January 17, 2018

Rich or Happy, which do you want?

Interesting question! How would you answer it?

Many people would say Both, but the question is asked as though the choices are mutually exclusive, forcing you to select just one.

People who answer Rich might think they will be Happy when they are Rich. That's a big mistake, because Rich always seems to be Not Now, and only maybe in the future, if everything works out.

That's the typical entrepreneur mindset. You've probably heard it before:

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, 
so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't."

The fallacy in this plan is that the overwhelming percentage of startup entrepreneurs will either fail absolutely, or spend their days running a business that barely clings to life. They will not be Rich, and therefore will not be Happy. Lose/Lose.

Wise Words!

How much is Rich? What is your number? Ask the guy who is flipping burgers and he will tell you his number is 100 grand, or a million. Ask someone with 10 million and he will tell you it's 100 million. Ask the guy with 100 million and he might tell you he wants a billion. And it depends on other factors, such as the country you live in.

To me, Rich is a factor of Net Worth (Assets minus Debts), and disposable income. My mantra is "No toys on credit." In fact, I have avoided all debt for the last 30 years. That brings me big peace of mind, which for me is an essential part of being Happy.

Bill Gates says being a billionaire is overrated: 'Once you get beyond a million dollars, it's still the same hamburger'.


Rich always seems to be just out of reach, sometime in the future, but Happy is a state of mind that can be achieved right now, regardless of the bank account. 

Most people are about as happy as 
they make up their minds to be.
Abraham Lincoln

Happy starts with Gratitude for who we are and what we have right now. Focus on the positive in life and be one with that. 

If you focus on being Happy, right now, as you continue to work to become Rich, the odds are greatly improved that you will become Rich, and truly enjoy the journey.

Another key ingredient in being Happy is being Healthy. To me that means low stress, excellent nutrition, exercise, and having good relationships with excellent people. I focus daily on being Healthy, mentally and physically, and Happy seems to follow as night follows day.


Men find happiness neither by means of the body nor through possessions, 
but through uprightness and wisdom. 
Democritus

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
Rumi

Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. 
Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. 
Who is rich? He that is content. 
Who is that? Nobody. 
Benjamin Franklin


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January 9, 2018

Gratitude



There's been a lot of talk about Gratitude over the last decade or so. Initially, it seemed like a lot of new age hocus-pocus without anything real to back it up. Anybody can make claims; show me the numbers. I'm a pragmatist. I've got better things to do with my time...

But over time, the idea started working its way into my reality. The benefits seemed to make sense, (see below) and the practice sure seemed easy enough, and free, so decided to give it a try.

Before sleep

There's a lot published on the practice of Gratitude. Here's a practical guide. One of the best ways for me is to think of some people and things I'm grateful for right before I go to sleep. I've found that I go to sleep faster.

Morning routine

Another thing I do is to include Gratitude in my morning routine (includes yoga, stretching, breathing, exercise, meditation, affirmations...). For about a year I had a list that I read to myself, but after a while my attention wandered while reading the list, so I recorded my voice reading the list, then added some of my favorite music for background. It's still a work in progress (everything is!), but it works for me. Check it out.

Bottom line: I highly recommend the practice of Gratitude, at least once a day, and to do it until it becomes a Habit, and a strong foundation for a happy and healthy life.

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Here's a summary of some health benefits of Gratitude as recently published in Time.

Gratitude can help you sleep
“Count blessings, not sheep.” Research in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research has found that feeling grateful helps people sleep better and longer.

Gratitude can make you more patient
Research from Northeastern University has found that people who felt grateful for little, everyday things were more patient and better able to make sensible decisions, compared to those who didn’t feel very gracious on a day-to-day basis. When 105 undergraduate students were asked to choose between receiving a small amount of money immediately or a larger sum at some point in the future, for example, the students who had shown more gratitude in earlier experiments were able to hold out for more cash.

Gratitude may stop you from overeating
“Gratitude replenishes willpower,” says Susan Peirce Thompson, a cognitive scientist who specializes in the psychology of eating. The concept is similar to the Northeastern research that found a connection between gratitude and patience: Thompson says cultivating feelings of gratitude can boost your impulse control, helping you slow down and make better decisions.


Gratitude can help ease depression
Thompson, the cognitive scientist, says experiments have shown that people whole partake in the “three good things” exercise — which, as the name suggests, prompts people to think of three good moments or things that happened that day — see considerable improvements in depression and overall happiness, sometimes in as little as a couple weeks. “If there were a drug that did that, whoever patented that drug would be rich,” Thompson says. “Gratitude is very powerful.”


Gratitude improves self-care
In a study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers asked people to rate their levels of gratitude, physical health and psychological health, as well as how likely they were to do wellbeing-boosting behaviors like exercise, healthy eating and going to the doctor. They found positive correlations between gratitude and each of these behaviors, suggesting that giving thanks helps people appreciate and care for their bodies.


Gratitude might improve your relationship
According to a study in the Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, feeling grateful toward your partner — and vice versa — can improve numerous aspects of your relationship, including feelings of connectedness and overall satisfaction as a couple. This just seems to be common sense.


Gratitude gives you happiness that lasts
Lots of things, from a compliment to a sugary treat, can bring little bursts of happiness. But instant gratification also goes away quickly, which leaves you craving more. Gratitude is something that leads to much more sustainable forms of happiness, because it’s not based in that immediate gratification; it’s a frame of mind. If you regularly take time to express gratitude and thankfulness, you’re likely to see results.


January 2, 2018

Resolutions, Goals, Plans, Systems, Habits, Self-Image




Happy New Year!
Or not.
It's up to you.


Resolutions are those promises we make to ourselves every year around this time because it seems like a good thing to do, and there are a lot of people talking about New Year's resolutions.


Resolutions are really half-promises, at best, because while we feel that we should make some resolutions, we also know the awful truth about resolutions: almost everyone fails at their resolutions. That automatically give us an out. We promise we are going to do something, or give up something, or change somehow, but we also know that we probably won't follow through because nobody does.

This attitude is guaranteed to produce zero results, but there is a way to change the way we look at resolutions so that it will become automatic that we will actually do what we want to do.

It would be helpful that we stop using the word resolutions. I carries a lot of negative baggage, what with all the failure history. How about if we use the word Goals? What's the difference? Well resolutions seem to be something we say to ourselves. A wish. A hope. A Goal is something you write down, and preferably share with others (significant other, coach, good friends). If it is not written down it is just a wish. If Goals are written down, they are more likely to happen. So, first thing we do is pick up a pen and start writing. Go ahead, pick up a pen and start writing. I'll wait here...

Welcome back. And congratulations! Most people, probably north of 95% of people have no written Goals! So, automatically, you are now in the top 5% and well on your way to success. All you need to do now is start writing your future. But first, a disclaimer: just because you might have Goals at the end of this exercise, there is no reason to assume that you will actually achieve your Goals. In fact, 95% of people who have Goals will not achieve when they have written. The deck is overwhelmingly stacked against you if you proceed with the way most people set goals. 

What you will learn today is how to set Goals that become automatically self-fulfilling. 

And it all starts with the answer to a very simple question: Who am I?  Who do I want to be? What do I want my Life to look like? What am I willing to do to achieve this?

Who am I?
This step should include a written description of yourself in all positive terms, no negatives. Many people see themselves in terms of what they are Not, what they Don't Have.  

There should be a lot of Gratitude for what you do have, right now, in your life. So it all starts with a feeling, an appreciation, of Gratitude. 

Make a list of some of the things you have going for you: I have a nice smile. I am a good friend. I'm smart. I work hard. I have a good sense of humor. People like me.

It doesn't need to be a long list, just a few important positive things about yourself. You can change this list anytime you want, so this is just a quick start and gets us to the next step:

Who do I want to be?
A lot of people get stuck here. It's a fearful thing, to write down on paper who you want to be. What if you're wrong? What if what I want to be turns out to be bad in some other way? What if, what it, what if... This looping through what if's is what stops us in our tracks. Now you know why almost all people have zero goals written down.

There is a subtle distinction in this question Who do I want to be? Many people might mistake it for What do I want? The answer to What puts us in the mode of thinking in the material world: I want a boat, a couple of really neat cars, a big house on the oceanfront, a beautiful wife and kids, and a good dog. Or whatever. We think in terms of what we don't have now, and what a good future will look like. So what happens is that we put what we want at a distance to right now. 

I propose a different solution: Think of who you want to be in terms of living an ideal life day by day. Leave the toys out of the picture, for now, please. I guarantee that the toys will come automatically if you simply become the person who is on the path to achieving his Goals.

See yourself living the life you have imagined, but without considering the toys. How do you feel, personally. Not because you have toys, but because you are living well. 

Here are a few examples of seeing your future self: 
Physically I am healthy, I feel great and look great,
because I enjoy exercise and I eat right and sleep well.
I have great friends and family relationships 
because I am a great friend.

What am I willing to DO to achieve this?
You might be tempted to answer this question in the form of 8 hours per day, or 40 hours per week. They are obvious answers to the question. That would put a limit on achieving your goals. I suggest a different approach. 

When we see ourselves as working hard now to achieve some imagined future thing, some thing that may take a long time to achieve, it is easy to give up, or to get distracted with some other shiny object, or to just get lazy for a while.

Begin with the end in mind. What is needed is a self image of being a person right now, who is On the path to the achievement of their Goals.  If I happen to be temporarily Off the path, then I simply, without any negative feelings, get back On the path. That self-image of a person who is On the path leads to the achievement of their Goals.

If I am On the path, then I see my future self as the person who created the path, and continued on the path, to create that future self. It is from that perspective of your future self that you look back and tell the story about the person you used to be. You can tell the story of your awakening, your vision of your future self, and how you set your Goals to get there. And you can then share the story, and your method, with others who need to learn this (Pay it Forward), as I am doing now.

The answer to What am I willing to do to achieve my goals is a lot simpler than you would ever expect. It's not really a lot of work at all. In fact, the secret is simply changing your mind, your attitude, your self-image. 

Adopt a self image that you are a person who goes though each day doing the things which will create the future you want. Just do it. It's important to deal with only one day at a time. 

Do what, exactly? Well, that is going to become clear once you start writing down your Goals. The awakening occurs when we fully understand that everything in life happens because of the Actions we take. This is the "scientific principle", the basis of everything we know to be true. It simply states that every condition exists because of some Action that created the condition. Every Cause has an Effect. Nothing exists without some Action that caused it. Therefore, in order for us to create some future condition or Goal, we must have caused it by our Actions. I say Actions in the plural because the Goals we want will almost certainly be the result of consistent Actions taken over Time.

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a Habit.

Aristotle

It is really so simple: just do the things that will produce the result. Inaction produces no result.

The fist thing on the way to success is to be clear about where we are going (Write it Down), and then, every day, to refresh ourselves on where we are going by reviewing our Goals and our Plans for achieving our Goals. 

Oops, did I slip something in there, that thing about Plans? Yes, there needs to be a Plan for achieving Goals, or they are just wishes, guaranteed to remain wishes until we take Action. 

Of course, our Actions must be according to our Plans. Random actions will produce random results, Inconsistent Actions will produce inconsistent results. Planned actions have the highest probability of producing Planned results. So let's make a Plan. 

The best Plans are the things we can do every day, or most days. Every day begins a new opportunity to get on the Path, do take the right Actions, to learn from our yesterdays, and to adjust our Plans accordingly. 

The solution, then, is to get into the Habit of taking the Planned Actions that will deliver the Results (Goals).

Getting back to the Goals... The best way to write a Goal is described in the Wikipedia entry regarding S.M.A.R.T. Goals. That's all you really need to know how to write your Goals.

Now group them into Long Range (5+ years), Medium Range (2-5 years), and Short Range Goals (1 year or less). Short range goals should be grouped by quarter, monthly within the current quarter, weekly within the current month, and daily within the current week). That may sound like work, but it becomes automatic when you review your Goals daily.

Set a Plan for what Actions you need to take in order to achieve your Goals.

Review your Plan every day, and update it, in writing, if necessary, to reflect real world conditions. 


Summary
If you do these things, you will become a Goal achieving machine. Start now, and remember that you need to focus on Daily Habits that will transform you into the person you want to be. One of those habits is to review your Goals and Plans every day, and to continually improve them.

And if you need help, just ask. I have a system that makes it easy: EZchecklist™.

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Additional reading from my favorite Goal achieving human, James Clear:

January 1, 2018

Looking back 50 years.

Image may contain: car and outdoor
Fifty years ago: It was 1968... 
I was a young lad, only 26, recently left IBM, and starting on my first CEO/founder position. Also, that year I took my first and only bride, on my birthday, so as not to forget the date. I was driving a Jag XK-E roadster, radically customized to tow a racing BMW 700 in which I competed successfully at east coast tracks like Watkins Glen, Lime Rock, Marlboro, Hershey, etc. It was a good year... Just four years prior I had graduated from college at the bottom 10% of my class. Success is the best revenge! 
It was a very good year...
The Jag, the race car, and the bride are all ex now, and yet life is better than ever, and I'm enthusiastically looking forward to joining you, and helping you, create an Epic Year ahead. 

December 26, 2017

Building Habits


We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a Habit.

Aristotle

A long lost friend (Gary S.) I haven't seen in many years remarked about a recent photo that I seemed to be rather healthy for being 75 years old, and then he wondered if I have a few "pearls of wisdom" to pass on...

I was going to answer his email directly, but then I thought it was such a great question that I would share it with You, dear reader...

The most important "pearl of wisdom" is to build good habits, by doing the right things every day. After a number of days, a habit is formed, and the longer you do the habit, the stronger it becomes, until you no longer need to think about it. The habit takes over; you are on "auto-pilot". It's not work anymore, it's easy. In fact, it becomes difficult to stop doing the right things.

I've been working on building good habits for several years. It's coming along nicely. I have learned a lot about the process, and have been building a system that helps good habits. For now, I call it EZchecklist™.  

The concept is simple. Make a list (checklist) of the good habits you want to have. And then "Just Do It" as the Nike quote so eloquently states. It's just that simple; but it's not at all easy.

The problem is the "Knowing - Doing Gap". We know the right things to do, but we don't do them, primarily because we are, by default, in the habit of not doing them.

For example: we know, and have heard many times, that it is important to:
  • Eat right (avoid sugar, alcohol, drugs; drink water, portion control, etc)
  • Exercise (daily light exercise)
  • Get enough sleep (consistently early to bed, early to rise)
  • Meditate 
  • Breathe
  • Smile
  • Help others, acts of kindness
  • and so on...
But in the press of everyday life and business (especially doing a startup), it seems that there is always something more urgent that needs doing, and our health suffers, stress mounts, and in the long run the business suffers because we are out of control in our own lives.

What happens is that we just don't do the right things, or we are not consistent  in doing the right things.

Consistency is the key. That's what builds habits. Exercising once or twice a week does nothing for your health. 

This applies to building Habits: You must start, and you must continue. 

Gary: Thank you for the opportunity to be of service! 



November 13, 2017

Fear, Worry

If you are worried or afraid of anything, there is something in your mental attitude that needs correction.


Worry and fear are negative emotions that serve no useful purpose. Worse, they are not benign influences on your behavior. Both tend to expand if left unchecked until they crowd out positive emotions and beliefs, taking over your mind and filling it with counterproductive emotions that cause you to doubt your ability to succeed at anything you attempt. Unless you control worry and fear, one day you will discover that they control you.

While the emotions can’t always be corrected with logic or reason, they are always susceptible to action. Act, and even if your actions aren’t entirely appropriate for the situation, the very act of doing something — anything — constructive will have a positive effect on your mind and attitude


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This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. We encourage you to forward this to friends and family. They can sign up for this free service at our web site: http://www.naphill.org

November 5, 2017

Knowing vs. Doing


In 1999 the book "The Knowing - Doing Gap" was published, and in one of the great wasted efforts of writing/publishing, we already knew about the gap, and we continued to do nothing about it, as usual.

Here's the idea, in its earliest known form, by Confucius (551-479 BC):

I hear, and I forget.
I see, and I remember.
I do, and I understand.

The problem is that we simply do not DO what we know to be true. 

Changing our behavior is the Holy Grail of creating a successful life and business. It is so rare that behavior change actually happens that it seems almost non-existent, in fact it seems impossible to almost everyone except the few who find their way to it.

We are the way we are because our actions (our DOing) has created ourselves to be that way. Nothing happens in the universe except by some Action. A body at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by some outside force; a body in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by some outside force. This is Newton's First Law, and it applies to everything in the universe, including you and me.

A couple of hundred years later, Aristotle (384-322 BC) was clear about this:

We are what we repeatedly DO.
Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.

It's all about DOing, and the continual DOing. If we want a result, we must Do the actions that will produce the result. This is the Scientific Method. Cause and Effect. It is a universal truth. 

We have known this for thousands of years, and yet we ignore this great truth.

Why?

Behavior change is hard. Changing habits is hard. It is our human nature that we seek our comfort zone. We are lazy. We take the path of least resistance. We like instant gratification. So, basically, we will not change unless we are forced to change by some external force that is stronger than our desire for comfort, stronger than our fear of the unknown. Good luck with that, right? 

It may take a major negative event to create the positive energy to commit to change. In my case, it was personal bankruptcy. It was the final devastation that left me with the knowledge that I just absolutely must change my life, total commitment was needed to find my way back to success. You might even say that bankruptcy was the best thing that happened to me to get me back on the right path, and stay on that path until success was achieved. 

Can you do it? Yes.
Will you do it? Probably not. 

Just writing those words is a painful admission. And yet I prefer to focus on working with the few who will DO what is needed to achieve their goals in Life and Business. Unfortunately, in order to find the few, many others waste their time and mine. But without working with the many, the few can not be found. If you think you are one of the few, call me! I want to help.

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Resources:


The Knowing - Doing Gap (online book, free)

What Got You Here Won't Get You There (book by Marshall Goldsmith, amazon)





October 31, 2017

Meditation on Meditation - Doing The Most Important Thing



There is a billionaire VC who will invest in startups ONLY if the CEO meditates. The VC went through a period of depression and on his path in finding his way back he found meditation. In this story it mentions that 50% of startup CEOs now engage in some form of meditation/mindfulness.

Personal experience with meditation has been a long time coming. I am a child of the Sixties when it was all Peace and Love and Here/Now. Meditation was being discovered and made popular in this group of hippies who were becoming self-aware. I knew of this, but I was also involved in high-pressure business startups, so it seemed that there was never enough time to for anything so frivolous as meditation. And yet all the time I suspected that it was the right thing to do, an important thing to do. Yet it never got done.

Things have changed...

As of this writing, my iPhone's Calm app has recorded 327 consecutive days of use, indicating that I have turned on the app and experienced 10 minutes of a guided breathing meditation. For me, that is an incredible achievement, because I have been doing something I have always wanted to do, and it has taken me so long to do it. It seems there is always something more important than taking a few minutes to do the Most Important Thing.

Meditation has become a habit now, but the process of becoming a habit involved periods of doing and not-doing. Before this streak of 327 days, the previous long streak was 55 days, and of course I was bummed that I missed a day, and thought of having to go through another 55 days to get past my record. Only partly because I wanted to set a new personal best (the competitive me), and partly because I realized 55 days was not enough to establish the habit strongly enough so that I would not miss.

There are a few apps for getting into meditation including Headspace, Calm, and today a new one by startup guru Kevin Rose he calls Oak. It's unimportant which one you use, or if you use any app at all. What's important is making meditation a consistent habit in the lifestyle you are building for yourself.

On the Unbearable Irony of Meditation Apps

Alan Watts - The Art of Meditation - A How-To guide, Pure Alan Watts 90 minutes audio

Monk Gloats Over Yoga Championship - just for the fun of it, an Onion classic

October 2, 2017

Free Ferrari Ride for New Startup CEO/founder Clients



Really? A free Ferrari ride! Sure, you work hard, you could use a break from all the stress of building a new company, you believe in setting goals, and getting help from the best people you can find, you deserve it, right?

This is a 2017 Ferrari California T (twin turbo) with 550 hp. and 196 mph top speed, 0-60 in 3.3 sec.
Don't worry, we won't go that fast!

Some conditions apply, of course:
You must be a startup CEO/founder, and a new client of DoubleM Systems.
Limited time offer.
One per new client.
Not transferrable.
No, you can't drive it.

Some other conditions may apply, such as availability, nice weather, not during rush hour traffic, San Diego North County coastal route, no children, pets, food or beverages in the car, etc.



October 1, 2017

Free Stuff



The App

     We built ToBeWise, the mobile app to be a simple system to succeed in Life and Business.
     Available to anyone at any time. Free version is ad supported. Upgrade available.
     iOS and android versions available. Click for more information.

The Poster 

     Our Ten Commandments for Managing a Young, Growing Business.
     Online link for viewing.
     Suitable for framing hard copy, signed/dated, presented to prospective clients at first meeting

The Book

     Clients receive a copy of the book "The Spirit of Adventure" by Michael McCafferty.
     Click for Amazon listing and reviews.

The System

    EZchecklist™ is truly the "unfair advantage" you will have in business. This is our proprietary methodology for high productivity and doing the most important activities to achieve your Goals. In development for the last 3 years, we use it daily. It benefits from continuous improvement. This product is for Clients only.