What Shall We Paint Today?

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Each new day brings with it new opportunities. Everything is in the past. All that matters is what you do today.

Will you do the same things you did yesterday? Or, today, will you do something different?

  • Will you take a risk on a dream today?
  • Will you finally start to exercise today?
  • Will you allow yourself to fall in love today?
  • Will you try to make a new friend today?
  • Will you begin writing “that book” today?
  • Will you start that business, you always talk about, today?
  • Will you start saving money today for the things that are important to you?
  • Will you stop procrastinating today on that thing you’ve been putting off?
  • Will you call an old friend today?

Today is the day. Will you take that one baby step towards changing your life, today?

Value Habits

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Habits always have a beginning. In most cases, that beginning is childhood – mirroring the habits of your parents.

But, as you get older, as you escape the influence of your parents, you forge habits through your associations – friends, co-workers, spouses, mentors, etc.

But the most powerful source of habits are your values – things you care about and which are very important to you:

  • Vanity – If you care about the way you look, you will develop habits that improve your appearance. You might exercise to tone up your muscles, eat less to keep the weight off, take very good care of your teeth by flossing and brushing your teeth often. Those are good habits. But, you might also form bad habits, such as spending too much money on clothes, shoes, makeup.
  • Strong Relationships – If you value relationships, you’ll develop habits that allow you to improve or maintain your relationships. This might include regular phone calls, sending cards, good listening skills, compassion, etc.
  • Money – If you value money, you might develop habits such as a strong work ethic, building relationships with influential individuals, saving, frugality, etc.
  • Happiness – If you value happiness you might develop habits that help keep you happy. This might include doing something for a living you love, such as writing, painting, music, teaching, etc. It might also include developing relationships with other happy, upbeat people and avoiding toxic, negative people.
  • Knowledge – If you value knowledge you might develop habits that help improve your knowledge. This might include furthering your education by getting a college or graduate degree, reading to learn every day, writing, speaking, etc.
  • Good Health – If you value good health you might develop habits that maintain or improve your health. This might include daily exercise, eating healthy, avoiding drugs or alcohol, etc.

As you get older, your values begin to drive your habits. If you have good values, you will develop good habits. If you have bad values, you will develop bad habits.

Your New Life

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Your current life is the result of the person you believe yourself to be right now. All of your behavior, your habits, your thinking, your job, the house you own, the car you drive, the money in your bank account and the people you associate with, reflect the person you believe yourself to be right now.

If you want your life to change, you must first change who you believe yourself to be. You must look into the future and see the ideal future you.

Where do you begin?

You begin by asking yourself one simple question:

Who do I want to be?

Everything you’ve done up until now, is in the past. In a real sense, everything in the past becomes irrelevant. All that matters is what you do today, tomorrow and in the future. 

When you define your new identity, you make change possible. Your subconscious goes to work in an effort to change your life to reflect your new identity.  Who you are today slowly begins to morph into who you believe yourself to be.

Your habits begin to change, the people you associate with begin to change, your thinking begins to change, your beliefs begin to change and your goals begin to change.

Example

If the new you, your new identity, is thin and muscular, your subconscious will go to work to help nudge you in the right direction. It will whisper in your ear:

  • Get out of bed and go for a jog.
  • Get off the couch and go to the gym.
  • Eat vegetables, not donuts.
  • Drink water, not beer.
  • Make friends with Anna (a lean, muscular person in your neighborhood).

It all starts with defining your new identity. That’s the first domino piece that sets everything else in motion. Who you believe yourself to be is who you will become.

This is Why Self-Made Millionaires Exercise Aerobically

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Exercise, specifically aerobic exercise (jogging, running, etc.), has well-known beneficial effects on the body and the mind. These benefits are so profound, it’s a mystery to those in the medical community why everyone doesn’t exercise every day.

Aerobic exercise, through various studies, has been shown to eliminate Type II Diabetes, dramatically lower high blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, reduce anxiety and depression, boost the immune system and so many other things.

But if the health benefits don’t flip the switch for you, how about the competitive advantages?

Those who have forged the habit of exercising aerobically have tremendous competitive advantages over those who don’t:

  • Higher IQ
  • Better Long-Term and Short-Term Memory
  • Faster Recall of Facts
  • 20% More Energy
  • Greater Willpower
  • Higher Self-Confidence

All of these things give you a leg up over others when it comes to success and wealth creation.

There are many studies that document the health and competitive advantages of daily aerobic exercise:

  • Carl Cotmon, neuroscientist at University of California, Irvine.
  • Rusty Gage, researcher at SALK Institute.
  • Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center.
  • Robert Ziltzer, MD & US National Library of Medicine.
  • Scientists from University of Guelph.
  • Scotland University of Edinburgh & Netherlands Radboud University.
  • University of Kentucky researchers.
  • National Institutes of Health.
  • University of Jyvaskyla, Finland Study.
  • Joint longitudinal (long-term) study by UCLA Medical Center & University of Pittsburgh.
  • Fred Gage, California Neuroscientist rat study.
  • Cyrus Raji, MD, PhD, University of California.
  • Cardiovascular Health Study.
  • Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, Neurocore Brain Performance Center & affiliate staff at John Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Specifically, here’s what these researchers discovered about aerobic exercise:

  1. Aerobic exercise doubles the amount of brain fuel. Jogging literally adds a second type of brain fuel called ketones. Normally, your body will seek out glucose as its primary source of fuel. When you engage in an hour or more of aerobic activity, your body will run out of glucose. Once exhausted, it turns to fat, breaking it down into ketones, a last resort fuel for the body and the brain. Other studies have found that ketones provide 15-20% more fuel. Ketones, as a fuel, are more efficient and provide more energy than glucose. So, aerobic exercise not only helps you shed fat, it also increases energy.
  2. Aerobic exercise increases the number of new brain cells that are produced in the dentate gyrus, thus increasing your capacity to learn new things.
  3. Aerobic exercise decrease the build up of beta-amyloid plaques. These plaques build up over time and are a trademark of Alzheimers. So, daily aerobic exercise reduces the prospect of getting Alzheimers.
  4. Aerobic exercise increases the production of a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). BDNF acts like Miracle Gro for the brain. It not only feeds new brain cells, it also feeds existing brain cells, making them stronger. Lastly, BDNF strengthens synapses, the connections between all brain cells.
  5. Aerobic exercise strengthens the immune system, reducing the incidence of illness, disease and infections.
  6. Aerobic exercise improves long-term potentiation, also knows as long-term memory.
  7. Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain, providing the brain with more oxygen enriched blood. The brain uses oxygen to convert glucose or ketones to ATP and also as a sponge, to soak up the free radicals within brain cells. So aerobic exercise results in healthier brains.

If you want to succeed, you must build a solid foundation for success. Daily aerobic exercise helps you build that foundation and it gives you more brain power to think your way out of problems so you can overcome the many obstacles that stand between you and your dreams.

Curiosity is a Rich Habit

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Albert Einstein had it. So did Thomas Edison, Nicola Tesla, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and many other historical greats who we now consider geniuses.

Curiosity leads to new discoveries and innovation. Those who practice the Curiosity Rich Habit every day go on to achieve amazing things in life and in the process make themselves very wealthy. 

Curiosity is a Rich Habit because it is the precursor to learning and growth. Those who possess the Curiosity Rich Habit never stop learning and, thus, never stop growing.

When I discovered this common trait among the millionaires in my Rich Habit Study, I adopted it. I developed two processes, two tools, to help me build my Curiosity Rich Habit:

Fact Binder

Every day I add new facts that I uncover in my daily reading. This forces me to become curious about acquiring new knowledge.

I separated these facts into categories, or topics, that allow me to add new facts to the summary sheets for each category. Here are just a few of my categories:

  • Current Year Facts – Each year I list certain facts specific to a year, such as the winners of major sporting events, current heads of government, major events that occur (hurricanes, earthquakes, scientific discoveries, etc.).
  • Summary Facts – I summarize the most historically significant facts, such as the 10 Amendments, important Supreme Court decisions, athletic firsts, longest rivers, etc.
  • History – I document significant historical facts, such as the make up of the U.S. Constitution, the Louisiana Purchase, a list of all of the Presidents of the U.S., etc.
  • Studies – I have over 300 studies that I’ve read. I document the most significant ones in this section.
  • Wealth/Poverty – I document facts surrounding wealth and poverty.

Problems/Ideas Binder

Here I document everyday problems I observe in daily living. I also document certain ideas that pop into my head: ideas for future books, solutions to everyday problems, business ideas, article ideas, etc.

Curiosity forces awareness and awareness, in turn, feeds your curiosity. Successful, wealthy individuals have these two Rich Habits: Curiosity and Awareness. Both force you to grow and continuous growth is a prerequisite for success.

Low Self-Confidence Damages Your Health

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Confidence and health are joined at the hip. High levels of confidence lead to better health and low levels of confidence impair your health.

Low confidence leads to negative thinking: worry, fear, doubt and pessimism. Sustained negative thinking ultimately gives rise to chronic stress.

When you suffer from chronic stress, there is a domino effect of physiology that takes place inside your body.

With normal, short-term stress, the hypothalamus increases the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones make the heart beat faster and prepare the body for fight or flight.

If the stress lingers, however, a gene on chromosome 10, called CYP17, is activated. This gene goes to work to convert cholesterol to cortisol. One of cortisol’s side effects is that it depresses the immune system by reducing the production of lymphocytes – white blood cells. The gene CYP17 also turns on another gene called TCF, which suppresses the production of a protein called interleukin 2. Interleukin 2’s purpose is to put white blood cells on high alert. White blood cells are your body’s main defense against viruses, diseases, germs and any parasites that infect the body.

Lack confidence leads to negative thinking, which leads to chronic stress and this makes you more susceptible to disease, viruses and infections.

How To Boost Your Confidence

I studied 233 millionaires and 128 people struggling with poverty. I uncovered over 300 daily habits that can help you live a happy, healthy, successful life. Here are a few of the confidence-boosting Rich Habits I discovered in my five-year study:

  • Daily Learning – Read to learn every day. This reading should be directly related to your chosen field. The more knowledge you acquire, the more confidence you will become on the job.
  • Deliberate Practice – Some professions require daily deliberate practice. Deliberate practice may be both physical – swinging a golf club a certain way, and thinking – reviewing facts and information related to your profession. Deliberate practice boosts your confidence.
  • Daily Exercise – Exercising every day will help you lose weight, look trim and health and this helps to boost your confidence.
  • Overcome Obstacles – Confronting obstacles are a part of life. If you make a habit of surrendering to obstacles, this will impair your confidence. If you make a habit of overcoming obstacles, this will boost your confidence.
  • Attack Fear – Fear holds most back from taking action. If, however, you take on an activity that has you riddled with fear, you will find that your fear was exaggerated. When you engage in activities that frighten you, this will boost your confidence.
  • Do Good – When you help improve the lives of those around you, this makes you feel like you are adding value to the lives of others and will boost your confidence. Volunteer at community non-profit groups.
  • Find Apostles – Surround your self with upbeat, success-minded people. When you surround yourself with the right people, they will encourage and support you. Their positive influence on you will help boost your confidence.
  • Be Responsive – Return phone calls, emails, text messages. Not doing so will cause you to subconsciously worry that you are impairing your relationships. Remove that worry and you will boost your confidence.

The Awareness Habit

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Sir Isaac Newton

Newton had an apple tree just outside his kitchen. He would periodically sit under that tree, just thinking. One day, Newton became aware of an apple that fell from the tree and the theory of gravity was born, transforming physics. Awareness made that happen.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was sitting in a coffee shop one afternoon. He noticed many people typing away at his Mac computers. He also noticed that the opened laptops displayed an upside down Apple logo. He finished his coffee, went back to Apple’s headquarters and instructed his designers to turn the Apple logo upside down so that when the Apple computer monitor was in the open position, everyone would see the Apple logo, right side up. Awareness made that happen.

Travis Kalanick

Kalanick had trouble hailing a cab one day. He wondered why hailing a cab was not easier. Uber was born. Awareness made that happen.

Benjamin Franklin

Franklin ran a print shop in Philadelphia. He wondered why the work produced in the morning was inferior to the work produced in the afternoon, which lead to a loss in profits. So he watched his workers in the morning and in the afternoon. It was common, in those days for individuals to drink beer with their breakfast, instead of water. Franklin removed all of the beer from his print shop and replaced it with spring water. Immediately, the quality of the morning print jobs improved, which led to higher profits. Awareness made that happen.

Watch what people around you are doing. Most likely, they will be tapping away at their cell phones, completely unaware of what’s going on all around them.

What a shame.

The first Rich Habit is Awareness. Awareness opens your eyes to the world around you. It allows you to see opportunities. And opportunities are all around you.

Every day a new Uber is waiting to be discovered. But opportunities only visit those who make Awareness a habit. When you are constantly distracted, opportunities remain invisible.

The next time you are in an airport, on a bus, in a train or sitting in a waiting room, stop what you doing and watch. Make Awareness a daily habit. Since most of your competition is spending their time distracted by their cell phones or iPads, Awareness offers you a competitive advantage. Be a part of the 1% – the Newton’s, the Job’s, the Kalanick’s and the Franklin’s – who are aware of their surroundings, looking for those opportunities that transform businesses and lives. 

Powerful Relationship-Building Habits

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Self-made millionaires are very particular about who they associate with. Their goal is to develop relationships with other success-minded individuals. Some of the individual characteristics self-made millionaires seek include:

  • Individuals who are successful or success-minded.
  • Individuals with good habits.
  • Individuals who are positive, upbeat and optimistic.
  • Individuals who are calm and happy.
  • Individuals who are able to get along with others.
  • Individuals who do not gossip about others.
  • Individuals who inspire and motivate.
  • Individuals who are enthusiastic.
  • Individuals who take personal responsibility for their lives.

At the same time, self-made millionaires also make an effort to eliminate toxic relationships. Toxic relationships have some of the following individual characteristics:

  • Individuals who are always experiencing some type of turmoil.
  • Individuals with bad habits.
  • Individuals who are negative, perpetually depressed, unhappy or pessimistic.
  • Individuals who are constantly putting out fires.
  • Individuals who are perpetually fighting with someone.
  • Individuals who gossip.
  • Individuals who are dream killers.
  • Individuals who lack enthusiasm.
  • Individuals with a victim mindset.
  • Individuals who blame others for their problems.

Self-made millionaires use four relationship building strategies to grow and strengthen their relationships:

  1. Hello Call – The Hello Call is used primarily to gather information on each contact.
  2. Happy Birthday Call – The Happy Birthday Call keeps your relationships on life support. At least once a year you are forced to reach out to your contacts to wish them a happy birthday. About 5-10% of these contacts will reciprocate and call you on your birthday, taking your relationship off life support.
  3. Life Event Call – The Life Event Call is the most powerful strategy because it puts your relationships on steroids. This is a call you make to acknowledge some life event: birth, death, engagement, marriage, health issue, etc. Life Event Calls put your relationships on steroids. They grow the roots to the relationship tree deeper and faster than any other relationship-building strategy.
  4. Networking/Volunteering – Networking & Volunteering allows you to meet new people and offers the opportunity to showcase your skills in a safe, friendly and stress-free environment. Developing a networking process is critical to success. When you network the right way, you gain customers, clients, strategic business partners, followers and networking partners and this translates into more money. Self-made millionaires are master networkers. Their networking efforts are intended to grow their association with other successful individuals. There are a number of ways these millionaires go about networking:
  • They join networking groups/clubs. BNI International is the most popular, but many self-made millionaires often organized their own unique networking groups.
  • They joined advisory boards of community businesses.
  • They joined local civic groups such as the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Chambers of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, Optimist Club or local business groups.
  • They did speaking engagements. Speaking engagements are probably the most efficient networking tool available. One speaking engagement can mean thirty or more potential clients/customers or new relationships. Many individuals fear public speaking. One of the common traits among these millionaires is their ability to overcome their fears. Public speaking sets you apart from the masses. It is a competitive advantage.
  • They join non-profit groups and eventually get on the board or run one or more committees. Non-profit groups are a very valuable resource for referrals. It allows you an opportunity to showcase your skills and develop long-lasting relationships. Referrals come from every direction; fellow members, vendors, donors and beneficiaries of the organization. Most board members on non-profits are very successful, wealthy individuals who have strong, powerful relationships. Joining a non-profit grants you access to this treasure trove of valuable relationships of the other volunteers.

When self-made millionaires find someone special, they devote an enormous amount of their time and energy into building a strong relationship with them. Their goal is to grow each new relationship from a sapling into a redwood. They used the Law of Reciprocity to very rapidly turn their new relationships into redwoods.

Here’s how this law works: each day you dedicate a portion of your day to improving the life of just one of your valued relationships. Spend time each day helping your relationship achieve their goals, improve their careers or grow their business. Fifteen to thirty minutes a day is all it takes. Eventually these valued relationships will become your biggest cheerleaders, best salespeople and best referral source. This strategy also opens doors to new contacts.

The Only Question You Need to Ask

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“How will this move me forward?”

That is the only question you need to ask. When should you ask yourself this question?

  • When You Are Angry
  • When You Are Sad
  • When You Want Revenge
  • When You Feel Like Quitting
  • Before You Gamble
  • Before You Turn on the TV
  • Before You Click on Facebook
  • Before You Surf the Internet
  • Before You Spend Money
  • Before You Take Another Drink
  • Before You Cheat on Your Spouse
  • Before You Gossip
  • Before You Engage in a Bad Habit
  • Before You Light That Cigarette
  • When You Feel Like Hitting Someone
  • When You Feel Like Sleeping Another Hour
  • When You Feel Lazy
  • When You Feel Jealous

Those who succeed in life focus on their destination. They do not allow anything to distract them or take them off their path. They are only focused on one thing – moving forward. Anything that does not help them move forward, they ignore, shake off or avoid.

Find Your Team

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Geese fly in a “V” Formation. Why?

By flapping their wings in this “V” formation, geese create increased uplift. This joint effort increases their range by 70%, than if they were flying alone.

“One hundred organized men can always defeat one thousand disorganized ones.” Lenin

One of the common attributes of self-made millionaires is their ability to forge strong relationships with other success-minded individuals. Their objective is to surround themselves with individuals who can help them achieve achieve their dreams and realize the goals behind their dreams.

There is nothing that can’t be accomplished when the right people work together in any worthy cause.

The most successful people are the best team-builders.

Find success-minded individuals, then build a relationship with them.

Not sure where to look? Find a local, community-based non-profit that you believe in and join it. The individuals who run the board and the committees are almost always the most successful people in town.