Tag Archives: choice

I Am What I Am!

30 Jan

Or as Popeye the Sailor Man put it, “I yam what I yam!” But what does it mean when we use this simple phrase, or when someone tells us, I am what I am. To me it speaks volumes. It says; this is who I am. I cannot change. Either accept me “as is” or forget about it. To me it’s just another whine of the powerless.

Every living thing in the universe, from the tiniest microbe to us, the most sophisticated and intelligent animal on earth, have been created to evolve. To adapt to a changing environment. It’s built into our DNA. Without change no species survives.

So why do so many people, people we know and love, refuse to even consider changing, even when faced with a looming disaster, like the loss of a relationship or of a career. My belief it is fear. Fear is the strongest emotion we face and we face it on a daily basis. We fear rejection. We fear embarrassment. And most of all, we fear the unknown, the scariest fear of all. And change is nothing more than giving up the old for the new. Be it a new way of thinking, a new attitude or a new behavior.

As modern day people we live in comfort zones, doing only those things that make us feel safe and secure. Whenever faced with the prospect of doing something new we find ourselves pushed up against the boundaries of those zones. Immediately fear begins to flood our bodies and we begin to have self-doubts. What if I don’t succeed? What if I fail? What if I lose my friends and social network when I no longer agree with them? What if don’t like the person I become? And so, we allow fear to win and paralyze us into doing nothing. But whenever fear wins understand that we lose.

There is a basic law of the universe that says; nature abhors a vacuum. This means, that as soon as you let go of your old beliefs, attitudes and behaviors new ones will take their place. And, almost always, the new ones are far better than the old ones they replaced.

If you’re faced with a failing marriage, a rocky relationship with your kids or challenges at work, maybe it’s time to face your fears and make that conscious decision to change. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. But, I will tell you this; once you face and overpower your fears your life will become easier, and the joy and the happiness you have been seeking will begin to flow effortlessly to you.

Life is nothing more than a continuous series of choices. Therefore, choose wisely!

With Love,

Michael

It’s All About Choice

24 Jan

I received a call last week from my nephew seeking my advice. I’ve got to admit I was flattered. Typically it’s my peers who seek my advice, but rarely a 24 year old, and I often wonder why that is. I have an opinion and it is this: we live in a face paced highly technological world aimed at young people. Why young people? Two very simple reasons; 1) that’s where the money is, and 2) young people have the time to devote to learning new technology. In fact, other than attending school, learning and using technology is their full time job. Because of this, they tend to look at the proceeding generations as not as technologically savvy (intelligent) as them, and thus, not people they would want to solicit advice from.

He’s interested in leasing a new car and since I have been leasing cars for over 40 years, thought I might be able to offer him some sound advice. And I did. Some of the advice I shared with him was: Just because the dealer advertises a manufacturers lease special it does not preclude you from further negotiating an even lower price; Often the dealer has several money factor rates (interest) and if your credit is good, you can negotiate this too; Just because they say you need to put money down does not mean you have to. All of my leases have been with no money down. Zero drive off; Fall in love with the car, not the dealer. Prepare to shop as many dealers as possible for the best terms. I live in Northern California, but I shop dealers in Southern California. It’s an hour’s plane ride for often under $100 and the dealer you’re leasing from will send someone to the local airport to pick you up. Then it’s a leisurely drive home up Interstate 5 in my new car.

But this blog is not really about leasing a new car. In our 45 minute conversation I asked him what his credit score was. His response was 690 and I told him how proud I was of him. Considering that he hasn’t been in the work world that long and he doesn’t have a mortgage that was a pretty good score. We then had a conversation about Cause and Effect. And this is what I told him.

Very often young people do foolish things that could have a dramatic effect on themselves and their lifestyle down the road. And it’s not just today’s young people. All of us have done things that we look back upon in embarrassment and wish we had made better choices. It’s all about the process of maturing and becoming an adult. The problem that my nephew’s generation faces as opposed to any proceeding ones is that their stupid mistakes are written in stone. Just waiting to be discovered years later by anyone with internet access.

My nephew was really shocked when I told him this: Future employers look to your credit score when considering hiring you. Why would they do that he asked? And it’s really quite simple. How you maintain your credit is a clear indicator of how you lead your life. If you purchase goods and services and don’t pay for them, you’re not a person of good character. If this is who you are privately their fear is that this is who you are publically, and they can’t afford to take the risk of adding you to their team.

What goes around comes around. Choose wisely.

Love,

Michael

It’s Resolutions Time! Again?

30 Dec

I often wonder who came up with the idea to create a list of New Year’s resolutions. A list of all the things we are unhappy with about ourselves, and the “wish” that we will miraculously change over the coming months.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe in change and I believe that each of us has the power within to change practically anything about ourselves. We are that powerful. No, what concerns me about New Year’s resolutions is the way we go about creating these changes.

Often the buoyancy of the holidays (too much cheer, food, spending) gives us a false sense of optimism when it comes to changing lifelong habits. We believe that change will come automatically when we once decide to make that change. Nowhere within the listing stage do we ever ask ourselves, “Can I do this? What plan do I have to succeed? What sacrifices will I have to make? Am I biting off more than I can chew?”

According to a January 2013 article in Forbes magazine only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions succeed. If a doctor wanted to perform surgery on you and then shared with you the fact that in better than 9 of every 10 patients the surgery was an utter failure, would you still agree to go under the knife. I have my doubts. Yet, millions of people will sit down over the coming days and create a list of changes they desire in themselves, yet knowing somewhere deep within, that they are going to fail.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions? Of course not. Go ahead and make your list, but then do the following:

  • Prioritize your list from least important to most important. Then choose the most important item on your list to begin. One item, no more. Once you succeed with this resolution the others will be much easier to attain.
  • Plan the next 90 days and how you’re going to succeed. I suggest learning and using SMART goals. You’ll find them in my book Overpowering Fear or just Google them. If you’re going to lose weight ask yourself, “What help do I need to accomplish my goal.” Over the years I’ve used Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. Choose a system that feels comfortable for you. Don’t think you’re going to accomplish this alone, YOU WON’T.
  • (This example can be used for most goals). If your goal is to get more sleep create a log to fill out just before you go to bed. Write down the time you went to bed and if you’re not getting to bed on time, write the reason. Review this log at the end of every week. You’ll see that the reasons you wrote down were meaningless. If it was important for you to watch Scandal to the end, ask yourself, what the episode was about? If you can’t remember then it wasn’t very important.
  • Accept the fact  that no great change happens without some sacrifice. Whether it be food, time, alcohol, video games, etc. you are going to have to give up something. Prepare to give up the known for the unknown.
  • Because you create your life through your thoughts, don’t let thoughts of failure derail you. Done right, you have a greater chance of success than failure. Whenever a negative thought enters your mind causing unwanted fear say to yourself, “Thank you for this thought but I choose not to accept it. Instead I ask for a thought that is just the opposite.” It may sound crazy but it works.

For those who try my plan for accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions, I would love to hear back from you. Tell me your successes and your failures. My goal is to make this work for everyone.

Love,

Michael

It’s Never Too Late!

12 Dec

It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot

George Eliot, was the pen name used by Mary Anne Evans, a Victorian novelist.

The reason I enjoy the above quote so much is that it is a message of hope. That as long as we are alive we still have the power to change our life and become the person we have always wanted to be.

How often do we hear people say, “You made your bed now sleep in it.” It is a condemnation of the person they are addressing, that they have screwed up so badly that there is nothing left for that person to do but accept the consequences. To just live with it no matter the hurt and pain.

I don’t believe that. I believe that we are the sum total of all the choices we have made in our lives, both the good and the bad. Often, because of fear or expediency, we make wrong choices. And, each wrong choice moves us further away from the perfect path our creator wanted us to follow. Until our perfect path is just a distant memory.

But, in this one sentence, Ms. Evans tells us that there is hope for all of us. That there is nothing that we have done or said that cannot be corrected. That no matter how much time has passed and no matter what our journey, we can still become the person we have always wanted to be.

I believe it. I hope you can too.

Love,

Michael

You Only Have One Life!

18 Nov

Luckman’s Law: The bad news: you only have one life. The good news: you can start living your perfect life anytime you choose. Make that choice NOW!

How many people do you know who are always complaining about their life? Their past was a dismal failure. They grieve for all the things they should have done and could have done.  And their future is even scarier for they fear it will be a repeat of their past. You may even be one of these people.

Well, the past is gone. There is not a thing any of us can do about it. But there is good news. Each of us has been given the gift to change our circumstances and consequently the life we are living at any given moment — we decide. Yes, we all have that POWER.

You are not helpless. You have just forgotten how really powerful you are. Decide this very moment to reclaim your power. And this is how you do it.

Change your thoughts

Right now you may feel scared and uncertain about your life. And all that fear comes from the thoughts you dwell upon. When feeling down and dejected ask yourself, “What am I thinking?” My guess, it is a negative thought. Now let go of the thought. First, thank it for coming to you and then let it go. Now, replace it with a positive thought. You may say, “Thank you for this thought about (__________). I now let go of this thought and replace it with this thought (_____________).” And, don’t say it doesn’t work for you. It works for everyone. Just give it time.

At the beginning you might think it’s not working because that voice in your head says it won’t. That voice is your ego and your ego is not your friend. It wants you to fail. The more you do this the less you’ll hear from your ego.

Use these two most important words “I Am” to declare to the Universe your perfection. Repeat these positive affirmations as often as you can throughout the day.

I am Powerful.

I am a Winner.

I am Smart.

I am Talented.

I am Lovable.

I am Exceptional.

I am Perfect.

I am Deserving of Everything.

Make up your own “I am” statements. It’s easy and they work.

Love,

Michael

Fear is Like Gravity – It Holds You Down

1 Nov

Be thankful for gravity. If not for just the perfect amount of gravity we would all be floating around uncontrollably, which could be a real problem as we dodge other people, cars, trucks and virtually anything not nailed down.

Fear, on the other hand holds us down too, but unfortunately in a more insidious and harmful way. Fear, when not faced and overpowered, will often freeze us in place. Afraid to make a decision, afraid to make a choice, afraid to take a chance, we often do nothing.

I have a very close friend in that position right now and I’m not sure how to help him. Brent has been married for around 30 years to a woman I’m not sure he ever loved. They have 3 beautiful children and 3 grandchildren. Brent was never a great father but he’s making up for that now by being a wonderful grandfather.

Brent has been out of work for approximately 2 years and has not found another job. And I’m beginning to believe he doesn’t want one. Money is now tight. Very tight. I have suggested to him that with the kids all grown and his marriage an empty shell to just walk away from the life he’s lead, and begin a new life, one of his choosing.

But Brent can’t choose. He can’t make a decision. And actually as I look back on his life, he’s always let others around him make the decisions for him. I wonder why that’s so. He grew up like me in Chicago, but I don’t think his parents or his siblings had problems making a decision, only Brent. Brent has always been paralyzed by fear.

Recently, I read an article about a study of how people respond to emergency situations and it described an airplane crash with survivors. Some people would get up immediately and head for the exits. Others would instinctively look around for other survivors and help them to escape. And then there were those who just sat in their seats, paralyzed with fear, who did nothing. And that’s where rescuers found them. Dead in their seats. And there were more of these people then you would imagine.

I’m stymied. I love Brent like a brother and I’m at a loss as to how to help him. If I just gave him money he’d use it to pay his immediate bills, but in a matter of weeks he’d be back to where he is now.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I can’t help Brent. Maybe all I can do is offer him the tools, the encouragement and the support, and the rest is up to him.

Love,

Michael

Empathy

28 Oct

In a recent conversation about raising children with my publisher, Nance Rosen, I mentioned that I believed the greatest gift that we could teach our children was empathy. The ability to mentally and emotionally put one’s self in another’s situation to gain a greater understanding of what that person is going through. She agreed.

If you’ve read my book Overpowering Fear – Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life then you’re probably aware that I admitted that I was not as good a father as I should have been, or as I could have been.  If you are waiting for your copy to arrive from Amazon or Barnes & Noble then you probably have not read my dedication:

“To my beautiful daughters Melissa and Jennifer. When you were growing up I wasn’t always there for you. And nothing I could say or do can change that. But today I stand in awe of the incredible wives, mothers and good citizens you have become. And what I want you to know is that I am so very proud to be your Dad. To both of you I dedicate this book.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I was not as great a father as I thought I was, but I was not as bad a father as my daughters may have thought I was. I was like most parents of my generation. I modeled myself after my father. I know he loved me but he was almost never there for me, even when he was there. And, remember, children do not come with an instruction manual. We do the best that we can and hope for the best.

But as you can see in my book dedication I believe that the girl’s mom and I did succeed in teaching our daughters empathy. For how else could I stand in awe of the incredible wives, mothers and good citizens they have become? My daughters believe in the goodness of all people. They can easily put themselves in another’s shoes and feel what others are feeling, and going through in their lives. With empathy comes understanding. And with understanding comes peace.

So, before it’s too late, give your children the greatest gift you can. Teach them to be empathetic. To feel empathy means that you are endlessly connected to everyone on the planet. What could be greater than that?

Love,

Michael

A Power Greater Than You

16 Oct

Early morning every day, I have a conversation with God or the voice for God, the Holy Spirit, as described in A Course in Miracles. Or as I like to address Spirit, Infinite Spirit. The first thing I ask for is a perfect day. And what do I mean by a perfect day? A day where everything comes my way and one where everything goes my way. I am always open to receiving all the wondrous things the Universe holds in store for me.

Another thing I ask for is that I am always in the right place at the right time. Doing and saying the right things at the right time. I have asked for this for as long as I can remember. In my studies of A Course in Miracles I came upon the following quote on what to ask of God:

“Where would You have me go Father?”

“What would You have me do?”

“What would You have me say, and to whom?”

And then just let go.

They say that whatever problem you are facing; just turn it over to God. Let go of it. Let go of the worry. Let go of the outcome. Just let God, Spirit, the Universe do their work. But we don’t always do that and I’ve often wondered why.

I think its fear. We grow up believing we need to be self-reliant. That it is okay to ask God for the big things, but when it comes to our everyday lives and the things that cross our path daily, we should take the initiative and solve our own problems. Some of you may have grown up in homes where you were admonished not to ask God for the little everyday things. She was too busy and you were bothering her. Not so.

A Course in Miracles also says: “It is not that you ask God for too much, but that you ask him for too little.”

Each of you has a power greater than yourself who is ready and willing to bring you all that you ask for. Don’t think of yourself as too tough, too smart or too macho to reach out and develop this most wonderful relationship.

I guarantee you it will change your life.

My love always,

Michael

Are You on Your Perfect Path?

7 Oct

Luckman’s Law: God shows you where you could have gone if you had overpowered your fear and taken a different path.

Have you seen the movie Defending Your Life with Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks. If not you definitely want to rent this 1991 classic. It is the story of a man (Brooks) who dies and goes to heaven. It is there that he meets the perfect woman (Streep) and both must go before a court to see if they are ready to move forward to a higher plane, or go back to earth to experience a new life.

Both stood in their individual courtrooms watching on a large screen various scenarios of their life. Streep’s character, when alive, lived a brave and fearless life while Brooks’ character lived a life just the opposite. As the various scenarios of Brooks’ life unfolded it became apparent that he was and always had been a fear based person. Whenever faced with a new challenge or a new opportunity in his earthly life Brooks would either cave or do the opposite of what was in his best interest. I’ve always related well to Brooks’ character.

In fact, each time I see this movie it reminds me of me. I was his character, arrogant on the outside, a bowl of Jell-O on the inside.

As I grew in my spirituality and after reading countless books, and sitting through a good many seminars, I formed my beliefs about what happens to us when we die. First, is my belief of who we are. We are not our bodies. Our bodies are only the vessel that holds our Spirit which is a part of God. Second, before we enter our body at the time we take our first breath, we have agreed to the life we are going to live. Our Spirit knows all the various scenarios we will encounter in this lifetime, and what our final purpose is. Third, we will encounter the very situations we agreed to, but the choice of how we handle these circumstances is solely up to us.

By this I mean we have free choice. We can choose to run in fear of the situation. We can choose to boldly and bravely face the situation. Or, we can decide to do nothing, hoping and wishing it will take care of itself. Only one of the three choices above will bring us closer to our ultimate purpose for being here, and that is to overpower our fears and boldly and bravely face every challenge.

I actually believe like Albert Brooks, that when we die we all go back to God. And the first thing we do is to review the life we just lived. And we must answer these questions: Did I always do the right thing? Did I face my fears and do what was necessary? Did I stand firm in my beliefs? Did I do all I could to help and support my fellow man? Was I honest and forthright? In the roles that I took on did I always do my best? Did I live a life of Magnitude or Littleness? Did I achieve my Glory?

Now here is my challenge to you my friends: Do you want to wait until you die to share your answers with God, or do you want to look back on your life now and decide to overpower your fears and create the right answers to all of the above questions, while you are still alive to make a difference in this life, in this world?

With love,

Michael

People Who Rain on Our Parade

23 Sep

Have you ever had a great idea: for a new product, a new job, a new business, or even a move to another locale? You’re excited about whatever you have chosen, and can’t wait to share it with others.

And so you tell a friend or a family member and instead of getting a positive response that will reinforce your decision you get something like this. “What makes you think you can start a business? Don’t you know we’re in a recession? It takes a long time to get a business off the ground. You tried that once and you failed miserably.” “You want a new car? Can you afford it? Remember you’ve only been on your job 6 months.” “This is who you chose for a spouse? You can do much better than this. Why rush?”

What did it feel like when you heard those comments? I’ll bet they were painful. And I’ll bet even more that they made you feel lost, confused and fearful.

You started doubting yourself and your new idea. Then you probably said to yourself maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Why do people do this? When asked, most naysayers will tell you that they just want to help. That they want to prevent you from making a mistake. So they feel this compulsion to point out your past follies, mistakes and failures.

And if you challenge them they’ll usually reply with, “You’re just not being realistic!”

Bull. What’s really being said is, “I’m jealous. If you succeed you probably won’t be friends with me anymore. You’ll move out of the neighborhood and won’t ever come back. Your success will make me feel like a failure. My life will be ruined.”

So the next time you’ve got a great idea and someone rains on your parade, instead of feeling fear, take a good hard look at the person telling you these negative things. Then ask yourself, “Is this someone whose advice I value?” If the answer is no get away from them as quickly as possible. They’ll just bring you down.

Love,

Michael