Saturday, January 16, 2010


"Saving FOR your future is OK, but saving ON your future is decay."

~ Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of Ten3 Business e-Coach;

Friday, January 15, 2010


Life's myriad changes often lead to an accumulation of stress.

Here is a collection of simple, common-sense strategies for transforming mental & physical tension into energy creatively & efficiently expressed.

Many of these strategies may be familiar to you. Use them as helpful reminders.

Circle the ones you'd like to remember more often. Add your own to the list.

1) Take time (you'll never "find" it) to be alone on a regular basis to prioritise your activities, to re-evaluate your goals, to check your intentions, & to listen to your heart;

2) Pause often to take deep slow breaths, especially waiting in line, on the phone or driving;

3) Do something each day that you love to do, something that brings you joy, & that leaves you revitalised;

4) Appreciate the flow off change moment to moment. Welcome change as an opportunity & challenge to learn & grow;

5) Remember it takes less energy to get an unpleasant task done "right now," then to worry about it all day;

6) Take time to be with nature. Even in the city, awareness of the sky & changing seasons can quiet the mind;

7) Practise consciously doing one thing at a time, keeping your mind focused on the present. Do whatever you are doing more slowly & more carefully;

8) Learn a variety of relaxation techniques & practise at least one regularly;

9) Let your eyes be soft & relaxed;

10) Practise stress-reducing communications: (e.g. feel the difference in your mental attitude & your body when you say "I choose to..." instead of "I have to...";

11) Treat yourself to a massage &/or learn to massage your neck, shoulders & feet;

12) If your schedule is busy, prioritise your activities & do the more important ones first;

13) When you read your mail, act on it immediately e.g. file it, send it back, toss it, etc.;

14) Learn to delegate responsibility;

15) When you're concerned about something, talk it over with someone you trust, or write down your feelings. Create & maintain a personal support system;

16) Exercise regularly;

17) Smile to yourself & laugh more often;

18) Organise your life to include time for spontaneity & integration. Set a realistic schedule allowing transition time between activities;

19) Be more kind to yourself &others;

20) Monitor your intake of sugar, salt, salt, alcohol & caffeine;

21) Watch clouds or waves on water. Listen to music or the sounds around you. Notice the silence between sounds & the space between thoughts;

22) Use your own distress to remind you to be more patient, caring, & compassionate towards yourself &others;

23) Remember to stop & smell the flowers!

[Source: 'Quality of Mind: Tools for Self-Mastery & Enhanced Performance' by Joel & Michelle Levey. This book is actually a corporate edition of their earlier book, 'The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration & Meditation: Ancient Skills for Modern Minds', which is one of my personal favourites. The authors are experts in bio-cybernautic training.]


I am just starting to read 'See, Feel, Think & Do: The Power of Instinct in Business' by two business strategists Andy Mulligan & Shaun Smith.

To my delight, I am somewhat captivated by their story taken from an old movie from the seventies, directed by Francis Ford Coppola & starring Al Pacino (as Don Michael Corleone), in the Introduction to the book:

"There is a great scene in the movie, 'The Godfather Part II'.

Michael Corleone is visiting Cuba to decide whether he should invest in some mafia-owned casinos there. It is the time of the revolution that would eventually bring Castro to power. His car stops by an alleyway, down which he sees an armed soldier pointing his gun at some guerrillas who appeared to have surrendered.

Suddenly, one of the guerrillas pulls out a grenade which explodes, killing them all.

Corleone drives on. Later when he is talking to the mafia bosses, he asks them about the guerrillas. They are dismissive. He tells them what he saw in the alleyway. The bosses laugh, pointing out that it proves how useless and stupid the guerrillas are.

Corleone pauses and then disagrees:

"It means they can win," he says, and tells them he is not investing.

It is a vignette that shows the power of observation in business (because this was a business deal, after all).

Michael Corleone saw something, he felt something which made him think, and led led him to do something that would save him a lot of money.

Castro won, and the mafia lost their casinos."

I think I am going to enjoy the book.


Is it OK for to want more than what I have?

Is it OK to want when I have enough & others don't?

Is there a right way or wrong way to want things?

Shouldn't I just accept my lot in life so far & be grateful for what I already have?


I have received the following apt advisory from Pamela MacLean, head honcho of the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara, a world leader in self-renewal, transitional change & personal leadership consulting, via email this morning:

"Big changes begin with small steps - and research suggests we are likely to experience more success when we break apart our 'big change goals' and build a series of small steps.

Did you try out a 'new year's resolution' when the clock struck midnight? The most common resolution goes something like this "I want to get in shape and start a major exercise program". So, you join a gym, start with great intentions and by about this time in January you are deriding yourself for the lack of discipline you've demonstrated!

In this new year and new decade, take a new approach - start with the smallest changes - instead of joining the gym, agree with yourself to walk 15 minutes a day for 30 days. Once you've started to build a new habit it's much easier to raise the stakes successfully.

Before January slides by, consider a small change or two in your life that might lead to bigger things down the road. Perhaps you give up email work on your precious weekend afternoons, or you turn off tv news a day or two a week, or eliminate evening snacks a couple of days a week - and the list goes on. But keep track, savor your successes and keep taking small steps toward bigger goals!"

She has also given a weblink where readers can download a Small Changes Worksheet so that you can start tracking your successes.

[My two most favourite books from the institute are:

- 'The Adult Years: Mastering the Art Of Self Renewal', by Frederic Hudson;

- 'LifeLaunch: Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life', by Frederic Hudson & Pamela McLean;

Together with the books from Richard Bolles & Richard Leider, they were pivotal in guiding & navigating my mid-life transition during the early nineties.]

Thursday, January 14, 2010


“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

~ Harold Thurman Whitman, philosopher & theologian;


"Where the needs of the world intersect with your talent or gift, therein lies your vocation."

~ Aristotle;


Here's the link to a very interesting article, entitled 'How to Teach About Compound Interest!', by Sam Renick, founder of The It’s a Habit! Company, Inc., a socially conscious corporation dedicated to providing parents and educators with wholesome, entertaining and educational tools that help them encourage children to develop good habits, especially saving money.

He is also the author of two financial books for children: 'It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit!' & 'Will Sammy Ride the World’s First Space Coaster?'.

I have plucked out the salient points of his article:

Money’s ability to compound is of one its’ most intriguing and beneficial features. Compounding does not discriminate. Its magical characteristics work for anyone who chooses to employ it, regardless of their ethnic, economic or social background.

The concept is so powerful.


Would you rather have $10,000 or a penny a day doubled for 30 days?”

It turns out that a penny a day doubled for 30 days adds up to more than 10 million dollars! Of course, no investment doubles daily.

How many times a dollar would have to double in order to reach a million dollars?

The answer is 20.

How much money a person would have after ten doublings of the dollar?

The answer is $1,024.

The largest doubling is the last doubling, which is worth $524, 288 and is equal to the sum of the first 19 doublings. However, the twentieth and last doubling isn’t possible without the first and smallest doubling, from one to two.

When something compounds, it grows at a much more rapid rate than one expects. Time is a major ingredient in the compound interest formula, so the longer money remains deposited or invested, the greater and more magical the compounding effect.

This explains how it’s possible to become a millionaire over a lifetime while earning minimum wage.

Here's the principle in action, according to the author:

If an 18-year-old saves $100 per month and earns 6% until the age of 65, he or she will have accumulated $313,187, while only investing $56,400.

However, if he or she delays the decision until age twenty five, he or she will accumulate only $199,149, while investing $48,000. The difference is $114,038.

If the saver happens to earn a higher return of 9%, which is possible but requires more risk, than the difference in either deferring or being unaware of the decision is even more consequential -- $420,417.

The 18-year-old would accumulate $888,549 versus $468,132 for the 25-year-old. The actual dollar difference in what they would have invested would be $8,400.

Whether they earned 6% or 9%, earning an additional $114, 038 or $420,417 by starting sooner rather than later is a smart way to accumulate money.

Simply stated compound interest allows the saver to earn interest on interest as opposed to just interest on principal.

For example, assume money deposited for one year earns one hundred dollars in interest.

During year two, the original money deposited will earn another year's worth of interest or an additional one hundred dollars.

However, during year two, the one hundred dollars of interest earned in year one also earns interest, catalyzing the compounding effect.

In summary, the sooner one starts, the less it takes to reach one’s goals. So, if it is security and riches you want to create, start saving and investing early, not late.


What would I do if I knew I could not fail?

What would I do if no one paid me to do it?

What makes me come alive?