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3900 Saturdays

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital," he continued; "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.




It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.

Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.

 

There's nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.
It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 year old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"





You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

 

What I love about stories is that they can speak to our soul. This is only one of many great stories in my book, Charging the Human Battery...50 Ways to Motivate Yourself.   Sometimes, our greatest challenge is getting inside our own heads to determine...what makes us tick? That's what this book is all about!

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Goals – the 10 Rules for Achieving Success

Presents you the numbers, and sequence, that open the locks of success in a simple way.

Personal Goal Setting: Achieving Goals this year

International goal setting expert Vic Johnson shares this lesson on achieving personal goals.

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6 Ways to Start the New Year Doing Instead of Dreaming

Wouldn’t it be a fabulous accomplishment to be able to say to yourself that [this] was the year you stopped dreaming about accomplishing your resolutions and started to do them?

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A Leadership Checklist: 10 Things To Do Right Now To Make It A Great Year

Over the course of my career I’ve assembled a very handy annual New Year’s “Checklist” that helps get me focused and ready for the challenges to come in the days and months ahead, and well positioned for success.

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The Apple of the Present – A Resolution

Usually the first thing everyone talks about when the New Year rolls around is their New Year’s resolutions. What didn’t happen during the previous year and resolving to make it happen during the coming year; promising to become happier, healthier, wealthier, or more productive; promising to take more time for your family or yourself — all noble resolutions to be sure, but somewhat less than certain that they will ever come to pass.

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Crossing the Finish Line – Goal Setting and, Most Importantly, Finishing

So it's one thing to set the goal, it's a whole other animal to actually finish; to cross the finish line ... Here are the steps to crossing the finish line:

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A Lifetime of Planning Pays Off

"You gotta be crazy!" That's what Lee Dunham's friends told him back in 1971 when he gave up a secure job as a police officer and invested his life savings in the notoriously risky restaurant business. This particular restaurant was more than just risky, it was downright dangerous. It was the first McDonald's franchise in the city of New York - smack in the middle of crime-ridden Harlem.

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Lee had always had plans. When other kids were playing ball in the empty lots of Brooklyn, Lee was playing entrepreneur, collecting milk bottles and returning them to grocery stores for the deposits. He had his own shoeshine stand and worked delivering newspapers and groceries. Early on, he promised his mother that one day she would never again have to wash other people's clothes for a living. He was going to start his own business and support her. "Hush your mouth and do your homework," she told him. She knew that no member of the Dunham family had ever risen above the level of laborer, let alone owned a business. "There's no way you're going to open your own business," his mother told him repeatedly.


Years passed, but Lee's penchant for dreaming and planning did not. After high school, he joined the Air Force, where his goal of one day owning a family restaurant began to take shape. He enrolled in the Air Force food service school and became such an accomplished cook he was promoted to the officers' dining hall.


When he left the Air Force, he worked for four years in several restaurants, including one in the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Lee longed to start his own restaurant but felt he lacked the business skills to be successful. He signed up for business school and took classes at night while he applied and was hired to be a police officer.


For fifteen years he worked full-time as a police officer. In his off-hours, he worked part-time as a carpenter and continued to attend business school. "I saved every penny I earned as a police officer," he recalled. "For ten years, I didn't spend one dime - there were no movies, no vacations, no trips to the ballpark. There were only work and study and my lifelong dream of owning my own business." By 1971, Lee had saved $42,000, and it was time for him to make his vision a reality.


Lee wanted to open an upscale restaurant in Brooklyn. With a business plan in hand, he set out to seek financing. The banks refused him. Unable to get funding to open an independent restaurant, Lee turned to franchising and filled out numerous applications. McDonald's offered him a franchise, with one stipulation: Lee had to set up a McDonald's in the inner-city, the first to be located there. McDonald's wanted to find out if its type of fast-food restaurant could be successful in the inner city. It seemed that Lee might be the right person to operate that first restaurant.


To get the franchise, Lee would have to invest his life savings and borrow $150,000 more. Everything for which he'd worked and sacrificed all those years would be on the line - a very thin line if he believed his friends. Lee spent many sleepless nights before making his decision. In the end, he put his faith in the years of preparation he'd invested - the dreaming, planning, studying and saving - and signed on the dotted line to operate the first inner-city McDonald's in the United States.


The first few months were a disaster. Gang fights, gunfire, and other violent incidents plagued his restaurant and scared customers away. Inside, employees stole his food and cash, and his safe was broken into routinely. To make matters worse, Lee couldn't get any help from McDonald's headquarters; the company's representatives were too afraid to venture into the ghetto. Lee was on his own.


Although he had been robbed of his merchandise, his profits, and his confidence, Lee was not going to be robbed of his dream. Lee fell back on what he had always believed in - preparation and planning.


Lee put together a strategy. First, he sent a strong message to the neighborhood thugs that McDonald's wasn't going to be their turf. To make his ultimatum stick, he needed to offer an alternative to crime and violence. In the eyes of those kids, Lee saw the same look of helplessness he had seen in his own family. He knew that there was hope and opportunity in that neighborhood and he was going to prove it to the kids. He decided to serve more than meals to his community - he would serve solutions.


Lee spoke openly with gang members, challenging them to rebuild their lives. Then he did what some might say was unthinkable: he hired gang members and put them to work. He tightened up his operation and conducted spot checks on cashiers to weed out thieves. Lee improved working conditions and once a week he offered his employees classes in customer service and management. He encouraged them to develop personal and professional goals. He always stressed two things: his restaurant offered a way out of a dead-end life and the faster and more efficiently the employees served the customers, the more lucrative that way would be.


In the community, Lee sponsored athletic teams and scholarships to get kids off the streets and into community centers and schools. The New York inner-city restaurant became McDonald's most profitable franchise worldwide, earning more than $1.5 million a year. Company representatives who wouldn't set foot in Harlem months earlier now flocked to Lee's doors, eager to learn how he did it. To Lee, the answer was simple: "Serve the customers, the employees, and the community."


Today, Lee Dunham owns nine restaurants, employs 435 people, and serves thousands of meals every day. It's been many years since his mother had to take in wash to pay the bills. More importantly, Lee paved the way for thousands of African-American entrepreneurs who are working to make their dreams a reality, helping their communities, and serving up hope.


All this was possible because a little boy understood the need to dream, to plan, and to prepare for the future. In doing so, he changed his life and the lives of others.


Author:  Cynthia Kersey
Excerpted/Adapted from Unstoppable
Copyright 1988 by Cynthia Kersey,
www.unstoppable.net

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Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals

An eminent social psychologist offers insight into how goals work and the sources of self-defeating behaviors, and provides strategies for problem solving, achieving resiliency, and increasing willpower.

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Just in time for New Year's resolutions, learn how to reach your goals-finally-by overcoming the many hurdles that have defeated you before.

Most of us have no idea why we fail to reach our goals. Now Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, an award-winning, rising star in the field of social psychology shows us how to overcome the hurdles that have defeated us before.

Dr. Grant Halvorson offers counterintuitive insights, illuminating stories, and science-based information that anyone can use immediately, including how to:

• Set a goal to pursue "even" in the face of adversity
• Build willpower, which can be strengthened like a muscle
• Avoid the kind of positive thinking that makes people fail

The strategies outlined in this book will not only help everyone reach their own goals but will also prove invaluable to parents, teachers, coaches, and employers. Dr. Grant Halvorson shows readers a new approach to problem solving that will change the way they approach their entire lives.

Even very smart, very accomplished people are very bad at understanding why they succeed or fail.

Whether you want to motivate your kids, your employees, or just yourself, "Succeed" unlocks the secrets of achievement, and shows you how to create new possibilities in every area of your life.

 

You can watch this video for a useful summary of some of the most relevant points Dr Halvorson makes:

 

About the author:  Dr Heidi Grant Hulvorson is a social psychologist who researches, writes, and speaks about the science of motivation. She is the Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia Business School, and author of the best-selling books:  Succeed: How We Can All Reach Our Goals, Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing The World for Success and Influence (co-written with E. Tory Higgins), and The 8 Motivational Challenges.

 

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Why Every Successful Person Sets Goals

Every successful person we know sets goals. But what's the secret behind of the power of goal setting they know but you don't know? This article reveals the 4 benefits that you may not have ever imagined.

goals

Have you ever heard of any successful people, super achievers or elite performers who don't set goals at all?

Honestly I have not.

Goal setting is an important aspect in both your professional and personal lives. Without having goals to strive for, we won't be able to measure our success or achievements. We won't be able to spot our weaknesses and improve ourselves. We won't be able to target our strengths and fully unleash our potential.

While setting goals is crucial to getting what you want in life, what other amazing benefits do this simple act bring you that make all the successful people love?

#1 Control and Certainty

By regularly setting goals and achieving them you are taking control of your life.

This is an empowering mindset, attitude and behavior to have because you are acknowledging that life doesn't 'just happen to you'. There is a lot that is within your control when it comes to creating the ideal life you want and working towards the direction that's right for you.

#2 Optimism and Positivity

Apart from being certain about the future you're heading, setting goals and taking action to achieve them will influence you to have a more positive and optimistic outlook.

This vibe of positivity will help you build stronger mental resilience, which is essential to help you keep going when things become tough or when you got hit by challenges.

Instead of feeling down, depressed or defeated by the hardships, your resilience, optimism and mental toughness will ensure that you see the temporary setback as it is and pick yourself up using your personal power to find a creative way to overcome it.

#3 Wellbeing

Through goal setting you will have created a long-term plan for your life. In your mind, you've created a vision of what you want and worked out a way to get there.

This sense of purpose gives you a feeling of hope that you can achieve what you want. These are all positive emotions which have powerful effects on your mental and physical wellbeing.

Stress levels will be reduced, as will the likelihood of depression emerging. While you are working towards achieving your goals, you will increase your levels of focus and your ability to use it at will to help you get the results you want.

#4 Getting Into Flow State

The regular setting of meaningful goals ensures that you maximize opportunities to utilize the power of flow.

This miraculous flow state occurs when:

  • you have a meaningful goal;
  • position yourself away from external distractions;
  • have all the necessary resources at hand;
  • have matched the task to your abilities so that it contains enough challenge to keep you motivated and engaged but not too little so that you become bored; and
  • immerse yourself in the task completely.

Getting into the flow state not only helps you achieve goals, but it also drastically elevates your productivity, relieves stress and increases happiness. The benefits of the flow state have been recorded by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Hungarian positive psychologist who wrote the famous book <Flow: The Psychology of Happiness>.

By having goals, you are increasing your chances of success. You are also taking positive steps to creating the life or business that you want.

While it seems to take a lot of effort setting goals at the beginning, the benefits you experience will far outweigh any time spent creating, monitoring and meeting them. If you desire to become a more productive, optimistic and proactive, then you should definitely follow what other successful people do - setting goals.

If you REALLY do not know the 5 Little Known Ways To Double Your Productivity yet, we need to fix that. Join hundreds of other guys already using it right now FREE in my step-by-step training. Alternatively, check out my value-packed productivity blog here.