The Rewards of Reading

What have you been reading lately?

Or should I ask when was the last time you read a book?

I hope it is not the latter 🙂

In a social gathering, you can usually tell who the frequent readers are. Wide readers think and speak well. They win the admiration, respect, and good opinion of others because of their great knowledge base.

Reading expands the mind. In fact, many people consider it as one of the satisfying pleasures of humans, for it involves physical as well as mental activities.

Reading is primarily a mental activity. After all, you read with your mind and use your imagination to paint the setting of the story you are reading. You use you mind to imagine the joys and pains of the main character as the story unfolds or you bring into play the different arguments and ideas brought to you by the author in the self-help book you are holding or the blog you are reading.

Reading helps you develop an extensive vocabulary. The reader may not know exactly what every single word means, but he will have a good general idea.

Reading makes you alert and curious about new words and information. Some readers develop “the dictionary habit”. Every time they come across a strange word, they try to figure out what it can possibly mean by the context. If they cannot do this, they refer to the dictionary. This is a great way not only to improve your mother tongue but also to learn a foreign language.

Likewise, reading develops intellectual curiosity by exposing you to a variety of materials. As in other forms of activity, you learn by actually doing.

Reading trains you to have an active and open mind. Merely grasping the writer’s idea is not enough. You must make a positive response to what you read. Be an active, not a passive, reader. Develop the habit of drawing your own conclusions, the habit of active thinking, of agreeing or disagreeing with the author. Keep your mind open; understand and weigh the ideas that you read. A practical part of active reading is the drawing of conclusions.

Let me share four basic rules for effective reading and better comprehension:

1)   Try to read more and more. Remember, practice makes perfect. Practicing in the correct way makes even more perfect.

2)   Develop the habit of reading for main ideas. Look for the subject and predicate. Do not waste time on details or little words.

3)   Learn to read with focus and concentration. Think of what you are reading. Do not let your attention wander somewhere else. Good readers read with understanding.

4)   Learn to budget your time. Experiment with your reading time. Try purposely to read faster. Give yourself a time limit on specific material that you read. Especially on this tip practice makes perfect 🙂

Reading is a stimulating mental activity. It expands your reality and capability. You have so much to gain in discovering the joys of reading. Go ahead; grab a book right now!

I recommend the To BE book. Have you read it yet? Check it out at www.thetobebook.com

Giving your BEST – to Others

The act of giving your very best to help others will give you personal emotional satisfaction. Whatever form of help you extend, be it your time or giving something else of value, you will undoubtedly receive something better in return.

Is there anything better than a simple “thank you” that is said with sincerity? Is there anything better than appreciation that makes you feel significant? Is there anything better than to create  smiles on other people’s faces?

If your financial or physical resources are limited, you can put your talent or creativity to work. Your urge to help those in need should inspire you to find ways in accumulating resources to actualize your intention. You can come up with ideas to generate more money through fund raising programs. You may also give more of your time doing volunteer service.

In the process of giving your all, your cooperation, your full attention, you might feel the satisfaction and fulfilment you were craving for. You may get physically exhausted; but emotionally, you will be charged with a full and happy heart. You will feel revitalized and invigorated. You will become more enthusiastic. All these occur because you love what you’re doing.

When you set your mind to work for a good cause, you are actually tapping and activating power that promotes health in every corner of your physical, psychological, and emotional being. Your emotions will run high in a positive manner. You will feel sentimentally contented with what you are doing. You will feel as though you’re the highest paid executive in the business; not because you’re being paid with money, but because you’re being paid with your own sense of fulfillment.

When you give your best, the best will bounce back to you.

Basic Steps to Succeed in Anything YOU Want!

I keep getting asked to explain the steps to success and break them down so that is what I will do in the next few days. Today I will repeat what I have said many times:

  1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
  2. KNOW WHY YOU WANT IT
  3. BELIEVE YOU CAN GET THERE
  4. TAKE INSPIRING AND UNFALTERING ACTION

That is really it. These are the basics and in the next few posts I will disect them and add more detailled steps in the hope that my readers will stop finding excuses and start moving in the direction of their dreams.

I believe in you!

I KNOW you can do it!

So let’s do it!

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Loving Memories

I just watched a film about the Maldive Islands and all my memories from my time on the Maledives washed over me. Some were good, some great and some were sad.

Some of you may know that I was working in Tourism for over 20 years: I worked for the largest tour operator in Europe in over 20 countries and one of them were the Maledives.

Go and check some of the photos and you will realize that these islands truly look like paradise but as in most things there are two sides to the coin. It is paradise IF you scuba dive, and if you take your Adam or your Eve with you. I went alone, did not know how to dive and within 2 months I begged my company to please send me to another destination because paradise without Adam seemed hell. They took that serious and send me to Ibiza – THE party island – in the middle of high season. A real culture shock after the peaceful Maledives. After less than 2 weeks I had a physical breakdown because I not only worked hard; I played even harder 🙂

After a few months in the party turmoil of Ibiza I went back to the Maledives. This time knowing what to expect and looking forward to it. I learnrd how to scuba dive and wind surf and I learned to enjoy my own company. All in all I spent 8 seasons on these beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, became a diving instructor and went back twice since for a vacation.

Tell me, what is the lesson in this story? I would love to hear from you.

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Accountability – your Path to Success

Accountability is the No. 1 reason why some people make  things happen while others only talk about them. If you are one of  the go getters, you probably already know this. However I believe we all have strength and weaknesses and it is good when we become more aware of either. So stay with me as this cannot hurt you but it might make you even stronger and more committed to your success.
I remember when my first coach told me to write him an email every single night I did not take it serious. I said ok and forgot it. He had said it very politely and I did not think it was a requirement. I soon found out I was wrong and it taught me a big lesson.

He reminded me of my commitment when we next spoke and I thought to myself “Oh why bother. I know what I am doing.” but he did not take that lightly and I will be forever grateful to him for doing that.

On our third appointment he asked me if I think coaching works and of course I said yes. Why else would I pay him to coach me, right?

“So why don’t you do your accountability every night?” he asked.
“Oh, I am doing everything I said I would. I just don’t send it to you.” was my fast and not completely truthful answer.
“Even if you don’t feel it is necessary, it would help the process a lot.” was his request. And he went on to tell me the story of another client and how accountability had helped.

To cut the story short, I started to do as asked and do it until today. It has become a habit that I would not miss for the world and tomorrow I will tell you why.

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Start the Year with a Vision

We are getting to the end of the year – of yet another year.

How will the new year, the coming year be for you?

Have you taken time out to reflect on what worked and what you could do better next time around. Have you reflected on the past year and have you created a vision for your future?

I  am very serious about this because…

You can’t attract what you want until you know what you want and
the more specific you are the better it will work.

I have said this many times before but you need to be crystal clear on your
target and VERY specific!

What is your BIG picture? What is your Dream?

Be precise and as detailled as you can and write your vision down in every little detail so you can read it every day until it becomes your reality.

Once that is done ask yourself what the first step toward achieving that vision is and write that down too. Start always with the end result in mind and work yourself backwards to today. The closer you get to the now, the smaller the steps need to become until each step is just a small action that is fairly easy to take IF you have made the commitment to really get there.

We will talk more about that tomorrow

Will Power is Scarce

Will power is scarce. It really is.
Please, read this article careful as it might be the most important fact you  learn at this time of year when most of us set New Year Resolutions.

According to a fascinating experiment published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”, one act of self-control depletes your ability to have self-control in another unrelated area. For example, when someone was told not to eat chocolates sitting right in front of them, their
persistence in puzzle solving went down considerably. Allow this to soak in; just staying away from chocolate hurts your performance in all other tasks!

A similar experiment simply asked people to suppress an emotional reaction to a movie. These people had problems solving a solvable anagram while the group who watched the movie without restrictions solved it without problems.

Both studies show that when we are asked to consciously use our “will power” we struggle in all other areas. Actually, we are really only able to use our will power (conscious self regulation) on one thing at a time. So if you are multi-tasking don’t be surprised if not all tasks are finished with the same excellence. If you focus your attention on some other act of self control… You can kiss whatever you were doing goodbye.

This is the overwhelming reason why willpower only works in the short term. You only have the conscious resources to exhibit willpower on ONE (or at the most two) fronts at one time.
This is why it is so hard to stay disciplined with healthy eating habits and exercise for instance.

Source 1: RE Baumeister, E Bratslavsky, M Muraven, and DM Tice. “Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited
Resource” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 74, 1998.
Source 2: Moraven, M., Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). “Self-control as a limited resource

Source 3: Zimmerman, M. (1989). “The nervous system in the context of information theory.” In R. F. Schmidt & G. Thews (eds.), Human Physiology, pp. 166-173. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.

Your conscious mind is only able to process approximately 50 bits of information a second, while your unconscious mind processes approximately 1,2 million bits per second.

That means your unconscious mind processes information THOUSANDS OF TIMES FASTER than your conscious mind.
Much of the time, your conscious mind is actually the bottleneck towards effecting true change, as its main role is getting you through the day in the here and now AND setting long term goals. Researchers call this “Executive Control.”

So the trick is to train your subconscious mind to think better, more positive and supportive thoughts. Wouldn’t it be nice if you naturally were propelled forward, towards living your dreams without having to use willpower?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you automatically had the behaviors you have always wanted to have; the behaviors that you need to actually get you where you want to go?

Well, strange as it seems, all you need to do is learn to use even a small part of your subconscious by starting to allow only supportive thoughts into your consciousness. As in all else the choice is yours. I share several techniques with you in my book “To be or not to be – the choice is YOURS!”

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My ONEness Experience

Yesterday I shared Sperry’s ONEness experience that transformed his life. Today I want to share my own, my most recent one. I will do that in a video and hope I can convey some of the deep love and connectedness I felt.

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Give some Thought to your Future

“Give a lot of thought to your future because that is where you are going to spend the rest of your life.” – Charles Kettering

In the last few posts we talked about becoming clear on what you want in life; we talked about who you want to become and what legacy you want to leave behind. Then you wrote the vision for your “ideal” day.

Go through your vision once again and edit, add and expand on the details. I appologize if I get on your nerves with this but it is a big step towards your dream future! And it is not something that is carved in stone BUT IT MUST BE something that really turns you on, that get’s you excited and ready to go…

As you continue to expand your vision, you will feel better and better and even if, at this stage, you can’t believe that it might all come true, you have taken a big step in the right direction and are well on your way to live the life you dream of and deserve.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said:

“Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimension”

With these exercise you will expand your mind to new dimensions, especially if you read your vision on a regular basis but be aware that nothing will happen unless you believe in it! This is not some esoteric idea. It works in real life. My clients and I have many stories to tell about how our visions manifest. The universe works in wonderous ways and they are not always what we expect 🙂

Therefore write your dreams down with an open mind and during the next few weeks I will help you turn your dreams into an action plan that – if used – will finally turn them into your reality; into the life of your dreams.

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How Your Beliefs Drive You

“If you are going to think anyway, why not think big?”

– Donald Trump, US Real Estate Billionaire

Isn’t it true that we are constantly thinking? Whether we want to or not, thoughts flow through our mind day and night. We are not in control of that but we are in control of which thoughts we allow into our mind.

You might say “But thoughts just happen. I am not in control of them.”

And you are right. Normally we are not in control of them BECAUSE we have that belief; the belief that they just happen. But that is not true.

Thoughts are created through our background, culture, past experiences and our interpretation of these experiences. This mix forms our beliefs. Most of these were created during early childhood and we are not even aware of them.

However, the consequence is that we are living by values and beliefs that served us as children but might not serve us anymore today.

Let me give you an example from my own life. Because we were very poor after we fled from Communist Germany, I had “Financial Security” as one of my top values. But I have been financially secure for many years now so whenever I made a chunk of money, I somehow lost it again. It was really frustrating until I realized that it happened because of my value about finances. I changed that to “Financial Freedom” and things started changing. My eyes were opened to false friends and I became much more careful and clear in my investment strategies.

Another example. In elementary school my niece was told (by a really incompetent teacher) that she would never be any good at math. She adopted that belief and even though she was brilliant in all other areas she disliked the subject of math and gave no time or attention to it which eventually really made her a bad math student.

What we believe is what we live. Our beliefs create our automated responses to certain situations in all areas of our lives. Changing our core values and beliefs can totally transform our life.