Archives for November 2012

Zig Ziglar (1926-2012) Motivational Quotes

Zig Ziglar passed away yesterday.  He was perhaps the most effective motivational speaker of all time.  I recall a decade ago seeing him live.  He described his early days as a salesman: “I was not an overwhelming success. I was not even a whelming success. But I did sell a few things. I sold my car, I sold my TV.”

Of course, he eventually became a whelming success, and even became an overwhelming success. But only because he kept at it, inspired either by a dream or by a tight stomach. But he did not give up.

Along the way, he left us with some sound bites to ponder, probably the most famous of which is: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

Zig Ziglar: "There are no traffic jams on the extra mile."

More Zig Ziglar Motivational Quotes

Here are a few more motivational quotes and snappy tidbits from Zig Ziglar. Which is your favourite? (I can’t decide between the tartar sauce and the traffic jam.)

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”

“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.”

“A narrow mind and a fat head invariably come on the same person.”

“If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

“People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”

“Other people and things can stop you temporarily. You’re the only one who can do it permanently.”

“Optimists are those who go after Moby Dick in a row boat with a bucket of tarter sauce.”

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Success is dependent upon the glands – sweat glands.”

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”

“Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing.”

“A lot of people quit looking for work as soon as they find a job.”

“If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”

“Every choice you make has an end result.”

“Kids go where there is excitement. They stay where there is love.”

“When we do more than we are paid to do, eventually we will be paid more for what we do.”

Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”

“Money won’t make you happy… but everybody wants to find out for themselves.”

“Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.”

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

“Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.”

Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.”

“People who have good relationships at home are more effective in the marketplace.”

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”

“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.”

“Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.”

“Motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”

“Many marriages would be better if the husband and wife clearly understood that they’re on the same side.”

“Money will buy you a bed, but not a good night’s sleep, a house but not a home, a companion but not a friend.”

Thus ends the string of memorable quotes, although this is but a small sampling. Zig Ziglar has left his legacy in sayings that will be repeated for ages to come.

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A Walk in the Woods – saving money and getting fit

One thing about being a parent is the incredible array of expensive things children can ask to do, such as theme parks, go-carts, movies, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, etc.  But there are still plenty of old-fashioned freebies that don’t cost an entry fee plus a round of four-dollar drinks, such as the traditional walk in the wood.

If your child is like my 11-year-old…  “Let’s go!”

If your child is like my 9-year old, you might be tempted to give up before starting.  After all, what is the fun of walking in the woods to a rendition of “This is boring.  Why did we have to go?  I told you I didn’t want to.  You’re evil.”

However, there are several strategies I have used to make the boring walk in the woods fun enough that my 9-year-old ends up having the most fun of any of us.

  1. Play “follow the leader”. Start walking backwards.  Don’t say anything, just do it.  Your kids will ask what you are doing.  Just tell them to do the same.  “It’s fun, why don’t you try it?”  Then switch to sideways.  “Can you do this?”  Then leap like a frog.  Skip. Spin.  Before long, the kids are leading and you’ll have to follow.
  2. Count the leaves. You can tell how many types of trees there are by the different leaves on the trees, or on the ground in the fall (I wrote this before the snow covered up the ground here yesterday).  The more they can identify, the better.  If there are some they like, but can’t identify, bring them home to look it up.  Make it a contest, collecting one of each type of leaf and seeing which child collects the most different leaves.
  3. In the fall, count the colors. You will surely start off with just yellow, brown, green and maybe red.  But some of those reds are almost pink.  And some are brownish.  Challenge them to discover how many colors they can find.
  4. Tell ghost stories. What?  You think you need a campfire for that?  OK, then tell them stories about when you were their age.  Kids love to hear about how their parents were when they were young, at least until the teenage years.
  5. Sing. Ask each child in turn to lead the group in song.  Current hits, old classics, sing-along songs.  Whatever they like. Advanced tip: compose a song together, about walking through the forest.
  6. If there are birds around, bring some seeds. We occasionally “walk” in the local bird sanctuary where there are a fair number of chickadees.  I put “walk” in quotation marks because what we usually do most of is stand around with outstretched arms and open hands with seeds in them.  But apart from the minor cost of the seeds, it is a free activity, in the fresh air with some exercise and interaction with animals.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

So there are ways to make even a “boring” walk in the woods an exciting adventure that costs much less than a theme park or a movie.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Yes, today is Thanksgiving for readers in the USA, and just as good a time as any for the rest of us to focus on giving thanks.

In fact, while Thanksgiving will be overshadowed for many Americans by tomorrow’s “Black Friday” shopping crush, the rest of us will be free to retain some of the peace and calm that Thanksgiving should bestow.

You can thank God if you believe or your lucky stars if you don’t. The important thing today is to thank.

If you spend as much time on the Internet as I do, you could be forgiven for thinking that we should be most grateful for iPhones and bacon.  Feel free to be thankful for these.  But surely there are more important things, better things, to be grateful for.

After some reflection, these boil down to three for me.  You will probably have a similar list, although not necessarily identical.

HEALTH: My eyesight is not what it used to be and my knees do hurt at times, but all in all I am quite healthy.  Since we come in this package called a body, there is little we do that is not greatly impacted by our health and fitness.  Some of that is within your control, some is not.  Give thanks for that part that you have been given, and do what you can to enhance it with sleep, exercise and proper food.

FAMILY: I know how lucky I am to have a loving family.  I know not everybody is so blessed.  Again, my blessings are a result of the chances I have been given, but also the result of actions I am constantly taking to enhance these gifts.  You need to work at love. You have to put others first. You have to build trust. To hold onto love you have been given, you have to love others. Like health, family is a gift that can be lost if neglected.  Which brings me to the third item, which I have a hard time articulating…

STRENGTH: I chose “strength”, although it might not be the most accurate word.  What I mean is the good and giving in me – strength to do what is right, patience with people around me (which is not always easy in the high stress of an active family), strength to love even when frustrated and feeling more like saying “Oh, yeah?!?”  If there is one thing I pray for the most, by far, it is this strength, this focus.  I wish I could say I always have it, but I don’t.  But I know how many times I find that strength that could just as well be absent, and I am deeply grateful for that gift.

I could also have added “freedom” to this list, thinking of so many people who live in repressive regimes or under the control of a repressive person.  Or “peace”, thinking of people living with the daily threat of bombs in the Israeli region.  My prayers go out to all those people, too.

But today, I have chosen more personal traits that I enjoy and appreciate in peace, but would need so much more if I was in a place of conflict or repression.

There are millions of little things to be grateful for, of course, and we should never pass a moment without being grateful for something.  Never flush the toilet without feeling gratitude that you have a flush toilet.  Never drink water without feeling gratitude that you have fresh, disease-free water to drink.  Never staple papers together without feeling the gratitude that you have this little convenience.

And what I said earlier about bacon and iPhones…go ahead an be thankful every time you use them. Gratitude is a pillar of happiness.

But today is a great time to look at the big picture.  To give thanks for the gifts you have that make you the wonderful person you are.

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Apparently, FaceBook does not bring happiness after all – study

Thank you Carsten Grimm of the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) for your latest study on happiness.  Apparently, people like sex and booze (no surprise – we all have a little red demon on one shoulder) and volunteering and religion (no surprise – we all have a little white angel on the other shoulder).


Temptation - angel and devil
And apparently, they really hate being sick, doing housework and studying.  No surprise there either.  However…


…they also hate FaceBook and texting.  Yes, this is a surprise, because these are two activities that have become very popular, even ubiquitous.  In fact, this study counters a previous study by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that people were as addicted to checking FaceBook as they were to smoking or sex.

To measure happiness, researchers measured three aspects of each activity: pleasure, meaning and engagement, and found that sex ranked tops in all three aspects.

Alcohol and partying came second for pleasure but only 10th in for meaning.

Recovering from sickness was ranked lowest for pleasure (no surprise), but FaceBook beat it out for meaning.  Yes, FaceBook has less meaning for us than feeling sick.

Other studies are less encouraging

Nevertheless, there are still some worrying studies out there for those of us who feel that something as intimate as sex and relationships should have our full attention.

Like that survey from that found four percent of people use their phones while having sex.  Which also found that over one in four iPhone owners “almost always” use their phone while in a social setting “such as during a meal or while at a party”.

Like the Storage Options study that found that half of all Brits check messages while pretending to listen to their partners.

Like the Vodaphone study that found that one in three Brits would answer their mobile phones during sex.

Like the Meredith Parents Network study that found that 12 percent of American moms use their phones during sex.  Since “81% of moms said shopping was the #1 way they use their Smartphone”, we can guess what is really on a woman’s mind in the heat of the moment.

Related post: Study says we should turn off the TV for happiness.

Related post: Americans happiest working, Europeans happiest playing

However, we now have at least one study that puts meaningful and intimate activities above the wireless umbilical cord.  That should be of some comfort, however small.  Here is a summary of the results.


What makes people happy

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My best financial tip

Money can’t buy happiness. That’s not my tip – that is just a prelude, and an obvious one at that. Because, although money might not buy happiness, the lack of money has been known to buy misery.  This is Financial Literacy Month, and it appears that Canadians need better financial literacy.  As do our American cousins.

This blog post is part of the Blog for Financial Literacy campaign, where each participant offers up their best financial tip.

My tip today might seem obvious. Indeed, it is obvious – and it has been spoken by wiser and more eloquent people than me. Yet most people – including myself (sigh) – totally ignore it. Not everyone who ignores it is miserable, of course. But most people who are miserable about money are miserable because they have ignored this one simple tip:

Don’t spend more money than you have.

How many people ignore this simple tip?

Everybody who carries a balance on their credit card. Everybody who has taken pout a loan. Everybody who has debt.

I know, I know. Sometimes you get a wallop in the wallet and you just need to borrow some money. And, yes, a mortgage is usually a good investment (if you don’t try to buy as much house as you can “afford” with a mortgage).

But debt should be an exception to the rule. It should not be a way of life. If you are already in debt, that is not the time to decide to buy a cottage or a motor boat. First pay down the debt, then save up for the splurge, then have fun.

READ ALSO: 8 sneaky ways to get free furniture

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Yes, you will have to wait. Yes, you will have to defer some pleasure. Yes, some people will say that you have only one life to live, so buy things right away and get the most out of life.

Sorry, that’s a lie. Buy now, pay much more later might bring you some pleasure sooner. But if later on you are spending so much of your money feeding interest payments, that you can’t buy the fun things you want, you don’t gain a thing. You lose; you might even lose big time.

And I know that more than one savvy reader is thinking about the even bigger misery that debt creates. It is no secret that couples fight most about money.  And life sucks when you are fighting with your partner, your comrade-in-arms, your best friend.  And even more so when you have to go through a divorce.

You can accelerate your savings by adopting some frugal habits.  We have had some fun with frugal on this blog, but of course it’s about more than just fun.  It’s about avoiding misery, too.

Am I the only person so unrealistic as to recommend spending only what you make?  No.  Here are a few of the top personal finance bloggers and their thoughts on the subject:

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can help you avoid falling into a pit of misery.  So earn more and spend less, and paint a great big smile on your face.

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Do you inspire trust?

A positive relationship requires mutual trust. Without trust, spouses, diplomats, friends and co-workers, neighbours and others cannot build an enjoyable relationship.

Sadly, many people think that they have a great relationship as long as “they can get away with it”, rather than ensuring they are trustworthy. That is called lowest-denominator thinking. I suppose it is survivalist; if surviving is your reason for living, that’s just grand.

Children trust their parents just to survive.

But what if you want more out of life than just surviving?

Many divorces – not all, of course – boil down to one partner or both devaluing trust. War is usually the result of one or more countries or leaders failing to ensure they are trustworthy. And often on-the-job problems are the result of missing trust.

I will leave you to define for yourself whether these situations pass or fail even the survival test.

But if you want more out of life than just surviving, or in my opinion, failing to do so, think about the people you have a relationship with:

  • boss, employee, co-worker, business partner
  • spouse, child, parent, sibling
  • friend
  • your child’s teacher, a neighbor

Have you earned the trust of these people? When you give your word to them, do you ALWAYS mean it? And do they know that you do? If not, now is a great time to start building the trust so vital to positive relationships.

Make sure you DO mean it. Every time. And make sure they know.

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Makeovers – You Can Make Over Anything

Whether it’s about your look or your life, your relationships or your career, if you are thinking of a major overhaul, this should inspire you. Behold this extreme – and extremely beautiful – home makeover.

If you think that there is anything so beyond hope that it can’t be refurbished, Barbie and Ken beg to differ.

The pictures below give you some idea of the North Dakota house that Heather Benning remade into a life-size doll house in the Barbie style. Yes, quite amazing. And if this makeover can be done with an old tear-me-down house, imagine what you could do with yourself, your career, your relationships – whatever you want to make over.

Here are a couple before and after pics, but for the full story, go here.


READ ALSO: 8 sneaky ways to get free furniture


Home Decorating Made Easy

Home Decor BooksOK, so maybe you are not up to making such a drastic overhaul of your living space. But get a copy of the Home Decorating Made Easy manual and you can do some pretty amazing things to upgrade your own home right now..

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