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A Home in Paradise

Real Estate Agents, Agencies & Property Sales

Updated on Jul 23, 2013

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Looking for just the right home for you? Look no further-- we have homes in Austin for you!

You'll love the beautiful and luxurious feel of our Austin Houses featuring greenbelts, views of the idyllic and lush golf courses, and proximity to gorgeous hiking trails, shopping malls, and the lake.

Some houses in Austin embrace large game rooms, scenic views, accent paint, and double ovens and microwaves for a great cooking experience! This is the perfect house for throwing parties for friends, or just kicking back and relaxing!

If interested in austin homes please call Rose Castro at 512.656.3281.

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NOTE: As a thank you for reading this blog post, we are providing you with a free excerpt from Dan Castro’s book CRITICAL CHOICES THAT CHANGE LIVES.



What if you could go back in history and talk to anyone you wanted to about a struggle you were facing? Who would you talk to and why? Einstein? Leonardo Da Vinci? Caesar? Buddha? Confucius? Jesus? Your deceased grandmother or uncle? Winston Churchill?

There is no dress rehearsal for life. But there are many who have gone before us who have been on the same stage, who can tell us what cues to watch for, when the music is about to play, when the curtain is about to fall and when to change scenes.

What if those people could speak to you about your current situation? What would they say? Would you listen if they spoke? What if they only whispered softly? The voices of our ancestors are like whispers in the night. You have to sit still and quietly in order to hear them. They do not preach. They do not lecture. They do not pontificate. They merely tell their stories.

I was once traveling in Belgium on business. I had never been there before. I was wearing a backpack and hauling around a huge black briefcase full of legal files and a five-foot long suitcase on wheels that felt like it weighed a ton. After I had met with clients over a period of days, I was lucky enough to be in Liege, Belgium for the first day of the 2004 Tour de France. I had stood or sat in the same place for almost eight hours – right next to the guardrail as the cyclists whizzed by, including one of my heroes, Lance Armstrong.

But now it was almost midnight and I was getting off the train in Brussels after a very long day. I was weak from exhaustion and from not eating much that day. I had no idea where I was going, but I knew the way out of the train station was straight up a long, narrow flight of stairs. I looked around. There was not an elevator or escalator anywhere in sight. I sighed and started my trek up what I felt was the top of Everest. My luggage started making a loud banging sound that echoed throughout the train station as the wheels on my luggage and briefcase pounded each concrete step one at a time. Bang! Bang! Bang!

Then I heard a voice with a strong accent. “Here, let me help you.” A hand reached down and grabbed the handle of my briefcase without waiting for my reply. “Merci!” was all I could think of to say to the young man who had come to my aid. “No problem.” “Oh thank God, you speak English! Thank you very much,” I said. We were slowly making our way up the stairs with the loud banging sounds when suddenly the weight of my one ton bag disappeared. I quickly turned around to see that another guy had grabbed the rear handle of my five-foot bag and was now helping me carry it up the stairs. Am I surrounded by angels? It felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my back. “Merci! Merci!” I said. “Glad to help. You looked like you were having a hard time.” This guy spoke English too! “By the way, nice jersey,” he said. I looked down and realized I was still wearing the red, white and blue racing jersey I had bought at the Tour de France in Liege. It had a huge U.S. flag sewn on the front and the letters USA on the back. I felt proud to be part of the team.

When we got to the top of the stairs, the guy behind me said, “Have a safe trip,” and disappeared into the crowd. The guy carrying my briefcase said, “Where are you going?” “I have no idea. But I’m staying at the Novotel,” I said. “Well, then let me help you. I’m going that way and I’ve been there before.” “No, no. That’s okay. Just tell me how to get there.” In the U.S., this would have been enough to let the guy off the hook. “But, I’m really going that way and I know how you feel with all these bags. I’m used to traveling alone with two small children.” What a saint. “Well, okay. I’ll follow you then,” I said, trying to place the accent. “Are you from England?” “No. Ireland,” he said. He had traveled to Liege to see the first day of the Tour de France just like the thousands of people from all over Europe and the US.

We chatted about Lance as we made our way down the dark, cobblestone streets of Brussels. He carried my briefcase the whole way and walked me right up to the door of my hotel. “I don’t know how to thank you,” I said, still not believing my good fortune. “Are you sure you don’t have wings?” I said, patting him on the back and searching up and down his spine. He just laughed. I watched as he disappeared down a dark, cobblestone street, and his words echoed in my ears. “I’m going that way and I’ve been there before. Let me help you.” It left a warm feeling in my soul.

Every now and then, someone comes along and lifts our burdens and shows us the way. That’s what I hope this book does for you.

This book is a collection of stories from the ancient past to the present about people who survived and prospered in the midst of adversity while everyone else around them crumbled. They have been where you are going. They know the way. Let them help you. They have been whispering for a long time. If you listen, they are whispering still. Some of the people are famous historical figures, some are little known heroes you may have never heard of. Some of these stories are heart-warming, some are sad. Some are inspiring and some are gripping.

“A page of history is worth a volume of logic.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

As I studied and re-studied each story, I realized that a pattern was developing. Certain principles began to pop out, which consistently led to victory. I did not make up these principles. I merely stumbled upon them. They have always existed. I have just collected them into one book and organized them in a logical fashion.

I realized that those who survived and prospered in the midst of adversity could see and hear things around them that others could not. That’s what made them heroes. What gave them the ability to see and hear opportunities that no one else could see and hear? The secret is how heroes answer these three critical questions. (1) What are you focusing on? (2) What do you believe? and (3) What are you expecting?

Those who prosper in the midst of extremely difficult situations are able to see options that others can’t because they choose to answer these three questions differently than most. That’s what makes them heroes. In this book, you will discover the critical choices heroes make when answering these three questions.

In reading these stories, I hope you will begin to see the same patterns I saw. These patterns demonstrate what I call The Seven Laws of Critical Focus. The Seven Laws of Critical Focus are my attempt to explain why a few rare people are able to survive and prosper in the midst of adversity while others do not. Here are The Seven Laws of Critical Focus:

(1) Our most recent experiences influence what we focus on;

(2) What we focus on determines what we believe;

(3) What we believe determines what we expect;

(4) We tend to see what we’re expecting to see;

(5) We tend to filter out what we’re not expecting to see;

(6) The more we see, the more options that are available to us;

(7) We have the power to choose what to focus on no matter what is going on in the world around us.

The Seven Laws of Critical Focus are natural laws that govern how you see life, what you expect from life and how you respond to life. It is my hope that once you understand how the Seven Laws of Critical Focus work, your eyes will be opened and you will see and hear opportunities you never have before; that you will see new solutions to old problems; that you will see alternative paths where others see only dead ends; that you will see the blind spots in your life that are holding you back; that you will see the bigger purpose behind what you are doing. In short, I hope that you will be able to see through the eyes of heroes.

In each of our lives, there is usually a decision behind the decision we are about to make. I call this the decision behind the decision. Sometimes there are several decisions behind the decision we are about to make. Some of these “behind the scenes” decisions we make subconsciously without even knowing it. This is an invitation to look deeper: to peel back the layers of the onion and get at the core of the issue.

Throughout the ages, heroic decisions made by mere mortals have changed the course of history. Some of these decisions are well known—the decision of Caesar to cross the Rubicon River with his army, the decision of a collection of colonies to declare their independence from England, the decision of the southern states to secede from the Union, Abraham Lincoln’s decision to free the slaves, the United States’ decision to use a nuclear bomb to bring World War II to an end. You may be able to think of others.

However, lesser-known decisions have changed the course of an individual life or changed the course of history for a particular school, town, neighborhood, church, synagogue or family. Some of these decisions required bravery of the kind deserving of a Medal of Honor. Some have never been recognized except by those immediately affected by the decision.

You may be facing such a decision today. Your decision could change your life forever. It may change the course of someone else’s life forever, perhaps someone you love. It could mean the difference between life and death for someone. It could mean the difference between wealth and poverty for yourself or someone else. It could mean the difference between fame and anonymity.

The power to choose is the power to change. The power and freedom to make decisions is one of the most precious gifts we have. Throughout the ages, people have fought wars and sacrificed their lives and fortunes in the name of freedom—freedom to choose how to live, where to go, what to do, where to live, how to worship, what to say, and when and where to say it. You may be facing your own battle for freedom in your own world right now.

All of these people in history have discovered one thing: circumstances alone do not control your fate; choices do. Whether a crisis situation turns out positive or negative depends not so much on the circumstances but in large part on how you deal with it. How you deal with it depends on what you can see and hear in the heat of the battle.

You are an ever-present influence on every situation you encounter. Someone once said, "Wherever you go, there you are." This is humorous but also very true. No matter what situation you may be facing, you bring a force to the table that no one else can bring. That force is you. As you will see in these stories, the outcome of your situation doesn’t depend as much on the circumstances, as on the decisions you make.

My desire is that by reading these stories, you’ll find gems of wisdom buried within them. Your job is to learn what you can from how the people in these stories saw and heard the world around them.

It may be that no one can really understand exactly what you are going through right now. It may be that no one can truly understand the severity of the consequences of the choices you’re about to make. But perhaps you’ll gain some comfort and encouragement from the stories in this book. My hope is that you’ll learn something from the characters in these stories that will help you in overcoming the obstacles you face. If you listen, they will speak – or at least whisper. If you learn something valuable from this book, pass it on to a friend.

There are no impossible situations in life,

only difficult decisions waiting to be made.


Remember, if you are buying or selling real estate in Austin please call Rose Castro at EXIT: Options Realty.
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