Five Days of Life Lessons Learned on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)

I recently started a new job, so I had to place my energies in that direction. The great thing about commuting into the City by BART is that it offers time for me to Achieve in 5! with my writing of the Thompson Twins third book. So, even though this blog is about lessons learned during my first week of commuting, I am happy to say, I stayed on track with Thompson Twins using Achieve in 5!

Each day, I posted on Facebook lessons I learned during my commute. So, here they are:

DAY 1 ~ Monday
Riding BART mimics one of life’s phenomena. I am on the last train at 7:56am (rush hour). No one is seated beside me or most of the other passengers on this train. I am sure that in the middle of the train there are people crowded, standing, and wondering why they can’t get a seat.

How does this relate to life?

First, I don’t really know what is happening anywhere else on the train, but I am making an assumption based on past experience.

Second, if I am right, why do we accept unpleasant situations when a little exploration might yield a perfect seat.

BART to SF Day 2 ~ Tuesday
Yesterday we hit the Lafayette Station and there were still seats. Today I decided I could save 1.50 a day by driving an extra mile to Lafayette. Little did I know that Lafayette started charging 1.50 a day too to park further away from the station than Pleasant Hill. So, I got to the station with less than a minute before the train I rode yesterday arrived. I had to put money in the parking validation machine and it kept rejecting my dollar. I missed the train and now I get the pleasure of standing all the way to SF (no seats left). Lesson: sometimes you need to try your better way to realize it ain’t better.

BART to SF Day 2 – On the way home. When I worked in San Francisco five years ago I got off at Civic Center Station. Because Civic Center is the first station entering downtown from San Francisco, I could always get a seat on my way home. Now that the Embarcadero is my stop and the last stop when leaving the city the train is packed by the time I get on. So, today I took the train back to Civic Center and crossed the platform to board the train home. It sets me back about 15 minutes but was well worth the comfort of a seat on the ride home. – Lesson: if you are willing to take a strategic step backwards you may find yourself in a better situation when you go forwards.


BART to SF Day 3: I slept well last night and awoke early thus morning ready for the day. I was out of the house by 6:35 (the two previous days I left at 7:00). Then I realized I forgot my phone – those of you who know me, know that I can’t function well without my phone. Anyway, I returned home picked it up and made it to BART with time to spare. On the elevator, a fella passenger informed me that BART was running 15 minutes behind, but then we heard a train. No big deal, I have plenty time to spare. Got to the machine to purchase my tickets for the next two days and put in the validation for my parking. The ticket portion went well – parking validation didn’t. I inserted my debit card. No luck. I inserted it again. No luck. I inserted a BART ticket, no luck. I inserted it again. Still no luck. I searched for money in my purse. No luck. . I informed the person behind me that the machine wasn’t working for tickets or cards. He tried cash – no luck. I went to the counter the agent said, “There are machines inside.”

I walk up to the machine and opened my purse, I could hear my normal train coming to the station. Do I pay the parking fee and likely miss the train or do I run for the train risk messing up my sensitive knees and pay a fine?

I ran for the train. Jumped in just before the doors closed and pushed my way through the crowd to land a seat on the last train and my knees are fine. Day 3 Lesson: Sometimes in life it’s not a matter of a good choice or a bad one. Sometimes you just have to choose.

P.S. On day 3 I left work at 7pm – Lesson: bad habit follow you unless you make a concerted effort to change them.


BART to SF Day 4 ~ I made it onto BART without incident. I parked, the elevator came, I could put my parking space and pay in the machine. (Oh, by the way, I don’t think I got a ticket yesterday unless they mail them to you). So, life is good. However, I notice many of the people who walk in the BART station with me do not stop at the machine to pay. I need to figure out that trick and I think I will purchase a clipper card. They seem much more efficient and we have commuter checks at work. I’m not sure if they are subsidized. Thanks to a couple of friends, I have some new tips to make the commute better. Any other tips are appreciated. Lesson: Even when things are working, through observation and accepting good advice from others with more experience, it can get better.

SF to BART and home Day 4 ~ Guess what I got? Yes, that’s a Clipper card. Apparently the clipper card is good all around the Bay Area woo Hoo! I’m set even if I don’t have money. I’m sure you want to hear how easy it was to acquire my all transportation card… It was a piece of cake to get. I stood in a line of only 2 people. The line moved fast and within 2 minutes I had the card. Then I went to enter the BART area. I followed another Clipper who slammed her card down saw a green “OK” and went through. I took her lead. I walked up, slammed my card down and a red “See Agent” popped up. Deflated, I went back to the agent and told her the card did work.

“It should work” she said confidently, she took the card, checked something and said “hold the card down a little longer.” I shrugged my shoulders went crack to the entrance, gently put my card on the pad…”SEE AGENT” I looked back at the agent. She motioned for me to come back. She changed my card and I was on my way. Proud owner of a blue clipper card, ready to take my two stops back, grab a seat and head home.

Lesson: life’s little glitches make great stories.

BART to SF Day 5 ~ Oy Vey. You would think by day 5 I would have this down. NOT! Got to BART with clipper card in hand. Walked up to the entrance, placed the card on the pad – SEE AGENT. Went to the agent. She fixes it. Then I proceeded to the validate parking pad and placed my clipper card on the pad. SEE AGENT. I walked back over to the agent. “Have you used it for parking before.” No… “You have to first register it and get a hang tag. Pay cash.”

So, I go to the machine to pay cash and put in the money assuming I will put in the parking space number 1914 after, I received change and a statement that my parking was validated. I took the receipt and left. I apparently paid for someone else’s stall. (I wonder how much that will cost me when i get back and have a ticket.

Today’s Lesson: read the instructions – I think I may have gotten some when I got my clipper card.

Today’s Affirmation – I will conquer this commute!

Trip Home: Got to my car and thought I had a ticket.

Instead it was a discount for a haircut. Life is good!

5 Tips to Succeed and Achieve in 5!

As you begin Achieve in 5!, here are five concrete tips to get you in the right mental space to succeed.

1) Suspend contact with negative people – they’ll drain your energy and instill doubt in your mind.

2) Write your Achieve in 5! goal on ten 3×5 cards – Place a card on your refrigerator, in your wallet or purse, on your bathroom mirror, on the dashboard of your car, on your desk at work or home, next to your bed, on your computer, and any other places you frequent. The purpose is to keep your goal constantly at the forefront of your mind.

3) Make it convenient to Achieve in 5! – If your Achieve in 5! goal involves writing, have paper and pen with you so that you can jot down thoughts. If it involves exercise make it simple, walk or do floor exercises; forget the gym. If it involves reading, carry the book or material with you.

4) Make your goal public – tell a few trusted friends, post your goal on the Achieve in 5! Facebook page or as a comment on this blog. Let people you know your goal. It helps with accountability.

5) Be kind to yourself – If you miss a day, don’t fret or blame yourself. Just start again the next day. Start early the next day so that you don’t miss two days.

Have fun as you Achieve in 5!

The science behind Achieve in 5!

reticular-activating-system-functionI developed the concept for Achieve in 5! in 1995. I put it into a system in 2005 and wrote a small free ebook about it in 2010. In 2012, I rewrote the book and published it under NewWay Press. Although I talked about the concept of Achieve in 5! and in part I talked about why it works, what I haven’t previously discussed, except in small circles, is the science behind Achieve in 5!.

Achieve in 5! is designed for those life changing goals, and while it works great for things like cleaning that avalanche danger zone called a closet, it works even better for that huge goals that you’ve wanted to accomplish but either you don’t have the time to devote four hours a day to make it happen, or you have some fear, or you just don’t know how to get started. I am going to reveal the reason why Achieve in 5! works particularly well for those goals.

Once you start on the road to Achieve in 5! your mind goes to work to help you achieve your desired outcomes.

You set into place a series of events as soon as you follow steps 1 – 3:
1) Visualize what you want…
2) Crystalize your dream and mark your finish line…
3) Chart your course and mark your milestones…

Before you begin to work toward that first milestone five minutes a day, every day, the part of your brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) will have kicked-in. The reticular activating system is a set of neurons between the brain stem and the cortex. It is said to be responsible for the brain and body’s sleep – wake transitions. The RAS is also responsibility for helping the brain identify information and recognize like information. For example, when your RAS is activated to some information, phenomenon, or thought, it begins to awaken to other similar information, objects, or events. It heightens awareness to those things of interest to you.

Laura Goodrich in her book and video calls it Seeing Red Cars. Her analogy is that only after you buy a red car do you notice how many of them are on the road. In this same way, once you begin spending five minutes a day on your project, you will begin to think about it more and more each day. You will make connections with people who can help you achieve it, or you will read an article that will answer a question you have related to your project, you may even notice that there are more television shows that directly relate to your project.

Once your RAS is activated around your goal, your brains searches for connections and you essentially spend passive hours working toward your goal so that when you sit down for your five minutes you make more progress than you could have imagined.

Are you ready to activate your RAS to help you achieve your goal? Follow steps 1 – 3 and by the time you begin your five minutes you will notice that your RAS is working with you to achieve your goal.

What’s your personal Independence Day?

Depositphotos_3761822_xsToday is the Fourth of July and in the United States it is Independence Day. We celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. independence from Great Britain. As I sit in my backyard on this national holiday, I wonder what would mark your Personal Independence Day?

Robert and I started brainstorming what could be considered marks of a Personal Independence Day. We came up with a small list of days you could declare and commemorate as your personal day of independence; by gaining:

  • Financial Freedom – you are living with more than enough money to meet your needs and you have sufficient passive income that allows you not to have to exchange time for money. All of your bills are paid and you pay-off every bill monthly.
  • Self-Employment Freedom – you work for yourself and bring in a sufficient income to live very comfortably. You don’t have to worry about making ends meet you are gainfully and successfully self-employed. You have a thriving business.
  • Freedom from an addiction or bad habit – You have stopped smoking, drinking, overeating, or eliminated some other habit that is holding your back from being the best person you can be.
  • Freedom of home ownership – You are in the home of your dreams and you not only “own” your home, but you own that home with no mortgage.
  • Empty nest freedom – One of the best compliments to a parent is for their children to leave their parents’ house and find a success life of their own. The parents are then free to travel and regain their sense of independence.
  • Project completion freedom – What better feeling than to know that you have successfully complete a project you have worked on diligently for weeks, months, or years.
  • Marking your personal independence day may be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Our Founding Fathers planned for the day and worked towards it. It didn’t just happen spontaneously. Here’s my challenge to you. Today, mark on your calendar your personal independence day. Pick a realistic date in the future when you will be free of some burden that is holding you back. Mark it now and commit to working toward that freedom. One day at a time, by committing to work toward it five minutes a day, everyday.

    What’s your Personal Independence Day?
    Share your date and source of freedom in the comments.