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What Matters More?

Developing the right habits is essential if you want to change your situation. Doing the same things that you are currently doing will get you nowhere. You must change your mindset. This includes developing new habits. If you are having trouble developing new habits, remember this question. What matters more?

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Kobe Responded, What Matters More?

A great story to illustrate this point comes from the late, great Kobe Bryant. He was being interviewed by a reporter who was questioning him about what time he wakes up. When Kobe told him he wakes up at 3 AM to get to the gym at 4 AM, the reporter was stupefied. Why so early? He asked. Kobe replied because my competitor gets to the gym at 5 AM.

The reporter couldn’t believe Kobe would wake up so early. He said, don’t you like to sleep? I know I do. Kobe didn’t reply, so the reporter asked him if this was a trait with which he was born. Did his father wake up early? Kobe replied, no. Then how do you get up so early, he asked? Calmly, Kobe responded, it comes down to what matters more.

Sleep or Winning

What matters more, sleep or winning? For Kobe, it was winning. He developed the habit of waking up early so he could get in more practice time than his opponents. Whatever type of person you want to become, you must develop new habits. If you desire to be a great athlete, research the habits of great athletes. Are you an artist? Then research habits of great artists. Here is a post about the habits of the wealthy.

Develop New Habits

Developing new habits is difficult. You must be consistent in practicing these new habits. It takes 21 days in a row before a habit will start to form. Some days are going to be more difficult than others. When you go through these days, ask yourself, what matters more?

Stretch Your Comfort Zone

Changing your routine means getting out of that zone of comfort you are currently living in. For example, most successful people wake up early. Just like Kobe, they want to take advantage of every minute of the day. But sleeping is good, and your bed is oh so comfy. You are safe and warm in your bed.

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You are feeling so good that it is simple to close your eyes and go back to sleep. At that moment, ask yourself, what matters more? Becoming the person you want to be or going back to sleep? By getting up, you have time to read, meditate, exercise, journal, etc. One decision will change your lifestyle, while the other will keep you where you’re at in life. What matters more?

Irene Sendler

Look at my post about the heroic deeds of Irene Sendler. Irene risked her life during World War II by smuggling Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. For Irene, what mattered more, was the lives of innocent children over her life.

Are you happy where you are at this point in your life? If not, you must change and begin stretching your comfort zone. Get a little comfortable being uncomfortable. Begin your change by researching and developing the habits of the person you want to become. If you want to improve your relationship, develop habits of people in good relationships. Do you want to be wealthy? Research the habits of rich people. If it becomes difficult to change, remember to ask yourself, what matters more?

Cites

https://unsplash.com/@thevoncomplex

https://unsplash.com/@iyunmai

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Colorado Trip Part 3

Colorado Trip Part 3. I woke on Day 3 feeling great. All the soreness from yesterday’s hike was gone. I proceeded downstairs, poured myself a cup of coffee, and went to the deck to watch the sunrise. I sat in silent meditation for several minutes. Suddenly, I heard something moving behind me again. Slowly turning around, I solved the mystery of the great beast. There it was standing on the steps staring at me, a little chipmunk.

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Part 3 Of Our Colorado Trip

The wedding was scheduled for 4 o’clock, so we needed to stay close to the B&B. Sofia takes a while to get ready. I have never figured out what takes so long because she is naturally beautiful. Yesterday, we saw a trailhead close to the B&B and decided to go for a hike. The forecast was for rain, but we were told that rain in Colorado was not like Florida rain. It just drizzles.

We drove to the Elk Meadow Trailhead and parked. The sun was out and it was a beautiful, cool day. Grabbing our water bottles, we started up the mountain. The views got better with every switchback. Unlike the St. Mary’s glacier trail, this trail was smooth. It was much easier on my knees.

Look Around

One thing that I always do is take my eyes off the trail directly in front of me. I take my time to look around and enjoy the journey. Flowers and wildlife are abundant in Colorado. We saw a large bluebird that looked like the Blue Jays back home. Only this bird was much larger and had a blackhead. We were told it was a Mountain Jay, a beautiful bird.

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Elk Meadows Trail

Decisions

We came to a point where the trail split. To the left continued up the mountain, and the right would take us down around the meadow. Since we were short on time, we chose the meadow. The hiking was easy in this past meadow, and we were making good time. Sofia turned to me and said she felt a raindrop. No big deal because Colorado rain isn’t like Florida rain. The raindrops became larger and colder. That’s when the thunder and lightning started. I began to feel that we were lied to about the Colorado rain.

We found ourselves in the middle of a meadow during a thunderstorm. This is not the place you want to be. We had no choice but to keep hiking. Soaked and cold, we eventually made our way back to the car after 2.5 hours.

A Colorado Wedding

After a much welcomed hot shower, I put on a suit for the first time in almost a year. Sofia looked ravishing in her dress. I have to say we made a sharp couple. Off we went to the wedding which, was held on Evergreen Lake at the Lake House.

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My Beautiful Wife

The ceremony was outdoors and delayed only a few minutes because of the rain. The clouds parted, the sun came out, and we watched a young couple begin their journey together as man and wife. I always enjoy the beginning of anything. It is inspiring, so full of promises. We danced, sang, laughed, and a few happy tears were shed. It was a wonderful night.

Day 4

On day 4, I woke to the most spectacular sunrise. The sun was a bright red ball in the sky. This was caused by the fires in California and the smoke drifting to Colorado. Sofia and I sat outside enjoying our coffee. We went to breakfast and met two new couples that had arrived the night before. They were very nice people, and we got along like old friends.

What A Life

Later, we had the opportunity to speak with Wilhelmina. We found out that she had lived a wonderful life. She was born in the Netherlands and raised in Australia. Wilhelmina became a dancer and choreographer and married a well-known British comedian, They had met all of the big entertainers. Even though she was 80, she looked closer to 60. She still plays golf, skis, hikes, and runs a weight loss program. She is a very inspiring woman, and I could have sat all day talking.

Mt. Evans

We told Wilhelmina that we were going to drive up to Mount Evans. Mount Evans sits between 12,000-14,000 feet above sea level. Wilhelmina told us that it could be cold up there and let us borrow heavy jackets. It was another beautiful drive through the back roads and up the mountain. We climbed above the tree line and arrived at Summit Lake.

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Summit Lake

As soon as we exited the car, we were thankful we had the jackets. The temperature was 41 degrees, and the wind was blowing. It might as well have been Antarctica to us. After stopping to talk to some Park volunteers about the mountain goats and bighorn sheep, we hiked up to the Chicago Lakes.

No Excuses

As we were hiking, we passed an elderly lady with a club foot. Seeing this lady not let anything stop her from doing something she enjoys made me realize that I make too many excuses. You should never let anything get in the way of doing something that you want to do. You can always find a way.

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Selfie By The Lake

We took some great pictures at Summit Lake, enjoyed the views then headed down the mountain. We had made plans to drive to Denver and watch some football. Denver is a nice city, and we saw a lot of neighborhoods full of young people. This is something we don’t have a lot of in Florida. It’s called God’s waiting room for a reason.

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Blake Street Tavern Denver, Colorado

My Best Friend

We made it to the Blake St., Tavern, a large Sports Bar. There was a good crowd enjoying the first day of college football season. People were happy they were able to gather together again. We watched my school play that evening, and even though the outcome wasn’t in my favor, I wouldn’t want to be there with anyone other than Sofia. She is my best friend. Every part of the trip had been wonderful. We were excited, looking forward to what we would see the next day. To be continued.

Making A Decision Will Defeat Procrastination

I am continuing to talk about the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Today I will discuss the seventh step, Decision, The Mastery of Procrastination. I am sure that you, like me, have faced that evil known as procrastination. To be successful and to build wealth, procrastination is an enemy you must conquer. Making a decision will defeat procrastination.

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A Decision Defeats Procrastination

If you’re looking for self-improvement, you will need to change some of the habits that you are currently doing. You will have to decide to change. Congratulations, you are halfway to success! You see, making the right decision is 50% of the solution. The other 50% is commitment. You have to commit to your decision to change.

Back in the 1930s when Hill was writing his book, a study was undertaken with 25,000 men and women who had experienced failure. They came up with a list of 30 major causes of failure. Lack of decision was near the head of the list. Indecision causes procrastination and making a decision will defeat procrastination. Conversely, each of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes had the habit of reaching a decision promptly. Also, successful people would take their time in changing their decision.

Don’t Be Influenced When Making Decisions

The majority of people who fail are easily influenced by the opinion of others. They permit the media and other people to do their thinking for them. Opinions are the most abundant thing on earth. Everyone has one and, they can be as different as night and day. You will not succeed if you take into account the opinion of others.

Your mind is yours and only yours; reach your own decisions. Keep them to yourself and discuss them with only like-minded individuals, such as your Master Mind group. When researching to gather information for your decision, do so without disclosing your purpose.

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https://unsplash.com/@schmidy

How Do You Know?

How do you know when the decision you made is the right decision? That is a difficult question to answer because you won’t know the answer until you have succeeded or failed. You have to listen to those inner voices. If your decision makes you feel happy and it is the right decision. On the other hand, if you feel cautious or negative, you should reconsider your decision.

In most cases, making the right decision is not that difficult. Deciding to solve a challenge in your life is personal. These are decisions for your self-improvement. A personal decision affects you and the people close to you. Some decisions not only affect the person making the decision but also have an impact on many others.

Great Decisions In History

Throughout history, people have been tasked with making decisions that changed history. Abraham Lincoln decided to issue the Proclamation of Emancipation. General Dwight Eisenhower decided to launch the D-Day invasion. Last July, I wrote an article about 56 men who made one of the greatest decisions of all time. They signed the Declaration of Independence knowing that it could potentially cost them their lives.

Making the right decision always takes courage, some more than others. It may not cost you your life but, it could cost you your health or financial independence. Making the right decision to improve your income or health comes with a price. You never get anything without giving up something. As long as you’re willing to pay the price, your decision for self-improvement could be the greatest decision you make.

Decide Today

Speaking of great decisions, decide today what you are worth. Now that you know your value go out and get what you are worth. Never settle for anything less. Lock that number in your mind and think about it every day. Don’t stop until you reach your value. Too many people today settle for what they are given and not what they’re worth.

Be quick in your decisions and slow in changing them. Don’t be influenced by the opinion of others or the media. Have the courage to make your decision for self-improvement. Decide what you are worth and get it. Remember, making a decision will defeat procrastination.

Do you find yourself procrastinating? Are you influenced by the opinion of others? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section. As always, I appreciate your likes, comments, and follows. Let me know if there is a  topic you would like me to cover in future articles.

Cites

https://unsplash.com/@brett_jordan

https://unsplash.com/@schmidy

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The Process Of Personal Development

When I first started learning about personal development I thought that I had to change immediately. I would listen to a speaker or a mentor who would tell me what I needed to do. Next, I would try to do everything they said right away. This meant dumping all of my old habits and becoming a new person overnight. Eventually, the result was a failure. I didn’t realize personal development is a process; the keyword is development. Change must be developed. The process of personal development takes time.

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Personal Development Is A Process

Once I realized personal development was a process it took a lot of pressure off of me. I gave myself time to develop good habits and replace my old ones. As time went by, I began to notice little differences in my life. I was in the process of personal development. Consequently, I began to feel better about myself and became more confident. Below are 10 steps I took in the process of my personal development.

  1. The Decision.
  2. Commitment.
  3. Write an Action Statement.
  4. Set Goals.
  5. Write a plan.
  6. Time Management.
  7. Positive Affirmations.
  8. Thought Control.
  9. Belief.
  10. Faith.

Begin Your Development

You begin with your decision to change. There are many different reasons why people decide to change their lifestyle. You might have realized that your habits are leading you down a path of destruction. Deciding to develop healthier habits will lead you to a happier lifestyle.

Unfortunately just making a decision is not enough. Most people who begin the process of personal development fail. The main reason is they didn’t commit. 75% of your success will be due to your commitment to your decision. Commitment means you will give your personal development time. You will not quit when you hit your first obstacle.

Your Statement

Writing an action statement is a key component in the process. First, write down what you are going to do. Second, why do you want to do it? Your WHY is a key element. Third, what are you going to give up, sleep, TV, social media, etc? No one gets something for nothing. Finally, when do you want it? Set a realistic date of when you want to obtain your desire.

Goals

Set goals and write them down. Make sure you have long-term goals, intermediate goals, and short-term or weekly goals. Your goals will keep you on track and you can monitor your progress. Write a plan on how you’re going to accomplish your goals. Don’t worry about the details. Your goals will lead you to discover how to accomplish them.

Manage your time. You have 1440 minutes every day. Set aside some time daily, once in the morning and once before you go to sleep, for you. Use this time to relax, journal, meditate and speak your action statement out loud.

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Verbalize

Speak positive affirmations every day. Write down several affirmations that are tailored to you and the person you want to become. Speak these out loud as many times as you can a day. Visualization and verbalization are important in the process of personal development. Through these techniques, you will change your paradigm.

Thought Control

Begin to control your thoughts. Your brain is putting out thoughts constantly, both positive and negative. Pay attention to your thoughts and change any negative thought to a positive one. Your thoughts will become your reality. See yourself as the person you want to become in the future. When you’re visualizing your future life make sure that it feels normal to you.

Belief

As you go through the process of personal development you will begin to develop belief. In the beginning, you might not believe that you can change. As you continue to go through the process your belief will become stronger. The more you speak your positive affirmations and visualize your future as if it is now the greater your belief will become.

Finally, Faith

Ultimately, your belief will turn into faith. Faith is the final step in the process because once you have faith you can never be stopped. If you experience failure, faith will help you begin again. Obstacles will become smaller and just a nuisance. Once you develop faith you will feel a calmness because you know you will succeed. It’s just a matter of time.

When you make your decision to change remember that personal development is a process. This process doesn’t happen immediately but occurs over time. Commit to your decision and you will begin to see positive changes in your personal development. Eventually, you will succeed and become the person you are meant to be.

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How To Be Happy With Yourself

In Episode 51 I talk about how to be happy with yourself. I want to talk about taking everything we did at the end of the last year and utilize it in the future. If you haven’t read my previous posts from the last few weeks, then I will encourage you to go back and read them. I talked about words you need to replace in your vocabulary, setting goals, and doing a self-analysis.

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You Can Be Happy With Yourself

For me, 2020 was a great year despite everything that went on in the world. Today I’m a different person than I was this time last year. I am excited about what the future brings. The possibilities are endless and the choice is yours on what you want to do with the next 365 days. I am set up better for the future because of everything I did at the end of 2020.

Commit

How to be happy with yourself? First, you can decide today how your life is going to be like a year from now. You just need to make the decision to change. The decision is not enough though. The most important part of making any decision is to make a commitment to that decision. Your commitment will get you through the difficult times.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions during this time. I have never made New Year’s resolutions. Most New Year’s resolutions made by people only last about two weeks. By January 15th they have already quit on them. The reason is that they never committed to their resolutions.

New Years Resolutions

Let’s take the gym for example. Before COVID, you could find me in the gym almost every morning. Many people make a resolution to lose weight and at the beginning of January, the gym becomes very crowded. Normally, I could go through my workouts without any interference but not at the beginning of January. I don’t like the crowds but I only have to put up with them for the first two weeks. By then, most people have quit because it got too hard and they didn’t commit.

Don’t Follow The Crowd

Now that we’re in 2021 don’t be like most people. Begin today working on a new you. Start carving out the life that you want to live and stop listening to the opinion of others. Read your goals and begin working on your plan. I’m a better person today because of the decision I made last year and the commitment I made to that decision. It wasn’t easy and in fact, it was very hard at times. Stretching my comfort zone was difficult and I wanted to quit several times.

Keep Working

I just kept working on my plan even on days that I didn’t want to. I kept speaking what I wanted and not what I had. Celebrating the small victories was a big help. I made productive use of each day and always moved forward. Some days I made giant leaps and others, small steps. When I fell I always fell forward. The most important thing I did was persevere by focusing on the WHY.

How to be happy with yourself? Go make the next year your year! You’ve made your decision and committed to that decision. Your goals are set and you have a solid plan. You have a WHY that is big and emotional. Hopefully, it scares you. You know nothing’s going to get in your way and you will overcome all obstacles. Persevere and NEVER QUIT!

Cites

Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@cajugos

Qualities Of A Good Leader

Some people follow, others just get in the way, but leaders lead. No mission is accomplished without good leaders and leadership. Being a good leader is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. Good leaders are few and far between. Many people are referred to as leaders yet exhibit no qualities of a good leader.

The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Don’t follow the crowd. Let the crowd follow you.
~ Margaret Thatcher

Leadership is a choice, not a position.
~ Stephen Covey

Good Leader Qualities

You can be called a leader, but holding a title does not necessarily make you a good leader. A good leader is someone people will follow. They will perform above their abilities for that leader. Good leaders get subordinates to be better than their skill level. They build belief in people. If subordinates believe in their leader, they will begin to believe in their selves. Below are five qualities of a good leader.

  1. Humility
  2. Integrity
  3. Intelligence
  4. Innovation
  5. Decisive

The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.
~ Ronald Reagan

Good Leaders Are Humble

One of the first things I was taught, when I was training to be a military officer was to be humble. You have to take care of the troops. A good leader ensures that they take care of their subordinates. When addressing subordinates outside, the leader should always face the sun. A good leader is always first to arrive and the last to leave. They make sure all the subordinates’ needs are taken care of. Then they can take care of themselves.

Being a good listener is absolutely critical to being a good leader; you have to listen to the people who are on the front line.
~ Richard Branson

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.
~ Peter F. Drucker

Honesty

Another quality of a good leader is honesty and integrity. Lead by example and always do the right thing. The good leader stands up for what they believe. Telling the truth, no matter how dire the situation is, is paramount. I had a great leader tell me once, “Bad news never gets better with age.”

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Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or conclude you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.
~ Colin Powell

Educate

All good leaders are intelligent. They continue to read and educate themselves. Leaders are readers, and readers are leaders. A good leader develops his/her subordinates. They make sure the subordinates are prepared for the job, mission, etc. Even though it might be easier to perform a task themselves, they will delegate parts of the task to others. The delegation of tasks will develop leadership in others.

If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself, and the organization gets pulled up with you.
~ Indra Nooyi

Thinkers

Good leaders are innovative; they think outside the box. They keep an open mind and are always welcome to new ideas. The old ways of accomplishing the mission are not necessarily the best. They understand this concept. Leaders actively listen to everyone on their team.

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.
~ Jack Welch

Never Waver

A good leader is always decisive. They never want to leave their team in limbo. They always make a decision even if it’s not a popular choice. Leaders listen to different ideas from their team and then make the final decision. The decision is always based on what is best for the group as a whole. Not all decisions are the right ones. If their decision was wrong and they take responsibility. They regroup, reevaluate, and make another decision. They always learn from their failures.

Great leaders can see the greatness in others when they can’t see it themselves and lead them to their highest potential they don’t even know.
~ Roy T. Bennett

These are only five qualities of a good leader. There are many more qualities of true leadership. If you would like to add a quality you admire, please do so in the comments section. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like and follow my blog. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my articles.

Cites

https://unsplash.com/@capturedby_kiana

https://unsplash.com/@brookelark

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Happy July 4th 2021

Happy July 4th, 2021. In celebration of Independence Day, here in the United States, To celebrate Independence Day, here in the United States, I am reposting the story of 56 inspirational men who made a decision that changed the world.

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Today, July 4th, we will celebrate one of the greatest decisions ever made when 56 men signed their names to the Declaration of Independence. Most people know the story of this famous document that gave birth and freedom to a nation. What they don’t know is the events that led up to such a monumental decision by these men. The power behind this decision was not to be taken lightly. Each man was signing his own death warrant if they failed.

March 5, 1770

Everything began with a battle on the streets of Boston on March 5, 1770. The colonists resented the presence of armed British soldiers patrolling the streets and openly threatening them. Infuriated, the colonists began hurling stones at the soldiers. This resulted in the commanding officer ordering his men to, “Fix bayonets and charge!” The battle resulted in many men being killed and injured. Because of the incident, the Provincial Assembly called a meeting to take definite action. During the meeting, John Hancock and Samuel Adams bravely declared that all British soldiers must be ejected from Boston.

Adams was selected by the members to speak to the Governor. He requested a meeting and demanded the withdrawal of troops. The request was granted and the troops were removed. Even without the troops, issues remained. Adams and Richard Henry Lee began communicating frequently by letter about their concerns for the people. Adams then conceived the idea to coordinate the efforts of the 13 colonies through a mutual exchange of correspondence.

Two Years Later

Two years later in March 1772, Adams presented a motion to the Assembly that a Correspondence Committee be established by the colonies. This was the beginning of the organization of a power that gives us the freedom we enjoy today. This Correspondence Committee constituted the first organized planning of the disgruntled Colonists. The Colonists had been conducting disorganized resistance similar to what took place in the city of Boston. However, their individual grievances had never before been consolidated.

The newly appointed Governor of Massachusetts sent a messenger to Adams in order to get him to cease his actions. The messenger, Colonel Fenton, told Adams that if he stopped his activities in opposition of the Crown, he would receive great personal advantages. On the other hand, if he did not cease he would be sent to England and be tried for treason. Adams made his decision instantly. He told Fenton that he had, a long time ago, made his peace with the King of Kings. Therefore, no bribe would make him abandon the righteous cause of his Country.

The First Continental Congress

When the Governor received Adams’ answer, he was enraged. He issued a pardon to all who would lay down their arms and return to being peaceful subjects of the King. This pardon applied to all subjects except for Adams and Hancock. Upon hearing this, they were forced to call a secret meeting of their followers and locked the doors. They said it was imperative that a Congress of the Colonists be formed. No man should leave until they had made their decision.

Objections, doubt, and fear were raised by the men in the room. Some questioned the wisdom of such a definite decision defying the Crown. Through the influence of their minds, Adams and Hancock convinced the others to agree. Arrangements were made for a meeting of the First Continental Congress, on September 5, 1774, in Philadelphia. This is a particularly important date. If this meeting were never held, there wouldn’t have been a signing of the Declaration of Independence.

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First Continental Congress

Richard Henry Lee

Before the first meeting was held, Thomas Jefferson published his work, “Summary View of the Rights of British America.” Shortly after it was published, he was informed by the representative of the Crown in Virginia that he was subject to prosecution for high treason. These were men of great fortitude. They lacked authority, military strength, or power. Still, they sat and deliberated the destiny of the colonies while under the threat of death.

They continued to meet at intervals for two years. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee made this motion: “Gentlemen, I make the motion that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states, that they be absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved.” The members continued to discuss the issue for days until Lee addressed the Assembly once again by saying, “Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace, and of law.”

Declaration Of Independence

Shortly thereafter, John Hancock established a committee, chaired by Jefferson, to draw up a Declaration of Independence. The document was written and when accepted by Congress, would mean death to every man who signed it should the colonies lose the inevitable war to follow. The original draft was read before Congress on June 28 and for several days it was discussed and altered. On July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson read: “When in the course of human events it is necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impelled them to the separation….”

A Death Warrant

After Jefferson had finished reading, the document was voted on, accepted, and signed by the fifty-six men. Each man knowing that he was staking his own life by making the decision to sign his name. The rest is history. Happy July 4th 2021! May God Bless America.

Works Citied:

“Chapter 8 – Decision.” Think and Grow Rich: the Complete Classic Text, by Napoleon Hill, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2008, pp. 203–213.

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Intuition And The Gut-Brain Connection

Have you ever had a gut feeling about something and it turned out you are right? Did you wonder where that intuition came from? How and why do we trust these gut feelings or hunches? Today I want to finish up with Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. This is the 13th and final step towards riches he calls The Sixth Sense. I like to think of it as intuition and the gut-brain connection.

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Understanding Intuition And The Gut-Brain Connection

According to Hill, this 13th and last step towards riches is the process by which Infinite Intelligence communicates voluntarily with you. This happens without any effort from or demands by you. This step is not necessary to acquire wealth or change. By understanding the previous 12 steps you now have everything you need. You understand the process necessary to change your circumstances. By controlling your thoughts you have the power to shape your reality.

When Hill talks about a sixth sense, he isn’t talking about something magical. For instance, He is talking about your creative imagination through which you receive ideas, plans, and thoughts. These are sometimes called hunches, inspirations, or intuition. Writers call it their “Muse;” others call it their “Guardian Angel.”

The Meaning Of Intuition

In talking about intuition and the gut-brain connection we must understand what intuition is. Intuition is defined as a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning. In other words, it is a thought or feeling that just comes to you. It is not something that you asked for or you are thinking about at the time.

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Where Do We Find Intuition In The Brain

Scientists have discovered that intuition comes from the right hemisphere of the brain. More specifically, it is found in the cerebral cortex or cerebellum. Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist from the University of Iowa has even discovered the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is involved with intuition and the gut-brain connection.

Gut Feelings

Intuition has been proven time and time again. For example, author Malcolm Gladwell supports intuition in his book, Blink. He describes a case involving the Greek statue, “Kouros.” The statue was subjected to scientific tests which proved it to be authentic. In contrast, an archaeologist, museum director, and historians had that gut feeling that it wasn’t. In the end, several more tests proved the $10 million artifact to be fake.

Increase Your Connection

As you progress through the 12 steps you will feel your connection with the universe getting stronger. You will begin to notice these intuitions or hunches appearing more and more. There is a power, an Infinite Intelligence that makes everything work. It takes a tiny acorn and grows it into a mighty oak tree. It converts energy into matter to be formed into objects for our use. This Intelligence will aid you in transmuting your desires into reality.

God Winks

In previous articles, I have referred to these timely ideas, intuitions, and signs as “God Winks.” How do we know whether to act on these hunches or not? I don’t think there’s a scientific answer to this question. I believe there were also dark forces that attempt to keep us from achieving our desires. If the intuition is a “God Wink” it will produce a feeling of happiness inside you. There have been decisions I have made and ignored the dread I was feeling which never turned out to be good decisions. Every decision I ever made based on a gut feeling that made me happy worked out for me.

Do you have any experience with intuition? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments section.

Cites

“Intuition, Gut Feeling, and the Brain: Understanding Our Intuition.” Examined Existence, 9 Mar. 2018, examinedexistence.com/intuition-gut-feeling-and-the-brain-understanding-our-intuition/.

“The Sixth Sense” Think and Grow Rich: The Complete Classic Text, by Napoleon Hill, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2008, pp. 308-323.

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What Does Commitment Mean

I attended a webinar a couple of weeks ago hosted by Sean Croxton from his website, seancroxton.com. In the webinar, he talked about our limiting mindset when it comes to making money. Our brains protect us which can actually stop us from acquiring abundance. In Episode 43 I talk about the question; What does commitment mean?

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The Meaning Of Commitment

Our brain is wired to block us from change. This has happened to me several times when I decided to make a change. Has it ever happened to you that you decided to improve yourself and an assortment of negative things started happening? This is your brain blocking your change. Soon you will slip back into your old habits. Most New Year’s resolutions only last till January 14th. This is why gyms are crowded in January and empty out in February.

75% Of The Solution

The main thing I took away from the webinar was that most people don’t succeed when they try to make a change. The reason for this is that the decision to improve yourself is 25% of the solution. The other 75% is commitment. People simply make a decision but they don’t commit to that decision. If you don’t commit, then you will not be successful.

Relationships

In relationships, both people must be committed to making it work. Commitment is simply this, it’s 100%. You can’t expect to make a 99% commitment and be successful. It’s all or nothing. If you make your decision, you must commit to it. If you are not going to commit, then don’t make the decision. You will do yourself more harm mentally. Whenever I decided to lose weight and I committed to that decision, I could lose weight rather quickly. If I did not commit to that decision, I wasn’t successful and would beat myself up mentally.

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Taking A Punch

When you see a fight before the first punches are thrown both fighters have the same look on their face. They look stern, angry, and focused. When one of the fighters gets hit in the mouth, sometimes you will see a total change in their face. All the adrenaline and anger leaves their body. You can tell that they do not want to continue. This is because they made a decision to fight but weren’t committed to winning.

Our Conflicted Brain

It seems like an easy thing to commit to anything but for whatever reason, most people don’t do it. The reason has to do with your brain which is always in conflict. There are scientists who devote their lives to studying the brain and its many functions. I’m not one of them but I do read a lot and listen to these scientists.

The brain is made up of different parts and each part performs different functions. The main function of the brain is to protect us and keep us safe. It prefers balance. When you decide to make a change it creates a conflict. The way your brain handles this is that it’s wired to pull you back into your comfort zone. As long as you stay in your comfort zone, your brain perceives balance. This is why simply making a decision is not enough for success.

The Subconscious

You are probably all heard of the fight, flight, or freeze response to danger. Because your brain under stress operates on your subconscious, you don’t think about what you’re doing. You just react to the situation. Your subconscious thoughts are made up of your training and experience. On 9/11, you saw first responders run into the twin towers while everyone else was running away from them. The only way they could override the brain’s primary function of survival was to be committed to saving as many lives as they could.

A Big WHY

The best way to make a commitment is to have a big WHY. I’ve said this many times before and I will continue to beat this drum. If you have a WHY that is large and emotional, you can be or do anything you want. Your WHY is your commitment. You cannot have an emotional WHY and not be committed.

If you decide you want to lose weight, improve your relationship, or build wealth, commit to that decision. Think about WHY you want to do it. Is it because you want to prove all the naysayers wrong? Maybe you want to improve your health so you can be active with your family? Do you want the peace of mind that comes from being financially independent? Whatever your reason, make it big, and commit to it.

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Commit

Commit, commit, commit. It is only through your commitment to your decision to change that you will overcome the conflicts in your brain. Your thoughts from the past are why you are what you are today. The only way to make a change in yourself is to replace all of your old thoughts. Your old thoughts are probably limiting. Understand that we live in an unlimited universe and begin to think in unlimited terms.

Your commitment will allow you to overcome all the obstacles put in front of you by the universe and your own brain. It is only through commitment that success is possible. Commit and succeed.

The Importance Of Retirement Planning

I have been retired for seven years now and I enjoy every minute of it. I retired when I was 53 years old but could have (and should have) retired at the age of 50. There has been a lot to learn in my retirement. I can describe my retirement in one word, options. There are unlimited options for me now that I didn’t have when I worked for the government. I can be or do anything I want now. Today I want to discuss the importance of retirement planning.

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Planning For Retirement

When I was working, I attended a pre-retirement seminar a couple of years before I retired. We were allowed to request attendance five years before our minimum retirement date. At the end of the seminar, I wrote on my evaluation that it was great information. The only problem was we needed the information sooner. It was too late for a lot of people to do what was needed for a comfortable retirement. Here are five things to do for a comfortable retirement.

  1. Begin Planning Early.
  2. Develop Specialized Knowledge and Skills.
  3. Find a Good Financial Planner.
  4. Begin Saving Early.
  5. Pay off Your Mortgage.

Begin Planning For Retirement Early

When I started my career I was 23 years old. Two things that I never thought were going to happen back then were: I would retire; I would get old. When you’re young you never think about getting old but it is inevitable. It happens to all of us. Importance of retirement planning is crucial. Starting your career is when you should start planning for your retirement. Begin thinking about what you want to do and how you want to live when that day finally comes.

Beginning your plan early will allow you to adjust to everything life throws your way. Sometimes life throws you the good things, marriage, children, etc. Other times the bad things death, injury, sickness, etc. Good things and bad will affect your retirement. By planning for the future early in your career you can minimize the impact.

Specialized Skills And Knowledge In Retirement

During my 30 year career, I developed certain skills and knowledge. After I retired I learned that most of my skills and knowledge didn’t transfer to my new life. If you have generalized skills and knowledge, you will learn that everyone is retired with the same skills. There’s a lot of competition. Finding your niche will help you stand out against the competition. I suggest that you research throughout your career skills that are needed in the private sector. Take courses and study those skills to gain the knowledge that you need.

A Financial Planner Is Important

Find a good financial planner. Unless you are an expert on finances you will need a financial planner. They can help you make the right decisions with your money. This will allow you to keep as much money as you can before retirement. It is a big change to go from knowing a check is coming every two weeks to a smaller check once a month. You will need to supplement your retirement with other sources of income if you want to maintain your current lifestyle.

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Save Early And Often

Begin saving as early as you can. The earlier you begin the more money you will have in retirement. I always put money into my Thrift Savings Account, which is the government 401(k). If I had to do it over again I would maximize my contributions. In retirement, you can use your savings to supplement your retirement. I withdraw a certain amount every month. Because the stock market has done so well, my savings have increased.

Saving early is probably the most important thing you can do. I recommend setting a goal for the amount of money you want to save before retirement. For me, the best thing was having it withdrawn from my paycheck and placed into my account. Out of sight, out of mind. Since I never saw the money it was like it never existed. My savings account would grow every two weeks without me doing anything.

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Eliminate That Big Debt

Pay off your mortgage. My mortgage is my biggest expense as it is for most people. Since I transferred a lot during my career I was not able to pay off my last mortgage. I bought houses and sold houses; made and lost money. If I had stayed in one location, in the same house, I wouldn’t have to worry about a mortgage now. I think about what I could do in the places I could go if I didn’t have a mortgage. If at all possible, pay off your mortgage before you retire.

These are just five things I wish I had known before retirement. One can’t overstate the importance of retirement planning. I am not an expert on retirement or financial planning. I hope that you will begin thinking about retirement now that you are young and not wait until it’s too late. Do your research, make a plan, and find a financial planner to help you. Always remember to start saving early.

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