Who Are You Spending Your Time With? Authors Count, Too!

January 1, 2016

It’s that time of the year for revising yearly goals.  When considering, “Who are the top six people you are spending time with?”  most of us forget to consider AUTHORS.

While making a list of the favorite books I read this year, I realized that I spent considerable time with these authors (as much as I spend with people in person), and that they had a significant influence on my thinking this year.  Especially for those of us who are always “in the process of becoming, and developing ourselves into something better,” the AUTHORS we are spending our time with HAVE A SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE ON WHO WE ARE.  Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates certainly realize this, and it’s a pleasure to see which authors he spends his time with each year.

Mark Zukerberg reading Bill Gates reading

This year I spend a LOT of time with authors who influenced my life in a positive way:   Paul Collier, Esther Duflo,  and Abhijit Banerjee (economists specialized on economic development and the poor); John London  and George Orwell (both sociological experts on the poor in early 1900s London); Jonathan Haidt (a sociologist interested in cultural and political morality); Noah Gordon and Laila Lalami (writers of historical fiction in multiple eras); Neil Shubin (a paleontologist and anatomy professor); Enda M. Larkin, Napoleon Hill, and Andrew Carnegie (business experts); Helena Attlee (modern and historical gardening expert and traveler).

Esther Dufflo and Abhijit BanerjeePaul CollierJack LondonLaila LalamiNoah Gordon 1 Noah Gordon 2Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon HillEnda M. LarkinHelena AttleeJonathan HaidtGeorge Orwell

In fact, I probably spent more time with these people than with my other friends, or family (not by choice, but by chance, when my friends and family are not available).

Who are the most influential authors you have spend time with this year?  Who do you plan to spend time with this year?



Read Less, Journal More

November 21, 2015


Sample Handwritten Journal

Sample Handwritten Journal

A page from my journal

Three months ago, I decided to make a major change in my life which has pleased me immensely.  I had become stuck in reading too many articles each day, having it consume hours, and yet still feeling that I might have missed something interesting, or important.

I spent a month rereading, and  working through a book by Dwight Swain, Techniques of the Selling Writer, which reminded me that the one thing most successful fiction writers have in common is that they keep a journal.  Having tried keeping journals at several times in the past, I finally understood what I needed to do differently.  Instead of keeping a “diary” journal, the right kind was to write about my own thoughts and reactions regarding the things I was reading, discussing, talking about, and thinking about.  Now my journal writing has become extremely productive, pleasing and useful to me.

Instead of starting my day by reading numerous articles and having it consume several hours, I begin by reading a non-fiction book which interests me.  In the past I made numerous notes in books (and still do), but now I’m writing about the things I want to remember, as well as my reactions and questions in my journals.  I’ve left margins where I can make notes at the side as well as space to add titles to index the journal at the end of completing it.  Sometimes I read fiction books and make notes in my journal on the styles or what I learn or enjoy.  Some days I DO read articles on line, but instead of reading fifty articles, when I find one that means something to me, I journal about it instead of moving on.  If I have time, I journal on a second article that speaks to me.  Journaling on two articles usually takes up my morning study time.   Yet, I now feel far better having read and thoroughly digested two articles than I did before reading fifty articles each morning.

I find I’m writing a full notebook each month, and yes, by hand.  I’m a fast touch typist, but do love to write with a pen, and haven’t done much of that in recent years.  It’s really true what the research shows, that when you write by hand, you have much better recall of the material later on.

Rather than carry the same journal around the house, I have about four journals going at once. I keep two upstairs in my bedroom–one for personal life progress and things I’m inspired to do, the other for non-personal topics;  another in my home office (which doesn’t get used as often as the two in my bedroom, but which I also take notes from Skype meetings on non-business topics I want to recall for the future; and a fourth smaller journal in my purse–in case I’m out somewhere and want to take notes in a meeting, or note anything down while away from the house.  I have two more journals in my bedroom that I use to take notes on writing styles of various fiction books, as I hope to write a fiction series at some future time.  I also make notes of events from the news or ideas which I think I could use in those future fiction series.

I have not reduced my reading time; I have instead increased the quality of my reading and am remembering more of the high quality things I want to think about.

I know know this is a habit I will keep for the rest of my life.

–Lynne Diligent





The Power of Positive Inputs

February 23, 2015


Successful people know that it’s important to maintain optimism, and to work on restoring optimism when it flags.

Sometimes we don’t have a choice about spending time with negative people, especially when those people are family members.  Working on maintaining a positive attitude takes more effort in these cases, and we need to find ways to give ourselves positive inputs.

If we are trapped at home and don’t have the opportunity to get out and be around positive people, or volunteer our time to positive causes, we can still give ourselves positive inputs through inspirational books and positive television programs.  Television programs can also be watched while one is doing another activity, such as cooking, mending, ironing, cleaning up the home desk, etc.

Some of the best television programs I’ve found with positive inputs are Undercover Boss, Touched by an Angel, The Apprentice, The Profit, and The Renegade.

In my experience, it’s best to watch these programs alone, rather than trying to get the negative person around you inspired by these programs.  Negative people aren’t usually willing to watch these programs, and even when they are, they tend to make cut-down comments such as, “He was just lucky,”  or “Those people are naive,” or “You could never do that.”   So watch these programs and read these books privately, or only with other positive people.

–Lynne Diligent

What Are the First Steps In Getting Out of a Rut?

February 21, 2015

Life in a rut

Periodically we all fall into ruts.  Here are some steps we can take to begin getting ourselves out of a rut when we still feel paralyzed, and unable to take  the first step:

1.)  Think about who we are spending time with.  Can we change that?  If we cannot, in our physical lives, we now can start on the internet, starting with groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.   This is a place where we may find the inspiration to take that very first step.  People who are not readers can search on YouTube for inspirational videos.  We can begin changing those who we spend time around by starting online.   This makes it so much easier to start than before we had the internet.

2.)  We need to pay more attention to our heath.  Ask, “What step can I take today to support my health?”  Anything, even the smallest step, is better than nothing.

3.)  Begin working through self-coaching books on whatever area we are stuck in.  Many coaches also have inspirational videos on YouTube.

4.)  Try to take at least one action every day.  The Dali Lama says that upon arising we should be thankful that we have another day, and then ask ourselves, “What is the ONE, MOST IMPORTANT thing to get done today?” Try to make progress on that goal either first thing, or as early as possible in the day.  Sometimes an action could be as small as making one phone call, or doing just one small thing for supporting good health.

–Lynne Diligent



Hay House FREE World Summit On-Line Conference

June 1, 2013

Hay House Summit 2013

I just wanted to tell everyone about the FREE Hay House 2013 World Summit, where over 100 well-known famous motivational speakers (10 per day, for ten days) have come together for this event.  The Conference runs June 1-June 10, 2013.

You DO need to register for the conference (it’s free) with name, country, and email address.  They send you an immediate email link with which you can access each day of speakers for 24 hours.  Each speakers interview is an hour long.

The full schedule is HERE.   Here is a sampling of speakers.

Louise Hay                                                Otmar Jenner

Wayne Dyer                                              Suze Orman

Cheryl Richardson                                 Brian Weiss, M.D.

John Edward                                            Joe Vitale

James Van Praagh                                 Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Mark Hyman, M.D.                              John Holland

Christiane Northrup, M.D.               Kyle Gray

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche                Sat Hari Singh

Danielle MacKinnon                            Bernie Siegel M.D.

Judith Ortloff, M.D.                             Esther Hicks

Baron Baptiste                                        Jack Canfield

Hay House

Hay House Publishers, spearheaded by Lousie Hay, have organized this conference.  This is the first one; let’s hope it is a yearly event.

–Lynne Diligent


New Health Strategy: The 90% Rule, and Forming a Habit

January 1, 2013

Step into health

I’m ready to take the next step.  

The 80% rule helped Leo Babuta and Paul Garrigan, and I’m going to see if the “90% Rule” will work for me–first for a week, and then for a month.

I mostly eat healthful foods.

healthy fish-orange dish

I increased my sleep by a couple hours a day (eight hours most nights, instead of six).

increased sleep for health

I take several short breaks (but still working on making it an hourly habit), and make one or two of those exercise breaks (I can still do better).  I started eating more mindfully, and more slowly (except while working many hours straight and only having a few minutes between clients).

cutting out caffeine and sugar gives you more energy and stamina

I cut out caffeinated coffee and eat very little sugar (although I’m still using artificial sugar products).

But it’s still not enough.  Now I’m ready to try something new I read about in 2012.  Instead of eating until I am full, I read about the 80% Rule, where one should never eat until completely full; stop at 80%.  I heard about this both from Leo Babuta, who writes Zen Habits, and from Paul Garrigan, who writes on recovering from addictions and improving health.

I’m going to take a baby step here, and see if I can start this week with 90% and keep it up for a week.  If I can, I’m going to extend it to a month.  If I can establish it as a new habit, I will then try for 80% and see if I can do it.

Baby steps lead to big dreams

Step One.  Since my eating downfalls generally have to do with not having healthy foods prepared and immediately available when I’m hungry, I’ve decided to solve this problem by having health soups prepared and available at all times.

Step Two.  In order to accomplish more mindful eating, I’ve now put up 90% signs (on my computer, my office white board and marked in large numbers on my daily calendar).

Step Three.  Accountability.  My family is critical and unsupportive, so I have created a new page here to chart my daily progress.  I’m calling it my Health Accountability Journal.

–Lynne Diligent

Benefits of Getting Off Caffeine, and How to Do It

December 31, 2012

Tired withoug Caffeine

I used to be a morning person who could wake up easily and naturally, until I had to start working evenings.  It took three years to find a sleeping schedule that would work for me, and in the process, I began to need caffeine both to wake me up around noon, as well as get me through the evening shift.

I got really tired of needing that caffeine, and decided to do something about it this past month when my work load was slower.  It took about two months to get off of caffeine well enough to wake up in the morning and stay awake.  Here is how to do it.

Cut down to one cup of morning coffee slowly.  If you like strong coffee (with milk), like I do, start mixing in decaf with the caffeinated product.  You may have to stay at that level for about a month.  Every time I tried to cut below that it just didn’t work.

Pick a slow time, work-wise, to cut back on the caffeine.  Sleep later, or get in the habit of going to bed a couple hours earlier.  Take naps if you can (I work from home, so this really helped me).  Once you get over the hump (about 2-3 months), you’ll go back to not needing the extra sleep, back to a normal 7-8 hours.

Then I switched to tea.  It’s not so difficult as switching completely to decaf, if you drink it the English way–make it black, then add some milk and sugar.  Then I found I had three cups and felt I was having way too much sugar.  (I used diet sugar in my coffee.)  So I switched to diet sugar in the tea.  It wasn’t so bad.  After a month of tea, I realize tea does have some caffeine, but there is less in each cup, and perhaps it’s absorbed more slowly.

After one month on tea, I can now wake up without the aid of tea or coffee, but the tea (with a little milk and diet sugar) is satisfying, now that I’ve become used to it.  I feel a lot better being able to wake up on my own.  I’ve also switched to tea breaks in the afternoon, which seem to work.

–Lynne Diligent

“Real Men” (and Women) Still Send Thank-You Letters

November 26, 2012

What a SAD state-of-affairs that something like this is being promoted now!

These cards were being happily shared on Google+ by an acquaintance.  Are these people lazy and thoughtless?  Did they never learn handwriting?  Or are the users of these cards actually considered today’s thoughtful people (when compared with those who don’t thank people at all)?

Just by chance, last night I was sorting through some old boxes of letters and came across a couple of thank-you letters I received from friends for having invited them over for dinner.  Twenty years ago, it was normal for well-brought-up people to thank each other in this way.  I would like to share two of these letters which I received from men (both handwritten in beautiful cursive, on stationery):

A 26-year-old man’s thank-you letter for a dinner party (1987, names changed):

Dear Lynne and John:  

          It is rare for a movie, a restaurant, or anything for that matter, to receive a five-star rating from the critics.

          The evening Sarah and I spent at your home was that and more.  From the exquisite hors d’oeuvres to the ambrosia of the dessert wine, it was as perfect a dinner I’ve experienced anywhere and at anytime.  Thank you for a delightful evening!

          It’s been like a hospital ward here the last week which partly explains the tardiness of this note.  My cold blossomed into an ear infection and Sarah returned from the Fourth of July weekend with her parents also strapped with a nasty cold.  Life the last week or so has been focused on healing, rebounding, and getting on with things.

          We thank you both again for the enjoyable conversation, the effort you both put into preparing the glorious food, and the tour of your beautiful home.”  

                                                             Tom and Sarah

A 28-year-old male teacher’s thank-you letter for joining him at a a special party celebrating an event 1989 (names changed):

Dear John and Lynne:

          Many thanks for the tasteful, elegant coasters you gave us last week.  Your collective sense of style and class is easily seen in your selection of gifts!

          Thank you, particularly for being present at the party and helping me celebrate a most auspicious moment in my life.  It’s a bit hard to believe all this is over and frankly the last couple fo days had been a bit of an emotional let-down, especially going back to combat duty at Roger City Middle School on Monday.  Well, that’s the way things are.  I’m just glad I had some five people around to  help me celebrate a big achievement.

          Thank you again for sharing my special moment.



These days, well-brought-up men and women still send thank-you letters, even though they usually arrive by email.  Yes, I feel it’s all right to send these letters now by email.  A handwritten letter is extra nice, but a letter by email is equally appreciated, especially when compared with those who don’t send letters at all.  

–Lynne Dilgent

How Thoughts Create Your Destiny

November 25, 2012

Watch your thoughts,  for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

–Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese Philosopher

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