Archive for the ‘E-Books’ Category

4 Life Truths: Truth 1 = Wealth

August 12, 2012

Welcome to Part 1 of this video course on the 4 Truths that can change your life. This E-Book is basically a transcript of a 2 month video course which I offer on the Internet. If you have not watched it, you can subscribe to the course totally FREE of charge with no obligation, at www.mindshiftguru.com

First a practical exercise! Think about your own life and about the ‘wealth’ that you own. Consider for a moment, under the categories of, family, health and materialism 10 items for which you can be thankful. You may immediately be able to write down ten things… great! If not, take your time and over the next few days add items as they come to mind. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and I want you to really think about these things, making a point of writing down only those items that are truly important. The object of this exercise is to be able to look at what you have written and realize that you already have 30 assets that add to your wealth – and the majority (Family & Health) are not materialistic at all!

Hello and welcome! My name is Wolfgang Riebe and I am your Mind Shift Guru that is going to teach you 4 truths that can change your life. Before we even begin, who am I, what’s my claim to fame, and what gives me the right to attempt to teach you something that can change your life?

Firstly, let me give you some important background information on myself… I am not one of those speakers/authors that has become famous on television, read a book on motivation, and now claims to be a speaker. Not at all!

Secondly, I’m someone that speaks from personal experience, because I believe that if I have gone through what I want to share with you, only then I can speak with authenticity, from the heart, with humility, and we can connect, and grow together out of the process.

Thirdly, and most important, I’m not that naïve that I believe I can teach you stuff you don’t know. But… I can remind you of things you’ve forgotten.

Even though I have the Ph.D, that doesn’t really qualify me to have the skills to change your life! You see, I believe the biggest qualification in life is to have gone through things yourself, what they call… ‘The University of Life.’ They also say that when you travel, that is the University of Life! And I have been fortunate that I have travelled somewhat in my life. In fact I have been to places like the Antarctic, Arctic, Alaska, New York, Mexico, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Odessa, Israel. Even the Far East, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Rangoon, the Middle East. I’ve also visited Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, the Caribbean and other islands all over the world. In fact, by the age of 28 I had worked in 86 different countries! I’m a bit older now… and I have stopped counting at 144 countries!

Now when I tell this to people they say, “There aren’t that many countries in the world!” Oh yes there are! There are more than 200 countries and I aim to still see them all in my life! Because travelling is the university of life, it teaches you about different people, cultures, places… and suddenly you realize that there are truths out there that apply to all of us. These are the things that I want to share with you.

I know that you are looking at all these countries and asking yourself, “Man what did this chap do for a profession?” Was he a travel agent? Ha, ha, yea that would be the logical answer, but no! You see, I started my career as a magician! Let me repeat, not a musician, a magician… someone that pulls rabbits out of hats! I am German and I still have family that asks (read with German accent) “Ven are U getting a real job!?” When you tell people that you are a magician, they ask, “How do you pay your mortgage? Come on, you can’t make money with that?” By that age of 28, I had seen 86 countries. I had seen the whole world following a dream and a passion. And there are certain laws and rules that have worked for me. Some people like to call, them ‘secrets.’ I just like to call them truths! In this basic course, I am going to share 4 of them with you. Very strong and very important basic truths!

Finally, it’s important for me to clarify that I’m sharing with you, over the next 4 months, 4 of these Life Truths. This is a gift from me to you, completely free. There is no obligation on your behalf! I just sincerely hope that I can change your view of life, because, as a Mind Shift Guru I want to shift your perceptions and show you the light to the truths out there and give you the ability to reach your dreams.

I really want you to listen carefully and be open to what I am sharing with you. Although I am going to teach you from my life experiences, please understand that this is not about me. It’s about what I have learnt that I want to share with you. And I am hoping from the heart, that you can connect and relate to this, and learn from my experiences.

Let us start with the 1st truth, and that is…

WEALTH

You have to understand the concept of wealth, or as some people want to call it, ‘abundance.’ I could share the Wikipedia, or Oxford dictionary definition with you. I actually had a look at them, and they are quite complex! However, the bottom line is… wealth is defined as materialism, in other words, how much you have!

Over the year in my Keynotes I have asked thousands of people how they would define wealth and openly ask if it means (now I show my fingers and thumb rubbing together in the motion that means, money) this to them. Most people say, “Yes!”
In my opinion, this is why a lot of people lose track in life. This is why they don’t find direction and question the point of life! We have been so conditioned in the society that we live today, that this false materialistic definition of wealth has completely screwed up most people on the planet.

Therefore, before I can even continue with anything, the true meaning of Wealth has to be explained to you in detail so that you can begin heading in the right direction with your life.

In the beginning, I said to you that I speak from experience. So let me share my story with you. I started my career as a magician working on cruise ships, as a headline act. I’ll never forget the first ship I worked on. I don’t know if you have been on a big American cruise liner? What happens is… you join the ship and everything is included, depending on the star rating of the ship, sometimes the alcohol as well. The only thing you really pay extra for, are the shore excursions. So if you’re joining a ship, let’s say in the Caribbean, sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, first going to Nassau and then St. Maarten, on every island they offer shore excursions that cost you extra. The ship has a tour office onboard, where you can book the excursion for $50, $100… whatever it costs.

When ship docks in the morning, they have a bus waiting for the passengers to take them on the excursion. Later in the afternoon the bus returns to the ship and the passengers sail off.

Here I was… a youngster who got a break to work on the cruise ships as a magician. When you work on these ships as a youngster, you don’t realize that the only people that can afford to go on these big super liners are elderly retired people… so it was almost like working on a floating old age home. Don’t laugh, as a youngster I didn’t realize this! Here I was on this dream ship, just starting out in life… and all I had around me was elderly people! What happened to those romantic brochures in travel agencies around the world that displayed pictures of sexy couples with hard bodies tanning in deck chairs?

Because we worked on the ship as a headline act, everything was included in our contract, plus we had a lot of free time. Also, during the day when these passengers went out on these excursions we could actually go with them, but as a representative of the company. The cruise line needed representatives to make sure that these tours were as advertised, hence we had to write a report on the excursion. This covered them in case a passenger wanted to sue the cruise line.

Secondly, because most passengers were elderly people, a lot of them had Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and some even had Zimmer frames and were in wheel chairs. Hence we were cheap labour and had to help them back on the buses at the refreshment breaks and basically assist the tour guide to make sure all passengers were happy. Here I was, a youngster just starting out on the ship earning good money, and enjoying the bonus privilege of going on these excursions for free! After three weeks on my first ship, I signed up on my first excursion. It was in the Caribbean and a whole day tour. The first half was a city tour, and the second half we visited botanical gardens.

The city tour was awesome! Hi Fi’s, jewellery, computers, boy was I in heaven! However, all the old people were bored out of their minds. The second half of the tour at the botanical gardens everything was reversed! I was bored out of my mind! These elderly people were taking photos of flowers! Why would anyone take pictures of flowers? They were Americans… I actually thought they were Japanese… they were taking so many photos! What was going on? It didn’t make sense to me! And they were literally freaking out over stupid flowers.

I got back to the ship that night and said to myself, “That’s it, no more tours. These passengers are crazy!” Over the next few weeks I noticed something else… here I was starting out in life, I had nothing and was stuck on a ship with all these wealthy elderly people. It struck me that the majority of them never smiled! They all had long faces! I don’t know if you know any elderly people? Have you ever stood in the line at the post office and you’ve waited three hours, and you’re up front, and suddenly an elderly person comes along, pushes you out of the way and says, “Respect… I’m older?”

This was what I experienced as a youngster on the ships. Wealthy elderly people, the majority of which had long faces, and they all loved flowers! Man, life did not make sense to me!

Today I can admit to you that I was very naïve as a youngster. In fact it took me three months before I went up to an elderly gentleman and asked him, “Oi… what is your problem? Why the long face and what’s with the flowers?”

Well, I’ll never forget when he looked at me and he spoke! He said, “Because I am alone!” I questioned, “What do you mean because you are alone?” He replied, “My wife passed on last year, my children died in an accident two years ago. I’m bitter at the cards that life has dealt me. I’ve got to sit here in my retirement and do all this alone. And I’ve got no one to enjoy my money with… none of the people I love!”

Whew! Was I blown away! I was in shock! I didn’t know what to say to the man.

But what he said to me hit home big time!

Do you know what I started doing over the next few months? I started speaking to every elderly person I met… and boy, did they change my perceptions of life!

In summary, there are three things I learnt from the elderly. And as I travelled around the world, meeting people from every culture, they all said the same to me.

1. They spent their entire lives (also remember that this a different generation) just making money their god. They ran after money, they made money their priority. Everything was money, money, money! In the process they never watched their children grow up. They never had time for anything else. Now that they’ve got the money and can enjoy it… they actually cannot enjoy it with the people that are important to them. Have you ever looked at it like that ? That’s really sad when you think about it. Do you remember growing up and your parents saying to you, “I can’t believe how quick you’re growing up!” Or even worse, have you said it to your own kids? Why would you say that? It’s because you don’t have time for them! When you’re old one day and when you think, philosophize, pray or meditate about your life, you will suddenly realize a few interesting things. The memories you have are weirdly enough, not the new computer, nor the new car that you bought, and not the latest gadgets you have in your house, but… the first steps that your daughter or your son took, the first kiss you had, the first time you had sex… those are the memories that you have! It’s the emotional memories that bond and mean something. Those are the memories that stick. This is the wealth that remains! Yet as young people we don’t understand this! This concept is completely foreign to us!

2. I was sarcastic earlier when I said that they had wheel chairs, Zimmer frames and Alzheimer’s on the excursions. Once again, as a young man I never realized that they spent their entire life running after money, trying to get wealthy, and in the process they never looked after the most precious asset they have… their own body! They never stayed fit or ate healthy. They never exercised. Now in retirement, in a sickly state, they were still trying to fulfil their dreams. It’s only once we understood where they were coming from, and what they’ve been through, that we suddenly respected them and saw it in a different light. But often we don’t tend to do that. We tend to look at a lot of elderly and become irritated with their frailness. How sad is that? Never forget that it was a different time in which they grew up! Did they have mind shift guru’s that told them, “Hang on there must be a work-life balance!” Hence I am telling you… look after your health!

3. This is without a doubt the most powerful lesson I learnt from the elderly. The most beautiful things on earth are not man-made, but what the universe has given us for free! Travelling around the world has re-enforced and cemented this concept into my mind, over and over and over again! Just look at pictures of the glaciers in Glacier Bay, Alaska. That ice is millions of years old. A piece breaks off, it’s like thunder going off, it’s raw nature… is there anything so beautiful? The reflections of the light on the ice, the colors… wow!

Look at the northern lights in the Arctic. That’s nature – it’s free! Skies go purple, blue, green… word cannot do justice to the magnificence of this!

As younger people we run around – we don’t know why, we just run… stress everywhere! But, if you, as a younger person can realize that your family, friends, co-workers, and friends around you are important… that your health and looking after your own body is crucial… and also that the beauty of the nature around you is were true wealth lies, you will suddenly get a different perception of life!

In all fairness, of course money is important! We live in a materialistic world! However, you need to grasp that it is not the be-all and the end-all! If you don’t shift your perception, if your attitude in life is not right, if you are not positive in your mind and don’t understand what life is about… then the money doesn’t come on it’s own either! But if you align your way of thinking and grasp what the elderly took a lifetime to learn, guess what? Then you are in alignment with the Universe and it starts looking after you!

As soon as you realize, family, friends, health, the beauty of everything around me is where true wealth lies… you start relaxing within in your heart. Your stress levels drop! As soon as the energy in your heart calms down you are in balance, and the money comes on it’s own.

To me an integral part of becoming wealthy is also giving! It is most likely that you are already questioning why I am sharing this information with you? I’m hoping that you can see that I’m authentic and that this has become my calling… speaking, writing and changing your perceptions. This is what is important to me!

Today is genuinely my birthday, and my family, my wife my daughters, all wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday? And for me it was important to spend the day with them, but what was also important to share. I firmly believe that by shooting this 1st Life Truth on video today and having it transcribed into this first part of the book, I was receiving the best present of all… giving! If I can share my philosophy with you and make you more positive and you make the next person more positive and we cause a snowball effect, guess what? We can all change the world together and make it a more beautiful place live! Let us all shift our think and our attitudes and create magic!

Thank you for spending the time reading my thoughts. I do trust that I have shifted your thinking! If you have only downloaded this free E-Book and not seen the video, please subscribe at www.mindshiftguru.com. It really is totally free with no obligations. On the video course I share 3 more Life Truths with you and have designed the whole course to give you time to think about everything I share over a period of 2 months. Also, I send you an audio MP3 audio link and PDF transcript of each video a week after viewing it. Every two weeks you will receive the next truth and in two months time you will have done my basic course on the 4 truths that can change your life.

Next week I will load Part 2.

Passion is Success

April 7, 2012

PASSION IS SUCCESS

This blog is downloadable as a FREE E-BOOK from  Smashwords in most reader formats, iTunesReader Store and Barnes & Noble.

My first question to you is, “How do you wake up in the morning?” Is it a case of opening your eyes, not feeling your best, groaning and saying to yourself, “Oh no, another damn day!” Or, do you jump out of bed, give your partner next to you, and the cat, a huge fright as you shout, “Yes! Wow, another amazing day. So much to do and so little time!” I take it that for most people, the first example is the norm. People just aren’t excited about life anymore. Just sit on the London underground and look at everyone’s faces. Too few smile. If you do smile at someone, odds are you will get arrested for being a public nuisance. It’s the same in the traffic in any city in the morning – just look at the faces of the people in the cars next to you – how many are smiling? It’s as if the majority of people today have lost the will to live and have fun in life.

Once many years back, I actually met someone who had passion. I was sitting in the peak hour morning traffic on the M25 around London, when the man in the car next to me suddenly held up a board which read, “Hi, great morning, isn’t it?” In fact he had a whole conversation with everyone around him using these boards. He had found a way to make the traffic fun!

As an inspirational speaker I find it very worrying that there are so many passionless people out there. I have conducted much research as to why people don’t live life to the full, and trust that my insights will help you discover your passion once more.

I am constantly reminded of a saying by an unknown author:

Life is like a roll of toilet paper.  The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

Isn’t that so true? The older we get, the faster time seems to go? Even the children of today are commenting that their days fly by. Surely then, if this is the case, why doesn’t humanity make the most of every moment they have, seeing that it all goes by so fast?

My aim today, is threefold. Firstly, I want to identify what passion is, then explain why the majority of people have lost it, and finally share with you how you can discover your passion again.

WHAT IS PASSION

I have found the following definition on the net, and curiously enough some examples say it is Cher’s definition, while others claim it belongs to Madonna. Either way, this is what one of these ladies have to say, when asked how they would define passion:

“There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible.”

However, that’s not quite the passion I am talking about! It is that drive and lust for life that is important to me. It’s what makes you smile when things aren’t going your way.

Next step was to look at the Oxford English Dictionary definition:

Passion: “a strong feeling, or enthusiasm.”

I have always said that I love life, and feel that love and passion are closely linked. Hence I checked out the definition of love as well.

Love: “have  a strong affection, or deep tender feelings for.”

Isn’t that interesting? Both definitions are pretty similar. The bottom line here is that love and passion are closely linked. They feed off each other. Think about it for a moment. If I am in love with someone, passion always forms part of that relationship. If I am passionate about a sport or hobby in life, I really love doing it. In the same vein, have you ever met someone really successful, who seems to be having fun at their job? Ask them why they do it. Odds are that they will reply, “It’s my passion, I absolutely love it!”

You will notice that these people also never see their careers as work, but as an extension of themselves. They don’t work nine to five, but rather 24/7, 365. They don’t need a vacation, as what they do, is so inspiring for them, they never get tired.

As a keynote speaker and entertainer, people often ask me whether I get nervous on stage, or tired of traveling around the world. Huh? Why? I love what I do! If you didn’t quite get what I mean, I’ll repeat it for you, “I love what I do!” Even though there have been tough times, and times when the work wasn’t plentiful, I always have fun. I have often said, “I cannot believe that people pay me to have fun!” I firmly believe that this is a philosophy which everyone can have… if they truly love what they do.

This we will identify as the final chapter in this book. But first and foremost, as with any problems in life, one must identify the  root, or cause of the problem, and ask ourselves, “Why have we lost our passion?”

WHY HAVE WE LOST IT?

This is not an academic thesis, hence I will not become long winded and share ten different schools of thought based on various hypotheses! I could… but I won’t. In a nutshell, most people have lost their passion due to expectations!

That’s it, there is no more to it. It’s as simple as that!

Expectations are the root of all problems! 

We live in a society of instant gratification and expectations. What do I mean? Think about it… few people do anything today without expecting something in return. I work because I expect a salary. I ask someone out on a date because I expect (hope) to have sex. I make an appointment with a potential client, because I want (expect) them to buy my product. I will pick up your children from school because I expect you to do the same for me next week. I’ll do the dishes for you tonight honey because I expect some action in the bedroom later. When I am born and I scream as a baby, immediately I must get milk or have my nappy changed… instant gratification.

Get the point? Too few just do things out of the kindness of the their heart. It’s all about, “What’s in it for me?”

Don’t get me wrong, there are many people who don’t follow the above example – but, those are the passionate ones! Those are the people that are enjoying their life and living every moment to the full.

I am merely trying to answer the question for you personally, why the passion has gone. Think about it, we have been brought up and conditioned in a society where ‘expectation’ is the norm. As a child you were conditioned to behave. If you behaved, you got things. In school we were taught to learn and pass our grades. In return we received our diploma. Then we had to study at university to get a degree, so that we could get a good job, etc. Expectations, expectations, expectations!

We have been intrinsically conditioned to expect. But, and it’s a big BUT, in reality things do not always work out the way we expect! That’s when disappointment takes over and we start losing the zest and passion for life. If you really think about it logically, it’s a system that is bound to fail.

Add to this, the greed of big business corporations and the manipulation of the media. What chance do you have to be positive? Take the media reporting on an accident. The front page headline reads:

2 KILLED IN HORROR CRASH

A typical headline. Sensationalist, negative and attention grabbing. That same headline could read:

AMBULANCE HEROES ARRIVE IN UNDER 2 MINUTES

This is more positive and instils hope. But, according to the majority of journalists, it won’t sell. It’s not sensationalist enough. I have constantly challenged the press and media on the above, and maintain that if they only put the positive spin on any story (every story has two sides), within three weeks the entire city, or country will have a more positive attitude.

If you think I am being unrealistic, just read the first three pages of any newspaper. It’s all about politics, politicians and their antics. 90% of what is written will never come to pass, but it sells! Take a society magazine reporting on celebrity lifestyles… I cannot believe that people actually read such rubbish. Then they wonder why they are negative. Hello… smell the roses.

People actually try to emulate well-known personalities who are so screwed-up in their heads, simply because the media gives them attention. I will never understand this. Take a popular American pop star who shaved all the hair off her head. This woman, in my opinion, is a nutcase. Do you have any idea how many people copied her? And it didn’t stop there, she still has a huge following today. Huh? And all these people wonder why their lives are not working out.

How many women try to have Barbie doll figures? Why do you think you still see weight loss adverts constantly on television? In fact, a researcher did a study, and concluded that if any woman did have a Barbie doll figure, her back would break. It wouldn’t be able to support her chest!

Recently, a stepson of a celebrity committed a crime. What did the press do? There were headlines nationwide with the celebrity’s name in big print, about the crimes of a stepson which he hadn’t seen or heard of in years. Whose name sold the paper? Whose name was damaged in the process?

Enough, I am sure you get the gist of what I am saying. Vulgar and perverse are the operative words here. It is perverse that the media and society has dictated how we need to feel and think. Occasionally there is an exposé about something bad that has happened. In many cases it is an eye blind and just leads to more problems. A great example is the 2009 recession. Governments worldwide cried wolf and claimed that excessive debts and too much credit was partly to blame. And everyone accepted that they were also to blame because of excessive debts.

Once again, the blame had been shifted to the people. Let me ask you a question and I want you to think about it carefully. Try to come up with your own answer. Name the one organization/company in the world, or your own country, that is totally useless? In other words, it doesn’t generate any income whatsoever. It merely spends, and most of the time cannot do that efficiently either.

Got the answer yet?  The government!

Interestingly enough, years ago no-one got the answer immediately. Today if I pose the question to a live audience, the answer is shouted out unanimously and instantly!

Back to the debt problem.  Where does a government get its money from? The taxes which you and I pay. They will only get taxes from you if you work and earn money. You will only work to earn money if you have debt (mortgage, car, etc.) If you have no debt, you don’t have to work. Please understand that I am not being anti-government here, but am merely trying to put the economics of everything into perspective.

Back to the above recession scenario. The governments blame excessive debt as the problem. Who is it that wants us to have debt so that we must work and pay taxes? The government! Yet via the media, they want to shift the blame to the masses. Get my point? Many governments have now implemented ‘Credit Acts’ to legitimize these claims and ‘protect’ the consumer. Interesting… the banks are still giving out loans, cars are still being sold and all these people are still making profits.

Now you want to know why you wake up depressed and are no longer passionate about life? I trust I have highlighted an angle, and made you realize that humanity is completely controlled and manipulated by ‘the powers that be.’ Unfortunately, not everyone has the will, or insight to realize this, and hence they fall into the rat race. The rat race is dominated by fear, and it is this fear that also breaks us down.

Remember, that even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat!

Look at children today. When I was a child I always ‘wanted’. I wanted a sweet, I wanted a new train set. Listen to the kids today and how they speak to their parents. They no longer ‘want’ they ‘need’! If you have your own children, listen to them and you will see that it is all about ‘needing’. I ‘need’ money for the tuck-shop at school today. Listen to them, and you will see that I speak the truth. This is how the media have brainwashed the youngsters of today.

I need! If I don’t get it, my need has been denied. That’s far worse than a ‘want’ being denied! Get my point?

We have been conditioned not to understand the difference between ‘pleasure’ and ‘joy’ anymore. In fact, the media has made everyone believe that these two terms are identical, when if fact they differ hugely.

It is once you understand the difference between these two concepts, that you can begin re-discovering your passion.

Pleasure is derived from things outside ourselves – materialism. It is temporary. What is pleasure today can be sorrow tomorrow.

Joy arises from within ourselves and is a state of consciousness. It is giving attention. Ask yourself – whatever you are doing, is there lightness, laughter, ease in what you are doing right now. If there isn’t, then you are living in future or past time, but not in the present moment. To find JOY, realize, it is ‘HOW’ you do things.

A person who is passionate and has a love for life, experiences joy in everything that they do.

It is important that you understand that ‘temporary’ things cannot bring you joy, but only pleasure for a limited time only. Here are some temporary things in life: Car, home, computer, PSP, eating out, spouse and children.

What! How can my spouse and children be temporary? Of course they are. One day your spouse will die and you will be left alone. The same applies to your children. They will grow up and leave the house. The times you spend with them are defined as the ‘pleasure principle’ and that applies to all the fun things you do. You derive pleasure at that moment.

Joy does come into the picture, only if you create memories with your spouse and children. One day when you retire and think back on your life, what will your memories be? The first car you bought, the newest quad-core computer system you had to take out a loan for? I doubt it. The memories of joy you will have, will be that first kiss, the first steps your child took.

Most people run around so much in the rat race, they only have time for ‘quick fixes’ and instant gratification. They forget to live and create lasting memories which will bring joy. Can you sit quietly in a room with your spouse and do and say nothing… and enjoy every moment of it?  Most people cannot do this! They need to make that moment ‘pleasant’ by doing something. This is what society and the media has taught them. Why do you think your parents said to you as a child, “I cannot believe how quick you are growing up!”

The person who understands the concept of joy, can however savor the presence of their spouse in that moment. They can be content in the fact that they are simply sharing the same space, and each others company. They can appreciate the deeper spiritual meaning of that moment and keep it as a good memory. Someone once said, “The simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child, did wonders for me as an adult.” Isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Here are some thoughts by an unknown author which puts it all into perspective:

Today we have higher buildings and wider highways, but shorter temperaments and narrower points of view.

We spend far more, but enjoy far less.

We have bigger houses, but smaller families.

We have more compromises, but less time.

We have more knowledge, but less judgement.

We have modern medicines, but less health.

We have multiplied our possessions,  but reduced our values.

We talk way to much, we love only a little, and we hate too much.

We have reached the Moon and come back, 

but we find it too difficult to cross our  own street and meet our neighbors.

We claim to have conquered outer space,  but not our inner space.

These are times with more freedom and liberty, but less joy….

We have higher incomes, but less morals….

We have much more food and a larger variety of foods , but less nutrition….

Today… two salaries reach home, but divorces increase.

These are times of finer, bigger and more expensive houses,  but more broken homes.

And let’s not forget, we have been conditioned to pass the blame onto others, whether it is the previous government, our parents, or our school. Very few people actually take responsibility for their actions. If you don’t believe me, just look at any politician being interviewed on television. It’s always someone else’s fault. They condition everyone else to pass on the blame. Something goes wrong at work, who gets the blame?

It is very rare to see someone own up and accept the blame themselves. When it does happen, it comes as a shock to everyone around them. Huh? And I am not just blaming politicians here. Look around you, your social circle, work colleagues, even your children.

We have been brought up in a society where no-one wants to accept any blame for their mistakes. The greatest example is when people give money to invest in companies. Something goes wrong, like a market crash, and the blame is shifted to others. Here’s a tip for you…

The people who really make money are those that inform themselves about investing. Instead of watching sport, or TV every night, they actually educate themselves about the financial markets. Within a short space of time they understand it, and are in control of all their own investments. Remember, as long as you let other people invest your money for you – you will never make any real profits.

There are commissions and costs that must be deducted. You get what’s left… if you are lucky. Take the responsibility yourself. It’s much more satisfying when you are in control of your own destiny!

Bottom line, unless YOU accept full responsibility for your own life and everything that has and will happen in the future, you will never find joy and passion.

If anything, YOU MUST first accept full responsibility of your own life.

In order to do this and find your passion again, there are a number of things you need to understand.

WHERE DO I FIND MY PASSION AGAIN?

In your own life:

Acceptance

The most important issue, is that you have to accept what has happened in your life up to today. Until you have reached that point, you cannot move further. Accept that what is done is done, and that the past cannot be changed. Also, accept that the world happens to work the way it does, whether you agree with everything or not.

You cannot change the world, BUT – you can change one person through your behavior towards them, and via the snowball effect, they will in turn affect others positively.

This can be done by following a few simple principles.

Firstly, learn to love! Above all, learn to love yourself and accept who you are as a person. Stop comparing yourself to what society says you have to be. You will never be content or happy within yourself if you try to be like everybody else. Become aware of how society is conditioned. I call people, ‘Sheeples’. Why? Because they follow others and copy what everybody else does. Isn’t that what sheep do?

Become aware of how the media and society control your thinking. Some things you may agree with, others not. But make sure you know the difference and negate all the negatives in your life.

Earlier I mentioned that it is expectation that breaks down our passion. Hence, when learning to love again, practice ‘Unconditional Love’. This stems from within and is all about 100% giving. In other words, whatever you do in life, do it with purity of thought and from the heart. Of course this is not always easy… or is it? You will find that there are some things that are not easy to do like this, and others are. Interestingly enough, you will discover that the easy things, are those that you have an affiliation to. In other words, things you enjoy.

There is no way that anyone can be happy and content if they do things they do not enjoy. I have met so many people stuck in jobs they hate, and the day they retire they start enjoying their hobby. A few years down the line their hobby has become a booming business and they are happier than ever before. Unfortunately many die soon afterwards as well, due to ill health and age. The moral of the story: In their old age they found what they really wanted to do, while they lived an entire life of unhappiness.

If you really enjoy something, do it. Yes, it may well be tough in the beginning, but at least you are enjoying life. Look at it this way. As a child I was an amateur magician, and loved doing tricks. When I finished school I wanted to become a professional entertainer, much to the dismay of my family. I gave in and studied my degree and tried the nine to five career move. I hated every minute and held out for four years. Eventually my conscience made me leave the secure job only to end-up walking the streets of London, looking for gigs as a magician. Two years later I was leading a life of luxury on cruise ships. Eight years later I had seen the entire world and made loads of money.

Why?

Not because I was the best, but because I loved what I was doing. Putting in 18 hours a day, 24/7 was not even a question to me. I enjoyed what I did. The biggest drawcard was that everyone around me saw that I loved what I did, which made me ‘appear’ to be better than the other magicians. People saw my excitement – it rubbed off onto them. Who do you think people would rather deal with? Someone with a long face, or someone who radiates passion? I trust I have made my point. It’s a win win situation, everyone that dealt with me was happy, and so was I.

I do not see myself different to anyone else, except for one thing… my attitude. You just need to change your mind set and have the right attitude and the world is at your feet.

However, the most important point of all… unconditional love. Where does that fit in? When you are doing what you enjoy and love doing, you do it because you want to. You do it because it gives you internal satisfaction. Whether you make money from it or not, is not the driving the force. The driving force is the enjoyment of it. Therefore, you do it without expectation, in other words, unconditionally.

You do it without any expectations. Hence, you cannot be disappointed, as there is no ulterior motive. But, the laws of the universe work in such a way that because you have this attitude, it will send everything back your way. And because you had no expectations, it becomes a surprise and makes you more positive.

There is a great saying:

“A person’s true character is revealed by what he does when no one is watching.”

Are you a different person when no-one is watching? Then you are not following your passion in life. I trust that makes sense.

In the same vein, another great saying goes:

“If you tell a lie, don’t believe it deceives only  the other person.”

In other words, if you lie to yourself, it deceives you as well!

So imagine (in the words of John Lennon) for one moment that everyone in the world gave out of pure unconditional love, without expectation… don’t you think the world would change overnight? And it can happen. It all starts with you!

Expanding on the above, I am sure you must be familiar with the concept that your body listens to your thoughts. What you think, you are! If you are negative and down, your outer self image shows it. Look at people around you and try identify their moods. It becomes quite easy after a while. When others see you, do they see a positive or negative person? You can try hide it, but it doesn’t work. Your internal thoughts always show in your outer body language.

Thus, even if you lie to yourself and attempt to display a positive self image, it doesn’t work. The real you lies in your subconscious mind, and try as you want, you cannot deceive it. It is imperative that you are brutally honest with yourself and identify the true inner you. Only then will true happiness follow.

Attachment

There is a great saying, “The best way to keep something is to give it away to others!” However, this does not specifically refer to materialistic items! It is about everything around you. If you give out love, love will come back to you. If you give out hatred, it too will overrun your life.

Attaching yourself to past events, or bad experiences leads to imprisonment and totally limits your possibilities. You are doing yourself great damage by holding onto the past. Remember that nothing in life is permanent. If you hold onto loved ones, money, lifestyle etc. you are attaching and limiting yourself. By living in the moment and savoring every minute of your life you start understanding the concept of happiness:

Living with a belief in a future heaven,  only creates a present hell.

Most people live in the past, or the future. Please bear in mind that NOTHING has ever happened in the past or future. Anything that is going to happen to you is going to happen now! Let me explain. The past you cannot change, what happened then is over. There is nothing you can do about it. You can plan for the future, but that’s tomorrow. It is not now. And when you reach tomorrow, then that becomes now.

Living fully in the now, makes every memory of yesterday a good one and hence makes the future look more positive.

How do you identify whether your are living in the past or future? Easy. If you are suffering from anxiety, stress, unease and tension, you are living in the future. If you are suffering from guilt, regret, grief, sadness and bitterness, then you are living in the past.

Fair enough, it’s easier said than done. But ask yourself, “Will this matter one year from now? How about one month?  One week? One day?” If it won’t matter in the future, then drop it!

By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.

Surrender

To many people it means something negative, i.e. giving up. Failing to rise to the challenges of life! That is totally wrong! The true meaning of surrender can be defined in two sentences:

* Yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life, i.e. accepting what is happening without judgement or resistance.

* By surrendering, you end the continual assessing of your mind, i.e. your mind no longer controls you and is no longer your master.

It is therefore who you truly are – it is a state of being! In this state you WILL clearly see what has to be done. It is NOT being cut off from your feelings, but realizing with deep inner peace, that what is done, cannot be undone. In other words, we constantly fight against what is going on in the world by becoming aggressive, depressed, moaning etc. This causes us to become negative and subjective, resulting in our actions being emotion driven.

By surrendering yourself to the fact that this is the world you live in, with all its problems, and accepting this, you no longer fight against it and become internally angry. Rather you can now put yourself outside the situation and look at everything objectively, rather than subjectively and realistically decide what role to play in order to begin making a positive difference.

A classic example here was Mother Theresa. She refused to take part in a march against war. The whole concept of war has a negative vibe. Rather, she would take part in a peace march. Why? Peace is more tranquil and sends a message of peace, rather than a message of war. By surrendering, your approach to negative things becomes more positive.

Therefore, when you surrender – you find joy! When Joy comes – unconditional Love comes.

At work

Let us look at a typical example in the work place. The majority of people today work in to pay bills and survive. No matter how I try to put things into perspective and try and make you follow your passion, there will always be those of you that won’t change and follow your heart. There is nothing I can do about it. I must surrender myself to this fact. However, that doesn’t mean that I should give up and not try, as there will always be those of you that actually follow through with these life lessons I am imparting. That alone is more than enough reason for me to do so.

Therefore, those of you who do not enjoy work and have issues with work colleagues, remember the following points:

“That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.”

Opportunities are never lost, but someone will take the ones you miss.”

People don’t injure their eyesight by looking at the bright  side of things!”

If you are in a leadership position at work, remember that successful leaders…

* Understand the values of him/her and other teams, which in turn brings compassion to the workplace.

* Changes his/her perspective which creates more allowances for each other.

* Creates a feeling of consensus, thus binding the organization together in remarkable ways.

* Practice living from the good values in the workplace, which in turn brings out the best in your team at all times.

Family

I am pretty much going to spend the most part sharing lessons which each of us can practice and learn within our family environment. My focus is on the children. The reason being that they have not yet been influenced by the media and society as much as the adults. If you want to see passion in action, look at a six year old child. Everything that is new they tackle with excitement. If you have your own children, you will relate immediately to my next point. Have you ever told your child that you are taking them to a theme park over the weekend? The days preceding the visit, what happens? The child asks every day how many sleeps still to go. They bounce up and down and get so excited. Same applies to the days before Christmas. Children show their excitement. Do you?

Basically, I want you to rediscover your passion through children. After all it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular. And when you have children – there are many such happenings.  They can teach us many things.

Firstly, everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

Secondly, you should never say, “No” to a gift from a child.

But let me backtrack a little, why is it that this excitement and passion disappears in children? I would like to answer this with a question. Do you remember when you were naughty as a child? What did your parents say to you? How did they scold you?

I bet it was something like this… “Wait until you grow up one day and become an adult, then you will see how tough life really is!”

Does this ring a bell? How many times did you hear it? Even worse, how many times have you said it to your own children? By saying stuff like this you are breaking down a child’s passion for life. What do they have to look forward to in adulthood if all they hear how terrible it is. And then we wonder why the youth is so weird today!

Keep that magic going for as long as possible. Take a simple thing like believing in Father Christmas. I know people who told their children right from the word go that there is no such thing. This saddens me immensely – how do those children experience Christmas? The childhood fantasy land is where we build our creative thinking and visualization – it’s the stuff that makes us dream when we are adults. At the time of writing this book my daughters are eleven and thirteen. Peer pressure has now made them realize that there is no Santa Clause. But, this is how I explained it to them.

I told my girls that although the Santa one sees in films and on cartoons at the North Pole may not be real – the ‘spirit’ of Christmas is. Each one of us can be Santa. Me, your mom, your aunt, your grandmother. It’s by all of these people doing nice things and buying you gifts because they love you – in this way they carry on the Christmas spirit. Right now, I am Santa. One day when you are older, you will in turn do this for others.

At first, part of being Santa was keeping the illusion alive for younger siblings. I got to stay up late and wrap presents and fill the stocking. It meant drinking the milk and eating the cookies left for Santa. As I grew older, the Santa spirit grew. At university, my dorm mates and I played Secret Santa’s, delivering little gifts to each other during finals week.

Later in life, I’d drop off Christmas cookies to the nearest fire or police station on Christmas Eve. You can be Santa while shopping – whistling Christmas carols, wear bells that jingle, smile at those you pass – be patient with clerks. I hope my Santa spirit will be with me throughout the year, and that others will  find the same joy that comes from being Santa Claus.

My girls are completely happy with that. Although my youngest definitely still believes in fairies. Why should I stop her – she’s the most creative person in the family. Taking away fantasy makes humans hard and cold. Just look around you at those people that have a passion for life. They are dreamers, they have fun.

A few years ago I came home from a road show which I was emceeing and speaking at. My wife had been with the girls for over two weeks and wanted a break. As I walked into the door she gave me a shopping list and told me to take the girls with – she needed a break. What about me? Nevertheless, off I went, girls in hand. The shopping mall we were in happened to have some face painters strutting their stuff. Naturally my two girls loved this and pleaded to have their faces painted too! The more I resisted, the more they pleaded, bouncing up and down and not stopping.

To keep the peace, I gave in. Well, as soon as their faces were painted, they beamed. Everyone we walked past they smiled at  and made sure people saw their colorful faces. They had fun. They laughed and made others laugh. They made me glad I had given in. That night back at home in the bath, they didn’t want to wash off the paints.

Here now, my question to you. “Would you have your face painted in a shopping mall?” I guess not! I mean, what will the other shoppers think? What if someone you know sees you? Won’t they think you’ve gone nuts?

What a silly notion to even suggest such an idea!

Are those your reactions? I assume they are. Last year at a conference I mentioned this story and as it turned out, two months later I bump into two ladies that had attended my talk. They came rushing up to me giggling, saying that they had taken my advice and actually had their faces painted. They just wanted to thank me, because that had been the best day of their lives. They laughed, joked and spoke to so many people – it was refreshing. In fact the same evening they visited a friend in hospital, and the medical staff didn’t want them to leave, as they were cheering up everyone.

These two women had learnt a fantastic lesson. Let loose once in a while and discover your passion again. Don’t be afraid of what others think. You are not hurting anyone, or doing any harm. You are merely having fun. We just don’t play enough as adults.

On that note, let us talk about play. That’s something we stopped doing as teenagers. Play as an adult is cuddling with your spouse and maybe tickling each other. But unfortunately that also doesn’t last very long. Usually only the courting phase. (I suggest you read my book, ‘The Art of Romance’, if that’s the case.)

However, we NEED to play as adults. A barbecue and getting sloshed doesn’t count! Being silly and visiting a theme park is a start. But, in reality, the only adult play there is, is sex! That’s the only time you get to fantasize, be creative and playful. So stop doing it under the sheets with the lights off! Learn to communicate and have fun. Many sex therapists say you should laugh during sex… after all, it’s funny!

Bottom line, stop working nine to five, being stressed and moaning about life. Take time to ‘play’ and enjoy your life. That’s the only way the passion is going to come back.

If you have fun and your children see you as a loving, touchy couple that still looks in each others eyes and laugh together, don’t you think you are laying the foundation for your child to became a similar adult when they grow up?

By laying the correct foundations for your children now, you are ensuring that there will be a magical future world for our youth.

Finally, I want to share a few tips about finding love again. After all, what’s the point of saying that we have to practice unconditional love and follow our heart in life when one doesn’t know where to start searching for love.

Besides being honest with yourself and looking within, once again children can teach us many lessons about what love truly is. Their definitions are so simple, yet so to the point. Some should bring a tear to your heart and make you realize just how much love there is to give.

Here is what youngsters have to say when asked how they define love:

“Love is that first feeling you feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way.” 

Isn’t that so true! Think about the first time you met your partner… it was infatuation. Everything was beautiful. You only saw the positive. Hence that saying, ‘Love is blind.’ Similarly, the first day you got that new job. In the beginning it was a challenge and adventure all in one. Now that you are used to it, it has become a rut? Therefore, if you have lost that initial ‘infatuation’ feeling, think back of that time and how it felt – this can bring the love feeling back again.

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.

So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”

Whatever you do in life, do you do it unselfishly? Do you carry on and try, even when it becomes difficult for you? When you love something, or someone purely, then this is exactly how you will behave.

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”

Wow! This is so powerful. Think about your customers and clients. Do they feel comfortable and safe in their dealings with you? Do you radiate a confidence and passion for what you do that attracts them to your business? Do they spread the word about you by word of mouth? Do you find they enjoy spending time in your presence and buy from you rather than your company? If you can answer ‘Yes’ to these questions, only then can you confidently know that your passion is coming through to your customers.

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”

I just had to throw this one in, it’s cute. On a deeper level though, do you, and do your customers enjoy spending time with you? Do they feed off your knowledge and passion? Think about it!

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your french fries without making them give you any of theirs,
or “Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken.”

This is exactly what true love and passion is about. Do you do what you do in life unconditionally without expecting anything back in return. There is the story of a builder who was close to retirement. His boss asked him to build one last house. As he was near retirement, he didn’t really feel like the task and did a rush job, cutting corners, using sub-standard items. Eventually when he completed the house, his boss turned around and gave him a set of keys saying, “Here are the keys to your house, it is a retirement present for all the great work you gave us during your career.”

Sad if you think about it, the builder ended up living in his own sub-standard house. No-one was to blame, but himself. If you are truly passionate, you will always give 100% every time!

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” 

How true is this? It doesn’t matter what you do, there are always parts of your job which are not fun. Myself included. Examples are admin, VAT returns, etc. These are those tedious things we always try and put off. However, when you love what you do, these things become manageable, and because you are passionate about life and your career, it makes these things so much easier to cope with.

Believe it or not, you even manage to smile while doing the tax returns, because you know you had fun earning that money. Just imagine for one minute you hated your job and everything about it, and still have to do taxes? Which option would you go for?

On that note, I trust I have helped you light the fire within yourself so that your passion in what you do brings you the success you deserve in your life.

PowerCharge Your Memory

April 7, 2012

Your mind is the most powerful tool you possess, and with it you can create wonders with proper training. They say that the older you get, there are two things that go in life. First is your memory… second… I forgot! Only kidding!

Have you ever forgotten someone’s name, or an appointment in your diary?

Do you find yourself carrying your personal organizer with you wherever you go – so that you don’t forget anything?

Most people answer, “Yes” to the above. Yet it is so simple to train your mind not to forget.

Of course, they say that the quickest way to improve your memory, is to lend someone money!

Try the following, and follow my instructions exactly. Read the line below which contains some words. Read it through once only and do not look at it again. It is important that you do not cheat yourself by looking at the words once you have read them. Only then can you see the effectiveness of the system I am going to describe.

Flagpole; Twins; Tricycle; Car; Hand; Eggs; Heaven; Hour Glass; Cat; Bowling Ball.

Without referring back to the above, take a sheet of paper and write down all the words which you can remember…  BUT, in the exact order in which they appeared, i.e. what was the 6th word, the 3rd word, etc.

Naturally in my workshops I used far bigger and more complex methods which cannot be described here in a short article. Hence I want to supply you with a simple taster of how easy it is to train your mind.

Back to the above exercise… remembering some of the words is not too difficult, but remembering them in the exact order is another story.

Firstly, you need to understand that human beings do not think in abstracts, or numbers, but in pictures. Think about your loved ones. How do you see them in your mind’s eye? As “x²y(a=b-1)” or do you actually visualize this person? Hence the most important lesson here is to realize that we all think in pictures.

To store information in your brain is the easiest thing on earth to do. The problem lies in the recall. With memory training I need to teach you how to create an effective filing system within your mind where you can store information in a logical order and also retrieve it immediately. In effect you need to create ‘Mind Files’ into which you place the necessary info.

Simply put, think of a computer. To find any info on a computer, one usually clicks on the “My Computer” folder, then on the “My Documents” folder. Inside this folder one usually finds all the work related folders on the hard disk. In other words, you follow a logical pattern to find certain information.

Imagine your mind to be the, “My Documents” folder. Inside it you are now going to create specific folders, into which you will store information. For the purposes of this article I am going to teach you a basic association method which will let you remember 10 bits of info.

You are now going to create 10 “Mind Files” in your mind, numbered from 1 to 10. Associated with each number is a picture word which you can visualize. To make the 10 words easy to remember – they logically associate with the corresponding number.

1 = Flag Pole (It is in the shape of the number 1)

2 = Twins (Duh – because there are 2 of them)

3 =  Tricycle (3 Wheels?)

4 =  Car (4 doors, 4 wheels, 4 wheel-drive)

5 =  Hand (5 Fingers)

6 =  Eggs (They are mostly packed in a half-dozen container)

7 =  Heaven (Ever heard of the saying, “In 7th heaven?”)

8 =  Hour Glass (It is in the shape of the figure 8 – a bigger version of an egg timer)

9 =  Cat (Hello… 9 Lives! )

10 =  Bowling Ball (Ever been Ten Pin Bowling?)

Now you want to kick yourself that you didn’t get all ten right earlier on! It was so easy. These ten words will now be your ten mind files. Visualize each one coupled with the number in your mind. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to memorize these, due to their logical associations with the numerical numbers.

As you read through the next ten examples, many of you may think this article to be a hoax, because of the crazy associations. Please bear with me and go through all ten, before you make a judgment and stop reading. I promise you it will all make sense and be worth your while later on.

Now let us look at a real life example. Imagine your daily “To Do” list. Firstly you need to buy a fax paper roll. As this is the 1st thing on your list, it goes into your mind file No. 1. The picture for this file is “Flag Pole”.

Now comes the fun part. You now have to take the item/event you have to do and associate it with the picture in the corresponding file, BUT in a ludicrous, mad, crazy impossible way which involves action and as many of your 5 senses as possible. Hence imagine you are pulling this huge flag pole out of the ground and bashing the fax roll with it. Crazy enough for you? The important thing is to imagine yourself in that situation and experience it to the fullest. Make it as mad as possible.

Secondly you need to “Make a Cup Of Coffee” to get that energy boost for the day. Place the “Making Coffee” scenario into file 2 which is, “Twins.” Again imagine a crazy scenario. You are pouring yourself the coffee from two identical kettles which look like baby twins, and as you pour it, they scream and shout! Yes, I know this sound silly, but the more absurd the better. Imagine this with all your senses – taste the coffee and hear the twins screaming!

Thirdly you need to make a phone call to Bob. File 3 is the, “Tricycle”. See yourself riding this tiny bicycle in peak hour traffic with your cell phone glued to your ear. Visualize yourself yelling loudly, “I can’t hear you over this traffic Bob!”

Fourthly you need to get some groceries from the supermarket. You need toilet paper which you now know, goes into File 4 which is the “Car”. Crazy association… the supermarket is closed and you see yourself driving through the glass entrance door, but with a toilet rolls as your 4 wheels. Or imagine yourself driving in your car down the aisle of the supermarket, stopping in front of the toilet rolls and filling the car with the entire stock, so that toilet rolls are falling out of the car everywhere. Get the idea?

You also need a new toothbrush. File 5 is the “Hand.”  Pain is always a good emotion to add – it makes the association stick even more. Crazy association… peel your finger nails back and pull out toothbrushes from under them.  Feel the pain!

You also need cigarettes. File 6 is “Eggs.” Crazy association… you are standing in the shop cracking open all the eggs and removing cigarettes from within. Or picture yourself buying a tray of 20 eggs, arriving home and every time you feel like a smoke, you break one open and out comes a cigarette.

You need to buy the newspaper to check the latest stock prices. File 7 is “Heaven”. Crazy association… you are crawling around the clouds in heaven cleaning the clouds with newspaper. See yourself tearing sheets off the newspaper and rolling them to clean the clouds. Alternatively, imagine yourself as an angelic newspaper vendor selling the Financial Times to a group of angels with their halos. They are all excitedly reading it and discussing stock prices

Your car needs a service and you must take it in. File 8 is the “Hour Glass.” Crazy association… see yourself jumping on top of your car roof, which is inside the top section of the hour glass. You are trying to push it through the narrow middle section so that it falls to the bottom where the service station is situated.

Next you need to arrange flowers as a ‘Thank You’ gift for your boss. Mind file 9 is a “Cat.” Crazy Association… your cat has a bunch of flowers in its mouth and is purring while rubbing up against your bosses leg. But instead of a purr sound, the cat is saying, “Thank You, Thank You.”

Lastly, you need to book a flight to London for a business trip. Mind file 10 is a “Bowling Ball.” Crazy association… see yourself rolling a plane (instead of a bowling ball) towards the pins which all like mini Big Ben’s.

At this point you are no doubt wondering what on earth is going on with all the crazy stories. Now comes the big revelation.

Think back to Mind File 1 – what is the file’s picture? A Flag Pole – what were you doing with it? See how vividly the fax rolls come to mind? How about Mind File 2 and the Twins? See that coffee coming out of the two twin shape coffee kettles. Think back to each mind file and you will see how the crazy stories just pop back into you mind and make it so easy to remember the list of 10 items you had to do.

One tip though – your associations must be as mad and crazy as you can imagine. The more outrageous, the better the chance of remembering the association. After trying this for 3 weeks it should be imbedded in your subconscious and you should be doing it without thinking. That’s all there is to it!

 

Abundant Thinking Part 2

April 7, 2012

HOW TO BE AN ABUNDANT THINKER

The first step is to take a good honest look at your current and past attitudes, and assess whether your thinking has been based on abundance. If not, then you have to gauge how far away from abundant thinking you are. You should ask certain questions: Do you routinely bother evaluating how your life is faring? If so, do you accomplish what you set out to do? If you have mixed results, do you know what is working and what isn’t? Which areas need to be improved? Where does your attitude need adjusting to create a better life for yourself?

Once you know these things, the real question is whether you are prepared to do anything about it. This will make the difference between abundant thinking and scarcity thinking.

One thing to be aware of is how you talk to yourself. This can reveal a lot about how healthy your thinking really is. How many times do you use “could have”, “would have”, and “should have”? Although you may think that these are useful correctional phrases that mean you have understood your mistakes, they are nothing to do with abundant thinking. They are dealing with the past, and giving power to the things you feel you failed at. They are self-critical and full of regret. They remind you of the lack in your life; the chances you should have, would have, or could have taken. They are linked to feelings of expectation, and this is the enemy of abundant thinking. All these should be replaced with a simple “I want”. That brings our desire into the present moment, and that is the only way our brains register that an action needs to be performed now.

People who think in these negative ways make themselves victims, and this is self-perpetuating, especially when other people or outside circumstances are blamed for the hurt. Whenever you blame, you remove your responsibility to improve the situation. You are saying that there is nothing to be done to make things better because it is out of your control. You have denied the abundance in your life.

Here are some ways in which you can become an abundant thinker: 

1. Identify your biggest bar to abundant thinking. Analyze why you have not embraced the concept before. Have years of negative conditioning made it difficult, or did you just not know about it?

2. Decide now that you will start to think abundant thoughts.

3. Count your blessings right now, and start being grateful for all the good things you have in your life.

4. Stop thinking of what you believe you don’t have; you are concentrating on an empty space. Instead, begin to focus on creating the circumstances that will cause abundance to fill your empty spaces. Develop your interests, knowledge, and skills in areas that will help you achieve more.

5. Exchange “could’ve”, “should’ve” and “would’ve” for “I want”.

6. Don’t feel guilty for wanting. It is your personal choice to strive for happiness for yourself and others.

7. You can want, but don’t create specific expectations for yourself.

8. Create zero expectations of what you will receive. Do not automatically assume that you will receive! Just know that anything is possible while inviting abundance into your life.

9. Be mentally prepared for the worst-case scenario. Think positively about receiving what you want, but do not take it as read. If you meet your goals, it will add to the happiness you already enjoy; if not, it doesn’t matter because you are happy with what you already have.

10. Stop thinking the world owes you a living and that you deserve to receive what you want. Everything you receive in life is a gift. The world doesn’t owe you anything, but its abundance is capable of giving you anything.

11. Stop feeling cheated, and like a victim. Take control and take responsibility for your own happiness.

12. Know that your past does not equal your future, and your current unfavorable situation does not have to last if you choose to make it better. You are not your condition.

13. Accept that you will make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up when you do; regard that mistake as a moment on your learning curve that will help take you to new heights. Learn from it and move on. Don’t dwell. Some of our hardest knocks teach us our most important lessons in life.

14. Think of a physical reminder that will help you keep your thoughts on track. Every time you feel you are drifting back to thoughts of scarcity, perform your little physical action to realign yourself with abundance. You could click your fingers, snap a rubber band on your wrist, or simply join your thumb to your forefinger as people do in meditation.

15. Develop a mantra that you repeat every morning and evening out loud, and in your head whenever you need a boost. You could try: “Abundance is mine right now and always.” Remember that whatever you say, keep it in the present tense. Saying that “Abundance will be mine” causes the brain to keep abundance in the future.

As a starter exercise, think of one situation in your life that you believe should have turned out better because your expectations were so formulated. Try and find a way to see the positives in it, how you may have learned from your “failure” to meet your expectations, and then let go of those expectations. Rephrase your expectations into a request for abundance. This is one piece of deficit thinking that is now abundant thinking.

HOW TO BE A WEALTHY PARENT

Having a wealthy-parent mindset is about focusing on the financial aspects of abundant thinking, rather than just the psychological. This involves analyzing how you view certain pertinent financial questions, and swapping a scarcity or deficit thought for an abundant thought.

1. “I can’t afford” becomes “how can I afford?” when abundant thinking is applied. This is because saying you can’t do something closes down possibilities and tells the universe that this option no longer exists for you.

2. “My kids make me poor” becomes “I want to be rich for my kids” with abundant thinking. This is not focusing on the expense of having children, but on the duty to create a more secure life for them.

3. “I don’t care about money” becomes “money is power” when abundant thinking is applied. The idea that money is somehow “dirty” is exchanged for the acceptance that money allows a person to have more choices in life.

4. “Don’t take financial risks” becomes “take calculated risks” with abundant thinking. This is about trying to put your money to work whilst mitigating the risks involved.

5. “Pay myself last” becomes “pay myself first” with abundant thinking. This ensures that there is finance available for investments so further returns can be possible

6. “The state will provide for me” becomes “I take responsibility for myself” when abundant thinking is applied. This counters entitlement thinking by teaching financial self-reliance.

7. “Academic literacy is important” becomes “academic literacy and financial literacy are important” with abundant thinking. This provides a firm grounding for the real world.

8. “I work for my money” becomes “my money works for me” with abundant thinking. This is about removing yourself from the “rat race” and accepting that you are responsible for your own destiny.

9. “Making money is important” becomes “managing money is important” with abundant thinking. This concerns the ability to establish financial education that lasts a lifetime.

10. “My house is an asset” becomes “my house is a liability” when abundant thinking is applied. Although this may seem the wrong way around, this argues that anything that drains your finances is a liability, as a mortgage does.

THE ALTERNATIVES TO ABUNDANT THINKING 

DEFICIT MOTIVATION/ENTITLEMENT THINKING 

Deficit motivation is the opposite of abundance motivation. It is also known as entitlement thinking. This is how victims are made.

Entitlement thinking has already been discussed to a certain extent. It is that awful feeling that says you have been cheated out of your just desserts, your rightful inheritance. It is how people think when they set specific expectations for themselves that are based on their belief that they deserve more. Entitlement thinking can create the narrow miss that causes a little grimace, or a headlong plunge into an empty chasm. The latter happens when delusion is largely responsible for a person’s expectations. Think the tone-deaf crowd in the first round of “American Idol”.

This sort of thinking takes many forms. It may make you think you deserve more money, a better job, more praise, a more attractive body, better opportunities, skills, friends, partners etc. It covers the whole gamut of disillusionments that can cause our lives to be so miserable, and our emotions to be so fraught and charged with anger and resentment.

These emotions are caused by the belief that you have received less than you expected or less than you deserve. It is setting too-high minimum expectations. This is down to often arbitrary personal assessments that have no basis in reality, and that have been bolstered over the years by well-meaning but ill-advised encouragement from others. Think the relatives of the tone-deaf crowd in the first round of “American Idol”. On the other hand, entitlement thinking may be based on a sound assessment of a person’s skills and abilities, which makes missing the mark even more annoying. Either way, however, the stumbling block is the same: expectations. These are what cause the unhappiness.

Recognizing entitlement thinking is easy. It is feeling that we are in a hole and trying to climb out. It is the sense that we are constantly struggling to keep our head above water. Although these situations may be true now, they should not become who you are. A better way to think of things is to realize it could be a lot worse: the hole could be your grave that you never get out of; and at least your head is above water and you’re not drowning. With these new interpretations, it instantly becomes apparent that you have a lot to be grateful for.

Deficit motivation can cause serious harm to an individual. It can make them aggressive and negative to be around, even with those people closest to them; or especially so. It can provoke a reckless attitude to life, where dangerous and un-calculated risks are taken. Or it can cause a person to feel so sorry for themselves that they withdraw and give up, which can lead to depression or worse.

The really sad part of deficit motivation is that it can cause people to miss some truly outstanding opportunities because they do not completely conform to the individual’s preconceived ideas of how their main chance will appear to them. By the time they realize that they may have misconstrued the situation, their window has passed.

To defeat entitlement thinking, we must ask ourselves exactly why we believe we are entitled to anything at all. Mostly, it is because we have been born into a society that promotes the idea that anything is possible. This is the selling of The American Dream. Yes, almost anything is possible with abundant thinking, but we have been not been schooled in the workings of abundant thinking, we have been taught that we are entitled, and this has created expectations.

You have to separate the ideal of entitlement from the reality of what you can honestly expect. We all believe we have the right to life, the basic entitlement to live our lives peacefully, but try telling that to the have-not who intends to join the haves by using a gun on you. Nothing can be taken for granted, and once we realize this we can truly begin to be grateful for what we do have, because we will understand that it is all a gift.

Over the centuries, and recent years especially, our notion of what we are entitled to has changed beyond all recognition. Perhaps we feel we are entitled to foreign holidays twice a year, but that’s only thanks to the Wright brothers a hundred years ago. Before that, trips abroad were far more arduous and expensive affairs. Luxuries have become necessities, and our values have been screwed up. We no longer look at the simple things in life that used to make people grateful, we notice instead all the things we are lacking. We are teaching ourselves to be unhappy, and to feel that we are victims of some awful fraud.

Deficit thinking can even create paranoid thinking; that we are being “robbed” of what we deserve. We can start to view other people negatively and with deep suspicion. Anyone we perceive as having the things we want becomes the enemy. We cease looking inwardly for answers and instead focus on who is to blame for our deficit.

SCARCITY THINKING  

Scarcity thinking is the opposite of abundance thinking. This happens when people focus on what they do not have in their lives. They take what they have entirely for granted, show no gratitude, and choose instead to focus all their energies on being resentful at the “gaps” in their lives.

People who live by thoughts of scarcity are creating the very circumstances that will cause further scarcity, because they are convinced that there is a shortage of the things they want in life. They do not embrace the concept of abundance, and thus do not invite it into their lives through a positive attitude.

Scarcity thinking can also produce more far-reaching negative repercussions. It can cause people to take things they don’t need, or too much of what they do need, or can make them hoard which stops them giving. Those who think abundantly, on the other hand, are happy to take only what they need, because they know that there is a limitless supply should they want any more.

CONCLUSION

The concept of abundant thinking can be puzzling if you do not understand the message that lies at its heart.

To summarize, abundant thinking is about being grateful for what you do have rather than focusing on what you lack. It involves having no hard and fast expectation of what you will receive based on some egotistical notion of what you deserve out of life. It says: be happy with what you have because it is all effectively on loan to you whilst you are here, and if you want more then take the appropriate actions to achieve more, but remain happy in the knowledge that it may not happen as you expect.

All this serves to produce the correct frame of mind to ultimately accept the gifts that the universe has waiting for you in abundance. This is where some people may struggle, because this asks that you make a leap of faith and believe that there really is an abundance out there. The only way to get round this is to realize that the alternative view is that there isn’t an abundance, and that you will have to live your life in scarcity. The choice about what to believe should then be clear.

Think of it this way: It’s your birthday. It’s not written in stone that you are entitled to gifts, so whatever you receive is a bonus and you should be grateful. However, you are more likely to receive better gifts the nicer you are, and nice people tend to have positive attitudes. A negative attitude means you are not so much fun to be around, thus fewer people will show up at your party and they will likely hand you their unwanted gifts from the previous Christmas, or come empty-handed and just drain your booze cabinet.

Which would you prefer?

 

Abundant Thinking Part 1

April 7, 2012

INTRODUCTION

Abundant thinking is a form of positive thinking. It is about creating a mindset of positive values that allow you to perceive your life as one of abundance, not one of deficit. It teaches you to flip your mental attitude coin from negative to positive and appreciate how much you have in your life to be grateful for.

However, it does not suggest that our gratitude should cause us to stop striving for more and just accept our lot in life; rather it teaches quite the opposite: that by acknowledging how abundant our lives are already, our minds will embrace the concept that the good things in life are potentially unlimited.

Abundant means to be richly supplied; to be over-supplied. This means that we should have no fear of asking for more because we can be confident in its delivery. Abundance is a store that never runs out of its goods.

Abundant thinking is not just concerned with money, although there is a strong financial aspect that can be applied; it is a life philosophy. Where money is the issue, it is viewed as a tool that allows a better quality of life to be achieved – not just the material aspects, but most crucially the freedom to spend time doing the things that matter with the people that matter.

Similarly, being a wealthy parent, may not relate to money at all. It can even negate the willful drive for extra finances, especially where that works against the more important aspects of life, such as love and family. We all know of rich, unhappy people. We read about them every day in the newspapers and see them on the television; people who have a clear abundance of finances but who are bereft emotionally.

Abundant thinking is all about changing how you view your personal circumstances so that you can change how you view the world at large. It is realizing that you have been the cause of your sadness and struggle in life through your focus on what you don’t have, rather than on what you do have.

THE LAW OF ABUNDANCE

The Law of Abundance is one of the Universal Laws. These are also referred to as Spiritual Laws or Laws of Nature. Universal Laws are those immutable principles that rule our world and our universe, governing how the entire cosmos continues to exist and thrive.

Whilst the very notion that these laws exist may prove too esoteric for some people, there is a sound basis in science for several of them. For example, the Law of Cause & Effect states that any action produces a result in exact proportion to the action which initiated it. This idea goes back to Biblical times. It says in Galatians: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Some people think of this in terms of Karma. Others will use the phrase: “Goes around, comes around.” It all amounts to the same thing.

Universal Laws work whether we believe in them or not. Those who do not believe in them choose by default to believe that life is a random series of events that they have little or no control over, and that there is no purpose or underlying reason why things happen as they do.

The Law of Abundance states that the universe is continually and effortlessly producing, creating unlimited resources for us to take advantage of. You only have to look at Nature to know this is true.

Breaking any law is apt to cause problems. That is true of man-made laws and those handed down by the universe. Equally, misinterpreting laws can cause trouble. You may fully believe that there is abundance out there, as evidence by those individuals who appear to “have it all”, but you may be seeking similar abundance in the wrong ways. If your motivation for achieving more is to focus on what you do not have, you are not thinking in tune with the Law of Abundance. Abundant thinking is not about working more hours to accumulate more belongings, or becoming miserly with your money because you want your bank accounts to appear more abundant. These attitudes work in direct opposition to the Law of Abundance. These are reactions based on fear and panic, and Universal Laws always work in peace and balance.

WHAT IS ABUNDANT THINKING?

Abundant thinking requires that you appreciate what you have in life, rather than bemoaning the things you lack. It further asks that you focus on what is possible, and that you reach for what you want in life. If this latter point sounds like something you are already doing and it is not producing the goods, it is because you have not established the former mindset – the one that makes you always appreciative. In contrast, scarcity thinking focuses on what you don’t have, what you want more of, what you might lose, and what has gone wrong in your life.

People who think abundant thoughts are happier than those who don’t. It stands to reason. Abundant thinking is positive thinking. That does not mean they are unaware of the areas where their lives might need improvement, they are simply able to approach those areas with a positive frame of mind, confident that they will have no difficulty bringing about the necessary changes. This is because they choose to believe that there is an abundance of whatever they need just waiting for them.

Our thoughts dictate our lives. Our thoughts can attract good things into our lives, or repel them. This is another Universal Law – the Law of Attraction. One of the common sayings in positive thinking methodology is: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive of, and believe in, it can achieve.”

That is not to say you simply have to sit at home thinking good thoughts. That is obviously not enough. You will still have to take actions to back up those thoughts, but those actions will work infinitely better when they are backed by positive thinking, and abundant thinking.

The Law of Cause & Effect deals with this as well. The fewer or smaller things you cause to happen, the less effect they will have. If you want another quote from the Bible, it says in James: “Faith without works is dead.

If this all seems a little otherworldly, here’s an example of how this might happen: Let’s say you are looking for work, but your attitude is that there are very few suitable jobs, and you’ll never find one for yourself. In other words, your attitude stinks. You are thinking negatively. This may mean you take no action to find a job.

You don’t compile a CV, you don’t send email enquiries, and you don’t go knocking on doors. And if by chance you did bump into the very person who could give you your dream job, they would not offer it to you because you would not be viewed as the positive individual they would want on board. A negative attitude can therefore be self-perpetuating, as it consistently produces negative results that further reinforce your negative attitude.

Abundant thinking opens up possibilities and opportunities that we could easily have missed by harboring negative thoughts and thoughts of scarcity. It causes you to take positive actions because you firmly believe and expect that they will produce the desired results. You take as your proof for this the fact that you are already more than blessed by the abundant gifts in your life to date. Abundant thinking is about focusing on what you have right now, and using that to build a brighter future. It does not let you dwell in the past, regretting mistakes and ventures that did not work out exactly as planned.

People who think abundantly do not suffer guilt for their desire to attain more. This is for two reasons: they are already grateful for what they have, and they do not feel that asking for more will deprive anyone else. Abundance means there is plenty to go around for everyone.

ABUNDANCE MOTIVATION

A key part of abundant thinking is abundance motivation, sometimes called appreciative-assertive thinking. This is the belief that we have more than the minimum necessary to get by. It says we have more than we need, and more than we could have ever expected. It requires that you dispel any assumptions about what you will receive in life, be that from God, nature, society, parents, peers, friends, or loved ones.

Again, this does not suggest we have to stop wanting more. It is simply about establishing the correct mindset. Knowing we have more than we need makes us feel happy and grateful. We appreciate what we have, and that means whatever else we get is a bonus. Thinking you deserve more, you are owed more, or expecting more, just leads to resentment when it doesn’t show up. You have to remember how you came into the world – with nothing – and how you will end up leaving it – with nothing.

Creating a healthy attitude towards your existing abundance relies on focusing on what your minimum requirements truly are. If you have your health, enough food to eat, and a roof over your head, then you have sufficient to survive and lots to be grateful for. If you also have love in your life, you should be ecstatic.

Having any or all of these things, even at their minimum levels, still puts you far ahead of many millions of people in less developed countries who struggle every day for the basic necessities of life. Ironically, many of these people will lead happier lives than those of us who have plenty. It is all about expectations. The world does not owe you a living. It doesn’t owe you anything. But neither will it deny you anything if you honestly believe its abundance is just waiting for you.

The key is to be realistic, and not be influenced by our modern consumerist society. Commercials will try to convince you that you need certain items to be happy. You must have the latest designer accessories, the best gadgets, a bigger house, a luxury car. You believe these messages at your peril. You do not need these things, but it is certainly okay to want them.

This is because need is defined by a feeling of lacking something. Straight away, that means you are focusing on what you do not have. Think about the way different children around the world respond to receiving gifts. The key is not how much they actually receive, but how much they expect to receive. The toys you may throw in the trash would make some other child whoop with delight.

Abundant thinking may appear to be a strange and contradictory concept. It says you should be grateful for what you have, but it is okay to want more. It says you should be aware of your minimum requirements, but place no maximum limit on what you can achieve because the world can always keep on giving you more.

It is okay to feel confused about this. Abundant thinking asks that you give up the bad habits of a lifetime, and those can be heavy shackles to throw off. You are not even being asked to do anything difficult instead, and this can be part of the problem. Anyone who has spent years struggling may find it crazy to be told they can more quickly achieve their goals by doing nothing more than altering the way they think.

At the very least, abundant thinking can help set your priorities straight. You may not want much more in life that you already have, but you also may not be genuinely enthralled by all that you do have. Abundant thinking asks that you take stock and realize how fortunate you really are. It can also help develop a healthier and more realistic attitude to those times in life when plans do not work out, and upsets occur. With abundant thinking, we are forced to ask the question: “Who said I deserved any better?”

What we have to remember is that abundant thinking does not guarantee anything. If we start believing that abundant thinking will definitely bring us wealth and riches, or anything else that we strive for, we have arrived back at expectations again. All you have to do is accept the good things in your life, be grateful for them, and know that if you do want more there is an abundance out there waiting to be tapped, and it is your positive attitude that will far more readily allow you to tap it.

ABUNDANT THINKING IN PRACTICE 

Abundant thinking can be used to good effect in every part of your life. It allows you to be grateful for the good health that you enjoy, and to know that if your health is suffering, it could always be worse. We can also take the opportunity to be grateful for the good health we have enjoyed in the past, and for the good health that still exists in those people we care about. It is all about perspective; seeing the positives rather than the negatives.

So how can this be applied to an unsatisfactory financial situation? What about if you sign a deal with someone and that person then reneges and leaves you out of pocket? The normal way to behave is from a perspective of loss. This is perfectly understandable because loss is involved. However, this does not take into account the imperfect world we live in. We all know that people can take advantage and that there are some who are out to rip you off.

Having an abundant thinking habit ensures that you handle this situation with the minimum detriment to yourself. It means your intent is always to maintain an abundance of happiness in your life, which will serve to counter any negative feelings, none of which are helpful. The actions you will need to take to rectify the situation can be taken whatever your mood. Your negative feelings, harbored towards the other person, do not affect the other person. The only person they screw up is you, taking away from your feelings of abundance.

Abundant thinking creates a mindset that allows a better perspective on the situation. You will ask yourself: “Has this person stolen my happiness, or am I doing that to myself through my reaction?” And if the worst-case happens and you are seriously affected by what has happened, your belief in the abundance available to you will be your reassurance that the loss will be replenished soon, and then some. This provides a speedier recovery from its ill-effects. Abundant thinking allows the person to quickly accept life’s difficulties and move beyond them to better times.

In a business environment, abundant thinking focuses on the organization’s strengths and what is possible, not on what may have gone wrong. This is crucial in hard times, like those we are experiencing at the moment. Many businesses have experienced huge losses and difficulties, and the temptation is thus to concentrate on what was and what might have been. This type of thinking is based on fear of scarcity. Leaders who take this attitude in business can instill negativity in their workforce and therefore exacerbate the problems that already exist.

 

35 TIPS ON SAVING MONEY

April 7, 2012

This book can be downloaded as a FREE E-BOOK from  Smashwords in most reader formats, iTunesReader Store and Barnes & Noble.

This information in this post is based on research, life experience and personal opinion. No liability can be accepted for any advice acted upon. Please use common sense before acting on any of the information shared in this ebook.

Firstly, not everyone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth. The media would like you to believe that there are thousands of wealthy people out there and that everyone should be able to afford the nice things in life. If only this were so!

The reality is that the major majority of the world can just make ends meet, yet the media focuses on the wealthy. This causes many people to attempt to live above their means and results in huge problems, including unhappiness, stress, depression, etc.

If you consider the above from a deeper spiritual perspective, what does happiness really mean? Is it the amount of money you have, or is it the inner contentment you possess and the memories you have created?

In today’s world the reality is that you need money. However, there is a difference between things you need to have, and things that would be nice to have. As human beings, we need a roof over our heads, food, health and a good social environment. In reality we don’t need much more! Look at all the technological gadgets that are shoved down our throats every day by the media and big corporations. Do we really need them, or do they mostly make us introverts and stop social interactions between people under 4 eyes?

One day when you retire, what are the memories you will have? That new car or computer you bought, or the first steps your child took? Think about it?

However, one needs to be objectively practical about the matter as well and realize that money does play an important part in our lives. Yet if one looks at the use of money in pure objective terms and does not fall prey to the clever marketing out there, you can survive with a lot less, and still be happy.

Here are now a few simple tips which I trust will help you make ends meets and reduce your financial stresses in life.

The Mercedes Model – the ‘Ideal’ financial model

In my opinion the ideal financial model is the Mercedes Star. (The star on the front of every Mercedes) Why? It is divided into 3 sections and this is how you should run your finances.

One third for expenses

One third for saving and investments

One third for enjoyment

It is a simplistic model, yet very few people follow it. If you can apply this, you should never have money problems. Make it your aim to follow this model.

It seems funny that all people who hate the rich, are the same ones who buy lottery tickets!

1.) No sale item will save you money!

I am in awe of people that come to me saying they saved a fortune by buying an item on sale! If you spend money, even it it is 10c, you spent it – it’s gone! How could you have saved anything? To not spend the money and put it in the bank or an investment – that’s saving money. Stop falling for all the sales talk!

On the other hand, if there is an item you need and it is advertised on a sale – make sure that it is in fact a sale price and the best offer at the time. Don’t just believe what you read in the newspaper.

2.) Follow your finances

For most people balancing the books means going to the auto-bank machine and pushing the ‘Balance Inquiry’ button. No wonder they are in trouble. Keep record of all your transactions and know where you stand financially. Then you know when you must hold back, or have a bit of extra cash to spend.

3.) Spend less

This is by far the easiest and most practical tip – yet the most difficult to do. Nothing more to it – spend less money. The tips below should give you some ideas on how to do this.

YOUR HOME

4.) Get rid of your mortgage

For most people, their house is the most biggest debt they will have. Couple this with maintenance, rates and other costs – it eats up the bulk of your expenses. If you can, try and pay off extra on your mortgage payment every month, even if it’s only 50 or 100 bucks. This can reduce many years off your 25 year term and save you thousands in interest.

4.) Clean up those credit cards

Personally I have one credit card for emergencies only. I prefer a Charge Card like American Express or Diners. Why? You have to pay the whole amount end of the month. This means that I don’t build up debt and get myself into trouble. If you have major credit card debt – the interest is higher than on anything else! Make it your main priority to pay it off asap. This is costing you a fortune otherwise.

Simple advice – only use your credit card for convenience – in other words, instead of carrying cash on you, use the card, but only buy for the amount you can afford and have in the bank. This means that when the bill arrives – you have the cash to pay it all immediately!  Also remember to keep the slips and keep an exact tab on what you have spent. At the end of the month most banks send you a bill, but it usually only reflects up to the 24th of the month. That’s not the real amount you owe! There are a few last days missing. By keeping tab of your bill you know what you owe – pay that full amount according to your records! Otherwise you will be in for extra interest charges!

Also, if you have extra cash – put it in your credit card account – you receive a better interest rate!

5.) Watch your water

Water is becoming more scarce on this planet and costs are going up.

Save bath and shower water in a tank to water the grass.

Catch rain water in tanks.

Don’t let the tap run while brushing your teeth – that’s wasted water.

Do the dishes by hand if it’s only 2 glasses. The dishwasher uses a full load worth of water.

Water the garden at night (set your sprinkler for early morning or evening) durning the day it evaporates more quickly and much water is wasted.

6.) Watch your phone bills

Stop gossiping on the phone! Why phone your neighbor and chat for an hour if you can walk across and also enjoy a cup of tea? Today companies offer inclusive packages with cable, internet and national calls included. Look for the most cost effective package. You will be amazed at how you can reduce your phone bill. Mobile phones are expensive. Careful of these cleverly worded contracts – they cost you money. Rather use a ‘pay as you go’ option. It makes you more aware of the costs and you tend to waffle less on the phone.

7.) Lights

Buy the new LED lights – they use way less electricity, last longer and will save you in the long run.

8.) Geyser/Hot Water Cylinder

If you go on holiday, turn it off. Ideally get a timer installed, as it doesn’t have to be on 24/7. You could save up to 30% on your electrical bill. A solar geyser will pay for itself within a few years.

9.) Cut food costs

Supermarkets use every tactic possible to get you to spend more money. If you impulse buy, you will spend more. Plan the meals for the week and make a shopping list so that you only buy what you need. You will be amazed at how this cuts down your food bill. Why do you think that there are sweets, magazines and ‘special’ goodies at the tills? It’s so you impulse buy. Be aware of this!

Stop the ready microwave meals. Beside being full of preservatives and not really that healthy – they are expensive. For half the price you can make your own meals. Rather buy the ingredients fresh and learn to become creative in the kitchen.

10.) Sell your junk!

If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months, odds are you won’t use it again. People buy stuff they don’t need, and then buy a bigger house to store all the stuff they don’t need! Huh? Whether on eBay or the local Pawnbroker, clear out the house and get rid of all that old stuff. You will be amazed at how much money it brings in.

Have you noticed how bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques… or is it just me?

11.) Buy used

Yes, we all want new items and buying used may be beneath you. Really? Have you ever had a good look at the many quality used items for sale? Many as good as new for half the price. If you really want to save money – you need to look at all options.

12.) DIY

Do it Yourself. There are so many videos on You Tube, DVD, etc. that teach you everything you need to know about home maintenance. Enhance your own skills and learn from these. Instead of forking out a fortune for someone to build a cupboard, or fix the toilet – it’s something you can learn to do yourself and save big bucks.

If you feel you have no talent for this – find something you are good at and offer this as a trade off to a friend who needs what you have, and get him to do the practical stuff for you.

Also share with your neighbors. Why buy a ladder if your neighbor has one. In the same vein lend them stuff which they don’t have. Building good relationships with your neighbors is something society is losing today. Stop competing, rather work together – it saves money too!

13.) STOP trying to keep up with the Joneses

What is it with society today that everyone must have what their neighbor has? This leads to extra stress, debt and basic unhappiness. Learn to be happy with what you have and who you are. Yes, maybe your neighbors do have a new car, but maybe they also have 10 times the debt that you have!

14.) Size isn’t everything

A large house costs money. How many rooms do you really need in a home? A friend of mine once said to me, “You can only live in one room at a time.” Very true! The older you get the more you realize that a smaller lock up and go home is way more convenient and practical than a large mansion. Plus maintenance costs, rates, water, security and electricity are far less. Hence the sudden surge in popularity of the security estates with smaller homes.

If you house is costing you a fortune, re-asses whether it isn’t just too big, and maybe consider scaling down.

Money will not buy you happiness, but it will let you be unhappy in nice places!

CARS

15.) Do you really need the latest model?

Do you really need the latest model with the biggest engine? We all know that as you drive a car off the showroom floor it has already lost a big chunk of value. Rather buy a used car from a reputable dealer at a fraction of the cost. The latest top end luxury car may cost you 50K, but a 6 year old one, also with a full house and all the gadgets may only cost you 6K. Again, who are you trying to impress. Don’t forget the higher insurance costs on a newer vehicle either… this all adds up. If you must have a new car, consider that the latest Korean car with all the bells and whistles, and higher safety ratings, is about a third cheaper than the latest classic big brand luxury vehicle.

16.) Re-assess your Insurance

Yes, you may have been with the same insurance company for years. However, there are constantly new and better offerings available on a daily basis. How much are you really paying for your short term insurance? Shop around, you will be amazed at how much you can save with other reputable companies too!

17.) Highway Service Stations

They are called ‘Convenience Service Stations’ for a reason! They are convenient and therefore more expensive. Shop at your local supermarket instead. Over a period of a year this is quite a saving.

18.) Take the bus or train

Yes, ticket prices may have gone up… but if you add insurance costs, maintenance, tires, fuel and unexpected costs of owning a vehicle, you will see that public transport is way cheaper, and also less stressful.

My last credit card bill was so big that before I opened it, I heard a drum roll!

Americans are getting stronger in the new millennium. 20 years ago it took 2 people to carry $20 worth of groceries.

Today a 5 year old can do it!

I’m not crazy about money… but it does quieten my nerves.

SHOPPING

19.) Stop the designer label craze!

We live in a materialistic society where everyone is conditioned to buy certain brands through clever marketing and advertising. Hello, is a designer label really going to make you better than the next person? From clothes to cars – stop being brand conscious. Look at alternative brands – you will be amazed at the savings in cost – and guess what – they last just as long!

20.) Learn to say, “No”.

If your child wants something in the store that they don’t need, be strong and say, “No.” When you sit in the pub with your mates and they tease you for wanting to leave early – don’t stay. A drink after work easily turns into an expensive night out if you cannot say, “No”.

21.) Shop for value

Just because a new store is the ‘in thing’ at present, does not mean that you will get the best value for money. Don’t shop ‘to be seen’, rather shop for ‘value for money.’ The same applies to restaurants.

22.) Impulse Shopping

We have been conditioned to shop! Buying stuff makes you happy! Huh! Anyone that says the media isn’t powerful has no idea what they are talking about! We all like to buy things when we are down. STOP! If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Be honest with yourself – how many of the things in your home do you really need? Think about it. Just cutting down on impulse and emotional buying can save you lots of money. If you are in doubt, use the ‘4 day rule’. Wait 4 days and do price comparisons, odds are after 4 days you may not want the item anymore.

23.) Be careful of Loyalty cards

It’s another clever gimmick to make you buy. If you don’t believe me, work out the real cost of the ‘so-called’ free item… it’s usually much more expensive. Airline loyalty cards are a prime example! In general you need 10 – 12 flights to collect enough miles for a free flight. Go on any airline website and you will see two prices for tickets, one with miles and one without. The cheapest flights are half the price of those with miles! In the end it costs you 10 times the price for that free flight… excluding airport taxes! The same applies to the ‘Cash back’ credit cards. You are paying for those benefits – there is no such thing as a free lunch!

24.) Travel & Holiday

If you need to book a flight or a holiday – do it early. The earlier you do it, the cheaper it is.

Also, do your bookings direct. Any company or agency that offers any holiday package has to make money from it. If you don’t believe me, get a quote on a package, and then research the same thing on your own on the Internet.

25.) Use the Internet, or even the library

You can find anything on the Internet today. And if you don’t have a computer, go research the stuff in a Library. Yes, they still exist! Instead of going out to buy a book on a certain subject, go read it up it the library. Odds are that they have the same book… and it costs you nothing!

WORK

26.) Share cars

We all complain about the traffic! Look around you when you sit in the next traffic jam… everyone is on their own in their cars! Imagine if everyone just shared the route with one other person. There would be 50% less cars on the road, less pollution, etc. If you started a lift club – you would save a fortune on fuel and maintenance costs every month. Add that up over a year! Also, don’t drive when you can walk. It’s healthier too!

27.) Take your own lunch

Those ready-made meals and sandwiches you impulse buy every day, cost a premium. Make your own lunch at home – it can save you a substantial amount of money over a year.

28.) Use your lunch hour!

An hour a day equals 7 hours per week. Do you waste your lunch time to do stuff you would normally do in your spare time? Use this hour to study, research, sell stuff on eBay, etc.

29.) Use work processes at home

At work, as part of the company strategy, you have a budget plan on a spreadsheet. You have a sales goal. In fact you have a 5 year business plan. Do you have one at home and for your personal life? Use the concepts from work and implement these in your own life. Your company has a budget for costs. Do you? It creates a path of action and a plan for your life that can also save you money!

HEALTH

30.) Medicines

If you have to buy antibiotics or medicines from a pharmacy, buy generic medicines – they are as good and MUCH cheaper than the big name brands. Ideally go the herbal, Chinese or alternative route in medicine. It is not so invasive, doesn’t usually have side effects and is surprisingly inexpensive in comparison to the  mainstream medicines.

31.) Eat Healthy and watch what you eat

Prevention is better than cure! Look after your body and eat the right foods. Become aware of all the bad preservatives that affect your health and focus on your work life balance to reduce stress. Thus hopefully saving you huge unnecessary medical costs in the future.

32.) Memberships, policies, etc.

Many monthly fixed payments cost you extra. Find out if you can pay annually in advance, often you get one month free and only pay for 11 months. A few payment plans like this, and suddenly you have saved yourself a nice lump sum of money!

Isn’t it amazing how fast later comes when you buy now?

I have never had money problems. Lack of money problems… yes!

I have enough money to retire on, provided I die by next week Friday!

I have what no millionaire has… no money!

Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it does give you more time to dwell on your misery!

If you think about it … money isn’t that important. After all is a man with $35 million really happier

than a man with $25 million?

Where there is a will, I want to be in it!

GENERAL

33.) Take up a Hobby

How much do you spend on cigarettes, in the pub or playing the lotto every week? Put that money into a hobby. It will give you time to relax, and may even be a hobby that makes money for you on the side… especially if you can teach others what you do, such as guitar lessons, or similar. I know people who have made a career out of their hobbies. They started with something small and identified a need in the industry, and off they went. I knew a couple that enjoyed gardening. On retiring they started supplying plants and advice to everyone in the neighborhood. Within a year they had a booming nursery businesses and regretted not doing it earlier in life.

34.) Shop Online

The Internet has many positive aspects to it – one is that you can shop online and compare prices, thus saving you money too. Use the Internet if you have it – you will be amazed at some of the savings you can find.

35.) Save money

If anything, your main plan must be to put money aside regularly. Haul out that old piggy bank, put a minimum amount away in it every week! You will be surprised at how quickly it adds up.

IN SUMMARY

I don’t think there are any actual new tips here, but I do know that most people don’t practice half of the suggestions I have shared with you. Just implementing a handful of these in your life, is fairly easy to do and can save you quite a bit of money… so what have you got to lose? Nothing!

But you have a lot to gain!

I have been saving for a rainy day.  I am happy to say that in two more years I can buy an umbrella.

A FURTHER 100 QUOTATIONS TO MAKE YOU THINK ‘OUT OF THE BOX!’

April 7, 2012

Wow, I never once imagined there would be such a demand for life quotations! This is the third in a series of E-Books containing 100 quotations by unknown authors. These have been collected over many months as I add a new quotation daily on my Facebook page. My goal now is to eventually have 500  and bring out one mega book of quotations. If you haven’t got the first two E-Books, make sure make sure to view them here on WordPress, or on my personal blog, or download them for free from Smashwords in most reader formats, iTunes, Reader Store and Barnes & Noble. These quotations will not only give you something to think about, but hopefully make you ‘think out of the box’ and see the positive side to life. Some are funny, others more serious, but with each comes a deep seeded message to become a better you.

I added a bonus 5 quotations in the last book, and will simply continue the numbering here…

206) Everything in this life takes longer than you think, except life itself.

207) Enthusiasm is very good lubrication for the mind.

208) Focus on where you want to go, not where your currently are.

209) Often when you look at the moon, you see only a part of it, but you know there is a much larger object there. Very often we look (or converse) with a person, and we see or are aware of only a small sliver of their life and we may think that is all there is. Try to get to know more about the whole person!

210) Execute every act of thy life as though it were your last.

211) Failure doesn’t mean that we are off the track to success. It merely forces us to take a detour to success.

212) Failure is merely part of the process necessary for success.

213) Failure is never as scary as regret.

214) Failure is not sweet, but it need not be bitter.

215) Failure is not the worst thing in the world — the very worst is not to try.

216) Feed your faith and doubt will starve to death.

217) A bump in the road is either an obstacle to be fought, or an opportunity to be enjoyed. It’s all up to you.

218) A careful inventory of all your past experiences may disclose the startling fact that everything has happened for the best.

219) We must be prepared to be part of the cure and not remain part of the problem.

220) A cemetery is the only place where people don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.

221) A coward gets scared and quits. A hero gets scared, but still goes on.

222) A dog that barks much is never a good hunter.

223) Acceptance: A flower falls even though we love it. A weed grows even though we don’t love it.

224) A fool and his money are soon parted. The rest of us wait for tax time.

225) A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

226) A genius shoots at something no one else can see – and hits it.

227) A good way to forget your troubles is to help others out of theirs.

228) We accomplish things by directing our desires, not by ignoring them.

229) We are judged by what we finish, not what we start.

230) We all know that sponges grow in the ocean but I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that wasn’t the case.

231) We all leave footprints in the sand, the question is, will we be a big heal, or a great soul.

232) We all need to take great interest in the future because we will spend the rest of our life there.

233) We are made strong by the difficulties we face, not by those we evade.

234) We are told never to cross a bridge till we come to it, but this world is owned by people who have “crossed bridges” in their imagination far ahead of the crowd.

235) We came here to serve not be served.

236) We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

237) We have inherited the past; we can create the future.

238) We have all drink from wells we did not dig and have been warmed by fires we did not build.

239) We hold in our hands the power to lift each other up to new heights of humanity or to let go, plunging mankind into an abyss of destruction.

240) Always strive to be part of the cure, and not remain part of the problem.

241) We must treasure the achievers of our land because it’s they who raise the sights of all the others.

242) We rate ability in men by what they finish, not by what they begin.

243) A bar of iron costs $5, made into horseshoes its worth is $12, made into needles its worth is $3500, made into balance springs for watches, its worth is $300, 000. Your own value is determined also by what you are able to make of yourself.

244) A careful inventory of all your past experiences may disclose the startling fact that everything has happened for the best.

245)  A good man doubles the length of his existence, to have lived so as to look back with pleasure on our past life is to live twice.

246) A good example is the best sermon.

247) A crooked stick will have a crooked shadow.

248) A family that plays together, stays together.

249) A fellow who says he has never told a lie has just told one.

250) A friend is someone you can do nothing with, and enjoy it.

251) A flatterer is a man that tells you your opinion and not his own.

252)  An education never hurt anybody who was willing to learn after he got it.

253) A healthy attitude is contagious, but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

254) A good way to forget your troubles is to help others out of theirs.

255) A chicken doesn’t stop scratching just because worms are scarce.

256) A cloud does not know why it moves in the direction it does, and at such a speed. It’s an impulse… this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond the horizon.

257) A good wife and health is a mans best wealth.

258) A great fortune in the hands of a fool is a great misfortune.

259) A hard fall means a high bounce… if you’re made of the right material.

260)  A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.

261) A hard thing about business is minding your own.

262) A leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organization not as it is, but as it can become.

263) A life is like a tree – if you don’t make it straight when its young and green, you’ll never do it when it’s old and dry.

264) A lot of people go through life as if they are rowing a boat. They look at where they have been (the PAST) rather than where they are going (the FUTURE).

265) People achieve according to what they believe.

266) In life you have two names: the one with which you are born, and the one that you make for yourself.

267) You can fail many times, but you are not a failure until you give up.

268) You are known by the company you avoid, and the company you keep.

269) A person of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.

270) A mistake at least proves that somebody stopped talking long enough to DO something about it.

271) A misty morning does not signify a cloudy day.

272) A person doesn’t know how much he has to be thankful for until he has to pay taxes on it.

273) A pint of example is worth a gallon of advice.

274) A sign on the door of Opportunity reads, “Push.”

275) A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

276) A smile on the face is a sign that the heart is at home.

277) A smart person knows what to say, a wise person knows whether or not to say it.

278) A successful person is a dreamer whom someone believed in.

279) A turtle makes progress when it sticks its neck out.

280) A wise man cares not for what he cannot have.

281)  A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the full value of time and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.

282)  A wise man doesn’t just wait for the right opportunity, he creates it!

283) A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.

284) Accept fate, and move on. Don’t yield to the seductive pull of self-pity. Acting like a victim threatens your future.

285) Acceptance of others, their looks, their behaviors, their beliefs, bring you an inner peace and tranquility – instead of anger and resentment.

286) Accomplishment, like life, will prove to be a journey, not a destination.

287) Achievement is not the most important thing – authenticity is.

289) Add value to everyday. Sharpen your skills and your understanding.

290) Life is really simple; we ourselves create the circumstances that complicate it.

291) We can all take a lesson from the weather, it pays no attention to criticism.

292) All people smile in the same language.

293) All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and Jill a wealthy widow.

294) Always imitate the behavior of the winner when you lose.

295) Always keep a window open in your mind for new ideas.

296) An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.

297) An obstacle is something you see when you take your eyes off the goals you are trying to reach.

298)  Anyone can live heroically and successfully for one day. The man who achieves a high purpose makes that day the pattern for all the days of his life.

299)  Anyone can be polite to a king. It takes a gentleman to be polite to a beggar.

300) Anger is only one letter short of danger.

301)  Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

302)  An unfailing success plan: at each day’s end, write down the six most important things to do tomorrow; number them in order of importance, and DO them. No planning will work unless we take action. 

303) Anything you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon must come to reality.

304) Approach the start of each day with something in mind and end the day with one word, “DONE.”

305) A man who has health is young, but a man who owes nothing is rich.

… and 5 more bonus quotations!

306) Attitude Adjuster: When you smile at someone, nine times out of 10 the other person will smile back and you’ve made two people’s days brighter and better.

307) Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

308) Be a “how” thinker, not an “if” thinker.

309)  Be alert to give service — what counts most in life is what we do for others.

310) Be tolerant of the human race. Your whole family belongs to it – and some of your spouse’s family does too.

I trust these quotations have given you a little more insight into life and inspired you to see that you are in control of your destiny. It’s all about your attitude in life that determines who you become.

100 QUOTATIONS TO THINK ABOUT

April 7, 2012

Welcome to the first book in a series of publications on quotations by unknown authors. Here you will find a collection of one hundred life philosophies, from unknown authors, that I trust, will put life into perspective and give you plenty to think about. Some are funny, others more serious, but with each comes a deep seeded message to help you become a better you.

These Quotations are downloadable as a FREE E-BOOK from  Smashwords in most reader formats, iTunes, Reader Store and Barnes & Noble.

1.) More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth. So dust off the cobwebs and use all those great ideas you have!

2.) Free advice is the kind that costs you nothing unless you act upon it.

3.) Opportunities are found by those who look for them. The bee has a sting but honey too… so look at every negative and make a positive out of it.

4.) Wake up and stop falling prey to the conditioning of the media and society around you. It’s only those people who are awake that live in a state of constant amazement.

5.) Most things which we think are impossible in life, is because we have never tried them. So go for every dream and opportunity before making a judgement.

6.) It’s important to focus on one thing at a time. Even in the Roman times they understood this with their Proverb; “The man who chases two rabbits catches none.”

7.) Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.

8.) The best way to predict your future is to create it!

9.) Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticise them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.

10.) It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

11.) May your life be like toilet paper… Long and useful.

12.) If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito!

13.) Success comes in cans, failure in cant’s.

14.) The difference between an optimist and a pessimist is that an optimist thinks this is the best possible world. A pessimist fears that this is true.

15.) If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you!

16.) A foolish man tells a woman to stop talking, but a wise man tells her that her mouth is extremely beautiful when her lips are closed.

17.) Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

18.) The latest new dance craze is called, “The Politician.” It’s two steps forward, one step backward, and then a sidestep.

19.) A wise man does in the beginning, what a foolish man does in the end.

20.) If you can’t see the bright side of life, polish the dull side.

21.) My favourite saying: A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort!

22.) It’s all about your attitude… Some people complain because there are thorns on roses, while others praise thorns for having roses among them.

23.) A kiss is just a pleasant reminder that two heads are better than one.

24) How things look on the outside of us depends on how things are on the inside of us.

25) If you are facing in the right direction, all you have to do is keep on walking in order to reach your dreams.

26) It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.

27) Everyone is gifted – but some people never open their package!

28) There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.

29) The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.

30) When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum.

31) The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try-angle.

32) Life’s problems wouldn’t be called “hurdles” if there wasn’t a way to get over them.

33) Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.

34) It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. So start believing in yourself!

35) Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

36) The waiting man gets the wind behind him. So stop rushing into things and plan properly in order to be successful.

37) I’ve learned that I should have told my Mom and Dad that I love & appreciate them more often than I did.

38) ‎I’ve learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

39) I’ve learned that it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular. So start enjoying those little things in life – it does make a difference.

40) I’ve learned that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.It makes their day, and mine too!

41) I’ve learned that the easiest way for me to grow as a person, is to make sure that I surround myself with people smarter than I am.

42)  I’ve learned one very interesting thing about money… it doesn’t buy class

43) I’ve learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with. It kinda brings you back down to earth again.

44) I’ve learned that when you’re in love, it shows. So start loving life, your job and those around you – it makes a huge difference!

45) I’ve learned that sometimes all a person needs in life, is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

46) I’ve learned that life is tough, but I’m tougher!

47) I have learned that when you harbour bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

48) I’ve learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

49) I’ve learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks

50) I’ve learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

51) Did you know that opportunities are never lost? That’s because someone will always take the ones you miss!

52) The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

53) It’s a funny thing about life… if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

54) Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life.

55) Solid advice: If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember anything!

56) Always laugh when you can. It is cheapest medicine.

57) You could have everything, where would you put it?

58) Borrow money from a pessimist – they don’t expect it back.

59) The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.

60) There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.

61)  No one is perfect… that’s why pencils have erasers.

62)  Great dancers aren’t great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.

63) Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

64) A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

65) Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you.

66) Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

67) Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.

68) Failing to plan means planning to fail. What are your goals?

69) A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.

70)  The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it.

71)  A genius is a person who shoots at something no one else can see – and hits it.

72)  Defeat may test you; it need not stop you. If at first you don’t succeed, try another way. For every obstacle there is a solution. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. The greatest mistake is giving up.

73) Love is when you take away the feeling, the passion, the romance and you find out you still care for that person.

74) There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.

75) Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.

76) Many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers.

77) Take twice as long to eat half as much.

78) If you cannot help worrying, remember that worrying cannot help you.

79) Perpetual worry will get you to one place ahead of time – the cemetery.

80) There are only two things to worry about, either you are healthy or you are sick. If you are healthy, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you are sick there are only two things to worry about, either you will get well or you will die. If you get well, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you die there are only two things to worry about, either you will go to heaven or to hell. If you go to heaven, then there is nothing to worry about. And if you to go hell, you’ll be so darn busy shaking hands with your friends you won’t have time to worry

81) Don’t worry if you are a kleptomaniac… you can always take something for it.

82) The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going.

83) To reach a great height a person needs to have great depth.

84) Bad habits are like a comfortable bed; they are easy to get into, but hard to get out of.

85) A half-baked idea is okay as long as it’s in the oven.

86) Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted.

87) Genius is nothing more than inflamed enthusiasm.

88) Time wastes our bodies and our wits, but we waste time, so we are quits.

89) Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.

90) There are no speed limits on the road to excellence.

91) Any man who knows all the answers most likely misunderstood the questions.

92) You have to do what others won’t. To achieve what others don’t.

93) Achieving starts with believing in yourself.

94) Tears are words the heart can’t express.

95) It is easier to believe a lie that you have heard a thousand times, than the truth which you have only heard once.

96) The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.

97) It will do no good to argue if you’re in the wrong. If you’re right, you don’t need to.

98) Winners make goals, losers make excuses.

99) Be careful of the words you say, keep them soft and sweet; You never know from day to day which ones you’ll have to eat.

100)  If you cannot help worrying, remember that worrying cannot help you either. Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. If you worry you die, if you don’t worry you die, so why worry?

I trust these quotations have given you a little more insight into life and inspired you to see that you are in control of your destiny. It’s all about your attitude in life that determines who you become.

35 Tips to Overcome Stage Fright

October 12, 2011

As a speaker and entertainer that has appeared on stages in over 128 countries, I have learnt to deal with stage fright. Here are 35 different tips and ideas which may help you feel more relaxed on stage. Not all of them may be for you, but I am positive that many of these tips will make a positive difference for you.

These 35 Tips are downloadable as a FREE E-BOOK from  Smashwords in most reader formats, iTunesReader Store and Barnes & Noble.

1. Set an end time for your fear.

If you have a presentation at 20h00 tonight, set yourself a goal to get over the fear by 16h00 so that you can focus on preparing for your speech. It sounds crazy, but by setting yourself an end time, you are actually giving yourself extra time for the fear to diffuse itself.

2. Talk to the audience as friends

If you had to do your speech for a close friend, would it sound as structured and formal as it does now? Most probably not! Look at the audience and make eye contact with one person at a time, talk to that person as if they were this friend. In other words, talk to one person at a time in the audience. This will relax you and make the whole pace of your speech more informal. As such you will be connecting on a deeper level with the audience and they will be able to relate to you more effectively. Plus of course this approach reduces your anxiety.

3. Take it easy/ Don’t take it easy

There are two schools of thought here:

a.) On the day of your presentation, relax! Take it easy and don’t be too busy. It will fluster you more and make you worry about preparing for the presentation. Rather schedule lots of free time on this day so you can get your mind around it.

b.) Other people find that the more they do on the day, the less they think about the stress of the presentation, and this helps them cope.

Only you know which personality type you are and what will suit you.

4. Know your stuff

I have always believed that if you know what you are talking about, there is no reason to be nervous. Make a point of understanding what you intend talking about and do not learn it parrot fashion. When you understand and know the topic, you speak naturally and hence more confidently. Also, should a technical hitch occur, because you are confident on your subject, this shouldn’t phase you.

5. Stretch

If you are nervous, odds are your muscles will be tight and your body stiff. 10 Minutes before you go onto stage, do a few simple stretch exercises. This will loosen you up and relax your whole body.

6. Loose yourself in the material

When you become the material you are speaking about, you go into another zone and the focus moves away from you – this can make a big difference.

7. Practice in front of an audience

Even if you just gather your family, social circle or offer the talk for free to an old age home – an audience is vital! The more you practice with a live audience, the easier it gets and the less the fear becomes.

8. Be at the venue with enough time to spare

Obviously if you arrive late and have to run onto stage, you will be stressed. Give yourself ample time at the venue to acclimatise and get used to the auditorium. Remember, there could be a scheduling change on the day and you may have to go onto stage earlier than planned. This won’t do the nerves any good if you are still in your car and get a frantic phone call from the organiser that you have to be on stage in 2 minutes! It’s always better to be early.

9. Mental practice

If you drive past me when I am in my car, odds are you will either think I am mad, or I am talking on the hands free phone. I mentally practice my talk out loud and imagine myself standing in front of the audience. I even imagine, and answer people questing me from the audience. In fact, I enact the whole presentation out loudly. At home I will stand in a room on my own and pace act out the entire speech. My family already understand this and accept me as mad! Visualising this two or three times really helps calm the nerves and cement the presentation in your mind.

10. Use your imagination

Some speakers actually imagine their audience in a funny manner when they walk onto stage – they believe this calms them down. It could work for you too! Imagine them all dressed in funny clothing, or without clothing! Whatever works for you and makes you smile!

11. When things go wrong

If you are on stage regularly, something will go wrong sooner or later. Accept this! If you know your stuff, odds are it won’t phase you as much. If a microphone suddenly stops working, carry on in a louder voice, but don’t let it distract you. The technical people are already stressing and trying to sort out the problem. You adding to the stress won’t change anything. Think about the things that can go wrong and plan for them, thus when they happen you already have an action plan.

12. Double check everything

Do you have notes, or a laptop which you use? Check that you have them with you and that everything works. Before you leave home, have a check-list so that you don’t forget anything. When you walk onto stage and suddenly realise that your notes are missing, or the projector doesn’t work, it’s too late! Of course your nerves will take over! In the same vein, know your speech so well that should this happen, you don’t need to rely on notes or presentation slides. That alone will give you huge confidence.

13. Eat a banana!

No I am not kidding! Someone told me a long time ago that eating something nutritious, but not too filling, takes away the butterflies in your stomach. Fear and anxiety causes an empty nauseating feeling in your stomach. By eating a banana 20 to 30 minutes before you go on stage, that empty feeling disappears!

14. Do something different

Whether you listen to soothing music, phone your spouse or play a game on your mobile phone – just try doing something completely different before walking out on stage. It takes your mind away from the fear and relaxes you.

15. Be comfortable with who you are

If you are self conscious about your looks, clothes or anything about you – you will be distracted and nervous. The only solution here is to be honest with yourself and learn to be comfortable with who you are. Similarly, wear clothes which is comfortable and not distracting. New shoes give blisters, so don’t wear new shoes on stage which could hurt and distract you. Wear them in first. Ladies, high heels can get stuck between floor boards! Leave them at home. If you are comfortable with yourself, it is easier to laugh at yourself, if something goes wrong.

16. Don’t rush it.

When you start your presentation – take it easy. Don’t rush it. Make a point of starting slowly so that you can get into a comfortable space. Not only do you have to get used to the audience, they have to get used to you. Especially if you have an accent – they need time to understand your pronunciation clearly. I’ll never forget seeing one speaker who walked onto stage, sat down on a chair, lit a cigarette and drank a cup of coffee. At the end he turned to the audience and said, “What’s the matter, do you start immediately when you get to the office in the morning?” What a brilliant gag and opening! He had the time to check out the audience, plus turned it into a huge laugh which everyone could relate to. Immediately everyone was more relaxed.

17. Never apologise for being nervous

Most, if not all people may not even realise that you are nervous – so why tell them? You may feel yourself shivering and shaking, but the audience may not be aware of anything. Never mention it – it will make the audience nervous on your behalf too, and they won’t listen the way they should. Instead they will worry about whether you will cope.

18. Get through the first 5 minutes!

Get onto stage and just concentrate on staying calm for the first 5 minutes. Imagine your hour speech as only 5 minutes – this makes it less stressful. Simply focus on getting the first bit done. By then you will have calmed down and the rest is downhill.

19. Stop stressing about whether the audience will like you 

This goes hand in hand with being comfortable with who you are. Yes! We all want to do a great presentation and have the audience like us. But, if that’s your focus, you will be distracted and nervous. Focus on doing the best you can within your parameters. As long as you honestly know you did your best, it doesn’t matter if someone didn’t like you. Think about it this way… does everyone like the same foods? No! There will always be some people that don’t like you. Accept this and do the best for those that do like you. Your whole approach then becomes more relaxed, and odds are you’ll convert the negative ones too! Will the world end if you fluff a line? No! So don’t worry about it.

20. Focus on them, and not you

You are a vessel through which a message is delivered. The presentation is not about you, or your slides – it’s about imparting information and knowledge to the audience. When you turn your focus from yourself to the people out there, the fear subsides.

21. Don’t share your mistakes

You have rehearsed the presentation and feel good about it. Suddenly on stage you realise you forgot an important point, or mixed up the order of topics as you had prepared them. The audience doesn’t know this! Only you know your talk. If you suddenly apologise for making a mistake, or leaving out a point – you are making the audience aware of a mistake they didn’t even know existed! However, if you say nothing and bring it in later – no one will be the wiser, and you will feel far less awkward. Odds are it may even work out better that way!

22. Imagine a white light

I always imagine a bright white light around me before a walk onto stage. I see this light/energy engulfing the whole audience and endearing them towards me. This can calm you down immensely… and your audience too.

23. Do a run through at the venue

If time allows, do a full practice run on the stage at the venue. This will definitely familiarise you with everything and make you feel less nervous. Think about it logically… you will have gone through the process once before, this gives your mind time to process everything around you. Hence when you walk onto stage the second time, you are already familiar with the environment and thus more relaxed.

24. Visit the venue

If you know that you will be nervous and worried what the venue will look like, make a point of trying to visit the place a day or two beforehand. This will give you time to think about it in your mind and become more comfortable.

25. Keep fit

When you are fit and healthy, you handle yourself better. Go to the gym the morning before the presentation and work all the frustrations out of your system.

26. Breathe

Nerves can cause short fast breaths and this will throw you off balance, and make you more nervous. 5 Minutes before you go on, sit down, relax and work on your breathing by taking slow deep breaths. Thus by the time you walk onto stage, you have paced your breathing to a more relaxed rhythm.

27. Walk among the crowd

Standing alone on a stage with the audience in darkness is nerve wracking for anyone. Ask the organisers to put up the houselights so that you can see the faces of the audience. Then make a point of walking into the audience and look at everyone around you one on one. Make eye contact and bond with individuals in the audience. It calms you down, plus makes you more approachable/friendly in the eyes of the delegates

28. Focus on the importance of the event within reason

Yes! Some events are more important than others and hence your stress levels may vary. Either way, when you stand on that stage, remember that it’s only that group of people that are watching you at that moment. There are another billion people on this earth that aren’t watching you – so what’s the big deal?

29. Love what you do

It makes a huge difference if you are passionate about the topic you are speaking on. You are thus automatically more comfortable with it and naturally relaxed. Anyone who has to speak on an unfamiliar topic will be nervous – that’s a given. Hence if you have the choice, choose something you love to talk about – this will reduce any anxiety you may have had before dramatically.

30. Smile

Smile from within – force the corners of your mouth up. Make it a proper smile and not just a grin. Try it now – see how it changes your mood!

31. Fake Confidence

Imagine yourself absolutely blowing the audience away – a super star performance! Get onto stage and fake it! You’ll be amazed at how quick you get into it and relax.

32. Stop being over critical on yourself

This is a huge cause for butterflies and nerves. Just realise that no audience is sitting there waiting to criticise you. The majority of them are too petrified to stand on that stage. They are just too grateful it’s you. So relax and enjoy it! In the same vein don’t be too critical on yourself. As a speaker I have often walked off stage thinking the audience were a bit quiet and that it didn’t go down so well. In the meantime they were so into what I was doing, they forgot to respond and clap, simply because they were so taken aback. Sometimes our expectations are too high. Calm down and enjoy the moment. Often you get a far better response than you expected. Also remember that if your expectations are too high and the audience doesn’t respond accordingly, you may wrongly hold back and not give as good a presentation as you should have.

33. Add laughter

Yes, we are not all comedians, and jokes take practice and timing. However, it is in your interest to find a joke or funny anecdote that you know will work – we call it a stock gag – where at least 80% of the audience will laugh. Open with this, it will relax you and the crowd!

34. Practice in front of your fear

Imagine your fear is watching you and you have to do the presentation. It’s a rehearsal on your own in front of your fear. Doing this two or three times makes you confront your fear and get over it.

35. We all make mistakes

Focusing on that perfect presentation will lead to a boring speech and you will lose all spontaneity. The only way we learn is through our mistakes! It is naive to believe that you won’t make any – but in the eyes of the audience it also makes you human and endears them towards you. Just don’t make the same mistake twice! Through practice and learning from your mistakes you will become more proficient. This doesn’t mean that an older speaker is better than you – it all depends who learnt the most from their mistakes. As the golfer Gary Player always said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”

100 Travel Tips

September 1, 2011

This is an extract from my FREE E-Book, 100 Travel Tips which is available for download  as a FREE E-BOOK from  Smashwords in most reader formats, iTunesReader Store and Barnes & Noble.

This book is divided into 3 sections:

Before the trip

At the airport and on the plane

At your destination

Here I will add the first section, and you can download the rest of the book on the link above.

BEFORE THE TRIP

RESEARCH

Firstly you need to plan your trip. Where do you want to go do and how much do you want to spend. Ideally do searches on the Internet and visit various travel agents to research all the options available to you.

Once you have reached a decision, you can book the trip. That’s only the start, now you have some preparation to do…

PASSPORTS

The most obvious! Make sure your passport is valid of at least another 6 months after your return.

Always, always, always have at least two copies of your passport and travel documents. One set you keep at home and the other in one of your suitcases. If your passport is lost or stolen, you cannot prove who you are or even visit your consulate in a foreign country without identification. Like this at least you have a spare copy on you, and if all else fails, another copy safely at home.

In most cities you can buy a holder for your passport. These are really practical as you can store your frequent flyer and boarding cards in them as well. Thus everything to do with your flight is in one holder.

Visas. The requirements change daily! Check whether you need one and leave ample time before the trip to apply for your visa.

BOOKING YOUR HOTEL

Some hotels, especially family hotels, offer a fully inclusive package with meals and certain beverages included. Often they have facilities and events to keep the children occupied during the day as well. There are great deals out there, but you need to look for them.

Package tours are often advertised at good prices, however you need to remember that you do not have much freedom to do your own thing. There are set times and set activities. If you want freedom, you have to plan your own thing.

If you are a light sleeper and sensitive to noise – NEVER book a room next to an elevator! Also, give preference to inside facing rooms and not rooms facing the street – this will reduce car and highway noise. Always have a set of earplugs on you.

Some hotels don’t offer free coffee and tea in the rooms and have no kettle. Check for this when booking. Or travel with a small heating element so you can make coffee in your room. Also carry some coffee, milk and sugar sachets with you. This saves a lot of money.

Booking through and agent, or specialist Internet sites is often cheaper than booking direct. These agents get special rates.

Booking anything, from flights to hotels, is much cheaper ‘out of season, than ‘in season.’ Good to know if you are on a tight budget.

A central hotel may be slightly more expensive than a hotel on the outskirts of a city. But when you add the travel costs into the equation to get to all the sights, it may be cheaper at the end of the day to book the central hotel.

Few hotels have an iron and board in the cupboard. Some will let you use one by phoning the ‘House Keeping’ department. Most hotels don’t have this and charge you premium rates for ironing. Check this beforehand. Alternatively pack a small travel iron.

Few hotels have an umbrella available. If you are going to a city where the weather will be bad, pack a small collapsible umbrella. It will be cheaper to buy it at home than from the peddler outside the hotel!

Many hotel rooms have strong air conditioners that dry out your skin and nose. Make sure you have packed a moisturiser.

YOUR AIR TICKET

Choose the seat you want when booking the flight ticket. Never leave it for the day you check in at the airport.

Check in on-line if you can 24 hours before – this is much easier and saves you standing in queues at the airport.

Today some airports let you download your boarding pass on your phone – find out about this, it is very convenient.

Be very aware that when booking an economy air ticket, many airlines have a price that includes full ‘air-miles’ (for people that collect air miles) as well as a non air mile price. Guess what? The non air mile price is usually MUCH cheaper. In fact, according to my calculations, you pay much more at the end of the day for a ticket redeemed on air miles, than you would just paying the cheapest fare. However, you need to remember that the cheaper fare does have limitations and restrictions on it. If you fly business or first class – it doesn’t really make a difference. This mainly applies to economy/coach class.

Also, be aware of the restrictions on a cheaper ticket. If there is a chance that you may need to change your ticket, rather pay the extra cost when making the original booking, as it will cost you much more to make any changes at a later date.

If you are booking a flight with a stop over, check the time between flights. If it is too short, you may miss the connection. If it is too long, are you prepared to sit in an airport for 8 hours? In this case rather book a hotel so that you can relax.

FOREX

Always order small denomination local currency before you leave. This is useful for tips, train rides, short taxi fares, cold drinks etc. There is nothing worse than arriving in a foreign city and having no cash on you. Often Bureau De Change’s run out of small notes – so order it a few days before, especially if you buy from a Bank!

Your credit card WILL NOT always work in a foreign country. Plan to phone your bank or credit card company well before you leave and get them to authorise foreign use. Also make sure you have a pin no if you need to draw cash in a foreign city.

Take only the bare minimum credit cards and other bankcard you need. If anything is lost or stolen, at least you have something left at home.

PHONES

It is often cheaper to buy a pre-paid SIM card in a foreign country and use this, than pay the foreign roaming charges on your own phone. Be very aware about foreign roaming costs – many people have been shocked at the bills on their return home from a holiday. Remember that even if someone phones you from home, the phone company charges that call to you! Find out via the net before you leave, what options are available to you in that country. Thus go for a local SIM card.

BAGGAGE & PACKING

Pack spare toiletries and essentials in case you cannot find any at your destination. Always bear in mind the fluid and spray can limitations for hand luggage – 100ml.

Always carry a universal adapter with you. Plugs vary in foreign countries and on the plane. These can be bought in most electrical stores, or even at the airport at a premium price.

People actually complain that 20kg baggage is too little. As a frequent traveller my family and I only travel with hand luggage. That 20kg luggage allowance is more than ample. Stop packing unnecessary items. Also, if you look at the cost of excess baggage, it’s way cheaper to buy a T-shirt or clothes in the foreign city than paying the excess baggage costs!

If you really have tons of little items that take up space and fill your hand luggage, consider buying one of those photographer’s jackets or waistcoats. They have tons of pockets and you can store many items here, saving precious baggage space.

Always have a change of underwear and socks in your hand luggage if you check in your main bag. Imagine it gets lost for a day or two and you arrive in a foreign city after a 12-hour flight and have no change of underwear? Need I say more?

Always have a bag pre-packed with most items you need, ready in your cupboard. Thus if you have a last minute flight to catch, all you need to add is one or two items of clean clothing. Everything should be in there already, from toiletries to your passport. You will be amazed at how much time this saves.

Keep your hand baggage within the size limitations and weight. Airlines will pull you aside if they suspect it is over weight or too large. Also, an aluminium case may look smart, but it also looks heavier than a leather case. Odds are you’ll be pulled over with an aluminium case – just a thought!

If you roll your clothes in the suitcase, you can literally get in twice to three times as much.

Pack minimal clothes. Many people work on three sets of clothes and every night they return to the hotel room they wash everything in the bath or shower, giving it a day to dry. In this way you rotate between the three sets and can travel with minimum baggage. This is ideal for short business trips.

Put a business card or hand written address card inside your baggage in case it gets lost. Name tags on the outside of a bag ALWAYS get ripped off. In this way, at least when they open the bag, they can identify who it belongs to. Add the hotel details as well when checking in on an outbound flight.

Pack small items in your shoes – this saves space.

Stick a colourful sticker on your bag, or highly colourful tape around the handle so that it stands out and you can identify it. Yes, buying a bright red bag helps, but other people buy them too. Make a point of doing something to your bag that it immediately stands out from the rest and enables you to identify it straight away.

Ladies handbags! Re-pack them before going on a trip in case you have fluids and non-friendly security items in it. There is nothing worse than having to empty your handbag in front of everyone.

Be aware of the culture of the country you are travelling too. If you end up in a conservative country where most women are covered up, you will get into trouble if you walk around in a T-shirt and shorts.

Similarly, from a business perspective, make sure you are aware of the business etiquette in a foreign culture. One mistake on your part could ruin a huge deal!

Always leave space in your baggage when you leave. Often you will but souvenirs, receive gifts, or have extra items on your return. There is nothing worse than having to buy an extra bag, or being over-weight when returning home.

Video and still camera’s take up huge amounts of packing space, and can be stolen. Most people focus so much on taking pictures, they never really enjoy the environment they are in. Today mobile phones have advances so much and many come complete with built in HD video cameras, high quality still picture cameras, and access to the Internet. These phones can fit into your pocket and do everything your laptop, video and still camera can do. Plus, by using your mobile phone you will save tons of space!

YOUR HOME

If you have pets, have you arranged for someone to feed them, or booked them into a pet care centre?

If you are away longer than a month, it may be worth your while to stop cable fees and other services during that time. You are not there anyway, so why pay for it?

Has the garden service, pool service been informed of your absence. Have you made alternative plans?

Switch off your hot water cylinder before you leave. Again you save costs on electricity. Also, should something go wrong with your hot water cylinder while you are away, how will you handle coming home to a flooded house because the water cylinder burst?

Arrange with a close friend or family member access to your home. Also supply them with all the important telephone numbers in case of an emergency, i.e. fire, theft, etc. so that they can notify the respective insurance firms/authorities if something happens.

Whoever is looking after your home, give them all your contact details at your destination. You never know if there is an emergency and they need to contact you.

Some people buy timers for their lights. These they set at predetermined times so that the lights in their home switch on and off while they are away – giving the impression that someone is at home.

If you have live plants, place them in container with water so that they don’t die while you are away. For longer periods of time, organise for someone to do this for you.

 GENERAL

Make a checklist before you travel which you can tick off before you leave. Believe me, one people always forget something. This covers you and should include everything from contact lenses to universal adaptors.

Check your travel insurance as well as medical insurance. Some credit cards only cover basic travel insurance when you buy the ticket through them. You may need to top this up.

Travel with a basic medicine kit, especially painkillers, plasters and hay fever tablets. Try finding a tablet you are familiar with in a foreign country! Almost impossible!

If you are going on a sea cruise, most ships only need you to have a visa (if applicable) for the arrival and departure port. Check this beforehand.

Before going on a cruise, find out whether you get seasick and take medication before you leave for the cruise. There is nothing worse than staying in bed on the ship for two days while recovering from seasickness after the on-board doctor has supplied you with over-priced medication.

Is your driver’s licence valid in the foreign country? You may have to get yourself an international licence. The AA usually does this for you.

If you have an itinerary planned (business or social) have it summarised on one sheet of paper that you can carry with you. It simplifies things.

If you must take your special brand conditioner with you, back it in the checked in luggage. Remember you are limited to 100ml liquids in carry-on baggage. Alternatively visit your local drug store or pharmacy and purchase some smaller travel bottles. Decant everything into these.

Yes, many countries have unique souvenirs – don’t buy them all. Most are made in Taiwan anyway. Odds are you will find the same souvenirs back home. Obviously there will be occasions where you can by a once off unique item. That’s fine – but be aware of all the tourist junk out there too.

For some or other reason people feel the need to bring back gifts for their entire social circle after a trip. It takes time, money and baggage space to buy these gifts. Many people spend their whole holiday looking for gifts to take home, rather than actually take a break and enjoy their holiday! Focus on what is important!

You can download the rest of the book for free by clicking here.