Is it luck or skill that gets us to the goals and objectives we set for ourselves— gimmicks and software programs or practice and understanding? How many golfers are still using the putter they started with decades ago at a nine-hole cow pasture? How many of you are still bouncing between investment gurus and hedges in your search for the investment holy grail?

The best athletes come to the competition with sound fundamentals, well thought out objectives, and the discipline to hone their basic technique with countless hours of practice. The most successful investors come to the process with sound fundamentals, realistic goals and objectives, and a consistently applied discipline that embraces the cyclical nature of markets and economies.

Discipline is an ingredient in most long-term success recipes— business, sports, relationships, politics, veal scaloppini, etc. Well, maybe not politics. There are “fundamentals” involved in each.

Favorite foursome conversations provide clues to the particular fundamental that just failed you, as your duck-hooked tee shot comes to rest at the base of the dead pine tree, and possibly, just beyond the white stake. “Have you weakened your grip?” comments Larry. “Nah, he was lined up that way; went right where he aimed it,” Curley offers.

“Might have worked out just fine if he hadn’t picked his head up so soon,” spouts Moe. “What are you guys talking about? I was set up to fade the ball but I swung way too hard at the bottom and closed down the club face,” you bark as you tee up a provisional.

Grip, alignment, focus, target, and tempo— some major golf fundamentals.

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You might not see how the past affects your ability to reach goals in the future. How can your past life affect what’s going to happen in years ahead? It is really quite important to understand that your past experiences affect you strongly in all you do.

Some of these past experiences may hinder you directly in working towards a goal and some might just be slight hurdles. In all cases these memories can affect you as to how well you do when heading towards a new goal.

Some of you go through life dragging an imaginary anchor around with you. It slows you down, it makes you unable to react to the changes in your life and it certainly weighs you down when trying to work towards new goals.

Releasing that weight would enable you to move quicker and succeed more easily. Perhaps that’s you holding on to past hurts, past incompletes, past resentments, anger or fear. Yet letting go of those anchors could be what you need so that you can fly into the future.

Have you allowed past failures to slow you down in achieving new successes? Have you remembered a friend telling you that you will never achieve anything? Do you remember the teacher at school who told you, you were an idiot and couldn’t do anything anyway?

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Make space for those goals in your life. That seems an obvious statement doesn’t it. But what if you want to study a course that will help you to further your career. Take a look at your life and see how much time do you actually have available.

Will a new goal fit into your life if you are already rushing every day to complete the tasks you have to do in terms of your commitments to work, your relationship with your partner, the time with your elderly parents, the hobby you have, the musical instrument you are trying to learn, the marathon you want to run for the first time and never mind keeping in touch with your friends?

Where in the busy schedule would a course fit? Not very likely. But you sign up for it anyway. Within the first month you find yourself not attending the evening classes and not handing in assignments. You just don’t have time.

You need to make way for that goal if you are serious about achieving it. University Business Schools know all about the falls off rate of students who sign up for MBA’s or Management Advancement Programs.

The drop out rate is something like 40% within the first term of the course and only about 70% or so finish. And yet at sign up time every student is informed as to how much time they will need to free up for this course.

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Achieving ones goals will depend on celebrating the successes you have on your journey. Nobody likes to continue working on something when there are only defeats. It’s the successes that spur us on to achieve greater heights.

It’s therefore really important when working towards a goal to keep track of your successes. The best way to do this is to write them down, or journal those in a file on your computer or even better write about them on a blog.

There is also great project management software available online that allows you to keep accurate track of what’s happening on your journey towards your goals. Many of these are free if you use the basic entry level option.

Keeping such an accurate track of your successes makes you appreciate your achievements. It allows you to pat yourself on the back and to encourage yourself to achieve even more. It also provides you with a history of your activities which will allow you to reflect in future years on the steps that you took to reach your goals.

Set up your journal to show the day and date and then compile a list of activities that you completed during the day. If your goal is to lose weight you might want to fill in the first block of your journal with the point that your scale showed you had lost some weight.

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You’ve written your goals down for the year. You’ve identified the little steps you want to take to achieve the goals and you feel positive that this time you will be able to attain your goals. It’s time that you finally you get around achieving those goals.

None of the above steps are going to ensure you have success in reaching your goals. They are great ones to work towards a goal, but there are many further processes that will need to be completed as well to ensure that you reach your dreams.

One critical process that will help you with achieving your aims is to evaluate and check your progress every day. The best time for this is in the evenings just before going to bed. Consider this preparation time spent to help you with the next day’s tasks.

This is the time when you acknowledge your successes, review your goals, focus on what you wish to happen in your future and make plans to accomplish them. Specifically you want to know what you will be doing the following day to work towards your goals.

If one of your main goals is to lose weight then you will reflect on how much exercise you managed to fit into your busy day, how well you stuck to that healthy eating plan you had set up for the day and how you felt about yourself all round.

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living-success-headerWhat has happened to those New Year’s resolutions you ask yourself very soon after you have set them down. It’s only a matter of weeks before those grand ideas have wafted away in the morning mist not to be seen again for another year.

When you made them they seemed so easy to adhere to. You were going to go to the gym three times a week. That was an easy goal to set. You were going to drink and smoke less, maybe even give up smoking. Seemed reasonable at the time.

Arriving at work on time every day was definitely possible until they started those road works of course and all traffic ground to a halt in the morning. After all that couldn’t be your fault then could it. Phoning your parents once a week was on that list, so was signing up for a new course to help your career along.

By February those New Year’s resolutions had evaporated and you felt guilty that they didn’t at least last until mid-year. It seemed that every year those goals set at the beginning of January have a shorter shelf-life.

What stops you from keeping those promises you make to yourself? What stops you from making those changes that could enrich your life? Why do you hang onto those old habits for dear life, never wanting to let go?

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indian_shares_zoom_180509Expectedly, after the resounding victory by the Congress Party in the general elections, markets skyrocketed as soon as the opening bell was sounded; eyeing a windfall in terms of government spending in a host of sectors to pump-prime the economy.

The sentiment was so strong in the trading community and the going was so good on the BSE Sensex that it reached the 17.24 per cent gain mark in no time, forcing the authorities to temporarily halt trading, when the circuit breaker* kicked in.

The same story repeated itself on the National Stock Exchange where the trading was also halted with the Nifty up by 17.33 per cent.

Within seconds of trading, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sensex vaulted 2,110.79 points, or 17.3 percent, to 14,284.21, triggering the historic shutdown Monday. Infrastructure, banking and real estate companies led gains. Trade was forced to close for the day, after the Congress Party’s definitive victory in national elections set the scene for long-delayed economic reforms

“The big question – is it a game changer? Can India get back to the high growth, high valuation of recent years? This event probably does open up meaningful possibilities, but there’s a lot to do, and there could be a lot in the way,” she said in a report.

Trading has never before been halted due to an upward swing in stock prices, according to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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beckyquickwarrenbuffettA couple of days ago, I watched a short interview with the legendary investor Warren Buffett on an investment news channel. The interview was conducted shortly after the annual general meeting (AGM) of Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway. Buffet said many interesting things—as he always does—but the really educational part of the interview was the contrast between the world that Buffett inhabits and the world that his interviewer seemed to come from.

It was like listening to members of two different species talk. If a fly (which lives for perhaps a few hours) and a tortoise (who can survive for a hundred years or more) had a conversation, it would probably sound like Buffett and that interviewer.

At one point, the interviewer asked Buffett to comment on how his companies would cope with the downturn. Buffett replied that things were certainly down at the moment but he expected them to be OK in three to five years. I could see that the mere mention of a time scale like three to five years had derailed the interviewer’s thought process. Coming as she did from a world where three to five hours or at most three to five days is the standard unit of time, the idea of an investor talking in years seemed to have thrown a spanner in her works.

Next, she pulled out the day’s newspaper and drew the old man’s attention to a news item that US unemployment was up to 700,000. She wanted to know what he thought of the news. Buffett said that he was sure that five years from now, the employment situation would be much better than it was today. Again, this epic timescale put an end to that line of questioning.
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Since this morning the Internet has been abuzz about widespread trouble with Google.

Google Search and Google News performance slowed to a crawl, while an outage seemed to spread from Gmail to Google Maps and Google Reader. Comments about the failure were flying on Twitter, and quickly became one of the most searched terms on the popular micro-blogging site.

A Google spokesman said “We’re aware some users are having trouble accessing some Google services, and we are looking into it, and we’ll update everyone soon. Please let us know how Google services are working for you in your location and on your connection.”

UPDATE: The issues seem to be going away around 9:50 Pacific time.
UPDATE 2: 10:35 AM Pacific: Google says the problems are resolved and will give more details later. “The issue affecting some Google services has been resolved,” the spokeswoman writes. “We’re sorry for the inconvenience, and we’ll share more details soon.”

When the outage began, many users turned to Twitter to vent their frustrations and to look for information. Twitter users also were quick to begin reporting that the trouble was clearing up. “Google is back and I’ve stopped twitching,” said one Tweet.

This kind of outage is going to be tough on Google. When Google goes down, lots of stuff breaks. Not just Google’s own apps like GMail and Google Talk, but also applications like Firefox, which use Google as it’s default search provider.

All of Google, or at least the big pieces, went down and this is bad news for Google’s efforts to build up Apps, and to a lesser extent, Gmail, as critical business tools. It also undermines the entire category of hosted applications. If the mighty Google can stumble, then who can be trusted?”

The problem is not downtime- it’s lack of any way to mitigate the problems, and a complete and total lack of any customer service from Google. There is NOBODY you can call when there’s a problem.

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We hear about millionaires — and billionaires — quite frequently. But less often do we hear about pet millionaires. They do, however, exist. Since 1923, when the first reported case of a pet inheritance was affirmed in Willett vs. Willett, pets have been receiving money. Sometimes quite a lot of money. Here are seven dogs and seven cats (in particular order) that are probably richer than you:

Some of the World’s Richest Dogs

These dogs know how to live the high life. Seriously. They give a whole new meaning to the phrase “being treated like a dog.”

ritratto 1.Gunther IV, the German Shepherd: This dog actually received his inheritance from his father, Gunther III, a German Shepherd who received an inheritance from Karlotta Liebenstein, a German countess. Gunther IV has bought a Miami villa from Madonna and won a rare white truffle in an auction. Learn more about Gunther IV on a Web site devoted to him and those he hangs out with. He’s worth about $372 million right now, thanks to his growing trust fund.

oprah-gracie-20070720-07520712. Oprah’s dogs: Oprah Winfrey has several animals, including some dogs. She wants to make sure that her dogs are cared for when she is gone. Her will specifies that that her dogs receive $30 million for their care. (Just a drop in the bucket when you look at the billions Oprah is worth.) True, that money will be split amongst all dogs that she has, but even so, each and every one is probably richer than you are. They’re definitely richer than I am.

news0233. news023Trouble Helmsley: New York’s “Queen of Mean”, Leona Helmsley, famously cut her grandchildren out of her will, but left her Maltese terrier $12 million. However, a judge knocked $10 million off that amount, so that brings the amount to $2 million. Additionally, Trouble will be not be so well taken care of after death, as the dog can’t be buried in the Helmsley mausoleum, due to cemetary requirements and state law.

flossie4. Drew Barrymore’s yellow Labrador retriever and chow mix, Flossie, has been left a home. Flossie awakened Barrymore and then-boyfriend Tom Green when a fire raged through the home. Barrymore amended her will to leave the home, valued at $3 million, to Flossie in return for this possibly life-saving deed.
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