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The Power of Living in the Present

Seek to embody the message that you wish to impart to others

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I ballooned up to 202 pounds years back and couldn’t stand it. I had been 182 for most of my adult life and felt comfortable at that weight. As a professional speaker, travelling the country speaking to groups, it was important for me to “walk my talk,” every minute of the day.

To optimally influence others, I decided to embody the message that I was verbally disseminating. If people were to believe me, that they could in fact win back their time, I needed to show up in the present as someone who looked like he had won his time back.

Embodying the Message

Here is what embodying the message I wished to impart specifically meant for me:

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* Maintaining my ideal weight of 182 pounds.
* Wear no watch. If I have appointments I simply make sure I’m near a timepiece.
* Staying off most mailing lists, except for the few that matter.
* Supplying business reply envelopes to others to ensure their ability of interacting with me.
* Pausing for at least ten minutes each day to stop, collect my thoughts, and take a deep breath.
* Avoiding television and electronic addiction; recognizing that a walk outdoors, talking to a good friend, reading, and other activities are more rewarding.
* Keeping letters and correspondence to one page or, at worst, both sides of the same sheet of paper.
* Doing one thing at a time. I don’t eat while I read, doodle while I talk on the phone, or give divided attention while in conversation.

Rationalizing = Ineffectiveness

As I began speaking to more groups, it became easy for me to rationalize that my normal exercise routine would be disrupted when traveling, and that it was okay for me to wait until I got back home.

The groups to whom I spoke covered my meals on the road, and often had huge luncheons or dinner banquets. It was easy to tank-up on great food, and rationalize that eating was part of the job.

While becoming more successful as a speaker, I had to devise a plan for staying fit both on the road and in between. I had to do so as to not experience hunger cravings, resort to diet pills, or make extreme sacrifices. In the present, in real time, I would honor my weigh and fitness related goals

Action Steps

Here’s a brief description of the six key action steps that enabled me to stay in shape and have more energy day in and day out:

1. Exercise a Little, Every Day. I learned a tip from a friend who is trim and toned. He makes it a rule to exercise for at least some portion of each day, even if it’s only a 15 minute walk around the block.

Some exercising each day is not just a good idea, it becomes a challenge for you to find ways to work out in confined areas. Suppose you’re stuck in a small city, in a hotel without athletic facilities, and there’s a thundering rainstorm outside. The test becomes using the hotel’s hallways, or even your own hotel room as your gym.

2. Use my Hotel Room as a Health Club. When you check into your hotel, ask for a non-smoking room on a non-smoking floor. You get your best exercise in rooms where nicotine does not infiltrate the carpets and curtains. You also want to ask if the hotel has a health club, pool, or other type of exercise facility. If they do, great. If not, it’s easy to use your hotel room for your workout.

When I check into hotels I often ask if a third-floor room is available (If there’s ever a fire I could jump or climb down). Staying on lower floors prompts me to take the stairs more often than usual – I feel guilty taking the elevator to go up a floor or two.

Walking up and down stairs is excellent exercise that gives a good workout to muscles in your back, derriere, and legs. Don’t use the stairs when you’re toting luggage, but once you put the luggage down, use the stairs as often as you can.

When it comes to TV, workout while you watch. Run in place, do arm circles, or squats. If you’ve ever taken an aerobics class, you know a variety of exercises that you can do in a four-foot square space.

3. Patronize the Hotel Health Club. If the hotel has a health club, then you have more tools at your convenience. The treadmills and bike machines are great for warm-ups; in each case you can start at slow speed. While exercising on the road, keep any health club workout light. This is not the time to try to break endurance records.

4. Walk the Halls. When the hotel has no health club facility, walk the halls or, if the weather is favorable, the grounds of the hotel facility. In many cases, a couple times around the block will give you 15 minutes of solid walking.

If you’re near a supermarket or neighborhood shopping center, or better yet, a large shopping mall, you can easily spend an hour walking up and down the aisles and hallways. Don’t stop to linger too much to look at the goods; your goal is to stay in motion.

5. Using Airports as Your Playground. Suppose you have a layover in an airport for an hour and 45 minutes. Check your largest bag, or all your bags, so you’re unencumbered. One of the great advantages of airports is that there are lots of people to see and shops to pass by.

6. Break the Cycle. When you work out vigorously for hours on end like many people in health clubs do, you might fall into a cycle that is somewhat hard to undo:

* Dehydration, so you fill up on water
* Hunger, so you fill up on food
* Weariness, so you get a lot of rest

You wake up the next day hungry and thirsty again, and can end up overeating as a result of your vigorous workouts. When you simply walk, do calisthenics in front of the TV, and pursue other methods of light exercising, you never face the dehydration, hunger, and tiredness cycle.

I was able to drop 21 pounds with no hunger cravings whatsoever, and without tiredness. It felt natural, it was relatively easy, and now I don’t know how I ever let myself balloon up to 202.

A New Beginning

With my new-found energy, I began playing basketball with 18 to 24 year-olds, and walking the historic parts of cities where I speak. All my clothes fit, people routinely mistook me for someone several years younger, and I felt great.

Your goal now is to pick something you wish to master and create measures for proceeding now, as you day and life unfold. Based on the measures that you choose, and the particular circumstances of your life, your plan will be different from someone else’s.

The plan will work best if you can initiate a part of it everyday. Here are reinforcement techniques:

* Seek others with goals similar to yours.
* Post reinforcing statements and reminders in view.
* Record affirming statements on cassette.
* Determine any cash outlays in advance.
* Take bite-size action steps.
* Have someone waiting to hear of your progress.
* Envision yourself succeeding.
* Plot your plan on the calendar starting from the end date.
* Build in some flexibility.

There are people who live in the present. These people can open the mail and deal with it when it arrives, respond to phone calls as they occur, and depart from the office each evening at a reasonable hour.

People who live in the present have a life after work, and take vacations. There’s no reason you can’t be one of these people.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Life

Authors Who Avoid Hasty Conclusions

Much of the information that we encounter, especially via the internet, is only partially true, if not completely bogus

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So much of the information that we encounter today, especially via the internet, is only partially true, if not completely bogus. As such, I admire the work of selected authors over the past few decades. They remind me to check out what seems to be common knowledge, for the truth the lies beyond it:

Self-help author Denis Waitley observed Albert Einstein always scored quite well in math and science. Some “historians” noted that his top grade of six on a scale of one to six dropped to a level of one from one year to the next, and they arbitrarily assumed he had started to flunk those courses. The school had reversed its grading system, however, to make the highest grade a one instead of a six.

For decades, no one had bothered to examine the original “evidence” leading to the proclamation that Einstein was an academic failure.

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Pop Trends

In her book, Backlash, author Susan Faludi told how “pop” market forecasters made a fortune by reviewing popular media, such as newspapers, television, movies and so forth, and then concluding what trends are looming in America. The extreme fallacy with this method of forecasting, Faludi noted, is that it tends to promulgate that which only a handful of editors, publishers and directors believe or perpetrate. No hard data supports the “forecasts.”

One such forecaster was credited with coining the term “cocooning” for the 1980s, where working men and women, particularly women, decided to spend more time in the household. Faludi shows that the assertion has no relationship to U.S. Department Bureau of Labor Statistics that indicated an increase in the number of women in the workforce and in the time each spent outside the home.

Nevertheless, corporations paid hefty sums to be told where we were all headed next. Because many other factors can obscure results, if the predicted “trend” then doesn’t help the corporate customer, it is rarely linked back to the forecaster. Such companies would do better, observed Faludi, to simply consult the U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other sources that independently collect data, presumably with no bias.

Dastardly Dads?

Faludi also uncovered this: The “fact” that an epidemic of divorced fathers refused to pay child care, which is a falsehood that distorted reality for decades. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the great majority of fathers with joint custody of their children – nearly 90% – paid their entire support obligation, in full and on time. Some 80% of fathers with visitation privileges, but not joint custody, paid regularly. Only when the courts deprive fathers of both custody and access do support levels drop to under 50%, the figure mistakenly attributed to all fathers.

Despite the strong correlation between a man’s ability to have joint custody or visitation with his children and his willingness to make regular support payments, most legislators and judges didn’t seem to see it. Their automatic and immediate response in cases of nonpayment was to blame the male, instead of enforcing the man’s right to visit his children and encouraging father-child relationships.

By continuing to make the majority of child custody awards to women, the courts systematically disregarded the role fathers played and all but ensured that the children would have adjustment problems. Even if a man legally wins visitation rights, his ability to visit his kids isn’t guaranteed. Judges don’t often put uncooperative mothers in jail. So, fathers end up going to court repeatedly – a costly venture. Sometimes after many attempts to visit their children, some fathers withhold support payments to force what the courts will not.

The media, charging to no one’s rescue and in search of thirty second sound bites, label such fathers as deadbeat, or worse. Hence, the widespread misconception about the true nature of what’s going on in this critical arena continues even to this day.

Abounded Influence

In his acclaimed 1990 book, Agents of Influence, author Pat Choate debunked the myth that the Japanese, as a whole, significantly contributed to the development of innovation and technology as evidenced by their annual lead in the number of U.S. patents they had filed and obtained. As Choate explained, the Japanese tilted the economic playing field, via the ruthless art of “patent flooding.”

When a U.S. firm, for example, applied for a patent representing an innovation on which the Japanese wanted to capitalize, Japanese firms issued a flurry of patent applications that surrounded the technology at hand. Thus, the original developer or inventor could not market his invention  without getting clearance from the Japanese, who could tie up an invention in the courts simply because they held nuisance patents for a component or contributing element to the major patent.

After decades of such tactics, and with China included as a leading culprit, the U.S. government still has failed to install comprehensive, necessary protections to safeguard the toil and genius of the original American patent applicant. As such, our government has unwittingly contributed to the redistribution of billions of dollars in royalties and revenues to others.

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Life

Friends: Real and Imagined

Technology can aid humankind but if we are not careful it can diminish the quality of our lives

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Researchers from the National Opinion Research Center have found that people who watch a lot of television seem to be as psychologically content as people who have many friends.

These disappointing findings stem from the fact that, “the human brain evolved long before television came along, so subconsciously it recognizes any face it sees regularly as a friend, even if it is on the screen,” says Satoshi Kanazawa, Ph.D., author of the study.

Does the above explain why society remains in a stupor of overfed, undernourished, overweight, socially inept citizens? After all they are, indeed, getting their social and psychological strokes by tuning in to see their favorite “friends” each week.

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Stuck in a Stupor?

Technology can certainly be an aid to human kind but if we are not careful it can greatly diminish the quality of our lives. Technology distracts us from our own thought, daydreams, even our own imagination.

When we fill in the time from the car to the elevator and the elevator to the office, or from lunch back to the office, with a cell phone, we interrupt the opportunity for people to marinate in their own imaginations.

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