Category Archives: Resilience

The Lazy Way to Get Fit

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” “He can’t see the forest for the trees.”  “Audaces fortuna iuvat – Fortune favors the bold.”

The Lazy Way to Get Fit

Apparently, only daring things are worth doing. Yet, when it comes to developing new, positive habits, small, incremental changes over the long term typically are more effective and longer lasting.

About a year ago, when I set a goal to earn a platinum medal in the President’s Challenge I started increasing the length and number of my weekly runs. The additional pounding began to give me back trouble, especially if a sat for more than 45 minutes or an hour at a time. I decided to stand for more of the day. After a couple of months, my back felt stronger and I was able to sit for longer periods of time without stiffness and pain.

To go from a sedentary lifestyle to running marathons in a couple of months will probably result in an injury that will make getting and staying physically fit harder than ever before. So here an easy first step to improving fitness and losing weight: stand for more of your day.

According to, standing instead of sitting burns as many as 50 more calories an hour. Not the kind of reduction that will allow you to eat a banana split every day, but something that almost everyone, no matter their current level of fitness, can do. Start modestly. Stand for a half-hour two or three times during the day. Then build up from there.

New York Times blogger Olivia Judson has an excellent post that explains why standing, or at least not sitting, is much healthier.

Not ready to commit to expensive gym fees? Health needs to improve before you embark on an exercise regimen? Be timid! Just stand up for yourself.

Question – Why do you think only big changes seem to be noteworthy?

Authentically Positive Attitude: Creating the Foundation

Think positively. The power of positive thinking. Seek out positive influences.

Motivational speakers and life coaches all agree that positivity in our lives is a, perhaps the key to success. And there is no doubt that this is true. Equally important is that we rid our lives of negativity, a process that is different from and cannot necessarily be accomplished by adopting a positive outlook and focus.

Authentically Positive Attitude: Creating the Foundation

For the first several years I was in business I was convinced that most, if not all, wealthy people had money because they inherited it or had gotten it dishonestly. Needless to say, this was not an empowering belief for someone in the real estate business whose clients would be these very people. But even as I worked on my positive outlook, this negative belief persisted. Not until I developed a plan to read about how people had become successful and met and got to know many wealthy people was I able to rid myself of this debilitating negativity.

Like anything in life, if we want to conquer negativity we must have a plan. Here are some steps for creating it:

  1. Make a list of the negative beliefs, events, and people in your life
  2. Prioritize them since you will be more productive resolving them one at a time
  3. Develop a plan for: Proving to yourself the negative belief is false, for coming to terms with a negative event, or for changing the nature of a negative relationship
  4. Obtain the commitment of your spouse and/or other close family members and friends to help you work your plan
  5. As you rid yourself of one source of negativity, create a plan to work on the next one on your list.

In some cases, you may need professional help, such as to deal with something particularly awful that happened to you. If we do not rid ourselves of negativity, a future occurrence can trigger a much more profound earthquake, that crumbles the weak foundation on which we have built our positive edifice.

Question: What ideas or processes have you used to rid yourself of negativity?


Exercising Your Faith

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” So said Thomas Edison, and he would know. Until 2003 he held the most patents of any individual in the world.

“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.” Working his entire life on social reforms, brewer and abolitionist Sir Thomas Buxton did not attain them all. But he became an expert on determination.

“Practice makes perfect.” So goes the saying that many of us learned as children. Want to hit home runs? PRACTICE!

You may already be convinced that persistence leads to success in athletics or business (the physical realm) and academics (the mental realm). Have you considered applying it to the spiritual realm?

Exercising Your Faith

Ever wondered why most religions recommend or require daily prayer? The best answer I have heard to this question is if we attempt to connect with G-d often, we stand a better chance of doing so sometimes. When I started becoming more committed to my faith, I was challenged to pray three times a day. At first, the effort seemed wasted. But over time, as my “prayer muscle” grew, so did my spiritual resiliency.

Perhaps the most important metaphysical skill we can work on is faith. Given how important conviction is to our success, you would think we would have long since adopted a daily regimen to cultivate it. Yet it seems most people have the attitude that when they need it their faith will be present. Can you imagine Kobe Bryant saying to his coach, “I don’t have to practice my free throw shot, it’ll be there when I need it.” Ridiculous, no?

We must exercise our faith if we want it to be available on demand. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Decide in whom you wish to develop faith: perhaps G-d, yourself, your spouse, or your children.
  2. Determine what aspect of faith you want to grow: G-d gives you everything you need, your ability to effectively direct your life. The choices are virtually limitless.
  3. Choose an exercise that challenges the area of faith in which you are working: Daily prayer to G-d for insight, strength, or another quality; working toward a goal that has many steps to attain it.
  4. Work out what you will do when your scheme goes awry: You did not realize something about a situation at the beginning that with better insight would have helped you avoid a problem. What will you tell yourself about G-d answering your prayers? Could He have said no, for now, necessitating harder work on your part?

Martha Graham, arguably the Picasso or Frank Lloyd Wright of dance, said, "Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired."

Question: Do you think deeper faith can be developed through practice?

Want Success? Fail More!

Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb, though in truth he improved an invention that had been around for 50 years. Perhaps he gets the glory because he failed almost 10,000 times before he found a way that worked. When asked if he felt like a failure, supposedly Edison responded that he had never failed, rather he found 9,000 ways that did not work. True or not, this story has a vital message for anyone striving to succeed.

Want Success? Fail More!

When I started my real estate company in 1986 I thought success would be a breeze. Two years later, I had found lots of ways not to make money. In one case, I negotiated an agreement so poorly that I lost out on over $20,000 of income I badly needed. So I came up with a philosophy for any time I lost a significant deal: I figured I had bought myself a class or semester at the Wharton School of Business. By learning from my failures I never had to spend what a degree from Wharton would have cost.

Fear of failure means we are losing out on:

  • Discovering ways to be more successful in the future
  • Knowing when and how to be flexible
  • More chances to expand our businesses

If someone tells you he never loses a sale he has found the fountain of youth (very unlikely), he makes few or no sales (you cannot lose something you never try to have), or he never takes a chance on a less than perfect, pre-sold prospect. Which would you rather have: 10% of 1000 prospects buying from you or 100% of 50? Is not the first option twice as good?

Here are five steps to turn failure into success:

  1. Find out why the person said no
  2. If the no is valid, move on
  3. If there is a credible response to the objection, give it
  4. Use the information on the lost sale to improve your skills
  5. Ask for referrals from the prospects who turned you down

We do not need to be a genius like Edison to know transforming failure into success is in our hands

How have you used a failure to move you forward?

Please comment below ↓


Sensible Goal Setting

Goal setting is as much an art as a science. Whether in the realm of spiritual, mental, or physical, our goals should be challenging yet achievable.

If we are setting goals in an area where we have a lot of experience, meeting these two criteria is not too difficult. For example, I have been a runner for most of my life. I know my limits on speed and distance. So I can readily set physical fitness goals that stretch my ability but not to the point where I have little or no chance of meeting them.

More difficult is setting goals in a field in which we are inexperienced. I would be hard pressed to set reasonable goals as a painter since I know very little about either its artistic or business sides. For some goals it is not necessary to benchmark them. I have a goal to travel to all 50 states. The only criterion I used to set it is the belief that the only way to really know our country is to visit every state.

For other goals, having points of reference or a basis of measurement is more important. Fortunately the Internet provides us with a medium through which we can fairly quickly gather information we need to make adequate goals that can be refined as we gain experience.

Since our topic is entrepreneurship many of us will want to set a goal for our income. If you have been in the military for most or all of your working life, it may be difficult to set a realistic goal in civilian life. Is an income of $500,000 a year after five years in business realistic? Let’s look at some statistics from the IRS (all data is from 2009, the most recent year it was compiled):

Total individual tax returns filed: 140,494,127

Top 25% of earners (35,123,531 taxpayers) made at least: $66,193

Top 10% of earners (14,049,412 taxpayers) made at least: $112,124

Top 5% of earners (7,024,706 taxpayers) made at least: $154,643

Top 1% of earners (1,404,941 taxpayers) made at least: $343,927

Put another way, to get an A in income earning we have to make $112,124 in adjusted gross income.

Do these facts put into perspective earning a $500,000 annual income? Only 0.35% of taxpayers do so, which is not to say that you should not make it your goal, but to understand how difficult it will be to achieve it.

There are metrics for just about any goal we want to make. The key is to find them and figure out our capacity to meet or beat the standard they appear to set.

While we are on the subject of IRS statistics, recently I read on article titled “How the Rich Got Rich.” Author Jeff Haden’s concludes the way to get wealthy is to own a business. I could not agree more.

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