Lies, So Many Lies

The last two centuries has seen the biggest cons perpetrated by mankind on mankind. As a result, health is deteriorating, relationships are breaking, conscious parenting is declining, time is accelerating, sleep is a luxury, socialising is erratic, anxiety and depression are skyrocketing. It makes no sense because we live in the most affluent time in human history. IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF THE LIES.

Here is a list of all the lies that are destroying our society and your personal happiness. And where to find the truth.

Lie: Men are more powerful than women: Truth: Any father with a daughter knows the truth.
Lie: The good old days were so much better. Truth: Really? Slavery? Surgery without anaesthetic? Stoning? Superstitions? No plumbing? Personal hygiene? Do I need to go on? Modern times are so much better and keep getting better.
Lie: The smartest people are the most successful. Truth: It’s the most energetic and enthusiastic.
Lie: You need a university degree to succeed. Truth: All you need is a growth mindset and a compelling vision. As Einstein famously said, “the only thing that interferes with my learning is my education”.
Lie: Study hard. Work hard. Make Money. Get Married. Buy a house. Live happily ever after. Truth: Deferring your happiness to the future will destroy your life in the present.
Lie: Wealth and ‘success’ is about having lots of money. Truth: The rich get richer but the wise get wealthier. Its time society expands its definition of wealth to health, love, friendship, growth, peace of mind, emotional resilience and inner value.
Lie: Extroverts make the best leaders. Truth: Those who grow other leaders make the best leaders.
Lie: Private schools are better than public schools. Truth: Parents have the biggest impact on child development. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
Lie: Business must grow revenue to be successful. Truth: Business must grow people to be successful.
Lie: Technology and social media is bad for you. Truth: Technology is part of our evolution. You just need to know how to use it wisely.
Lie: Diet and exercise is the key to long life. Truth: Your mental, emotional and spiritual health have a far greater impact on your wellbeing.
Lie: You must be religious to be spiritual. Truth: There are many paths to enlightenment. It’s an internal and personal odyssey.
Lie: ‘You are meant for each other’. Truth: Even ‘soul-mates’ madly in love can fail. You must put in the work to last.
Lie: Generous people come last. Truth: Generous people attract the most abundance and happiness in their life.

Find out the truth and much more at Upgrade Your Life, 2019. Learn a unique framework for living the life you deserve. Never before released to the public. Highly personalised, prescriptive and proprietary, there is nothing like it on the planet.

This event will cause an outright revolution of transformation in your personal life and work performance. Book Now.

The Butterfly Effect

Today you paid a compliment to the barista who served your morning coffee. She was depressed, suffering in silence and beginning to contemplate suicide. Your compliment inspired her to seek help, to enrol in that course, to call a family member or friend, to apologise to their partner, to give up drugs or a toxic relationship . Whatever it is, you helped her and all you did was pay a genuine compliment that made her feel valued as a human, you made her feel like she mattered. She went on to become a photographer or a dental nurse or a mother. She took better care of herself, started a business, employed people, had kids of her own and her effect on the world and touched many lives.

This ‘butterfly effect’ demonstrates the chaotic world we live in and the connectedness of each living creature on the planet where one seemingly unrelated event could impact the lives of many.

The butterfly effect shows that we are connected in a chaotic and complex web of events, sometimes cruel, sometimes beautiful but in all cases perfect in its equilibrium. It scares some into action and others into inaction because it can make you feel incredibly hopeful that chaos can work in your favour if you take action or it can make you feel like nothing you do matters. One is positive, the other negative, glass half full or half empty.

The butterfly effect means that even just one change in your life can have far-reaching effects on you and the people around you.

Many people live thinking that there is a myriad of obstacles standing between them and the life that they want, consequently they take no action and make no changes in their daily rituals. “It’s just too hard.”

What if I told you that in my 20+ years of success coaching it almost always comes down to just one obstacle.

All you have to do is go searching for that one thing that’s holding you back, sometimes the search is within you and sometimes it is external. It could be a food you need to eliminate, it could be a fear you need to face or it could be as simple as making that phone call.

A client of mine eliminated coffee and alcohol. He stopped feeling anxious during the day and depressed at night, he looked better, smelled better, felt better and smiled more. His energy shifted so much that his sales performance at work went up by over 200%! He started working out, changed his hairstyle and started buying nicer clothes. By week 8 I barely recognised him.

Another client swapped out some of his exercise routine from weight training to yoga and meditation. He was more relaxed, energetic, enthusiastic and confident and it showed in his performance at work. At home he was happier and it changed his life.

Another client merely changed the time of day she worked out, it made all the difference. She eliminated her headaches and no longer had an energy slump in the afternoon.

Another started working from home one day a week and improved his relationship with his partner by making it their ‘date night’. They were more intimate, life was better and everyone at work the next day noticed the change in his attitude.

Another started waking at 6am instead of 7am, she was in control for the rest of her day. Her kids were happier, she was more organised in her business, she gained confidence because she had more time to present herself the way she wanted to. Consequently she started winning more clients.

In all these examples the transformation was significant and immediate and it came down to the butterfly effect of that one thing. What’s the one thing that’s holding you back from greatness?

How do you discover your one thing?

By micro-managing every aspect of your life and every minute of your day. In Part 2 of my book A Higher Branch, I call this The Circle of Conscious Living, in this section I outline a five step system for living by design where you become your own ‘Life Architect’. When you live every day with planned actions, you become completely aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. Only when you live with self-awareness can you examine your life with clarity and critical analysis.

Some of my clients feel that planning every minute of their day kills spontaneity and fun, but the reality is that there is no freedom and excitement in spontaneity, it’s a trap. The common idea of spontaneity leads to most people drifting aimlessly in the direction of their greatest weaknesses.

If you waste two hours of each day, this adds up to 14 hours in a week, 728 hours in a year, 45 full days per year which is over 6 weeks! Imagine what you can achieve in that time.

The more you are in control of your daily schedule, the more the butterfly effect will work in your favour. Every dawn and dusk is in reality a birth and death experience. We wake, we go about our day and then we sleep. So, every day is a chance for each of us to start fresh. You can literally change your life overnight by deciding to do only one thing differently.

To learn more about getting the most out of your 24 hour day, join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

The Power Of Facing East

Which direction does your office desk face? What about your bed? Do you think your work performance or sleep can be affected by whether you are facing north, south, east or west?

Recent brain research has shown how facing different directions critically affects our brain’s ability to sustain integrated cognitive functioning and maximum mental performance (Keys to business success).

That’s right. Based on the principles of correct building orientation as outlined in many traditional Eastern sciences, principally ancient Vedic science (where it’s known as ‘Vastu Shastra’), studies on peak brain function have shown that the firing patterns of neurons in the thalamus – which regulates sensory information and levels of awareness – are significantly different depending on which direction we face. Basically, cells in our nervous system detect and respond to changes in body position. Look in one direction and a specific set of neurons activate. Look in another direction and a different set activate.

So what is the best direction for optimal brain performance and work success? EAST. That’s right. From the research findings, it is strongly indicated that facing east is by far the best direction for peak work performance and all round mind-body integration. The next best is north. The early studies suggest facing east for more ‘creative thinking’ and north for more ‘clear thinking’. South and west are considered unfavourable and should be avoided where possible.

The direction we face is not only important at our desk but also when conducting business meetings, negotiations, making presentations and the like. So if you’re selling something and are perfectly clear on your pitch, you may prefer your audience faces east, so they ‘more clearly see’ the benefits. If you’re presenting at a meeting, is it more important that you present the information clearly, or that your audience can assimilate the information better? If practical (it isn’t always), you may vary the direction you and others face to suit.

So What Does the ‘Future of Workplaces’ Look Like?

Look out for …

  • Workers struggling with concentration, focus, decision-making or similar, changing their work station or desk orientation to face east (or north if east is not practical).
  • Companies restructuring office spaces to have workers facing east or north.
  • Entire new workplaces being built according to ancient sciences of correct orientation.
  • New office blocks and buildings being built to face true east and only have east or north facing entrances. (Ever wondered why many of the great structures of Egypt, Asia etc. face specific cardinal directions?)
  • Re-orientation of meeting rooms, boardrooms and seminar rooms etc. to enhance effective communication and outcomes.

Sleep Troubles?

According to Maharishi Vedic science – a modern-day restoration of ancient Vedic science, our head direction also significantly impacts the type and quality of our sleep. If you don’t sleep well see if your head while sleeping points north or west. Both of these are considered inauspicious or unfavourable. Sleeping with one’s head pointing towards the East, (the feet towards the West) is known to promote more enlightened (wakeful) sleep. For promoting deeper sleep, it is suggested one has their head to the South (feet to the North).

This article was written by Mark Bunn, faculty member of A Higher Branch Success Academy. He is the bestselling Author of ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health’ and one of the most caring people on the planet. Mark will be presenting at the Upgrade Your Life event in January 2019. For a summary of what he will be talking about, Click here to check out page 14 of the Full Program.

The Sex/Sleep Connection

A lot of couples are malnourished when it comes to love, sex and intimacy. That’s one half of the problem. The other half is the guilt and the disfunction in the relationship that goes with it. Couples could get caught in a chicken and the egg negative loop. Is it the lack of sex that’s causing the relationship breakdown or is it the poor relationship that is causing the lack of sex? The positive truth is that the vast majority fall under the former and this gives a lot of couples hope. In other words, there is nothing wrong with the relationship. You simply need more sex, or maybe MORE SLEEP.

Here is where the sex/sleep connection comes in and the irony creeps in. Sleep improves sex and sex improves sleep. Another chicken and egg paradox.

Most people look for life’s answers in a new diet or a new exercise regime when in truth they simply need more sleep and often more sex. So what is the sex/sleep connection and could this be the reason why you are lacking intimacy in your relationship? Could this be the reason why you think there is something wrong with the relationship? Sleep impacts your sexual relationship in two ways:

  1. If one or both of you are not getting enough sleep then you are not going to be in the mood for sex. What is the scientific basis for this?
    1. Poor quality sleep reduces your testosterone level and this is the hormone which gets you in the mood;
    2. Not enough sleep makes you physically tired and therefore unable to perform so you give up or don’t even try;
    3. Not enough sleep makes your brain foggy and this shuts down your ability to visualise and fantasise which is an essential part of intimacy.
  2. If you and your partner are crossing sex time zones. In other words, you and your partner have opposite chrono types. If you are a morning person and your partner a night person – then your hormonal sex drives are not aligning and we all know that ‘it takes two to tango’. One of you prefers a ‘morning glory’, the other a ‘late night romp’. Is the answer an ‘afternoon delight’? That would be great if couples did not have to work or pick up the kids from school or do grocery shopping. And now you see why, in the modern era, couples are having less and less intimacy. So what is the answer???

There is also a third reason why couples may be lacking in intimacy which has everything to do with their intimacy type. We all have different things that turn us on – mentally, physically and emotionally. Some call it the Love Language Type (pioneered by  Dr Gary Chapman) and there are lots of quizzes out there on the market which help you discover what your type is and what your partner’s type is and this allows you to understand them a lot more. Yes, that could be effective, but nowhere near as effective as actual communication. You see, your love language type varies throughout the day and it varies for the time of month for females. It also varies based on your emotional needs and what is going on in your life. So trying to figure out your partner’s love language type in that moment can only happen when you communicate effectively, otherwise you will appear robotic and insincere. And that is a turn-off in any love language!

To learn more about the topic of love and intimacy, please download my free eBook GUIDE TO GREATNESS here. This is a genuine book based on the 170+ page paperback edition.

To dive even deeper into this and other topics such as discovering your chrono-type for sleep optimisation, you absolutely have to be in the room with me and 9 international speakers at Upgrade Your Life 2019, January 18-20 at The Hyatt Regency in Sydney Australia. Come meet Dr Guy Winch whose TED talks on the subject have gone viral, including his latest one How to Mend A Broken Heart.

Snap up one of the remaining seats here and start the year with a new life plan. Plus enjoy 5-star food and beverage for 3 full days and gain exclusive entry to 3 nightly events. Download the FULL PROGRAM here.

You may qualify for an industry discount. For enquiries, please contact Customer Support Manager Petrushka Thach on 0428 213 060 or 02 8719 4057.

How to Live ‘Till 100

In the current generation Y and millennials, more and more will get the chance to live until 100. You can be one of them if you play your genetic cards right. There is no doubt that medicine also makes this goal achievable. But if you look closely at the statistics you will notice that whilst people are living longer, they are not living a quality life. The following list of lifestyle tips have been carefully researched as having the most impact on our wellbeing. They will sharpen your mind, keep your body strong, resistant to disease and help you live a long happy life without reliance on medicine.

  1. Have long-term goals.Having something to wake up to every morning is the strongest of motivations for living with vitality. There are a cocktail of healthy chemicals that give life to our creativity, our energy and our zest for living. Having a purpose in life releases these chemicals daily. It is the difference between waking up with an energetic burst or waking up with lethargy and a headache. 
  1. Socialise more with friends.Research shows that people who have a wide circle of friends and who socialise often are much healthier than people who are isolated and lonely.
  2. Stay in a good relationship.Research has shown that people who are in a loving long-term relationship are much happier and healthier than their single counterparts. 
  1. Travel regularly.Humans are nomadic by nature. When we stay in one location we stagnate. When we roam our five senses are stimulated. We feel most alive when we experience adventure. Travelling does not have to be overseas. In fact it’s healthier to travel locally. Get out and explore your own part of the world. Make a habit of going for weekend trips with my family and friends. We may drive to the mountains, visit apple orchards in autumn or go to the beach in summer. The main thing is to get out of the house. 
  1. Wake at sunrise and sleep within 2 hours of sunset.Research shows that every hour of sleep before midnight is the equivalent of two hours after midnight. Research also shows that waking at sunrise reduces our blood pressure, which is the single most dangerous factor leading to heart disease and stroke.
  1. Follow a diet that’s true to your heritage.Before air travel we did not travel long distances within hours. This meant that our bodies evolved over many years by eating essentially the same food. That’s why I think it is overly simplistic to claim that some diets followed by certain cultures are best for everyone. If you are Japanese then eat Japanese food, if you are Italian, eat Italian food. It is in your DNA.
  2. Read often.Reading not only sharpens your mind, but if you read the right material it can enlighten your view of the world and this keeps you inspired. I would also add, doing crossword puzzles and other brainteasers. Check out Lumosity
  1. Mix it up – by using your opposite hand and foot.I try and use my left hand whenever I can, especially before I have to do some creative thinking. Using the opposite hand/foot sharpens the mind and keeps both sides of your brain working. If you have a stroke in older age you have greater chance of recovery. 
  1. Have afternoon naps.The siesta was made famous in Spain, which had one of the lowest rates of depression in the world. It is a modern tragedy that the cities in Spain that have abolished the siesta now experience the highest rates of Prozac prescriptions. Having a nap may be difficult because most of us work Monday to Friday but even a 10-minute power nap is sufficient. If you are unable to do this Mon-Fri, then definitely make it a ritual on weekend afternoons. 
  1. Watch comedies and hang out with friends who are funny.We are often told to adopt the “don’t worry be happy” mantra. The easiest way to do that is to have more reasons to laugh in life. Laughter releases so many feel-good hormones that replenish our cells.
  2. Move your body – naturally.Exercising in a mechanical way on expensive equipment in gyms is not what primes your body for natural strength. Walking, running, swimming, and moving your body in natural movements does. Squatting while doing gardening is natural. Bending to clean your home is natural. Push-ups, chin-ups, squats and sit-ups are also natural movements. In fact I think the best form of exercise you can do is to join a martial arts club. You can be 8 or 80 years of age and still get the benefits. The best form I have come across is Wing Chun. 
  1. Drink filtered or spring water.One of the best investments you can make is the installation of a reverse-osmosis water filter. It gets rid of the most harmful chemicals in our water supply. In particular, fluoride in water is the cause of many ailments, which lead to premature aging. 
  1. Never eat when you’re stressed or upset.Go for a long walk or cardio the stress right out of your system. If you are going through a period of emotional stress it is better to eat very small meals. Or better still, drink vegetable juices instead.
  1. Keep your bowels clean.Nobody likes to talk about this subject but the fact is that stagnant food in the colon is the cause of much toxicity. And this is easily preventable. There are two easy lifestyle tips to follow: First, consuming lots of fruit and vegetables. Second, schedule “no. 2” toilet breaks as part of your morning and nightly ritual. A lot of people are so busy being busy that they neglect this routine. They don’t realise how much harm they are doing to their body. 
  1. Brush your gums and tongue.The link between gum disease, heart disease and stroke. Poor periodontal health causes certain oral bacteria to make the arteries sticky and inflamed. Excluding this risk factor is easy. All you have to do is floss and brush your teeth regularly – but at least at night.
  2. Do your pelvic floor exercises.Also known as Kegel exercises. This assists in preventing prostate cancer in men and avoids incontinence in both men and women, which is listed as the single most demoralising ailment for old people in nursing homes. 
  1. Listen carefully to your body.Whilst you may not experience obvious signs of intolerance to food and situations, it may be affecting you in a subtle way that undermines your energy. Often we are too distracted with life to really notice what is going on in our body. Paying attention to what drains us and what lifts us is the single most important thing that we should bring our self-awareness to. It can be the food we eat, the company we keep and our surroundings – like noise or air pollution. Just because the body gets used to something, it doesn’t mean that it’s not affected by it in a negative way. 
  1. Meditate most people do not meditate because they think it is a complex eastern philosophy. The truth is sitting quietly in a warm and comfortable spot can be meditation. Listening to the sounds of nature can be meditation (sitting at a beach or natural reserve). So too is having a warm bath. Even going for a long walk in nature is meditative. The magic happens around the 45-minute mark. Your ‘monkey mind’ will switch off and slow down. 
  2. Give yourself to charity.Why do celebrities go to Africa and put their time and energy into helping others? Because when you have all the money in the world you will realise that giving to others is the single most important way we can connect with other people. Do not underestimate the power of good wishes bestowed upon you by the people you are helping.
  3. Do a 12-15 hour fast daily.Start by not eating 3 hours before you sleep. Research overwhelmingly shows that this habit helps your body clean itself. It improves the function of all your organs, reduces insulin resistance, cleans your arteries in your heart and in your brain to prevent dementia and arteriosclerosis.
  4. Learn a new language or a musical instrument.Research shows that this is the only powerful way to promote neuro-plasticity as you age and therefore prevent old age dementia.

If you want to know your genetic type and learn three amazing bio-hacks that will help you live until 100 then you absolutely need to be in the room with me and a line-up of 10 leading global experts at Upgrade Your Life 2019, January 18-20 at The Hyatt Regency in Sydney Australia.

Numbers are limited to 200 people due to the personalised nature of the sessions and the one-on-one access to all 10 speakers. Tickets are selling fast and will sell even faster as we get closer to the event. Secure your spot now. I strongly encourage you to not defer or procrastinate and make the decision that you’ll look back on as the single most important decision in your life.

Honestly, the way I look at it, being in the room with these amazing speakers is actually priceless and is an investment that you’ll make back MANY times over.

Snap up one of the remaining seats here before they’re all gone.

With love + respect,

Sam Makhoul

Have you lost your mojo?

Attracting good things and good people to you can only happen when you learn to tap into your mojo. Your mojo is more important than you think. Its more important than what you say and do. It’s an invisible force that cannot be explained, only witnessed. We are all born with it but lose it on the way to adulthood. We may experience glimpses of it here and there by accident but it is illusive and vanishes quickly. Finding and hanging onto your mojo happens when your physical, psychological and emotional energies are aligned. Here’s how you align them…

1. Keep a ‘Hero’ File (emotional)

Treasure and file away all the cool stuff people say about you. Whether it’s an outstanding school report, a testimonial from a client or a beautifully written card from a friend or partner. We all indulge in negative self-talk. A hero file helps you snap out of it.

2. Go Fearless (psychological)

In sport and in business if you start batting on the back foot, you will stop scoring runs and eventually be bowled out. You are most successful when you work like you have nothing to lose. How do you do that? Build up enough savings that can help you get through six months of the toughest financial times. Having this safety net gives you a fearless mindset.

3. Get Out of Your Head (psychological and physical)

You will never find your mojo if you are constantly thinking and using your mind as a storage device. Do a daily ‘brain dump’ in your diary. Keep nothing in your head. This will help you sleep better and get you into the zone of creativity. The other thing you can do is exercise and meditate. Both these activities get you to focus on your breath and therefore on your body.

4. It’s NOT about Money (emotional)

Never ever make your life about making money and material things. Your primary purpose as a human being is to serve and inspire others. Your customers, your colleagues, your friends, your family …How do you do that? Listen more empathically and give more than expected. Your mojo lives in that space called compassion.

5. Go Green inside and Out (physical and emotional)

The colour green on your eyes lowers blood pressure and dissipates stress. Walk in the park daily, go for a hike on weekends. Surround yourself with plants at home. (Book: ‘Plant Style’ by Alana Langan). Drink green smoothie’s and eat at least two green salads daily. Besides being healthy, plant foods are full of life force that give you that attractive glow.

6. Look your Best (physical and psychological)

How you look impacts the way you feel. When you dress and look your best, you will simply feel more confident and ‘with it’. (Caution: you cannot eat like crap and cover it up with clothes and make-up. You still need to eat clean and stay lean). Choose clothes that is true to your personality. Stay away from fads. Get a style coach. Read, ‘Women in Clothes” by Sheila Heti. And, ‘Off the Cuff: The Guys Guide to Looking Good’ by Carson Kressley.

7. Don’t Stress About Stress (psychological)

External stress is everywhere. It only affects your mojo when it consumes you. Some people live through war and take it in stride. Others go into melt down when someone cuts them off on the road. Seriously? Stop trying to make your external surroundings perfect. Stop putting high demands on yourself and the people around you. Life will never be 100% your way. Not even 50%.

“The people who walk around with their mojo intact are the ones who accept that external discomforts are a part of living and that the only people not stressed are dead. “

8. You Gotta Have Fun (emotional)

When we were children, our whole existence was about exploring and having fun. Consequently our creativity was limitless. The few that carry this fun and playfulness into adult life went on to invent and create the most amazing of human discoveries. Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, to name a couple. So my advice is to stop feeling guilty whenever you get the urge to do nothing, or day dream or hang out with friends. Have fun whenever you get the chance. Your mojo loves to have fun.

9. Savour your Food (physical and emotional)

Your appetite for food parallels your appetite for life. Food that is full of flavour not only nourishes the body but brings passion to the surface. They call it ‘soul food’ for a reason. Enjoy the variety of foods out there but try and eat true to your cultural heritage. There is nothing more satisfying than eating food that your parents and grandparents cooked. Savour what you eat slowly, focusing on the smells, texture, colour and taste. Eat outdoors, eat with your hands, eat with friends, and above all please do NOT eat in front of the TV.

10. Change your environment, often (psychological)

New route, new destination, new friends, new experiences. These all keep your five senses engaged. When you do the same thing every day, your senses become dull. Parts of your brain consequently shut down. Scientists are now realising that Alzheimer’s and dementia is a simple case of ‘use it or lose it’ (Google ‘The Nun Study’). New perspectives, new sights, new smells, new favours, all keep your brain firing and your mojo dancing. There is a difference between being alive and living…

Find out how to get your mojo back by attending Upgrade Your Life, 2019. It’s the event of the year.

If want to learn how to get your mojo back then you absolutely need to be in the room with me and a line-up of 10 leading global experts at Upgrade Your Life 2019, January 18-20 at The Hyatt Regency in Sydney Australia.

Tickets are limited to 200 people and we are already sold 70% of our ticket allocation so I strongly encourage you to not defer or procrastinate and make the decision that you’ll look back on as the single most important decision in your life.

Honestly, the way I look at it, being in the room with these amazing speakers is actually priceless and is an investment that you’ll make back MANY times over…

Snap up one of the remaining seats here before they’re all gone.

Take action and live the life we both know you deserve.

With love + respect,

Sam Makhoul

Eat Clean – Think Clean – Dance On

Everyone is working hard and smart these days. But we are entering an era of competition where this is not enough. You need to be in top physical, mental and emotional condition. To achieve this you need to eat clean and think clean. Or dance on. Read on…

Eating Clean

Less coffee & fruit juice – more water & vege juices
Less oily fried food & more steamed or baked food
Less crackers, biscuits & cheese – more carrot, celery & fennel
Less potato, bread & pasta – more sweet potato, broccoli and pumpkin.
Less bacon and sausages – more fish.
Less chocolate – more berries.
Less nuts – more seeds.
Less salt, sugar & mayonnaise – more herbs, spices, lemon and olive oil.
Less processed – more raw
Less excuses and less “cheat days”.

Thinking Clean

Most people fail in any industry because they take rejection personally and start indulging in toxic self-talk, like “I am not good enough”, “people don’t like me”, “I should quit and get an easy secure job”.

Your thoughts affect your feelings and your feelings in turn affect your thoughts. This partnership between your head and your heart can either work for you or against you. It’s either a positive loop or a vicious circle. 

If you feel angry, you will have angry thoughts. And when you have angry thoughts, you will feel angry. And the cycle repeats. Conversely if you feel good, you start thinking clearly. Goals and creative ideas start flowing and this in turn makes you feel good. This is the circle you need to dance in.

Here are three powers and one superpower to help you “think clean”.

  1. The Power of Exercise. How you feel is much more powerful than your thoughts. Try thinking yourself out of being angry or anxious. Next to impossible, right? Your feelings release potent hormones that overpower your thoughts. So you need to change your feelings first.  The simple and best way is to exercise! Exercise releases the right ‘feel-good’ hormones.
  2. The Power of Words. We watch what we say to others but think nothing of our own self-talk. Is it inspirational and uplifting or is it demoralising? Write down the qualities that you and others most love about you. Recite them on waking and just before sleep. And most importantly when you experience a rejection or failure. It takes you out of the toxic thinking zone.
  3. The Power of Meditation. Meditation de-clutters the brain and gives you clarity in a world full of distractions. It is a daily detox for the mind. I could ask you to cancel your social media accounts, disable notifications and stop listening to the news but you probable would not do that. So you need meditation to quite the mind. Meditation is a life-long skill that takes practice. So don’t quit because you get impatient or find it irritating to sit there. The benefit is not in achieving total control. The magic is in noticing when your mind strays and you return to the breath.
  4. The Superpower of Visualisation. Your creative imagination is a gift to help you materialize the life of your dreams not your worst nightmares. The most successful people on the planet use this gift to visualise very clearly what goals they want to kick. If you are in sales imagine how you want the presentation to go beforeyou meet with your next customer. Prime yourself for the experience before you enter the room. Close your eyes if you can. All it takes is a few minutes or even just a flash of an image that makes you feel like “I’ve got this!” In quantum physics you attract what you visualise. It really is that simple. Please don’t waste this superpower.

Dance On

When all else fails, you can always dance-on. Dancing is one of the most potent antidotes to any negative human condition. It provides an ample flow of mood-enhancing chemicals that is unmatched by any other activity or drug. When was the last time you went dancing? Harvard Study on Dancing.

Join me and my team at A Higher Branch Success Academy’s annual Upgrade Your Life, 2019 event of the year and enjoy three parties by night with like-minded people and 17 sessions by day with the best thought leaders on the planet who will help you design a wellness plan for 2019. Click Here For More Information. If you belong to an industry association you may qualify for a $500 discount code. Please contact us to enquire.

Sun Gazing: Do You Do This Early Morning High Performance Ritual?

Sun Gazing – Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health & Optimal Mind_Body-Spirit Performance

Do you sun gaze or at least connect to the early morning sun as a daily practice? Are you aware of the incredible mental, physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of such a daily ritual?

Having recently been invited to speak at a Higher Branch’s ‘Upgrade your Life’ event next January around the ‘Daily Habits of Healthy High Achievers’, it got me thinking. While many of us know about high-performers morning habits such as making their bed, planning their day and exercising, connecting with early morning sunlight is not so well know.

As understood by most ancient cultures, the master regulator of all our internal health and performance cycles is the cycle of the sun. Most advanced traditional cultures throughout time have started their day greeting the sun through an ancient ritual called ‘sun gazing’. (Others, as in India along the Ganges river, do things like Yoga ‘sun salutes’ while facing East as the sun rises).

More and more high-level business performers are now understanding that our optimum human performance clock is synced to the cycles of Mother Nature. As such they make sure they get outside to reap the incredible mental, physical and emotional benefits of morning sunlight through the eyes. (Many of us today live in artificially lit homes and work in artificially lit offices and are ‘mal-illuminated’.)

Benefits of morning sunlight exposure include;

  • improved energy & immune function
  • stimulation of healthy brain chemistry
  • regulation of our entire internal body clock *A key benefit is in assisting optimal sleep at night ... as our sleep cycle regulation starts first thing in the morning!
  • optimal weight through its effects on metabolic and thyroid function
  • the ultimate mood-booster (anti-depressant) & emotional balancer.

Now, while the ancients understood that the sun will not harm the human eye in the first 45 minutes of sunrise … the first 10 degrees of arc, you don’t necessarily have to look directly at the sun – ‘sun gaze’. (If you do, this should strictly only be done in the first 30-45 minutes of sunrise and for very short periods – seconds – to begin with.) However, even indirect sunlight through the eyes will bring significant benefits. The main thing is to actively get outside for at least a few minutes early morning to sync your physiology with our planets No.1 source of life-energy, vitality and positivity.And if you can combine exercise, earthing (see my blog) &/or connection with others at the same time, all power to you.

The sun (Surya), often maligned in our modern world was traditionally understood and indeed honoured for being the central to all life and every aspect of human health. We just need to respect it and connect with it in the right way … not too much but also not too little.

The importance of early morning sunlight exposure for optimal #health and #workperformance #wellbeing Do you make a daily practice of connecting with the sun or at least getting outside in the early-morning? What do you do and what difference does it make to your life and your work performance? I’m sure others would love to hear your inspiration.

Mark Bunn will be speaking at upgrade your life, 2019. Mark is one of the most inspiring and informative people who shares with love. His book Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living is a genuine must read. It will teach you how to instil daily rituals in an effortless and intuitive way.

Find out more

Why Do People Disengage at Work?

“A staggering 87% of people worldwide are disengaged at work” (Gallup Poll)

Many organisations are experiencing a crisis and aren’t even aware of it.

There is one truth that the poll leaves out: Almost all people start a job with enthusiasm and excitement but end up on a path to disengagement. Work then becomes a chore and ‘extracts’ the health and happiness out of them. This is tragic because work consumes at least 70% of our waking hours!

Why Does Disengagement Happen?

Is it because people dislike working? On the contrary, we are all born with an innate desire to express ourselves by working and creating value, no matter the job. Work fulfils us, gives us purpose, builds confidence, makes us feel valued and this improves our health – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Is it because the workplace is not good? Not likely. Working conditions over the past two decades has improved to comfortable levels never before experienced in human history. The workplace is healthier and more comfortable than ever before. And companies are looking after their people better than ever before.

So, what is the Real Reason why so many people are disengaged at work? THE STARTLING TRUTH.

It has nothing to do with the job but everything to do with the person in the job. The sad truth is that people fail to take personal responsibility for their own engagement at work. People’s framework for living is fundamentally broken and this leads to dysfunction in their personal life, which, over time, leads to disengagement at work. In other words, people spoil their own engagement at work. Here’s why…

Human nature is such that people can grow to dislike and disengage from anything (even something they love and enjoy) if they neglect their health and wellbeing. Western society is locked into a pattern of perpetual obsession with one part of life to the exclusion of other parts. Early in adulthood we focus on education and neglect our health. Then we focus on the new lover and neglect our family and friends. Then we focus on our career and neglect our lover. Then we focus on our finances and neglect our family. Then our health suffers, our energy dips and we start to disengage at work. This intense focus on one part of our life to the exclusion of others is what leads to disengagement in all parts of our life at any given time in our life cycle. Why is this bad?

There is a symbiotic relationship between all parts of a person’s life. Neglect one and chances are you will start to fail in the others.

Think about it…

How can you perform at work if you are arguing with your partner at home?

How can you perform at work if your children are out of control?

How can you perform at work if you are not sleeping properly because of poor nutrition, lack of exercise, lack of sunshine and lack of social fun?

“If a person’s personal life is broken, so too will their work life”

In their publication “Firms of Endearment”, Wharton Business School discovered that companies who put purpose before profit ended up making the most profit. They outperformed the S & P 500 by a ratio of 9 to 1 over a period of 10 years.

What that study did not show or track is the health, wellbeing and engagement of the people that worked for these firms. How many of those people were still employed after 10 years? How many suffered from physical illness, broken relationships and mental health issues as a result of disengagement or burnout?

“There is an inadvertent and unintentional ‘burn and churn’ of people in most companies”

WHAT CAN COMPANIES DO TO HELP?

The answer lies NOT in the workplace but at home.
The answer lies NOT in the hands of companies. It lies in the hands of the individual that works in the company.
The answer lies NOT in a notion of work/life balance. That concept is as outdated as the fax machine. The answer lies in knowing HOW to live a complete life.

Businesses make the mistake of thinking that health and wellness ‘perks’ in the office makes for a ‘well’ and engaged individual; things like yoga and meditation classes, sleep pods, wellness seminars, massage etc…The reality is that such perks merely contribute to a pleasant and comfortable work environment. They do not fix the underlying cause of disengagement because they do not teach people a framework for living a complete life without neglecting any of its vital parts; like nutrition, exercise, sleep, socialising, love and intimacy, family and parenting, continuous learning and emotional wellbeing.

Would You Continue to Serve Alcohol to Somebody who is clearly drunk?

Companies can help by teaching their people a framework for living. Every business has processes and systems for working but never think about teaching their people systems for living. And for very good reason. Its personal. It’s awkward. Its overstepping the mark. Or is it?

Government and business need to appreciate that the scope of OH & S needs to be broadened. There should be, and no doubt will be in the future, an obligation on business to ensure that people are not neglecting their health and personal life. This is no different to prohibiting the service of alcohol to a person that is clearly not drinking responsibly.

Is it ethical for a company to keep serving up unsustainable workloads to their people, only to sit back and watch them burnout? Some may argue that employees have a choice to say no. And in fact, some employees may request an extra workload and should have the freedom to do so. Right? Wrong. Again, I return to the analogy of the drunk at the bar. Has that person lost their choice to be served more? A better analogy is perhaps found on the football field where a person suffers a head concussion. They plead with their coach to stay on the field. But the coach and trainers make the decision to pull them off. Should business have that same right to send their people ‘off the field’? This may open up so many arguments on so many levels and ultimately lead to an assessment of weighing-up risk, social responsibility and a business’s right to profitability.

Smart companies however should see it as an opportunity. Over the long term, healthy and happy people who live a complete and holistic life are more energetic, more creative, more confident and highly engaged at work.

The ‘Higher Branch’ Method

A Higher Branch Success Academy has developed a highly successful framework and system for living a holistic life that empowers people to become their own life architect. This helps them design and be in control of all 8 aspects of their life, including work. The framework includes a set of proprietary principles pioneered in the book ‘A Higher Branch’.

On 18-20 January 2019, our success academy is holding a 3-day event called Upgrade Your Life, in Sydney at the Hyatt Regency hotel to teach people how to live a holistic life without compromising work performance. The program is highly successful and provides an insight into what companies can do to promote a wellness plan with substance; one that empowers people to take responsibility for their own engagement at work and in life.

Is Energy More Important Than Intelligence

Person A has no plan for health and happiness but he excelled at school and university and now has a great job. The education system and his parents taught him the notion that you work hard in the early years so you can ‘have-it-all’ later on in life. So he hops on the career treadmill and neglects his social life, playing sport, reading books, eating healthy, getting sunshine, sleeping optimally, loving his partner and bonding with his children. Meditation? What’s that? Napping on weekends? Huh? The worst part is that Person A does not even think that he has disfunction in his life. He accepts his busy life as ‘normal’. That’s the problem, this has become the norm in our society.

The results for person A are predictable. Dips in energy over time. Reliance on coffee and stimulants to get through the day, maybe even sleeping tablets at night. He has to work longer hours because his results are not as they should be. Someone younger, sharper and more energetic has joined his department and is outperforming him. He feels the pressure and anxiety creeps into the pit of his stomach. This feeling starts to linger and he may even need meds or reliance on alcohol to relax. The bags under his eyes get puffier every morning. He starts getting irritable at home and descends into arguments in front of the children. Not a pretty sight.

Experts all agree that, as a person’s health deteriorates so does their cognitive and work performance. 

Person B spends just as much time on her personal life as she does on her career. She works marginally less hours than person A but uses this time to exercise, to meditate for 10 mins and prime herself for gratitude, to write in her journal for 5 mins so she can plan her day and a fun social life. She has lunch in the park where she sends her partner a cheeky diary invite scheduling intimacy later that night.

The results for person B are also predictable. She may not outperform person A in the short term at work but in the medium to long term she definitely will. She will age slower, be happier and have better relationships. She is not perfect but she aims for progress not perfection.

The difference between person A and person B is clear but what motivates them may not be. You see, person A is a victim of poor programming. Person A has a warped sense of what WEALTH is. In western society we are obsessed with having wealth and there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong however is how we define our wealth.

This is a snapshot of how you should be defining your wealth, in order of priority:

1.     Having high energy, a strong body with great posture, a sharp mind, being emotionally solid, sleeping peacefully, the time to enjoy your food slowly and mindfully.

2.     Feeling attractive, wanted and being in an affectionate loving relationship. Deep down we all need touch by another person or even a pet.

3.     Having a great family dynamic, where you can connect uninterrupted by phones and media, and time to read, talk and play with your children (if you are a parent).

4.     Having a career or business that fulfils you emotionally and working in a comfortable uncompetitive environment that has a culture of purpose, inspiration, support, and humility.

5.     Having friends that make you laugh and support you.

6.     Growing your mind through learning, reading and networking with other like-minded people.

7.     Having the time to feel gratitude and the heart-space to want to help others and contribute to society.

Nothing on this list requires a fancy car, a big house or a Louis Vuitton bag. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against owning things, as long as they don’t own or define you. And as long as you do not go into debt to afford them. Debt is a form of slavery that forces you to work longer hours to pay for things you don’t really need or have time to enjoy, because you are too busy working to pay them off.

Next Steps?

Sit and take 5 minutes to define your wealth first. How do you do that? There is a technique that we use at A Higher Branch Success Academy. It is called “Not Negotiable”. At a very high level, the technique goes like this. What are you prepared to give up to save this part of your life? For example, would you be prepared to lose money over it? Would you give up all your assets to save your health, your marriage, your kids. Would you give up a career to make you happy? Would you let go of a client or a team member who is not aligned to your core values and standards even if it sets your business back?

What is your definition of wealth? What are your not negotiables?

Warm regards with love, respect and always with humility, thank you for reading this article. I enjoyed writing it and I hope it taught you something new or reconnected you with something your already know. Please feel free to share your own insights. It is only through sharing our ideas that we all grow together. Sam@AHigherBranch.com

If you are looking for part 1 of this article, please click here.

Is Health More Important Than Intelligence

As I sit here in my office looking through the glass partition at our MSA National team who do amazing work, it strikes me daily how little of a role intelligence plays in our success. Don’t get me wrong, our team is competent and know their stuff, as I am sure you do, but is that enough for success these days?

The message is now very clear. To dominate in your field and build your career or business you don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. Not at all. You just need to have the most energy; to move, to think, to work, to love, to parent, to socialise, to inspire, to implement and to craft a life you are in love with. This ALL depends on the physical and emotional energy you bring to your day.

The First Mistake

Most people make the mistake of thinking how much they know is their point of difference. Let me tell you, information is everywhere these days and through the use of technology, everyone on the planet is working smarter than ever before. So I ask you, what is the difference between success and mediocrity? What is the difference between those who fail and those who thrive? We all have 24 hours in the day. So the difference between us all can only be our energy levels. There is no denying that energetic people are sharper, more engaging and have an attractive air of self-confidence about them.

The Second Mistake

Most people believe that energy levels come down to diet and exercise; yes, these do help, but did you know that your emotional happiness is 5,000 times more powerful than these two physical elements? Which means that how you feel and how you think impact your energy levels in a much more profound way. This in turn impacts your success in a profound way.

I am sharing these thoughts with the greatest respect to you. I too eat healthy and exercise religiously but I have learned that these are NOT the things that make me a successful human being. How we love, how we parent, how we play, how we sleep, what we focus on, the choices we make, who we spend time with, how we work, how we forgive, how we process fear, anger, rejection or failure, ALL impact our energy and ability to live the life we crave.

I hope my sharing these questions does not overwhelm you, I highlight them to demonstrate that life is complex and it is our ability to manage all these aspects that makes the difference between a magnificent life and a mediocre one. Sorry to put it like that but I am calling it like it is.

My Invitation to You

 I wish success was as easy as listening to an uplifting YouTube viral video or a motivational meme. Our life is much more complex than that and deserves a more personalised approach and system for living; one that we were never taught at school and at work. If you want to learn how to live by a unique framework to upgrade every aspect of your life, install daily rituals, and grow your wealth, then you absolutely need to be in the room with me and a line-up of 10 leading global experts at Upgrade Your Life 2019.

Why Forgiveness Is Essential to Your Success

However you define your success and wealth, one thing is for certain, you can NEVER achieve it if you are not grateful for the present and have a clear vision for your future. A vision without current state gratitude only leads to anxiety; and gratitude without a vision for the future inevitably leads to stagnation and general apathy.

What does this have to do with forgiveness?

You cannot practice gratitude and have a beautiful vision for your future if you are hanging onto past grudges and regrets. You simply cannot. Gratitude and vision can only be effective if they are ‘felt’ in your body. If your body is filled with pain and blame there is no room to feel gratitude for the present and excitement for the future. Therefore, you need to release yourself from the prison of your past.

Symptoms

Whatever affects your emotions affects your body. Your body holds onto emotions and this is often reflected in posture and ‘tight’ areas such as the neck, jaw, back and hamstrings. Here are more insidious symptoms: 

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Quick to get angry
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor sleep
  • Lower immune function
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Significant decrease in energy levels 

When you let go and forgive something or someone (including yourself) from the past, the reversal of these symptoms can sometimes be instant.

How do you practice forgiveness?

Forgiveness does not mean showing weakness or condoning wrong doing. We can forgive someone without excusing their behaviour. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling; reconciliation may follow forgiveness, but we can forgivewithout re-establishing the relationship. Forgiveness is not based on the other person apologising, it does not mean forgetting or pretending it didn’t happen and it doesn’t mean trust either. Trust needs to be earned.

There is one powerful practice you can learn that can completely release you from your past. It is founded on the principle that forgiveness is not about changing the past, it’s about changing the future.This practice needs to be communicated by a trained professional; it is not something you can coach remotely or on a YouTube tutorial. It is highly personal and based on your genetic propensity; your unique emotional state and what you need to let go of. In other words, forgiveness is something that needs to be practiced.

Dr Guy Winch is a New York practising psychologist who will be speaking about how to practice forgiveness at the event of the year called, Upgrade Your Life, 2019. He will also be talking about rebuilding trust in a relationship. Dr Guy Winch’s viral TED Talk, Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid, has been viewed over 6 million times and is rated among the top 5 most inspiring talks of all time on TED.com.

Join Us at Upgrade Your Life, 2019

How to Bond with Your Children

Family life is very important to our wellness and work performance. Try being effective at work if you show up with family burdens on your shoulders, if your children are sick or out of control, or if you and your partner are arguing at home.

There are unique challenges to raising a 21st century family such as:

  • Feeling rushed with no time to communicate effectively.
  • Feeling confused about what parenting tools to use.
  • Over-parenting to compensate.
  • Projecting what we want onto our children instead of honouring their uniqueness.
  • Using fear and guilt to get them to cooperate. For example, did you know that “scaring” our children into eating well or making them feel guilty for eating junk food does more emotional harm than physical good?

These challenges have brought dysfunction into families; in some cases, family life has become toxic and a source of emotional stress and anxiety. As a result the family unit is breaking down, the emotional bond between parents and children is now rare and children cannot wait to “grow up” and “leave home”.

Here are 18 practical tips you can start using today to turn your family dynamic around.

  • Remove TV from living areas.
  • Do not use technology and television to keep your kids occupied. This is tantamount to neglect, that’s the hard truth. The damage of over-exposure to technology presents more harm than smoking.
  • Put phones and tablets on charge and out of hands 90 minutes before bedtime.
  • Don’t structure their play. Structure is a prison for the creative mind; innovators of the future think in a non-linear way.
  • Teach them to swim.
  • Allow them to get messy sometimes.
  • Help them play dress-ups.
  • Read to them and let them read to you.
  • Share a hobby as they get older. This will keep you feeling connected.
  • Have one-on-one alone time with each child once a week.
  • Encourage them to ask questions. Asking questions without fear of ridicule is absolutely essential to keep their sense of curiosity.
  • Go on school excursions with them as a guest parent. They will love it and research shows that children feel more confident at school when they see their parents there.
  • Show them how to save money. This is an essential life skill that you need to lead by example; break your addiction to retail therapy.
  • Get them to do chores around the house. This gives them a sense of self-worth. Praise them for completing the task but do not accept mediocrity either. If you want a certain standard, do the chore with them and show them that standard. They will know for next time.
  • Visit grandparents and relatives together.
  • Get them to help you cook.
  • Spend time on Sunday nights and take turns to talk about what you did last week and/or what you’re going to do next week.
  • Ask them daily: “What are you happy about?” “What are you excited about?” Ask yourself the same questions!

Want to learn more practical tips? Come listen to Carl Honoré and nine other leading global experts on how to upgrade your life and your family happiness.

FIND OUT MORE

What you will learn:

  • You will learn the number one skill in parenting that can change your family dynamic instantly.
  • You will learn how to get your children to make the right decisions in your absence, such as eating healthy food and controlling their use of technology and social media.
  • You will learn to develop the concepts of “conscious parenting” and “slow parenting” and how to implement them.
  • You will learn how to project unconditional love onto your children, this helps to reduce their anxieties about the inevitable failures and rejections.
  • You will learn how and when to transition from being a parent to being a friend.
  • You will also learn how to have fun with your children. Play is the language of children. You need to learn it.

Join Us at Upgrade Your Life, 2019

Yes BUT are you having FUN?

We are all in the business of selling ourselves. What sells is not just the product or service, it is the person standing behind it. People connect with you first and if they like you they will use every justification to do business with you.

Does having fun make you successful?
The more fun you have in your life, the more attractive and successful you will become. You smile more, have more energy and you magically attract good things and good people. People are naturally attracted to the smiling, enthusiastic person in the room. Be that person and you will attract more customers. It’s that simple. Without fun, a KPI is met, a box is ticked and another dull day goes by without empathy and connection with the customer. With fun, everyone is excited to be at work, emails are written with smiley faces, phone calls are filled with laughter, and settlements are completed with purpose. Yes fun is important, at home and in business.

So why isn’t everyone having fun?
Most people have lost the ability to have fun, or worse still, have the wrong idea about what fun is.

Fun is NOT getting drunk on a Friday night.
Fun is NOT surfing TV or the internet.
Fun is NOT attracting likes on Facebook.
Fun is NOT in the next new car or pair of shoes you buy.
Fun is NOT found in walking around a shopping centre.

What kills fun?
As children, having fun came naturally and easily; making friends and being funny was a daily joy. As school, parents and even religious institutions start to influence our belief systems, we start to do things to please others and spend precious energy worrying about what they think. We stop smiling as much and take ourselves too seriously. We are told to sit still for long periods, follow orders, and conform. We are asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, instead of “How would you like to help others and contribute to society”. Then, as we become adults, we start watching the news and learning fear. We learn to complain, we start to blame, we focus on fault, we become cynical, even miserable or at best, mediocre. Most of all, we stop scheduling time to have fun as we focus more and more on the material world. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with owning things, as long as those things don’t start to own you.

Do you need to be happy to have fun?
Yes and no. Being happy makes having fun easier but having fun also makes you happy.

Being unhappy or in a bad mood is a signal from your body and mind that you need to change something in your life. You need to change your thinking, change your diet/lifestyle or even change the people you hang out with. These changes require effort and time and having fun should not wait for those changes to happen. So, the shortcut is to force yourself to do fun things so you can be happy in that moment. Most of us don’t feel like having fun when we are in a bad mood, but that is when we need it the most. So you need to force yourself to get up and get out.

So how do you have fun?
Here are 5 tips to give you a fun mindset and 18 ideas for having fun:

  1. Turn your frown upside down and change your posture. Your body language has a huge impact on your mindset (and vice versa). I make a point of laughing out loud every day. There is a lot of research on this subject but my favourite layman’s talk is by Amy Cuddy on TED, (with over 14 million views) titled “Your body language may shape who you are”.
  2. Watch and listen to comedy movies and stand-up. Scientists have shown that doing this makes you a funnier person, which puts you in the mood to have fun. It also makes you more intelligent, which is an added bonus. I personally watch a short comedy skit every night as part of my nightly routine. My favourites are Arj Barker, Kitty Flanagan, Jim Jefferies and Russell Peters.
  3. Surprise your family and friends. Be a prankster and do the unexpected. Go home at the end of the day with a bunch of balloons for the kids. Print your favourite funny family photos and stick them in unusual places. My daughter Amelia taught me this. She transposed her mum’s face on an image of the Mona Lisa and stuck it on the inside of the pantry cupboard, wardrobe, etc. You should have heard the cackles every time a door opened! This went on for days.
  4. Surprise your customers and/or staff. I have coached a few mortgage brokers on how to have fun with customers on the phone and in person – and it works! Instant rapport. Turn up to an appointment with a box of chocolates or a funny book or movie tickets – be thoughtful. Your choice depends on what info they give you over the phone before the appointment. Make sure you make the customers feel like its obligation free. It’s all in the delivery. At MSA we constantly surprise our team with fun and unexpected things. One day we filled the breakout room with delicious treats in a Willy Wonka theme and we had Adriano Zumbo deliver them. The vibe in the office was electric with smiles and selfies. We are all big kids in a candy store waiting to come out!
  5. Use Fun Emoji’s and be funny with your emails and texts. This does not make you unprofessional as long as this fun approach is coupled with displays of competence. Fun communications just makes you more human and interesting and people will be genuinely intrigued to meet you in person. With one client I coached, we simply made her voicemail message more fun and customer referrals increased significantly. She became known as the fun mortgage broker who knew her stuff! With another client, we changed his email auto-response and the rapport with customers increased dramatically! He started getting more appointments.

Here are some ways I have fun:

  1. Organize a card night with whisky, cigars or whatever makes you happy.
  2. Go on a country drive on weekends with a cavalcade of cars.
  3. Pretend you are a tourist and/or put on an accent for the day – my daughter loves this.
  4. Go to the farmers market or better still, go fruit picking at a farm.
  5. Invite your neighbours over. Especially the weird ones!
  6. Host a movie night with popcorn and ice cream.
  7. Share your bucket list with others and talk about what each means to you.
  8. Go through your old photos and relive stories. This does not mean you live in the past. Rather, it inspires future adventures.
  9. Go on a bike ride. The wind in your hair makes you smile.
  10. Go bowling or better still, play lawn bowls.
  11. Take turns cooking – boys cooking for the girls always ends in laughter.
  12. Go to the park and on the swing set with your kids.
  13. Play board games or charades.
  14. Tell or read your kids stories at bedtime.
  15. Play backyard cricket or touch footy.
  16. Attend a seminar with colleagues – yes learning should be fun.
  17. Organise a surprise party for a friend or family member.
  18. Go dancing! My wife’s favourite.

Do you notice how all of the above do not require much, if any, money? Did you also notice that all of the above is best enjoyed with friends? Life is boring without friendships.

Some measure their wealth by their bank account. I measure it by the quality of my friendships, which includes my own family and my work colleagues. How many close friends do you have? Do you hang out with people that make you laugh? These are the most important questions you should first ask yourself. Making friends with the right people is your first step to having fun.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to fill your life with fun!

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

You Matter

There is a statistic that scares many businesses: 67% of customers don’t return to do business with a company because of the attitude of just one person. This scares companies with a poor culture, the ones that have no idea what to expect from their team. This statistic is an opportunity! We individually have the power to make a big difference in a customer’s life.

Maybe you think that because you don’t have a qualification or you are not a team manager or a senior staff member that you don’t matter. Think again. Here are seven things that matter that require zero qualifications:

Be on time.

Be organised.

Be nice.

Help the person next to you.

Don’t complain.

Have enthusiasm and smile a lot.

Have a strong work ethic.

Remember that working hard doesn’t kill you, its stress that does, and stress all comes down to your attitude. If you watch the clock waiting to go home, time will go slow and you will feel frustrated, but if you put your heart into each and every task you perform, you will go home feeling satisfied and happy. An example of being present is prepping documents by focusing intently, another is listening attentively to someone without distraction, whether it is a client, your colleague, or your family when you get home. Try switching off pop up notifications on technology to increase attention and focus.

To learn how to be the best version of you, join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

Become the CEO of your own brand

Your personal brand is what makes you unique and instantly recognisable, it’s a fact that people with a positive brand are more successful.

Here are 5 tips to develop an inspirational brand.

  1. Be ridiculously good at what you do. Most people talk about how good they are but the ones who let their work do the talking develop the best personal brand. Associate with people with a strong work ethic.
  2. Know and live by your personal values and never compromise them to fit in, people will respect you for it. Some values include: honesty, humility, humour, patience, generosity, kindness, fairness, respect, and reliability. Let your words and actions reflect these values. It’s easier to live by your values if you hang out with people who share them.
  3. Wear clothes that are true to your personal style. If you’re sporty by nature – dress that way, if you’re posh – dress classy, people will start to associate you with that style. The aim is to be comfortable with who you are. Nobody likes a fake; which means ignoring trends.
  4. Keep learning and keep developing your brand by developing yourself. Every night I go home to be with Deepak Chopra, Steve Jobs, C S Lewis, Jim Rohn, Martin Seligman, Daniel Pink, Sir Ken Robinson, Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey. I have read all of their books and each have shaped my personal brand in one way or another.
  5. Be original. Oscar Wilde once said “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” One of the great tragedies of life is that we are born into this genius, this originality, this authenticity, and yet the world beats it out of us. Our parents and teachers, well intentioned, say, “Be like everyone else, talk like everyone else, think like everyone else, don’t be a disrupter.” As we grow through life there’s this resignation into mediocrity. My advice to you is to find your hidden talents, not the talents of the person in the workstation next to you. Walk your talk, live your values and ask yourself, “How can I return to originality?”

To learn how to establish and improve your personal brand, join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019.

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5 of the Healthiest Foods for Women

The following in order of importance are especially beneficial to women’s health:

  1. Bone broth – if you want beautiful hair, skin and nails, bone broth made from organic meats is a great place to start. Many people focus on beauty by undergoing expensive treatments and applying liberal amounts of creams and serums, but effortless beauty starts on the inside and is 900% more effective than topical creams. Bone broth is packed full of nutrients like amino acids and gelatin, is easily digestible, great for your immune system and joints and can help to repair gut issues you may have from consuming too many grains and sweets over the years. It is cost effective and is so easy to make, check out this 50-second video: https://youtu.be/8F5e3nro_RA
  2. Greens are excellent for boosting folate and iron levels, which are essential for boosting energy in women – iron supplements are very difficult to digest. These nutrients are also critical in women considering pregnancy. Which greens? Salad greens like lettuce, baby spinach, kale, beet greens, broccoli, and herbs such as parsley, basil, coriander, thyme and oregano. Sage in particular is very powerful to alleviate menstrual pain.
  3. Organic eggs, especially the runny yolk is easily digestible and contains the amino acids lutein and choline, which help balance female hormones. They are also high in Vitamin D and E, which are great for the skin. The phospholipids in eggs also boost brainpower.
  4. Berries – especially blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries are very cleansing for the urinary tract. Berries are also powerful antioxidants, which prevent skin aging and sunspots. Pomegranate is not a berry, but has the same cleansing antioxidant effect. My personal favourite is blueberries because they taste great in smoothies.
  5. Flax Seed is high in fibre and essential fats, which promotes healthy skin and hair (anti-aging and hormone balancing). They are also high in a special type of antioxidant called lignans, which eliminate yeast and candida from the body. The best use of flax seed is in your morning smoothie by soaking two flat tablespoons overnight. Avoid buying and using pre-ground flax seed, ‘golden’ flax seed is the highest in lignans.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn about how what you eat can affect your lifestyle.

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7 Morning Rituals for Success

Developing a ritual for the first 30-45 minutes of your day can be the difference between a mediocre life and a motivational one.

I created a morning ritual that sets me up mentally and emotionally to tackle the day like an athlete, I follow this ritual no matter where I am in the world – workdays, weekends or on holidays. You should develop a set of rituals that work best for you.

  1. Deep Breathing. Start the morning by going outside, barefoot on the grass. Breathe in for three seconds, hold in for four seconds and out for five. Do this 5 times and set reminders to do this throughout the day to combat shallow breathing. Deep breathing oxygenates your cells and signals your mitochondria to release energy. Do it frequently with tall stretches to really feel the benefits.
  2. Morning Detox Elixir. Drink your first litre of water within the first hour of the day, dehydration means low energy. Don’t reach for a coffee when you wake up, water is cleansing and helps activate your metabolism. My morning elixir recipe has helped me to avoid cold and flu for the past 12 years: cup of warm/hot water, lemon juice, turmeric and crushed ginger. Sip this during your morning routine before you leave the house.
  3. Supercharge Your Central Nervous System. Either jog for 15 mins or do five minutes of push-ups/squat jumps, followed by a semi-cold shower or a swim. It’s cold in winter, but the effects of cold water are invigorating and much more sustainable than caffeine.
  4. Meditation Is Detox For The Mind. Spend 10-15 minutes meditating using the Headspace App. This helps you filter out any background noise and helps you zone in on what’s important. It also helps you live in the moment for the rest of the day so you can really listen to people.
  5. Journaling Is Clarity. Spend 5 minutes re-reading your goals and your bucket list and then write and visualise what you want to achieve for the day. Not just for work but in all aspects e.g. what you will eat, when you will exercise, and planning your social agenda with family and friends. You should also use the journal to reflect on how you feel if something is bothering you. It helps you witness and process your feelings. We all experience negative emotions, the key is what you do with them.
  6. Prepare And Pack. The most common reason people don’t eat well or exercise is because they are unprepared. Taking 20 minutes to prepare food and workout gear is probably the best thing you can do to set up your day. My prep includes a superfood smoothie for breakfast that I sip throughout my morning containing a combination of nutrients.
  7. Podcast Your Commute. Podcasts and audiobooks are a great way to learn and grow whilst making use of dead time like travel time. Some of my favourite podcasts are The Tim Ferris Show, TED Talks Business, TED Talks Health and Comedy Central Stand-Up. There are thousands of podcasts and audiobooks to choose from.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to design your perfect day.

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Is speed killing your life?

We live in a culture that is addicted to speed. We eat fast, talk fast, work fast as we try to cram more and more in the day. And this is having dire consequences on our lives at home and at work.

Why have we caught this disease called ‘speed’? Why are we doing everything faster in the name of good customer service? And why have we peddled the idea that speed of service is the performance criteria by which customers judge us. Has anyone stopped to ask, “Do customers really want fast service? Or do they want good, attentive, thorough service?”

If your business is running on speed, it is not sustainable. In the short term you will get results, but over the medium to long term, the bubble will burst. You and your team will get stressed and tired; absenteeism will rise. And that’s when you start seeing productivity drop AND worse still, you will start to lose good people.

9 signs you are addicted to the stress of SPEED:

Do you experience 3 or more of the following symptoms?

  1. You find it difficult to sit and do nothing for more than 10 minutes.
  2. You find it difficult to focus and listen to what the other person is saying.
  3. You eat at your desk or in your car and get indigestion.
  4. Poor concentration and irritability.
  5. You need alcohol to relax and constantly crave carbs/sweets.
  6. You rely on coffee for energy.
  7. You suffer from intermittent insomnia.
  8. You find it difficult to notice beauty around you. Or you are numb to it.
  9. Loss of creativity and passion.

Business consequences of speed:

  • Hurried consultations with no real customer connection.
  • Inability to really listen to your customer.
  • Higher error rates.
  • Irate customers from regular misunderstandings.
  • Lower performance.

12 Excellent Strategies for Slowing Down

  1. Don’t schedule in more than two meetings per day.
  2. Unless you are a mortgage broker, don’t schedule any meetings after 3pm It is the most unproductive time of day and also the time of day where most misunderstandings and conflicts occur.
  3. Don’t pick up your second line (or call waiting) when you are already on a phone call.
  4. Don’t rush your meetings or phone calls. Take your time and ensure that you understand the other person.
  5. Turn notifications and pop-ups OFF, on all your devices. They train your mind to live out of the present moment and therefore make it difficult for you connect and listen to others.
  6. Take at least 2 renewal breaks throughout the day to stretch, breath and meditate for 5 minutes.
  7. Don’t take on too much work. Learn to say ‘no’.
  8. Don’t rush individual tasks. Enjoy doing them to the best of your ability knowing and reminding yourself that the quality of your work affects the customer.
  9. Don’t accept any last minute deadlines imposed on you. Last-minute deadlines usually arise from somebody else’s inefficiency. It is somebody else’s problem. Don’t make it yours unless it is truly a rare exception requiring you to go beyond the call of duty.
  10. Take at least 45 minutes for lunch and pack from home at least three days in the week. You will get more nutrition and you will save money.
  11. Take a walk after work, preferably where there is a park or trees. Go alone.
  12. Keep a photo on your desk and look at it throughout the day. It could be a photo of your partner, your children or a picture of your next holiday destination.
  13. Sleep more.

If you’re interested in reading more about the dangers of speed I highly recommend the books,

“In Praise of Slow” and “The Slow Fix”, both by Carl Honore.

Sam Makhoul, Managing Director and Chief Wellness Officer @ MSA National.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to slow down.

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How to Find Your Blue Zone

Starting in Sardinia, I have been travelling the Mediterranean for the past 4 weeks and have spent many days visiting the renowned ‘blue zones’ where there is the highest concentration of centenarians. What struck me about the people in these areas is the complete lack of focus on health and fitness, yet they live such a long and happy life. There isn’t a gym and green juice bar in sight.

We in the west are obsessed with the physical and the ‘secrets’ to long life and that golden elixir. Is it fish oil or turmeric? Is it meditation? Is it eating paleo or eating vegan? Yes, these things do help (slightly) but they pale into insignificance in comparison to other more important ‘rules’ for living.

My sense of curiosity led me to connect and ask many questions of the locals I met. And there were many – equally curious and friendly. They always had a ready smile and welcoming demeanour. You’d be surprised how many speak English!

The following is a list of the main reasons why I think people in these blue zones live such a long life. You will notice that these rules for living have less to do with the physical and much more with the symbiotic relationship the physical has with the intellectual, emotional and spiritual. For example, eating food is not just a physical experience for them. They pray before they eat and the largest meal of the day is a daily social affair. There is music, sometimes dancing.

They are Very Social

They socialise, almost every night with a wide and close network of family and friends. They are high touch, less tech and therefore affectionate. When they greet you with a juicy kiss on both cheeks and a hug, you really feel that they mean it. Conversations are sharp and engaging with little small talk. There is passion and sometimes debate. They play games – cards and board games.

They Eat Food with Flavour

People from the Blue Zone are passionate about eating food that is flavoursome and true to their heritage. They do not eat Chinese one night, followed by Indian and then Italian. They eat fruit and vegetables that is in season and from the local area. When I was there, it was peaches, apricots and cherries and nothing else. What surprised me though is how little they eat, with only one large meal per day. And yes they eat carbs, lots of it. Coffee and pastry in the morning. Bread, pizza and pasta is lathered in cold pressed olive oil, usually from a nearby olive grove. They are not obsessed with eating protein, which is usually fish in summer and meat in the colder months. Local wine and seasonal cheese almost every day.

They are Solar Powered and Move for Purpose

They spend a lot of time in the sun. Especially in the summer months when they are almost always outside. They move a lot for work but rarely exercise. Exercise is dancing or ‘playing’ sport; you know, having fun. Mind numbing time on a treadmill seems foreign to them. “Why do that?” Francesca asked, seeming puzzled at the lack of purpose. “You are going no-where!” she joked.

They Take Naps

They sleep long and well and have a nap after lunch, especially during summer when it is hot.

They Drink Spring Water and Breath Clean Air

The air is clean in the blue zones, really clean and it has a softness about it. Taking deep breaths seems easier on the lungs.

Local spring water is everywhere and naturally high in minerals. I visited a public ‘watering place’ where there were numerous taps flowing constantly. There were people lined up to fill up bottles for home. With plastic cup in my hand, one man laughed and warned me, in broken English, not to drink too much from one tap as he gestured to his stomach. I knew what he meant. It was naturally sparkling and would clean me out. He pointed to another tap and said it had minerals to lower blood pressure. All this water came flowing down from the top of the mountain above us.

They Have Faith

They are religious and go to church. They pray. They believe in a creator and have faith that God ‘has their back’. They are constantly aware of their mortality but not afraid of it. One man, Alessandro, told me that being aware of his mortality makes him live with purpose without wasting a day. “I am not afraid to die because I know I would have lived a full life surrounded by family and friends…”

I think that ultimately it is this fearlessness that makes them live longer.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to find your personal blue zone.

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Sex, Lies & Fasting

Should we fast from sex and other pleasures? Before I get into the science of why we should, I want to make one observation about the lies we have been fed by most sexperts who peddle the idea that if you are not having sex with your partner 2-5 times per week then there must be something wrong with the relationship. Trashy magazines thrive on this message as much as personal trainers thrive on the message you need to work out in one-hour intervals. Both are simply NOT true. Both create a state of fear and guilt.

So much has been written in recent years about the benefits of intermittent food fasting. Research shows that fasting puts us into a state of ‘autophagy’. Put simply it means the body goes into self-cleaning mode, which boosts the immune system and slows down ageing.

It begs the question; does fasting from sex and other pleasures also have health benefits? Yes it does. In fact it is so much more powerful because fasting from pleasures impacts our mental and emotional health in a profound way.

Fasting from pleasurable things short-circuits our tendency to lose appreciation for them. Psychologists call this tendency, hedonic adaptation – the idea that no matter how good something makes us feel, over time we take it for granted and lose the thrill. We return to an emotional base line, even after the most exciting of purchases, like a new car or a new house.

The problem is that this baseline is shifting. Why? Because we live in an era of extreme affluence where money and technology are making pleasurable things so accessible. Relationships are only a swipe away, so too is our favourite restaurant. Luxury cars, fine foods, bags, shoes, computers, phones; the list of comforts and pleasures is growing year on year and yet, people are unhappier than ever. Depression is skyrocketing. It makes no sense, right?

Hedonic adaptation also works for us during periods of war and economic hardship because it forces us to appreciate what we have and returns us to our baseline. But during periods of affluence it works against us. We lose appreciation for everyday comforts, food, people and sex. People who stray in a relationship are a product of hedonic adaptation. They lose the thrill and go chasing it elsewhere. People who binge on food, alcohol, gambling or even drugs are chasing to fill that same emotional gap.

Therefore, the enemy is NOT hedonic adaptation. It is a useful evolutionary survival mechanism, much in the same way the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism is. The enemy is hedonism itself and the lack of control we have over our appetites.

Psychologists use two tools to manage hedonic adaptation. And I will add a third one. Fasting.

The first technique involves practicing gratefulness, which is familiar to most; to be mindful and appreciative of all that you have. To give thanks. How does this help? I think only marginally. This might be a provocative and controversial position I am taking. You see I believe that being grateful only gives us a temporary(even fleeting) positive state before we gorge on that huge cone of chocolate ice cream or, buy that next pair of shoes that we do not need but is “oh so necessary because it is in a different shade of blue” to the one we already own. So I ask you. Is it ok to over-indulge just because we are grateful for it? Not in my books, because being mindful enough to stop and feel grateful for an over-indulgence does not make it less of an indulgence. And it does not teach self-control.

The second technique is to practice variety. Try a different routine. Eat vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate, try a new sex position or read a book together instead of watching TV, go to a different holiday destination, or try a macchiato instead of a cappuccino. It is arguable that this technique, if not practiced correctly, can make matters worse by feeding our hedonistic tendencies. So, you buy a Chanel bag instead of an LV one. That’s variety for you! It is still an over-indulgence. And again, it does nothing for our self-control.

Which brings us to fasting. This is much more effective because it directly strengthens our ability to control our appetite for all manner of desires and pleasures. It is no coincidence that all major world religions practice some form of fasting. And not just from food. Fasting goes deeper than practicing variety and forces us into a state of gratefulness. It also forces us to be present and mindful when we eventually return to the experience we are fasting from, because it will feel like the ‘first time’. All your senses will be heightened. This is why traveling to new places makes you feel so alive. You are experiencing things that are normally outside of your daily routine.

How do you practice fasting? Simply by abstaining and practicing moderation from all of your favourite things. And the more you value your favourite things, the more you should want to protect them. Because the more you fast from them, the more you will appreciate and savour them.

If you love working, you need to practice abstination by taking regular breaks from work. My performance is off the charts when I return from holidays. Do you love dark chocolate? Indulge occasionally in small portions.  You should see my face when I am savouring every molecule of chocolate after a month of abstination. My wife says it is priceless.

Some of my favourite things that I regularly fast from include: a fine dining restaurant, wine (esp. Yarra Valley Pinot Noir), Macallan scotch whisky, driving a convertible (any), Italian cheese and bread, drinking TWG teas, listening to my favourite music (currently The Weeknd), watching my favourite TV shows and yes, even making out with my wife.

I’d love to hear your list of favourites and how you would fast from them.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to practice gratefulness.

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How do you slow down time?

Have you ever looked back on a day or week or month or year and thought, ‘where did the time go?’ You are not alone. Almost everyone is experiencing this phenomenon where time feels like it is flying by.

For some limited number of people however, they look back on the same period and feel ‘wow there was so much I did.’ People in this latter category will one day lay on their death bed and think, ‘I lived a full long life. I am grateful for every minute.’

What is the difference between the two mindsets? We all have 24 hours in the day. For some it feels full, but most others, fast and uneventful.

In the present moment, time is the same for all of us. It has an infinite feel about it, especially if you are in a state of flow or meditation. But the passing of time is only evident upon reflection. This is where it is relative and feels different for all of us. Therefore, you cannot slow down time in the present but you can either look back on it as if it went fast or as if it went slow.

Have you ever gone for a long road trip and noticed that it took forever to get to your destination, but on the way back, it felt so much faster? This gives you a clue into the reason for the relativity of time.

Everyone Dies, Not Everyone Lives

The answer to the conundrum of time lies in your five senses: seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, and tasting.

When your five senses experience the same thing every day, they become numb. Consequently, you become too familiar with the known. Some call that their ‘comfort zone’ when in reality it is a dead zone where you spend your seconds, minutes, hours and days living predominantly from the subconscious. You are not really conscious of your thoughts, feelings and decisions. Consequently, you look back on your life and feel like nothing much happened and you interpret that as ‘time flying’.

So, while everyone is pursuing a long life, the real answer is to pursue a conscious one.

The BIG question is how do you live a conscious life? What is the formula? We hear so much about being ‘mindful’, but mindfulness is very different to consciousness. The former is all about witnessing. The latter is more about decisions and actions that help you live a purposeful life where the speed of time is in your control. The latter can only happen when you choose to live with fearlessness and adventure. This is where your five senses come alive.

I have been teaching a 5-step method called the Circle of Conscious Living, which I have personally lived by from a very young age. I explain this method in great detail in my book, A Higher Branch. I apologise if this sounds like click bait but I am not asking you to buy my book – instead I want to invite you and your family to a holiday destination where you will hear from a line-up of leading global experts and learn to upgrade every aspect of your life.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life, 17-20 January 2019.

This is an event like no other, curated by my team and I at A Higher Branch Success Academy. The program, parties and experiences we have organised will stimulate every one of your senses, and arm you with a new framework for living consciously.

This is a truly unique event not to be missed and an opportunity to join an exclusive community and network with thought leaders from all over the world.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to live on your own time.

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The Rich Get Richer – The Wise Get Wealthier

A dear friend of mine is slowly climbing out of a financial mess. He had invested his time, money and energy in the wrong areas and then unfortunately lost much of his savings. He put his life on hold for much of the decade. He worked tirelessly because his plan was to make enough money so he could eventually retire and spend time travelling with his wife and ‘being happy’. The following is a snapshot of what I shared with him.

Imagine if you were a tall beautiful tree with two branches. The left branch reaches high into the sky with a barren trunk and the most abundant fruit is sitting at the very top. The right branch reaches away from the left branch but then curls back towards it at the very top. This right branch has an abundance of lower lying fruit scattered throughout and is easier to climb.

This ‘money’ tree is a metaphor for creating wealth. The left branch represents investing your money in shares, bank deposits or real estate. The right branch is where you invest in yourself. I see so many people trying to climb the left branch too early in life and then fall. They lose their money and become despondent. They end up quitting on the idea of being rich. The mistake they make is this. The left branch may or may not make you rich, but it will never make you wealthy. Only the right branch can do that.

Being rich gives you money, but being wealthy gives you freedom. The irony is that most wealthy people I know have both freedom and money, and they all have one thing in common. They invest in themselves by climbing the right branch first.

What does it mean to invest in yourself? It means to spend your time, energy and money improving the following areas of your life: health, love, family, work, friendships, learning and showing charity to others.

As you invest more and more in these areas, you are climbing your way up that right branch and getting closer to the top of the left one. A funny thing happens when you actively live your best life. You put yourself in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.

When you live a complete life that makes you happy, healthy and loved, you start to develop a positive frame of mind and a warm attitude. This attracts good things and good people to you. These often come with opportunities to work and invest in new ideas that excite you and make money for you.

Then, and only then, should you invest some of your time and money on the left branch. Whether you make money or not, you will always have your wealth. No one can ever take that away from you.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to invest in yourself.

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How to Love Your Life

  1. Health – Cherish your body. Nothing else matters more. Focus on the energy you have. Eat well, exercise and relax daily. Fill your daily life with purposeful activities that give your body a reason to manifest energy.
  2. Love – Love yourself by looking after your health and guarding your mind against negative images, negative thinking and negative associations. Look your best by wearing clothes that make you feel attractive. Have the courage to show and give love to your life partner, whether or not they give it back. Tell your partner daily what you love about them – words are powerful. Work just as much on your love life as you do on your work.
  3. Family – Support your family at all times. Give them the confidence to pursue their goals and dreams. Help them overcome obstacles. Focus on their strengths and their good qualities. Remind them daily of their worth. Tell them you love them no matter what happens – whether they succeed or fail at anything. Spend time developing a relationship with all family members.
  4. Work – Choose to love your work. Always do your best. Focus on the difference that your product or service is making to society. Have empathy for your customers. Value the privilege of serving them from the heart. Be grateful that you live in a society where there is the opportunity to work. At all times be honest in the execution of your work. Master your job by constantly learning and evolving. Always ask yourself, ‘can I do this job better?’ Be impeccable in your conduct at work. Be fearless in your execution.
  5. Friendship – Let your words, laughter and charm bring a smile to others. Help your friends see the lighter side of life and not take themselves too seriously. Act with integrity and hold true to your standards and beliefs. Never compromise them to be popular. Never pre-judge others. Be open to new friendships. Always greet people with a smile and a friendly hello. How others respond is their own reality and has nothing to do with you.
  6. Learning – Commit to 45 minutes of learning daily about every aspect of your life and not just your work and wealth. Limit watching TV and other popular media. Watch uplifting talks by great thinkers on TED.com. Read books from pioneering minds. Attend courses and seminars organised by people who care and have something unique to share. Listen twice as much you talk. Discover your talents by having self-awareness for your thoughts and feelings. Live a conscious life where you decide what you want to listen to, read and watch. Develop a growth mindset.
  7. Wealth – Invest in yourself first before you invest your money. If you have a business invest in your own field of dreams first before investing with others on the stock market. Live a frugal lifestyle and reduce your dependence on money. Spend less, save more. Say no to consumerism and your addiction to buying more and more things that end up collecting dust or in land fill. Spend money on experiences. But don’t skimp on things that improve your life like better quality food or better quality education for you and your children.
  8. Charity – Learn about the plight of others in need. Don’t shut yourself out to other people’s suffering. Help others by giving your time and/or money. Charity does not have to be grand. A simple kind word of support is sometimes all that someone needs. Help a team member at work.  Share an idea that can help a friend live a better life or simply listen to them without distraction.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to upgrade each of the eight areas of your life.

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The 10 attributes of greatness

What does it take to live a life less ordinary? 

  1. Ordinary people can fool anyone in the short term. Great people build trust and earn respect for the long term.
  2. Ordinary people panic about deadlines and forget their priorities. Great people know that spending time with family and friends, and doing work that matters is all that counts.
  3. Ordinary people spend too much time talking and complaining. Great people take action quietly and without fuss.
  4. Ordinary people watch TV when they get home. Great people read/listen to books, write in their journal and meditate.
  5. Ordinary people seek attention. Great people let their work and conduct speak for them.
  6. Ordinary people dodge responsibility – “someone else will clean up the problem”. Great people take ownership of challenges with a smile on their face.
  7. Ordinary people gossip and tear others down to get ahead. Great people take others with them on the way up.
  8. Ordinary people skip class or lectures or seminars. Great people know that education and learning pays off.
  9. Ordinary people pick up takeaway food on the way home. Great people pick up groceries, cook at home and make enough for lunch the next day.
  10. Ordinary people react defensively to customers with gripes or demands. Great people listen patiently and show empathy.

We all can act ordinary sometimes. Great people, however, are mindful when they are being ordinary and step up to greatness every time.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to become extraordinary.

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Sleep More, Get Smart

Whenever I suggest getting more sleep to motivated people who are always on the go, I am often met with ‘are you insane?!’, followed by a ‘yawn’Not only because the topic bores them but also because they are sleep deprived. I’m guilty on both counts.

We might go through periods where we sleep less and for good reason. For example, when we travel to exciting destinations and are constantly on the go. Or when we work on projects that stimulate us. But there comes a tipping point where the mind and body say, ‘hey, enough is enough, you need to chill’.

Benefits of sleep:

  • You will look more attractive (that’s why they call it ‘beauty sleep’)
  • You will improve your memory
  • You will lower your stress levels
  • You will be smarter. Albert Einstein needed 10 hours sleep a night.

The best thing about sleep is that it’s free. It’s the best supplement that money can’t buy. It’s a daily detox for the mind. Some people swear by meditation to relax but research shows that sleep is far more effective.

Here are three tips that will get you the best night’s sleep:

  1. Do 30 minutes of cardio exercise after work.
  2. Get some sun around midday.
  3. Have a laugh in the last hour before you go to bed. Hang out with fun people or watch your favourite comedy.

Remember that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours sleep after midnight. So, get to bed early!

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to discover your chrono-type for optimal sleep performance and the myth behind the eight hour sleep cycle.

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Your patch of grass

Imagine there is a severe drought and you only have one bucket of water. You look out onto your lawn and notice that most of it is doing ok, except for one small brown patch. Will you water the green flourishing grass, or will you try and save the struggling brown patch?

In this example, water represents your time and energy, and you are the grass. The point is this: We all have limited time and energy in a day. The question is, how do we use those two precious resources? Most of us will use them doing things that we are already good at (i.e. watering the green patch) and ignore improving our weaknesses, our brown patch, because it takes time and effort.

However, the key to making progress in life is to work on our weaknesses:

  • If you are a good talker, chances are you are a poor listener. Learn to consciously listen and practice it daily.
  • If you lose concentration and make silly errors, remind yourself to ignore external distraction and cross-check your work thoroughly.
  • If you go to the gym, don’t just work out your chest, work harder on your leg and back exercises. Also, don’t just lift weights, work hard on your cardio and flexibility.

When you work on your weaknesses, you become a well-rounded person with many talents and strengths. A full and complete beautiful patch of green grass.

More importantly, when you work on your weaknesses, you will feel like you are growing and developing to be the best you can. Research shows that the key to happiness in life is to keep making progress. Every time you achieve a new goal (no matter how small), your body releases the feel-good hormone called dopamine, which is very powerful at keeping you happy for longer. It’s the ‘joy of the journey’.

Most positive psychology experts focus on being grateful to make you happy, which means appreciating your strengths. But most ignore the other more powerful way to be constantly happy and that is to push yourself and work hard on your weaknesses, daily!

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to craft a fun, fulfilling and complete life.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

How can your family boost your wellness at work?

I know what you’re thinking: how can my family possibly boost my wellness at work? They don’t work with me. They don’t know the first thing about my job. How can they help me be more productive, enthusiastic, engaging and energetic at work? The truth is, they can.

When you are successful with your family first, their support, love and energy help you become a happier person and this becomes reflected in the work you do. In the 70s and 80s, business people like you and I could neglect our family and still succeed at work. It came at a price, but we could do it. However, in the 21st Century, the new entrepreneurs are more successful with their family first and ironically these same people outperform everyone else in their work life.

Here are four tips I would like to share with you when it comes to family:

  1. Never put work ahead of your family – especially your children.

This reminds me of a friend of mine who confided in me because he was very upset that his daughter was moving out of home. He told me that she was going to university, she was moving into an apartment with some friends and she was really excited about it.

I told him “you should be very happy for her; it’s an exciting time in her life, think back to when you were starting uni?” He said “yeah, I know, but when she loaded up the suitcase in the back of her car, I just felt that she wasn’t just excited about going to her new apartment, she was more thrilled to be leaving our soul-less home.”

My friend was heartbroken because he had no bond with his daughter to keep her coming back – they had no connection. Her permanent impression of him was the father who never arrived home in time to read her a story or tuck her into bed, or was too busy to go bike riding with her.

He is a very successful person with lots of money in the bank. But let me tell you, he would give it back just to have that connection with his daughter. Money can’t buy that!

Which leads me to the next tip:

  1. Give family your time – not just your money.

Going shopping or watching TV does not count as quality time. Talking and really listening, is how you develop a bond. If you have kids, have one-on-one time with each child. Spending one-on-one time with each of your kids lets them know you value them as a person and builds a bond. If my friend had been spending quality time with his daughter over the years, do you think his daughter would have been more likely to come back and visit him?

I spend Saturday afternoons with my daughter: it’s daddy-daughter time. Do you think that when she’s older she’s not going to remember, Saturday afternoon: daddy-daughter time? It’s wired in her: I need to see my father.

One very simple thing you can do to really connect with your family is:

  1. Turn off the TV.

One thing we do in our family, instead of turning on the TV on a Sunday night and or watching a movie, is we take turns to stand up in front of each other, in the lounge room and talk about something that happened to us during the week or something we are excited about that’s coming up. It’s a chance for each of our kids to stand up, boost their confidence and engage.

  1. Turn off your phone when you get home.

A lot of people in sales fall into this trap. They feel that they must be on call 24/7. They don’t want to miss a call. But customers do not expect that. They expect to deal with someone real.

A sincere voicemail fixes that! Something along the lines of:

“You’ve called, Sam Makhoul. If my phone is off, it means I am spending time with my family or serving another customer. But rest assured when I do get your message I will call you back and give you my upmost attention.”

I guarantee that the person will leave a message because they will see that this person is real and he cares for his family, and they will respect that.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to create a personalised life plan for 2019.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

Forgiveness is always on your path to greatness

Many great people don’t realise they’re brilliant simply because they get stuck in the past. You can choose to stay angry at someone who hurt you or you can forgive them and move on to live an amazing life. You cannot do both!

Getting hurt is a reality of living and if you do not forgive a person that really hurt you, it will feel like you are carrying that person on your shoulders through life. If you fail to forgive, how can you be creative or maximise your productivity? How can you learn or teach effectively? How can you do iconic things if you are carrying the past on your shoulders the whole time? You simply can’t.

You need to forgive, here’s how!

 1. Don’t judge the person that hurt you.
Try to understand them. Remember the saying; “Don’t judge a person unless you have walked a mile in their shoes…” Maybe that person who was abrupt with you is feeling the pressure of meeting their monthly target. Or the customer who was rude to you is struggling financially. Or the person who cut you off in traffic just received a call from their doctor telling them they have cancer.

Everyone behaves according to his or her own personal reality. If someone did something to you because they thought you were not being nice to them or they thought you were being dishonest, that person has created their own story, their own reality. You just happen to fall into their perception. They were stuck on their assumptions, they were stuck in their core beliefs and they were stuck in their own pain. So, don’t judge them. Choose to understand them instead.

2. Communicate with the people that hurt you.
It takes a lot of courage to speak up and say, “When you did this, this is how I felt. You crossed a boundary that’s important to me.” Don’t judge them. Don’t attack them. Just communicate. It will get it out of your system and it will teach them how to better treat you. If they don’t get it, then maybe this person is not who you want in your life.

Remember that forgiveness isn’t only for the person who wronged you, it is a gift you give yourself.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how forgiveness plays an important part in the five step method for conscious living.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

Face-to-face Learning Beats Online

Sharing information by reading posts and watching YouTube videos is okay, but nowhere near as effective as learning and interacting with speakers and delegates in a live environment.

We live in a fast-paced world where we rarely get the chance to read and absorb all the information available online. We do not have the framework to store this information in our mind’s hard drive.

Meeting face-to-face with experts, at an off-site location, gets us fully immersed in the content. Meeting like-minded people motivates change.

At our events, you get to take a close look at your life using a unique methodology and design a highly motivating action plan for each area of your life. You will leave feeling refreshed from the fun activities we have organised for you, your family and friends. You will also make new friends, experience new and exciting holiday destinations, and go on unforgettable tours that will live with you forever.

Our annual events are amazing places to network and learn. Let the team at A Higher Branch Success Academy take you to new levels of happiness and performance.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to craft a fun, fulfilling and complete life.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

The Power of 8

Holistically, there are eight areas of your life that define and complete you. They each make up the sum of you. In order of importance they are your health, love life, family, work, friendships, learning, wealth and charity to others.

When you devote your focus and attention and spend time and energy daily in each of these eight areas, you will automatically achieve balance and completeness in your life. It will reflect in your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state. You will be energetic, sharp, engaging and have an air of self-confidence about you. You will look and feel attractive. You will have great relationships. People will enjoy being around you, give you that job and their business.

These eight areas of your life have a symbiotic relationship. They each complement and support the other. Neglect even just one area and you will not feel complete. Neglect more than one and you will notice your health and happiness dip even further.

The team at A Higher Branch Success Academy have coached people who suffer from chronic fatigue and depression simply because they don’t have a life. They have compromised all parts of their life to climb the corporate ladder or to build a business. They have money but no real wealth. We should all define wealth as ‘having the time, money and physical energy to express our talents for the benefit of humanity, so we may continuously grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.’

People are becoming so obsessed with looking after their physical health, that they are forgetting about the seven other important parts of life that give our physical energy reason to manifest itself. We all need love and intimacy in our lives, it gives us passion, creativity and drive. We all need to have a close bond with our family, it gives us support to try new things without fearing failure. We all need to work, it gives us purpose purpose, fulfilment and money. We all need friendships, it gives us the opportunity to socialise and have fun. We all need continuous learning, it helps us grow and break out of self-imposed limitations. We all need wealth, it gives us freedom. We all need to be charitable, it gives us a sense of contribution and the feeling of making a difference.

If you are struggling in one or more of the eight areas of life, let the team at A Higher Branch Success Academy show you how to live a more positive, meaningful and fulfilling life.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to upgrade each of the eight areas of your life.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

What is Wellness?

Your overall wellbeing is made up of four layers: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Many people are obsessed with the physical layer but your energy, appetite, liveliness, passion and how you feel is reliant on a symbiotic relationship between the physical and the deeper and more powerful, mental, emotional and spiritual layers. This explains why there are lots of people that eat well, exercise and relax, who still suffer from energy dips, feeling unfulfilled, general unhappiness and anxiety.

Information is everywhere. However, when this information is digested in an unstructured and isolated way, it does not give you a holistic blueprint for living. Ironically, in a time of information overload, people are more confused than ever. Their lives are a quagmire of twists and turns lacking direction and clarity. One month their performance at work is high, next month they are burned-out and rush to naturopaths for help and sign gym memberships for comfort. This aimlessness continues in a cycle.

“Why isn’t this vitamin working for me?”

“I exercise and workout, but why am I still not losing weight?”

“I make time to relax, so why do I still have trouble sleeping well and have energy dips?”

“I meditate, so why do I still feel anxious and unhappy sometimes?”

It comes down to this: most people have lost control over their life. In fact, they are just lost, period. Life management was never taught as a formal subject at school. There is no curriculum. And the worst part is that some of us often live in denial “it will never happen to me”, until something drastic happens: chronic fatigue, IBS, pre-diabetes, pre-heart disease, chronic anxiety, pre-depression, loss of a job or partner, and it starts to unravel from there. A lot of us do not realise how delicately our lives hang in the balance. Sometimes we are one thread away from total disarray.

Let the team at A Higher Branch Success Academy help you get your life back under control.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to craft a fun, fulfilling and complete life.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

What is Peak Performance?

Peak performance means you are highly energetic, mentally sharp and emotionally solid. It means you are performing at your very best. Not just in the gym, but across all aspects including love, sex and intimacy, parenting and family life, friendships and social life, work performance, leadership and wealth creation.

When you operate at peak performance, your self-confidence soars. You live life on your own terms because you have figured out who you are, what you want and (most importantly) how to get it.

You will start to say ‘no’ to the things you should have said ‘no’ to all these years. You will have a growth mindset and look at any failure and rejection as a learning opportunity. Emotionally you will become invincible. You will know how to deal with the inevitable rejection or failure. You will have more fun in your life, be more inspirational, and become more empathetic, loving and compassionate. You will start to make a difference and become a source of strength to everyone around you.

Our annual events are where you will begin this journey and use tools and methods to hit peak performance. Let the team at A Higher Branch Success Academy teach you how.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to live an incredible life at peak performance.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

What is an incredible life?

Most people are pre-occupied with chasing goals and dreams that are not their own. They don’t realise they are merely mimicking other people’s lives and what they see on social media. They end up doing things, having jobs and associating with people that they don’t really like. They do this because they are not true to themselves. Deep down they are not happy or fulfiled.

At A Higher Branch Success Academy, we believe that you can never find the real you until you go on a journey of self-discovery. This journey first requires you to hit a state of what athletes call ‘peak performance’.

Hitting peak performance is surprisingly easy, once you know how. Some people stumble upon it, others are taught how to achieve it and can easily flick the switch into this ultra-effective functional state. The key to achieving peak performance is simply in realising that it is not a consequence of hard work or even chance – that it really can be learned.

Our annual events are where you will begin this journey and use tools and methods to hit peak performance. Let the team at A Higher Branch Success Academy teach you how.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 and learn how to live an incredible life that is unique to you.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

What is Your Type?

What foods suit you best and at what times? What exercise routine best suits your personality and body type? What is your chrono-type and optimal sleep pattern? What are your creative and analytical hours of work? What are your natural talents? What is the best meditation routine for you? What is your core personality type? What wealth creation methods best suit your risk appetite? What is your ideal relationship? What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? How can you live until 100? There are so many questions and we can help you find your answers!

No two people in this world are the same. Even identical twins can be remarkably different. One person’s vegan diet is another person’s energy-downer. One person’s high intensity routine is another person’s stress. As western society moves from one fad to another, people are more confused than ever.

All the latest research is starting to show that our uniqueness requires a personalised approach to nutrition, exercise, relaxation, sleep, work, social life and even sex. That is, we all want to be happy and fulfilled but we all have different pathways to that destination.

You are the only you in this world and you are unique in every way. Our Upgrade Your Life 2019 event will honour and respect this uniqueness by providing you with the framework and prescriptions to craft an amazing lifestyle for you and the people in your life, filled with high energy, fun, laughter, growth and success.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to upgrade each of the eight areas of your life.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019

Do Not Defer Living a Great Life

Some people fall into the trap of compromising their health, relationships and having fun, with the notion that one day they will slow down and design a perfect life.

One day I will pay off my mortgage, start the diet, exercise daily, learn meditation, have more sex with my partner, travel more, guide my children or have more fun with friends…” But it never happens! Never!

Most people burn out, suffer chronic illness and experience relationship breakdowns. Some make enough money to design a new life but end up making it worse because they have lost the art of living. They make the mistake of thinking that buying new things will bring them meaning and fulfillment. They end up in a debt cycle where they must work harder to pay for things they never get to enjoy because they are too busy working to pay them off.

The most successful people in this world have one thing in common – they do NOT defer their happiness whilst they are in the process of working and making money. They develop an attitude that money will eventually come in bucket loads if they live a complete life every day. They wake up every morning and do the simple things consistently. They eat well, they exercise, they meditate and visualise, they schedule intimacy with their partner, they spend time with their family, they are constantly reading, learning and improving, they love their work, they have fun with friends and they are kind and generous. They create wealth before they create money. Living a complete and happy life is their wealth.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019 to learn how to craft a fun, fulfilling and complete life.

Join us at Upgrade Your Life 2019