Episode #1 Mastering Mondays: Rolf Potts, Benjamin Franklin, Meditation
Mastering Monday’s is a podcast designed to provide you with tools to live better. Hi, I’m Erik Bowman your host and owner of Bowman Financial Strategies; Where we help you create a boring retirement plan and an exciting retirement.
Hi all I’m Erik Bowman your host and I really hope you are enjoying this day. It is after all the only one like it that you will ever experience, so welcome.
This is the inaugural podcast of Mastering Monday’s and I want to give you background on why I am creating this and what you can expect. Future Mastering Monday podcasts won’t have this prologue so bear with me for just a minute or two and then we will dive into the first Mastering Monday topics. I’ve been thinking very hard lately about ways that I can more fully serve the needs of the people, that I am grateful to be able to call my clients and friends. The primary reason we create financial plans at Bowman Financial Strategies is so that you can live the life that you want to live without worrying about finances. I like to think of it as creating a predictable or boring income plan and an exciting retirement. To this end, I am going to be sending out an email on the first Monday of the month called Mastering Monday. I will discuss various topics and obsessions of mine that revolve around living well. There will also be a podcast, you are listening to it right now, that goes into slightly more detail than the email. Target listening time should be no more than five to ten minutes at the maximum. I am also going to be creating additional content including interviews with people who have uncommon knowledge that may be very useful to you. The first interview segment, unbelievably to me, is with American author Rolf Potts. An amazing guy, world traveler, extraordinaire, and an excellent writer. You can go to bowmanfinancialstrategies.com to listen to that podcast. I highly recommend it if you ever think you will travel again, it may change the way you approach the whole idea of travel.
More about the Mastering Monday series: there are many personal and communal aspects to living well. Thoughts that come to my mind are number one being as healthy as you can be. Number two, hobbies. What is it that we do for enjoyment that don’t revolve around work. Growing by giving. Number four, spiritual satisfaction. Number five, nurturing relationships. Number six, continuous education. And number seven, goal setting and personal progress. Now this list is really just a start and I would love to hear your thoughts on living well. You can email me at email@example.com. That’s Erik with a k, E-R-I-K, or you can post it onto Facebook at the Bowman Financial Strategies page, or simply give me a call. I’ve already been provided great ideas by my clients, friends, and readers of Mastering Monday – the first edition. So, your input is appreciated as I want to discuss ideas that you find relevant. So, let’s dig in to how you can master your Monday.
Reading is fundamental. The earliest self-help guru of all time maybe Benjamin Franklin. I’m currently listening to his autobiography. The perspective he writes from is from himself to his son as he imparts his personal history and passions in writing. A few takeaways from the book include the fact that he apparently was quite a physical rockstar. Most depictions and representations of him are of him as an older gentleman and appearing a little bit more portly. However, just as he applied ongoing learning and turned it into action in his business and relational life, he also applied it to his health and well-being, with great success I might add. He was known to be an avid and competitive swimmer and to have uncanny fortitude to pursue his business goals late into the evening and rising before everybody else to start again. He was writing and learning on a continuous basis, and his skills and focus on continuous improvement are extraordinarily motivating. Another notable trait was that he drank no alcohol. His reasons were that it saved him money, as all of his peers were drinking and spending money on the alcohol, therefore he had more money than his peers to pursue his business endeavors. He also simply wanted to have a clear head for clear thinking. Now I’m not ever going to claim that I am not going to stop all drinking, but the idea of moderation is one we should all take to heart. Since the book is written in the dialect of the day, in his own words, it may not be the easiest audio book to listen to before you go to bed. I found myself having to concentrate on it to decipher some of the old English delivery. However, after a night or two I did find that my brain became more accustom to it and I was able to actually understand it much more comfortably.
What’s in your mind? Many of the most successful people in the world share certain behaviors, and one of them is silent time meditation or praying. Depending on your world view, choose the one that is right for you. If Tony Robins, the Dahli Lama, Steve Jobs, and Oprah can find time to do it, it may be worth investigating. The most common idea or thought the around this silent time, the way to do it would be to sit or lie down, eyes closed, breathing smoothly, and dwelling on a couple different things. The first one is to think about what you are grateful for. The second is to visualize a successful day. And the third, commit to making someone happy. When I think about these, to unpack them just a little bit, when you think about what you are grateful for I think it puts you in the mindset to realize that the things you are grateful for have to do with what others have done for you. The environment that you are lucky enough to be in. The things that help you enjoy your life, and when you focus on those things, it’s pretty hard to start your day on the wrong foot. And second, visualizing a successful day – I specifically recommend that as you do this, you not only visualize a successful day in general, but specifically, what are the one or two things that you must get done this day to have a successful day? And when it comes to actually taking action on those items, trying to get those done the very first thing before you do anything else. And the third, trying to make somebody happy. I think that you need to think specifically about a person, whether – the other day I thought very hard about my son Jacob who is eleven years old, and not that he was going through any particular hard time, but he just really came into my mind and I thought to myself – I pictured him with a smile on his face. What could I do to help his day be happier? And it made me happy to think about that and certainly my direction for the day was guided by that thought. I recommend doing this for just five minutes, maybe ten minutes, before you start your day and I think it can change your life. If you find that it is hard to find five minutes to do this, then you might need this more than you think. You should also do this, very important, before you open up any email, before you look at your phone, before you look at Facebook, before you read the news, do not let any of that information and noise interrupt your ability to think about those three topics. Controlling the first ten minutes of your day is a great way to set a good rhythm for the rest of your day. Now a way you can facilitate this – you can consider using a free app from Kevin Rose called Oak Mediation. You can find it on the app store, although there are a lot of apps with the word oak in it, so it is hard to find there. But you can go to www.oakmeditation.com. The app is very simple to use, provides guided breathing exercises and sleep programs. During the sleep program component, you can choose different types of sounds to help you get to sleep, to play in the background on a timer. So that is really what I like most about it. My wife and I use a Bluetooth speaker and put it on the bedside table. We like the sound of a soft rain or crackling fire in the background and we have found that it really does help us get to sleep. It gives you something else to focus on other than all those crazy thoughts that may be bouncing around inside your head. And it really does seem to help us sleep better as well.
Food for thought. Well, as I just spoke about, I believe that managing alcohol intake is actually very important. And with my focus in general on trying to manage what goes into my gut, I am sticking primarily to red wine. There will always be exceptions, I’m not claiming I’m never going to have a beer, or whiskey, or vodka again, however as a general rule I do try and stay away from those going forward. And I have a glass of red wine maybe once a night or once every other night, and I just thought I would let you know of a red wine that I particularly like and I like it for a couple of reasons. First, the red wine’s name is Hot To Trot red blend and it is by Fourteen Hands Winery. You can find it at almost any liquor store, the bottle costs around $7.99 so it’s definitely on the inexpensive side. I’ve been drinking the red blend since my mother-in-law recommended it to me over six years ago, so I want to thank my mom, she is my mother-in-law but I do call her mom. I want to thank her for that recommendation because we still drink it to this day. I like it because it’s smooth, it doesn’t have a strong bite, I haven’t found anybody to have a glass when they come over for dinner to our house who hasn’t said that they’ve enjoyed it. And the price just doesn’t change. It has been six years and the price is still $7.99. Sometimes it is $8.99, but it seems to bounce around within that one-dollar range. So very smooth, very drinkable, and their other wines are really good too. The chardonnay is fantastic.
Well, that does it for the inaugural podcast of Mastering Monday’s. I hope you enjoyed it and got something useful out of it. If you have any ideas, please feel free to email me or give me a call and I will be glad to incorporate those ideas into the upcoming podcast series. Thanks very much, have a great day.