Isn’t Life Terrific?
Written by R. Todd Eliason for Success Magazine July 2009.
For 40 years, Ed Foreman has made it his mission to help people the world over live happy, healthy, abundant lives.
If there were a way you could make every day a terrific day, you’d probably be interested. Wouldn’t you? To cynics, that may sound like an impossible dream, but for the past four decades Ed Foreman has helped people all over the world have more terrific days than bad days.
Growing up poor as the son of a peanut and sweet potato farmer in Portales, N.M., Foreman went from being a roustabout on oil rigs to the only person in 100 years to be elected to the U.S. Congress from two states (Texas and New Mexico). He has taken chances as an entrepreneur, finding both enormous successâ€”and failures to boot. He now spends his days helping others learn from his experiences and take an easier, more successful route, one day at a time.
Raised on the Golden Rule
Foreman says he gets his sunny disposition on life from his mother. “I had these big ears and no hair but she told me I was beautiful and smart and taught me I could do anything I wanted in life if I was willing to work hard for it,” he says.
Shortly after graduating from New Mexico State University with an engineering degree, Foreman was inspired by Giant, a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. The movie was about a poor man who came into a lot of money in the oil business. “I wanted to become financially independent and didn’t want to worry about where my money would be coming from,” Foreman says.
He took a job as a petroleum engineer and came up with a better, faster way to drill oil wells. Soon he was making money so fast he had to furnish an office and secretary to look legitimate to the IRS. “They were there because they couldn’t believe how anyone so young  could make so much money so fast, and do it honestly,” Foreman says.
Although the IRS never found any accounting discrepancies, Foreman didn’t like what he felt was an intrusion into his private business life. “I became concerned about the size, power and control of the federal government, and I decided to run for Congress and do something about it,” he says.
With a little charm and a whole lot of work, Foreman beat out the incumbent Democrat and became the first Republican to be elected to the U.S. Congress from West Texas. His first stint in Washington didn’t last long; he was voted out in 1964 along with other Republicans. But Foreman was back a few years later, this time as a congressman from New Mexico, where he served until 1971.
Back to Business
Instead of staying in Washington, D.C., Foreman got into land development and worked in New Mexico at his brother’s petroleum distribution and concrete businesses.
Foreman started doing some motivational speaking for his employees just to get their spirits up. His speaking engagements caught the eye of his suppliers and customers. Soon his assistant was bombarded with paying speaking requests.
What people loved about Foreman was not only the message he delivered, but also the way he delivered it. “The message I was sharing wasn’t that different from other speakers at the time,” Foreman says. “But I think the difference was I delivered it with conviction, a little humor and the knowledge of having been there. I have experience in making payroll and went through an IRS audit. So I could talk to people with conviction and laugh about it at the same time because I had lived through it.”
Getting an assist from CBS News’ 60 Minutes
In the early 1980s, Foreman, along with his partner Earlene Vining, got a call from a producer of CBS News’ 60 Minutes who wanted to do a feature on their positive-attitude-development training program. Thinking it was a friend playing a prank, Foreman said no thanks and hung up on the producer. Ten days later, he got a call from Morley Safer. Foreman said, “Morley, I have never seen you do a positive piece in all the times I’ve watched your program. So why do you think I would want to subject my employees and suppliers to your kind of international ridicule?”
But Foreman offered Safer a deal: If the reporter and his crew came to Texas and participated in the three-day program, Foreman would consider doing the segment. To his surprise, Safer agreed. What resulted was a very positive segment on Foreman’s Successful Life Course that was shown by satellite around the world.
As a result of this free publicity, Foreman got calls from major corporations interested in the course. Today, he has students from 17 countries. “People wouldn’t be traveling halfway around the world and investing their own money on a thought-changing experience if it wasn’t having a significant impact on their lives,” Foreman says.
“That’s basically what we teachâ€”the power of thought to make you into what you want to be.”
The Daily Menu: Living Your Way to the Good Life
For more than a quarter of a century, Foreman has been inspiring others to live happy, healthy, abundant and successful lives. And it all started with a very simple philosophy on how to have a terrific day, every day. Foreman says you decide whether or not you’re going to have a good day. It’s part of his Daily Menu, for laughing, loving and living your way to the good life.
“We teach that life comes to you every day and says, Here’s the menu for the day” Foreman says. “You can either have a terrible day or a terrific day. And you get to choose which side of the menu you are going to take. Successful daily living is brought about by having one happy, successful day. If you can find the formula on how to have one happy, successful day, and you can repeat that seven days in a row, you’ve had a good week. Now do that 52 times in a row, and what do you have? You’ve had a great year.”
Foreman says a successful day begins with getting up early, preferably before 6:30 a.m. or a couple of hours before departing for work. Next, he recommends putting something positive in your mind when you first wake up. “What we found is when you first awaken, you’re at the alpha level of your subconscious mind, which is the maximum brain energy learning level,” he says. “And whatever you put into the mind during those first few minutes begins the programming of your day.”
Afterward, Foreman recommends a little walk to watch the world wake up. “Observe the beauty of nature around you. Smell the freshness of the air. Begin to appreciate and give thanks for the many blessings you enjoy.”
Foreman says that later, when people ask you how you are, you answer with one word: terrific. “When you say that, you are triggering an entire reaction in your body,” he says. “And the body is saying, ‘Well, if the mind is saying I’m terrific, maybe I’ll put a spring in my step, or maybe I’ll put a smile on my face or put a song in my heart.’ As you continue to tell yourself that you’re happy, you will become happy.”
Think About What You Think About
If you catch yourself thinking about unhappiness, ill health or adversity, Foreman says you need to change the channel and think about what you want to happen. For example, if you’re watching a television program that’s making you feel worse, most people would turn off the television. Foreman disagrees. “If you turn it off, what do you think about? You think about what you were just watching. You see, the mind is never blank. So what you do is you change the channel to something more positive and uplifting. And you watch that for a little while, and then you turn it off. That’s why I tell people to think about what you’re thinking about. And if you’re not thinking good thoughts, then change the channel to what you want to have happen.”
Living a Paid Vacation
Walk the halls of Ed Foreman’s office and you will see walls covered with photos of a man who has lived a fulfilling life. And today he is leading the life he dreamed about when he was working his father’s farm in New Mexico. “I remember, I would look up into the skies and see planes that would go over our farm, and I would think, you know, someday I’m going to be on one of those planes and I’m going to be traveling to a far-off, beautiful place.”
Foreman has altered that dream a little, and instead of planes, he prefers to travel the country on his fleet of motorcycles. A few years ago, he rode his Honda Goldwing trike to Alaska, a 7,200-mile trip that took 35 days. “I’ve lived a paid vacation for the past 40 years,” Foreman says. “I’ve been able to speak and visit with people and help inspire them to live happy, healthy, abundant and successful lives. Isn’t life terrific?”