Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Swinging on a Star

One day in either late 1943 or early 1944 (can any reader help me here and fill in the gap?) one of the sons of the legendary Bing Crosby complained he did not want to go to school but wanted to stay home and play instead.  Bing replied "If you don't go to school you might grow up to be a mule.  Do you wanna do that?"  Song writer Jimmy Van Heusen was there, and thought this could be the beginning of a great song, so he took the idea to lyricist Johnny Burke.  Together they wrote the song "Swinging on a Star" for the movie "Going My Way". The song was released in February 1944 and became one of Bing Crosby's greatest hits.

Why am I writing about a Bing Crosby song in a blog on personal development?  At the end of this article I have reproduced the full lyrics and have also included a video of Bing singing this song in "Going My Way".  Read the lyrics carefully and thoughtfully (ignoring the insults to some lovely animals!) and I think you will see exactly why!

This song may have originally been aimed at children not wanting to go to school, and the lesson there still applies (my younger readers take note!).  But the lesson is actually very much wider.

Where do you really want to be in life?  Are you aiming at the stars or settling for something far more mundane?  If the latter, why?  If the former, what are you doing right now to get closer to your dream?

This is not simply about material success, although it applies equally here of course.  What "aiming for the stars" really means is a very personal thing.  It may simply mean becoming a much more loving and caring person.  Making a real difference in life.  But whatever it means to you, take inspiration now from this song and start doing something to make your dream a reality.  You can do it!

"Would you like to swing on a star,
carry moonbeams home in a jar,
and be better off than you are,
or would you rather be a mule?

A mule is an animal with long funny ears.
He kicks up at anything he hears.
His back is brawny but his brain is weak.
He's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak,
and by the way if you hate to go to school
you may grow up to be a mule.

Oh would you like to swing on a star,
carry moonbeams home in a jar,
and be better off than you are,
or would you rather be a pig?

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face;
his shoes are a terrible disgrace.
He has no manners when he eats his food.
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude.
But if you don't care a feather or a fig
you may grow up to be a pig.

Oh would you like to swing on a star,
carry moonbeams home in a jar,
and be better off than you are,
or would you rather be a pig?

A fish won't do anything but swim in a brook.
He can't write his name or read a book.
To fool the people is his only thought
and though he's slippery he still gets caught;
but if then that sort of life is what you wish
you may grow up to be a fish.
A new kind of jumped up slippery fish!

And all the monkeys aren't in the zoo;
everyday you see quite a few.
So you see it's all up to you,
you could be better than you are
you could be swinging on a star."

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Self Esteem

In my humble opinion Jim Rohn, who died at the end of 2009, was one of the world's greatest teachers of success principles.  In this video he expounds on the benefits of what he terms "intelligent self interest".  Doing things that others may think silly, but that increase your self esteem.  Put this into practice and you will be a better person:

If you would like to have Jim Rohn as your mentor, you can, even though he is no longer with us.  Subscribe now to his "One Year Success Plan".

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Stop Multi-tasking

STOP Multi-tasking Madness with Mind Chi!

by Vanda North - Founder of "Mind Chi" (

Do YOU multi-task?

The pressure is ON to do so, people proudly wear their ‘I’m a multi-tasker’ badge. The trouble is that on the other side of that badge it says ‘And I do NOTHING well’!

That is a provocative statement and done to remind you that your brain canNOT do two things in the same band width at the same time – one or the other will suffer. Have you ever been speaking to someone on the phone and  know that they are doing their emails at the same time? Yes, you do know! And you also know that they are only paying partial attention to what you are saying, which is actually rude. Better to say ‘I just have a few minutes, how can I help you?’ And then concentrate afterwards on the email, so you don’t push send before you have double checked it.

It IS possible to do several tasks at the same time that operate in different parts of your brain, so cooking a dish that you know well while talking on the phone are ok – as long as you don’t need to concentrate.

Multi-tasking is the source of that constant stressed feeling, it is what tires you so, it doubles the pressure on you, whilst diminishing your effectiveness.

You also miss out on the beautiful feeling of concentrating on just one thing – the joy of losing yourself in an activity – of truly being ‘in the flow’. These are the moments that re-fuel your brain, stimulate your creativity, energise you and make you feel life and work are worthwhile. Further, you will be quite amazed at what you can achieve in even a 15 minute time of uninterrupted thought, better than in a whole day sometimes.

So fight back! Take care of your brain, let it work well for you and enjoy the benefits.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Embrace Life

56 Reasons to Fiercely Embrace Life

by: Anne - Sophie Reinhardt

Life is grand, full of magic, hope and possibility.

However, sometimes it’s hard to see how lucky and fortunate we are to be here. We get so caught up in our daily stresses that we completely forget how awe-inspiring and miraculous living really is. We go through the motions, get in a rut and are busy putting out one fire after the next in an attempt to keep our lives in balance.

Yet, drama happens all the time.

Our projects don’t work out, our businesses aren’t going the way we had hoped for, our relationships experience troubles, the economy is bad, politicians let us down and life is just not the way it’s supposed to be.

It’s easy then to get sucked into a spiral of self-doubt and weariness. It’s easy to loose hope, feel listless and ready to just give up.

Speaking from experience, I know how destructive these feelings can be and how easily they overshadow your entire world. But if you take a moment to breathe, open your eyes and see, just see, all the marvels of this world, it’s hard not to be speechless, feel grateful and happy to be alive.

Since I know I’m not the only one who sometimes lacks inspiration, I created the following list of reasons to love being alive, living on this beautiful planet and sharing these times with so many incredible fellows.

Ready? Let’s go.

1. The roar of the ocean on a windy day.

2. Receiving help in unexpected ways.

3. The wistful longings of a heart in love

4. Hearing my grandfather express his undying love for my grandma (OK, that’s a very personal one, but I couldn’t not mention it).

5. Hearing the soulful sounds of music that go straight to your heart.

6. Experiencing the beating of your heart after a long, hard workout.

7. The touch of your mom lovingly going through your hair.

8. The belly-laughter experienced when you’re with great friends.

9. The promises of a new day when watching the sunrise.

10. Witnessing the genius of writers who work magic with their words.

11. The excitement in the eyes of your favorite pet when coming home.

12. The sheer joy of seeing friends long lost.

13. Seeing a loved one succeed in life.

14. A blue blue sky.

15. The work of photographers that portray a model’s soul.

16. Tasting the sweet deliciousness of chocolate.

17. The wonderful aroma of coffee beans.

18. The safety of being wrapped into your loved one’s arms.

19. The freedom of knowing that you’re worthy of love.

20. The delight in sharing your wisdom and knowledge with others.

21. The pleasure of feeling the sun on your face or the wind in your hair.

22. Feeling the melancholy that comes with winter deep in your heart.

23. Seeing the beauty of white, white snow glistering in the sun.

24. Experiencing the warmth streaming through your body when drinking a hot chocolate on an ice-cold day.

25. The wonder of exploring new places and worlds.

26. The look up in a star-filled sky that puts life and the world into perspective.

27. Seeing the innocence in a toddler’s eyes.

28. Experiencing the trust of true friends.

29. The awe-inspiring performances of world-class athletes.

30. Listening to the beautiful sounds of Mozart’s genius.

31. The growth as a person on every single day.

32. The beautiful smell of the air after heavy rain.

33. The powerful realization that your potential is limitless.

34. The thrill of speaking foreign languages.

35. Tuning into the miraculous workings of our bodies.

36. The luscious green of the rain forest.

37. Falling into your bed after a long and hard day.

38. The refreshing feeling of putting on freshly washed clothes.

39. Experiencing the humbling feeling of seeing friends have your back

40. The empowerment of getting yourself out of a mess.

41. Spending a day in bed with breakfast and a captivating book.

42. The pride of holding an Asana for the very first time.

43. The first signs of spring after a long, cold winter.

44. The first signs of fall after a hot summer.

45. The breathtaking view out of an airplane’s window.

46. Witnessing two people promising to stay together all of their lives.

47. Finally figuring out what you’re truly hungry for.

48. Giving to others and experiencing their joy.

49. Seeing ordinary people change the course of humanity.

50. Listening to the wealth of wisdom shared by your grandparents.

51. A cold shower on a brutally hot summer day.

52. The overwhelming feeling of seeing the Grand Canyon for the very first time.

53. The grace of ballet dancers floating across the stage.

54. Falling in love with your glorious body.

55. Coming home.

56. The realization that life, after all, is immeasurably valuable.

What are your reasons to lovingly and fiercely embrace life?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Book Review

Books on How to be Successful

Very many of my readers orginally found this blog because they were looking for ways to be more successful.  For my November Book Review I have therefore focused entirely on books that are aimed at exactly that - how to become more successful.  And I believe the authors I have chosen are amongst the most qualified to help us all achieve this.

Click on the title of any book that particularly interests you and you can buy it right away from Amazon.

For my UK readers, or anyone who wants to pay in pounds sterling or have the booked shipped from the UK, click on the "UK Link" right at the end of each review.

The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be


Jack Canfield & Janet Switzer

"Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer have created something different in the self-help literature - a compendium of the principles that have stood the test of time.  The book is organized in several sections to make these references easier to follow.  The authors also provide many free tools to help you succeed.  If you have already read much of the success literature, you probably think this book isn't for you. I beg to differ. Seeing so many good ideas in one book will help you weld together good habits and actions in even more constructive ways."

-    Donald Mitchell

"If you want to be truly succesful in this life, you need to read this book. It gives you the proper information to succeed. It touches on principles such as time management, money, goal-setting, creating successful relationships and so on. If you follow these principles you will literally transform yourself into a success.
This book gives you valuable information on finances. Money isn't everything, but it can make your life a little easier and this book will show you how to earn more, spend less, and give away while still being prosper.
If you apply these principles to your life, you will see and feel changes for the better. I have applied the recommendations on managing my time and I already see the benefits of a more successful life. I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to transform their life into a success."

-    Rob P

"As an Author, Coach, and Motivational Speaker I read a lot of books about people, their motivations, and their relationships. The Success Principles is an outstanding example of an educational, inspirational, and motivational guide to success. I love the stories of the people Jack and Janet chose to interview to model the principles. The Success Principles is an excellent book and I give it an A+.

-    Kevin A. Decker

If you want to get a flavour of Jack Canfield's message without buying this book you can tell his organisation you would like a free coaching call (not one to one, I should add!) and you can listen to him for 70 minutes without spending a dime!  Click here to book this free coaching call.

The Law of Success: The Master Wealth-Builder's Complete and Original Lesson Plan forAchieving Your Dreams


Napoleon Hill

This may be a very old text on the subject, but it is as relevant today as it was when Napoleon Hill wrote it, and it forms the basis of many of the success systems marketed today.  Here is your chance to get it from the horse's mouth!

"By applying many of the 16 fundamentals of the Law of Success philosophy we have built a great chain of successful stores. I presume it would be no exaggeration of fact if I said that the Woolworth Building might properly be called a monument to the soundness of these principles."

-    F. W. Woolworth (Yes, THE Woolworth!)

"I have now had an opportunity to finish reading your Law of Success textbooks, and I wish to express my appreciation of the splendid work you have done in this philosophy. It would be helpful if every politician in the country would assimilate and apply the 16 principles upon which the Law of Success is based. It contains some very fine material which every leader in every walk of life should understand."

-    William H. Taft, Former President of the United States and Chief Justice

The above two reviews were, of course, written many decades ago.  But the next one was written in September 2012:

"This is one of those wonderful life-companion books that will be forever at my bedside table.

It is beautifully bound and typeset, and knowing that the words are direct from from the pen of Napoleon Hill gives it an uncanny presence. But it is the content that is the real kicker here. There is no "secret" here, this is the success teachings from which all others stem, written in superbly articulated, engaging and vivid language that feels more like the memory of a recent personal conversation than lessons of life. Don't wait, get it!"

-    W Sitte (Brisbane, Australia)

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams


Deepak Chopra

"No matter your station in life, this quick-but-poignant read should be considered required reading for all. I make a point of re-reading it almost weekly, and have bought copies for my grandkids to do the same. Regardless of your particular belief system, the message is generic, pure, and enlightening. Great job as usual, Dr. C!"

-    Harold Smith (Bedford, Texas, US)

"I used to not read Chopra, his belief system in my mind was opposed to mind (closed minded, I know).

Then I heard him interviewed by Anthony Robbins and his medical discussion along with spirit blew me away.

I have shared with 1000s of people one thing he said, "We have 60,000 thoughts a day." He went on to share that many people have 95% of the same thoughts the next day.

The statement revolutionized my life and thinking.

Then I read "Do You" by Russell Simmons and he said he gives The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success to all his staff. So I picked it up; and am glad I did.

His discussion about state of mind, gratitude and giving is filled with wisdom. Here is where I appreciate Chopra, he believes people are meant to fulfill their dreams. He believes God has placed us here to be happy, and that there is enough for everyone. I now have several of his books.

Turns out he and I are not so far about in what we believe. "

-    Tobin B. Crenshaw (Canton, OH)

"Love love love this book! Just what I needed.... I recommend this to all. I feel more at peace. It is as though I have connected myself to what I have always known. Read it!"

-    E Jones

Friday, 2 November 2012

Your Philosophy

Jim Rohn: Your Philosophy

an original article by Jim Rohn

"Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out."

If you want to know how an Idaho farm boy can make it to Beverly Hills, then take the journey toward achievement by discovering the cornerstone for total and lasting success: building your philosophy. I was broke at 25 and a millionaire by 31. At 25, there was nothing in my bank and I needed to provide for my family. As I was considering what to do, I met John Earl Shoaff, a wealthy entrepreneur who became my employer for the next five years. He revolutionized my life and taught me the importance of developing my philosophy. It isn’t a complex or mystical process, but a principle that can make a difference in how your life turns out. As we go forward on this journey toward success, remember you need to keep looking for those few things that make the most difference in your life, and spend most of your time doing those things. Effective time management is the best-kept secret of the rich. While there are five major puzzle pieces for success, without the first — developing a sound philosophy — the other pieces are of little value.


Set Your Sail

The winds of circumstance blow upon all of us. We all have experienced the winds of disappointment, despair and heartbreak, but why do people arrive at such different places at the end of the journey? Have we not all sailed upon the same sea?

The major difference isn’t circumstance; it’s the set of the sail, or the way we think.

In spite of our best efforts, we have moments when things just seem to fall apart. The rich and the poor have the same challenges that can lead to financial ruin and personal despair. It isn’t what happens to us that determines the quality of our lives, it’s what we do after we’ve set our sails and the wind decides to change direction. When winds change, we must change. We have to struggle to our feet and reset the sail in a manner that will steer us in the direction of our own deliberate choice. The set of the sail, how we think and how we respond, has a far greater capacity to destroy our lives than any challenges we face. How quickly we respond to adversity is far more important than adversity itself. The great challenge of life is to control the process of our own thinking.

Learn From Success and Failure

The best way to establish a new and powerful personal philosophy is to objectively review the conclusions you’ve drawn about life. Any conclusion you’ve drawn that isn’t working for you could be working against you. The best way to counteract misinformation and wrong data is to input new and accurate information. Gather information from personal experience. If you’re doing something wrong, evaluate what you did wrong and change things.

Seek an objective, outside voice about how you are and what you’re doing. An objective opinion from someone you respect can lead you to early and accurate information about your decision-making process. Listen to the freshness of an outside voice — someone who can see the forest and isn’t lost in the trees.

Observe the successes and failures of other people. If people who failed were to give seminars, it would be helpful. You could see how people mess up and you wouldn’t do what they did. You could find out what poor people read and decide not to read it. Past failures and errors prompt us to amend current conduct so we don’t replicate the past.

Study from people who do well. Each of us should be in a constant search for people we admire and respect and whose behavior we can model. It’s far better to deliberately choose the people we will permit to influence us than to allow bad influences to affect us without our conscious choice.


Read All You Can

People from all walks of life who’ve had some of the most incredible experiences have taken the time to write of these experiences so we can be instructed and amend our philosophies. There are two books you need to read to build your philosophy: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. The contributions of other people enable us to reset our sails based upon their experiences. Books offer treasures of information that can change our lives, fortunes, relationships, health and careers for the better.


Keep a Journal

A journal is a gathering place for all of our observations and discoveries about life. It’s our own handwritten transcript that captures our experiences, ideas, desires and conclusions about the people and the events that have touched our lives. The past, when properly documented, is one of the best guides for making good decisions. The very act of writing about our lives helps us think more objectively about our actions. Writing tends to slow down the flow of information and gives us time to analyze and ponder the experience. The intense scrutiny of journal writing can enable us to make refinements in our philosophy that are truly life-changing.

Jot down what you learn and be a buyer of empty books. It’s the small disciplines that lead to great accomplishments.


Observe and Listen

Pay attention during your day, watch what’s going on and become a good listener. Find a voice of value and stay for a while. Surround yourself with people you respect and admire. Find people whose personalities and achievements stimulate, fascinate and inspire you, and then strive to assimilate their best qualities. This is called the skill of selecting. Don’t waste your time on the silly and the shallow.

One of the major reasons people don’t do well is because they keep trying to get through the day while a more worthy cause is to get from the day. We must become sensitive enough to observe and ponder what is happening around us. Be alert. Be awake. Often the most extraordinary opportunities are hidden among seemingly insignificant events.

Be a good listener. With so many voices vying for your attention, you need to develop the skill of selective listening and only dial into the radio station that appeals to you. If a voice is not leading to the achievement of your goals, exercise caution in how long you listen.


Be Disciplined

Every day is filled with dozens of personal crossroads, moments when we’re called upon to make a decision regarding minor as well as major questions. These decisions chart a path to a future destination. With careful mental preparation, we can make wise choices. The development of a sound philosophy prepares us for making sound decisions. When we eat healthy foods, we experience positive results in a short time. When we start exercising, we feel a new vitality almost immediately. When we begin reading, we experience a growing awareness and a new level of self-confidence. New disciplines practiced daily will produce exciting results. The magic of new disciplines causes us to amend our thinking.


Don’t Neglect

Neglect is the major reason people don’t have what they want. If you don’t take care of things in your life, neglect becomes a disease. If you neglect to do good things with your money, you probably neglect to do good things with your time. If you don’t know what’s going on with your health or your bank account, you could be at risk. Set up new disciplines to change your life. Don’t neglect.

Everything is within our reach if we will read books, use journals, practice the disciplines and wage a new and vigorous battle against neglect.

Build your philosophy. Commit yourself to a new journey and say, “I’m going to change my life.” Once you do, you’ll never look back.