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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Goal Setting Video - Joseph McClendon II

I've had the privilege of meeting and working with Joseph over the years at different Tony Robbins events....

Looking Back - Looking Forward

I always take advantage of the end of the year to sum up the previous year. I write down all my accomplishments and success's in the following 6 areas:

Health & Fitness
Contribution / Social
Stretch / Personal Growth

I also sum up areas that need improvement and were weak last year. The goal is to make an honest assessment of what I accomplished, what I need to accomplish and where I stand today. I also use the time to celebrate my accomplishment so as to build on them. I also use the assessment to feel and express gratitude for all I have in my life. After completing my sum up of 2008 it is time to design my future and what I intend to accomplish in 2009..........

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thought for the Day - Forget New Year's Resolutions

Forget New Year's Resolutions.

It's time to step up and be serious about taking the time to plan your future with the same amount of attention you plan your vacation. The least you can do every year is to sum up the previous year and create a plan for the new year. I will offer some thoughts on how to do that tommorow.....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thought for the Day - Enjoy the Holidays

Enjoy the Holidays, your family, friends, the spirit of the holidays and your blessings.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Movie Review - Miracle on 34th St

Just purchased and watched "Miracle on 34th St" with my family. It's a great movie that truly captures the Christmas spirit and the power of faith and belief. It's a movie that you watch every Christmas and yet if moves you laugh,cry and have faith in that special innocence of childhood. None of the remakes come close to the original. It's a film to watch with your family.

Thought for the Day - Communicate Hope

"During this time of financial challenges, uncertainty, and change, I would encourage you to make your voice heard. Communicate hope. Let people know that we shouldn't wait for the future, we should create it... ..."
Phil Cooke

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thought for the Day - Problems Are a Good Thing

"The only people with no problems are dead"

Robin Sharma

I say bring on the problems I got the solutions.

Hmmm the third reminder.... see previous post

Personal Ramblings - Problems - We all need a reminder some time

I've been struggling with a challenging family issue and feeling a little anxious about it. Now I know that I need to turn it around and look for the lessons and the positives in what on the surface appears to be a negative. Yet sometimes you feel like you've been kicked in the stomach and even though you know what you should do it's hard to do it. Well I came across this article and it just reaffirmed what I know and believe and it gave me some additional encouragement. So I will find a way to learn from it and grow.

You know, the scariest thing my daughter has ever, ever said to me, and she said this to me and it scared the living daylights out of me .... She said to me, "Dad, I don't think my life is going to work out how I had it planned." I broke into tears. I said, "Honey, you're right. It's not. But that's a good thing. Life never works out the way you planned. It's a journey. It's being able to look at the things that have happened to you and being able to flip them upside down and see them in the proper perspective. There is no bad. There is only things that happen to you, and you choose to make them bad or you choose to grow from there. You choose to learn from your mistakes."

Glenn Beck

And then the same day I ran across this....

"Problems are a sign of life. The secret is not to solve all our problems; rather it’s to learn to see them as gifts - an opportunity to learn, grow and give more to those around us. After all, it’s how we deal with our problems that ultimately determines the quality of our lives. Remember perception is power. Sometimes our so-called “problems” turn out to be the greatest blessings of our lives. "

Tony Robbins

(I'm going to repeat that last line - "Sometimes our so-called “problems” turn out to be the greatest blessings of our lives".) And I say very true.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Movie Review - Slumdog Millionaire

Just watched "Slumdog Millionaire" directed by Danny Boyle at a local theater and I can't recommend it enough.

Here is the plot summary on IMDB:
The story of Jamal Malik (Patel), an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out... Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Check it out..........

Saturday's Motivational Videos - Randy Pausch

Friday, December 19, 2008

Contribution - Don't Forget Them

I received this letter of thanks for a small contribution I made. I appreciate the letter and I encourage you to not forget them and help in anyway you can,,,,,,

Dear John,

Thank You

Your support is a bright point of light for a wounded warrior.
This time of year, so many people light candles for the holidays, and that symbolism is not lost on us at the Wounded Warrior Project. For the severely injured heroes we serve, supporters such as you are like thousands of candles that give so much warmth and meaning this holiday season.

Through your support, you stand as a bright point of light in what for many wounded warriors is a dark and difficult time.

Your fidelity and partnership with the WWP mission are great blessings, and I'll be counting those blessings during the holidays this year. I cannot tell you how deeply I value the friendship the two of us share with our wounded warriors.

We at WWP wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season. Without your compassion, WWP's programs could not exist.

With my deepest gratitude to you during the holidays,

John Melia
Executive Director
Wounded Warrior Project

Thought for the Day - How to Be Wealthy?

"The overwhelming majority of people who have become wealthy have become so thanks to work they found profoundly absorbing. The long term study of people who eventually became wealthy clearly reveals that their "luck" arose from accidental dedication they had to an arena they enjoyed."
-- Srully Blotnick

Answer: Follow Your Passion

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Book Review - "The Big Five For Life - Leadership's Greatest Secrets"

If you read only one book in 2009, read "The Big Five For Life".
John Duffy

I've read at least fifty good books this year on motivation, leadership, transformation, business, psychology and personal growth but this book stands out. I couldn't put it down. If you take away and use just one of the ideas in the book it will make a difference in your life.

If you are a business owner, leader or aspire to be a leader you NEED to read this book. it is a fictional book similar in style to "The Monk who Sold His Ferrari" and is a great read about life and leadership.

Some Take aways for the book:

Create a personal and business Purpose for Existing (PFE)
Create Your Big Five ( Things you want to do,see or experience in your life before you die) and go for them.
Make every day a Museum Day. This is a great one read it to find out.....

This book resonates with the experiences I have had in my life regrading leadership and it inspires me to step up even further....

(Click on book picture to go directly to

Let it Snow.... Let it Snow... Let it Snow.....

I hear 6 inches are predicted for New York City.... I know it's easy for me to say because I'm in SUNNY Los Angeles. Not yesterday, it poured all day and was cold. And even Malibu got a light dusting of snow. Malibu huh Yep snow in Malibu
Yet I'm headed for New York for the holidays so Let it Snow... Let it Snow... Let it Snow....

Thought for the Day - No Limitation Belief

"I Have a No Limitation Belief in:
My Creator
My Self
Other People
What we can do together"

Paul J. Meyer

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Laughter, Love and Inspiration - Kathy Buckley

If you're feeling down or depressed watch this. I saw her live many years ago at a Tony Robbins event in Maui and was moved.
Kathy is truly an inspiration about what's possible if you try.....

Thought for the Day - Ripple Effect

Sometimes all it takes is a smile to make someone's day and have them pass it on. It's like throwing a pebble in a lake and watching the ripples get larger as it expands outward.

I'm sure you have had many examples of this in your life. A few recent ones occurred to me that I wanted to share. Years ago I made my answering machine message end with the quote "Make Your Life a Masterpiece". Well I've had a few occasions where my eighty nine year old mother-in-law will end her messages on my voice mail with that quote. It definitely makes my day when I hear it. A ripple...

Another example happened recently when I sent a uplifting story and a You Tube video of the song " Don't Worry Be Happy" to a friend who I felt needed a little boost . I later received an email how she passed it on to some other friends and it made their day as well. Another ripple...

One last story is about a few friends who have borrowed the quote I use on my emails. "Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." They have added it to their emails. So another little positive message spreads. Just one more ripple.....

Make positive ripples in peoples lives......

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Looking Back - Looking Forward - Books Read in 2008 and.....

Some of the Books I read in 2008:

1. The Greatness Guide 2. Change of Die 3. Fist Stick Knife Gun
4. Influencer 5. Rules for Renegades 6. Laws of Leadership
7. The Middle Class Millionaires 8. Outliers 9. Good in a Room
10. I Chose to Stay 11. Unleasing the Power of Rubber Bands
12. Predictably Irrational 13. Will You Die With Me
14. Awaken the Giant Within 15. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters
16, All Souls 17. Old Friends From far Away 18. Band of Sisters
19. How Successful People Win 20. Girls Will be Girls
21. The Success Principles 22, Do You 23. Your Life as Story
24. Losing My Virginity 25. The Billionaire Who Wasn't
26. The Pope's Children 27. The Drinking Life
28. The Big Five for Life 29. The Utmost Life 30. Strength for Life
31. Angela's Ashes 32. making the Impossible Possible
33. Ten Successful Start Ups 34. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
35. Going Places

Books I am planning to read in 2009: My initial Hit List

1. Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip
2. Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream
3. The Art of StoryTelling
4. Nothing's Impossible: Leadership Lessons for Inside and Outside the Classroom
5. The Man Who Loved China
6. The Life Coaching Handbook
7. How the Irish Invented Slang
8. My American Journey - An Autobiography - Colin Powell
9. Winners Never Cheat
10. The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood
11. Frogs Into Princes: NLP
12. How the Irish Saved Civilization
13. The Time Paradox
14. The Teacher Who Couldn't Read
15. The Monk From Brooklyn: An American at the Shaolin Temple
16. Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto
17. How to Succeed in the Game of Life
18. Sharing the Wealth: My Story
19. Ten Points
20. More than a Dream: How One School's Vision is Changing the World
21. Ask and You Will Succeed
22. Idea Spotting: How to Find Your Next Great idea
24. Home Town Heroes
25. The 5000 Year Leap: a Miracle That Changed the World

Thought for the Day - Make it Happen for Yourself

"No one is going to make things happen for have to dedicate yourself to making things happen for yourself!"
Steve Dom

Monday, December 15, 2008

IBD's 10 Secrets to Success

Here is Investor's Business Daily's success secrets. Worth reading and applying....

1. How You Think is Everything
2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals
3. Take Action
4. Never Stop Learning
5. Be Persistent and Work Hard
6. Learn to Analyze Details
7. Focus Your Time and Money
8. Don't Be Afraid to Innovate, Be Different
9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively
10.Be Honest and Dependable; Take Responsibility

Thought for the Day - You Gotta Work

"In order to turn your dreams into success, you gotta work. You gotta work hard, you gotta work consistently, and you gotta
work continually to improve and ultimately be your best. "
Jeffrey Gitomer

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Make a Contribution - Operation Gratitude

Updated 12/16

This weekend my daughter Sofia and myself volunteered and packed boxes to send to the troops for the holidays. It's a great feeling to be able to give a little of our time and effort to help those who do so much for us. We joined at least 800 hundred other volunteers on Saturday to pitch in and say thank you to our troops.

Saturday was a special day as Operation Gratitude reached the goal of 400,000 boxes shipped to the troops overseas. Kathy Ireland (model and CEO) was there volunteering and helping in the effort.

The volunteer effort has so far raised over $4 million and shipped over $40 million in goods. An Army Major spoke about how uplifting it was for his soldiers in Iraq when they would receive the boxes. He said it was especially important to the solidiers who didn't have any one writing to them.

Our family has previously sent our own personal boxes to a couple of friends who were Marines and were serving in Iraq and they were very appreciative to receive the boxes.

Sunday our whole family went back for another day of work and fun. We joined boy and girl scout troops, Junior ROTC groups from Van Nuys and Monroe high schools, a group of kids celebrating their friends Bar Mitzvah and a few hundred people volunteering.

Ben Affleck (actor and director) joined everyone to pack boxes and lend a hand for a good cause. Ben Affleck has helped Operation Gratitude over the years and was presented with an American flag that was flown over the battlefield in Iraq.

This holiday season go to the Operation Gratitude website and write a letter to a soldier, donate your old cellphones, write a check and lend a hand.....

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 2- Under The Boardwalk

Bruce Willis and Temptations

Sunday's Eclectic Music Video's # 1 - It's a Beautiful World

Friday, December 12, 2008

Contribution - Make A Difference

A friend and associate of mine Marc Ambrose is growing a mustache to support a charity fundraiser for a middle school at Donor Check it out and make a contribution....

Thought for the Day - Self Mastery

"Be first the master of yourself, and only then a master of others."
Baltasar Gracian

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Movie Review - Front of the Class

Coincidence or Synchronicity....... Hmmm
I was driving my daughter to school the other day and I told her the story of this young man who had to deal with Tourette's syndrome to become a teacher. I was using it to teach her not to give up or give in. I just read something about him the night before online. Well that day the teacher I told her about "Brad Cohen" came and spoke to her class. Apparently one of the parents at the school directed the Hallmark movie "Front of the Class" and invited the real teacher to speak.
The movie aired this Sunday and we watched it. It was a very moving story of how Brad Cohen overcame his struggles to become teacher of the year. It's a great movie to watch with your kids and to talk about how you deal with obstacles in life. Check it out if you can........

Thought for the Day - Move Foward

" one I know has a framed photo of the future."
"We will move forward when our hope for the future is greater than our stories of the past."
Nancy Ortenberg - unleashing the Power of rubber bands.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tony Robbins Video - Tiny Changes

Here is a link to a video by Tony Robbins on how making tiny changes can have huge results. Check it out.....

Thought for the Day - Life's a Game

"Seek, above all, for a game worth playing. Having found the game, play it with intensity. Play as if your life and sanity depended on it. Because they do."
Eobert DeRopp's = The Master Game

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Finish Strong Video

Check it out for a little inspiration.... Finish Strong

Thought for the Day - Be Present

"Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; but today is Cash."
Unknown author

Monday, December 08, 2008

Tony Robbins Video on Identity

Here is a link to a video by Tony Robbins on the power of Identity. Check it out.....

Thought for the Day - Be Heartened

"Just as one falling rock can start a landslide, shoring up a levee can stop a flood"
Erika V. Shearin Karres

This can be viewed in both a negative or positive way. It's a metaphor for an idea or a behaviour

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 2 - Stand By Me

This project was done by the Playing For Change Foundation. They are doing some cool things with music worldwide. Check them out and support them....

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 1 - My Heart Will Go On

Friday, December 05, 2008

Holiday Gifts - Give the Gift of Success

If you or any of your family or friends are into success I would recommend you get them a subscription to Success Magazine.

Thought for the Day - Break Through Your Limits

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours."

--Richard Bach

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Book Review - "Outliers -The Story of Success"

"Outliers" is the third book from Malcom Gladwell and follows his previously successful books, "The Tipping Point" and "Blink". It's a well written and entertaining book. In this book the key question that is raised is why do some people succeed. He poses the view that the success stories we read about are not the work of self made men but they are beneficiaries of hidden advantages and special opportunities. The book starts a conversation about the complex ways privilege shows up in out society.

There are some fascinating stories about the hidden factors for success as manifested for hockey players, Jewish lawyers, computer billionaires, Asian math students, and his own families history in Jamaica. All the stories are fascinating and make you think harder and look below the surface of success stories yet I get the feeling that just like Mr Gladwell points out the complexities of success that the real truth is more complex than the author would have you believe. I'm sure he has chose the stories that support his thesis and left out the ones that don't.

Yet it is enlightening to read about the cultural causes for airplane crashes or the role that the economy's of Asian countries with rice paddies play in education or the long term causes of cultural history on violence in Harlan County.

The story of the charter KIPP school in the South Bronx (where I grew up) and the lessons of the negative role that summer vacation has on the education achievement of poor kids is also very interesting.

So overall I enjoyed the book and while I may agree that some of the cases he cited may be true and of course success in rarely a one person deal I don't think it explains away all the Horatio Alger type stories or that all success stories can fit into the patterns Mr Gladwell cites.

Take Aways:
* "No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich"
* Cultural legacies are powerful forces (Positive or Negative)
* Virtually all success stories far involves someone or some group working harder than their peers"
* Being good at math is not so much ability as attitude. You master mathematics if you are willing to try. (Like most things in life)
* True expertise in a subject, field or activity take 10,000 hours ( That is a lot of hours)
* There are two main parenting philosophies that are usually divided along class lines. Middle Class - "Concerted Cultivation" , Poor - "Accomplishment of natural growth". One is hands on and one is hands off.

Thought For the Day - Accountability

“only when you are accountable for everything in your life can you be responsible to change your life.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Books of 2008 - Selection of Books I Read

Here are a eclectic selection of some of the books I read in 2008 and I recommend you check them out or get them as holiday gifts:

(Click on book picture to go directly to

Thought For Day - Wherever You Go....

Wherever you go.... There you are...

I've been thinking about this as I been visiting middle schools for my daughter. All the parents I know visit the same schools and yet after each visit we see the schools so differently. We bring our past, values, point of view and filters to everything we see. One parent sees a school that is too demanding while another sees the same school as too lax. Interesting.

It's good to recognize the filters and bias that we bring to any situation. So we don't see reality we see ourselves projected on to the reality.

So Wherever you go.... There you are...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cutting Edge - Stretch Your Mind

it's always good to stretch your mind and increase your knowledge. Here are a few websites that will help you expand your world:

Milken Institute

John Templeton Foundation


The Singularity Summit

World Economic Forum

World Future Society

The Long Now Foundation

Thought For Day - Dare

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;

it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."


Monday, December 01, 2008

Book Review - "Influencer - The Power to Change Anything"

"Influencer" isn't an easy to read self-help book but is well worth the read if you either want to understand Influence and how to be an Influencer in all areas of your life. it is a book of case studies that demonstrate how to use influence to change the world around us. Some of the case studies include; the eradication of the Guinea worm virus, Delancey Street's effective drug rehabilitation program, the micro-loan program in Bangladesh.

The story of Delancey Street is an amazing story. You can also read more about it in "Change or Die" by Alan Deautschmann. I recommend you also check out "Change or Die" for more information on how to produce behaviour change.

"Influencer" has a comprehensive program of behaviour modification that can be applied to individual behaviour as well as group behaviours. It's not an easy read but should be read more than once especially if you work in a field that involves changing people.

One very interesting story was about the invention of the spindle used in diners to. The reason for it's invention was to change the behaviour and conflict between waitress and cooks without forcing them to change. It worked and changed the communication and eliminated the conflict that used to exist. Another unique section deals with the role space and architecture can play in creating positive behaviours. Check out the book "Make the Impossible Possible" to see how this is applied in an amazing way.

"Influencer' is about how you can influence and change your personal behaviour, your childrens, your communities, your nation and your world.

Take Aways:

* Use stories to create learning and help change minds
* Make the Undesirable Desirable
* Design Rewards and Demand Accountability
* Do more with less (Lessons from Southwest Airlines)
* Choose to be an Influencer

For more info:

Thought for the Day - Achieve

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
~Napoleon Hill