The Bridge to Tomorrow

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Do you know where you will be in five years?

What will your life be like, five years from today?

What would you like your life to look like five years from today?

If you don’t know where you are going, the path to take really doesn’t matter.

In my research of the rich and the poor, the poor did not do much, if any planning, for their future.

The reason?

They were not very optimistic about their future. And that was because they possessed some negative beliefs that held them back in life.

In particular, they did not believe they were in control of the circumstances of their life.

That’s too bad because, as my research showed, poor people can become self-made millionaires. In fact, 41% of the self-made millionaires in my study were raised in poverty.

And my research is validated by famous poor people:

  • Oprah Winfrey was raised poor.
  • Ben Carson, renowned neuro-surgeon, former Presidential candidate and Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development federal agency, rose from poverty.
  • Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, was poor.

I could spend the rest of my life writing books about poor people who became millionaires – there are so many!

So, how do poor people rise from poverty?

They start by creating a vision of their ideal, future lives.

Sometimes this vision is in writing – a script that paints a picture with words about what their future lives will be.

Sometimes this vision is represented by pictures of the things they want in life.

And sometimes this vision is just inside their minds.

The next step in the process, is to build a bridge that will take them from poverty to wealth.

This bridge almost always involves changing their habits:

  • They forge the Rich Habit of Reading to Learn. This gives them knowledge that will help them become virtuosos in some field, industry or profession.
  • The forge the Rich Habit of Deliberate Practice. They develop skills and then practice those skills every day, until they become virtuosos in some field, industry or profession.
  • The forge the Rich Habit of Building Rich Relationships. They surround themselves with other success-minded, upbeat visionaries, like themselves.
  • They forge the Rich Habit of Saving Money. You can’t invest what you don’t have. They save money by living below their means and then, at some point, they invest that money wisely. This almost always requires that they take some calculated risk.
  • They forge the Rich Habit of Formal Education.  They go to college, grad school, obtain Phd’s, etc. This usually requires that they incur Good Debt – debt that is an investment in themselves.
  • The forge the Rich Habit of Dream-Setting. They pursue some dream.
  • They forge the Rich Habit of Finding a Success Mentor in life. Success mentors teach you what to do and what not to do. They guide you along the right path in life by showing you what to read, how to develop skills and how to practice so that you can perfect those skills.

The path from poverty to wealth is never an easy one. But the one thing all self-made millionaires have in common is a bridge – they build a bridge that takes them from the Today Me to the Tomorrow Me.

That bridge, however, is not built by bricks, mortar or steel. It is built by habits.

Finding Inspiration

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Some days you’re the fly and some days your the windshield.

I love that quote because it really does a great job highlighting the fact that life is one big roller coaster ride.

There are days when everything seems to go your way. And there are days when everything goes against you.

It’s easy to feel upbeat and inspired when things are going right but it’s very difficult when things are going wrong.

So, when things are going wrong, how do you find inspiration to keep moving forward?

This is really all about maintaining a positive mental outlook on life. When something goes wrong, those with a positive mental outlook are able to grind it out and power through because they believe that right around the corner, things will get better.

So, the real question is:

How do you maintain a positive mental outlook?

This is a habit. It takes daily practice. There are certain daily rituals that you can employ to keep you positive:

  • Morning Daily Exercise – No matter how bad your day turns, you can always reflect on the fact that at least you did something good for yourself – you exercised. I use this positivity technique all the time when things are going against me. I say, “well at least I ran four miles today.” And I immediately feel better about myself and my day because at least one thing, one thing I control, went right.
  • Help Someone – Doing something that improves the life of another person just makes you feel good about yourself. So, if your day is going badly, do something good for someone else.
  • Call an Upbeat Friend – When life is throwing pots and pans at you, take a break and call someone you know who is upbeat and positive. They will invariably say something that will make you feel better.
  • Look at Family Pictures – If you’re a parent, this is an easy one. When your day is going badly, pull out some pictures of your children. Think about all you’ve done for them. Focus on the goodness within each child. You will immediately feel better about your day. This is really big picture stuff.  It forces you outside your narrow daily woes and allows you to consider the big picture – that these bad days have a purpose – to help you raise your children.

There are many other ways to find inspiration when things are going wrong. These just happen to be in my tool belt. But you may have other things in your life that make you smile, no matter what wrenches life tosses along your path. Find them and use them.

Your Thoughts Create Your Habits

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When your thoughts are negative, you create Poor Habits.

When your thoughts are positive, you create Rich Habits.

For example, if you are envious or greedy of the things other people have, this can lead to several Poor Habits:

  • Theft – Stealing from others who have more so that you can have what they have.
  • Cheating – Breaking the rules in order to get what you want.
  • Lying – Saying whatever you need to say in order to get your way.
  • Gossip – Stabbing others in the back with your words in order to help move you forward or make you look better.

If, however, you are grateful for what you have, this can lead to several Rich Habits:

  • Saving Money – Because you are happy with what you have, you don’t feel you need more, so you save.
  • Reduced Spending – Once again, because you are happy with what you have, you don’t cave into the consumerist demands of society and, thus, spend less money.
  • Charity – Because you are happy with what you have, you are able to a portion of your excess income to help others who are more in need.

Be careful of your thoughts. Your thoughts create the habits that you have. When your thoughts are bad, your habits will be bad. When your thoughts are good, your habits will be good.

Cascade Events

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The end game of grinding it out in pursuit of some dream is success.

That grind can take many years. So, what keeps self-made millionaires in the game, until success materializes?

Cascade Events.

Cascade Events are those little victories that take place during the grinding out phase.

Cascade Events give you a small window, through which you are able to peer, that inspire and motivate you. They provide momentary hope that you are on the right path and that, eventually, true success is just a matter of time.

Without Cascade Events, most would give up, quit on their dream, and never realize ultimate success. Cascade Events keep you in the game.

This is why, I believe, it is critical to maintain a running list of all of your victories in the form of a Victory Log. The Victory Log reminds you how far along you’ve come.

This is also why, I believe, it is critical to craft a hypothetical Victory Log, or Dreamer Victory Log.

The Dreamer Victory Log acts like a compass. It helps provide clarity by highlighting the dream victories you hope to achieve. These very specific dream victories are future victory goals you hope to realize during the grinding out phase. The Dreamer Victory Log sets the stage for the future victories you desire.

And this keeps you on task. It helps to push you along, from victory to victory. Until, ultimately, you arrive at your destination – the realization of your dream.

Cascade Events, those small wins that occur during the pursuit of your dream, are minor turning points that let you know you are on the right path.

Cascade Events are evidence that something worked – some activity, some new habit, some intuitive thinking, something tangible which created the victory. They are your little “Ah Ha” moments.

These “Ah Ha” moments then allow you to create processes around what worked, helping you to produce more future wins which ultimately lead to the realization of your dream.

Each Cascade Event propels you up and forward, closer and closer to the realization of your dream.

Cascade Events, those small victories you experience during the pursuit of your dream, let you know that you are indeed figuring things out – that you are moving in the right direction, that you are winning and that the grind is worth it.

The Lottery Mindset

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Some people love to read stories about lottery winners. Those stories offer an escape from life; a little excursion where you can fantasize about becoming an instant millionaire.

But when you peel the onion, the fantasy about winning the lottery is all about instant gratification, instant rewards and instant wealth, without any of the hardship.

Winning the lottery means no effort, no hard work and no adversity.

If you have ever read any of those lottery-winner stories, one common thread is that hardly any of the winners are CEOs, senior executives, entrepreneurs, professionals or other successful types.

Why?

Because successful people do not have a lottery mindset.

What is the lottery mindset?

It is the idea that there is a shortcut to wealth; that it is possible to become instantly wealthy by virtue of good luck.

The problem is, those who have the lottery mindset are not living in reality. The lottery mindset is a fantasy that very few realize.

In the 25-year history of the Iowa Lottery, for example, only 110 people won $1 million or more. That equates to about 4 millionaire-lottery winners a year. In 2006, there were 50,529 millionaires in Iowa. If you do the math, only about .0079% of all Iowa millionaires are, therefore, lottery winners. Not a very promising path to wealth.

But this lottery mindset is not just about the lottery. It’s about embracing uneducated risk or speculating with your money.

The recent masses jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon, have a lottery mindset. Those who regularly gamble, have a lottery mindset. Those who invest in start-ups they know little to nothing about, have a lottery mindset.

The lottery mindset brainwashes you into believing that there is an easier path towards wealth. One in which you are not required to do the heavy lifting, almost all success requires.

Those who embrace the lottery mindset do not pursue their dreams. They do not set goals. They do not step outside their comfort zone. They do not engage in self-improvement which results in expert knowledge or expert skills. Knowledge and skills which transforms you into a virtuoso at what you do, thus leading to success and wealth.

Those with a lottery mindset also do not understand the true path towards success.

What is the true path towards success?

Success requires work. Success requires effort. Success requires sacrifice. Success requires daily self-improvement. Success requires deliberate practice. Success requires relentless persistence.

But, ultimately, success requires adopting habits that lead to success. And those habits are always learned. They are learned either the easy way or the hard way.

They easy way is through success mentors. Success mentors teach you what to do and what not to do. They help smooth out the potholes along your chosen path. They help you avoid mistakes that can cost you time and money. They help you avoid failure. They help open doors that are closed to everyone else. They help direct you and guide you every step of the way, along your steady march towards success.

The hard way is in the white hot fires of grinding it out, reading to learn, daily practice, adversity, experimentation, mistakes and overcoming obstacles.

Those little things, my Rich Habits, are the byproduct of figuring out what to do and what not to do.

There are no shortcuts in life to accumulating wealth and realizing success. That’s the real secret to becoming rich, if there is one.

The lottery mindset is a dead end, a fantasy. It’s a cop-out for those who are simply unwilling to find success mentors or unwilling to do the heavy lifting success requires.

 

Toxic People Are Stress Transporters

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“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”― Oscar Wilde

One of the clear signs of a toxic person is stress. Toxic people distribute stress, infecting those they come into contact with.

Their lives are replete with drama, affecting everyone they come into contact with.

They are like mail carriers, except what they deliver is stress in the form of financial problems, relationship problems, anxiety, unhappiness, negativity, emergencies and, in general, problems.

Stress is one of the major contributors to disease. When you are infected with stress by a toxic person, that stress stays long after the toxic person has departed.

If you surround yourself with toxic, negative people, you are allowing yourself to swim in a pool of stress, negatively impacting your health.

Conversely, positive people are not carriers of stress. In fact, positive people help to remove or subdue stress, improving your outlook and your health.

This is one of the reasons why successful, happy, healthy and upbeat people avoid associating with toxic people – they know that toxic people are harmful.

Make a habit of only associating with upbeat, positive, success-minded people and you will be rewarded with a happy, healthy, stress-free live.

How Committed Are You?

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When you pursue a dream you will very quickly learn that every step of the way, especially in the early going, obstacles, challenges, pitfalls, mistakes, false assumptions, unexpected consequences and unmet expectations are constant bedfellows.

All of those things are known by one word – adversity.

Adversity exists for two core reasons:

#1 Reason: Adversity Forces You To Grow – Adversity requires that you become expert in your knowledge (reading to learn every day) and your actions (daily deliberate practice), which eventually transforms you into a Virtuoso in what you do. Through this growth, you become transformed into a new person – the person you need to be in order to realize your dream. When you realize your dream, you are a success. Wealth typically follows, but wealth is just a byproduct of realizing a dream.

#2 Reason: Adversity Tests Your Commitment – Dreamers who eventually succeed all share one thing in common – a fanatical commitment in pursuing and realizing their dream. This commitment often takes many years. It consumes you. You think about your dream and the goals behind your dream every waking moment and even, oftentimes, in your dreams. Those who are truly committed are able to shake off mistakes, failures, unmet expectations and unexpected consequences. The are able to power through pitfalls and obstacles. The truly committed simply refuse to quit, no matter how difficult the journey might be. Eventually, their unrelenting commitment results in good luck – the truly committed eventually get lucky. Opportunity good luck is a byproduct of the truly committed.

The truly committed overcome adversity. Adversity tests the commitment of dreamers.

So, how committed are you to your dream? Will you do whatever it takes to realize your dream? Will you pursue your dream every day?

Dramatically Reduce Disease By Changing These Daily Habits

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Your body is amazing. It has an intuitive ability to heal itself. However, when the body is overwhelmed with toxins, it enters a state of imbalance. Once this imbalance becomes too great, disease results.

The world’s leading health organizations have stated that 95% of all cancer is diet and environment-related.

There is growing scientific and medical evidence that the rise in cancer and other diseases is the result of certain manufactured toxins and the side effects of prescription and non-prescription drugs.

A book titled The Rain Barrel Effect, by Dr. Stephen Cabral, does an excellent job opening your eyes to the omnipresence of toxins that we consume or are exposed to every day. I highly recommend this book. Dr. Cabral is medical doctor with a second Doctorate in Naturopathy (aka Alternative Medicine).

I spent five years studying the habits of 361 people in and learned that there are habits that create wealth, cause poverty, improve relationships, damage relationships, improve health, damage your health and also discovered habits that increase or decrease happiness. I documented over 340 habits in my Rich Habits Study and I’ve shared many of the most important habits in my books: Rich Habits, Rich Kids, Change Your Habits Change Your Life and Rich Habits Poor Habits.

Now I’d like to share with you a list of habit changes that will remove toxins and disease from your body:

  • Short Showers – Chlorine is added to water by water treatment facilities to reduce the presence of bacteria in water. That water then comes out of our tap and shower. While chlorine does help eliminate bacteria from the water, which is good, it also, once consumed, wipes out the good bacteria in our gut. Chlorine has also been linked to low thyroid, which weakens the immune system. Worse, chlorine becomes a vapor as the hot water evaporates from your shower. As a gas, chlorine is more dangerous, since it can then enter directly into your bloodstream through your lungs, as you breath it in while taking a shower. The solution is to reduce the amount of chlorine you are exposed to by taking short showers. Habit Solution: Take short showers
  • Filtered Water and Non-Fluoride Toothpaste – In 1914 Fluoride was added to toothpaste and water to help in reducing cavities. Fluoride is a recognized poison. At 4 mg per liter of water, Fluoride will cause death. The U.S. Government, therefore limits the amount of Fluoride that can be added to water to 0.7 mg per liter of water. The problem is that, over time, we are slowly poisoning our bodies and, thus, damaging our bodies, causing various diseases. Fluoride is toxic to thyroid cells by causing your thyroid gland to replace iodine with Fluoride. Iodine nourishes your thyroid gland. the presence of Fluoride confuses the thyroid gland, which misinterprets it for iodine, thus blocking the need for iodine, which ultimately damages the thyroid gland, over time. Habit Solutions: Drink filtered water with filters that remove Fluoride and use toothpaste that does not include Fluoride. 
  • Avoid Mercury – Heavy metals, such as mercury, are found in common items such as contact lens solutions, nasal sprays, pesticides, fertilizers, cavity fillings and fish you eat (bad fish:tuna, swordfish, shark, tilefish and bluefish). Mercury damages the brain, immune system and is toxic to the body. Habit Solutions: Use contact lens solutions and nasal sprays that do not include mercury. Avoid contact with pesticides and fertilizers that contain mercury. Find a dentist who does not use metal filings for cavities or who can remove and replace the metal filings you have. Avoid eating bad fish and consume good fish. 
  • Avoid Aluminum – Aluminum damages the nervous system which can cause Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers and it also damages DNA, which can result in cancer. Aluminum is found in antiperspirants, cosmetics, antacids, cans, aluminum foil, and cookware. Habit Solutions: Do not cook your food in aluminum foil, use antiperspirants, cosmetics, antacids and cookware that does not include aluminum.
  • Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) – GMO foods are man-made in a laboratory by inserting new genes into the DNA of current food crops and farm-raised fish. Their purpose is to withstand high levels of pesticide spray. GMO foods lead to prostrate, colon and other types of cancer. GMOs are prevalent in corn, beets, canola oil, zucchini, squash, flax, corn syrup, certain sweeteners, vegetable oil, butter and salmon. Habit Solutions: Eat non-GMO organic food and engage in intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting means not eating for 16 hours. This is not as impossible as it seems. All you have to do is not eat anything from 8pm until lunchtime the following day. Thirty percent of all of the energy we take in every day is used for digestion. Intermittent fasting allows your body to utilize 100% of its available energy stores during this 16 hour period, to remove toxins from the body.
  • Avoid Foods With Preservatives – Preservative are added to meat and other processed foods in order to prevent rotting and extend shelf-life. Preservatives cause cancer, asthma, allergies, nausea, diarrhea, premature births, hyperactivity, headaches, weight gain and neurological problems. Commonly-used preservatives that are added to foods include sulfites, nitrates, MSG, sodium benzoate, propyl gallate, aspartame, butylated hydroxytoluene and phosphoric acid. Habit Solution: Avoid foods that contain preservatives, cut back on meats or eat grass-fed beef and engage in intermittent fasting for the reasons stated above.
  • Do Not Microwave With Plastic or Drink From Plastic Water Bottles – Plastics are considered the #1 toxin in the body. Plastic causes cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, chronic bronchitis, ulcers, skin diseases, deafness, vision failure, indigestion, and liver dysfunction. Habit Solutions: It’s hard to avoid plastic but at least you can try. Avoid microwaving your food in plastics and do not drink water out of any plastic containers. Use glass or ceramic containers instead.

There is much more. I am merely scratching the surface. That is why I recommend you read The Rain Barrel Effect. It will inform and educate. That newfound wisdom will give you and your family a fighting chance to live a healthy, long, disease-free life.

Most diseases are merely your body’s response to imbalance – an overload of toxins that it is desperately trying to fight and eliminate. When your rain barrel gets overloaded, however, disease happens.

What you can do is simply try your best to empty your rain barrel of as many toxins as possible by forging certain Rich Habits. This will give your body a fighting chance to remove toxins and keep you and your loved-ones healthy.

The Potpourri of Success

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Richard Branson is a nice guy. His employees enjoy working with him. He is a pleasure to be around.

Steve Jobs, not so much. He wasn’t a nice person and his employees, while in awe of him, found him difficult to work with.

Peter McKay, a well-known multi-millionaire in New Jersey, was generous to everyone he met.

Andrew Carnegie, at one time the wealthiest person in America, was tight-fisted and frugal with everyone.

Woodrow Wilson was the only President of the United States with a Phd.

Abraham Lincoln, another American President, grew up very poor, was raised in a log cabin built by his father and had less than twelve months of formal education.

There is no boilerplate when it comes to success. And this is a good thing. It’s a good thing because it means success is possible for anyone who wants it, no matter your personality, education, lack of education or economic upbringing.

If a poor boy raised in a log cabin, with very limited formal education can grow up to become President of the United States, well, pretty much anything is possible.

All that is required is the ability to dream and then taking action on your dreams. Do not let fear, doubt or any limiting beliefs stop you from pursuing your dream. You are much more than you ever imagined yourself to be.

Define the Rewards

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Why pursue goals? What benefits will you derive from realizing a goal?

Every goal you decide to pursue must have tangible rewards. Rewards are the fruits of your labors. Rewards create clarity of vision.

When you can visualize the rewards for every goal, you emotionalize the goal. You engage your limbic system, the command and control center of your emotions.

Emotionalized goals empower you. They give you the motivation and energy to overcome adversity. When you are able to emotionalize a goal, obstacles, pitfalls and mistakes will not stand in your way of achieving your goals.

Emotionalized goals create persistence. Persistence creates consistency of action. Consistency of action creates progress. Progress = self-improvement and changes who you are.

Why are you pursuing any of your goals?

Visualizing the rewards unleashes the innate powers of achievement that reside inside each one of us, making us unstoppable.