The Importance of Mornings

Sunrise in December from VCL HQ.

“To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy…is to set our own conditions to the events of each day.

To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson got it right once again…

Creating your life, a day at a time (especially starting with the morning!) is the focus of The Very Cool Day Program.

Now on sale (along with most everything else) in the Very Cool Life store!

Get 25% off through Sunday, December 11, 2011, midnight.

Visit the store!

Oh, what’s that?

You want more?

Now you can get a digital copy of my entire book, The Very Cool Life Code, free.

(I used to offer just the first 4 chapters, but I figured, “what the hell… let’s get nuts here…”)

After all, I want you to read it.

I want you to see what I have to offer.

So check it out…

Get your free edition by clicking here.

Better yet, share this with a friend…


Student Loans, Distinctions, and Appreciation

A few weeks ago, I paid off the remaining $2500 balance on my student loans.

I could have continued making low monthly payments for another couple years, but it simply felt better to divorce myself from this institution as quickly as possible.

So I did.

I share this in the context of Thanksgiving (or Appreciation Week as I like to think of it) as I hope to use this event to clarify the distinction between gratitude and appreciation.

Certainly not everyone shares my love of distinctions, but I believe that it’s the attention to details that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary. Because my desire is to create an extraordinary life, and I believe that paying attention to how I feel is the most efficient way to create the outcomes I want, over the years I have found that this particular distinction to be worth its weight in gold (as my mom used to say).

Okay, so here’s the thing…

At this time of year, everyone is telling you to be grateful. Show your gratitude. Count your blessings.

Open just about any self-help book and you’ll get the same stock advice. (And yes, stock advice irritates me.)

While gratitude is all well and good, I want to share why appreciation is better.

At first glance, you may think that gratitude and appreciation are synonymous and I am just playing word games here. I’m not.

Indeed, if you look up the two words in the dictionary, they are used to define each other.

However, if you take the time to go deeper, I’ll think you’ll notice that there’s a small, but very significant difference between the two. And most important, recognizing this difference can make a big impact on what you create in your life going forward.

The underlying distinction I wish to make here is that gratitude and appreciation occupy two different feeling states. They are neighbors, but live in two different zip codes.

Here’s why…

If you really open up your palate, you’ll notice that thoughts of gratitude, while often tasty enough, always come paired with the unmistakable tinge of the past. And more often than not, these past thoughts are unwanted. (It’s like drinking a nice sip of wine at a restaurant, swallowing, and then noticing a lipstick stain on the glass. One unwanted thought sours the experience, no matter how sweet the wine.)

In contrast, thoughts of appreciation exist only in the present moment. (Great wine! Lovely glass! Great wine!)

Okay, let’s go back to my example about paying off my student loans to show more about how this works and why this is important.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I began my day noticing thoughts of appreciation. Soon my thoughts drifted back to the last several months and all the pleasing things I’ve created. Clients. Money. Happiness with my family and so on…

And then I remembered that I just paid off my loans a couple weeks ago. As that thought entered my mind, I noticed that my thoughts stopped flowing. My focused deepened.

My thoughts (in order) quickly moved along something like this…

Ah yes, I am so glad to have those loans paid off!

Whew! I am grateful to be out of debt.

Boy am I thankful I don’t ever have to deal with those blood-sucking bastards ever again!

While paying off my loans sounds good, it only took me a few seconds to find myself connecting to a bad-feeling thought from my past unpleasant history with Sallie Mae.

Certainly it makes sense that I should feel good about relieving myself of this debt. And indeed, I am grateful to be free of the loans. But what makes sense or what I should feel is irrelevant.

The only relevant question is, “How do the thoughts I am choosing right now make me feel?”

Why? Because how I feel (and the thoughts I choose) today will determine everything what I create in my life tomorrow. And I am very, very interested in being the deliberate creator of my tomorrows.

So when I think about my loans right now – even though they no longer exist - it does not feel good.

As much as I try, I cannot think about paying off my loans without simultaneously activating the old thoughts of struggle and resentment. It’s just an automatic reflex from years of conditioning. I cannot turn it off. That’s not good or bad, it just is. There’s nothing to fix. Nothing to overcome. Nothing to change.

However, it is in my best interests to pay attention to those feelings.

Here’s the deal…

The Universe does not care how you’re supposed to feel when you think a thought.

It’s not a person. It has no opinion. It does not care about your good intentions (or your bad intentions, for that matter).

The Universe just does one thing. Always.

The Universe simply amplifies whatever you give your attention to. Every time.

It’s a wonderfully clean, mechanical, predictable process. Use it to your advantage!

Because the Universe amplifies (instead of interprets), it’s in your best interest to be very clear in what you are feeding into the machine. Like a boat crossing the ocean, just a few degrees off course can quickly lead you to unintended and unwanted destinations.

Many times you are thinking thoughts that should feel good, but upon closer inspection, do not. Feelings of gratitude often fly under the radar in this way. The first thought or two is usually positive, but if you’re really paying attention, it does not take long for things to go downhill.

Here’s three quick examples from my life contrasting gratitude-based thoughts with their appreciation-focused counterparts…

See if you can feel the difference between them.


Example #1 (My view).


I am grateful for the lovely view from my house. Thank God I have this house! I can’t believe I used to live in the suburbs… Man, that was pretty lame… I am grateful to live here now.


I love my view. I love the sun rising over the mountains. I love seeing the sky and stars. I love the light that comes into the house all day long. I love seeing the wildlife… I could go on and on.


Example #2 (My wife)


I am so grateful for my wife Karin. I don’t know what I would do without her. I’m especially grateful because I can remember all those past relationships that were pretty rocky. Thank God I got out of those relationships. Thank God I have her in my life.


I appreciate my wife. I love talking to her. She makes me laugh. I find her very attractive. She’s very easy to be with. She’s my best friend… I could go on and on…


Example #3 (Money)


I am so grateful I have lots of money in the bank. It was not so long ago that nothing was coming in. My banks accounts were really low. I felt pretty fearful. That’s why it’s such a relief to have money now.


I love having money in the bank. I love the feeling of freedom that I feel from having money. It’s wonderful. I know more is on the way. I love spending it on the things I really like. I want more of this!

So there you go. I share this because understanding (and applying) this distinction between gratitude and appreciation has paid huge dividends for me over the years. Felt it was worth sharing.

Don’t believe me, of course. Try it for yourself.

See which approach feels better than the other and go with it.


The better you feel, the better it gets…

With appreciation,


so much to appreciate


PS ….

Here’s a video I created on the subject a couple years ago…

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Appreciation Week

Appreciation Week Begins


Thanksgiving week has arrived in the United States.

Ah. What a lovely holiday…

No gift pressure. Just relaxation.

And appreciation…

A more powerful, purer form of gratitude.

In fact, the fastest, most efficient way to create more of what you desire is to be in the state of appreciation.

Make a point of noticing all the things you really, really like this week.

Talk about them.

Bask in the them.

Focus on this feeling for a few days…

And watch your energy rise.

Watch better, wanted things come into your life.

Then, appreciate some more.

And on it goes…

Onwards and upwards.




Ready to Write that Book?

Are you ready to finally write (and publish!) that book that you’ve been threatening to write for years now?

If your answer is “yes” I encourage you to join me this Wednesday, October 12th, 2011. (Details below)

Writing my book, The Very Cool Life Code, has been one of the very best things I’ve ever done for my business (the only thing that comes close would be creating my website in 1998).

The thing is, I struggled to write a book for about a decade. I wrote thousands and thousands and thousands of words with nothing to show for my efforts.

I also wrote about 10 versions of book proposals, and spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince agents and publishers to believe in what I had to offer.

Looking back and knowing what I know now, I can see how misguided I was with my old approach.

The fact is that when I finally got coached on the RIGHT way to think about my book and HOW to write it easily, I wrote everything in less than 60 days. And it was easy. What’s more, I ended up with a product that I love, and my book has become the most powerful tool for attracting new people (and the RIGHT people) into my network. It’s been a game-changer for me.

I had been thinking about teaching everything I’ve learned about writing and publishing a book into a program for a while. At my recent Very Cool Life live event, I asked the folks there if they’d be interested in learning this stuff and every hand went in the air. That told me I was on to something…

So, here it is…

My wife Karin (the marketing wiz) and I will be hosting a free call, Wednesday October 12th to go over everything you need to know about the easiest, most effective ways to write and publish your book in 90 days.

If this is something that you’ve dreamed of, join us. It will be fun and worth your time.

You can read more about the call and register by clicking this link.

Writing my book has upgraded my life is so many ways. If you’re interested, I’d like to share with you everything I’ve learned…


Are You an Upgrader?

early autumn in my neck of the woods.


My friend Nick shared an article about the new iPhone 5 that explored what users were most likely to upgrade their current phones to the newest technology.

While I’ll be talking about phones for the next few sentences, my larger point is to contrast the mindset of ‘Upgraders” with the mindset of most everyone else.

Okay, before delving into it, let me put the question to you…

Who do you think is most likely to upgrade to an iPhone 5?

A. iPhone 4 owners?
(phones that are less than 1 year old)


B. iPhone 2 and 3 owners?
(phones that are between 2 and 4 years old)




The correct answer is A. People who own the practically new iPhone 4 are more likely to upgrade, and by a significant margin.

At first, I found this to be counter-intuitive. After all, one could reasonably expect that people with older phones would be more ready to upgrade than those with a practically new phone, right?

However, the more I interpreted though the lens of Upgraders (instead of merely cell phone consumers), this finding makes perfect sense.

I know Upgraders well for a couple reasons…

First, I am one. Second, Upgraders are the people who keep me in business.

Upgraders are clients, my club members, and the good people who invest their dollars in my books and products. (You are appreciated.)

Inspired by the iPhone article, I have come up with a baker’s dozen of distinctions between Upgraders and everyone else, aka “The Herd.”

(While I believe that there is no right way to live, I am an unabashed fan of living as an Upgrader. I freely admit that I have trouble relating to people who lack the desire to live the best life they can.)

By sharing these, I hope to get you thinking about whether you make the cut as an Upgrader.


1. Upgraders consistently move toward something better, quickly.

The Herd moves slowly and toward no clear destination.


2. Upgraders love to learn new things.  Especially about themselves and how to get out of their own way.

The Herd allows their sense of curiosity to dull.


3. Upgraders invest in getting better.

The Herd does not understand the concept of investing in themselves; they see only expenses.


4. Upgraders show up.

The Herd has good intentions and excuses for why they couldn’t be there.


5. Upgraders seek out and surround themselves with other Upgraders.

The Herd hangs out with those in close proximity.


6. Upgraders decide.

The Herd waits for decisions to be made around them.


7. Upgraders choose their destiny and believe that they can get what they really want.

The Herd takes what they think they can get.


8. Upgraders are consistently creating something new.

The Herd creates more of the same.


9. Upgraders want to thrive.

The Herd wants to survive.


10. Upgraders practice optimism.

The Herd thinks of themselves as optimists but let the same old fears dictate their outcomes.


11. Upgraders are not willing to settle or suffer.

The Herd is not aware there’s an option.


12. Upgraders change, evolve, and improve their results.

The Herd continues to deal with the same issues (money, relationships, health, happiness, etc.) year after year after year.


13. Upgraders are considered abnormal, in the very best way.

The Herd is just like everyone else.


I share this perspective as a coach, sure. I naturally want the best for people.  But the deeper truth is that the profession of coaching attracted me because I have been living as an Upgrader for as long as I can remember.

If you know me personally, it’s no big secret that it drives me crazy to see people settling in their lives. I have little tolerance for people who are not interested in getting better. (I have even less tolerance for those who are interested, but do nothing!)

I have a gift (a gift I’ve cultivated), for being able to guide people to an easier way of getting what they most want. The thing is, the adjustments most people have to make are really no big deal… a tweak here, some clarity there, a new habit or two… and voila! An exponentially better life! Lots of cool new things happening with a lot less effort.

That said, I understand that most people are not interested in working with a coach (see Distinction #3). Some people get it (like every elite performer or athlete you can think of); most other people do not. And that’s cool. I’m long past trying to convince or persuade anyone who’s not interested in what I bring to the table. (Not only do these attempts inevitably fail, it’s waaay too much work.)

A significant number of people on my mailing list will not bother to click the link and read this post. (Hey, you made it!)

Of course, I’m not writing to those people…

And I’m not writing to the people who read this and go “oh, that was kind of interesting…” and move on with their day.

No, as these distinctions poured out of me, I realized I was writing them for the person who’s been asking for something even better than their already-very-cool-life and are inspired to UPGRADE.

If that’s indeed you, act.

Decide to become one of the “abnormal ones” and surround yourself with other Upgraders.



* * *

How do you immerse yourself in the Upgrader mentality?

I suggest you begin by investing in my stuff…

Read my book.

Join my very cool, private coaching club… (a sweet deal)

If you’re really ready to go, this is the last call for my live retreat in Burlington, Vermont this weekend Sept 30-Oct 1.