Please support her with any donation you can afford. 

Every little bit helps.  

Every little bit is appreciated.

Go here:

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Friday Five - Cinco de Mayo 2017

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”― Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point. 

2.  Book I am reading - The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. This is the third book I've read by Malcolm Gladwell who is arguably the most spellbinding nonfiction writer I have ever read. He’s a master of suspense, to the point that his books read like mystery novels. Even though his subject matter is rooted in social sciences he brings characters to life. He also has the ability to present sticky concepts simply and elegantly, like thin slicing, the 10,000 hour rule of expertise, and the magic number of 150 for social groups.

Intellectual and sometimes a bit geeky, his insights open your eyes in a way that allows you to see something you couldn't see before even though it was right in front of your eyes.

3.  Song of the Week - The Tipping Point by Skrizzly Adams. The fun part of the Friday Five is finding some music to go with the week's subject. And, I usually find something pretty good.  Skrizzly's song The Tipping Point is a catchy country tune that is worth a listen. 

4.  Video of the Week -  Malcolm Gladwell's Top Ten Rules for Success - this is from a video series from Evan Carmichael who features a Top Ten Rules for Success Series.  You can check out Evan here.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Is there a Tipping Point in exercise?  According to Elliott White of true fitness & nutrition there is. Follow this link to learn how you can use the tipping point for your fitness success.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

My Recommended Reading List

Getting the info you need to reach your potential is essential.  You never know where the next great idea, source of inspiration or helpful technique will come from.  Reading is one way to find these things.

These days with books, blogs, podcasts and the internet there is no shortage of information.  You can pretty much find some information about everything.  But, there is a lot of it.

There is so much information that it becomes impossible to get to it all.  It becomes even more difficult to identify what is worth your time.

I have assembled a list of the books that I have found to be very helpful to me.  You will probably find many of the books on other people's lists. 

Some may even be on your own.  See the Must Reads Page.

One piece of advice that I found to be very useful when reading these books is that you take what makes sense to you.  Some of what you read will not make sense to you. Don't use that info.  But, if something does resonate with you. Gives you that sense of "aha." Then use that.

Or, at a minimum, try it.

Just try it.  This is another piece of advice I picked up.  You don't really know how well some thing may work if you don't at least give it try.  So, just try it.  If it doesn't work for you after an honest try.  Then move on to something else.

In all honesty, I don't read all the books.  I do listen to them all. And, I re-listen to them.  If there is a book that I feel was really good, then I buy the printed copy, study it, summarize it and put it into action.  But, at the very least, I will listen to it.  You can cover a lot more ground this way.

Last item, if you listen to or read a book, plan to go back to it again. Especially if you thought it was helpful.  There are books that I have gone back to after years and heard something that I didn't hear the first time.  Sometimes you have to grow a little to understand what was being said.

And, finally, if you have a recommendation.  Please, let me know. You can email me or leave a comment.

Must Reads Page

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Friday Five - April 28, 2017

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “Whatever your income, always live below your means.” ― Thomas J. Stanley, The Millionaire Next Door. This is the most basic and simple concept to getting rich. But, for some reason, most people just don't get it.

2.  Book I am reading - The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley. "Why aren't I as wealthy as I should be?" Many people ask this question of themselves all the time. Often they are hard-working, well educated middle- to high-income people. Why, then, are so few affluent? For nearly two decades the answer has been found in The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy. Wealth in America is more often the result of hard work, diligent savings, and living below your means than it is about inheritance, advanced degrees, and even intelligence. The Millionaire Next Door identifies seven common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth. How many of those traits do you have?

3.  Song of the Week - Millionaire by Dr. Hook. This song is pretty cool.  Totally Dr. Hook.  He takes something that could be taken too serious and turns it into something fun and entertaining.

4.  Video of the Week - Homeless to Millionaire. Examples of people, many who you already know, that started with nothing and achieved great wealth. Most did it with persistence and hard work.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - How important is your health and fitness in your life?  How often do the wealth workout?  The answer is here.

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Friday Five - April 21, 2017

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “Failure is not an option.” 
― Gene Krantz from the book of the same name.  These words were spoken when NASA was faced with getting the astronauts of Apollo 13 home after an on-board malfunction severely limited the spaceship's capabilities. This is a testimony to the potential of human ingenuity when faced with insurmountable odds. Imagine what you could do if you had the same attitude?

2.  Book I am reading - Failure Is Not An Option by Gene Krantz. This is a fascinating walk through the early history of space flight from the Mercury Program through the Apollo Program. Riveting stories that tell the tale of the trials and triumphs that America's space program went through to be the success it is today. It is an inspiring story of how you go for ultimate potential. A potential that often seems absolutely impossible.

3.  Song of the Week - Failure Is Not An Option by Shed Light. This is a song that truly encapsulates the attitude that you approach challenges with a no failure option.  Caution: explicit lyrics.

4.  Video of the Week - Failure is not an option. Scene from the movie Apollo 13 when Gene Krantz (played by Ed Harris) states this famous quote.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - Well, it's really not a tip.  But, in keeping with the theme, here is a video of how they run in space.  Pretty cool...

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share!