Monthly Archives: September 2012

clarity of purpose leads to success.

Here’s a quick, great article…


The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown  |  August 8, 2012

Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful?




Words To Live By: Desire/Intention

(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)

I initially was going to write about ‘desire’ by itself. I’ve read and heard about how we really need to desire our goals and use that desire or passion to motivate us, etc. More recently I’ve read about intention and how that relates to our potential. Finally, I recently read something from Deepak Chopra that discusses Intention and Desire simulteanously and felt that it was best to use them together here.

In Deepak Chopra’s “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”, he discusses the 5th law of Intention and Desire. Basically he discusses that there is a field of energy, information around us all the time and that intention and desire influence this field – and that the field is essentially pure consciousness and potentiality, as he puts it.

On a material level, Chopra says that we are made up of the same things as the universe, as the trees, as each other – hydrogen, carbon, etc. etc. We are the same as these things except that the difference is that we have our own energy, life, desire and intentions.  We are aware of our consciousness, our energy, our information, etc.

We experience all things through our physical body yet we are not simply just physical. We are able to consciously change the informational content that gives rise to our physical bodies. Chopra says, “You can consciously change the energy and infomational content of your own quantum mechanical body, and therefore influence the energy and informational content of your extended body – your environment, your world – and cause things to manifest in it.”

As we’ve heard from other great minds, Chopra reminds us “Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life…..Intention, on the other hand, triggers transformation of energy and information. Intention organizes its own fulfillment.”

OK, so we might have already known that, right? It is good to be reminded. So now what? If we are connected with everything else in the world, in the universe and our intention influences things in some way or another, now what?

Chopra says, “You can put the cosmic computer with its infinite organizing power to work for you. You can go…..and introduce an intention, and just by introducing the intention, you activate the field of infinite correlation.”

So in other words, desire, intention, whatever you want to call it, creates a foundation for ‘effortless, spontaneous, flow’.

“Intention is the real power behind desire.” Deepak Chopra

More importantly, and sometimes what is much harder, we need to practice detachment. In my mind at least, this seems like a contradiction.

Let me say it this way, similar to what Chopra says – we can desire something, we can put forth the intention for it – which is what most people do. But most people stay attached to “IT”. We need to be detached from “IT”.

Intention with detachment is what you need to seek. You intend for something to happen in the future but you need to let go and be in the present, be aware in the moment, and be centered on the now.

As Chopra says, “As long as your attention is in the present, then your intent for the future will manifest, because the future is created in the present.”

How do we do that?

Meditate. Center yourself, get silent, connect. Release your intentions and desires.

For instance, Chopra puts it this way, “If you want a successful career, go into the gap (meditate) with that intention, and the intention will already be there as a faint flicker in your awareness. Releasing your intentions and desires….will plant them in the fertile ground of pure potentiality….you do not want to dig up the seeds of your desires to see if they are growing, ….you simply want to release them.”

Releasing attachment was a hard thing to understand for me personally. Thinking about my intentions and desires as seeds, planting them as releasing attachment helped. No one digs up seeds to see how they grow. You plant them, maybe water them but you have faith that they are growing. You can do little things to help the growth sometimes but ultimately you need to let go.

I’ve heard various thoughts on self-referral and discussing your intentions and desires, but Chopra says to keep our intentions to ourselves, unless someone else shares the exact same desires that you have and are closely bonded with you.

Here are some action steps:

  1. Make a list of your desires. Carry the list with you all the time. Look at it before meditating, before going to sleep, and when you wake up.
  2. Release the list of desires and intentions. Surrender them to the Universe, Source, God, to creation. Let go and trust that the details are being handled.
  3. Remind yourself to be in the moment, live in the present. Refuse to allow challenges and obstacles to slow you down, to discourage you, or to diminish the quality of your attention on the present moment. Enjoy the moment, accept it, be happy in the moment.
  “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”
 Mary Anne Radmacher

Dr. Wayne Dyer, Mike Dooley, and many others say the same things in different ways. Wayne Dyer suggests that we have a mantra of sorts to remind us of things and our intentions before bed. He states that our last thoughts before sleep can linger for up to four hours in our subconscious. Dyers suggests that we create a reminder to review what you intend to manifest for your life. Create what he calls, “I ams” – I am love, I am writing, I attract only those who are in alignment…..etc.

Our intention creates our reality. -Dr. Wayne Dyer

Dyer also points out that other philosophers and psychologists agree; “One of Dr. Maslow’s most significant attributes of living a self-actualized life is self-trust. When you trust yourself to decide your destiny, you don’t allow externals to discourage or influence you. You have faith, and faith is attained through complete trust and confidence in the power of the one universal mind, which you are inextricably a part of. It is the God-realized you that placed the thoughts and feelings that represent your destiny into your mind and body.”

The definition of intention has changed for me, at least since I was younger. Intention was generally viewed as a “pit-bull kind of determination” pushing us to succeed at all costs by never giving up. It was mostly about an attitude that combines hard work with a drive toward something. However, intention is viewed very differently by Dr. Chopra, Mike Dooley, Dr. Dyer and others. Intention is considered or viewed as a force in the universe that allows the act of creation to take place. Intention is not as something you do—but as an energy you’re a part of…..

Here’s a quick fun quote to depart with…

You are what you think … geez, that’s frightening. -Lily Tomlin

Uplifting Replay Call

There is a group of investors/like minded entrepreneurs, etc. that I’ve been a part of for several years. I’ve learned a lot of strategies from them and gained from the experience.

Like many people in this economy, many of the members have experienced challenges and tough times.

Yesterday, the groups’ leader and creator had a conference call where he spoke for about 1 hour.

I rarely pass along such things but I thought that his call was sincere, helpful, and resonated with many of us. I wanted to pass along to you, it may help you in some ways.

Click HERE to gain access to the Recorded Replay;0OTE2NjM1MDI=1

Simple stuff:creativity and imagination

I look at flies, at flowers, at leaves and trees around me. I let my mind drift at ease, just like a boat in the current. Sooner or later it is caught by something. -Pablo Picasso

Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog itand work at it until it’s done and done right. Walt Disney

Only in our imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention is the supreme master of art as of life. -Joseph Conrad

The real artist’s work is a surprise to himself. The big painter is the one who has something to say. He thus does not paint men, landscape or furniture but an idea. Robert Henri, American painter

There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrate to some stroke of the imagination. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

The man who has no imagination has no wings.  Muhammad Ali

Happiness = focus on now, be present

OK, you may have heard me say before that we all need to focus on the now, the present, right. And I often talk about how we need to be happy with what we have, accept what we have before we can move on to better things. Simple right? Sounds like it.

I do repeat subjects such as this – but for a reason. We all get better with repetition. When we reinforce good things we benefit. Plus, I’ve had people reach out to me and ask more about it, so it shows that there is interest in some of these ideas.

Ok, let’s jump into it. We all want to be happy each day, right? And we’d all like to have a gratifying career, right? A gratifying life where we can see the direct contributions like some careers offer, like a doctor or police officer or firefighter, for instance. 

But, we all, at least from time to time, long for other things right? We want bigger and better things. We sometimes wish that we are somewhere else. Maybe, perhaps, we’re at work but we wish that we are instead at the beach, on a hike, at that party, or somewhere ‘else’.

But studies show, and I think we know it intuitively, when your body’s at the office and your mind’s at the party, at another job, at home, or at the beach, it can create frustration at work.

Satisfaction, memories, happiness, and reward come in the “present”.

To be happy in life and to be happy at work, we need to be in the moment, living in the present instead of thinking about the past, future, or wishing that we were somewhere else – and this all relates to life in general and career satisfaction in particular.

Some people have a tough time doing that (and society doesn’t help much), and it’s costing them their happiness.

There’s a recent article by Andrea Kay ( via Gannett Publishing that describes a well-documented study conducted by two Harvard researchers who set out to measure happiness, shows that 47 percent of the time people think about something other than what they are doing, and that mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.

Ms. Kay’s article further describes that psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert concluded this after collecting data from more than 15,000 volunteers ages 18 to 88 from more than 80 countries in 86 different occupations.

They gathered the data through an iPhone application that tracks people’s happiness,, asking at random intervals how happy someone was, what they were doing and whether they were thinking about their current activity or something else that was pleasant, neutral or unpleasant.

The study showed that mind-wandering occurred in all activities. When someone is working, they discovered a person’s mind wanders 50 percent of the time. It makes you wonder if that’s one reason so many people complain their work is not rewarding.

That tendency for the human mind to wander and think about what is not happening, is a cognitive achievement that comes with an emotional costs, say the researchers in the journal Science, adding, “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” (the above was from Andrea Kay’s article To be happy in your job, focus on now)

We allow ourselves to be distracted and we’re constantly distracted by many things around us. Email, the phone, that think your coworker said, the bills, family, etc.

Have you ever been somewhere alone with someone and only two of you are talking. One of you says something and the other doesn’t hear it despite the silence? That person is probably thinking of something else, right? How could they not hear it? (Of course you always hear the stuff, it’s the other person.)

Ms. Kay states that “Researchers found that things like worrying “seem to be incredibly destructive to happiness” and “that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the nonpresent,” Killingsworth says in HarvardScience.”

OK, so what’s the answer? You can look towards the Bible, learn from Buddhism, listen to practicioners of Transcendental Meditation, or just listen to your therapist: make a conscious effort to ‘be in the present’. Often we first have to be more aware of ourselves – be aware if we’re daydreaming, wanting something else, or if we’re ‘present’.

If you do that, you will notice that you’re more engaged, more satisfied, more productive. That alone will make you feel better. Being in the moment will bring more happiness. Think of one of those days we’re all had – when we’re distracted, interrupted, worried, and it seems like we do 100 things but accomplish none. Do we feel happy? Accomplished? No.

Then think of those moments – often doing sports or something fun – when you’re only thinking of “that thing”. I think about rock climbing. I don’t do it often but when I have, I can only think of that activity. All things fade away. I enjoy it and I feel lighter, I feel clear. And guess what, the last time I went climbing I later had a good idea about something after – I had been worrying about it for sometime and my guess is that my subconscious worked on it while I climbed.

Meditation is a great way to help us learn to be more in the moment and to focus. I definitely have trouble sitting in a quiet manner, focusing, and not letting my mind wander. I think of ideas, people I need to call, lists, etc. But we need to work on the silence. Wayne Dyer suggests using a prayer or poem that you like and very, very slowly saying it when you start to meditate – and focus on the gap in between the words. He uses the example of the “Our Father” and says to focus and meditate on the spaces between each word, the emptiness, silence and peace. That helps us meditate.

Lastly, it goes without saying, that present moment can very well turn out to be one of the best memories ever. How many times has someone said or done something out of the blue and that moment becomes a memory that you refer to often? Remember that simple thing a child said or did? That unexpected moment in nature? The compliment or kind word? That surprise or laugh?

Here’s to the present, may you remember that it is a gift.

Below are ideas to help us all focus on happiness.

These are found in the article; 12 Steps to Happiness, By Stacey Kennelly | August 9, 2012 at

Savor life’s joys. Pay close attention to life’s momentary pleasures and wonders through thinking, writing, or drawing, or by sharing them with others. Download instructions for the “three good things” exercise—a way to help you savor the good in your life.

Learn to forgive. Keep a journal or write a letter in which you work on letting go of anger and resentment toward someone who has hurt or wronged you.

Practice acts of kindness. Do good things for others—whether friends or strangers, directly or anonymously, spontaneously or planned. Download instructions.

Nurture relationships. Pick a relationship in need of strengthening, and invest time and energy in healing, cultivating, affirming, and enjoying it.

Cultivate optimism. Keep a journal in which you imagine and write about the best possible future for yourself, or practice looking at the bright side of every situation. Download instructions.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. Use strategies (such as distraction) to cut down on how often you dwell on your problems, and guard against comparing yourself to others.

Develop strategies for coping. Practice ways to endure or surmount a recent stress, hardship, or trauma.

Count your blessings. Express gratitude for what you have—either privately, through contemplation or journaling, or to someone else—or convey your appreciation to people whom you’ve never properly thanked. Download instructions for keeping a gratitude journal and for writing a gratitude letter.

Strengthen your spiritual connections. Religious and spiritual people are happier, perhaps because of the social connections they get through their community.

Commit to your goals. Pick one, two, or three significant goals that are meaningful to you, and devote time and effort to pursuing them. Download instructions for using your strengths to help you achieve your goals.

Take care of your body. This could mean exercise, of course, but also meditating, smiling, or laughing.


Quick Quotes – Investment Style

Thanks to for these investment related quotes from the weekend of 9/21/2012….

1. “The ideal business is one that earns very high returns on capital and that keeps using lots of capital at those high returns. That becomes a compounding machine.”
— Warren Buffett

Finding compounding machines is hard. But once you find them, they do all of the hard work for you, year in and year out. That’s why investing for the long term in companies with sustainable competitive advantages builds wealth.

2. “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
— Warren Buffett

Sadly, there are far too many examples of this principle in contemporary business.

3. “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ.”
— Warren Buffett

Whew! This is good news, since we’re pretty sure our IQs aren’t particularly high.

4. “When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”
— Warren Buffett

In an era of high-frequency trading, where the average holding period is just four months, a long-term view can give the average investor a huge advantage.

5. “The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.”
— Warren Buffett

This is advice we’ve taken to heart. That’s why we’ve made an investment in online travel research company TripAdvisor (Nasdaq: TRIP  ) . This well-managed company continues to grow, and we’re confident it can maintain that advantage for years.

6. “Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up.”
— Charlie Munger

We always try to read more than just annual reports and conference calls. And we also try to learn from our mistakes — like Frank Sinatra, we’ve made a few!

7. “I believe in the discipline of mastering the best that other people have ever figured out. I don’t believe in just sitting down and trying to dream it all up yourself. Nobody’s that smart.”
— Charlie Munger

And we are grateful for all of the information that Munger has shared over the years, especially since he’s definitely dreamed up a lot of it.

8. “All you need for a lifetime of successful investing is a few big winners, and the pluses from those will overwhelm the minuses from the stocks that don’t work out.”
— Peter Lynch

No one likes to lose money, but it is inevitable that investors will have losses from time to time. We’ve both owned stocks that have lost 50% of their value. But we’ve also had several multibaggers over the years. We believe that investors must be willing to lose a little money in order to try and earn a lot.

9. “The best stock to buy is the one you already own.”
— Peter Lynch

Don’t neglect the great companies that are already in your portfolio. You most likely know them quite well already. If that’s an edge for you, use it.

10. “Searching for companies is like looking for grubs under rocks: if you turn over 10 rocks you’ll likely find one grub; if you turn over 20 rocks you’ll find two.”
— Peter Lynch

Investing is hard work. But that’s the way it should be. One of the things we like best about investing is that you often get out what you put into it.

11. “I think you have to learn that there’s a company behind every stock, and that there’s only one real reason why stocks go up. Companies go from doing poorly to doing well or small companies grow to large companies.”— Peter Lynch

We like both the turnaround and the growth story. Within our real-money portfolio, however, we prefer to invest in businesses that can grow. One of our holdings, InvenSense (Nasdaq: INVN  ) , is taking advantage of today’s mobile computing trend by supplying motion sensors for smartphones and tablets. And it’s looking to put its sensors anywhere it can to generate growth tomorrow. We think this small company is going to be much bigger in five years.

12. “The four most dangerous words in investing are: ‘this time it’s different.'”
— Sir John Templeton

If you haven’t read This Time Is Different by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, we highly recommend it.

13. “It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong.”
— George Soros

Another way to say this is: Make sure you allocate the most money to your best ideas. And at the same time, make sure your mistakes aren’t big enough to damage your portfolio beyond repair. For example, our largest investment is in our highest-conviction idea, LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD  ) , which is changing the way people manage their careers. We also have a very small investment in biofuel maker Solazyme (Nasdaq: SZYM  ) , which has lots of challenges ahead of it. We believe both positions are sized properly.

14. “The individual investor should act consistently as an investor and not as a speculator. This means … that he should be able to justify every purchase he makes and each price he pays by impersonal, objective reasoning that satisfies him that he is getting more than his money’s worth for his purchase.”
— Benjamin Graham

One way to interpret this is to take advantage of the market when it wants to sell $1 worth of value at $0.50. Within our portfolio, we look at this quote a little differently. We want to invest $1 worth of capital in companies that can ultimately deliver $5 or $10 worth of value over the years.

15. “The investor’s chief problem — even his worst enemy — is likely to be himself.”
— Benjamin Graham

Here are three biases that investors should be aware of: a) hindsight bias — Looking back, we think it was easy to know the future. It wasn’t. So keep a journal in order to remember how you were thinking and feeling about an investment decision; b) the disposition effect — People tend to sell their winners too early, and hold on to their losers too long. Reverse that and you will become a better investor and generate higher returns; c) confirmation bias — It’s difficult to seek out information that goes against our thinking. But that’s what we all need to do.

16. “If you have trouble imagining a 20% loss in the stock market, you shouldn’t be in stocks.”
— John Bogle

If you’ve never had a 20% loss, then one of two things is true: a) you’re not an investor b) you are 3 years old.

17. “Investors should always keep in mind that the most important metric is not the returns achieved but the returns weighed against the risks incurred. Ultimately, nothing should be more important to investors than the ability to sleep soundly at night.”
— Seth Klarman

It’s best to define risk as the permanent loss of capital, and then act accordingly.

18. “Sometimes buying early on the way down looks like being wrong, but it isn’t.”
— Seth Klarman

Buying early and on the way down is not always easy, though. Studies have shown that a drop in prices hurts twice as much as an equal gain in prices improves your sentiment. But if we understand how a business works and why it has a long-term competitive advantage, then buying more at lower prices can pay off handsomely.

19. “As time goes on, I get more and more convinced that the right method of investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes.”
— J.M. Keynes

We agree. That’s why we made a big investment in LinkedIn.

20. “If you’re looking for a home run — a great investment for five years or 10 years or more — then the only way to beat this enormous fog that covers the future is to identify a long-term trend that will give a particular business some sort of edge.”
— Ralph Wanger

Podcasts anyone?

If you enjoy the blog posts from – or you want to give it a chance but haven’t read much of it yet for any reason,

would you like to listen to it?

You can click on the below, the specific podcasts, and listen or download to your mp3 or iPod device.

Or you can just go to the main podomatic page at

I am adding new ones all the time, so stop back.

  STOP that argument in its tracks 13:46
25x25_7214493 Words To Live By: Encouragement 13:46  
25x25_7166582 Words To Live By: Laughter 20:55  
25x25_7084632 Words to Live By: Giving part 1 10:46  
25x25_6966589 Questions of Power 12:32  
25x25_6952763 Words to Live By: Focus 12:14  
25x25_7077830 Words to Live By: Faith 12:23  
25x25_7077802 What Memorial Day Means 5:01  
25x25_7077780 Lifestyle Design, Life’s Choices, Goals…. 11:56  
25x25_7077760 Good Stuff from Frank Kern 7:44  
25x25_7077726 How standing and/or walking for 20 minutes can help! 9:38  
25x25_6966589 Safe Corporate Job or Go Solo? 6:39  
25x25_6952763 Words to Live By: Visualization Part 4 15:23  
25x25_6961954 Words to Live By: Visualization Part 2 21:27  
25x25_6952763 Words to Live By: Visualization Part 1
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