Jul 162021

Many aspects of life work against us living large. It is all too easy to get stuck in a rut, taking the same road to work each day, fighting the same traffic, doing the same thing day in and day out, listening to the same problems, hanging out with the same friends with all their worries and petty grievances, paying the same bills. Many people find themselves in life’s quicksand, getting the same results and facing the same outlook next month.

There is a proven way to live a much larger and more fulfilling life. You must decide to be a student, which has little or nothing to do with being in school. Becoming a student of life – for life – means staying curious, learning new topics, reading new stuff, meeting new people, trying new things, making new mistakes, struggling a bit with new endeavors, and above all, taking new chances. As the Great Gretzky put it, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.”

Time for a quick self-assessment: Are you a life-long student?

Take just two minutes with a piece of paper and list out all the new stuff you have tried or learned in the last 60 days. What mistakes have you made and what lessons did you learn from them? If you are not making any mistakes, odds are you are playing it way too safe. Personal growth comes from pushing your personal envelope.

Is it harder to take chances? Sure it is, in the short run. In the long run, getting stuck in life’s quicksand is much worse.

When you decide to become a life-long student, you discover the keys to the fountain of youth. The daily struggle that comes with asking questions, doubting the talking heads, taking prudent risks, seeking to understand, adapting and overcoming — that is what epitomized youthfulness and vitality. When you combine the life-long-student discipline and attitude with sincere do-something-about-it-now goals (the second key to the fountain of youth), you become unstoppable and wind up living a much larger and fulfilling life. There are no guarantees that you will become rich like Richard Branson in the process, but it will be a ride worth talking about.

I.M. Optimisman

Apr 022021

If there is one good thing that will come out of Covid, it’s that we recognize the need to use our time wisely, to make the most of each day. Before Covid, we often heard someone say ‘just wasting time…’ when asked what they are doing right now. I now understand, more than ever before, that each day is precious, each hour is precious, and making the most of moments matters.

I’ve argued in past articles about how important it is to invest time instead of spend time. I’ve had the idea that we should have good stuff in our queue, ready to read or do at a moments notice. I pointed out that we must proactively make memorable moments happen with our loved ones. But Covid, and all the unpredictability, all the time that was not quite the same, has made it more vivid, more real.

Tom Hanks agrees with me. Here is how he put it in an article I read recently: “Covid-19 has taught us that life and health are precarious—that the tiniest bit of our physical world, like a virus, can rob us of vitality, community, family and purpose, whether we got sick or not. This pandemic affected us all, costing so much, too much. Our time is limited and finite. Solitaire squanders what is precious. Don’t ever play solitaire again.

The good news is that Covid taught the world how to quarantine, how to wear masks, how to endure some inconveniences for the health of our fellow man. A clear benefit is that the human race is more ready for a pandemic than we ever have been in history. Although this is important, I think the greatest lesson that Covid taught us is to be mindful about how we use our time, to appreciate the little things in life, to recognize how precious moments and time really are, and to be grateful for the time we have with friends and family.

I.M. Optimisman

PS. Small idea for you: Set a recurring calendar alert / paste in this link / and watch this fun video once a month. We need to keep our priorities straight and take proactive action to make our lives better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kaG95ZIjHQ

May 242020

Many, if not most people tell me that they are too busy. Too busy every day. Too busy at work, too busy at home. They are just barely keeping their head above water, juggling it all.

I believe there is an art to finding time, making time for what’s truly important versus what is “busy-work.” A lot of busy-work looks and feels important and urgent but, if you ask yourself “will this task or project that I’m spending time on matter 90 days from today…” the answer is often no.

This question — will this task or project that I’m spending time on matter 90 days from today — is the one that we must ask ourselves dozens of times each day. This question is the one that separates wasteful tasks, mediocre tasks, and good tasks, from great tasks. Only the great tasks contribute on your journey toward a longer-term worthy goal. Good things to do are usually the insidious culprit — they prevent us from doing the great things to do that matter the most — while we feel reasonably good about what we did ‘accomplish’ during the day.

To find more time, we must evaluate the longer-term value of each task before accepting it, before telling someone that you will get it done. Once you say that you will, keeping your word, which is crucial to maintaining your personal integrity and the other person’s trust, takes over. You must learn to say “no” much more often — up front, politely, respectfully, but unequivocally. The “art” is to say “no” in such a tactful way that people still look at you as a core colleague or friend. It usually helps to explain that you have other pressing priorities and give them some ideas of how they can get their task done without your direct involvement.

Quote: Good things to do prevent us from doing great things to do. Its easy to stay busy but go nowhere fast. Sakalas

Your positivity about your life is fueled by progress toward your goals and grand purpose. The simplest habit is to pre-plan your week and each day so that you don’t give in to other people’s tasks and urgencies.

Learn the art of no.

I.M. Optimisman

Nov 212018

This is an interesting speech by Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University who has been studying stress and its effects on people’s health.

In short, studies found that stress can cause harm to your health IF YOU BELIEVE that stress is causing you harm. But in new experiments, for people who believe that stress is a normal part of life, people who believe that the stress symptoms that they feel are simply messages that their body is preparing to help them perform and succeed in a stressful situation, stress doesn’t appear to cause the same harm. Clearly, the mind is more powerful than we realize.

Please watch this video as the theory is well worth considering. Toward the end, Kelly points out that helping others and being socially involved are great antidotes to harm from stress, because it releases hormones that help your body recover from any damage that might have been caused.

I very much believe that your mind is far more powerful than most people realize, and that you can train your mind to react positively in almost any situation.

I.M. Optimisman

Jan 032018

I’m realizing that folks decide to become old. It is subtle, but your habits usually change from decade to decade.  Old sets in when a person stops doing all the things that help keep a person young.

Consider this thought for part one:

Creativity is the fountain of youth. What did you create this week?

I plan to create a number of quotes in 2018 all around this topic. Staying young, hungry, passionate is a choice. Be younger in 2018 that you were in 2017.

I.M. Optimisman

PS. Don’t ever retire — read this post from the past.

Jan 082011

The ‘why’ people do things is far more interesting than the ‘what’.

I have always been a believer in the ‘you better use it or you will lose it’ way of thinking.  I also tend to have a rather long range view of the future, so it is probably not a surprise that the reason I work out diligently at the gym – through aches and pains, day in and day out – is that I have a clear vision of becoming a spry old man.  In fact, I hope to one day earn the nickname Spry from all my friends.

I read a great book on this topic a few months back that I am enthusiastically recommending to you.  I’ve always had plenty of opinions about the need for strength training and I knew I needed more aerobic work, although I too often skipped the aero and lifted in years past.  The authors helped answer a number of ‘whys’ for me and they did a great job of cementing the balance needed — strength, aerobic health, diet, mental, social — with the science behind the scenes.

If you have a desire to be all you can be when you are 70, 80, 90 or beyond, the time to start is now.  Reading Younger Next Year is a great kick start.  There is also a Younger Next Year for Women, because the first version was overly tilted to the male ways of thinking and motivation.

Here’s a link to the book at Amazon:


A word of warning: If you read this book, you are highly likely to run out and purchase a heart monitor watch.  I personally got the Suunto T6C and wow, its sweet.  But that post will come another day.

Vaya con Dios, Amigos!