1. Sleep less. This is one of the best investments you can make to make your life more productive and rewarding. Most people do not need more than 6 hours to maintain an excellent state of health. Try getting up one hour earlier for 21 days and it will develop into a powerful habit. Remember, it is the quality not the quantity of sleep that is important. And just imagine having an extra 30 hours a month to spend on the things that are important to you.
2. Set aside one hour every morning for personal development matters. Meditate, visualize your day, read inspirational texts to set the tone of your day, listen to motivational tapes or read great literature. Take this quiet period to vitalize and energize your spirit for the productive day ahead. Watch the sun rise once a week or be with nature. Starting the day off well is a powerful strategy for self-renewal and personal effectiveness.
3. Do not allow those things that matter the most in your life be at the mercy of activities that matter the least. Every day, take the time to ask yourself the question "is this the best use of my time and energy?" Time management is life management so guard your time with great care.
4. Use the rubber band method to condition your mind to focus solely on the most positive elements in your life. Place a rubber band around your wrist. Each time a negative, energy sapping thought enters your mind, snap the rubber band. Through the power of conditioning, your mind will associate pain with negative thinking and you will soon possess a strongly positive mindset.
5. Always answer the phone with enthusiasm in your voice and show your appreciation for the caller. Good phone manners are essential. To convey authority on the line, stand up. This will instill further confidence in your voice.
6. Throughout the day we all get inspiration and excellent ideas. Keep a set of cards (the size of business cards; available at most stationary stores) in your wallet along with a pencil to jot down these insights. When you get home, put the ideas in a central place such as a coil notepad and review them from time to time. As noted by Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
7. Set aside every Sunday evening for yourself and be strongly disciplined with this habit. Use this period to plan your week, visualize your encounters and what you want to achieve, to read new materials and inspirational books, to listen to soft soothing music and to simply relax. This habit will serve as your anchor to keep you focused, motivated and effective throughout the coming week.
8. Always remember the key principle that the quality of your life is the quality of your communication. This means the way you communicate with others and, more importantly, the way you communicate with yourself. What you focus on is what you get. If you look for the positive this is what you get. This is a fundamental law of Nature.
9. Stay on purpose, not on outcome. In other words, do the task because it is what you love to do or because it will help someone or is a valuable exercise. Don't do it for the money or the recognition. Those will come naturally. This is the way of the world.
10. Laugh for five minutes in the mirror each morning. Steve Martin does. Laughter activates many beneficial chemicals within the body that place us into a very joyous state. Laughter also returns the body to a state of balance. Laughter therapy has been regularly used to heal persons with varied ailments and is a wonderful tonic for life's ills. While the average 4 year old laughs 500 times a day, the average adult is lucky to laugh 15 times a day. Revitalize the habit of laughter, it will put far more living into your life.
11. Light a candle beside you when you are reading in the evening. It is most relaxing and creates a wonderful, soothing atmosphere. Make your home an oasis from the frenzied world outside. Fill it with great music, great books and great friends.
12. To enhance your concentration and powers of focus, count your steps when you walk. This is a particularly strong technique. Take six steps while taking a long inhale, hold your breath for another six steps, and then exhale for six steps. If six steps is too long for the breaths, do whatever you feel comfortable with. You will feel very alert, refreshed, internally quiet and centered after this exercise. So many people allow their minds to be filled with mental chatter. All peak performers appreciate the power of a quiet, clear mind which will concentrate steadily on all important tasks.
13. Learn to meditate effectively. The mind is naturally a very noisy machine which wants to move from one subject to another like an unchained monkey. One must learn to restrain and discipline it if one is to achieve anything of substance and to be peaceful. Meditation for twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening will certainly provide you with exceptional results if regularly practiced for six months. Learned sages of the East have been advancing the many benefits of meditation for over 5000 years.
14. Learn to be still. The average person doesn't spend even 30 minutes a month in total silence and tranquility. Develop the skill of sitting quietly, enjoying the powerful silence for at least ten minutes a day. Simply think about what is important to you in your life. Reflect on your mission. Silence indeed is golden. As the Zen master once said, it is the space between the bars that holds the cage.
15. Enhance your will-power; it is likely one of the best training programs you can invest in. Here are some ideas to strengthen your will and become a stronger person:
a. Do not let your mind float like a piece of paper in the wind. Work hard to keep it focused at all times. When doing a task, think of nothing else. When walking to work, count the steps that it takes to get all the way to the office. This is not easy but your mind will soon understand that you hold its reins and not vice versa. Your mind must eventually become as still as a candle flame in a corner where there is no draft.
b. Your will is like a muscle. You must first exercise it and then push before it gets stronger. This necessarily involves short term pain but be assured that the improvements will come and will touch your character in a most positive way. When you are hungry, wait another hour before your meal. When you are labouring over a difficult task and your mind is prompting you to pick up the latest magazine for a break or to get up and go talk to a friend, curb the impulse. Soon you will be able to sit for hours in a precisely concentrated state. Sir Issac Newton, one of the greatest classical physicists the world has produced, once said: "if I have done the public any service, it is due to patient thought." Newton had a remarkable ability to sit quietly and think without interruption for very long periods of time. If he can develop this so can you.
c. You can also build your will-power by restraint in your conduct with others. Speak less (use the 60/40 Rule = listen 60% of the time and speak a mere 40%, if that). This will not only make you more popular but you will learn much wisdom as everyone we meet, every day has something to teach us. Also restrain the urge to gossip or to condemn someone who you feel has made a mistake. Stop complaining and develop a cheerful, vital and strong personality. You will greatly influence others.
d. When a negative thought comes to your mind, immediately replace it with one that is positive. Positive always dominates over the negative and your mind has to be conditioned to think only the best thoughts. Negative thinking is a conditioned process whereby the negative patterns are established over and over. Rid yourself of any limitations and become a powerful positive thinker.
16. Make an effort to be humorous throughout the day. Not only is it beneficial from a physical viewpoint but it diffuses tension in difficult circumstances and creates an excellent atmosphere wherever you are. It was recently reported that members of the Tauripan tribe of South America have a ritual where they awake in the middle of the night to tell each other jokes. Even tribesmen in the deepest sleep wake to enjoy the laugh and then return to their state of slumber in seconds.
17. Become a highly disciplined time manager. There are roughly 168 hours in a week. This surely allows plenty of time for achievement of the many goals we desire to accomplish. Be ruthless with your time. Set aside a few minutes each morning to plan your day. Plan around your priorities and focus on not only those tasks which are immediate but not important (i.e., many telephone calls) but especially on those which are important but not urgent, for these allow for the greatest personal and professional development. Important but not immediate activities are those which produce long-term, sustainable benefits and include exercise, strategic planning, the development of relationships and professional education. Never let the things which matter most be placed in the backseat as compared to those that matter least.
18. Associate only with positive, focused people who you can learn from and who will not drain your valuable energy with complaining and uninspiring attitudes. By developing relationships with those committed to constant improvement and the pursuit of the best that life has to offer, you will have plenty of company on your path to the top of whatever mountain you seek to climb.
19. Stephen Hawking, one of the great modern physicists of the world, is reported to have said that we are on a minor planet of a very average star located within the outer limits of one of a hundred thousand million galaxies. Are your problems really significant in light of this? You walk this Earth for but a short time. Why not become devoted to having only a wonderful experience. Why not dedicate yourself to leaving a powerful legacy to the world? Sit down now and write out a list of all that you have in your life. Start first with your health or your family - the things we often take for granted. Put down the country we live in and the food we eat. Do not stop until you have written down fifty items. Once every few days, go through this list - you will be uplifted and recognize the richness of your existence.
20. You must have a mission statement in life. This is simply a set of guiding principles which clearly state where you are going and where you want to be at the end of your life. A mission statement embodies your values. It is your personal lighthouse keeping you steadily on the course of your dreams. Over a period of one month, set a few hours aside to write down five or ten principles which will govern your life and which will keep you focused at all times. Examples might be to consistently serve others, to be a considerate citizen, to become highly wealthy or to serve as a powerful leader. Whatever the mission statement of your life, refine it and review it regularly. Then when something adverse happens or someone tries to pull you off course, you quickly and precisely return to your chosen path with the full knowledge that you are moving in the direction that you have selected.
21. No one can insult or hurt you without your permission. One of the golden keys to happiness and great success is the way you interpret events which unfold before you. Highly successful people are master interpreters. People who have attained greatness have an ability which they have developed to interpret negative or disempowering events as positive challenges which will assist them in growing and moving even farther up the ladder of success. There are no negative experiences only experiences which aid in your development and toughen your character so that you may soar to new heights. There are no failures, only lessons.
22. Take a speed reading course. Reading is a powerful way to gain many years of experience from a few hours of study. For example, most biographies reflect the strategies and philosophies of great leaders or courageous individuals. Read them and model them. Speed reading will allow you to digest large quantities of material in relatively small periods of time.
23. Remember people's names and treat everyone well. This habit, along with enthusiasm, is one of the great success secrets. Everyone in this world wears an imaginary button that screams out "I WANT TO FEEL IMPORTANT AND APPRECIATED!".
24. Be soft as a flower when it comes to kindness but tough as thunder when it comes to principle. Be courteous and polite at all times but never be pushed around. Ensure that you are always treated with respect.
25. Never discuss your health, wealth and other personal matters with anyone outside of your immediate family. Be very disciplined in this regard.
26. Be truthful, patient, persevering, modest and generous.
27. Soak in a warm bath at the end of a long, productive day. Reward yourself for even the smallest of achievement. Take time out for renewal of your mind, body and spirit. Soon all your more important goals will be met and you will move to the next level of peak performance.
28. Learn the power of breathing and its relationship with your energy source. The mind is intimately connected with your breathing. For example, when the mind is agitated, your breathing becomes quick and shallow. When you are relaxed and focused, your breathing is deep and calm. By practising deep, abdominal breathing, you will develop a calm, serene demeanor that will remain cool in the hottest of circumstances. Remember the rule of the Eastern mountain men: "to breathe properly is to live properly."
29. Recognize and cultivate the power of autosuggestion. It works and is an essential tool in maintaining peak performance. We are all performers in one way or another and it is particularly valuable to use such techniques of athletes and public figures for our own enhancement. If you want to become more enthusiastic, repeat "I am more enthusiastic today and am improving this trait daily". Repeat it over and over. Purchase a legal notepad and write out this mantra 500 times. Do it for three weeks with regular practice and feel that this quality is developing. Very soon it will come. This is a strategy that Indian sages have employed for thousands of years to aid their spiritual and mental development. Do not be discouraged if the results are not immediate, they will certainly develop. The spoken word is a powerful influencer of the mind.
30. Maintain a diary to measure your progress and to express your thoughts. Writing out not only your successes but your troubles is one of the world's most effective methods of erasing the worry habit, staying in optimum state and developing precision of thought.
31. Stress is simply a response which you create in the interpretation of an event. Two people might find that a given event results in quite different responses. For example, an after dinner speech might strike fear into the heart of an inexperienced speaker while a strong orator views it as a wonderful opportunity to share his thoughts. Understanding that the perceived negative effects of an event or task may be mentally manipulated and conditioned towards the positive, will allow you to be a peak performer in all instances.
32. Read "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. It contains a wealth of wisdom and powerful insights into further developing your character and enhancing your personal relationships.
33. Become a committed audio-tape user. Most personal-mastery programs and books are now offered in this format. Listen to these inspirational materials on your way to work, whilst waiting in the line at a bank or while you wash dishes in the evening. Make your car a college on wheels and use the drive time to make knowledge your best friend. All down time can be very effectively used in this productive fashion. Use such opportunities to learn and continually expand your mind and its vast potential.
34. Try fasting one day every two weeks. During these fast days, drink fruit juice and eat fresh fruits only. You will feel more energetic, cleansed and alert. Fasting also has a salutary effect on your will-power as you are subverting the otherwise pressing impulses in your mind calling on you to eat more.
35. Keep a radio-cassette player at your office and listen to soft, soothing music throughout the day. Place pleasant scents and inspirational pictures in your workplace. By the magic of association, your work will become something you enjoy even more and arouse a very pleasant feeling within you. Budget your time on trips such that you can spend half an hour in the airport bookstore. They always contain the latest and best self-mastery books and tapes given that those who travel by air are of a group that finds value in these materials.
36. Read "As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen. And don't just read this little book once, read it over and over again. It contains an abundance of timeless wisdom on living a fuller and happier life.
37. Remember that forgiveness is a virtue that few develop, but one that is most important to maintaining peace of mind. Mark Twain wrote that forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. Practice forgiveness especially in those situations where it is seemingly difficult. By using your emotional forgiveness muscles more regularly, petty wrongs, remarks and slights will not touch you and nothing will penetrate your concentrated, serene mindset.
38. Empty your cup. A full cup cannot accept anything more. Similarly, a person who believes that he cannot learn anything else will stagnate quickly and not move to higher levels. A true sign of a secure, mature individual is someone who sees every opportunity as a chance to learn. Even the teachers have teachers.
39. The Two Minute Mind is an excellent exercise for developing concentration. Simply stare at the second hand on your wristwatch for two minutes and think about nothing else for that time. At first your mind will wander but after 21 days of practice, your attention will not waver during the routine. One of the greatest qualities a person can develop to ensure his success is the ability to focus for extended periods of time. Learn to build up your concentration muscles and no task will be too difficult for you.
40. Drink a cup of warm water before a speech. Ronald Reagan employed this strategy to ensure that he maintained his honey-smooth voice. Mastery of the art of public speaking is a noble goal. So dedicate yourself to it. You will be judged by the calibre of your communication skills.
41. When you stand and meet someone, stand firm and steadfast. A telling sign of an unfocused, weak mind is constant fidgeting, shifting of the eyes and shallow breathing.
42. Act tough and you will be tough. Have courage and inspire others with your actions. But always be considerate.
43. Ask not what this world can do for you but, rather, what you can do for this world. Make service an important goal in your life. It is a most fulfilling investment of time. Remember, in the twilight of your life, when all is said and done, the quality of your life boils down to the quality of your contribution to others. Leave a rich legacy for those around you to savour.
44. Once a week, arise at dawn. It is a magical time of day. Be still, go for a walk or simply listen to an old Ella Fitzgerald recording. Take a long, hot shower and do 100 pushups. Read one of the classics. You will feel alive and invigorated.
45. Remain slightly aloof. Do not let everyone know everything about you. Cultivate a mystique.
46. Master the art of public speaking. There are few natural speakers. One great trial lawyer stammered dreadfully but through courage and strength of conviction, he developed into a brilliant orator. Role model anyone you think is a highly effective, influential communicator. Visualize a picture of this person. Stand like him, smile like him, and talk like him. The results will startle you.
47. Seek out motivational speakers committed to character training and lifelong success. Make it a point to attend inspirational lectures each month to consistently renew the importance of personal growth in your mind. In a two hour seminar, you can learn powerful techniques and strategies that others have spent many years learning and refining. Never feel that you have no time for gathering new ideas, you are investing in yourself.
48. Read the wonderful book "Discovering Happiness" by Dennis Wholey. It will certainly open up new horizons for you in your quest for an optimal state of health and happiness.
49. To enhance your concentration, read a passage in a book you have never explored. Then try to recite it verbatim. Practice this for only 5 minutes a day and enjoy the results which follow after a few months of effort.
50. Try entering a 5 km running race and then a 10 km event. The adrenaline that flows from the experience of racing with several hundred other fitness-minded people is exhilarating. By constantly pushing the envelope of your capacity, your potential will quickly unfold. Remember, the body will give you only what you ask of it.
51. Aromas have been proven to be an effective means of entering a state of relaxation. Scents have a very noticeable effect on your mindset and moods. Purchase the essential oils of orange and clove bud from your local health food shop. Put a few drops of either oil within a cup of boiling water and inhale the sweet smelling steam for a few minutes. Then let the mixture sit in the room where you are resting. You will gain a sense of peace and serenity. A little apple spice in the air has recently been shown to induce a far more restful sleep.
52. Cultivate the art of walking half an hour after you have finished eating your evening meal. Walks in natural settings are the very best. Walking is, perhaps, nature's ideal exercise. And when you walk, do not think about work or about the bills or about the challenges you might be facing - this will neutralize many of the benefits. Simply enjoy the walk. Notice the richness of your surroundings. Let your senses drink in the beauty of nature and the crispness of the air for a change. So many people who have mastered the art of growing younger have also mastered the habit of a daily walk.
53. Start a program of weight lifting at the gym. Strong people are mentally tough people. As you age, you need not lose your physical nor your mental strength. 75 year-old men are running marathons, 80 year-old women have scaled mountains and 90 year-old grandparents are living rich, productive lives. Whether you are 19 or 93, stay fit, stay motivated and stay passionate about life.
54. Never argue with the person you work for - you will lose more than just the argument.
55. In terms of business attire, dark suits (navy blue and charcoal grey) reflect power, sophistication and authority. Have you ever seen a prime minister or president in a tan suit?
56. Regularly send handwritten notes to your business clients and your other relations to strengthen the bond. Develop a system which reminds you to send something valuable to this network at least once every four months. Send them postcards when you are away on vacation. If you have to buy a few hundred postcards and spend an hour writing, don't worry. This is an exceptionally good investment of your time. Another idea is to send a recent article of interest to your contacts with a handwritten note saying that you thought this would interest them and that you continue to value their friendship. Relationship building should always be a central focus whether you are a CEO, a student, a salesperson or a parent.
57. Two of the fundamentals for a happy, joyful life are balance and moderation. One must maintain a balance of all activities and do nothing to extremes.
58. Drink Jasmine tea which can be obtained from any Chinese herbal shop. It is excellent for your general health and is very relaxing. Also try placing a few slices of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water for a superb tea that will restore vitality and keep you in a peak physical condition.
59. Remember that effective time management makes you more rather than less flexible. It allows you to do the things that you really want to do rather than the things you really have to do.
60. Do not take personal development books as gospel. Read them and take whatever useful ideas you need. Some people feel they must do everything suggested and take the techniques to extremes. Every book has at least one tool or strategy of benefit. Take what you need and what works for you and discard what doesn't suit you.
61. Become an adventurer. Revitalize your spirit and sense of playfulness. Become a kid again. Once every few months, plan to enjoy a new, thrilling activity such as white water rafting, scuba diving, windsurfing, rockclimbing, joining a martial arts club, sailing, deep sea fishing or camping. This will keep your life in perspective, bring you closer to those you share the activity with and keep you feeling invigorated and young.
62. Spend time with Nature. Natural settings have a powerful effect on your senses which in turn will lead to a sense of renewal, refreshment and peacefulness. Peak performers through the ages have understood the importance of getting back to Nature. Start camping or simply taking quiet walks in the forest. Rest by a sparkling stream. Cultivate your own little garden which will serve as your personal oasis in the middle of a crowded city. By cultivating a friendship with Nature, you will quickly find more serenity, contentment and richness in your life.
63. Recall the wise saying "mens sana in corpore sano" which means in a sound body rests a sound mind. Never neglect the body which is intimately connected to the mind. This is your temple. Feed it the finest fuels, exercise daily and care for it as you would your prized possession - because it is.
64. Be so strong that nothing interferes with your peace of mind. A well-known boxer was once unhappy. When asked why, he said that he had allowed himself to think a negative thought. Curb your desires and stay centered and focused - it gets easier with practice. You truly cannot afford the luxury of even one negative thought.
65. Do not eat three hours before sleep. This allows for smoother digestion and a more restful sleep. For deeper, more renewing sleep, remember that a daily dose of exercise promotes good sleep as does a period of relaxation an hour before bed. Also do not bring work to bed with you or think about anything which might agitate you. Ease yourself into sleep like a baby being sung a soft, soothing lullaby. And finally, as Leonardo da Vinci said: "a well-spent day brings happy sleep."
66. Be careful about your reputation. If it is good it will take you to the highest of heights. But once tarnished, it will be difficult to retrieve. Always reflect on your course of action. Never do anything you wouldn't be proud to tell your mother about. Have fun always but temper it with common sense and prudence.
67. Find mentors to model who will guide you in your progress. The mistakes of the world have all been made once before - why shouldn't you have the benefit of the experience of others? Find someone who has both courage and consideration for others, someone who is therefore mature. Your mentor must have only your best interests in mind and should be sufficiently senior to offer you good guidance on the subjects you seek assistance with. Everyone needs to feel appreciated and even the busiest of executives will find time to assist a person who respects them and values their advice.
68. Make a list of all your weaknesses. A truly confident and enlightened person will note a weakness and seek to methodically improve. Bear in mind that even the greatest and most powerful people have weaknesses. Some are better than others in hiding them. On the other hand, get to know your best qualities and cultivate them.
69. Never complain. Be known as a positive, strong, energetic and enthusiastic person. Someone who complains, is cynical and always looks for the negative in everything, will scare people away and rarely will succeed at anything. From a purely psychological viewpoint, things are always created twice: once in the mind and then in reality. Focus on the positive. Be so mentally tough that nothing takes you off your planned course to success. Visualize and firmly believe in what you want. It will most certainly come true.
70. Overlook the weaknesses of your friends. If you look for flaws you will most surely find them. Be mature enough to ignore the petty failings of others and see the good that each one inherently possesses. We can learn from everyone. Everyone has a story to tell, a joke to share and a lesson to learn. Open your mind to this and you will learn a tremendous amount. Friends are so very important to a happy existence - especially those who have shared many experiences and laughs with you. Work hard to make friendships, and all your relationships for that matter, stronger and richer. Call your friends, buy them small gifts of books or other items you believe they might enjoy. The "law of the farm" applies to relationships as well as to the rest of life - you reap what you sow and to have great friends you must first be one.
71. Be kind, considerate and courteous. But also be shrewd and know when to be tough and courageous. This is the mark of a well-defined character and you will surely command respect. It is most useful to read books on friendliness and enhancing relationships by being a good listener, showing others sincere appreciation and refining other interpersonal skills. But, to truly succeed, one must also recognize that worldly wisdom and shrewdness are essential skills to foster. Become an expert in human psychology and be able to read the essence of people. Never be taken advantage of and be aware of the politics around you. Stay above petty gossiping and office politics but appreciate that they indeed exist and know what goes on behind your back. Every great leader does.
72. Create your image as a highly competent, strong, disciplined, calm and decent individual. Find that crucial balance between working on the image that you project to the rest of the world and your inner character. Create a sense of mystery about yourself as the truly wise never show their hand. Do not tell everyone everything about yourself, your strategies and your aspirations. The successful citizens of this world think thrice before they speak because a word uttered can never be retrieved. Make things look easy and people will say you are naturally gifted. Speak only good things and people will flock to you. Never speak ill of others and all will know you will not malign them behind their backs. Build your character and live a highly principled life.
73. Familiarity breeds contempt is a very good rule. The stars remain far above the Earth. You must keep a distance from all but your closest of relations. Once people see everything of a leader he loses his aura and with it the authority and mystique he may have created. For example, Ronald Reagan was known to many as an excellent leader. He carefully cultivated his image of a folksy, considerate politician who kept the interests of the United States first and foremost in his mind. At gatherings of world leaders, he commanded attention and respect in his dark suits, surrounded by the trappings of power such as political aides, security officers and a convoy of limousines. As soon as he appeared, thoughts of authority and power came to our minds. Did you ever see the President with his shirt off swimming at his pool? How about in his dressing gown after waking up after one of his long sleeps, hair tousled and beard grown? Reagan's handlers never allowed such glimpses because they detract from the perception of authority. The American nation was not exposed to these sights. In the Clinton Era things changed and you saw the President eating Big Macs and wearing baseball caps with a full business suit. Whilst these scenes may be endearing to the public, there is little doubt that President Clinton was more familiar to us, merely another one of us and, unlike the stars above, much closer to the ground.
74. Learn to organize your time. It is incorrect to say that by becoming a meticulous time manager and living by a carefully defined schedule you become rigid and nonspontaneous. Rather, proper organization allows one to accomplish those goals which are truly important as well as enjoy leisure time. Good time management offers more time for fun and relaxation - not less. These important periods are scheduled into the week just like other commitments which may appear more pressing. Neither are sacrificed. Also, discipline yourself and stop wasting time on all those immediate and pressing but unimportant tasks (i.e., the ringing phones) and concentrate on the activities that are truly meaningful to your life's mission. Such activities include time for self-renewal and reflection, time forging relationships built on trust and mutual respect, time for physical fitness, time to read and think deeply and time serving others in your community.
75. Keep well-informed about current events, the latest books and popular trends. Many peak performers read five or six papers a day. You don't have to read every story of every paper. Know what to focus on, what to pass by and what to clip out and read at another time (many successful people scan scores of magazines and papers, clipping out articles of interest; these articles go into a file folder which can be read in your down time). Knowledge is power. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a corporate leader or someone leading a family, you can profoundly change your life and the lives of those around you with a single idea. Just ask Gates, Edison and Bell.
76. When choosing your life partner, remember that this is the most important decision of your lifetime. The marriage relationship offers 90% of all your support, happiness and fulfillment so choose it wisely. Consider qualities such as affection, sense of humor, intelligence, integrity, maturity, temperament, compatibility and that indescribable characteristic of chemistry. If these are present, your relationship stands an excellent chance of great success. Move slowly and let no one press you into an uncomfortable decision.
77. Never discuss your personal development activities with anyone. Your strategies for expanding your mind and spirit are your own. Others might not understand the value of personal-mastery and, further, will take away your credit when you meet with success by saying that you relied on techniques. Keep these self-development activities to yourself.
78. Schedule relaxation time into your week and be ruthless in protecting it. You would not schedule another activity into the time planned for an important meeting with the president of your company or your best client so why would you put off a period to invest in yourself? We must have time for ourselves to reflect, unwind and recharge our batteries. These are the renewal activities that allow us to maintain peak performance and are exceptionally valuable periods.
79. 83% of our sensory input comes from our eyes. To truly concentrate on something, shut your eyes and you will remove much distraction.
80. Be the master of your will but the servant of your conscience.
81. Develop the wonderful habit of a daily swim. It will promote excellent health, keep you relaxed and concentrated, lean and trim. Swimming is not stressful on the body, provides a great workout for the lungs and requires little time to do effectively. Remember that in a fit body resides a fit mind.
82. People who are doing good today are ensuring their happiness for tomorrow.
83. The key to successful time management is doing what you planned to do when you planned to do it. Keep your mind fully on the task at hand. Only then will you achieve all your goals and have time for the things that matter most. Although it is imperative to be flexible (a bow too tightly strung will soon break), following your planned schedule requires no more than simple discipline.
84. An excellent visualization technique: if you are worrying about something, picture the words of your worry on a piece of paper. Now ignite a match to the paper and watch the worry dissipate into flames. Bruce Lee, the great martial arts master employed this mental control device regularly.
85. Compartmentalize your worry. Set aside a certain amount of time to ponder over a problem and map out an effective plan of attack and your options. Once this is done, have the mental fortitude not to come back to the problem and go over it again and again. The human mind is a strange creature - things we want to forget keep coming back and those things we want to remember are not there when we want them. But the mind is similar to a muscle and the more you flex it the stronger it will become. Make it your servant. Feed it only the best nutrition and information. It will serve you well and perform magic if you believe in it.
86. Peak performers are physically relaxed and mentally engaged.
87. To be at your performance peak mentally, your body must be loose physically and relaxed. It is now beyond dispute that there is a mind-body connection and when the body is supple, free from tension, the mind is clear, calm and focused as well. This is why yoga is such a beneficial activity. It keeps the body relaxed so that the mind can follow. Basic stretching for 15 minutes a day is also an excellent way to release tension that builds up as a result of our life in this highly complex and fast moving, but wonderful world. Try having a massage or power lounging in a Jacuzzi. Relax the body and you relax the mind.
88. Prepare a detailed financial plan for the next few years and follow it. Seek out financial advice if you need it. A powerful strategy for financial mastery is also a simple one: save 10% of all you make for long-term growth (take this off the pay cheque before you have a chance to spend it). If you can invest $200 a month for the next 30 years at an annual return rate of 15%, you will end up with $1.4 million dollars. Being wise with your money is one of the very best investments to make. Financial security leads to personal freedom.
89. Readers are leaders. U.S. President Bill Clinton read more than 300 books during his short time at Oxford University. Some top performers read a book a day. Seek out knowledge and information. We have truly entered the age of massive information and those who are proactive can use this to their advantage. The more you know, the less you fear.
90. Get into the excellent habit of reading something positive and inspirational before you go to bed and as soon as you awake in the morning. You will soon note the benefits as these thoughts will be supporting you throughout the day.
91. Make it one of your goals to develop a dynamic, charismatic personality. Such a quality is something each one of us has the potential to develop but few do. President Kennedy was a sickly youth but rose above his physical problems to be the most charismatic and exciting political figure in the history of the United States. Start off small. Take a Dale Carnegie course on public speaking. Go to the library where you will find books on the fine art of conversation and personal grooming. Learn three clean and witty jokes and get in the habit of socializing. You will have fun and build a lasting network of friends and associates.
92. On the subject of conversation, a Chinese proverb states as follows: "a single conversation across the table with a wise man is worth a month's study of books." Seek out the wise and learn from them. They are just waiting for that small spark of interest to tell you all that you need to know.
93. Lao-Tzu prized three essential qualities for a person of greatness: "the first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men."
94. "When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take - choose the bolder," said W. J. Slim. There is no substitute for courage and though the chance of stubbing your toe increases the more you walk, it is always better than going nowhere by standing still. Take chances, take smart risks and you will meet with success beyond your dreams.
95. Become your spouse's number one supporter, the one who is always there supporting and fueling hopes and dreams. Develop together and march confidently through the world as an army of two.
96. Think of three people who can provide you with inspiration, motivation and support for your goals and aspirations. Plan to meet with each one of them over the next few weeks. Listen enthusiastically to them and brainstorm with them. Map out a strategy and take their wise counsel.
97. Make every one of your days a true masterpiece. Remember the old saying: "it's not who you think you are that holds you back but what you think you're not."
98. Just as valuable energy is wasted by spending time on activities that are of no value, energy can be wasted on loose thinking. Imagine that your mind has an energy measure of 1000 watts at its disposal. Each time your mind wanders off the project at hand, to a nagging worry, to all the things to do by the end of the day, 100 watts is lost. Quite soon the entire energy supply is gone. This is the nature of the mind. Fail to discipline it and your energy levels will be depleted and your accomplishments will be minimal. Control it and you will see great things happening. You will feel more powerful and achieve difficult tasks with ease. The 19th century philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel summed it up nicely: "for purposes of action, nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will."
99. It has been rightly said that "you sow an action, you reap a habit. You sow a habit, you reap a character. You sow a character, you reap a destiny." The essence of a person is his character - make yours unique, unblemished and strong. Do not say you will do anything unless you will indeed do it. Speak the truth and measure your words wisely. Be humble, straightforward and peaceful.
100. Remember the overriding law of nature: positive overcomes the negative.