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Week 33–My Best Spent Dollar

 

My best spent dollar wasn’t on bubble gum, or even buying my favorite candy bar, it was investing in me.  A friend of mine named Sarah Dooley encouraged me to take an on-line class with her that could help me with my business and would inspire me as a person.  The class was only a dollar, but the impact it had on my life was worth thousands.

I had to get a Tweet account, a Word-Press account for my future blogs and fill out an application that was challenging.  I was required to state my feelings, to give my input, and opinions on various questions.  Several times I allowed myself to get frustrated and was ready to take the class another time, but Sarah was there to guide me each step of the way until the entire process had been completed and I hit “enter”.  Sarah would check each day to see if we got accepted and finally on the second day we found our names on the list to take the class.

It was scary but exciting at the same time. I was back in school again but it was so much better.  Every Sunday there was a webinar which began to open my eyes to what my desires were and dreams.  I discovered and wrote what my Definite Major Purpose was, at least for the time being.   I began to revamp my negative habits and replace them with positive affirmations along with using the “mental diet program” to help to decrease my critical attitude about myself.  The class required 3 to 4 hours of reading each day, unless you were a speed reader. All the time I had to remind myself that change requires work, it doesn’t come free.  For me, I had to read the material each day, contemplating its gems, and see where it fit into my life. By reading the Greatest Salesman in the World by OG Mandino & the Master Keys each day my eyes were open to tools to use that could continually reconstruct my inner self. It helped build my confidence to overcome my fears, and inspired me to take risk in my new “Hero’s Journey”. The skills that I learned from the readings broke the hard shell I had built around myself and allowed me to unbury my personal treasures such as; my dreams, my aspirations, my wants, and my creative thoughts.

Hooray!  The class had no tests, just a weekly blog, weekly tweeting, and weekly comments on 3 to 5 other blogs from other students.  Developing my old writing skills rekindled my excitement for being an ongoing learner.

Another assignment that was inspirational was designing my “Dream Board”.  We were to use key points from our DMP along with other desires that we wanted to manifest.  We were able to put pictures on it or do any creative thing that popped into our thoughts.  We had to include the tentative date that the desire was to be accomplished.  It was very enjoyable and made the DMP become more alive.

There were many other aspects involved in my beginning the transformation and process of learning how to leverage harmony within and without.  I had to learn how to love the gal in the mirror and the future me. I had to learn to let my love and kindness over flow onto others. I had to accept the concert of awareness that is renewed each day and is the touchstone of growth.

My gratitudes flow out to Mark, Davene and their staff who created this amazing class.  Also for Sarah Dooley who is persistent, caring, and never gave up on me.

In closing, was my dollar a worthwhile investment? I would say, yes without a doubt.  Anne Frank said a quote that summarizes just a fraction of my great experience: “Everyone has inside them a piece of good news.  The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”  By undergoing the Master Keys experience you open the door to discovering you and to engage in a journey that is miraculous.

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Week 32–The Three Types of Exercising…

 

When most people think about exercising they think of some form of physical output like working out in the gym, taking a yoga class, doing Zumba, swimming laps, or joining some type of team.   Let’s open our eyes to not only the physical aspect of exercising but broaden our view to including other beneficial types of exercising.  There are three types of exercising that I feel are essential in order for continual growth to happen. They are: exercising your mind, exercising your body, and exercising that increases productivity.

Exercising your mind by playing word games such as scrabble, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and many others, can help keep your brain active. Lumosity is a program that is designed for your brain needs; it challenges your memory & attention. Other ways to challenge your brain is to stay involved in social activities that help to stave off loneliness as well as giving your brain a workout. Don’t believe untrue statements about being less creative & wise as you get older. Being creative, acquiring wisdom, and developing your personality can remain constant your entire live if you continue to exercise your mind.  It is important to engage your brain by reading and learning new skills. As Carl Sagan reminds us that “The brain is like a muscle, when it’s in use, we feel very good.”  According to Dr. Morley, he recommends the following exercises to sharpen your mental skills: (1) test your recall, (2) let the music play-guess the title of it and who composed it, (3) do math in your head, (4)take a cooking class- (practice memorizing some of your favorite recipes), (5) learn a foreign language, (6) create word pictures, (7) draw a map from memory(directions to go somewhere), (8)challenge your taste buds (when eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs, and spices). (9) refine your hand-eye abilities (take up a new hobby that involves fine motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling puzzles, etc.) (10) Learn a new sport (start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis). All these types of activities trigger genes and growth factors that recycle and rejuvenate your brain.

Now let’s look at exercising your body, which falls into four basic categories: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each type is different, doing them all will give you more benefits, and mixing it up helps to prevent boredom along with your risk of injury.  Endurance is built up by doing a form of aerobic activities which helps your breathing, heart rate, lungs, and circulatory system. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities. Some examples of aerobic activities would include: brisk walking or jogging, yard work (mowing, raking, digging), and dancing.  Strength exercises make your muscles stronger and allows you to carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries.  These exercises are also called resistance training.   Some examples of this type of exercise are: lifting weights, using a resistance band, or using your own body weight.  Balance exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults.  Many lower-body strength exercises will also improve your balance, such as: standing on one foot, heel-to-toe walk, and Tai Chi.  Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and will help your body stay limber.  Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities.  Some examples of flexibility exercises are: shoulder and upper arm stretch, calf stretch, and Yoga.

The last type of exercising is exercise that increases productivity.  According to Robert Pozen’s research, it shows that a regular exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic. A habit of regular exercise will help keep you mentally sharper throughout your entire life. It has been discovered that as you age your body generates fewer and fewer brain cells.  However, when you exercise, this can help prevent the slow down process and thus have more brain cells—giving them a major advantage in the workplace. When you have an exercise routine it can give you more energy throughout the day, and the effect of exercise on your mood is immediate.  When you exercise your body releases several different chemicals in your brain, known as neurotransmitters, which reduce the discomfort of exercise but creates the sensation often referred to as “runner’s high”.  According to a British economist George Mac Kerron in his ongoing studies found that exercise makes people very happy-only sex makes people happier. And the happier you are, the more productive you can be.

I hope you have drawn your own conclusions about the importance of exercising.  In closing here are two quotes that summarize what I’ve expressed- “True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are even united” by Wilhelm Humboldt. “Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise & maintain a healthy lifestyle” by Shasha Cohen. My wish for all of you is to stop making excuses, grab some friends and start a routine of exercising.

Week 31–WHY WORRY?

 

Why does it seem so easy for us to worry over things in our life?  Let’s look at four ideas that will help clear up our thinking on worrying. First, let’s define the actual term so that we are all on the same page. Second, let’s look at the purpose of why we often worry. Third, let’s focus on the harm that worrying can cause us, and fourth how to stop worrying.

Worry means to allow anxiety or a potential problem to interfere with someone’s comfort or peace of mind.  It also can be to vex or irritate by continued repetition of  interference.  It is to show fear, concern, and unhappiness via negative thoughts.

Second, why do we often worry? Does worry have a purpose of any sort?  Everyone has worried about something and this feeling is a normal human condition.  It is what we feel in response to ambiguity. When you don’t know what is going on, you allow fear to creep in, and you are uneasy about what may happen next.  Worry is an outcome of many factors such as: neurotransmitter function in areas of the brain connected to anxiety, the impact of stress, and trauma. Worry is a maladaptive attempt to get rid of anxiety.

Third, how does worrying affect you? Sometimes our subconscious makes us believe that the more we worry about a situation, the more we can prevent bad things from happening. However, worrying can affect the body in ways that might surprise you. When you worry excessively it can increase anxiety and can cause you to be physically sick.  It can also give the individual a sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears which only increases their worries.  They also begin seeing anything or anyone as a potential threat. They seek relief in harmful ways such as: smoking, drinking, overeating, or taking drugs. Worrying can affect your sleeping, relationships, and your productivity at work or home. Worrying can trigger a host of health problems such as: difficulty swallowing, dizziness, dry mouth, fast heartbeat, fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, nausea, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, twitching, digestive disorder, premature coronary artery disease, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

Now let’s look at some techniques to use to stop the habit of worrying.  First, ask yourself if the problem you are worrying about is a real problem or is it necessary for you to worry about it?  Some people feel that worrying helps them to be more careful.  Second, make a list of your worries; identify what you are worried about and analyze whether your worry is productive or unproductive. A productive worry is one that you can do something about right now.  For example, if you are flying to Switzerland- your worry might be what plane to select and where you will be staying once you arrive.  This is a productive worry as you can go on-line and book a reservation for a flight and a hotel.  An unproductive worry is one which you can’t do anything about. For example,worrying about a blood test.  Three, if the worry is a problem then make a plan to handle it.  Plans involve specific steps to implement, such as to identify a goal and select a few ways to achieve the goal.  Remember to stick to the plan, complete the steps, and evaluate what you’ve done.  If you force yourself to do the very things that make you uncomfortable, you will rely less on worry as a coping strategy.  Four, worried people have a sense of urgency. They think they need an answer now, otherwise something bad will happen. Instead of thinking like that say,” Stop”, swap the negative thoughts with pleasant or productive thoughts. For example ask yourself, “What can I do in the present moment to make my life more pleasant?”  Persistence and consistency are both necessary to turn off the worry.  Five, remember that it’s never as bad as you think it will be.  Worriers are actually good at handling real problems once they have some new tools in their tool belt. Also as OG Mandino says in scroll 7,“this too shall pass”. Lastly, “talk therapy” can help worriers by getting to the root of their issues.

Hopefully by reading this blog you will have gained some insights about why worrying is not a beneficial option to deal with the problems in life.  Worrying is a superficial way of dealing with deep insecurities which will only go away when you deal with its roots.  As Leo F. Buscaglia helps to conclude this blog by his quote on worry, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy”. Wiz Khalifa gives us this visualization: “worrying is stupid, it’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain”. Lastly, a quote from Author S. Roche, “Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”  Worry is your old habit, now chose a new one.

Week 30–How Do You Multiply Your Value a Hundredfold?

 

I am sure you have had this question go through your mind many times in your life.  Often the answer never seems to come and so you just suppress the thought in your subconscious and leave it alone for another time.  Let’s take it out and look at three facets of the question: (a) in order for growth to occur what has to be done?, (b) how do you nurture your mind to fulfill your dreams?, (c) what is necessary to enhance your potential?

In order to experience growth you need to prepare yourself by getting rid of old baggage and things that tear you down such as:  old failures, despair, negative attitudes, fears that keep you in bondage and continue to deteriorate your self -confidence.  A helpful method to rid yourself of this darkness is to write down all these destructive thoughts on paper and then dig a hole, put the paper in the hole and burn it.  This symbolizes that your old nature no longer exists and you are replacing it with a new beginning.

Once this step has been accomplished, you are ready to move into nurturing your mind to fulfill your dreams.  Each of us has the power to choose our destiny, and to make this happen we need to create goals for the day, the week, the month, and the year.  When you set goals for yourself, it is important that the goals motivate you, which means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If the goal is irrelevant in the larger picture or you have little interest in the outcome, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim.  Set goals that relate to the highest priorities in your life.  Goal achievement requires commitment to maximize the likelihood of success.  You must have the attitude of urgency and one of “I must do this”.  You must set “smart goals”, which means:  S= specific, M=measurable, A= attainable, R= relevant and T= time bound.  When you set “specific goals”, it means that the goal is crystal clear and well defined.  Vague or generalized goals are not helpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction, nor do they map a way to accomplish where you want to go.  Set “measurable goals”, which includes precise amounts and dates.  For example saying, “Reducing debt” is too general as you can’t determine when you have been successful or you have no way to measure your success. When you set a measurable goal, you have the opportunity to celebrate that which comes with knowing you have actually achieved something. Set “attainable goals”, which means making sure that your goals are reachable otherwise, you will feel demoralized and it will tear down your self -confidence.  Next, set “relevant goals”, which deals with the direction you want your life to go, and that will align with your career.  Set “time- bound goals”, which means that goals must have a deadline.  When you are working with deadlines, it helps you to focus more seriously on your daily, weekly, and monthly goals because you realize that achievement will come much quicker when you are focused on your goals, thus fulfilling your dreams.

What is necessary to enhance your potential?  Basically, it is continually being motivated as O.G. Mandino says, “to surpass every action which was performed yesterday, to climb today’s mountain to the utmost of your ability, and not accept the terrible crime of aiming too low.”  Always realize the importance of pursuing learning, to let your reach exceed more than your grasp, to raise your goals as soon as the old ones are accomplished, and to continue to strive to make each day better than the day before. It is important to not give up, trying even when it is difficult, and continuing on your hero’s journey no matter what the challenge may be in front of you.  Team up with a person with whom you can mastermind, and who can help mentor you along the rough spots in life.  Develop concrete objectives that will allow your goals to be met when you’ve applied the step by step process just like following a road map.

I hope, as we’ve looked at how to multiply your value a hundredfold, you have now seen some options to examine and realized that it is a continual process done over and over again in spite of the many stumbles. As Pat Riley expressed it in her quote,“ Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”  Or as Cicely Tyson says, “I want to believe that there is a mountain so high that I will spend my entire life striving to reach the top of it.”  As O.G. Mandino reminds us in the 8th scroll, one grain of wheat when multiplied a hundredfold ten times, can feed many cities of the earth.  Aren’t you more than a grain of wheat and aren’t you willing to let your greatness shine out to help others? When you do, you will experience the special blessing of this scroll along with growth, which will multiply your value a hundredfold.

Week 29–THE BEAUTY of LIFE

 

The beauty of life is living it.  Life is the only thing we know. The mornings, the sky, the wonderful nature around you, the wildlife, the people dearest to you, everything exist because everyone is breathing, growing, and evolving. Let’s take a few moments and think about the beauty of your life: First let’s examine the little things that spark your interest. Second, let’s focus on the importance of appreciating life, no matter how different you would like it to be. Third, the reality that it’s you that makes life happen.  Fourth, the people who have affected your life, and lastly the right timing, which is the key to the beauty of life.

First let’s consider the little things in life that can often make your life special and remarkable.  For example, your husband giving you your favorite flowers for no real reason, other than he loves you, finding a post-it sticker hidden in your desk at work from your daughter telling you, “Hang in there Mom, you are the best Middle School counselor ever”. Or watching squirrels enjoying raw peanuts that you set out for them in the winter time, and also showing people who you don’t even know kindness such as: giving them smiles, opening doors for them, giving hugs, or just being friendly.  These acts of kindness, make your day a little brighter, as well as others, and reminds you of how remarkable life really is.

Second, it is not taking life for granted, but appreciating every breath that you take.  Remembering all the great moments of life that take your breath away, enjoying the day as if it might be your last, and being thankful for the good times, along with the bad times. Be grateful for your hardships, which make you stronger and build character.

Third, it’s realizing the reality that it’s you that makes life happen, not other people who want to mold you to be like them or make you their pawn. They seem to only be around to destroy your dreams.  However, you have a choice to either receive their negativism or reject it and build on the truth which you desire to see manifested, and experience harmony. The freedom to allow your mind to think and the courage to take the risk to move forward are the tools needed to make life happen.

Fourth is to be conscious of the people who have instilled in your life love, a set of values, genuineness, a support and caring system that puts no limits on your creativeness.  They let you be “you”, they appreciate all your talents, and encourage perpetual discovery.

Lastly, the right timing is the key in the beauty of life.  Each human, as well as many other species, possess internal clocks. The exact timing can differ between individuals.  An example: some people are “early risers”, whereas others are “night owls”.  Have you ever wished for something in your life to occur earlier, only to realize that now, was the perfect, timing?  Earlier you wouldn’t have been ready for the opportunity.  Everything was leading up to the perfect moment.  Even when life throws you a curve ball or a delay in an outcome, which wasn’t what we had planned, these circumstances can teach us valuable lessons.  We are afraid at times that we have missed our opportunity for greatness, but we need to realize that by waiting we are coming into our own timing, which is perfect for you.   Sonya Derian reminds us that we need to trust that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  Know that what you have to look forward to is greater than what you are leaving behind, and trust that you will arrive in time, not a minute sooner.  Also remember the quote by Nina Dinh, “Time doesn’t stop so don’t let it stop you”.  Don’t let life pass you by, so if you love someone, tell them.  If you have a goal, chase it.  If you need help, ask for it. If you want change, make a change.

The beauty of life as you can see is all on how you perceive it and how you persist in finding it in your journey.  Earl Nightingale has a quote that summarizes my feelings of the beauty of life.  He says,” Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.  Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored”.  So enjoy the beauty of life, learn from its thorns, and rejoice in all its new beginnings.

 

Week 28–The Blessings of Good Friends

 

Good friends are like your sisters or brothers except you get to pick them out.  Let’s look at the qualities that are needed in a good friend, the benefits of good friends, and the blessings of long-lasting good friends.

The qualities that most people would agree on that makes someone a good friend begins with a friend being there for you when you need them.  They are present in good times and bad.  Being a good friend sometimes means simply to listen when they need to talk.  The key to being present for a good friend is putting into action what their words have previously told you.  When difficulties arise a good friend will actually be there to help. Another important quality of a good friend is loyalty.  Sometimes you are in a bad mood or have made a wrong choice, good friends are loyal and accept you for who you are and not expect you to change to meet their expectations or standards.  Good friends are also honest.  Honest enough to tell you what you need to hear even if you don’t want to hear it.  They don’t just agree with telling you what you want to hear.  Being trustworthy is another quality needed to be present in a good friend.  Mutual trust between friends is a building block of a solid friendship that could last a lifetime.  Another building block that’s needed in a good friend is good communication.  An example is being able to know what your friend is thinking without needing to say anything because you both are on the same wave-length.

The benefits of having good friends can have a major impact on your life, on your health, and well-being.  Good friends prevent loneliness and provide companionship in the various activities in your life.  Good friends increase your sense of belonging and enhance your purpose in life.  They can boost your happiness and reduce your stress by making you laugh, refocusing you on the positive aspects in your life, and having them be a sounding board to let out your daily frustrations.  Good friends help to improve your self-confidence and self-worth by giving supportive compliments, brainstorming options on problems, and asking stimulating questions to direct your thought- processing power on your own desires and goals.  Good friends help you cope with trauma, illiness, job loss, death, and other issues in life.  They encourage you to change and avoid unhealthy life style habits such as: excessive drinking, smoking, eating unwholesome foods, and lack of exercising.  According to the Mayo Clinic having good friends with strong social support have reduced the risk of many significant health problems such as: high blood pressure, depression, and unhealthy body mass.  People who have good friends, along with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

Lastly, I have had many blessings in my life because of my long-lasting good friends.  I’ve been extremely fortunate to have three long-lasting friends; two friends since second grade, which is over sixty years, and the other friend for forty-two years.  The blessings they have given me are:  they have been with me through my ups and downs of life, they’ve supported me in prayer, and they have fired-up my thoughts to analyze all facets of the decision making process.  They have offered shoulders to cry on when life gave me heartaches, and they have been extremely patient by being great listeners.  They aren’t judgmental, but realize that change is a continual process that we all must go through.  They continue to show kindness, encouragement, and backing as I continue on my “Hero’s journey”.  They love me without limits, and give me the freedom to fly as long as it benefits everyone involved.  They give great hugs of encouragement or to let me know I did a job well done.  As you can see, there are many blessings to having good friends.  I am truly honored by having good friends not only for their benefits that they bestow on me, but for their richness they shower my life with.  Steve Marabolt summed up my feeling about good friends by his quote:  “Friends are medicine for a wounded heart and vitamins for a hopeful soul”.  Or perhaps Winnie the Pooh expresses friendship in a simpler fashion by saying, “It seems they had always been and would always be Friends. Time could change much but not that”.  A final quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr, which helps us to visualize the importance of good friends says, “A true friend encourages us, comforts us, supports us like a big easy chair, offering us a safe refuge from the world”.  Good friends will last and they are more favorable than a rare diamond.  How blessed I am to have my good friends!

Week 27– The Importance of Laughter in Your Life

 

You’ve probably heard the old adage: “Laughter is the best medicine”. In this blog let’s examine laughter in three categories, which will prove the importance of laughter in our life.  First, laughter helps with health benefits.  Second, laughter helps in handling adversities, frustrations, and keeping life in balance. Third, laughter helps you never be poor, which is one of nature’s greatest gifts.

According to California’s  Loma Linda University, laughter has numerous benefits.  Laughter is a natural pain killer.  The act of laughing produces endorphins, known as “happy” brain chemicals that act as a natural pain killer. It soothes stress, reduces anxiety, and eases chronic pain.  Laughter strengthens your heart by giving your cardiovascular  system a workout. Laughing, walking, running and cycling strengthens the heart muscle by accelerating your heart rate.  Laughter prevents diseases, as discovered by a Harvard study.  The research discovered that the more you laugh and approach life positively, the less chronic disease will develop.  Laughter can tone up your Abs.  When you laugh hard or do a belly laugh, the act of laughing causes your stomach muscles to contract and then relax.  It is kind of like when you do Ab crunches.  Laughing can boost your immunity system by activating your body’s T cells (or immune system cells), which fights off germs, flu bugs, and other illnesses.  Professor Province at the University of Maryland suggests that when you feel a sniffle, sore throat, or other cold symptoms coming on, go see a comedy to trigger your laughter to boost your immunities.  Laughter also helps to decrease blood pressure, and has been linked to lowering the risk of heart attacks along with strokes.  Laughter helps those who suffer from depression as it helps to improve their over-all outlook on life.

Second, laughter helps in handling adversities, frustration and keeping life in balance.  When humor seems to depart from the environment we are in, then laugh at a joke, read a comic strip that’s funny or repeat these four words that O.G. Madino suggests  us to do in scroll 7: “This too shall pass”.  If the situation that frustrates or hurts me shall pass, then why should I allow it to upset me so much? You can console yourself knowing that it will pass and you can laugh at it.

The last category is the idea that you can’t be poor as long as you are laughing.  You might ask, how is this possible?  As O.G. Madino shared in scroll 7, this is possible by realizing that only with laughter and happiness can you truly become a success.  Only with laughter and happiness can you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

As you can see, laughter is so important in our lives.  It is the sunshine of our being, it is a relief to a stressful day, and it is a simple cure for all types of health issues.  As Stella & Blake expressed it quite well in their quote- “Laugh my friend, for laughter ignites a fire within the pit of your belly and awakens your being”. So have a good laugh, remembering that laughter brings success and happiness. I shall be happy. I shall laugh.