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Best Investment Advice

As of the time this blog is being written, the stock market is in the “green” and all is looking good for an incredible finish to a record breaking year for the American stock market. This has certainly been a historical year for the stock market and the American economy as a whole. As most everyone knows, stock markets around the world reflect, to a tremendous degree, the impact and value of investments that have been made in companies, new innovations, and inventions throughout the year.



We frequently hear comments around this time each year about how quickly the year went by. “Where in the world did the year go?” “I can’t believe the year went by this quickly!” “Where did time go?” The fact of the matter is that life moves along at a breakneck pace and seems to pick up speed all the time. Most of us will certainly find this to be the case as we get older.

However, now may be a good time to call a strategic “timeout” to assess our success this year. In other words, how do we think we have performed in all facets of our life throughout the year? This assessment should include all areas that are of major importance to us personally and professionally. Our discussion today will focus on the importance of taking a strategic timeout to do two things which can lead to success.


How to Achieve Positive Intelligence

Most of us have likely used a Burt’s Bees product at some point over the past 10 – 15 years. Burt’s Bees is a personal-care products company that was founded in 1984 in Maine and is now headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. Burt’s Bees was purchased by the Clorox Company in 2007 for a whopping $925 million in cash. Its original, “flagship” product was the famous Burt’s Bees lip balm which led to the company growing its unique personal-care products line globally. Burt’s Bees has now expanded its footprint into 19 different countries. A consumer can find Burt’s Bees products in most supermarkets, pharmacies, and even restaurants.

I recently read an article from the September 18, 2017 Encouragement Wired newsletter that talked about the high pressure growth environment that Burt’s Bees was able to successfully manage. In many companies, a high growth scenario means numerous meetings, flooded e-mail boxes, and constant urgent demands. The Burt’s Bees team has been able to successfully avoid operating in the expected “state of high anxiety” environment which tends to effect a group’s problem solving capabilities. The secret to this success has been an encouragement for Burt’s Bees employees to work with a positive mind-set. Research shows that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level related to productivity, creativity, and engagement – improves. Most individuals equate a positive mindset with personal happiness which is the assumption that we’ll take in this blog. By the way, this will be the first of four blogs related to achieving what is called “Positive Intelligence.”


Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

The older I get the more I think about all the “small stuff I have sweated” about over the years. These are the things that at one time seemed to be tremendously important and major priorities for me. At particular times of my life, some of these things actually were priorities. However, when looking back over the years (hindsight is always 20/20), I now realize that those “old” priorities turned out not meaning a thing in terms of their lifetime value to me or to others. In essence they were only insignificant, inconsequential things (small stuff) that I unnecessarily worried about at the time.

I recently read a fantastic book by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Men. This book identified fifty-two simple things that we can do to minimize stress in today’s mega-busy, tech-driven environment. A side note here is that Dr. Carlson has authored several “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” books that have become bestsellers. For today’s blog, we won’t have time to talk about all fifty-two things Dr. Carlson identifies. We will cover just a few of the most significant “takeaways” that I feel are most applicable to each of us:


7 Things Successful People Do Before 7:30 AM

There are people from all walks of life whom we consider to be successful in whatever way we personally may define success. When you study these individuals and how they manage their lives, many times you’ll find interesting things they do that set them apart from others. First of all, their confidence in the face of hardships is driven by their ability to let go of the negativity that holds so many individuals back from being successful. It seems that successful individuals are those who in many ways thrive on facing obstacles and how they overcome them. Their mantra in life could be summed of with “Obstacles do not block the path; they are the path.”

This perspective helps successful people think differently from most everyone else. This unique way of thinking is important because, if you think like everyone else, no matter how smart or talented you are, you will hit the same “ceiling.” By thinking outside the box and being different (going against the grain), successful people are on track to rise above their limitations. So let’s take a look at some of the ways that successful people go against the grain.


One Degree Can Make A Difference

At 211 degrees…water is hot.
At 212 degrees…it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotive.
And, it’s that one extra degree that…
Makes all the difference.

How many of us ever really consider what is takes to be just a little bit better at work, in our relationships, at a hobby, etc.? Honestly, many of us probably dream about making major improvements in our lives without ever achieving many of those dreams. The reason for this may be that our dreams are unrealistic or that we never take the necessary steps to begin and follow-through with achieving our dreams. Maybe we are intimidated by taking those first steps to improve or believe that the final destination is unreachable because the journey is too difficult.


How to Effectively Communicate With Your Medical Team

The older I get, the more I realize that almost all progress in life is not accomplished by individuals but by teams. We hear about the achievements of business superstars such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg on an ongoing basis. What we don’t hear about is that the achievement of these individuals is due primarily to their respective teams. These are the groups of individuals who work in concert with each other to see visions, ideas, and projects through to completion for miraculous results. Of course, someone had to dream and communicate the vision of what in their own mind was possible. This is where much credit can be given to Musk, Bezos, and Zuckerberg.

The ability to lead teams and draw out the best in teams is a tremendous talent to have. Additionally, the ability to effectively facilitate communication within a team can quickly identify someone as a superstar leader. This team could be as diverse as a church group, a volunteer community organization, or a committee/task force within a corporate setting. Regardless of what type of team we may be a part of, we know that effective communication is essential. Without it, the team’s goals could be misunderstood, its efforts uncoordinated, and eventually ineffective communication could lead to extreme frustration with little to no hope of achieving the desired cohesive final result. We all know that communication is a good thing. However, when we are working with a group of people—rather than in a one-on-one setting—there are unique challenges and strategies to consider.


Diamonds are formed when carbon is placed under an immense amount of pressure which equals 725,000 pounds per square inch. This is incredible! How can something so amazingly beautiful and treasured result from a process, that on the surface, appears to be very destructive. When you think about it, this is a fantastic example of how we as humans can turn our daily pressures into something positive.

Most of us experience pressure throughout our daily lives. If someone were to say that they were not under any pressure at all, they could very well be untruthful. Let’s be honest that a majority of us deal with pressures related to family, job, finances, health, career expectations, etc. The list here could be very lengthy for some individuals.


There is a famous French story, “The Little Prince,” that tells the story about a fox that becomes the best friend of a young prince. When the fox must leave the prince forever, he offers to tell the prince the world’s most wonderful secret if the prince meets certain conditions. The little prince agrees, does what is expected and then asks to be told the most wonderful secret. The fox responded by saying, “Only that which is invisible is essential.”
The most valuable things in life cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some of these are love, friendship, honor, integrity, trust, respect, hope, compassion, and values. Today, let’s talk about values and why values are so important to who we are and what we do (the decisions we make and actions we take). The best place to start is with the definition of values. In my mind, values are those critical beliefs and principles that guide us as we take action. They are non-negotiable principles that guide our everyday lives. Sometimes our personal set of values is called our “moral compass”. Additionally, values certainly give meaning to our lives. Individuals have values whether they be good or bad. Hopefully, your own personal values are decent and good. Some people have values that lead to evil and disaster. Nations, businesses, and organizations of all types have values.


How many of us always have great days? I suppose that how we define a “great” day is subjective depending on what a great day means to each of us individually. More often I find myself hearing people say in response to their day, “Well today, at least I’m vertical” or “I’m on the right side of the grass.” I usually find these kinds of responses really humorous, but a little sad.

One thing that I am beginning to value more often is time. I am realizing that time is the one gift we receive that is so incredibly valuable. Our days consist of 24 hours of time which must be used wisely. How horrible it would be to live each day in a state of sadness or despair. However, we all have “bad” days from time to time. It’s all a part of life, and each of us face irritations throughout the day. Traffic congestion, poor customer service, car problems, a difficult person that we’re dealing with, etc. can cause us to think that this is turning out to be a really bad day.