Think Prosperously, Behave Frugally

Positive Thinking Tip: optimism will lead you to financial solutions, but be smart and live responsibly in the here and now.

Here is a question from one of my readers that I thought was worthwhile to share with  you.

Question:

How do you think, especially speak, feel, and act as though you are rich, and…

A. not spend money you don’t have?

B. still give positive responses as though the money is here now to people asking you to do things you don’t have the money for???

How do you “feel” like the money is here now, when you see something you want to buy, and can’t responsibly do that?

My Answer:

You can accomplish the “feel” task during a quiet moment of meditation – a finite length of time. Sometimes I’ll just go lay down for a nap and let myself daydream and feel the abundance I’m hoping for, and allow my mind to experience its reality, even if it is just for a few minutes. That’s planting the seed, and turning it over to the subconscious.

Then when you’re back to life as usual, behave responsibly. Say no when an irresponsible purchase is tempting you. Determine the difference between an irresponsible purchase and one that may lead you to the solutions you are searching for.

If you have planted the seed, then you will be led to opportunities, and there may be a twinge of fear in taking advantage of them, but it is a different kind of fear than the kind that accompanies frivolous purchases. Deep down, if you have a clear vision of where you ultimately want to be, you’ll know the difference. If it’s the kind of fear that prevents your progression, then it is worth facing. If it is the kind of fear that protects you from making a mistake, then pay attention to it.

How can you know the difference? If you spend the time visualizing and feeling like I’ve suggested, then when the fear comes, you’ll know in your gut which kind it is.

Out of all I’ve just said, the part that most people will NEVER do is to take the time to daydream, visualize, and FEEL, and approach it like a task on their to-do list. Do it, then check it off, and watch for the opportunities to come. Do it, and notice how much more clearly it is to discern a distraction or trap from an opportunity.

When you get confused or fearful, do it again, check it off, and move your feet forward, expecting clarity to come as you go.

Be smart with your spending, only live abundantly in your mind, enjoying the “experience” of virtual prosperity, but then live life as normal. In time, circumstances will re-arrange themselves to open the right doors and bring you the right opportunities, until reality can reflect the images of your thoughts.

Above all, stick to sound principles. We got caught a big debt trap several years ago even after learning these principles, because we got too excited about changing things too quickly. It was a painful lesson to learn, so now I discourage you from using credit to purchase my trainings or products. I’ll tell you instead to read The Jackrabbit Factor FREE, and do what it teaches to obtain the money you need.

I strongly advise you to give 10% to charity and save 10% of your earnings as well, no matter what you make. If you can’t, then get another or better job, or cut back on your lifestyle. Yes, I just said that.

Build a solid financial foundation. Do the hard things now on the way to your dream. Establish sound financial habits that will follow you into prosperity. If you are careless with the little money, you’ll be careless with the big money. It happened to us. It’s pretty much a law of nature: human nature.

Pay attention to the market trends and don’t get caught up in the frenzies. There will always be ups and downs. And ups. If you missed a window of opportunity, just put your life and house in order so that you’ll be ready for the next one. Practice delayed gratification.

You might be surprised to know that we are not paying for our children’s educations – we’re teaching them that they will need to earn the money or get scholarships. We are teaching them to avoid debt like the plague, even for their education. So far so good. I hope they stick to it, even if it takes them longer to finish. I tell them to sacrifice, work, think long term, and watch the opportunities come. I believe God honors and blesses those who practice wisdom.

He also lets us do stupid things, so trust me – be wise. Be the weird one in your circle of friends who doesn’t have all the luxuries, because you’re working a long-term plan. As the old adage goes, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

All the while, practice the principles of right-thinking. Have faith. Think optimistically. Create a vision for where you’re going. Trust in the Law of Rhythm, and the Law of Polarity, and the Law of Vibration, especially. Read all about these laws FREE, here.

When you’re out shopping with your kids and they beg you to buy something, don’t say, “I can’t.” Instead say, “I choose not to spend my money on that.” Speak to empower. Even if you can’t afford it, your mind will hear and feel the response  “I choose” differently than “I can’t.” And it time, you’ll see the effects. When the words you speak are in line with correct principles, your life can’t help but begin to move in a better direction. Originally published September 12, 2006

Related: To Debt or Not To Debt. Learn how the way you feel about the purchase can also affect the overall outcome.

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Getting Out of Debt

If you’re having trouble staying out of debt, try this on for size:

Perhaps getting out of debt should not be the goal, but something you do on the WAY to a goal.

If getting out of debt is your goal, you may inadvertently condition your subconscious mind to work continually on filling the proverbial hole. When it sees that the goal is nearly accomplished, it can sometimes automatically look for more “holes” to fill. With constant thoughts about debt, and especially with the exhilaration that comes from paying it off,  you can literally train it to pay off debt like a machine.

But when you get to the point that there is no more debt to pay, and if there is nothing else in mind that has already carried more emotion and focus, your subconscious mind panics. It doesn’t know what to do next. So by default, it helps you out – by making sure you never run out of debt to pay!

Think about it.

More debt, complimentary of your own subconscious mind. By your own training!

Without living by effective goal setting principles, and understanding the importance of word selection in your goal statement and how to give your subconscious mind commands that won’t backfire, reaching your ultimate goal can be very difficult.

Reduce expenses where you can, look for ways to make more money, and consider using a percentage approach to your debt reduction strategy. When you start earning more than your basic expenses require, decide on a percentage of the excess to be applied toward your debt, and another percentage to be applied to your other ‘after debt’ goals. Then, as you focus on achieving the fun or meaningful goals, your debt elimination goals will happen automatically.

For more on this topic, read The Jackrabbit Factor.Originally published August 28, 2005.

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“Something’s Gotta Change”

I didn’t think it would take me this long to get back to the story of why I dropped off the map in May, but it’s been on my mind each day because of the FLOOD of feedback I received from my last post.

Part of my hesitation (besides not finding enough time to just knock it out) has been trying to decide which details and how much to share, because to share it all would only leave me time to live HALF a life.

One thing I’ve learned about life is that there’s always something more to learn – it’s a curse and a blessing all wrapped into one. You can never coast too long without life delivering a challenge with a call to grow, learn, and improve some more.

Having come to terms with our financial mistakes in 2006, it was time to put the principles back to the test, prove them true again, and conquer. My message during that time evolved, from “You can prosper!!” to “Profiting From your Losses” and “Making Sense out of Setbacks”. I found it much easier to address these topics because they had become the new theme for my life.

My best blog posts during those years were the ones I wrote to coach MYSELF through the traumas from which I was trying to recover. Turns out my BEST epiphanies and most popular posts were the ones born from my toughest moments.  I constantly worked to view my challenges the way I had been teaching others to view theirs, and where the “basic” principles introduced in Jackrabbit Factor didn’t seem to adequately address what I faced in those moments, I found new principles and remedies to help me cope.

Jackrabbit Factor is still an important primer, but the good stuff is in Portal to Genius. (Read the truth about Portal to Genius). It gave me a platform to show through fictional characters how to turn things around when you’re too tired or too cynical to apply the principles you learn in Jackrabbit.

It allowed me to answer my own question, “Do the challenges ever stop?” and gave me a place to show how you can find new purpose that can inspire you to move through despair.

Ultimately, I discovered a satisfactory answer to why the law of attraction stops working. Beyond that, I was excited to work into the book an illustration of what it’s like to be led to the principles because you want abundance, but ultimately finding out what other good and worthy purpose the enticement perhaps is really for.

Not quite ready to go public with our personal challenges (outside of weaving them into a fictional story), I shared my lessons learned since writing Jackrabbit only with a small section of my readers, requiring that they jump through some extra hoops to get to them. I told them how we had used up our savings, and had run out of available credit. I described how it felt to finally get to the end of our visible resources, and the “portal to genius” we discovered there*.

*After getting down to our last $200 with no other paycheck in sight, we were shown through a spark of genius (inspiration) how to solve our problem.  We became conscious of some of our hidden resources, and pulled in more than $43,000 that month. We even had another similar month after that.

Finally, I had the fodder I needed to complete the book Portal to Genius.

My favorite epiphanies over the years that brought us to that success are now gathered in the Top 47 list shown on the right sidebar of this page. The list isn’t complete because I haven’t had time to go back through and tag all my posts yet, but that’s where you’ll find some other amazing insights that helped me tremendously when it appeared we were doomed to lose everything… and the good news is, no, we didn’t end up losing everything.

(The new inflow got us caught up, but it wasn’t enough to repay our debts. It gave me renewed confidence in the principles, but we still had a long row to hoe.)

While tomorrow will certainly bring new challenges, and while I continue to learn how to roll with the punches, I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned so far, for the person I’m becoming through the challenges, and for the tender mercies of the Lord that assure me He is still mindful of me and my family, even in our failings. His hand in our life has kept us going from day to day. Can you say, “manna”?

Sorry – it’s so hard not to go off on tangents here.  Back to the story (of why I disappeared in May.)

After the book was out, and in the summer of 2010 I reconnected with Kirk Duncan. I was a student who was ready for the next teacher to appear, and there he was. Although we had known each other for a few years already (because I had been invited to speak to his organization a couple times), I really hadn’t known who HE was or what I needed to learn from him.  For sake of focus, that whole story will have to be shared another time.

I attended his Body Language Show, and his Master of Influence class, and something was re-ignited in me. I caught a vision of what more I could be doing to see even better results. Not only was I going to throw myself into the application of what I learned from him through our mentoring sessions, but I also decided to step it up and get busy actively putting on workshops again and generating new momentum for my business with the more sober, more refined, and more mature message I now had to share.

I thought:

Perhaps I had finally turned the corner and I would start seeing more of an increase over and above the much appreciated physical, emotional, and spiritual manna on which we’d been surviving.

Perhaps it was time to stop holding back, fearful of taking too much time away from my family, and just GET IT DONE (get our debts paid back).

So that’s what I did. I gave my website a face lift, filled up the calendar with a year full of events, and went to work.  The demand began to grow as the momentum increased, until spring of this year (2011) when I found myself flying out for an event nearly every weekend.

Kids? What kids. I didn’t have time to really stay connected with who they were and what they were going through. They didn’t like it, but they were willing to support the cause. We all pulled together to make it work, with the promise that it would mean we could get our debts paid once and for all and ultimately return to a more sustainable pace with normal family routines and a little more freedom to get and do more of what they wanted.

Despite one event in March, which was one of my worst ever (and about which I’m still embarrassed), I had a GREAT time on the Book Writing Retreat (because it was a retreat, after all), but by the end of May, I was figuratively black and blue from being away from home so frequently.

I knew something had to change by the time I spoke for Garrett Gunderson’s big Financial Enlightenment event with several hundred people, because I was so visibly weary that when it was over, some of the other speakers (and even quite a few participants) approached me with pity and hoped to help ME however they could.

I had lost my “beacon in the fog”. I could no longer envision a single reward in my future that was worth putting myself through this.

What made matters worse, was when I finally sat down to see how effective the year’s strategy had been, the revenue was only about a 4% increase over the previous year when I had kept a more reasonable schedule, doing most of my work online.

That was the final straw. Again, here was my “proof” that no matter what I did, the laws must be in suspend mode, and my results were probably just going to continue to be like manna, and manna alone.

I concluded, if I’m just going to be living on manna either way, what the heck am I trying so hard for? That’s when I began to seriously consider bankruptcy for the first time.

With the debts we had accrued (by trying to hold our bad real estate investments for far too long), and in spite of the steady annual growth we had been experiencing in our books / seminar business, the revenues had not been large enough to get rid of (or even make much progress toward) the heavy debt load. On paper, we were an easy case for bankruptcy.

Need I mention, our relationship was strained? My husband had left his job in 2005 to help me in the business, and over time his work building and maintaining our online school had become a full-time venture. Within about two years he replaced his income, so it made sense to keep at it.  At least working on our business promised an unlimited income, while his previous job definitely had a ceiling.

The problem with this arrangement was that we had to pay for our own insurance (expensive), we were maxed out for time and couldn’t add another thing to our plate even if it meant earning more money, and even though he worked as much as 12-14 hours a day, there was no paycheck specifically with his name on it.

Not a big deal; we’re in this together and we share the business profits, but in my moments of weariness and despair, it was easy to latch on to the distorted notion that he wasn’t doing enough to solve our problem.

It often felt like I was shouldering the whole load because I was the one traveling, and that he had nothing really concrete to show for his fill-all-the-gaps-and-keep-things-running contribution.  While I knew consciously that if he stopped what he was doing, it would probably all break down, it wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling like a major victim in the world of my own creation.

We had a number of meetings with several different mentors – marriage advice, money advice, business development advice – and some pretty ugly conversations between each other. Deep down we both believed we’d ultimately work it out, but at times we couldn’t see how it could be possible.

With some excellent advice to me from Dino Watt, (founder of the Business of Marriage), I gathered the strength to have a specific kind of conversation with my husband. That was the beginning of the much-needed surgery to address the root of our problem, remove the cancer from our relationship and heal the necessary incision. I had to remember that on the way to success, sometimes surgery is required, and in the middle of it, it would appear there has been a murder in the room. In reality though, sometimes surgery is necessary to save a life.

Through this process, which spanned many weeks, I got a good look at who I had become in the mad race to fix our mess, and I didn’t like what I saw. I couldn’t feel any more. I was numb, and ready to do whatever was necessary to find a pace I could live with. I didn’t care if it meant going back to square one and making sure that this time, the ladder was leaning on the right wall.

I’m a traditional sort of girl. My husband is a traditional sort of guy. We both want to fill the traditional roles where he is the provider and I am the nurturer. That had always been our plan and our intent, but somehow we had ended up in circumstances that appeared to be opposite of what either of us had ever wanted.

To rock the boat now, I felt like I was rebelling against God. Here I had felt led all those years to do what I had done, but I had no more strength left to continue. I was done. I didn’t care if it meant we’d end up in a shack. I was ready to let go, and NOT be tempted to pick it all up again.

This was the first time I didn’t really seek approval from God to stop; I was outright mad at Him for stringing me out so long, and wasn’t really interested in his opinion on the matter any more.

At the same time, I knew I was cutting myself off from his inspired solutions, and hardening my heart.  But it just hurt too much to respond in any other way.

It wasn’t long before I started noticing some interesting things going on around me. I can’t really share all that transpired, but within just a few days, I had multiple encounters with people who said or did things that got me thinking differently.  Through these experiences, I learned with certainty that the Lord understood what I was going through, that He had compassion on me, and that it was “complete”.

What was complete?  Did I hear someone say, “It’s complete”??

The words “It’s complete” repeated in my mind twice nearly audibly, and many times more as I reflected upon their initial arrival. Accompanying those words was a feeling of peace, and tenderness. I knew they were not of my own invention, because I was already convinced that I was jumping off a ship I should have been steering. But no, this impression let me know that God was still at the helm of my life, and that everything was playing out just as it was supposed to be.

Could God really be that merciful? Now? Even in spite of my bitterness?

I still get choked up as I think about it.

I was in awe. Even as angry as I had been, He put people in my path, inspired some conversations, and prepared my heart to hear and recognize his confirmation to me that this child of His was throwing an unnecessary tantrum.

In one meeting with my bishop (who is like a pastor or minister in my church), he listened, counseled me, and then knowing how hard-hearted I said I must be, he left me with this verse: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God…”  Romans 8:38-39

In other words, not even my bitterness was separating me from His love. Suddenly, He didn’t feel so far away to me anymore.

In time, I had to smile, because I realized that, had I bothered to ask His opinion, I may have discovered that these changes were sanctioned all along, and that, in fact, I was not rebelling at all. Turns out the changes I was “selfishly” making for my own self-preservation were actually necessary for His purposes as well.

How mysterious are the works of God. That’s all I have to say about that.

That night I had a dream. It was a recurring dream that I’ve had for many years, so it didn’t really surprise me when it began. I think I’ve had it enough that I know I’m dreaming as it happens, but it still always has to play out nonetheless.

Generally, I find myself on a campus, usually a high school, but I can’t find my classes. I wander around, and eventually get to where I’m supposed to be, but by the time I get there, I’ve already missed several weeks and I’m unsure of what to do about it.  Or, I manage to get to class, but somehow I don’t have the homework that I’m supposed to turn in.  In every dream, I wonder if I’m not learning what I’m supposed to learn, or being where I’m supposed to be.

But that night, the dream was different. This time I was on a college campus, and I could see a graduation ceremony taking place. Again, I was in the wrong place. I felt like I was supposed to be in the ceremony with the other graduates.

Then my dear friend Carolyn Cooper appeared. None of my friends had ever shown up in this recurring dream before, so I was thrilled to see her. She could tell I was feeling disappointed that I had missed graduation, and said, “Don’t worry, your life experiences count toward graduation, and you’re only two or three classes away.”  Then she even added, “I’ll show you where they are.”

I woke from that dream completely at peace and satisfied with its conclusion. I felt gratitude and amazement – to realize that the recurring dream and this new ending was another way for God to assure me that everything is just as it should be, and to be patient and trust him.  It rounded out my experience from the day before, and helped me understand what had been meant by the words “it’s complete”.

Here’s what I know: I was supposed to create what I created over the last 10 years. But despite my fears, it was never meant to be an unending assignment away from my favorite and most important role as a mother. It was necessary, but temporary.

I recognize God’s hand in our family during those years, and how he held us together, taught each child individually through his Spirit, and strengthened us all while the work was in process. But it’s complete.

And now I know, that even though we have debts to pay, I don’t have to keep rushing to create new, bigger, or better products and services, always leaving my previous projects under-developed. Too much of a good thing can be bad.

Here’s another article on that topic: How to know when it’s time to stop.

A conversation with Rich Christiansen helped me recognize that in my business it’s time to shave away the activities that don’t fuel me, and which aren’t really profitable, and pick the few things I love the most and drive them deep, fine-tuning them and developing THOSE products and services to their peak potential.

He also taught me how pulling back or veering away from the goal is often a sign that you’re on the RIGHT track.

Who knew?

Long story short (even though it’s too late to call this one short…), Rich also taught us about “dancing in your tutu”. This means that you keep your eye on the ultimate goal, but sometimes you have to do what’s uncomfortable for a season so that you can get there.

Men, imagine, standing on the street corner dancing in a tutu to make the money you need to fund the achievement of your ultimate dream.

In the Jackrabbit Factor, it’s called going after another paper sack even though you’re really on a rabbit hunt.

In our case, my husband and I both agreed it was time for me to settle down, and time for him to dance in a tutu, while we put our life back in order. It was time for us to redefine how we want our relationship to look, and start the lengthy process of putting in all in place.

We’re in this for the long haul, and knew that if we want the kind of golden years we’ve always had in mind, we have to stop and re-define the guard rails of what we are, and are not, willing to do.

About this same time, my children participated in a Pioneer Trek where they recreated some of the experiences of the early Mormon settlers.  They dressed in clothing from the 1800s, were assigned to families with a Ma and Pa, carried their only belongings each in a single bucket, and pulled handcarts across wilderness terrain for several days.  Along the path, they were told true stories about those who had lived through the original trek, and learned how to cope with and overcome many of the same kinds of challenges.

On the following Sunday at church, quite a few of the youth stood and shared their experiences and lessons learned. As I listened to their stories, one of the experiences struck me personally. They talked about the women’s pull.

The women’s pull was the section of the trek when the men left the trail because they were needed in the service of their country during the Mexican War. The men who left were known as the Mormon Battalion, and this left the women to shoulder the load alone.

What touched me was when they talked about the end of the women’s pull. During the mock-trek, the young men did leave the young women to pull the carts alone for quite some time over rough and discouraging terrain. But after the simulation was over, the young men ran to help again, and the women’s pull was over.

The words “It’s complete” returned to my mind as I heard their stories, and I felt assurance again that things in my life really were finally transforming.  I didn’t need the changes to all be immediate, after all, I still expected that there were a few more lessons I needed to learn before I could “graduate”, but the path was laid before us and we both knew it was good.

It’s nearly 3 am again – I’m eager to share what those extra lessons turned out to be, and you’re probably wondering, “so, what about the debts?” or “what are you going to do with your business now?” but I’ll have to save those details for next time.

If this exposé is helping you at all, please comment below. It helps me feel like all our drama (or trauma) wasn’t all for naught. 🙂

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To Debt or Not to Debt

47tips-to-debt

Positive thinking tip: Do the right thing. Follow your conscience, and believe in miracles!

One of our readers (I’ll call her Julie) had a question about the wisdom or insanity of going into debt for training on this material. She had some real concerns. She and her husband had vowed that they would accrue no more debt. Anyway, she really wanted to attend our facilitator training program but in order to do so, it would have to go on a card. I did not tell her to charge it; instead I tried to teach a principle so that she could understand what was really going on, and make the wisest choice possible. If you’re interested in my reply, I’ve posted her question and my answer below:

Question

Dear Leslie, Your seminar information is so compelling that I can’t stop thinking about it! I read the email you sent with further information and was also intrigued, but my face fell when I read the price. Not that it isn’t worth it–but my husband and I have made a commitment to each other that we will not acquire any more debt. And circumstances (our two cars both totalled, for one example) have made it such that attending the training would put us in further debt.

At this point, she suggested a trade for services, which at the time was not going to work out for me. So instead, I wanted her to think about the following principle…

Answer

(Note added on August 8, 2015: Before you read my response below, I want to say that I am a HUGE Dave Ramsey fan. I wish that I had been following him back when she wrote me, because I would have been more conscious and understanding about her concerns. Click here to read how and why my feelings have changed about Dave Ramsey over the years. Regardless, read on to see how it all played out – find out how she accomplished her goal without going into debt.)

Julie, I am not going to tell you that you must acquire more debt, although my personal philosophy is that there are two things worthy of it: a home, and education. I remember attending seminars for 7 years, about 100 of them, and each time feeling sick inside about the money we were spending. True, I understood that seminars counted as education, and we weren’t buying luxuries or lifestyle on credit, but I still felt sick. If you are well enough read in the materials, you know that how you FEEL is the primary indicator of how life will look in the future. We struggled for those 7 years and things only got worse; we only got deeper and deeper into debt.

Finally there came a point where I decided, I CHOSE, to feel differently, and that shift in mentality came from reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and “The Millionaire Next Door” back to back within a few weeks. Along came an opportunity for some important training all the way across the country, and we felt that we needed to be there. It was going to cost us a few thousand dollars, and at the time we were living in California on pennies. The only way for us to go was to put it on a credit card, but for the first time in my life, I allowed myself to mentally let go and get really excited about what the training was going to DO for us. Instead of counting pennies for the meals and other expenses, we just went forward with an absolute expectation that it was going to PAY huge dividends to be there. I focused on the benefits instead of the “expense”. (What we focus on, and give energy to, is what shows up in our life. If we focus on the “debt” part, that’s what we’ll get more of, in spite of our efforts to steer clear of it. Things will happen, things will break down, accidents will come, and make it impossible to ever get out.)

While we were there, we took some time and browsed some expensive stores, and allowed ourselves to pretend we were wealthy, if for just one weekend. With this shift in mentality, and with our air travel requiring us to take the trip with 3 changes of planes on the way (okay, so it was the cheapest way we could find to get there), we actually ended up sitting next to self-made millionaires on EVERY leg of that journey, even when my husband and I were split up. It got to the point where we’d get back together between each segment and say, “so who did YOU sit by THIS time??!!” Inventors, Business Tycoons, Real Estate people, whatever. But the conversations we had during that trip planted some seeds in our minds that have since borne abundant fruit in our own life.

We realized that by thinking differently, we were led to like-minded people who were able to give us the next morsel of wisdom on our path. It actually led us to make another $2500 investment on a credit card two months later for a personal coaching program (so on the surface it appeared that we had fallen around $5000 deeper within a short 2 months, but underneath, we were growing so big inside it was just about to pop and we could feel it coming.) During this time, I refused any temptation to have regrets over the way we had spent our money. I only allowed myself to look forward and be excited about what the training was going to do for us, and the lifestyle we expected to enjoy. Because of the coaching, I gained the knowledge and the courage to take a big step and purchase a second home (more debt?) and rent the first, all without using any of my own money because I had none. Suddenly it may have appeared that we were about $100,000 deeper than even before, even at a time when we were already unable to make ends meet as it was. Our income couldn’t support what we had done, but we had felt led to do it anyway, and by the time the first mortgage payment came due on the more expensive house, my husband landed a contract that tripled his income. Was this the prudent way to go? “Apparently” not, but we were not operating on appearances, we were operating on being locked on a goal and trusting inspiration to lead us there, no matter how crazy the path seemed to be. If we had told anyone what we were doing, we would have looked like a crazy dog doing insane things. We kept it to ourselves because we knew that nobody else could see our rabbit and where it was leading us.

Can you see how important one’s psychology is at this point? You might be wondering if all that craziness truly was inspiration or utter deception. Let me tell you what came of it, BECAUSE I didn’t allow myself to feel sick or have regrets. There was no looking back.

Here’s what came of it: I did it again (purchased another home) about 2 years later, and on the surface it would appear that we were another $160,000 deeper even still. But only 8 months after that, I sold the two homes for $300,000 EACH, and walked away with $250,000 tax-free income. It all started with feeling differently about, and understanding the difference between debt and investments. We have since used “other people’s money” at 3 or 6 or 12 percent or whatever, in order to do something that would yield 20 or 40 percent, or our best return ever was actually a 700% return. Now, you can use the principles we teach to get yourself the cash you need to do whatever it is you want to do… CASH. There is a way. It may require trading time for the money, and you may or may not have enough time to make that exchange before the event. But if you are going to teach people how to create a life of freedom, you can be sure that you will have countless people face the same problem you face right now. My recommendation is that you see yourself there, envision the way life will be on the other side of it, and let inspiration lead you to the “how”. Trust whatever it tells you to do, and by conquering this giant, that is when you will be equipped and ready to teach others how to do the same.

I hope this helps you in some way. Please do not take this to mean that you should put the training on a credit card. I am not saying that. I am saying that your job is to know what you want, and deciding the “how” is not your department. By taking it upon ourselves to decide how something has to happen, we often pinch off solutions that could set us free. Don’t go to the training without first having a clear picture of why you’d want to go. Get your “why” absolutely clear and on paper, and then inspiration may even tell you that the “how” to get to that “why” has nothing to do with training to be a facilitator. Maybe it will; only you can decide that. Or maybe it needs to be later. Nobody can decide that for you.

Remember also that nobody needs a “way” until a decision has been made. If you decide to be there, come heck or high water, the way will appear, but not until then.

Her Reply

(Take note of her attitude… she didn’t allow herself to get upset that I didn’t accept the “trade” idea, she took my comments to heart and expected to find a way.)

Thank you SO much for taking the time (goodness, with six kids to boot!) to answer some stranger out of nowhere with her crazy proposal. And then thank you again for taking the time to tell some of your story. It inspired me and gave me a better focus on the direction I want to go.

My husband and I attended Bob Proctor’s Science of Getting Rich Seminar several years ago. I agree, it is wonderful and well worth the investment. We have also attended, probably not hundreds, but definitely dozens of other seminars, in the past ten years. Additionally we have purchased countless programs from Nightingale Conant, which we thoroughly enjoy. I think, for the most part, I understand and apply the principles of success. …The little blip we are experiencing right now is short-lived and we feel things turning around for us.

What I would like to do is explore further the opportunities that the seminar will provide for me to teach in the future. …perhaps together we can determine if this is right for me…

But before I [finish this email]… I want to share with you a humorous anecdote that just happened: I told you we have two totalled cars, right? I wrote down exactly what we wanted. Free, or close to it, in good shape, suitable for a professional man to drive to work, and preferably any color except white. Well, the Universe doesn’t hear negatives! So, we got an older but well maintained Ford Taurus SHO yesterday, in good shape, suitable for my husband to drive to work, for $1000 (nearly free), and the color? White! Another little testimonial about thinking in positive terms about what we want. – Julie

I sent my list a copy of this conversation, because I know this question is a common one, and I wanted to share the principles described above. How easy it would have been for Julie to get discouraged at my refusal to do a trade and simply give up, thinking, “Oh, well.” But no, she will accomplish anything she sets out to do so long as she continues in right thinking as she has done so far. I believe it is because of her determination and expectancy that the next thing happened:

Three Days Later, from another reader:

Leslie,

I was reading your reply to the lady who wanted to taking your facilitator course but did not feel that she should put herself deeper in debt. I was wondering if you knew if she had signed up or not. If not, how much is the course that she would like to take? I don’t know why – but I feel a strong desire to help her out. Believe me when I say that this is a very unusal move on my part. I’m certainly not independently wealthy – I work for the federal government (as you can see from my email address). But I’ve been with them for 23 years now and am earning a decent salary. I am a firm believer though that if you help another, it only comes back in good ways to you.

So I’d like to at least help defray her costs – but I’d also like to do it anonymously. Can you help me help her?

This stranger ended up contributing $2495.00

Julie’s response to the good, charitable stranger:

Leslie, would you please forward the following thank-you note to my “scholarship mentor”?:

It is difficult to express how deeply grateful I am for your very generous gift. I am honored, humbled, and touched to think that someone would be moved to make an important opportunity available to me. I commit to you that I will use this gift wisely; I will utilize my abilities to learn and apply everything I can. Perhaps someday I can thank you personally. Until then, the face of every person I pass could possibly be you! That thought makes all of humanity more endearing. And so you have made the world a better place already. Blessings! – Julie

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When Someone Steps on Your Hair

Positive Thinking tip: “Leaning into” your problem is less painful than pretending it doesn’t exist.

One afternoon as I was playing with my kids, my sweet little two year-old stepped on my hair.

The instant I felt the pain, I pulled away to get out from under her little feet. It was my instantaneous reaction, albeit not very smart.

Lesson learned:

When someone steps on your hair, don’t pull away. Lean in, and gingerly remove them from off your hair before pulling away.

I know, I know… it’s not an experience that most of the people in the world will ever have, but it reminded me of a principle worth mentioning.

When you have pain in your life, financial or otherwise, just don’t panic. Panic can lead to instinctive reaction, and instinctive reaction can often result in more pain overall than is necessary.

Subconscious programs kick in when you’re in “fight or flight” (panicked) mode.

The key is to lean into the source of your pain, address it without panic or negative emotion, and handle it with a cool head. You’ll be able to solve your problem and avoid unnecessary suffering.

If the problem is that you’re short on money, don’t retreat from your problems, lean in. Go to the person you owe money to, and talk to them about it with a cool head and with the intention of finding a workable solution. Even if there seems to be no possible way to repay a debt, expressing your intentions and regret can leave you feeling more positive than if you pretend the problem isn’t there.

With a positive mindset, you’ll be more likely to eventually think of new solutions you haven’t yet considered.

So, any time you want to instinctively pull away from a problem (hoping it will go away if you just retreat quickly enough), remember the lesson I learned from the two year-old who stepped on my hair.

“What if I can never repay my debts? What if I have to file bankruptcy?”

Keep browsing the 47Tips. I’ll show you how to find your hidden resources, and I’ll also show you how to turn unavoidable failures into successes.

The fact is, sometimes you’ve got to “pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat” and just make things work (find your hidden resources); other times you have to find peace of mind and make the most out of an apparent failure (make sense out of setbacks). This site will help you do both.

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Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Another great question from one of my readers triggered this article:

Hi Leslie, I read you article TO DEBT OR NOT TO DEBT. It was an eye opener! Could you please explain what you meant by “there are two things worthy of debt: a home, and education.” Did you mean there is good debt and bad debt? The debt elimination teachers I’ve sat under say “there is no good debt, just bad debt, and to work hard to pay you home off early.”

(I know there are many schools of thought.)

And what about all the students who graduate from college drowning in debt, because they took out school loans, and are paying on them for years to come? (I hear their cries on several debt shows I listen to, many of these shows make you scared to death to use a credit card). I’m sorry to ask this question, but I guess I need a little more clarification if possible. Thank you for all you share to help us improve our lives…. Ellie (name has been changed)

At the time I responded to Ellie, my understanding of good debt and bad debt was superficial. I’ve since learned an even better way to look at it, so before I share my original, somewhat sophomoric response, I want to share with you a more powerful article on the subject by one of my mentors:

Increase Your Cash Flow By Understanding the Proper Definition of Debt – Garrett Gunderson

You’re taught in America that your home is your biggest asset. If that’s true, why do so many Americans fail to utilize their home as an income-producing asset?

The answer is because so many of us are limited by misunderstandings about debt. When we understand the correct definition of debt, we are able to unleash unutilized potential to increase our production.

Can you give a clear definition of debt? We’re taught by financial pundits and religious leaders to avoid debt, but do we even know what debt is? How can we avoid something when we don’t know what we’re trying to avoid?

The most common definition of debt is any borrowed money, which is false. My friend Les McGuire, who spoke Japanese, used to teach this concept by telling people that they should avoid “tabemono” like the plague. The joke is that tabemono means food in Japanese, and the ironic point is that, first of all, by not knowing what it is we can never avoid it in the first place, and secondly, if we don’t know the correct definition of debt, we may be avoiding the very thing that is the most essential to our financial health.

So many people are avoiding “debt,” but not only do they not know what it is, they are also avoiding some of the most critical knowledge about finances that keeps them away from prosperity. Ironically, it’s also the knowledge that would help them get out of debt.

The True Definition of Debt

Contrary to the common definition, debt is the negative difference between liabilities and assets. It’s having more liabilities than you have assets on your balance sheet, and the difference between them.

The best way to understand this is through balance sheets. The purpose of a balance sheet is to itemize one’s assets and liabilities and determine if they either have an overall equity position, or a debt position. For example, suppose a person owns a home with a market value of $300,000 (asset) and owes $100,000 to the bank (liability). Ignoring every other asset and liability, how much debt does he have? The common definition would say that he has $100,000 of debt. The true definition (although strangely ignored and/or unknown by most people) helps us to see that this person has zero debt, and actually has $200,000 of equity, which is the opposite of debt.

On the other hand, what if a person owns a home with a market value of $300,000 and carries a mortgage of $305,000? Again, the false definition of debt says that this person has $305,000 of debt, whereas the technically correct definition plainly shows that this person only has $5,000 of debt.

Again, the way to determine your amount of debt is to total your assets, total your liabilities, and then subtract your liabilities from your assets. Equity means that you have more assets than liabilities, and debt means that you have more liabilities than assets.

Why It Matters To Your Prosperity

Once a person understands the proper definition of debt, they can understand how they can leverage resources and increase their cash flow. For example, suppose the homeowner with $200,000 of equity were to extract that previously-unused resource and then use it to buy a real estate property whose cash flow is greater than the liability incurred from the refinance? They did not increase their debt; they merely leveraged their equity to increase their cash flow.

Why is this knowledge so critical for people to understand? Because countless people are unaware of the potential for wealth creation in their own homes. There is much misinformation surrounding the concept of debt, and it severely limits productivity. Myths surrounding debt result in literally billions of unseen, undervalued, and untapped dollars that, if understood and utilized properly, could drastically increase the wealth of most Americans. There are ways to leverage all of your assets, including and especially your home equity, without ever going into debt.

People who fear debt–and misunderstand what it actually is–often have thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars available to them that go unused. When they experience the paradigm shift of realizing what debt really is, they are able to open up a whole new world and unleash unprecedented amounts of productivity through principle-based and debt-free borrowing and lending.

Garrett B. Gunderson is a financial advisor, entrepreneur, coach to financial professionals, and primary author of the revolutionary book Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1181809

My original comments sent to Ellie:

Hi Ellie,

In my opinion there IS good debt and bad debt. For example, I think a person would be foolish to spend their whole life renting because they were unable to save up $100,000 or whatever to purchase their first home. Suppose over a 10 year period of time, they put out $500/mo in rent on a home worth $80,000.

That’s a total of $60,000 in payments, with nothing to show for it. After those 10 years, the property could easily be worth $130,311 (at only 5% increase/year). If they had put their fear of debt aside and purchased the property instead, their down payment of less than $3000 and the $500/mo payment would have earned them more than $60,000 in equity, a reward for their willingness to manage a piece of real estate. In one way, it was like putting their rent money into a savings account instead.

(If the property does not appreciate, at least they can be assured that their house payment will be constant, unlike the rental market.)

So with this in mind, who was the fool? The person who avoided debt like they had been taught, or the person who chose to use “other people’s money” to be more self-sufficient in the long run?

Depending on the interest rate, renting and buying could easily mean the same monthly outgo for 10 years. The mortgage company will probably receive somewhere around $20-40,000 in interest over that span of time. Some people would think that’s sickening, and grumble about how much of their money went to the debt people.

On the other hand, I’d say “good for them!” Because of their service to me (allowing me to partner with them to control a piece of real estate), I’m happy they made money helping me make money.

Do you realize that with $3000 down on an $80,000 house, if you sell it in 10 years and profit $50,000, you didn’t just get a 62.5% return (50,000/80,000), you got a 1600% return on your investment, because YOU only put $3000 into it (3,000/50,000). You earned a 5% per year increase on not only YOUR money, but 5% increase per year on the bank’s money as well.

(I understand, that’s not taking into account your monthly payments, but I don’t mention them as part of the calculation because you’d be spending that money on rent anyway.) So what if you had home maintenance over the years? Chances are, they won’t come to anything near the amount you’ll retain or even profit from taking ownership.

“Debt” has such a bad rap because of how the masses use it. They use it to finance lifestyle, with no thought or intention of causing an increase from it. One leads to growth, one leads to bondage. It’s good that people hesitate to go into debt, because they should pause to scrutinize their purpose for doing so.

Cars don’t generally appreciate like houses do, so I’d only go into debt for a car if I absolutely had to; in other words, if we needed it to go earn our living. We’ve driven junky, embarrassing cars while our friends drove nice, respectable cars, because we couldn’t justify the debt for the luxury of good appearances. “Good appearances” do not generally lead to growth, unless your image impacts your effectiveness as a salesman, for example. In our jobs, the car we drove had no impact on our profitability.

Education is the other potentially justifiable reason to borrow money. I don’t feel that way so much about a college education unless the salary expected coming out of it can more than cover the debt service that will be required – AND if there is a guarantee of work at the end of the road (which there isn’t). No, school loans are definitely a risky proposition.

I think the biggest problem with school loans is that the student isn’t wise enough with the money. I don’t know how it is across the board, but when I was in college, I had friends who were using student loans… and when the check came, they paid for their tuition, and a stereo, and furniture, and a car… etc. They didn’t keep to strict personal guidelines to spend it only on the education, and do without the luxuries until their occupation afforded it.

In their mind, they expected life to look a certain way, and that’s what the school loans were for: to live life as usual and be free from the job to focus on studying.

We, on the other hand, scrimped, starved, worked multiple jobs, and slept very little during college, AND spent our grocery money on seminars. We could see that what we were learning in school was good stuff, but it wasn’t going to teach us how to create income. The seminars however were teaching us how to build a life, instead of just earn a living.

Education is a worthy investment… because what you learn, and what you become as you learn it, cannot be taken from you. It helps you grow into the kind of person who can achieve anything they need or want to achieve. You are the only thing you take with you when you go, so developing yourself and your talents is never a wasted investment. There are ways to make in one month what you are accustomed to making in a year. What would you pay to learn how? Do you see how there is a big difference between an investment and an expense?

Using other people’s money for an wisely considered, well calculated investment can be good. Using other people’s money for lifestyle or an expense is never good. If you’ve ever played the game “Rich Dad Cashflow 101 board game“, (a game I STRONGLY recommend even though it’s pricey) expenses are called “doo dads.” (By the way, this game is definitely an investment, not an expense. It is education, not lifestyle. Take my word for it.)

If you must go into debt in order to make great strides forward, it is imperative that you feel good about the decision instead of looking at it with a sick feeling. Lots of people go into debt for a home or education and feel sick, and that can literally affect their opportunity to glean everything good from the investment that they could have gleaned. It becomes bad debt, simply because of the way they let themselves feel about it. With the feeling of dread for what they have done, they will be more likely to pull out and sell the home at the wrong time, or fail to apply the knowledge they gain from education to create profit because they are so focused on fear.

Look at it this way: if you want to travel from your home in Vacaville, California to Hawaii, and you were bent on following the rule: “only go FORWARD to get there the fastest,” you’d drive to the shoreline at Vallejo and get in a boat and start rowing. Good for you that you never turned back! Eventually, after probably a few weeks, you’d end up in Hawaii. On the other hand, if you allowed yourself to go BACKWARD for just 30 miles, you could hop on a plane in Sacramento, and get to Hawaii the same day.

Should you feel guilty for going backwards a little bit? That’s how you can look at debt. In fact, start calling it “other people’s money” when you are making a smart investment, and call it debt when you are spending it on something you shouldn’t. It’s going backwards just a bit so you can get in the vehicle that will take you where you want to go.

I hope this helps… hopefully you can also see why a person’s psychology has to be in the right place before these ideas will do them any good. Since this psychology is NOT the norm with the general population, you’ll rarely see programs on tv or on the news that speak to the small percentage of people out there who understand this.

I’ve learned that I have to be careful who I talk to about it, because some people are too quick to take advice based on someone else’s recommendation without thinking it through for themselves, and then they don’t want to take responsibility for the outcome of their thoughts, feelings, and actions if it doesn’t work out the way they hoped.

Take responsibility. If you use debt, manage it wisely. Make your payments on time, and always pay more than the minimum. Sacrifice lifestyle until your cashflow justifies it. Be the first to contact creditors if there is going to be a problem making a payment. They should know that you are more concerned about your standing with them than they are.

 

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The Young and the Thoughtless – Episode 5 – “How did I DO that?”

This is the final Chapter (for now) in this series. For those who have missed the first four episodes, I’ll begin with a recap:

Have you ever felt down because you were too stressed to spend time with your kids or too busy just trying to pay the bills? I have. For years I wished that I could just relax and be like my mom. At the critical times in my life, she’d been there for me. She brought me snacks while I did homework. She stayed up late with me and laughed at my jokes.

Well, as much as I wanted to be that kind of mother, there I was, too stressed over finances to do little more than force a smile at the end of a harried day. No matter if a mom works part-time or full-time, she’ll regularly be at her wits end. Am I right? And to the fathers: sometimes it’s hard to relax because of work concerns, isn’t it?

For many years, my husband and I frantically raced around collecting paychecks, regularly begging the bank to reverse overdraft fees, or apologizing to our creditors that our payment hadn’t quite shown up on time.

Do you realize how much time and money goes into fixing financial messes that never would have needed fixing if a person had had enough in the first place?

We knew there HAD to be a way SOMEHOW to keep our financial promises, AND develop a healthy savings for emergencies, AND raise our kids with focus. Couldn’t I just put all those worries aside and simply be MOM?

In our efforts, we read countless books on success, and attended nearly a hundred seminars all over the country, for we knew that we couldn’t keep DOING the same things expecting DIFFERENT results. Something had to change.

But what we NEEDED to change wasn’t what we thought.

This went on for 7 years.

Among other things, we did learn that a positive attitude was critical to financial success. But as hard as we tried, we couldn’t seem to MAINTAIN one while being beat down by setback after setback, from car troubles to medical problems. Besides, when we DID have a positive attitude, it didn’t ever seem to change our finances; it only helped us be happier in our prison. The thing is, we wanted OUT of financial prison. Was that so wrong?

I slipped into depression. We moved out of state to start a window-cleaning business. It didn’t work out like we wanted, so my husband picked up two jobs, and I stayed home with my two preschoolers. But even though I was home, my children hardly had a mother. I was angry and short-tempered, even to the point that I called the cops on a neighbor boy who had snapped my broom in half. I didn’t have $7 for a new broom, and the thought of not being ABLE to clean the floor even if I FELT like it was enough to send me over the edge.

I resorted to an escapist mentality and decided to go to bed, not caring if I ever got up again. Then, of course, I berated myself for not being able to cope. “Dream big!” “Picture what you want!” The things we’d heard over and over again in seminars taunted me, and, in my bitterness I was angry at the speakers who got our money in exchange for what I thought were cheesy, empty clichés.

“Alright then, FINE! I will!” Out of spite I closed my eyes and decided that since life was miserable anyway, I was simply going to escape into a dream world where I could pretend I was living the life I really wanted. I pictured owning a home for the first time, and having a yard, and though I felt guilty for evading reality, and certain I was mentally ill beyond help, it was the only place I could go to feel joy. I could experience the dream life it as though it was real and never wanted to open my eyes again.

One year later, we had a starter home with a yard… just like I had dreamed. My husband had a better job with benefits. But we were still stressed and strapped and I was still sour and ill-tempered. We still had more debt than we could handle. It took me about three more years and dragging myself to a few more seminars before I realized that the relative upturn in our circumstances actually had their root in the fantasy world which I had conjured in my head that day.

Once I realized what I had done, and WHY it had made a difference, I began to experiment with what I had learned. We both did. And doggone it, if we didn’t triple our monthly income in less than four months. (How much would three times YOUR income be?) It was as though the blinders dropped from our minds and we finally understood how it’s actually possible to take control of our life simply by controlling our thoughts. Yes, “have a positive attitude” is key; but the notion had never held any power for me until I was given the WHOLE picture. So WHY does it work? And what HAD I done, anyway?

Oh, there are thousands of books on the market that teach it. I know, because I had (and still have) a library full of them. But none of them had empowered me enough to effect PERMANENT changes. I decided that I needed to share what I had learned from my own every-day-person-and-mother-of-six perspective. I needed to write a STORY which held within it the power to change a person’s life forever. The result? “The Jackrabbit Factor: Why You Can.”

Is it any good? Hyrum Smith, co-founder of Franklin Covey and CEO of Galileo Initiative thought it was… and Bob Proctor, best-selling author and founder of LifeSuccess Productions did too. You’ll have a chance to see their comments on another page but I want you to know what people like you and me have had to say about it:

“I just devoured your book… I am sitting here in tears because you cannot understand what a blessing and inspiration you have been…I was really moved by the story of Richard and his family and you don’t know how many times I have asked the same questions that Richard asks himself…and tried to lever myself out of the hole that I have been in. I have always believed that positive thought and faith have helped me to stay strong and persevere but after reading your book I realize that maybe it is time that I can do more than just get by.” ~ Wendy Valentine, single mother of three. “I am actually at a loss for words after reading your manuscript. Kind of almost shook a little bit if that makes sense…” ~Fred Schofield, Independent IT Consultant

In a form, it is OUR story. The details aren’t quite the same, but the journey to discovery is there. I want it to get out there quickly to rescue other marriages like ours, and give kids their parents back. I want you to know what I know.

If you’ll go to our Jackrabbit Factor page, you can read the whole thing for free.

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