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A Secret for a Great Life

A Secret for A Great Life

The other day I was on one of my long walks enjoying the lake area I am so blessed to live by and saw a father cutting grass on a riding lawn mower, which by itself may not be so note worthy, I admit.  However, helping him and maybe getting in his way a bit were two of his children; both kids where about 6 to 9 years old and each were also driving a small vehicle; one a small look-a-like riding lawnmower – kids version and the other a kids small ATV.  The dad riding his mower had just come to the end of his cut with both kids following close behind and as he turned around they emerged right in his path and there the three of them sat looking , laughing and enjoying an intimate family situation. 

I like seeing these types of things as they remind me of when my own son who used to walk next to me at about that age and push his own child version of a lawn mower as I walked and mowed our own lawn. Those types of intimate moments were great to share with someone special and great teaching moments although they never felt like I was a teacher.

At this age young people are so impressionable and they want to be and do things that their parents do.  It is important that parents set the right example, do the right things and that they explain how to do the right things to those young impressionable minds, even as those minds grow much older.  Understanding how things work in the world in which we live is important when building a life for oneself, wouldn’t you agree?  I believe we are always both the teacher and the student and should try to take advantage of any opportunity to learn from others as well as share with others something you may know.

As you read this article, I assume you are much older so I would like to ask you several questions.  Can you name three things that you want different in your own life right now…three things that you may want to change about how your life is going?  Maybe there are several skills or abilities you would like to learn or do better.  What about your physical condition, your health and diet or what about traveling to some of those exotic places you always wanted to visit?  Is your career where you want it to be; how are your finances; is retirement even an option?  Are you happy with your relationships; are you really in them?  How do you treat those people who really love you?  What about your spirituality, what do you really know about the Bible, God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and life after death?  What about your generosity, your giving to others and simply helping others more; maybe educating and helping direct some young impressionable minds?  You know you may want many of these things in your life or want to simply make some changes to your life, so why haven’t you done it? Why are you where you are right now?

To make large changes in one’s life or to attain better than average results in the world you need to have some sort of a plan.  We have all heard things like, “you don’t build a house without first having  a blueprint” or “you don’t drive to a new destination without having a map on how to get there” so why would you want to live the only life you have without some kind of a plan to follow and guide you?

 Think for a second about a young person just starting out in the world, maybe it’s your daughter, son, niece or nephew or better still it’s you when you where much younger and that person comes to you for advice about how to live the best life story possible.  What do you tell them?  The advice you give them can literally change their future.  You wouldn’t say”just take things one day at a time and see how it plays out”, would you?  Remember, you love this person and they respect you enough to ask you for your life’s advice.   

Wouldn’t you sit them down, explain that life is filled with choices and that there will be decisions they will need to make everyday which can really affect their future, that it’s important to make good choices.  Wouldn’t you tell them that there will be many challenges to overcome and what works best is to be prepared for those challenges…to have their mind, body and soul in tip-top working order so they will be better prepared to make the best choices?  Wouldn’t you try to show them that to get to this state of life readiness, they really need to lay out a plan?  They need to have a sense of direction of what they want from their life and to have some level of self-awareness and that starting with a basic fundamental plan for their life is a good place to start. 

Wouldn’t you explain to them that it’s ok to make mistakes, that everyone makes them, and that we must learn from them and try not to make them again…that our mistakes are usually events that provide us with our best education in life and we should view them that way.  Wouldn’t you tell them how important it is to forgive others who made mistakes as well, remembering that none of us our perfect. 

Wouldn’t you point out to them that in life, discipline is very important…doing certain things correctly and over a long period of time can eventually provide a very positive return on that investment of their time, money or effort?  That saving and investing a portion of their income, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and staying active and living a life true to their values, beliefs and having integrity is very important. To never give up on faith, hope and love that they all have their place and are needed.  

Wouldn’t you say to them that the world is moving very fast and as you get older you will realize how fast time truly moves by and you should not waste it but use it wisely.  Wouldn’t you tell them that learning new things, studying topics they are interested in and developing themselves throughout their life is very important in their future years and will constantly add to their lives in ways they may not understand right now. That it is never too late to learn or experience something new.  Wouldn’t you try to explain that as they got older, the knowledge and experiences they will absorb in the years to come will make their view on life different and they will be able to see so many opportunities around them they would never otherwise have seen. You might also try to explain to them that as they grow older they may also start to see and feel some regrets about not doing some of the things they should have done many years ago. 

You may also at this point try to convince them of the importance of writing things down and to draw up an actual plan of how they want their life to go; how they want their life story to unfold; what they may want from their life.  This plan for their life may help remind them and re-focus their attention to the things they may want to do now and later in life, they will really appreciate that they actually did the things that were on that plan. Also to communicate this plan to their spouse and ask them for their plans so you can both truly enjoy the lives you both want to live and merge both your plans into one.  As they grow older they will have that life plan to look back on and see where they were, what they did and didn’t do and how they got to where they are today.  They will see many of the challenges and options that were presented to them and what decisions they made and how things turned out and be able to learn from their pasts.

As you go over this with them would you not start to think and ponder to yourself why you are not doing this very thing as well right now?  You know it is never too late to start planning for tomorrow and beyond.  You know there are things in your life that you want to do, things you want to experience and there is still a person you are yet to become.  You know all this, so make your plans and live your own life story. Write down some new exiting chapters and then go live them. This is, I believe, a secret to a great life.  Always remember, it is never too late to make plans, accomplish goals and become a better you.

Make sure to leave comments about this article below.  You never know whom you might help when sharing your own life’s wisdom and by all means, have a talk with a young person and explain to them the importance of plans and executing on them. 

Here is a nice quote and wish to end with by Jonathan Swift, “May you live everyday of your life”.

 

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU™

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See Yourself as a Business & Life Professional ?

See Yourself as a Business & Life Professional?

Have you ever thought of yourself as a professional in anything? A business & life professional?  What do you do really well?  What do you want to do really well?  Do you have a passion for something specifically, an area of your life that when you are in it, you simply smile and feel good?  Do you consider yourself to be a professional in it?  Is your goal to become a professional in it?  Business & life both need professionals.  Firstly, to simply show what can be done in a certain area of life or business and how well it can be done and secondly, to work with others and help them achieve a level of professionalism in their own right.

In the book, “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, Gladwell repeatedly claims that to become an expert at something, one needs to spend approximately 10,000 hours practicing it in the correct way.  What have you done or are doing that will at some point add up to around 10,000 hours of your life (Sleeping & eating do not count)?  Is it in business or in life?  Are you at 2,000 hours?  5,000? Closing in on your 10,000?

To understand how much time this is let’s quickly look at the time involved in practicing your craft.  Let’s take 8 hours a day x 5 days per week x 52 weeks per year = 2080 hours.  Now take 2,080 x 5 years = 10,400 hours.  So if you practice your craft everyday for 8 hours per day for 5 straight years you can expect to become an expert in it.  Does an expert equal a professional?  I would think so. 

However, this articles intention is to have its readers think about becoming a professional, not an expert; becoming a professional in some sort of business or work activity and also in their own life.  Understanding that any area on which you focus on most is what materializes in your life is an important first step to developing a path toward becoming a professional or accomplishing a goal within business and life. You need to have focus on it, spend time working on it and use discipline to keep you on a path leading you toward your intended destination.  Some might consider this manifesting your reality, but this focus, time and discipline on any area of your interest will certainly improve your level of expertise in that area and if enough time is spent, you may become an expert in it as well.  Make sure you look at your choices thoroughly and chose the best path for you.

So what is it that you would, could or should be a professional at in business and life?  Considering the business side of this question first may be easier for some.  You may have worked in an industry or trade for some time and consequently have become very knowledgeable on how it works, who the movers and shakers are, what fundamentally drives it and how the puzzle pieces all go together within it.  Maybe you simply understand a specific characteristic or function within the industry or trade that marks you as a professional within it to others. Possibly you have a desire to become a professional within an industry or trade that you have little knowledge of yet, but have plans to learn, grow, focus, spend time on and use your discipline to develop skills, acquire knowledge and become a professional.  All these are good, just make sure you have an understanding of what you are doing, where you are going, are you adding value to others and are you learning new information on it for yourself as you grow as a business professional within this industry or trade.

What about the life professional?  What does this mean?  Let’s face it; you have “ONE” life to live.  You have one shot at making your one life the best you can make.  It’s up to you to become a professional at your own life.  Each of us as our own life professional has a responsibility to ourselves and to others around us to understand what makes you, the “You” professional.  Do you know what you want in your life?  Do you know your life’s purpose?  Not just any purpose mind you, “YOUR” life purpose.  What are your beliefs, your faith, your values and your morels?  This is what can make up your core.  What lifestyle do you live?  Is that the “YOU” professional you want others to see you as? Your friends… your family… your loved ones… your God?  Do you need to fine-tune your life professionalism?  Are you happy with whom you are inside?  Do you enjoy how your body feels, looks or the amount of energy it has daily?  Are you eating to live or living to eat?  Are you spending way too much time watching the world go by living vicariously as a spectator?  Watching TV, movies, sports, game shows, etc…?  Remember what we said above about what you focus on materializes in your life.  Don’t waste time sitting down and watching life go by spending 1,000’s of hours becoming an expert doing something like watching TV.  Make your life about getting involved with others, helping, sharing and truly living it.

Being the best life professional “YOU” you can be is your responsibility.  Don’t take it lightly.  Here too, you need to have a plan and focus it on personal self development, always growing who you are.  Understand what “YOU” need to do to be healthier and wiser for your own benefit and for the benefit of others.  Others depend on you being at your best; make sure your best gets better every day and then share it.  The “YOU” you are today, is your reality.  If you are overweight, out of shape, feeling down or don’t yet realize your life’s purpose, this is “YOU”.  Develop your vision of how you want to be in your future, create plans on how to make this happen, and begin your new journey.  Delays cost you time and that time cannot be replaced once gone.  The new “YOU” life professional that you can become is always in front you.  It’s the new “YOU” you can become tomorrow if you add something to the “YOU” today.

Working towards being the best business & life professional I can be is a lifestyle trait I certainly want for myself.  Sharing this trait with others and seeing them grow as well is worthy of a line item on anyone’s bucket list.  I hope you add it to yours! 

If you would like to know more about LifeLongU, please visit www.LifeLongU.com

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU

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The Attitude – The Passion – The Motivation

The Attitude – The Passion – The Motivation

In the business world and also in life, there are three words that can ultimately define who you are, what you will actually do and how successful you may be at accomplishing it.  Those words are Attitude, Passion and Motivation.  Each has its own unique meaning for each of us, however the simple dictionary meaning is:

Attitude a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something

Passion:  any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling

Motivation:  having a strong reason to act or accomplish something

 

These three simple words can have powerful effects on our feelings and ultimately in how we see the world and achieve different things in our lives.  They lay deep within each of our inner most self and can be positively or negatively triggered for our own benefit, but also for our detriment.  How well each of us understands and manages these three words can easily progress us far beyond where we may currently be in life.  Have you ever thought about what they mean to you?  How do you see the world around you? What is your attitude toward it? What do you desire?  What really is your passion?  What makes you get up early or stay up late each day or night?  What motivates you?  These are questions you may have thought about at some point in your life.  What have you done about providing a solution or simply answering the questions for yourself?

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970), a very influential writer on personal success once wrote, “Whatever a man can conceive and believe he can achieve.”  I myself do believe this with all my heart.  If the Lord provides you with the ability to conceive an idea that helps or benefits your fellow man, He will also provide the way for you to achieve its end.  It might take a while for you to accomplish it and in the end how it gets accomplished may look nothing like what you originally thought.  But if you have the right attitude, are passionate about what you are trying to do and are properly motivation to accomplish what you have set out to do, I believe it can be achieved. 

 

The Attitude:  a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something…

Have you ever heard the saying, “Your attitude determines your altitude?”  How you see things has an effect on you and where you go.  When you see someone in an RV or camper, do you wonder where they are going, what new exploration and fun awaits them; or do you wonder if they are coming home to the grind of their everyday ordinary life?  When you are in an airport, do you see everyone coming home or leaving for an exciting adventure?  These are the eye glasses of “attitude” that shape how you are viewing the world and they have an impact on your life. What pair of glasses do you have on?  Are you a glass half full or half empty type of person?  Are you always looking for more to put in or always thinking its way to full? 

A positive attitude of wanting more will tend to make you focus and see many more opportunities in the world around you.  Everyday each of us interacts with others and events happening around us which may present opportunities to do good, to help someone or maybe even create a better mousetrap that has great business potential for you and your family. 

A negative attitude, on the other hand, will make your world much smaller.  You may tend to turn your head away when opportunities present themselves.  You may move away from challenges that will make you grow and become the person you have always dreamt about being.  A negative attitude may make you trust people much less and not see the good that does exist in most people.  How would you describe attitude to your children?  What are they learning from you as they see your attitude toward others?  What advice would you give your best friend about their attitude? The way you think and see the world will impact your life and others around you, make sure it’s positive. 

 

The Passion:  any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling…

What is your passion?  A compelling positive feeling to do something is what we are discussing here.  What are you compelled to do in the world with your life?  Do you know what that is?  Are you working toward that end?  Are you feeding that passionate emotion you have to do your great thing?  Maybe writing, painting, singing, coaching or helping others are what you are passionate about?  Maybe starting a business is your passion?  Maybe you have a strong compelling emotion to help those in need in another country or make sure your family is all happy and well cared for?  Maybe you have a desire to share a belief with the world and that has become a passion?  Maybe you are passionate to simply see the world and experience all its wonders?  There are many things we can feel passionate about as you can see. 

What if you don’t know what your passion is?  What if you don’t have one?  What if you don’t know how to tell what your passions are?  A simple test at http://thepassiontest.geniusu.com/ will help you decide this.  This is a fun quick test that sorts you through 30 different passions and helps you select your top five.  I did it and it works pretty well (for me at least).  Have fun learning something new about yourself!

 

The Motivation:  having a strong reason to act or accomplish something…

I am an avid believer of listening to motivational speakers in person or on audio books.  I have quite the digital collection and use them often.  I will almost always be carrying an earpiece to listen to them on my iPhone or iPad when I am out.  Listening at the right time can get me to do things I normally may have stopped doing long ago, if I were to continue to go it alone.  It’s kind of like have a spotter when weight training…”just five more reps” the spotter may say.  They will make all the difference and they will. 

What motivates you to go the extra mile?  We are not talking about doing the things you would normally do everyday…like eating, sleeping etc., although, hunger and fatigue can certainly be motivators.  What we are talking about is going the EXTRA mile; the mile that is above and beyond the norm, the average or beyond what others do.  That is the extra that makes its special, the extra that has an impact for you.  What motivates you to do this extra? 

I have often heard a story of motivation that goes something like this:  a man is out walking and decides to take a short cut across a pasture.  Unknown to him, in this pasture is a big bad mean bull (soon to be Mr. Motivation).  He quickly sees the error of his decision, but he is too far in the pasture to make a retreat.  His only course of action is to run to a large tree and somehow jump to the lowest hanging branch (about 11 feet up) out of the reach of the bull.  The bull has now made eye contact with the man and begins to charge.  The man runs with all his strength and speed to the base of the tree and with the bull now only feet behind him makes a mighty leap up toward the branch….and misses….luckily, he catches it on the way down. 

This is motivation, wanting to go the extra mile, putting in the extra effort and is what may get you what you are looking for.  Sometimes it is negative, like with the story of the bull.  What truly motivates you?  Money?  Fame?  Love?  Family?  Success?  Fear?  No Debt?  Freedom?  Health?  A Bull?  Use it to go your extra mile, it pays off in the end.

Do you see how important these three words are?  How having the right attitude in life is?  Can you see now how when combining your positive attitude with your passions how focused your life may become?  Can you imagine the opportunities that you may be able to see and act on when doing this?  Now add in your motivations.  When you are properly motivated, doing something you are passionate about and have the right mental attitude toward it, the possibilities can be endless.  When you have all this going for you, and you drop in an idea, event or purpose, just think how gratifying it can be for you…That is the real power of these three words: attitude, passion and motivation. 

I hope you are able to align your attitude, passions and motivations toward a common goal of your choosing.  If one of the three is missing, misaligned or negative it will lessen your chance of succeeding at what you are trying to do. 

To be able to work and do something you love for the right reasons can add so much to your happiness and enjoyment in life.  I feel it’s important for each of us to learn to do this as well as teach how it can be done to others if we can.  So please continue to learn, grow and share with others.

Good luck!

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU.com

 

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Plan for Change, It Happens!

Plan for Change, It Happens! 

In the twilight of our lives, when we have lived the life our choices and decisions have brought us, both good and bad; when our creative ideas and dreams of an earlier time have given way to the comforts of a more sedentary lifestyle; when we have lost a large amount of our drive or have accepted the inevitable…at that exact point, what do you want to remember from your life?  What do you want to have succeeded at or accomplished?  What do you want to be able to do from then on?  This is why you may want to change your current lifestyle and develop a plan for  your future.

Now is the time to ask yourself some very pointed questions.  Think long and hard on your answers. 

What do you want to do with your life? 

What do you want to know? 

What do you want to see and hear?

What do you want to really have and enjoy? 

What do you want to feel and experience? 

Just who do “YOU” want to be?

In the here and now of your today, you may have to play the responsible role the decisions your past life have brought for you.  All responsible people hold themselves accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities and taking appropriate action to clean up the mistakes of their pasts (we all have them).  Responsible people learn from these mistakes and do what is right in the here and now.  Responsible people try to chart a course for an improved future, develop a plan for its accomplishment and put it into action.  But you need to develop the plan, correct?  What is your plan? 

Is your plan to simply take one day at a time and live the same today, you lived yesterday?  Without a plan, most of your days will be the same as they have been in your past.  Without realizing it, you will soon live 8, 9 or 10 years or more of mostly the same type of day.  Is this really your plan?  Most of us have heard one definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  Without a plan, without putting your plan into action, are you not doing the same thing every day and expecting a different result?  Is this not insanity?

I am sure for many of us, life simply happens and we do end up living everyday pretty much like yesterday, with the only change being the weather.  You might be telling yourself that you do not like change, that you like who you are.  However, we all must face the truth whether you like it or not, we all have to and will change.  We all age and with that brings many changes, sometimes much faster than we realize or are prepared for.  Our bodies change, internally and externally.  Our surroundings change with the new being built and the old being torn down.  Our world today is a technology world and it is filled with change.  New ways to do things and interact with each other are presented to us pretty much every month or so.  We all MUST change.  So what is your plan for change?

There is so much to experience in this world.  So many things to see, do, feel, hear, smell, taste!  What have you experienced so far?  What do you remember about it?  Would you like to enjoy more of those types of experiences?  How about something new?  The list is pretty much endless; but you have to have a plan.  You have to put it into action or your tomorrow may be about the same as your yesterday and today…except for maybe some different weather.  What is your plan for life?

LifeLongU.com helps you look at your life and break it down so you can develop a life plan that you can put into action.  Take a look and see if it can help you.  Don’t live your yesterday again tomorrow! Strive to create a new day, each and every day…that is a plan, make it part of your life plan!

Thank you and remember to “LIVE” your life, it’s the one God gave you!

Gary J. Kiecker

www.LifeLongU.com

 

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A Focused Life

 A Focused Life

How often have you really sat back and took a good look at your life and wondered if you have achieved what you set out to do many years ago?  Do you remember what your intentions, goals or dreams were 20 or more years ago?  What did you believe your “life’s purpose” to be back then?  Is that purpose still what gets you going every day?  Has it changed any?

Reflecting back on your past can be a great method to help re-align your future plans.  Looking back and weighing the pluses and minuses of your life, as you remember them, will help you understand more about yourself and allow you to use some of your wisdom to make better decisions about your future.

There are many types of people that approach this reflection differently and if two people had the exact same experiences with their past, my guess would be that each would reflect and remember it in different ways.  Each would draw different conclusions on what was a plus and what was a minus.  Each would be correct, from their perspective, but still have only one point of view, theirs.  A singular point of view is not what you may want when planning your future, is it?  This singular point of view, because of its singularity, may tend to blind you from other options that are in front of you and because of this singular thinking pattern, you may not see or acknowledge potential options.  This is not to say that after all options have been uncovered, researched and weighed, and a plan for the future is determined and put in place, that this action plan cannot become a focus and somewhat a singular point of view.  In fact, this is how big goals are achieved.

The real trick here is to combine the exploration of options, which may tend to go all over the place and consolidate them into a focused plan for your future, a somewhat singular point of view.  But also as you work this plan to achieve your goal, you keep in mind to occasionally do a broad sweep outside of your area of focus and be aware of other potential opportunities.  Tunnel vision in life or business is not a characteristic successful people have.  Successful people are also not all over the place exploring the many options that can exist in life and prove to be large distractions.  A combination of both is really the best solution.

Working with another individual to play the counter role opposite your own role can benefit you and increase the probability of your plans future success.  If you do well at exploring options, find a partner, mentor or coach to help bring the singular point of view into an actionable plan and then execute it.  If you find that you do well at a singular point of view, then find a partner that excels at uncovering options and weed through them together and develop your future plan, and then again, execute it.

When developing any type of plan for your life, make sure your plan includes the exploration of six main areas:  Spiritual, Relationships, Financial, Philanthropy, Career and Leisure.  Too much time spent on any one of these can make you extremely out of balance and have a disastrous impact on your life.  Set out to create a singular focused action plan for each of the six life categories mentioned above, but use a broad sweeping method to explore and gather what you want from life first, then summarize each, develop your plan and put it into action.  Remember to use your partner, mentor or coach to balance your thinking and your efforts.  They should provide insight outside of your normal thinking pattern and may get you through difficult times which we all face in life, whether we plan for it or not.

Good luck and enjoy your life, it’s the one God made for you!

Gary J Kiecker

www.LifeLongU.com

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The Best Man You May Ever Meet

The Best Man You May Ever Meet

When you meet any man for the first time, have you ever considered you might have just met one of the best men you may ever meet in your life? What about when they walk away after meeting you, do you think they might be wondering that very thought about you?  Is it possible, did either of you just meet one of the best men you may ever meet? Have you been trying to be such a man; a real genuine role model for others?  Where would you meet such a man?  Would you meet him in the places you frequent?  Take a minute and think about that?

I wrote this blog for my male readers, but my  female readers may find it interesting as well. A genuine man needs to ask these types of questions about himself.  In this day and age a man needs to have a high level of integrity mixed with strong moral values and actually live by them.  This makes him who he is and is no easy task to live by.   In the story of King Arthur’s court, you hear about the Knights of the Round Table and how honorable they were or tried to be?  Would you be able to live up to their code of values?  Can you be one of the best men someone may ever meet, a knight of the round table?  Wouldn’t you like to be part of this group of men?

The world seems to be filling up with men that think it is okay to lie, cheat, steal and behave dishonorably for the sake of getting ahead in business or in life.  After all, as long as you really don’t hurt anyone, this behavior seems to be somewhat okay to some men, or at least it appears that they feel the gains outway the risks of getting caught or found out about.  Others may see you and although they may not say anything, they will certainly think less of you and that should mean something, shouldn’t it?  Even if no one sees your behavior, you and the Lord will know what you did.  What does that do to your self- esteem, honor or soul long-term?

It is not easy to be the best man that someone else may ever meet.  The best man you will ever meet is thoughtful and kind to his family, friends, neighbors as well as strangers.  He turns the other cheek when affronted; yet he still knows when to stand up for himself or others who are in need.  The best man you will ever meet knows that chivalry is not dead, that women should be treated with respect and dignity.  He knows women are to be placed first, held high and honored by a man.  He knows that women and men are not equal, that each has unique characteristics that far exceed the other sex in many circumstances, and this is okay.  He knows that this would be like comparing apples and oranges and by saying they are equal or one is better than the other.  The best man you will ever meet knows his priorities and keeps them straight.  He places God first, takes care of his family next while making sure he is healthy and well-balanced in mind, body and soul so he can strive to be one of the best men you will ever meet. The best man you will ever meet is humble, he knows where his blessings come from, is thankful for them, but is also confident and uses his God-given abilities to their fullest in everything he does.  He tries to follow and uphold God’s laws, nature’s laws and the laws of man, which can be very difficult at times.

For years I have been telling my son and daughter that when facing a tough challenge in life, look at all possible solutions and 9 times out of 10, the tougher path will be the path they should choose.  That path when taken should solve their challenge and make them a stronger person for having traveled it.   When you commit to something, commit to it; when you give your word, stand by it; respect yourself and others will respect you and when faced with tough challenges, explore possibilities and strongly consider taking the tougher path and be better for it.

The world is full of men that are in leadership roles today, roles that many others look up to and admire.  Men from the entertainment industry in Hollywood, men in sports, men in politics, men in business and men in religion; all these men have many followers because of their position in life and need to set a good example.  Regardless of your position in life, you still need to set an example, you never really know who is watching you, what they might be thinking or what effect you being their role model might have on their life.

You never know who you might meet today that may walk away thinking you were one of the best men they have ever met.  Make sure to be that man.

 

Gary Kiecker

LifeLongU™

 

I strive to practice and live up to what I write about and hope it helps others online to do the same…

I welcome your comments and thoughts about this topic and invite you to visit

www.LifeLongU.com to read and learn more about a company dedicated to helping U.

 

 

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Who Was Thankful For You This Year?

 Who Was Thankful For You This Year?

Is Thanksgiving a day of the year, a state of mind, a way of life or the start of the retail shopping season?  Did you give thanks yesterday for only those blessings you have been given lately or do you give thanks for them all year around?  When you give thanks, do you thank the Lord for putting someone else in your life that had a significant impact in your life?  Have you made any significant impact in anyone else’s life?  Do you think you were on someone’s list of what they were thankful for this past year?

There are many things we all should be thankful for.  Consider if you were born in another part of the world?  Say Europe, Africa, South America or Asia?  What if you were born at a different point in time?  Say 1655 AM1 (Anno Mundi “year of the world” or 2349 BC “Before Christ”; approximately one year before the flood), 32 AD (when Jesus Christ was 32 years old, 1492 AD (Christopher Columbus finds the new world) or 1929 AD (the start of the USA Great Depression).

You were born to live at this point of time in your current location of the world for a reason.  What that reason is, only you can decide.  What you do or don’t do with your time while here, only you can determine.  If you are living your life and doing things with a focus to only improve your current situation, then you may need to broaden your scope of thinking and step into a lifestyle that includes doing things for others in need and next year you may be on a few more thankfulness lists.

When giving thanks for your blessings or when helping others to improve their situation in life, consider these LifeLongU™ Life Categories:

Career – What can you give thanks for in your career and how can you help another’s career blossom?

Financial – Are you being a good steward with what the Lord has blessed you with?  Have you given thanks for those blessings? Are you giving some back to Him?  Are you being a Good Samaritan and helping others in need?

Spiritual – Have you given thanks for being born into a Christian country and that you have the right and ability to worship and praise God openly and share his word with others?  Are you thankful for being able to freely study His word, the Bible?  How are you doing with your studies?

Relationships – We are all in many types of relationships; have you given thanks for having those relationships?  Are your managing them properly? Are you thankful for those that went before you which helped to pave the road for you to get to where you are today?

Leisure – Freedom to use our time as we see fit with either work or play is a large blessing we should never take for granted.  Have you given thanks for it?  Are you using your time wisely?  Get out and enjoy the world you live in and be thankful for it.

Philanthropy – Have you given thanks for your ability to give to others of your time, money or things?  Have others thanked you for your being there when they needed you?  It is rewarding to help others and nice to hear from others that you were able to help them.  In all things, give thanks, which is also giving.

We all have challenges in our everyday lives and may feel that they are too much for us to bear.  But many of these challenges can be viewed as opportunities by others to help you.  By allowing others to help you, you also help them.  In the upcoming years of my life, I look forward to helping others with some of their challenges and allowing myself to be helped by others.  By this mutual giving and receiving of help we can both be thankful.

We can do so much more with the blessings the Lord has giving us if we only think outside of our box.  Just to remind us what “our box” is…it’s the way we see our surroundings, the way we think about things and the way we act or take action in the world in which we live.  It’s a big big place and if we step out of our comfort zone, our box, we can certainly do more in years to come that others will be thankful for too.  I believe it is our responsibility to see our box for what it is, a grouping of self-imposed walls we put around ourselves that keep us feeling safe in our environment.  To reach our true potential we need to step out of that box and help those that we currently share the world with and they may add you to their list of things to be thankful for next year.

Why not set a goal for Thanksgiving Day, 2015 to be on at least one or more lists that others are giving thanks for.

 

Gary Kiecker

LifeLongU

LLU_New_Logo_Final_1We appreciate your comments and welcome any thoughts or questions regarding this blog or on future topics.

 

 

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Living “The Life” of 100 Years, (Part 3, Yearning)

Living “The Life” of 100 Years

Part 3 – Yearning Years

They say that hindsight is 20/20 meaning that when we look back in our life, we see much more clearly what we should have done at different points over our life; positive or negative as that may be.  More times than not, I think we tend to focus too much on decisions we made that we believe were incorrect at the time we made them and if we would have chosen a different path our current situation in life would be different.  Much better of course!

As we age and daily face different challenges and opportunities in our lives, the number of decisions we make piles up for each of us.  The negative outcomes of those decisions around doing or not doing something correctly or incorrectly in our past may be seen as regrets; based entirely from our current singular viewpoint at this time.  Regrets or disappointments about our past choices are not something we want to look back on in our life. What regrets do you have so far in your life?  Are you making better decisions today about the many tomorrows you have coming up in your future? Are you using your past to make a better tomorrow for you and for your family?

The simple truth is that today is the day that you create your yesterday.  Tomorrow, you will look back at this very point in time which will be in your past. With this simple passing of time, the quiet rotation of the hour hand on a clock, those things you do today will soon be in your past and you will be looking back at them tomorrow.  Make sure tomorrow, you do not regret what you did or did not do today.   Make sure your today matters!  Deep isn’t it?  It should be, after all, this is “Your” life.

This blog “Yearning Years“ is part 3 of a three part series titled, Living “The Life” of 100 Years.  It follows part 1, “Learning Years” and part 2 “Earning Years” published earlier on www.LifeLongU.com .

The series is intended to show that over the course of our life, hopefully around 100 years or so, most of us live through three different phases.

The first phase is “Learning” and covers about the first 35 years of our life.  Here we learn how to take care of ourselves, our families, strengthen our body, sharpen our mind, ponder our soul and how best to interact with others.  In this phase we learn how to think and learn how to do many different things.

The second phase is “Earning” and covers the middle part of our 100 year life or about age 35 to 65 years or so.  In this phase, our life becomes more focused on earning by applying what we learned in our earlier years.  In this phase the better you apply what you have learned may impact your earning potential greatly.  Obviously, money is not everything, but we should earn to our true God-given potential and use those blessings for His intended purposes. Our learning never really stops in life, whether in school or in our daily lives, applying your knowledge or making educated decisions while taking action are what matters.  Learn from your mistakes.  Positive action is what moves us forward, increasing opportunities for growth of all kinds in our lives.  Amassed and unutilized knowledge can lead to arrogance and waste.

The third phase is “Yearning” and it covers the last portion of our life; those years after we leave the earning phase, typically after 65 years or retirement.  In this phase, if we learned well in our learning phase and applied what we learned during our earning phase, our yearning phase could be filled with many possibilities. The yearning phase is about fulfilling your true life purpose, completing those things you have not done and always wanted to do, about coming to understand that all things come to an end and how will you enjoy your final years.  It’s also about surrounding yourself with family, friends and memories.  Since you tend to have more discretionary time, it’s about giving back to others and sharing your wisdom, wealth and efforts.

This phase can also hold the most fear for us; although we each deal with it differently.  The thoughts of aging, not having adequate funds to do what we always wanted to do, the chance of poor health affecting our inability to do what we always wanted to do and the loneliness because of loss of loved ones, friends and family members all affect this phase. Some of these will most certainly happen to each of us and that is not something we want to dwell on, but is a fact of life.

Make sure that today matters.  Make sure that when your days are piled on top of each other, the combined total of what you did with them supplies you with what you want from life.  Take responsibility for your life.  Make sure that you have a plan for your life, that you use what you have learned and recognize that you may not know it all and may need help in some areas.  Make sure you take action and seek out those that want to help and get their help.  Don’t enter the “Yearning” phase filled with regrets but prepare to enter it with eagerness and truly Living “The Life” of 100 Years.

 

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU.com

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Living “The Life” of 100 Years, (Part 2, Earning)

Living “The Life” of 100 Years

Part 2, Earning Years

 

Last week I posted part one “Learning Years” of a three part series called Living “The Life” of 100 Years. This week we continue with “Earning Years”, the next 35 years of our 100 year life.

Have you ever considered living a lifetime of 100 years?  What does it really take to do such a life feat?  What type of planning should be involved?  You may think you will never live that long, but what if you do?  What if the Lord blesses you with long life?  Will you be ready for your golden years, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially?  Have you been using your knowledge to improve your earnings in life so far, or have you simply taken a job to collect a paycheck and allow life to happen to you?

We tend to spend a lot of our time predominately focused on generating income and accumulating wealth since it is the time when most of us are at our peak earning years, from 35 to just around 70.  As we enter the “Earning Years” phase many of us have completed a desired level of schooling, have an education in our intended field of interest along with a fair amount of work experience in an industry we have sought out or ended up in.  In any case, as we move through our 30’s and 40’s, we have a value to offer the job market, and the job market has an amount it will reward us with.  Hopefully, the job market reward is equal to or higher than our own calculated value.

In today’s job market, which has become global, we now have a lot of competition from around our own geographic area as well as around the world.  Jobs that have been around for many years may be gone, may have relocated or the skills needed to do them have dramatically changed and may continue to change.  While we are in our “Earning Years”, we need to continue our learning and educating ourselves with new skills that keep us competitive and make us more desirable in the job market, or risk the value we bring to the job market and therefore risk a decrease in our earnings.  This tends to happen as we age.  The younger individuals entering the job market simply have more modern skills needed by business, while the older generation’s skills, although impressive, become less valuable because the job market now needs the more modern skills learned and offered by a younger generation.  Consequently, as we age, we may find our earning power decrease in value because of new skills required (which we may not have learned or bothered to add to our skills inventory) and also because there will be more unemployed individuals applying for those fewer jobs of old.  It becomes pure supply and demand; fewer jobs with more qualified applicants willing to settle for less value drives down the amount the job market offers for a position, and you end up making less.

Since the “Earning Years” is a bell curve rising in the third and fourth decades of our life, and falling in the sixth and seventh, it is very important to plan during this feast of earnings time.  If you fail to focus on putting away some of your gains during this phase, your “Yearning Years” may be filled with a lot of regret.

Working in your career is only one way to earn.  Can you think of any others?  Individuals that are truly successful in this phase of their life learn to multiply their earning potential by adding additional streams of income.  Some have a second or even a third job, some develop a hobby and learn to make extra income from it, some purchase real estate and learn the fix, flip and rental business, others may simply start a small business and still others may find extra money to invest in someone else’s start-up or ongoing successful enterprise.

One key element to be aware of with developing any of these additional streams of income is your time.  If you work a second or third job, obviously, you need to be there in order to get paid.  There are only so many hours in a day and assuming you need to sleep, your earnings will be limited by the amount of time you can effectively work at adding value.  Likewise with a hobby, you need to do the work, unless you can turn it into a small business; and by small business, I mean create a product or service that makes you more than just an hourly wage.  Your small business needs to create income for you (the owner) without you working in it all day, every day.

If you intend to develop additional streams of income and want to work less and make more you will need to focus on products and services that add value to a customer, and allow profit for you (the owner).   Focus on businesses that have the potential to create wealth for you in multiple ways.

Take real estate rental property for instance…you purchase a property, fix it up and rent it out.  Assume in this simple example you have a positive cash flow situation, a long-term low maintenance renter and a strong housing market. Over time, the rents collected pay off the mortgage on the property; increasing your equity (which is value to you) leaving you with a little extra cash each month (which is value to you) and the property appreciates in market value (which again, is value to you).  With an example like this, market timing and deal structure are very important as well as the amount of time you have to consistently work to maintain this income stream.  This is one example of creating an income stream that can generate wealth in several different ways while you still work your career or job.

A different example can be a small business.  If you start and build a small business, you may find that certain small businesses can provide you with a salary which replaces your current job; it may also supply many benefits and perks that replace existing expenses you may now be paying for out of your current jobs paycheck; if successfully run, it can provide additional profits to you (the owner) besides your normal paycheck; and again if successfully run, it may provide you with more time to do other things during your day besides work;  or you may be able to sell the business, it’s equipment, buildings and other assets at some point for a large cash payout to do with as you choose.  Small business is a good way for many individuals to grow their earnings and wealth doing nothing more than getting up and working everyday…isn’t that what you are doing anyway?

The United States of America is still a land of opportunity.  You can live here, work, receive a competitive wage for the value you provide and live a better than average life (when compared to the world at large).  You can own multiple pieces of property that can over time increase your earnings and wealth.  You can start, own, run and sell a small business that will also increase your earnings and wealth.

But to do this, it takes planning.  It takes some additional resources that you may not be comfortable or knowledgeable in using.  It takes others that have those skills to advise, coach and mentor you.  It takes you to want to maximize your “Earning Years” now, knowing that they will decrease over the years to come.

If you think it may be too late to start a business, consider what can happen over a short span of time:

Twitter is 8 years old, Market Cap Value of over $24 Billion

Facebook is 10 years old, Market Cap Value of over $207 Billion

LinkedIn is 12 years old, Market Cap Value of over $29 Billion

Google is 16 years old, Market Cap Value of over $373 Billion

Sitting down and constructing a life plan at this point in your life will be very helpful to you and your future.  A life plan and the right professional coach will help you learn to earn more in your “Earning Years” phase and provide a more disciplined structure for staying focused as well as persisting through difficult times.

Are you in your “Earning Years” phase?  How much are you earning?  How many income streams do you have coming in?  What is your potential to add more?  Why haven’t you done this already?  Where will you be 10 years from now (don’t forget about Facebook and Twitter, both are under 10 years old)?  Let’s not have any regrets as we age…

Next week we conclude this three part series, Living “The Life” of 100 years with part three, “Yearning Years”.

 

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU™

 

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Living “The Life” of 100 Years, (Part 1, Learning)

Living “The Life” of 100 Years

Part 1, Learning Years

 

Have you ever considered living a life time of 100 years?  What does it really take to do such a life feat?  What type of planning should be involved?  You may think you will never live that long, but what if you do?  What if the Lord blesses you with long life?  Will you be ready for your golden years, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially?  Have you been applying the knowledge you learned in life to improve your life so far?

100 years is 36,525 days (365.25 days in a year x 100 yrs). Even in today’s terms, that is a long time.  However in an earlier time, a time discussed in detail in the Bible, individuals lived much longer.  In Genesis 5:27, the Bible says, “Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died”; Methuselah, being one of the oldest long lived men on record, if not the oldest.  Can you just imagine the type of planning that would be needed to live that long in today’s time?

Consider also, that God later in Genesis 6:3 mentions man should live to be approximately 120 years old.  Given that information, along with living a healthy lifestyle, consistently working daily at some God pleasing task and being assisted with the correct balance of pharmaceuticals it is very likely we may live close to being 100 if not longer and we should all plan accordingly.  What is your life long plan for your future?

How foolish is the thought of retiring at the age of 65 when you consider possibly living to the age of 100…much less 969.  It is true that many of us do not make it that long, but what if you do?  An article appearing on the Huffington Post website in November, 2013 at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/21/us-life-expectancy-oecd_n_4317367.html  tells today’s story of long life and to what age men and women are living too on average, around the world.  In the USA, women average around 81 years and men around 76 years and increasing year by year.

As I write this article, I have two children that have both completed over ¼ of their 100 year life; they are still in what the life line above shows as the “Learning Years”.  I myself have completed ½ of my 100 year life and am in what the life line above refers to as “Earning Years”.  Both my parents have almost completed ¾’s of their 100 year life and are just entering their “Yearning Years” phase.  Depending to what age we actually will live too, we will move through all phases mentioned above; starting on the far left with learning, then moving right to earning, then still farther right to yearning.

In the “Learning Years” we spend much of our first 30 or so years learning; first from our parents, then from teachers and educational organizations and then on our own.  Our first 10 years of life, our first decade, is spent heavily under our parents constant care. Here our learning starts with very simple life skills and communication and then progresses as fast as our parents and educators will teach us.  In our second decade, from 10 – 20 years, we start our process of moving beyond our parents care and their education and on to others ideas and concepts.  Here we begin to have a glimpse of whom we think we may become.  Our first 20 years of life, although viewed by ourselves as our entire life at that age, is really small and somewhat insignificant when compared to whom we may really be in the world as we age.  We simply may not be aware of this yet and may not fully see our potential for many more years.  By the time we hit our next decade, the 20-30’s, we are young adults and the childishness falls away from “most” of us and the world takes a firm hold of our life.  Many of us are still learning…learning about the opposite sex, serious dating, marriage, owning a home, having children and raising a family, a full time job or career, sharing and balancing our finances and how to handle our many responsibilities;  but still learning.

This learning phase is very important.  An education comes from many areas and not only from schools.  In today’s time, we can literally learn almost anything we would like and have the aptitude for.  The knowledge we learn is important, but applying what we learn is more important and persistence in applying what we learn more important still.  Many of us have failed to learn why we learn in the first place and then how to apply what we did learn.  Failing to apply what we learn, not applying discipline in our lives and not finishing something once we start it will have major impacts as we age and move through the upcoming decades of our 100 year life.  To live a successful life, we simply must have the discipline to apply what we learn and be persistent on obtaining those life goals that matter to us.

Sitting down and constructing a life plan at this point in your life will be very helpful to you and your future.  Continuously working on a life plan from year to year with professionals throughout your life after the age of 25 or so can help you have an even more successful impact.  A life plan and use of professional coaches will help you apply what you learned and provide a more disciplined structure for staying focused as well as persisting when things get difficult.  A disciplined focus and attention to what matters most will help you with your relationships, assist you in building a retirement nest egg and provide balance in all other areas of your life (spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally), while creating positive memories and joy in your life.

I look at the 100 life line and see where I was 25 years ago (where my children are now – learning) and where I may be 25 years in the future (where my parents are now – yearning) and ponder how best to advise my children, learn from my parents and continue to apply what I have learned so far in my own life.

Are you applying what you have learned to improve your own life?  Are you learning from your parent’s successes and mistakes?  Are you still advising your children on suggested paths they can take, or not take?

Next week we continue this three part series, Living “The Life” of 100 years with part two, “Earning Years”.

 

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU™