Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A necessary topic... Last Will and Testament

Mortality is a topic that we often avoid.  Nobody likes to think about their final days on the planet.  We would rather live it up right now, and take tomorrow as it comes.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying the moment.  However, the people that you love most have to deal with your affairs after you transition into the after life.  I've watched numerous friends and family members pass away without a will.  I even had to drive to Wisconsin with my family to pull one of my cousins off of life support.  There are some documents that are needed to help ease the pain of the people you love.

A Living Will & Health Care Power of Attorney basically tell people what to do in the event that you are incapacitated.  For example, if you are in a car wreck and you end up on life support, the documentation listed above puts someone in charge of your affairs, and gives an outline of your wishes such as a "do not resuscitate" order, or how long you want to be on machines that keep you alive.

A Last Will and Testament is basically the love letter for the people you leave behind.  If determines who gets your cash, remaining assets, and who raises your children when you and the other parent are no longer alive.  For people with kids, this is REALLY important.  I read a story about how so many kids became wards of the state of NY until a judge decided who would raise them because both of their parents died in the 9/11 tragedy.  I don't know about you, but I don't want some man or woman that doesn't know me or my family deciding who gets my kids when I am gone.  To get all of the documentation done by an attorney that knows the laws in your state, and is suitably proficient in estate planning, it could easily cost you around $1,200 to get done.  I've found a SIGNIFICANTLY LESS EXPENSIVE WAY to get mine done, and the wed link below will give you more info on how you can get yours done as well:


I found some other interesting info on what happens if you die without a will. I have listed it below:

What happens if I die without a Will?

First, a little context is required. If you own any property when you die, then your surviving spouse or family will need to go through a legal process called “Probate” in order to legally wind up your affairs, pay off your debts, and transfer your remaining property to surviving family. The Probate process applies whether you have a Will or not. The only way around the Probate process is to own all of your assets through a Living Trust, but that’s a whole different story…

If you have a valid Will, then the Probate process plays out according to the specific wishes in your Will, which should include details about who is responsible for administering your estate (the “Executor”), who is guardian for your minor children, who gets your assets, and whether those assets are left outright to people or in creditor protected trusts, just to name a few considerations.

After that little bit of background, we can go on to the answer to the question…

If you don’t have a Will, then the Probate process plays out according to default laws in the state(s) where you own property (note that if you own property in multiple states, then different state laws apply to the different properties). Think of these default laws as a generic Will template provided by the state. Contrary to one popular belief, states don’t automatically take all your assets if you don’t have a Will. However, the end result of the Probate process under default state laws may not be anything close to your actual wishes.

Specifically, here are some examples of how the Probate process may be more confusing, costly, and inconsistent with your wishes if you don’t have a Will.

1. Without a Will, your family must agree who will be the Executor of your estate, and this can cause tension and power struggles.

2. If you are survived by minor children and there is no other living parent, your family and the courts must determine who will be Guardian for your children. This can cause an even bigger conflict.

3. Without a Will, state default laws determine who gets your assets, and this may not be consistent with your wishes. For example, certain state default laws can force your assets to be divided between your surviving spouse and your children (even babies). In addition to being inconsistent with your wishes, this can create additional costs and complexities in the Probate process.

4. Without a Will, you miss the opportunity to create one or more trusts to protect assets for your family or friends against creditor claims, including claims by a divorcing spouse.

5. Without a Will, the Probate process can be more costly and subject to more oversight by the court system, which must play a larger role due to the absence of specific wishes from the deceased person.

If you die without a valid Will in place, then the process of winding up your affairs will be more confusing, costly, and contentious for your family. Most likely, the end result will be inconsistent with your wishes.


For less than a dollar a day, you can have access to a team of attorneys to handle not only your will, but other areas of your life as well

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The boomerang of Karma, and a whisper from God

 I was traveling on business mid February if 2011, and I just so happened to leave my laptop in the airport. I thought that it was a lost cause, and just when I was about to give up hope (a month later) I got a call telling me that it was found. My friend Kyle went and picked it up and shipped it to me! Another friend told me "What goes around, comes around... good or bad." That was her way of saying that I am one of the good guys.
The odd thing is that I had been looking to purchase a new lap top (I really really really want a MacBook Pro), but for some reason I just never bought one. something kept telling me to be patient. For the things that I do with music and videos, I need a Mac, but it's not something that I will die without if I don't get one tomorrow. Every time that I would go online to look at them, and even when I went to the Apple store with the hopes and aspirations of getting one, I was always "told" to wait by my gut.

Has there ever been a time in your life where you had that funny feeling... or a voice in your head that directed you towards a particular path? More times than not, our inner compass (the voice of God, conscious, or spirit) guides us or gives us direction without us even acknowledging it. To take it a step further, that small voice gives instructions on how we are to help our brothers and sisters as well. I can't tell you home many times I've given away valuable possessions just because "that voice" told me to. I stopped counting the number of times that I've called friends just to check up on them because "that voice" said that I should. If we learn to get in tune with "that voice," we can help ourselves and our fellow man (or woman) achieve great things in life. It is up to you to work on listening and responding. Take a look at this short video I did for another pastor here in Illinois. I think it will get the wheels turning.


So the story continues... Later on that year I am visiting friends in AZ. Actually, one of my best friends in the world. At any rate, a group of us were sitting around talking. One of my friends in the group is a film production guru. I've seen some of her student projects that are better than some things produced my major motion picture studios. I just so happened to bring up that I wanted to make the switch from PC to Mac. She says "I have an old MacBook Pro under my bed at home you can have." I inquired how muc she wanted for it, and she gave it to me with no charge. I had to get the screen on it fixed, but it was waaayyyy less than purchasing a new Macbook Pro. A week later, my dreams became reality and I had my new machine! I think, better yet I know this happened for a few reasons.

#1... When a person does good deeds, they are rewarded by good deeds. This is where the boomerang of karma comes into play. I try my best to be kind. I give because I have, and I have because I give. It is a cycle that just won;t break.

#2... I knew what I wanted, and I focused my thoughts on what I wanted often. What you think about, you bring about. When your mind dwells on a particular thing, you are actually calling that thing into existence. Good or bad, your mind will harvest what you plant. It will become a reality the more you dwell on it.

#3... I had a firm belief that I deserve what I want out of life, and I am always looking for opportunities to come my way. So many people have desires, but they don't believe that they deserve what they want. I KNOW i deserve what I want from life, and I am constantly putting myself in places where I can get what I want. A person has to be willing to take the risks, open their mouths, go out on a limb if need be... whatever it takes. The only thing worse than failing is not trying at all. How can a person catch a fish if they never cast a line in the water?

So remember, listen to that inner voice, and always do good deeds when you can. In return, you will have a joyous life filled with moments of gratitude and rewards from your good deeds.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Most people won't do it...

A few years back, I was introduced to an audio CD called The Strangest Secret. A gentleman by the name of Earl Nightengale recorded it way before I was born. The words of the recording are timeless! From now until infinity, what he spoke of on that recording will be true. There is no way of getting around it.

Later, I found the same recording in writing! Did you know that the brain processes what you read and what you hear differently? Well, I read the words of the exact came recording I listened to years ago, and it had an even larger impact on my life! Some may argue that it was because of the personal growth I had experienced between hearing and reading it. While there may be some validity there, I think that the main reason I was hit harder by it the second time around was because of the mental processing that it took to read the words of The Strangest Secret.

Here is where the rubber meets the road...

The reason that I entitled this blog entry "Most people won't do it..." is because most people that come to this page won't take the time to read what I am about to lay out before you. This one piece of material is partially responsible for my success. Who knows what impact it may have on you. The only way to find out is if you read it... but most of you won't. No further delay is necessary. Please read, enjoy, and put into action Earl Nightengale's Strangest Secret.

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightengale

Do you know what will happen to 100 individuals who start even at the age of 25, and
who believe they will be successful? By the age of 65, only five out of 100 will make
the grade! Why do so many fail? What happened to the sparkle that was there when
they were 25? What became of their dreams, their hopes, their plans ... and why is
there such a large disparity between what theses people intended to do and what they
actually accomplished? That is ... The Strangest Secret.
Some years ago, the late Nobel prize-winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer was asked by a
reporter, “Doctor, what’s wrong with men today?; The great doctor was silent a
moment, and then he said, “Men simply don’t think!”
It’s about this that I want to talk with you. We live today in a golden age. This is an
era that humanity has looked forward to, dreamed of, and worked toward for
thousands of years. We live in the richest era that ever existed on the face of the earth
... a land of abundant opportunity for everyone.
However, if you take 100 individuals who start even at the age of 25, do you have any
idea what will happen to those men and women by the time they’re 65? These 100
people believe they’re going to be successful. They are eager toward life, there is a
certain sparkle in their eye, an erectness to their carriage, and life seems like a pretty
interesting adventure to them.
But by the time they’re 65, only one will be rich, four will be financially independent,
five will still be working, and 54 will be broke — depending on others for life’s
Only five out of 100 make the grade! Why do so many fail? What has happened to the
sparkle that was there when they were 25? What has become of the dreams, the hopes,
the plans ... and why is there such a large disparity between what these people
intended to do and what they actually accomplished?THE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS
First, we have to define success and here is the best definition I’ve ever been able to
find: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
A success is the school teacher who is teaching because that’s what he or she wants to
do. A success is the entrepreneur who start his own company because that was his
dream — that’s what he wanted to do. A success is the salesperson who wants to
become the best salesperson in his or her company and sets forth on the pursuit of that
A success is anyone who is realizing a worthy predetermined ideal, because that’s
what he or she decided to do ... deliberately. But only one out of 20 does that! The rest
are “failures.”
Rollo May, the distinguished psychiatrist, wrote a wonderful book called Man’s
Search for Himself, and in this book he says: “The opposite of courage in our society
is not cowardice … it is conformity.” And there you have the reason for so many
failures. Conformity — people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or
where they are going.
We learn to read by the time we’re seven. We learn to make a living by the time we’re
30. Often by that time we’re not only making a living, we’re supporting a family. And
yet by the time we’re 65, we haven’t learned how to become financially independent
in the richest land that has ever been known. Why? We conform! Most of us are
acting like the wrong percentage group — the 95 who don’t succeed.
Have you ever wondered why so many people work so hard and honestly without ever
achieving anything in particular, and why others don’t seem to work hard, yet seem to
get everything? They seem to have the “magic touch.” You’ve heard people say,
“Everything he touches turns to gold.” Have you ever noticed that a person who
becomes successful tends to continue to become more successful? And, on the other
hand, have you noticed how someone who’s a failure tends to continue to fail?
The difference is goals. People with goals succeed because they know where they’re
going. It’s that simple. Failures, on the other hand, believe that their lives are shaped
by circumstances ... by things that happen to them ... by exterior forces. Think of a ship with the complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and
crew know exactly where the ship is going and how long it will take — it has a
definite goal. And 9,999 times out of 10,000, it will get there.
Now let’s take another ship — just like the first — only let’s not put a crew on it, or a
captain at the helm. Let’s give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just
start the engines and let it go. I think you’ll agree that if it gets out of the harbor at all,
it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach — a derelict. It can’t go
anyplace because it has no destination and no guidance.
It’s the same with a human being. However, the human race is fixed, not to prevent
the strong from winning, but to prevent the weak from losing. Society today can be
likened to a convoy in time of war. The entire society is slowed down to protect its
weakest link, just as the naval convoy has to go at the speed that will permit its
slowest vessel to remain in formation.
That’s why it’s so easy to make a living today. It takes no particular brains or talent to
make a living and support a family today. We have a plateau of so-called “security.”
So, to succeed, all we must do is decide how high above this plateau we want to aim.
Throughout history, the great wise men and teachers, philosophers, and prophets have
disagreed with one another on many different things. It is only on this one point that
they are in complete and unanimous agreement — the key to success and the key to
failure is this:
This is The Strangest Secret! Now, why do I say it’s strange, and why do I call it a
secret? Actually, it isn’t a secret at all. It was first promulgated by some of the earliest
wise men, and it appears again and again throughout the Bible. But very few people
have learned it or understand it. That’s why it’s strange, and why for some equally
strange reason it virtually remains a secret.
Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor, said: “A man’s life is what his thoughts
make of it.”
Disraeli said this: “Everything comes if a man will only wait ... a human being with a
settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will that will stake even
existence for its fulfillment.”
William James said: “We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were
real, and it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real. It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our
interests in it will be those which characterize belief.” He continues, “ ... only you
must, then, really wish these things, and wish them exclusively, and not wish at the
same time a hundred other incompatible things just as strongly.”
My old friend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale put it this way: “If you think in negative
terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve
positive results.” George Bernard Shaw said: “People are always blaming their
circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get
on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want,
and if they can’t find them, make them.”
Well, it’s pretty apparent, isn’t it? We become what we think about. A person who is
thinking about a concrete and worthwhile goal is going to reach it, because that’s what
he’s thinking about. Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn’t know
where he’s going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion,
anxiety, fear, and worry will thereby create a life of frustration, fear, anxiety and
worry. And if he thinks about nothing ... he becomes nothing.
The human mind is much like a farmer’s land. The land gives the farmer a choice. He
may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn’t care what is planted. It’s
up to the farmer to make the decision. The mind, like the land, will return what you
plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant. If the farmer plants two seeds — one a seed
of corn, the other nightshade, a deadly poison, waters and takes care of the land, what
will happen?
Remember, the land doesn’t care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance
as it will corn. So up come the two plants — one corn, one poison as it’s written in the
Bible, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”
The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land,
but it works the same way. It doesn’t care what we plant ... success ... or failure. A
concrete, worthwhile goal ... or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety, and so on.
But what we plant it must return to us.
The problem is that our mind comes as standard equipment at birth. It’s free. And
things that are given to us for nothing, we place little value on. Things that we pay
money for, we value. The paradox is that exactly the reverse is true. Everything that’s really worthwhile in
life came to us free — our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our
ambitions, our intelligence, our love of family and children and friends and country.
All these priceless possessions are free.
But the things that cost us money are actually very cheap and can be replaced at any
time. A good man can be completely wiped out and make another fortune. He can do
that several times. Even if our home burns down, we can rebuild it. But the things we
got for nothing, we can never replace.
Our mind can do any kind of job we assign to it, but generally speaking, we use it for
little jobs instead of big ones. So decide now. What is it you want? Plant your goal in
your mind. It’s the most important decision you’ll ever make in your entire life.
Do you want to excel at your particular job? Do you want to go places in your
company ... in your community? Do you want to get rich? All you have got to do is
plant that seed in your mind, care for it, work steadily toward your goal, and it will
become a reality.
It not only will, there’s no way that it cannot. You see, that’s a law — like the laws of
Sir Isaac Newton, the laws of gravity. If you get on top of a building and jump off,
you’ll always go down — you’ll never go up.
And it’s the same with all the other laws of nature. They always work. They’re
inflexible. Think about your goal in a relaxed, positive way. Picture yourself in your
mind’s eye as having already achieved this goal. See yourself doing the things you
will be doing when you have reached your goal.
Every one of us is the sum total of our own thoughts. We are where we are because
that’s exactly where we really want or feel we deserve to be — whether we’ll admit
that or not. Each of us must live off the fruit of our thoughts in the future, because
what you think today and tomorrow — next month and next year — will mold your
life and determine your future. You’re guided by your mind.
I remember one time I was driving through eastern Arizona and I saw one of those
giant earth-moving machines roaring along the road with what looked like 30 tons of
dirt in it — a tremendous, incredible machine — and there was a little man perched
way up on top with the wheel in his hands, guiding it. As I drove along I was struck
by the similarity of that machine to the human mind. Just suppose you’re sitting at the
controls of such a vast source of energy. Are you going to sit back and fold your arms
and let it run itself into a ditch? Or are you going to keep both hands firmly on the
wheel and control and direct this power to a specific, worthwhile purpose? It’s up to you. You’re in the driver’s seat. You see, the very law that gives us success is a
double-edged sword. We must control our thinking. The same rule that can lead
people to lives of success, wealth, happiness, and all the things they ever dreamed of
— that very same law can lead them into the gutter. It’s all in how they use it … for
good or for bad. That is The Strangest Secret!
Do what the experts since the dawn of recorded history have told us to do: pay the
price, by becoming the person you want to become. It’s not nearly as difficult as
living unsuccessfully.
The moment you decide on a goal to work toward, you’re immediately a successful
person — you are then in that rare group of people who know where they’re going.
Out of every hundred people, you belong to the top five. Don’t concern yourself too
much with how you are going to achieve your goal — leave that completely to a
power greater than yourself. All you have to do is know where you’re going. The
answers will come to you of their own accord, and at the right time.
Start today. You have nothing to lose — but you have your whole life to win.
For the next 30-days follow each of these steps every day until you have achieved
your goal.
1. Write on a card what it is you want more that anything else. It may be more money.
Perhaps you’d like to double your income or make a specific amount of money. It
may be a beautiful home. It may be success at your job. It may be a particular position
in life. It could be a more harmonious family.
Write down on your card specifically what it is you want. Make sure it’s a single goal
and clearly defined. You needn’t show it to anyone, but carry it with you so that you
can look at it several times a day. Think about it in a cheerful, relaxed, positive way
each morning when you get up, and immediately you have something to work for —
something to get out of bed for, something to live for.
Look at it every chance you get during the day and just before going to bed at night.
As you look at it, remember that you must become what you think about, and since
you’re thinking about your goal, you realize that soon it will be yours. In fact, it’s
really yours the moment you write it down and begin to think about it. 2. Stop thinking about what it is you fear. Each time a fearful or negative thought
comes into your mind, replace it with a mental picture of your positive and
worthwhile goal. And there will come a time when you’ll feel like giving up. It’s
easier for a human being to think negatively than positively. That’s why only five
percent are successful! You must begin now to place yourself in that group.
“Act as though it were impossible to fail,” as Dorothea Brande said. No matter what
your goal — if you’ve kept your goal before you every day — you’ll wonder and
marvel at this new life you’ve found.
3. Your success will always be measured by the quality and quantity of service you
render. Most people will tell you that they want to make money, without
understanding this law. The only people who make money work in a mint. The rest of
us must earn money. This is what causes those who keep looking for something for
nothing, or a free ride, to fail in life. Success is not the result of making money;
earning money is the result of success — and success is in direct proportion to our
Most people have this law backwards. It’s like the man who stands in front of the
stove and says to it: “Give me heat and then I’ll add the wood.” How many men and
women do you know, or do you suppose there are today, who take the same attitude
toward life? There are millions.
We’ve got to put the fuel in before we can expect heat. Likewise, we’ve got to be of
service first before we can expect money. Don’t concern yourself with the money. Be
of service ... build ... work ... dream ... create! Do this and you’ll find there is no limit
to the prosperity and abundance that will come to you.
Don’t start your test until you’ve made up your mind to stick with it. If you should fail
during your first 30 days — by that I mean suddenly find yourself overwhelmed by
negative thoughts — simply start over again from that point and go 30 more days.
Gradually, your new habit will form, until you find yourself one of that wonderful
minority to whom virtually nothing is impossible.
Above all ... don’t worry! Worry brings fear, and fear is crippling. The only thing that
can cause you to worry during your test is trying to do it all yourself. Know that all
you have to do is hold your goal before you; everything else will take care of itself.
Take this 30-day test, then repeat it ... then repeat it again. Each time it will become
more a part of you until you’ll wonder how you could have ever have lived any other
way. Live this new way and the floodgates of abundance will open and pour over you
more riches than you may have dreamed existed. Money? Yes, lots of it. But what’s more important, you’ll have peace ... you’ll be in that wonderful minority who lead
calm, cheerful, successful lives.
Start today. You have nothing to lose. But you have a life to win.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Circumstances don't define your life...

In this life, we have choices.True, you didn't get to pick your parents, race, gender (at birth), and some physical features. There are circumstances that you don't get to choose, but you do get to choose how you respond/react to them. That's what Elizabeth Keckly did. Here is something I got off of wikipedia about her:
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (February 1818 – May 1907)[1] (sometimes spelled Keckly) [2] was a former slave turned successful seamstress who is most notably known as being Mary Todd Lincoln's personal modiste and confidante, and the author of her autobiography, Behind the Scenes Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Mrs. Keckley utilized her intelligence, keen business savvy, and sewing and design skills to arrange and ultimately buy her freedom (and that of her son George as well), and later enjoyed regular business with the wives of the government elite as her base clientele.After several years in St. Louis, she moved to Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1860. Utilizing both perseverance and an ability to ingratiate herself with those of influence, she was able to distinguish herself among notable women of society in the nation's capitol who sought out her dressmaking skills. Among her clients were Varnia Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis, and Mary Anne Randolph Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee.Keckly's relationship with the President's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln was the most noteworthy as it was distinguished not only by its endurance over time but the nature of the association. A mutual respect and trust was established between the two women and Keckly was not only dressmaker to the First Lady, but an invaluable confidante to Mrs. Lincoln in times of emotional crisis.
That's a general overview of her life. Yes, she was born into slavery. what this brief paragraph didn't tell you is that she was sexually abused at the age of 5. She was forced to take care of an infant at the age of 6. She learned how to sew at a young age, and when the family that owned her got into financial trouble it was her dress making that kept her and 16 other people fed. Yes, she bought her freedom. For her and her son actually. She went trhough a lot to make freedom a reality though.
So here is what you need to think about when you want to complain about your life, your circumstances, or anything else. You were not born into slavery in the 1800s.Yes, there may have been some things that happened to you that were out of your control. The key is to get busy controlling the things that you can. The harder you have it, the more you will appreciate whatever it is you are going through once it is over.
Your circumstances do not define you. They simply show the world who you really are. You can be the type of person to complain and give in, or you can be like Elizabeth Keckly and fight for what you belive in until it becomes a reality!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The price is worth the promise...

I almost died today! Well... not really... but I felt like it at the gym. One of my very good friends also happens to be my personal trainer. Her name is La'Drissa Bonivel, and she is a professional athlete (check her out at http://www.loyalbody.com/ or http://facebook.com/loyalbodyinc).

<----- That's my trainer! :-)

At 6am, she put me through a work out like never before. I knew I was going to be in trouble based off of the text message she sent me the night before. Any time your trainer says "*evil laugh*" at the end of a text message regarding your workout you are in trouble! Towards the end of the work out, I felt light headed and I wanted to puke! You may be asking yourself why I allowed her to put me through such a grueling routine. It's simple... THE PRICE IS WORTH THE PROMISE! This philosophy isn't just about working out though. It's about every area of your life.

This coming March, I am in two productions (a film and a stage play) that require me to be shirtless in scenes. I never allow myself to get totally out of shape, but I know that I can sculpt my body a little better than it's current state. The PRICE is hard work, early morning, more cardio that I care for, and a little pain, and cutting back on sweets and other foods that aren't really good for me anyway. The PROMISE is a LOYAL BODY that functions how I want it to, when I want it to. I also get the benefits of better energy, boosted self confidence, more acting roles, and a batter attitude because of the endorphins released during exercise. Whenever you want to excel in something, find somebody that is better than you at it and seek their guidance! You may have to come out of pocket a little, but that's better than paying for your mistakes.

What areas of your life do you want better results in? Are you willing to pay the price? It doesn't matter if we are talking about your business/work life, spiritual life, family life, or social/cultural life. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Short cuts are NOT really the answer. You have to pay the price to get the promise! I am not saying that you should intentionally make things harder than they need to be. What I am saying is that when you step up to the counter of success, pay full price so that you can receive the full rewards!

Inventors like Garrett A. Morgan, Valerie Thomas, and Thomas Edison paid the price of sleepless nights while they worked, being ridiculed, and failed attempts. But the promise was that they would make great contributions to society!

Leaders like Dr. King, Gandhi, Marcus Garvey, and Abe Lincoln all had to pay a price in order to achieve great things. Some of them even paid with their lives, but the promise was worth it to them.

What is it that you want to do with your life? Don't get to your death bed and think "I wonder what life would have been like if only I would have _________." Make it happen! Pay the price! The promise is soooooooo worth it!

Suggested reading: Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Practice makes perfect? Nope... practice makes improvement!

The brisk morning air pierces my lungs as I step outside heading towards my SUV. It's cold outside, but I am committed to the process. I'm heading to my 6am martial arts class. Lack of sleep, freezing Chicago wind, and hunger all try to convince me to turn the ignition to the off position and go back in the house. "It's only one day you will miss... go inside where it's warm." Those are the thoughts that ramble through my mind, but I press forward.

27 minutes later I arrive at the United Schools of Survival. The morning class is small. There is no place to hide when the instructor can see everyone. The benefit is that the personal attention is great. (STAY WITH ME, I'M GETTING TO THE GOOD PART). Though our school is run by Grand Master Anthony Muhamnmad (martial arts hall of famer), today the class is with Sensei Abdul. Only 3 people decided to show up this day, so the personal attention became very personal.

Without giving you the entire play by play, here is one of the lessons learned from the day. While working on our Ippon Seionage (Japanese for one arm shoulder throw), I had the opportunity to work one of one with Sensei Abdul. I had been practicing outside the dojo, and developed a flaw in my footing which mad it harder for me to get the leverage I needed to throw my opponent. Time and time again, Sensei Abdul allowed me to throw him (he's about 100 pounds 80 pounds heavier than I am. He knew what I was doing wrong. He saw my errors. I told him that I had been practicing. He said "Practice makes _____?" I filled in the blank and said "PERFECT, sir!" We switched positions and now I was the one being tossed... again... and again... and again... and again. He did it with ease. He stood over me and reached out his hand to help me up as he said "PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect."

How many times in life have we done something wrong over and over again while wondering why we don't get the results we want. Why are professional athletes paid top dollar to do what they do? It's because of the hours of practice they put in before they even play an actual game. Practice makes improvement. If you really want to do well at something, no matter what it is, you have to work at it. Spaced repetition is the mother of all learning. It also helps to have a good mentor in your respected field to recognize and correct your mistakes. The reason why many people fail is because they refuse to commit to the process. They refuse to practice on the things that they need to get better at to be successful. They give up when it is hard, or even worse they don't even try at all. Practice makes improvement. The only way to get better is to get better... and you do that through spaced repetition. This is applicable in pretty much every area of life. One of my mentors named Michael Clouse told me "It's ok to be bad at something at first, as long as your goal is to get better over time." The key is to study and practice your craft over and over again time after time.

Suggested reading: The Language of Achievement by David Byrd

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wisdom Before Wealth (Jan 9, 2012)

I pray that each of you is experiencing the fullness of life, and that you are reaching new heights. This week's message has to do with wisdom and wealth. Both are topics worth talking about separately. As a matter of fact, this may actually become a series I teach on later. For today though, the introduction will be on putting the horse IN FRONT OF the cart... not the cart before the horse (old southern saying... don't worry about it if you don't understand it). This is a little longer than what I usually send out, but it's worth the read. This one touches on some spiritual aspects. Don't be offended, just learn the lesson.

I was watching a TV show a while a couple of years ago, and one of the stories stuck with me. It was one of those "Where are they now" shows when they talk about a person that was in the spot light and then vanished. Well, this particular show wasn't about a movie star, rock legend, or famous TV personality. This was about a couple that lived in a trailer park in rural America somewhere. The couple had won the lottery! They were instant millionaires! An over night success so to speak... riches beyond their wildest dreams. Well, the story later told us that within about a 2 year time frame, they were living right back in the same trailer park that they moved out of when they got the millions. The problem was that they had millions of dollars, but not the WISDOM of millionaires. For them, the "wealth" came before the "wisdom" so they lost it all. They had the before (in front of) the horse. But when the WISDOM (knowledge) comes before the wealth, the situation is more favorable.

If you would, let's look at 1 Kings 3:4-15


4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."

6 Solomon answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

7 "Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" (WISDOM)

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." 15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.


Wow, if God asked you what you wanted, what would you say? Knowing what I know now, I would ask for wisdom as well... but I can't say that would have been the case for me years ago. Depending on when He asks, that may not be the case now :-)

The story later on goes on to tell us that even though it was just a dream, God did bless Soloman beyond measure with wealth. It was because he desired WISDOM first though. Too many times in life, we want the glory without creating the story. Here's the reality of it all... there are millionaires that have lost all of their money before and then made millions again. The money wasn't the important part, but the WISDOM, and the lessons learned made the difference. When we seek to learn what we don't know, acquire the skills necessary for our achievement, and apply what we have learned, our lives get better. But when we want the wealth before the wisdom, and if we actually get it, we often end up in the same "trailer park" that we were in before we got the riches. Income can take a lucky jump, but if you do not grow past your level of income, you will soon fall back. Jim Rohn taught us not to pray that things were easier, but instead pray for more skill (wisdom) to be able to handle our challenges.

The more you know, the more you grow.

Have a wonderful day, take care, and take charge. I love each and every one of you, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Suggested Reading: The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason and Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year... New You

Every year about this time, people start working towards their "New Year Resolutions." The definition for resolution for this purpose is: a resolve or determination; to make a firm resolution to do something.

When the clock strikes midnight giving us a new year, we take the opportunity to have a clean slate and start fresh. I believe that the main reason pick the new year is because everybody else tends to do the same. Psychologically, the new year represents new beginnings. The truth of the matter is that you can start fresh whenever you want to. If you need the new year as the springboard for the new you, then so be it! By all means take advantage of the new year to be the turning point of your life. The point that I really want to make is that there is a difference between living and just existing. Just existing is going through the day to day routine with no real vigor. There is no passion... nothing to get you fired up about life. But when you are truly LIVING, you are working towards something! You are excited about the dealings of your day. You can make any day your New Year's Day!

It's axiomatic (grab a dictionary if you don't know the word... every new blog this year will challenge you to grow your vocabulary) to say that most people in the world want something better out of life. Now is the time to figure out what it is that you want, write out some goals, and figure out the plan necessary for the success that you desire. I was on youtube the other day and I found 3 short clips on goal setting by Zig Ziglar... They are less than 5 minutes each, and I think you should check them out...

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The bottom line is that we get to decide who we want to be. Human beings are not trees, as Jim Rohn once put it. We are not planted in one spot with no choice on where we can go or what we can do. We have the gift of choice, and the ability to change. Your past does not dictate your future. At any given moment you can decide to change your life. After that decision is made, the universe will conspire to make you successful at whatever you think about the most. You will find that the things necessary for your success seem to keep popping up because that is what you are focused on. This is a new year... time to create the new you! I look forward to hearing your success story!

Suggested reading:
The Magic of Thinking BIG by Dr. David Schwartz
Buy it here for about $4 on amazon

I'm Mel Roberson, and I approve this message :-)