I just had one of those "Wow!" moments.

If you have been following this blog, you might pick up on the fact that I like simple explanations and solutions.  A big fan of Occam's Razor and the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  So when it comes to trying to solve the puzzle of success and happiness, a simple solution that makes sense to me is to take small actions on a regular basis over a long enough period of time and success and happiness can be ours.

Don't get too discouraged by the idea of a "long enough period of time".  People tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in one year and underestimate what they can accomplish in 10 years.  10 years may seem like a long time, though even in 5 years, you will probably be able to accomplish more than you may think.  What this tells me is to be persistent and patient.

One of the small things I have been doing on a regular basis is to write out my goals and questions about how I am what I want to be.  Some of these are 5 year goals and seem unreachable at this time, though I keep them out there at markers to head for.

Out of curiosity, I went back and checked out the first goal session that I wrote on June 20th this year.  One of the goals I had was to take a business class trip to America in February 2013.  I had forgotten that this was one of my goals and had not been reinforcing this.  I'm sure that at the time I wrote that down, I did not have the money to take such a trip and couldn't imagine how it would happen, it was a dream.

It turns out that just 2 weeks ago, I figured out that I have enough airline and hotel points to take my wife, son and I to Hawaii in February 2013, flying business class.  The tickets are purchased and hotel reserved.  It's truly amazing.  4 months ago I had a goal that I planted in my mind and then with some time it was able to show up.

I'm excited to see how my 5 year goals show up.
Agreeing with people when they expose ideas with which I strongly disagree is a huge challenge for me.

I was raised to formulate my own opinion and to be able to defend that position.  That by defending the position and listening to other's reason's for their position, it would help me to find out if my position is accurate or not.  Maybe someone else will show me some fact that I was not considering in my position that would allow me to change my opinion.  At no point do I have to agree with the other person until they have convinced me that their position is superior or equal to mine and then I can consider what they are saying.

An example of this would be Ron Paul's position on the death penalty.  From what I now of Ron Paul, he has maintained a pretty consistent position on the role of government.  He has been able to keep this position for many years because he has a solid basis for his position and nobody, as yet, has given him a superior argument for him to change.  One area where he admits changing is his opinion of the death penalty.  Previously he was in for and now he is opposed as he says he has heard convincing arguments to encourage him to change.

The advice from Dale Carnegie and Howard McDonald is to agree with everything other people say, even when they are wrong.  The idea is that, we might be wrong, so by saying they are wrong we might be the one's who are wrong.  Sort of like the idea of it's better to set 100 guilty people free then put 1 innocent person in jail.  Also, by resisting the person, they will resist us and be less open to hearing our position.  People, including me, seldom like being told they are wrong, they prefer the idea that they found out some truth on their own.

I guess that is a key, that people, including me, prefer the idea that they found out the truth on their own, rather than being forced to see the truth.

My reaction to that statement is something like, "But with all the wrong thinking in the world, how are they going to know they are wrong if I don't tell them?"  As Dr. Phil would say, "How's that working for you?"  How many people are convinced of my positions by me telling them how wrong they are and how right I am?  I would guess very few, if any.  It does feel good to show how many holes people have in their positions.  I am valuing my ego boost over the good will I could generate by being agreeable.

What tool can I use to allow me to not only bite my tongue, but to agree with opinions that really get my dander up?  Best I can think of is just to tough it out, bite my tongue and if I can't think of a way to agree, then just keep quite.
You heard it right folks, there is absolutely nothing you can do about your current situation.

If you are happy with your current situation or not.  If you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, positive or negative mental attitude, confident or timid, rational or irrational.  There is absolutely nothing you can do about your current state.

The only thing you can control is the future.

Do you get that?  Wherever you are right now is where you are.  It is already too late to make any changes.  Let's not even get started about the past, if you are a person that believes they can change the past then I don't know how we can have a reasonable discussion.

Anything that happened yesterday, a week ago, a decade ago, a millennium ago and where you are right now are equal in your ability to  change them.  These are events that are done.  I would suggest spending maybe 1% of our time contemplating the impact of these events, unless you are trying to learn an lesson to change your future.

I suggest we spend 99% of our time, effort and thoughts on the future.  What is going to happen in the next hour, day, month, and years.  This is the area where we have the ability to make changes.

For those technical minded, it is the same thing as flipping a coin.  If you flip a fair coin that has a 50/50 chance of landing heads or tails and you flip it 10 times and they are all heads, what is the chance that the next flip will be heads?  Of course, it is 50%.  It wouldn't matter if there had already been 100 heads in a row, the next flip is always 50%.

I do realize that we aren't coins and our past actions will impact our future potential.  If you are uneducated and then decide one day to enter a profession that requires a high level of education, you will probably have to exert more effort than someone who is already educated.  If you are obese, don't expect tomorrow to run a marathon.  The key is that just because you were one way yesterday, or right now, it doesn't mean you have to be that way tomorrow, next year or in 10 years.

People often overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what they can accomplish in 10 years.  Leave what has happened in the past, in the past, and think about where you want to go and how you are going to get there in the future.
What thoughts come to mind when you hear the word "investor"?

Many people's first thoughts would probably be something dealing with money.  Maybe a person that has acquired a significant amount of money.  The key is, how did they gain the money?  In my mind, they earned the money by researching how the could take their existing resource and use them in such a way that they would grow.  They then continue this process of growing their amount of money.

What does it take to grow money?  I submit that it requires some knowledge and planning.  It requires knowing what types of activities are most likely to make money grow and then making a plan and taking the actions to make the money grow.

Most everyone want to have more money.  There are just different approaches to how people try and get it.  Some people try and steal it, and others are hoping for lucky to shine on them to provide the money.  The investor does not have to steal or rely solely on luck.  There is of course some chance involved, though it is like the saying "The harder I work, the luckier I seem to get."

How does this relate to other parts of our life?  I think you can be an investor in all areas of your life, not just with money.  You can be a love investor, friend investor, healthy investor, spiritual investor, or whatever is important to you.  What would this mean?  This would mean, you can educate yourself about that area you are interested in, you can make a plan and take actions on the plan to increase that which you want and then continue to do this to make it grow.  Be careful that you are not trying to steal or rely on luck to get what you want.

What is the opposite of an investor?  A bum is the closest I can come up with for an opposite of an investor.  A bum just coasts along, with no long term vision or plan.  Their planning might extend a few hour or at most a few days.  I doubt there are many bums who have yearly or even decade long plans.  Investors often have 5 year, 10 year or even 500 year plans.

Look at the areas of your life that are important to you.  Are you being an investor or a bum?
Somewhere recently, I saw a post about the most important advice that this person had received.  The advice was something like, "Stop trying to find people that need what you have, instead find people that think like you."

This made sense to me in that the people that I enjoy most and benefit most from are those that I can see how we have similar beliefs are understandings of the world.  I guess to make this work, it would also help to be clear about what I believe, or maybe look at the people that I like and respect and what about them I want to emulate.

One thing would be rationality.  The idea that there are causes and effects for things and it is possible to learn.
Outlier - Another key for me are people that are used to being outside of the normal.  I like people that are just a little off.
Money is good. - I like people that believe that money is a good thing and having more is just fine.
Positive/happy/funny - Who doesn't like people that have these traits?

Outlier, I struggle with that one.  I think independent would be a better choice of words.  Someone that is happy to believe their own belief and not concerned if others accept it or not.

So we have rational, independent, financially motivated and positive.  How do I put knowledge seeker in?  I am attracted to people that are seeking answers.  People that are interested in challenging their beliefs, in a rational way, and considering alternative rational explanations.  Open minded?

OK, I have Rational, Open Minded, Independent, Positive, Capitalist.  Yes, this is very close to it.  I like capitalists and am a capitalist.  The think about capitalist is that it is such a charged word.  Especially that I live in China, a communist country.  Communist and Capitalist are listed as antonyms in the thesaurus so many people here may resist labeling themselves as a capitalist despite business being highly valued here.

I really like capitalist because it does separate those that are afraid of money and those that aren't.
How do you convince others about the truth of your beliefs?

In most cases, I understand how it doesn't really matter.  There is some saying about a person convinced of a truth against their will is not convinced.  The idea is that everyone want to think that they realize the truth of something themselves and not that others tell them.

OK, I get this, but what about in cases where it is urgent and important to convince the other person?  In particular, I'm thinking about convincing my wife about how to treat my son's sickness.  This morning, my son woke up with a sore throat.

My wife went to reach for the antibiotics to give him and this started some friction between us because I immediately forbid her from doing that.  I did this because I have lots of evidence that not only are they non-effective again sore throats which are usually viral, but that misuse of antibiotics is dangerous.  Check out this article about Antibiotic Misuse.

How could I have handled it differently?  I have heard the advice that I should agree with everything my wife says.  So, I should agree with her advice to administer ineffective and potentially dangerous medication to my son?  That's hard for me to accept.

Furthermore, I also have strong evidence that there is little evidence of any effective treatments for the common cold and he best we can hope for is to reduce the suffering and just wait about 1 week for it to get better.  The most effective medications are NSAIDs or Acetaminophen (Tylenol).  I prefer Acetaminophen because it is effective for me.  When I take NSAIDs I don't have any feeling that they work.  You can check this article about how to treat sore throats.

We have Ibuprofen for children, an NSAID, though it is difficult to administer without my wife's help and she doesn't want to give it because she wants to give the antibiotics.  Furthermore, she doesn't believe me, despite me showing her the above pages.  No, she want to call her friend, who has no more medical knowledge than my wife, so I don't know why she would trust her over me.

So, how could I handle this differently?  Just let her give the antibiotics?  Give my son no medication and let him suffer?  Continue to try and show my wife that antibiotics are dangerous and NSAIDs and Acetaminophen are thousands of time safer?

We are also dealing with cultural differences as my wife is Chinese.  Reason and logic are feeble weapons against culture and habits.
What if today is the last day of your life?  How would you act?  What if you treated every day like that.  Eventually you'll be right.

How about if it was the last 6 months or last 10 years of your life?  If today was truly the last day of my life, would I keep doing what I'm doing right now.  Pretty much, yes.  I have no need to jump on a plane and fly somewhere.  I do that plenty and then most of the day would be spent in the airport and on the plane.

Today I have a productive day planned and am satisfied with what I will be accomplishing.  Maybe it is more helpful to push out the death clock to 6 months or 5 years.  Or maybe it's just helpful to think about what I admire that others have.

I admire leaders that are calm, funny, positive and rational.  I admire people that control significant assets.  I admire people that have traveled the world.

When I think of it this way, it is more clear the areas I have more work to do.  I am rational and sometimes funny.  I am working on the positive and the calm comes and goes.  As far as controlling significant assets, this is definitely a weakness.  Travel the world is not a problem, I have that one covered.

So the most significant issues would be controlling significant assets, positive and calm.  How would I define significant assets?  I guess large amounts of land, buildings and businesses.  How much is a large amount of land?  I don't even know.  Let's say large enough that it would take 12 hours to walk the perimeter.  So if I walk 3 miles per hour that would be 36 miles perimeter.  That would be 9 miles square or 81 square miles or 51,840 acres or 20,979 hectare.  We could say 50,000 acres or 20,000 hectares.

For buildings, I think a 20+ story office building, or shopping complex with 20+ units.

How can I control those assets in
hat Yesterday's post was helped me to focus some on how to have an equal or greater amount of energy to do the things that I know will help me improve versus those things that I "naturally" enjoy doing, like watching TV.  The advanced course for that topic would be how to do those things even when they aren't planned.  Meaning when I wake up in the middle of the night, instead of watching TV or surfing the web aimlessly, I do productive tasks.  For now, I'm satisfied if I am able to schedule myself to do these productive tasks and accomplish them.

Another challenge that I have is creating and maintaining a powerful network.  I am probably closer to this than I may think.  I can relate this to dating, another of my favorite reference points beside weight loss.

There have been long stretches of my youth where I had no dates.  It wasn't that I didn't want to have a girlfriend, I just didn't know of a method to reliably get one and my circle of friends was small or non-existent so it was also highly unlikely that I would get one by accident.

Finally, I had decided to do something about this and started taking action and learning about different ways to get dates.  I was also impressed by guys that seemed to have an unlimited supply of dates.  The thing that I eventually realized was that the distance between where they are and where I would be happy wasn't that far.

What I mean is that if I had zero dates, it wasn't like I would need to get 100 dates to be wildly happy.  Not even 50 or 25.  If I had 3 dates per week, that would already be more than enough.  I know some guys who have 6 or 7 dates per week, and this is rare, like being an Olympic athlete or multi-billionaire.

So, all of this babbling is to focus on, how many quality contacts would make a reasonable network for me?  100 quality business contact?  3 social business meetings per week?  I think that is a reasonable goal.  If I was able to have 3 social business, face-to-face meetings with decision makers a week, that would be a reasonable goal.
I like this quote.  I can also relate it to the idea that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

When reading this, I have also recently thought about the fact that if I have the energy to scold my child, or yell at my wife, I should also have the energy to love them.

For example, I have caught myself resting on the couch and my son or wife might want some attention from me and I am reluctant because I feel tired.  Though, if my son does something "wrong" all of a sudden I have the energy to jump up and correct him.

It was really striking to me how my priorities seem a little off balance.  Why, all of a sudden, do I have energy when my son does something "wrong", though when all he want is me to play with him, or love him, that I say I'm too tired?

Realizing this, I now do my best to use that filter when my son wants to play.  I ask myself, am I really so tired that even if he does something I don't approve of that I will let it slide, then if that is true then I can also continue my resting.  If I realize that I have enough energy to scold him, than I surely have enough energy to play with him.

Zig Ziglar tells a similar story about how you have a day where everything seems to go wrong.  You wake up and there is no hot water.  You go to your car and it has a flat tire.  On the way to work, you run into a major traffic jam.  When you get to work, your assistant isn't there, so you have to do double work all day.  Finally when you get home, you are so tired, your wife approaches and says how she is so happy to see you since you had already agreed to help her clean the house today.  You profess that you can't take another step and then your friend calls and says the if you can come over in 15 minutes, they have front row tickets to a game or concert and you are out the door in 5 minutes.

Why did you all of a sudden have energy for "fun" and not for your wife/family?  How can we either create energy all the time, or classify time with our loved ones as "fun", or classify "work" as "fun"?

For my wife and son, I have a method where I ask myself, if I have enough energy to scold or argue with them, then I surely first can use that energy to play and love them.  How do I transfer that mindset to work?  I have instances when I just avoid work and surf the web.  How can I tell myself, "If you have time to surf the web, then you have time to do work?"





For the past 18 days, I have been suffering from debilitating joint pain. The cause of this illness is a mystery, despite visiting two doctors in Korea, 2 doctors in China, 3 pharmacists, countless internet searches, at least 10 oral medications and topical traditional Chinese medicine.

The key thing is how does this affect my success?  First way is that I during those 18 days, I stopped most of my system of success.  The system consists of 1) Wake early, 2) Write out goals 3-5 days / week, 3) Write in blog 3-5 days/week, 4) Listen to 45min - 1 hr success material 3-5 days / week, and 5) Take regular action towards goals 5 days per week 6) Weekly meeting with other success minded people.

For the first few days of illness I did continue with my success activities, then we had 7 days planned vacation in Korea and I have traditionally stopped most of these success activities during vacations.  This is a pattern that I want to review because I am more careful about trying to maintain a healthy eating pattern, even during vacation, though I did allow that also slip.

I believe that the success system is mostly concerned with training our mind, just like a healthy program is designed to train our body.  When you go on vacation, how much unhealthy things should you allow yourself to do since you are on vacation?  There are of course extremes on both ends of this spectrum.  I have heard that professional athletes if they even miss one day of training will suffer for several days when they start again, so if they stopped for 3 or 7 days, they would suffer even more.  Most of us aren't at this level a performance, so I suspect we can probably handle 1-3 days of slacking off.

Well, back to the current situation, the good news is that in general I have been able to maintain a positive and productive attitude, especially with my wife.  My wife has been great in looking after our son, practically completely by herself because I have been bedridden for the last 7 days.

Life happens one day at a time.  I can just start from where I am now and decide if this success system works for me and continue from there.