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Your Money, Your Mind, and What Matters

Your Money, Your Mind, and What Matters

Your Money, Your Mind, and What Matters

Moolah, Wampum, Greenbacks, Benjamins, Scratch, Sugar, Bills, Bucks, Bones, Cash, Clams, Loot, Dough, Money

Money is everywhere in today’s society. From millennials and Gen Xers to baby boomers, some people would say we have an innate desire to accumulate wealth; more wealth generally equates to a better chance at survival. Our relationship with money and our relationship with each other around money can often become the relationship’s central focus.

The power of money binds us together—and tears us apart. Money is often the currency used to define our relationships with people—brothers and sisters, young and old, couples in love, and business partners. Our finances are filled with emotions—envy, compassion, jealousy, fear, and anger; money is often the currency that defines our relationships.

Some use money to manipulate, others freely give it away, while still others will take it away or use it as a weapon. Financial problems are often the tip of an iceberg, concealing deeper hidden issues between family members, couples in love, or business partners.

 

Money Matters

To some folks, money is all that matters. We have all heard people say that “money isn’t everything.” But just try living without it. Other peoples say that “money can’t buy happiness,” but money can buy nicer things, better experiences, and might even allow you to contribute more to your favorite charity. Still others say, “money is the root of all evil,” but as Billy Graham stated,

 

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There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches.

The wrong comes when riches possess men.”

—Billy Graham, Life Wisdom

If there is nothing wrong with men and women possessing riches, then why do so many relationship problems revolve around those greenbacks? Money is used as a social measurement, separating the haves from the have nots—separating those who are financially wealthy from the wannabes.

Money matters are still the most often cited source of relationship problems. It is a common concern among couples and marriages, between business partners and in business negotiations; and between friends and family. Money in our society is an emotionally charged topic.

Money and Character

Money does not have a character of its own. It does not have a personality or values. The use of money reflects the desires of its owner. Money can build great hospitals and schools, or it can be gambled away or squandered on meaningless possessions. Money may build museums to house beautiful works of art, and it can construct beautiful houses of worship—or it may be used to create instruments of war or used to support violent crimes.   

How can a person resolve this dilemma?  How might they answer these questions in an empowering way?  I recommend that as you build your personal wealth, make sure you build your character too. Focus on character traits as much as financial achievement.  This is one of the themes in my book about living the Rich Life and the Wealthy Life.

Download Your FREE eCopy Of Rich Life, Wealthy Life

Reclaiming your love life, and getting your financial house in order doesn’t have to be painful.

Rich Life, Wealthy Life provides strategies for “stress-free” wealth development and delves into the leading cause of disharmony and divorce.  Here you will find solutions to emotional distress and a pathway toward empowering harmonious relations.

As an example, you might start by setting aside a portion of your income to help others.  In this way, you will be leading both a rich life and a wealthy life. Choose a church, a charity, or a cause that you can enthusiastically support. Then give your money and/or your time to support that cause. The primary beneficiary of such noble actions is always the one who gives. 

For more info on leading a rich and wealthy life check out my book or visit our website—details are below.

Dave Razo

Author – Speaker – Leader - Investor

Dave spent a long and distinguished career as a pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. Along the way, he managed to obtain three graduate degrees.  As an investor in the stock market for more than 37 years, Dave has seen his share of ups and downs.  When Dave retired as a Colonel in 2006, he founded Razor Sharp Investments. Subsequently, he worked with an investment education company, teaching new investors how to handle their money, and then two brokerage firms doing the same thing.  In 2012, Dave founded his own investment firm.  Dave has always been fascinated by the question, Why do people do the things that they do?  On his discovery journey, he encountered Tony Robbins. He worked with his event staff to eventually progresss through the Institute for Strategic Intervention as a coach, making him ideally suited to tackle the most formidable challenges in a relationship.  Dave continues to be committed to a life of service, mainly serving those struggling in their relationships over money.  

Dave is dedicated to the values of
Integrity First  -- Service Before Self – Excellence in All We Do.
Author: Rich Life, Wealthy Life
From Successful Investing to Happy Empowered Living
RichLifeWealthyLifeBook.com

Time Traveler  Revising the past? Creating the future?

Time Traveler
Revising the past? Creating the future?

Have you ever wondered about traveling through time?  Revising the past, creating the future?

You may have seen one of the funniest movies made, going Back To The Future.  In the film, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and the lovable professor, Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), travel back and forth through time, trying to change the future or right the ills of the past.  Seeing Michael J. Fox riding his hoverboard was exciting. We watched him “light up” the band with his rendition of Great Balls Of Fire—simply spectacular. It’s a fun movie that got me thinking about how our imagination is a lot like time travel.  We often go back in time, revising the past, and we can, with a bit of forethought, go into the future to bend our current reality to our strongest desires.

I think this is what Einstein was getting at in his quote.

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Imagination is more important than knowledge.

For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
—Albert Einstein

I love the Einstein quote.  A great example of of what he is talking about, the power of imagination, can be seen in Walt Disney.  If you google EPCOT Center, you get the short description; EPCOT allows you to travel to the future and ignite your imagination.  The power of imagination is well established in history and in creating new technologies, new entertainment, new experiences.

There is another great quote from an interview with Walt Disney’s son.  Walt, his father, had already passed away.  The interviewer asked the younger Disney if he thought it a shame that his father never got to see the completion of Disney World and EPCOT Center, his son, wise in the ways of his father, replied,

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My father saw it before any of us.

That is the power of imagination.  That is the power of traveling through time to the future to create what you can only imagine today.

As children, we largely model our parents, and that modeling forms the foundation of our thoughts, beliefs, and values.  Children are outstanding learners.  They are sponges, absorbing all that life offers.  They are amazingly good at mimicking our behaviors and picking up on our emotions.

Just say that one curse word in anger, and you might hear it repeated from your child for years to come.  They often come up with new, novel combinations of ideas.  Creating new games as they play.  I love to pretend I’m a child again.

 

Our childhood is a fantastic time for most.  Many of us also experience traumas in our early years or even as adults.  These traumas can cloud our present-day experiences.  Constantly reliving the trauma can cause plenty of present-day problems.

These traumas, or “Dragons,” as Dr. Daniel Amen calls them in his new book, Your Brain is Always Listening, can haunt us if we are careful.  I know I had a dragon from my childhood watching my parents fighting.  These fights were often over money.  Now I am talking about the real MMA style fighting with blood, sweat, tears, and the occasional 911, domestic disturbance call.

Dr. Amen talks about lots of different dragons.  From ancestral dragons like mine, ones that can be handed down from generation to generation, to many others.  Dragons like abandonment, inferiority, shaming, anger, judgemental and more.  I recommend the book for anyone interested in why you do the things you do or why others do the things they do. It’s a good read.

As a teenager, getting hit with a strap could have left some emotional scars, but thanks to “Time Traveling,” I believe I have healed and covered over these scars with new meanings.  Yes, I went through a form of time travel to heal the hurts, and so can you.

 

 

Thoughts Are Powerful

Our thoughts are powerful and can have a profound effect on the way we feel. They can even trigger physiological responses in the body.

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Whenever you have a sad thought, an unkind thought, or a hopeless thought – such as ‘I’m never going to land my dream job’ – your brain pumps out a dose of chemicals that makes you feel bad. On the flip side, conjure a happy, loving, or encouraging thought, and your brain gives you a blissful jolt of feel-good chemicals.

– Dr. Daniel Amen

Having negative thoughts can reduce activity in the area of the brain involved with self-control, judgment, and planning, which can lead to poor decisions.

These patterns of negative thoughts, negative self-talk can cause a downward spiral. So, exactly how can you turn around negative self-talk?

I have outlined how to do this in an easy-to-remember acronym we are all familiar with; A-E-I-O-U.

 

A-E-I-O-U

A – First of all, Awareness!  Awareness is a superpower. Identify and write down the negative thoughts.  Often these thoughts are a pattern of thinking.  Writing them down will allow you to refer back to them later and see if there is a pattern.  It will also allow you to determine what triggered the thought, and then, of course, how you can KILL it—or HEAL from it.  If you are already aware of the issue, you might consider looking at it a bit deeper, what might have happened earlier in your life, and why you continue to feel this way now?  When we are children, we sometimes over-dramatize situations because they look so much “bigger.”  And the traumas don’t only occur in our childhood.  There are thousands of my military brothers and sisters who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) that occurred from the stresses of military life.  Awareness can be an important first step in interrupting a recurring dragon.

E – Evaluate.  Make an honest appraisal of the situation and ask yourself a few key questions.  Is it true?  Did you over-dramatize it? Is the meaning you are bringing to this absolutely true or just partially correct?  Are you participating in ALL or Nothing thinking?  Are you comparing yourself to others?  Who would you be without these thoughts, these feelings?  Write your evaluation down.  Writing it down will help you keep track of your assessment—especially if your review changes over time.

I – Intention. What would you most like to feel in this situation?  How would you want to feel in this situation?  What are some empowering thoughts you might share with others to give them strength?  What would you feel and learn  if instead of believing this happened to you, you believe this happened for you?  What empowering belief can you bring to the problem?  If you assume that all things happen for you rather than to you, what would you learn?  Write your answers to these questions as you will want to repeat them and reinforce them later.

O – Optimism.  Positive thoughts are also SUPERPOWERS.  Bring a touch of optimism into your thinking, and what might be the positive outcomes of this situation?  How can you bring a positive aspect or way of thinking that might influence others?  Do you know what Martin Seligman found in a 22-year study at the University of Pennsylvania?  In his book, Learned Optimism, he summarized that being optimistic is the most important quality you can develop for personal and professional success and happiness.  Optimistic people seem to be more effective in almost every area of life.  To drive this point home, once again, write down your answers and review them consistently.  Just repeating the phrase, “I have a choice in the meaning I bring to this situation,” or I have learned from this situation and that makes me happy and more powerful.” Yes, the perception you bring to a previous event changes the whole meaning and how you react to it.

U — YOU!   You need to reinforce your new way of thinking.  Only YOU can do this. I like to use affirmations or what I call “I-CAN-TATIONS.”  State the new empowering feelings, emotions, thoughts that you have created about the situation.  Use positive, first-person sentences of “I am” or “I have.”  This is the real gist of transformational vocabulary (TV).  Then visualize yourself in the situation and demonstrate in your mind’s eye your preferred outcome.

There are other ways to develop your mindset, but these are just a couple of quick ones to get you started.

For a more complete explanation sign up below and I will send you a one-page summary.

Write your “I AM” statements down and state them; imagine them twice a day, morning and night.  If you need additional reinforcement, you might try bringing different ways of thinking to them by going through the process again.  To take it a step further, imagine yourself in the same situation in the future and see yourself acting out the new empowering behavior.  This technique will help reinforce your thoughts into actions and your new identity.

So here we are with a clear, or at least a healing past.  What is the next step we might take to continue to grow?  Imagining your future is the next step in our journey of time travel.  Going forward in time.  Moving into the future.

 

Developing Your Future Self

Successful people create their own opportunities by focusing on goals.  It is well established that a person that sets a goal is more likely to accomplish it.  Setting goals can be empowering.

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Start with the empowering part—change from the inside out.

—Dave Razo, Rich Life, Wealthy Life

Download Your FREE eCopy Of Rich Life, Wealthy Life

Reclaiming your love life, and getting your financial house in order doesn’t have to be painful.

Rich Life, Wealthy Life provides strategies for “stress-free” wealth development and delves into the leading cause of disharmony and divorce.  Here you will find solutions to emotional distress and a pathway toward empowering harmonious relations.

Empowerment

Empowerment is defined as giving power or authority. My goal in this section is to give you the power and authority to make changes  in your life. It really comes down to the words and images we use about ourselves. Using positive imagination and positive self-talk can transform that self-talk into your identity. It sounds easy, and it is easy. However, it does require some daily action, persistence, resilience, and discipline. You can do it!

How Can You Apply This to Your Life?

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One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.

—Leonardo Da Vinci

Imagine the cumulative effect of choosing more empowering words on a consistent basis. “I can’t” and “I don’t” are statements that seem similar. We often interchange them, but psychologically they can provide very different feedback and, ultimately, result in very different actions. They aren’t just words and phrases. They are affirmations of what you believe, reasons for why you do what you do, and reminders of where you want to go. To put it simply, you can either be the victim of your words or the architect of them, building your future victory. Victim or victory—the choice is yours. Which would you prefer?

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Dream lofty dreams and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

—James Allen

Turn your dreams into reality.  Start by setting goals, and then through a process, you can define your destination and begin the work toward reaching it.  You can start with this short seven-step sequence.  For a more detailed explanation of each step, you can download my book at

 

  1. Write your goals—develop a positive mindset
  2. Identify your why
  3. Develop empowering strategies
  4. Overcome obstacles
  5. Set your deadline
  6. Hold yourself accountable
  7. Take massive action

There are other ways to develop your mindset, but these are just a couple of quick ones to get you started.

For a more complete explanation sign up below and I will send you a one-page summary.

The future isn’t a reality—it’s a projection. The future is a tricky business. As humans, we’re able to visualize, intellectualize, and emotionalize a reality that doesn’t yet exist. The problem is that sometimes we misuse our ability to think about the future. Part of the reason for this is bad messaging.

This is how people can get tricked by the future. It’s dangerous stuff, our being able to visualize a reality that doesn’t exist, because there’s the risk of our becoming determined to make it happen without realizing that it’s an ideal, something we can never reach.

If you think about it, any vision of a future result before that result has happened is make-believe. You’re making believe that that future is true.

The tricky part is what you do with the make-believe. It’s there for emotional, psychological, and intellectual motivation. It is not there as a measurement of how you might live a fulfilling life.

A fulfilling life is measuring the accomplishments of your past and having some form of authentic pride or gratitude for them.

Bringing new meanings and values to our past and creating an empowering future are two ways that we can make the PRESENT more meaningful. The goal here is not to live in the past or in the future, but to live each day in the present – maximizing your values and leading a fulfilling life. The meaning and values that you bring to this are keys to having that inner peace—that fulfilling life.

Dave Razo

Author – Speaker – Leader - Investor

Dave spent a long and distinguished career as a pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. Along the way, he managed to obtain three graduate degrees.  As an investor in the stock market for more than 37 years, Dave has seen his share of ups and downs.  When Dave retired as a Colonel in 2006, he founded Razor Sharp Investments. Subsequently, he worked with an investment education company, teaching new investors how to handle their money, and then two brokerage firms doing the same thing.  In 2012, Dave founded his own investment firm.  Dave has always been fascinated by the question, Why do people do the things that they do?  On his discovery journey, he encountered Tony Robbins. He worked with his event staff to eventually progresss through the Institute for Strategic Intervention as a coach, making him ideally suited to tackle the most formidable challenges in a relationship.  Dave continues to be committed to a life of service, mainly serving those struggling in their relationships over money.  

Dave is dedicated to the values of
Integrity First  -- Service Before Self – Excellence in All We Do.
Author: Rich Life, Wealthy Life
From Successful Investing to Happy Empowered Living
RichLifeWealthyLifeBook.com

What is the Super-Cycle to Success? The 4 F’s to Finding the Frick’in Fruit

What is the Super-Cycle to Success? The 4 F’s to Finding the Frick’in Fruit

In ancient times finding fruit was a reason to celebrate.  It was and is an excellent source of energy and nourishment.  Today we have another recipe for being fruitful.  I am talking about mental fruitfulness—collectively, our self proclaimed competitive advantage.

I can remember trying to find a little fruit as a teenager—at that time, the fruit for me was some cash, some dough, some money.  Why?  Primarily I wanted the money to be able to have some fun—go out with friends or maybe even a girl.

Unfortunately, my experience with REAL fruit was not very fruitful even though I came of age in an agricultural community.  Even in very fruit abundant northern California, where the summers are hot (plenty of sunshine), the ground is fertile, and rows of fruit trees are everywhere, I still had trouble finding the fruit I was after, those elusive greenbacks.

It was common for needy teens to work in the fields or at one of the local canning facilities.  You can imagine my embarrassment when my “summer job” only lasted one day.  My first experience with the production of fruit was extraordinarily short-lived and humiliating.  The first day at the apricot cutting tables, I cut more than the apricot.  With blood spewing everywhere and friends watching in horror, I had to go to the doctor to get stitched up.  I still have the scar on my left hand’s palm as a constant reminder.  So, no dough there, and that was the end of my summer work that year.

The next summer, I gave picking prunes a try.  No sharp objects were involved, but the work was challenging.  Hours in the hot sun, shaking prunes from the tree limbs and then picking them up off the ground to place them into a box.  I think I earned .50 cents a box that summer and may have made $85.00 after six weeks of picking prunes.  Not very fruitful.

My commitment remained.  I believed that if I could become fruitful— I would find the dough.  It turned out to be true.  I found 4 F’s that can lead you to the fruit.  The 4 F’s being the Frog, Focus, Flow, and Finish.

Now it might seem odd that I start with the Frog, and I’m not talking about the thousands of frogs we found as a kid in the creek near our house. I’m talking about the Frog that Brian Tracy writes about in his book “Eat That Frog!” Your Frog is your most significant, most important task.  The one you are most likely to procrastinate on and the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life.

Eating your giant Frog allows you to get more done in less time so you can spend more time with the people you care about, doing things that give you the most joy.

How to Find Your Frog

To find your Frog, ask yourself the following questions.

  • What is the key result you’re creating?
  • What one task will contribute immense value?
  • What is the keystone to the quest you are on?
  • What will have the most significant impact?

Visualize the long-term consequences of completing that task.  It should have the most significant impact on your life or in the life of your company.  This is where the vast majority of the rewards will lie—both emotionally and financially.

Your rewards, both financial and emotional, will always be in direct proportion to your results, to the value of your contribution.:  — Brian Tracy

Developing Focus

Now focus takes discipline.  It is a skill that most of us can acquire with just a little practice.  Like most things that we do, the more we do them, the better we become.  But it takes a bit of work and self-control.  Developing the skill of Focus may initially seem difficult, but the rewards are great if you stick to it.   Here is how it works.

You see, the first step is often the hardest.  Taking that first step is the spot where you have no momentum yet–Zero, Nada, None.

According to the laws of physics, an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.  Your mind, and specifically, your goal, will motivate you to move forward.  Focus on that first small step and move toward your Frog–take that first bite.  Once you take the first bite and have chewed on it for just a little bit, you will start to gain some momentum.

Now, this is more than a mindset, more than voodoo, more than magic.  The neurotransmitters in your brain start to fire when you are moving toward your desired result.  You begin to get those feel-good feelings caused by the dopamine and oxytocin seeping into your system.  Your motivation and drive toward accomplishment are reinforced, and you begin to move faster and care less about taking another bite of the Frog.

Focus is a superpower, especially in today’s distraction-filled world.  If you want the fruit, you must be willing to give up the distractions.  Be able to focus on the critical task at hand.  Preferably that one essential task that will provide you with the greatest return—Focus on that Frog.

Getting Into Flow

Flow is a phenomenon.  It has taken me a while to get a basic understanding of it.  I know it exists because I can relate to it.  Even as a teenager, there were times when I was on the basketball court, and I experienced it.  When I felt like I knew where everyone was and where everyone was going, I felt in the zone, and movement was effortless.  Michael Jordan calls it being “in the zone.” Musicians call it being “in the pocket” or “in the groove.” Some comedians call it being in that “never zone.”

It is that mental state where time seems to standstill.  There is a reason for this.  The clock mechanism in your brain starts shutting down.  Hypofrontality begins to occur as parts of your pre-frontal cortex (PFC) lower their activity levels—they diminish.  Now you might  think this would be a bad thing as our PFC is at the core of your executive functioning—thinking, decision-making, analyzing.  However, when you are in Flow, you stream your consciousness and are unaware of yourself.  You begin to lose yourself.  You are just being there—100% present.

But the part that is “shut down” is what Duke University psychologist Mark Leary, aptly titled in his book, The Curse of the Self.   He states  

 “The self is not an unmitigated blessing; it is single-handedly responsible for many, if not most of the problems that human beings face as individuals and as species.  

 –Mark Leary

While in Flow, this sense of self shuts down.

By this point, your neurochemicals have turned into a waterfall of pleasure.  Your ability to pursue your goal, your desire is reinforced by the mix of chemicals and electrical pulses in your neuroanatomy.  You are continuing to act because the neurochemicals are flowing, and they are pulsing you to more action.  With each drop of norepinephrine, you get more energy to stay alert and to keep moving forward.  You might even feel obsessed with the project and can’t or won’t put it down.

 

The Power of Flow–What’s In It For You?

  • Flow focuses your attention on what’s significant
  • Flow can lead to improved performance.
  • Flow can accelerate learningand skill development.
  • Flow can multiply your productivity.
  • Flow helps you to rise to challenges.
  • Flow increases enjoyment and creativity.

 

In addition to the neurochemical reactions, there are also electrical connections being activated.  And the more of them that start activating, the more that others start firing.

In his book, “The Art of the Impossible,” Steven Kotler describes it as water being poured into a bucket on a waterwheel.

Pour enough water into a bucket, and sooner or later, it spills into the next bucket and the next. It’s that mechanical.”

– Steven Kotler

 

Final Finish!  Or Is It?

This mixture of neurochemicals, electricity, and anatomy can propel you forward all the way to finish line.  You will often get there faster and more efficiently than you could ever imagine.  The research is startling.

McKinsey & Company found a 500% increase in productivity by executives who regularly access flow states.  Harvard found subjects to have three days of heightened creativity after experiencing a flow state.  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) found subjects to have a 490% increase in skill acquisition, and the Unversity of Sydney found subjects to have a 430% increase in creative problem-solving.

 There are several traits, keys, disciplines to help you across the finish line.  Not the least is a bit of grit.  That stick-to-it ability that keeps a person on-task.  Showing a bit of resilience and persistence.  But these traits can be “hacked” too.  Below are some helpful tips.

 

Getting Across the Finish Line

  1. Set milestone goals. Divide the project into smaller bite-size parts.
  2. Celebrate along the way after each bite is eaten
  3. Eliminate distractions
  4. Overcome the obstacles. Create solutions, conquer challenges—make it fun
  5. Pause and review
  6. Keep an eye on the finish line

Getting to the finish line will not be a big challenge once you have accessed that waterfall of neurobiology.  It will continue to motivate you while at the same time keeping you inflow.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself coming back for more.  The mix of chemicals and electrical impulses are gratifying and appealing.  They feel great, a natural high, and may even be addictive.  So in place of your “finish line,” you may find yourself on another search for more fruit.  That is when the 4 F’s begins again, and you will repeat the surprisingly simple super-cycle to success.  It is the closest thing to a magic formula.  It is where you can find the frick’en fruit.

Dave Razo

Author – Speaker – Leader - Investor

Dave spent a long and distinguished career as a pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. Along the way, he managed to obtain three graduate degrees.  As an investor in the stock market for more than 37 years, Dave has seen his share of ups and downs.  When Dave retired as a Colonel in 2006, he founded Razor Sharp Investments. Subsequently, he worked with an investment education company, teaching new investors how to handle their money, and then two brokerage firms doing the same thing.  In 2012, Dave founded his own investment firm.  Dave has always been fascinated by the question, Why do people do the things that they do?  On his discovery journey, he encountered Tony Robbins. He worked with his event staff to eventually progresss through the Institute for Strategic Intervention as a coach, making him ideally suited to tackle the most formidable challenges in a relationship.  Dave continues to be committed to a life of service, mainly serving those struggling in their relationships over money.  

Dave is dedicated to the values of
Integrity First  -- Service Before Self – Excellence in All We Do.
Author: Rich Life, Wealthy Life
From Successful Investing to Happy Empowered Living
RichLifeWealthyLifeBook.com

Chasing Happiness?   Here is One Way to Catch it

Chasing Happiness?
Here is One Way to Catch it

And, How to Improve Your Immunity and Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Taking A Pill

Yes, it is possible. The evidence is in.  You can gain significant health benefits, including your mental health, happiness, helpfulness, and generosity, by being, by doing just a bit more of one thing.

What is it?

That one thing is being GRATEFUL.  Giving THANKS.

The science backs this up, but let’s talk about all the benefits before going into the science.  In addition to improving your immunity and lowering your blood pressure, being a bit more grateful has shown to promote happiness, spur helpfulness, generosity, and cooperation.

Doing this one thing has the potential to up-level your entire life.

I recently read Gratitude Works by Robert A. Emmons, and I was surprised, no, shocked, by the evidence of how gratitude can improve our lives.  Clinical trials have shown positive health benefits that being a bit more grateful has on an individual.  And these benefits go beyond the psychological ones of happiness, contentment, and generosity.  Being thankful has tangible physical benefits too.

“Whether it springs from the glad acceptance of another’s kindness, an appreciation for the majesty of nature, a recognition of the gifts in one’s own life, or from countless other enchanted moments, gratitude enhances nearly all spheres of human experience.”

— Robert Emmons, Gratitude Works

With such massive benefits readily available, why don’t we take more advantage of them?  The answer may lie in our ancestry, our evolution, the reptilian and emotional parts of our brains.  Our brains are wired to notice negative information much more readily than positive news.   The theory is that our minds have become hard-wired this way as a survival mechanism.

“Our minds are like Velcro for negative information, but Teflon for positive.”      

–Rick Hanson, Neuroscientist

You see, when our ancestors were fighting for their lives, they needed to pay more attention to anything that would threaten their existence.  And as the saying goes, in neuro-circles, the neurons that fire together wire together.  So over time, and with the intense emotional need to survive, these circuits became highways in our brains.

Now, with this knowledge, we can act, and that action can become our power.  We humans have the unique ability to consciously control the firing of neurons.  We can fire positive neurons through our self-talk and visualizations.  These neurons, firing repeatedly and with an emotional input, can build and reinforce new circuits in our brain.

With repetition and some positive emotional charges, we can wire the positive feelings into our brains and access the same mind-body connection that evolution provided to make physical and mental improvements to our fitness.

Improvements, like better blood pressure and increased immunity, have proven-out in the lab.

Is it easy?  Yes.

Does it take a bit of effort?  Yes.

Is it worth it?  You bet!

And you may enjoy the journey.  If you decide to build a few new habits, their development can even be FUN.

I recently completed a short course on creating new habits.  The system I used was from the book Tiny Habits by B. J. Fogg.  Fogg is a Stanford research scientist, and the course he offers is free, so you can’t beat that price.  In his book, “Tiny Habits,” he identifies three keys to habit formation.

  1. Shrink the behavior. Make it small—keep it simple.
  2. Connect the behavior with something you already always do—a prompt.
  3. Celebrate your accomplishment every time you do it.

I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in making even the smallest of improvements in your life.  What I found is that after I completed the third step, the celebration, I felt like continuing to do the habit even more.  That little bit of celebration was enough to give me some momentum.  It spurred me forward.

I now love this method.  In the past, I would try using willpower to develop a habit.  I would eventually get frustrated, but it has become easy and fun with the “Tiny Habits” method. 

Now I know there are many ANTs, Automatic Negative Thoughts (Dr. Amen originally wrote about ANTs) out there that can spoil the party.  One of them is measuring yourself against an ideal rather than the gains you are making with a new habit.

Dan Sullivan wrote a short book called The Gap and the Gain, where he states:

“ .  .  .  .  that all unhappiness in your life comes from mistakenly measuring where you are against any kind of ideal.”

— Dan Sullivan, Strategic Coach

He suggests that the proper way to measure is against where we have been—that is the gain.  In other words, like B. J. Fogg, celebrate the wins, even if they are small wins, and you will be encouraged to keep moving forward.

And oh, by the way, the measuring is essential to progress.  What gets measured, improves; and what gets measured and reported improves exponentially.

In a sense, measuring against some future ideal is like denying your success.  Sullivan explains there will always be a gap between your future standard and your current capability.  The key to sustaining your progress is to measure yourself against the progress you’ve made—the gain.

Measuring this way leads to happiness.  It is, in a sense, another way of getting to gratitude in the celebration of the gain.  Be grateful for the progress, have a little bit of pride in your move forward.  There is research on different types of pride that deserves mention.  I have found it fascinating to discover these differences as authentic pride (doing) and hubristic pride (being) display positive and negative characteristics, virtues that correlate with each.  Suffice it to say, there are some real, tangible benefits to having “authentic pride” when it comes to goal achievement and relationships.  In my mind, having authentic pride is closely related to measuring the gain.

How do the GAP and the GAIN impact our gratitude?  The GAP is an ideal that is difficult, if not impossible, to attain.  The GAP leaves us feeling frustrated.  Measuring against the GAP feels like we aren’t making any progress.  I had been doing this for most of my life.

I might have been operating at a level that many people would think of as impressive, maybe even superior.  But, if you feel like you’ve fallen short of your ideal, some imaginary standard, you will not have the momentum to continue.  You may even become frustrated and quit.  You’ll find happiness to be elusive at best.

Feeling frustrated or stressed isn’t because there’s anything wrong with you or your achievements; it’s because of the way you’re thinking about your progress—measuring it against a future ideal rather than the gain you’ve created.

Whereas when you measure your current performance against where you have recently been, then even making some small gains will feel great.  Having pride in them, celebrating those gains, and being grateful for them provides a shot of happiness (dopamine) and gives you added momentum and encouragement to do more. We all like this neuro-adapter dopamine, don’t we?

Thanks to evolution, what we do, how we do it, and how we experience success and progress are all functions of using our brains.

We can be consciously aware of how we think about our progress.

Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy helped me discover that I could be conscious of how my brain measured progress.  Rather than only taking things in, I am now aware of how to use the measuring more practically.  We’re happiest when we’re using our brains to visualize, achieve, and then measuring the actual progress we’ve made. There is a right way and a wrong way to measure.

So how does all this relate to gratitude?  Well, just like measuring the gain, gratitude trains the brain to focus on the positive, altering its typical, negative bias.

Steven Kotler, in his recent book, The Art of the Impossible, believes that a daily gratitude practice is one of the four horsemen you can ride toward more happiness.  He states that

“ .  .  .  .  .  a daily gratitude practice, daily mindfulness practice, regular exercise and a good nights rest,  . . . . remain the best recipe anyone has yet found for increasing happiness.”

Dr. Andrew Huberman goes deeper into neuroscience in a recent video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZN31fTPU64) called

I Guarantee Your Behavior Will Change.

He explains how important it is to register the wins.  He goes on to talk about the science behind the benefits of good old GRATITUDE.

He is emphatic when he states this isn’t navel-gazing or just saying you’re happy with everything you’ve got.  He emphatically states that it is WRONG.

It is about savoring the journey from whence you came.  It’s about measuring the gain.  It’s about that authentic pride, being grateful and deriving pleasure in the growth.

It turns out that the practice of gratitude has two effects.  One is the secretion of molecules, like serotonin, which makes you happy about the here and now.  There is also evidence that it promotes the secretion of dopamine.  This neuromodulator makes your sense of possibility about things that extend beyond your immediate physical sphere more real.

Dr. Huberman has found that if you look at people who can sustain effort in very complex, even chaotic environments, even people who are navigating cancer treatments, they set milestones for themselves. When they reach those milestones, they internalize them, even subjectively, which leads to the secretion of these “feel good” molecules.

The serotonin and dopamine give them a sense of possibility about moving to the next milestone.

So gratitude can make you happy in the present and can give you a broader sense of perspective for the future. It is a powerful mental and physical medicine that can increase your happiness, generosity, and helpfulness.  There is scientific evidence that it can reduce blood pressure and boost immune function.

In today’s high-stress world, a little bit of gratitude can go a long way.

Dave Razo

Author – Speaker – Leader - Investor

Dave spent a long and distinguished career as a pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. Along the way, he managed to obtain three graduate degrees.  As an investor in the stock market for more than 37 years, Dave has seen his share of ups and downs.  When Dave retired as a Colonel in 2006, he founded Razor Sharp Investments. Subsequently, he worked with an investment education company, teaching new investors how to handle their money, and then two brokerage firms doing the same thing.  In 2012, Dave founded his own investment firm.  Dave has always been fascinated by the question, Why do people do the things that they do?  On his discovery journey, he encountered Tony Robbins. He worked with his event staff to eventually progresss through the Institute for Strategic Intervention as a coach, making him ideally suited to tackle the most formidable challenges in a relationship.  Dave continues to be committed to a life of service, mainly serving those struggling in their relationships over money.  

Dave is dedicated to the values of
Integrity First  -- Service Before Self – Excellence in All We Do.
Author: Rich Life, Wealthy Life
From Successful Investing to Happy Empowered Living
RichLifeWealthyLifeBook.com

Wealth or Happiness? Both!

Wealth or Happiness? Both!

Better Yet, Empowerment and Fulfillment!

You can have both happiness and wealth—living a rich (fulfilling) life and a wealthy life!

The idiom that money can’t buy happiness is at best a poor representation of reality and, at worse, completely false. Money and happiness are related. Multiple surveys have found a direct relationship between money and happiness.

The question of what you would rather have, wealth or happiness, does not need to be asked; our brains, our minds, can and will seek them both. Being wealthy is a good predictor of joy—the more money you make, the happier you become. Money provides people resources to maintain their happiness, security, and lifelong satisfaction. Contrary to popular belief, wealth is one of the key ingredients to happiness and well-being. You do not have to choose between wealth and happiness. You can have them both—the rich life and the wealthy life!

Our brains are wired to pursue both wealth and happiness. The natural tendency is to seek anything and everything that will enhance our well-being, health, finances, social standing, and relations. The poorest person in the world wants more wealth and happiness, and so does the wealthiest person—but it may be for different reasons.

I am reminded of a story about Warren Buffet, one of, if not the wealthiest person in the world. One day he was riding in an elevator with several young executives. A young man standing next to Warren noticed a penny on the elevator floor. The elevator ride continues, and the young man began to wonder whether Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, would bend over to pick up the penny.

You can have both happiness and wealth—living a rich (fulfilling) life and a wealthy life!

The idiom that money can’t buy happiness is at best a poor representation of reality and, at worse, completely false. Money and happiness are related. Multiple surveys have found a direct relationship between money and happiness.

The question of what you would rather have, wealth or happiness, does not need to be asked; our brains, our minds, can and will seek them both. Being wealthy is a good predictor of joy—the more money you make, the happier you become. Money provides people resources to maintain their happiness, security, and lifelong satisfaction. Contrary to popular belief, wealth is one of the key ingredients to happiness and well-being. You do not have to choose between wealth and happiness. You can have them both—the rich life and the wealthy life!

Our brains are wired to pursue both wealth and happiness. The natural tendency is to seek anything and everything that will enhance our well-being, health, finances, social standing, and relations. The poorest person in the world wants more wealth and happiness, and so does the wealthiest person—but it may be for different reasons.

I am reminded of a story about Warren Buffet, one of, if not the wealthiest person in the world. One day he was riding in an elevator with several young executives. A young man standing next to Warren noticed a penny on the elevator floor. The elevator ride continues, and the young man began to wonder whether Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, would bend over to pick up the penny.

As each floor passed, the young man became more curious about the penny and its ultimate destiny. Finally, when they reached Warren’s floor, Warren stepped off the elevator, turned around to face the remaining passengers, bent down, picked up the penny, and, holding the penny up with a large grin, he announced to the young executives, “The start of my next billion!”

For Warren Buffet and many other ultrawealthy, the making of money may be its own reward—the satisfaction of accomplishing yet another goal. To others, it may mean more financial security, financial independence, or even financial freedom, allowing you the ability to do even greater good in the world.

Download Your FREE eCopy Of Rich Life, Wealthy Life

Reclaiming your love life, and getting your financial house in order doesn’t have to be painful.

Rich Life, Wealthy Life provides strategies for “stress-free” wealth development and delves into the leading cause of disharmony and divorce.  Here you will find solutions to emotional distress and a pathway toward empowering harmonious relations.

No matter what meaning you bring to it, most of us want it. Society as a whole is wealthier than ever, but happiness seems to be elusive. Although we have many nice things, our expectations often exceed reality, thus causing dissatisfaction. The evidence suggests that having more money, making more money, and spending more money in meaningful ways are the best ways to achieve deep and lasting satisfaction—more happiness. The key is the deep meaning that it can bring. The genuine good that you feel a part of, is what brings fulfillment.

Love, relations, happiness, and finances—all of these are emotionally charged areas of life, and all require and deserve a healthy, empowering strategy.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago conducted a 38-year study. They found that the percentage of those individuals who were “Very Happy” increased with increasing income; the level of individuals “Not Too Happy” decreased with increasing income. The following chart summarizes their findings.

Family Income Very Happy Pretty Happy Not Too Happy
<$12,500 (bottom 10%) 21% 53% 26%
$12,500 – $49,999 25% 61% 13%
$50,000 – $150,000 40% 54% 6%
>$150,000 (top 10%) 53% 45% 2%

(Source: Waldman, Mark. NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success, 2017)

Interestingly, a Wharton Business School study published in 2012 found no evidence of a satisfaaction level. In other words, the more money you make, the more happiness you experience. According to Professor Frank from Cornell University, increasing yearly income is the most significant way to increase happiness. This relationship is consistent for almost every country where happiness and money were studied.

Now that we realize that money plays a role in our happiness, we must discover what other ingredients go into living a rich life. Which begs the question: How do you define happiness? And is happiness the same as fulfillment?

Each individual brings their own meaning to money and happiness. It may even be a combination of various feelings—pleasure, contentment, joy, bliss, pride, serenity, hope, faith, trust, confidence, optimism, significance, connectedness, growth, and contribution. The list could go on based on each individual’s personal definition. Your experiences, desires, and expectations play a large role in the meaning you bring to money in your life and how it affects your happiness. And what it means to you has profound physiological effects.

Your Brain on Drugs (Chemicals)

Every organism is neurologically programmed to seek pleasurable experiences and avoid painful ones because they increase the chances of survival. The physiological aspect of this is apparent in the activation of some regions of our brains and the secretion of certain chemicals. In our society, in our culture, obtaining and having money is pleasurable. It provides security, status, relationships, and the ability to make more significant contributions to our world.

The root cause of what makes us happy is simple—survival. Your brain is not designed to make you happy—it is designed to help you survive, and, in general terms, surviving makes you happy. So, anything that improves your ability to survive and increases your chance of survival should make you happy.

Physiologically we feel happy when certain chemicals are either activated or restricted in our brains. These brain chemicals are part of the happiness equation: dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin—all essential factors in making us happy.

Space does not allow us a detailed discussion of how these chemicals interact and what activates them in our brain. Still, Mark Waldman’s book NeuroWisdom and his other writing in this area offer great info on this topic. I highly recommend you reach out to him for more information.

What is your definition of happiness? What exactly does it mean to be happy? In the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that we all have the unalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And, a certain level of happiness is in the journey, the pursuit. Most evidence of happiness levels related to the attainment of success finds that happiness is fleeting—a temporary feeling. My point here is to let you know you can have both happiness and money—the rich life and the wealthy life—and it is up to you to define what that means to you. More importantly, include in your definition what brings you longer-term fulfillment.

What meaning can you bring to your new level of wealth and happiness?

Happiness is also shaped by how you make your money, what you do with your wealth, and how you spend it. The pleasure you receive through the activity of making and spending is key to activating those pleasure circuits in your brain. The difficult pill for some folks to swallow is that measurements of happiness rise as your income rises. In addition to increased happiness, your sense of well-being and satisfaction also grow.

Not only are wealthy folks happier, but a report from the Urban Institute on the link between wealth and longevity, published in April of 2013, also found that those making more money, who are happier, even live longer. The repercussions of this are literally life-enhancing.

Making money increases happiness; however, the way you spend it can predict long-term fulfillment. Research shows that lottery winners return to their previous state of happiness about one year after winning the lottery. Oddly enough, this is also true for individuals who have suffered severe long-term injuries like paralysis. It appears to me that our happiness level is wired into our blueprint, just like our comfort level with income, so changing your happiness blueprint—what makes you happy—might be an area you want to devote some time and attention.

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

A warning here: don’t allow others to define your happiness. The lessons from the tragic ending of Robin Williams and John Belushi are hard ones to swallow. These individuals dedicated their lives to making everyone else happy, but not themselves—a terrible tragedy when they took their own lives, but a real lesson for us all.

Money, as a universal symbol representing anything of value, remains one of the most powerful motivating factors in our lives. But there is also a dark side to money—this is the side that Billy Graham alluded to earlier. Graham warned about money possessing us, and research shows that wealth strengthens narcissism and feelings of entitlement. And when people become obsessed with money, their relationships often deteriorate. Relationships are a significant factor in the happiness equation.

A major study conducted by Harvard University published some insightful conclusions. This 75-year study identified some keys to a fulfilling life.

The study, known as the Harvard Grant Study, provides a glimpse into a happy, fulfilling life. The study followed 268 male Harvard undergraduates from the classes of 1938­–1940 (now well into their 90s) for 75 years, collecting data on various aspects of their lives at regular intervals.  These are worthy topics to apply to your pursuit of a happier and more meaningful life.

Five lessons from the Grant Study

  1. Love matters.
  2. It’s about more than money and power.
  3. We can all become happier.
  4. Connections are crucial.
  5. Challenges (and the perspective they give you) can make you happier.

Happiness is a state. Finding meaning in life and belonging to and serving something greater than yourself are key components. Psychologist Iris Mauss, Ph.D., at UC Berkeley, found that people who focus on the pursuit of happiness tend to focus on personal gains, damaging connections with other people.  Doing things that improve your state results in joy and in developing the best you possible. Another look into long-term meaning in life identified the following.

Four Pillars to a Meaningful Life

  1. Belonging: bonding to groups that you value and that value you
  2. Purpose: discovering what you can give and using your strength to serve others
  3. Transcendence: valuing something bigger than yourself; not being self-centered
  4. Storytelling: describing events in life that have meaning defines our identity

Happiness can be fleeting—it comes and goes. Finding meaning in life gives us something to hold on to, a more profound reason.  It provides us longer-term feelings of fulfillment.

Download Your FREE eCopy Of Rich Life, Wealthy Life

Reclaiming your love life, and getting your financial house in order doesn’t have to be painful.

Rich Life, Wealthy Life provides strategies for “stress-free” wealth development and delves into the leading cause of disharmony and divorce.  Here you will find solutions to emotional distress and a pathway toward empowering harmonious relations.

Dave Razo

Author – Speaker – Leader - Investor

Dave spent a long and distinguished career as a pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. Along the way, he managed to obtain three graduate degrees.  As an investor in the stock market for more than 37 years, Dave has seen his share of ups and downs.  When Dave retired as a Colonel in 2006, he founded Razor Sharp Investments. Subsequently, he worked with an investment education company, teaching new investors how to handle their money, and then two brokerage firms doing the same thing.  In 2012, Dave founded his own investment firm.  Dave has always been fascinated by the question, Why do people do the things that they do?  On his discovery journey, he encountered Tony Robbins. He worked with his event staff to eventually progresss through the Institute for Strategic Intervention as a coach, making him ideally suited to tackle the most formidable challenges in a relationship.  Dave continues to be committed to a life of service, mainly serving those struggling in their relationships over money.  

Dave is dedicated to the values of
Integrity First  -- Service Before Self – Excellence in All We Do.
Author: Rich Life, Wealthy Life
From Successful Investing to Happy Empowered Living
RichLifeWealthyLifeBook.com

The Destruction of Distraction

The Destruction of Distraction

The war is real.  There are forces at work 24 hours a day to steal your attention.  They are the enemy, and they are relentless.  They have planned and strategized to win the game.  They have done the science and spun their fiendish web to attack your neuro-biology–your brain!

Your brain is wired to pay attention to certain things, and the tech giants, the advertising companies, the marketers, even small businesses are trying to grab your attention.  What is fiendish is that they are using your own neurobiology to stimulate an addictive area of your mind.

And yes, it is addictive.  It all starts with the pleasure center of your brain–the nucleus acumbens.   The pleasure center is activated similarly no matter what the pleasure.  A dopamine release in the nucleus acumbens stimulates nerve cells underlying the cerebral cortex, and WOW, you’re in heaven.  Or so you think.  In reality, you are just on another side trip in the latest neuro-stimulated amusement show.  The enemy has won another round and stimulated the distinct neurobiological signature of your “PLEASURE.”

Addictive drugs do the same thing with a link to the amygdala, and the hippocampus, locking it into memory and emotion.  The effects can be terrifying when the stimulus is drugs. In the lab, they have proven this with various stimuli.  When hooked on stimulating their pleasure center, rats will continue to smash the pleasure center lever until they die of starvation and exhaustion.

 

What the Barrage Brings

The enemy is essentially doing the same thing with their constant barrage of distractions; technology—phones, games, email, etc.  We are more distracted than we realize.  One study found that respondents checked their phone 36 times per hour.  We have seen the Funniest Videos of people texting while

walking, and they are both funny and very concerning.  People walk into poles, pools, and fountains, and even out into oncoming traffic while staring at their little handheld distraction device.

The stats around vehicles are not so funny, yet the evidence is just as compelling.  Safety.com published the following stats for 2019.  The total rate of pedestrian fatalities compared to overall road deaths is getting worse each year.  Nearly 5000 pedestrians were killed, and an estimated 76,000 injured in traffic collisions in the United States in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  That was one death every 2 hours and an injury every 7 minutes.

The results are even more astonishing, more devastating for drivers who text while operating a moving vehicle.  Here are the statistics as published in TheZebra.com in August of 2020.

  • Cell phones are involved in 14% of fatal crashes.
  • Using a phone while driving causes 1.6 million crashes every year. (NSC)
  • The estimated societal damage resulting from texting and driving is $129 billion annually, including property damage and other costs.
  • In 2018, 4,637 people died in car accidents linked to cell phone use alone. (NHTSA)
  • In 2015, 42% of high school students admitted that they text or email while driving. (CDC)

These stats may seem astonishing, but research into the “distraction” that occurs in a driver just by talking on a cell phone—even hands-free—can cause severe impairment to a person’s ability to focus.

One study found that we can become distracted in normal circumstances every 3 minutes, and it takes up to 25 minutes to regain our focus.

A study out of King’s College of London University found that when distracted, workers suffered a 10 – 15 point IQ loss—this is a more significant loss than experienced when smoking marijuana.  Distractions are disabling, and they need to be destroyed.

 

If you succumb to the constant barrage, you may start to feel overwhelmed.  Brain fog can creep in.

 

You might feel like you’re in a constant state of tension, of anxiety.  Your ability to think slows down, and you lack concentration.  You may have trouble remembering information as your mind is overloaded and you don’t know how to turn your brain’s switch off.

It is like perpetually being in that same feeling when you have re-read a sentence for the fifth time and still don’t understand and can’t remember what it says.  The haze becomes perpetual.

Having a foggy mind is like having 100 tabs open on a laptop — your brain lags, freezes, buffers, and ultimately crashes.  Unfortunately, most of us tend to allow stressors and nagging thoughts to build up in our heads, opening too many mental tabs at once.

 

How to Clear the Haze

Despite this constant barrage, mental clarity is possible.  You can reset and restart, and it is pretty easy once you decide, once you commit to doing it.  You can get your focus back.  You can be the master of your peace of mind and return to the high-level analysis, creativity, and decision-making you once had.  It is entirely achievable, and here is how you can do it.

 

Eliminating the Obstacles

There are two main categories of distraction.  Internal distractions are those we do to ourselves, and external distractions occur from outside ourselves, from our environment.  The challenging part is that we all want that little shot of dopamine that many distractions provide.  To solve the problem, you must set yourself up to win the fight, both internally and externally.  First, let’s look at what you can do yourself.

 

The internet is just one of the constant sources of distraction.  It produces 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day.  The abundance of information is overwhelming.  It would be insane to digest it all, but that is what many people are trying to do.  Social media, tabloid articles, television programs, even newspapers, and more—there is an information overload coming from all angles.

 

In some circles, staying up to date with ALL the information correlates with success.  Being bogged down by unnecessary, irrelevant information has become the new normal.  Far more often, the cognitive burden of consuming every piece of data is a heavy burden on your brain.  When you engage in irrelevant data consumption, it sabotages the deep, focused work needed to be highly productive.  So the first line of defense is to ignore the irrelevant.  With a new level of awareness, you may find the irrelevant is everywhere.

To win the game, you must ignore more and more.  That is your competitive advantage.

         

Just as modern man consumes both too many calories and calories of no nutritional value, information workers eat data both in excess and from the wrong sources.  — Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek,

Next– Clear Your Mind

Our brains are used to think, not remember. It’s impossible to create a sufficient amount of detail within our minds without releasing mental baggage.                    —  Albert Einstein 

Here are three great ways to clear your mind.

1.  First, write it down. Start with your daily, weekly, and ongoing “to-do” lists.  Write all those things down, so you’re not keeping them in your brain and cluttering up your processor.

2.  Then, take time to write down your thoughts. Journaling is a great way to clear your mind and your thoughts.  If you have many ANTs, Automatic Negative Thoughts, you might try the technique I outline in Five Steps to Eliminate Your ANTs  available here:

You can also write-down each idea that springs to mind.  Especially the thoughts that are negative and persistent–ideal candidates for the  A-E-I-O-U process.

  1. Use your journal to document your ideas, your goals, and your tasks. You see when you can get them out of your brain, and they are on a sheet of paper or in your computer, you free up your brain to do what it is designed to do – to think.

Did you know that the 3 pounds of fat between your ears uses 20% of your energy?  We are really “thinking beings,” and the mind, body, and spirit work best when there is plenty of power, plenty of fuel in the think tank.

Recovery is Required  

Putting your thoughts down on paper is the beginning of your brain’s recovery.  Once you have all your ideas down on paper, it is time for some mental clearing.

  1. First, make sure you are getting sufficient sleep. Our brains need to rest and rehab during the 7-9 hours of sleep that they get.  You see, your brain, after having burned all that energy, needs some downtime to recover.
  2. Take a few deep breaths. There is power in deep breathing, and it is well documented.  Taking a few minutes to clear your mind with a few deep clearing breaths can give you a quick recharge to help you move forward with better clarity and focus.
  3. Take a break, go for a walk in nature. This may not always be readily available, but it is worth mentioning.  There is evidence that any walking or moving is beneficial in resetting that mind-body connection.  There is also something about nature, being out in our natural surroundings, that has a calming effect for me and many others.  A Harvard research paper identified a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.  It’s not clear exactly why outdoor excursions have such a positive mental effect.  In a 2015 study, researchers compared healthy people’s brain activity after walking for 90 minutes in either a natural setting or an urban one. They found that those who did a nature walk had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region active during rumination — defined as repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions. It’s not clear why outdoor walks have such a positive effect.
  4. Read a good book. Some studies have found the act of reading provides renewed mental clarity.  Reading can relax your body and lower your heart rate, easing the tension in your muscles.  A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. It works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea.

These are all great tips on how to recover.  But how about a bit of prevention from external forces too?

  • Unplug—when you are focused on a particular project, eliminate the tech that can distract you. Use airplane mode or turn your cell phone off.  Eliminate all the open tabs on your computer.  Minimize or stop your notifications.
  • Eliminate Distracting People. Trust me. I know this one can be hard.  I work from home and have plenty going on here.  But eliminating people who are a distraction can be done with a little bit of grace and a lot of persistence in order to protect your focus, clarity, and flow.
  • Avoid phones unless it is a specific time you have set aside to make or take calls.

In addition, the Flow Research Collective provided the following five ways to avoid distraction.

  1. Avoid multi-tasking. It does not work—1995 study found that multitasking reduces accuracy, increases errors, and burns more energy in your brain.
  2. Become dedicated to UNI-Tasking—get religious about doing one thing at a time. Train your brain to do one thing at a time. Even eating or talking.  Ferociously commit to UNI-TASKING
  3. Become a PRO at follow-through. Just as Luke Skywalker attacking the death star knows—“stay on target A 2009 study found that attention residue occurs when switching tasks.  Stay on task until you must change.  Switching allows some of your brain to have a residue of attention with the old job.  Finish the first task and knock it out.
  4. Develop your impulse control.
    • Lower your cognitive load. Your brain can handle only so much info.  Use a list(s).  The more we try to hold in our minds, the more likely we will give into distraction.
    • Use exaggerated pain and pleasure when considering whether to get distracted or not. And then, reward and punish yourself when you follow your quest.
    • Raise your standards on what is worthy of your attention.
    • Implement the following:
      • Gratitude journaling
      • Hydration
      • Meditation
      • Get in touch with your higher self – tune into your long term goals and then your clear short-term plan.
  1. Avoid sensory overload. Keep things filtered out.  Noise-canceling headphones can help.  It takes power to keep the noises and the distractions out.  Guard against unhelpful noise and all distractions.  Gate them

 

The Benefits Are Big

“What you do with your attention is in the end what you do with your life.” — John Green

The first huge benefit you will receive by eliminating your distractions is in your focus.  As Tony Robbins is known to have said, where focus goes, energy flows, and I believe John Green’s quote above.  Our life is primarily defined by where we focus our attention.  Your attention will also help you provide clarity, and clarity is another crucial aspect of productivity.  Research suggests that clarity in your near term goals is instrumental in making consistent progress toward your longer-term mission.

Becoming clear, gaining clarity is enormously powerful.  It is a trigger to going into the highly desired psychological state of flow.  That state where you feel your best and do your best.  That state where time seems to standstill. That state where you can have extreme focus and where one thought follows naturally and quickly from the previous thought.  Where creativity, learning, and productivity are magnified.  Eliminating distractions, obtaining laser-like focus, and clearly identifying your outcome is powerfully productive in getting your goals.

Eliminating distraction and focusing on your thoughts is a necessary and valuable skill.  The GOAL is to DESTROY DISTRACTION.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts . . .”     —   Marcus Aurelius

 

  • —  —  —

 

Dave Razo

Author – Speaker – Leader - Investor

Dave spent a long and distinguished career as a pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. Along the way, he managed to obtain three graduate degrees.  As an investor in the stock market for more than 37 years, Dave has seen his share of ups and downs.  When Dave retired as a Colonel in 2006, he founded Razor Sharp Investments. Subsequently, he worked with an investment education company, teaching new investors how to handle their money, and then two brokerage firms doing the same thing.  In 2012, Dave founded his own investment firm.  Dave has always been fascinated by the question, Why do people do the things that they do?  On his discovery journey, he encountered Tony Robbins. He worked with his event staff to eventually progresss through the Institute for Strategic Intervention as a coach, making him ideally suited to tackle the most formidable challenges in a relationship.  Dave continues to be committed to a life of service, mainly serving those struggling in their relationships over money.  

Dave is dedicated to the values of
Integrity First  -- Service Before Self – Excellence in All We Do.
Author: Rich Life, Wealthy Life
From Successful Investing to Happy Empowered Living
RichLifeWealthyLifeBook.com