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 featuring "Failure Is Not An Option"

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! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Eat Worms

I eat worms.  Metaphorically speaking of course.

I have been an early riser for most of my life.  And, when people hear how early I get up I always tell them I get the worms.  As in, the early bird gets the worm.

How early?  I have been getting up at 4 am for more years than I can count now.  On weekends, I jokingly say that I sleep in.  

Till 5 am!

Why so early?

I get things done.  Once the rest of the family is up that becomes more challenging.  Time alone is quality time.

What do I do?

Much has been said and written about having a morning routine.  It is time you can use to set yourself up to have a great day.  And, it does work.  There are a lot of benefits.

1.  Peace and quiet.  If you have a busy household this is some of the most peaceful time of the day.  I don't start waking anyone else up until 6:30.  So, at two and a half hours a day, I am getting more than 15 peaceful hours a week in my house of four.  How many are you getting?

2.  Exercise.  You can exercise other times of the day.  But, studies have shown that people who workout in the morning are most consistent over the long run.  If you exercise in the afternoon there can be a number of reasons they may come up that make it not work out.  I call that PWS or pre-workout syndrome.  There is no PWS in the morning.

3.  Creativity.  If you do anything creative, mornings are the best time to do this.  A fresh and rested brain and nervous system are ideal for creating.  Some creative people listed below were early risers.

4.  Productivity.  You are rested, there are no distractions, you can focus. You can get more done in the morning.  The military get up early and they have a slogan that they do more before 9 am than most people do in a day.  They have a morning routine.

Who else has a morning routine?

Here are some people who have had morning routines.  Some claim that it helped them to achieve their personal success.

1.  Benjamin Franklin.  He got at 4 am.  His primary focus was what he was going to accomplish that day.

2.  Michelle Gass, president of Starbucks.  She gets up at 4:30 am and goes running.

3.  Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue.  By 6:45 am she has already played tennis for an hour.

4.  Ernest Hemingway.  Rose at dawn each day and started writing.

5.  Beethoven.  Got up at 3 am everyday, meticulously prepared his coffee and then started composing.

What should you include in your morning routine?  How can you get started?  

Check Thursday's Post.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Friday Five - April 14, 2017

Five things to take into your weekend....

1.  Quote I'm Mulling Over - “The Brave do not live forever.  But, the Cautious do not live at all.” 
― My Spartan Race Experience Blog

2.  Book I am reading - Spartan Up! by Joe De Sena.  A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life. Joe is the founder of the Spartan Race, an obstacle course race which combines the endurance challenges of a marathon with the mind-bending rigors of overcoming obstacles along the way. Joe offers a simple philosophy: commit to a goal, put in the work, and get it done.  This might even get you off the couch.

3.  Song of the Week - Sparta by Sabaton. Spartan war music.

4.  Video of the Week - The Spartan Race.   Spartan Race highlights with motivational music and quotes. Ooorahhh.

5.  Health & Fitness Tip of the Week - How to Become Burpee Proof.  If you miss an obstacle in the Spartan Race you have to do thirty burpees.  A dozen is hard enough, thirty is incomprehensible.  This video may help make them a little easier but not much.  Just get over the obstacle!

Have a great weekend!!

And, please share! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How I Got Through Marine Corps Boot Camp

The sound of a violently thrown corrugated steel trash can hitting and tumbling across a concrete floor is one you can't forget.  

And, one you can't ignore.

Before the trash can came to stop by crashing into some poor guy's bunk the lights came blazing on.

And, then immediately the yelling began.

There was no time to think.  You didn't have to.  We knew what we needed to do.

Get on the line and count off.  We rolled out of the rack and still half asleep stumbled to the line .  One by one each recruit enthusiastically yelled a number.  One, two, three, etc.  I was last as the Series Scribe and finished with sixty-eight.

I had the rare privilege of announcing the count.  In my loudest voice I said, "Sir!! The count on deck is 68 highly motivated, truly dedicated, rompin, stompin, ass-kickin', Miller Light drinking, woman chasing, lean, green, amphibious killing machines, Sir!"

The rest of the platoon repeated the phrase.  

Our day had begun.

Marine Corps Boot Camp is a unique experience.  Tough is an understatement.  Difficult is the norm.  Challenging is the status quo.

We started with 80 and lost about half that either quit, washed out or fell behind schedule and joined other platoons.  We picked up some recruits that fell behind their platoons and joined ours when they were ready.

The wash outs simply went home.  They were escorted out in the middle of the night while you slept exhausted from the day.  We never heard a thing.  We would just get up the next day and they'd be gone...

The ones who fell behind and left went to the Physical Conditioning Platoon or PCP for short.  This was more humorously referred to as the Pork Chop Platoon.  They were handling boot camp mentally.  But, they couldn't meet the physical requirements.  Or, they were fat.  

PCP was a holding pattern.  You kept up your studies while doing two-a-days in a steamy Quonset hut until you were fit enough to rejoin a platoon in training. But, by that point your original platoon was well beyond where they got off.  So, they joined a new one to resume training where they left off.

So, in the process we lost 40 but picked up 28.  We lost 50%.  I never knew how many we lost to the PCP.  But, I do know it was not even close to 40.  Not even half. The mental challenge was the hard part and the reason most recruits did not make it.

Most of the recruits were 18 and 19 year old's.  Raw and wet behind the ears.  How prepared could an 18 year old really be? Physically they should be okay unless they were overweight or weak.  But, the real challenge was mental.

Enormous mental pressure is placed on a recruit as soon as they arrive. It starts with the arrival itself.

It is always the middle of the night.  Total darkness.

The new recruits already have an idea of what to expect.  They watched the videos on YouTube.  They heard the stories.  But, nothing can truly and fully prepare you for your first encounter with a Marine Corps Drill Instructor.

The bus ride from the airport where the big mouths had lots to say now have nothing to say. Eerie silence.  Eyes start getting wide. Palms start sweating.

The bus goes over a bridge.  The legendary only way on or off the island.

Then you arrive, disembark the bus and take your place on the infamous yellow footprints.  The mental pressure has begun.

The atmosphere is totally new.  The sounds are different. The smells are different.  The weather is different.  You have entered another world where you know a personal transformation of monumental proportions is about to take place.  If you survive...

You have no idea what you are going to do next.  You have no idea if you will even make it.  Doubt creeps in your mind...

You just do what they say and hope you do not become the butt of an insult because of the way you look or where you're from. 

You hope to make a good impression.  A virtual impossibility.  No impression would be better.  Invisibility would be best.

From this point and beyond the challenge mentally and physically is difficult.  You will have a good chance if you had a tough parent, coach or teacher. All three being tough would be better. But, nothing can guarantee success.

There will be a lot to learn in a short period of time.  There will be physical and mental stresses placed upon you that you have never encountered before.  

This is how Marines are made.

What is the key to succeeding in this situation?  How do you succeed in any high challenge situation?  Whether it is a lofty financial goal, career goal or personal goal like losing weight? 

The answer is to have a compelling reason to do it. You have to have a Why.

For me going to Parris Island and becoming a Marine was a stepping stone to where I wanted to go.  I wanted to fly. The Marines gave me that chance.  They were the only branch of the military that would.  I had no choice.  So, if I wanted to fly, I had to become a Marine (other branches of the military fly too, but it was not an option to sign up for with the recruiter). Flying was my compelling reason.  That was my Why.

According to leadership expert Simon Sinek, "it’s not enough to know what you do and how you do it. At our essence, we are most motivated by knowing why we do things."

Getting through boot camp was the How to getting to my Why. Under no circumstance would I advocate looking past boot camp. No way. That would have been an enormous mistake.  Instead, I embraced it. I rose to the challenge with the attitude that I had to succeed. Failure was not an option. As soon as I completed Boot Camp I would be on to flight school. And, it was in that attitude that I found success.

Flight school was my compelling reason.  Flight school would be my challenge.  Boot camp was a step to getting to that challenge.  

Boot camp was certainly a challenge too.  But, the difference was that I never thought that I wouldn't get through it. As Gene Krantz of Apollo 13 fame stated, "Failure is not an option."  Failure did not cross my mind.

I never asked questions around failure.  I never thought what if I can't do it or what if I don't have what it takes to be a Marine? I asked success oriented questions.  What do I have to do to be a Marine? What do I have to do to succeed? When you ask questions like this, the answers are the actions you need to take and then you simply execute.

Simply may be an understatement.  It was hard to do. But, what to do was simple. And, Why I was doing it was clear to me.

So, when you are faced with an enormous challenge.  Find a compelling reason.  Find your Why. Keep your eye on the prize and execute on the actions that will take you there. Ask the success oriented questions that point you in the direction of success.

You never know, you may find you have what it takes too...