Positive Thinking

I really enjoy listening to Zig Ziglar programs. I have downloaded a bunch of them from Audible.com and I like pretty much all of them. As anyone who listens to a lot of Zig’s stuff will tell you, a lot of the various programs cover the same material. Zig brings this up himself and makes no apologies for it. The content he is teaching is really good stuff so that is what he consistently shares. It bares repeating. Of course this also means that you can buy a couple Zig programs and listen to them more than once and benefit similarly to someone who buys every Ziglar program released.

If you have not listened to Zig before, he is the very definition of a “Motivational Speaker”. He doesn’t cover new ground, but he hammers home core principles that you already know but need to be reminded of. He believes very strongly in strong character, principled living, positive thinking, and helping others.

Here are some of his quotes:

  • “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
  • “Success Occurs When Opportunity Meets Preparation”
  • “People don’t plan to fail, the just fail to plan.”
  • “A goal properly set is halfway reached”
  • “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”
  • “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
  • “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
  • “If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.”
  • “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
  • “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”
  • “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

If you are interested in some of his programs, I’ve really enjoyed these:

When it comes to positive thinking Zig is the master and he can help get you on that road too.  He says:

“Positive thinking will NOT let you do ANYTHING, but it will let you do EVERYTHING better than negative thinking will.”

Well you can’t argue with “Old Zig” (as he sometimes refers to himself). Zig advocates that you must constantly talk to yourself and affirm yourself. When you wake up tell yourself what a great day it is going to be. Affirm your positive characteristics and those you want to strengthen. You will believe yourself.

“Before you change your thinking you have to change what goes into your mind.” -Zig Ziglar

This quote applies to inside and outside talk. That outside talk includes what you watch on TV, consume on the Internet, and the people you associate with. If you are being brought down all the time by any of this then you will stay down. Only you can pull yourself by making your thinking positive. You do this by changing what is going into your mind from the inside and outside.

Steps Forward:

  • goal oriented: + (setting your course with strength)
  • effective: + (“… do everything better than negative thinking will.”)
  • health:
    • Mind: + (lower stress)
    • Spirit: + (lifted self image)
    • Heart: + (courage and strength)

Productivity and Wellness is an affiliate member with Amazon, which means that if you buy the product through a link on this site, Productivity and Wellness gets a small percentage of the sale. I will always be honest with you about any product I feature or review, and only endorse something I can honestly associate my name with.  That is a principle I will not waver from.


What Am I?

The following riddle is by an author unknown. See if you can solve it before the answer is revealed at the end. This work is a piece of genius.

I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do might just as well turn over to me
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed –
you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people;
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great,
I have made great.
Those who are failures,
I have made failures.

I am not a machine,
though I work with all the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a human.
You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin –
it makes no difference to me.

Take me,
train me,
be firm with me,
And I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me,
and I will destroy you.



Gretchen Rubin

After much prodding from my wife Nora I completed Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before. I thought it was good, and I walked away with a healthy respect for Gretchen’s passion for constructive habits. Of course, I agree 100% that the habit is one of the most powerful tools we have to optimize all areas of our life. If we are going to be successful in our quest to be “self-optimized” we are going to need to master habit formation.


In her book Better Than Before Gretchen Ruben explains that habit formation does not require repetition, constant will power, or self control. She says that it requires a choice. Make the choice once and then stick with it. Then you can stop deciding/wrestling each time the Reminder / Stimulus / Temptation comes along. You have already made the choice. Easy. No will power required. Habit formed.

Where I Am in This?

I’d say in terms of habit formation I am a solid C+. I have been a solid B+ in the past but I lost a lot of my routines when I was knocked off my horse by some tough life stuff. It has been a lot harder than I ever thought getting back in the saddle again, though thanks to Jamie, I am at least getting to the gym again.

For a while I was using a app (iOS) called Balanced that is designed to build habits. It is an excellent app and it really helped me back in my B+ days. Balanced is nothing more than a checklist that resets. So you can set habitual tasks to do every day, every 3 days, every week, etc. You make the decision, keep it up, check it off, and presto – habit formed.

This worked well for me in the past and I want to restore that discipline.

The habits I want to form are:

– Pray 10 minutes each morning
– Meditate 10 minutes each morning
– Clean 10 minutes each morning
– Read (or listen to audio version) of Scripture 10 minutes every morning
– Hit the Gym 3 days a week
– Drink at least 3 large glasses of water daily
– Journal Daily
– Make it through each day without consuming sweets
– Bed by 10 PM

That last one is so important. I find that if I do not get enough sleep I am setting myself up for failure. Gretchen Rubin reinforces this her book Better than Before. She emphasizes the importance of setting a bed time and sticking to it. Since Jamie and I are hitting the gym at 5:30 AM I need that beauty sleep!

I am going to go back to using the Balanced app and I am going to build these habits. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Steps Forward:

  • Goal Oriented: + (establishing goals)
  • Effectiveness: + (positive habit formation)

See what positive habits you can establish today!

– Rich

Productivity and Wellness

As a human being we have almost limitless potential in this world.  In order to make a worthwhile difference during our short lifetimes we must hone our abilities so we can have maximum impact in alignment with our values.

We must be:

  • organized
  • goal oriented
  • prioritized
  • proficient
  • efficient
  • effective
  • principled
  • healthy in mind, body, spirit, and heart

As we improve in these areas we can more successfully direct our optimized selves toward achieving that which is truly worthwhile. Can you imagine being maxed out in each of these areas?  I think it would be awesome. You would be unstoppable.  You would be your “optimized self” and be able to accomplish almost anything.

This is typically expressed as “be all you can be”, “reaching your full potential”,  or “See You at the Top” (Zig Ziglar).  No matter what you call it, we are all capable of optimizing ourselves.  Let’s do it.

I sure would like to max these out for myself.  So I am going to try.  I would not be surprised if along the way this list of eight criteria changes and evolves. I plan to do a lot of reading to understand what advances these attributes in people and I’ll be reflecting on them in my own life.

Does the title for my blog, Productivity and Wellness, really capture something as ambitious as all this? To be honest, I am not certain. I have thought about other names, but I think the simplicity of “Productivity and Wellness” captures what we are talking about in a humble way.  We can explore that more.  Who knows; we might end up renaming this thing along the way.

Give it some thought. Are these the right criteria that we should be measuring ourselves against? By maxing these out would we become “optimized” and reach our full potential?  What does it mean to be productive and well?  Share your thoughts as we begin this journey.

Until next time, be you and be awesome,