Aug 312012
 

Today’s blog post is the second in a monthly series that I plan to post for the rest of 2012.  I hope all the readers of this blog find as much inspiration, value, & encouragement in these as I intend there to be :)

 

August’s movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( eagles soar = leaders ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 2004’s re-imagining of the classic tale,  ‘King Arthur‘.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I am the fortunate & blessed owner of a business that gives me the privilege of serving others and blessings their lives by helping them grow in 8 ‘F’ categories – this review will focus on how King Arthur’s script ties into numerous of these, including Following (leadership), Faith, Friends, Fun, Family, & most especially, Freedom.

The movie begins in the mid 5th century, A.D., and swings from the Black Sea up to Hadrian’s Wall, which was built three centuries earlier, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, to separate Romano-occupied Britain from the natives ( Picts; in the movie, known as ‘Woads’ ) who were very tribal and considered the Brits their enemy. At this historical point, during antiquity, the Roman Empire was essentially a dead letter, as swaths of what is now Italy were being over-run by barbarian invaders from southern & north-central Europe. However, in a time long before the information age’s 24x7x365 communication, up in Britain, only a small select few, inc. Bishop Germanus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanus_of_Auxerre ) were keenly aware. In fact, it is the Bishop who informs Artorius ( at this point, he is now the commander of a group of Sarmatian knights ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmatians ) ) that the Romans were planning to withdraw from Britain, and leave the Picts (Woads) to deal with the invading Saxons, who were coming from what is now Germany, and pillaging the countryside north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Suffice to say, the Sarmatians were not free; earlier on, it was established that when the Roman legions beat the Sarmatians on the battlefield, in order to avoid death, they (and their sons) had to serve 15 years under a Roman commander, without the ability to negotiate terms, and at threat of death far away from their homeland near the Black Sea.  Artorius, however, had been a benevolent commander who put these men ahead of himself, and had shown himself to be a character (integrity x courage) based servant leader.

Advancing the narrative forward, Artorius/Arthur had to lead his men on a final mission before they received their Roman paperwork which said they were free.  This mission required amazing levels of courage – testing everyone to their breaking point and putting them in mortal danger from both the Saxons & the Picts/Woads. During this time, it is established that there is a family based tie between one of the Picts & a woman that Artorius rescues, and the relationship with his knights is established with broad brush strokes – you really get to know what makes each of these men ‘tick.

Without spoiling the rest of the script for those readers whom might not have seen this movie and/or haven’t in a while, I will move on  🙂

So, from my perspective, what does this movie teach us about the “F’s” mentioned above?   a LOT.

1. Family

– Artorius/Arthur’s family life is shown in flashbacks & during scenes as he reflects back & looks forward to a day when he doesn’t have to spend most of his waking time fighting simply to survive to return to Rome as a conquering hero (all the while putting his knights’ lives ahead of his own.  Thick skin = soft heart. )    Family is simply the cornerstone of every age there ever has been —  from Antiquity/Iron Age, to the agricultural, industrial, corporate industrial, and presently, the information/tribal/connected age.

2. Fun

– These men certainly have their fun times!  Even in such a rough & tumble era with very little of what we all now take for granted, they have a grand time when they aren’t on the next battlefield.  Fun, when had in the right dosage, for the right reasons, is crucial as part of a personal growth journey.

3.  Faith

– Arthur is unquestionably a Christian. This is shown very early, when he says a prayer to God on behalf of his men before this final mission. You also see the contrast to Germanus, who is more ‘religious’ than a Christian, and to Arthur’s best friend, Lancelot., who has no faith – he having been apart from his family for 15 years, and not converting from being a pagan to his commander’s faith.

4. Friends

– These Sarmatian knights, with little choice but to migrate to Romano Britain and be held captive, lacking in many of the eight meanings of freedom, and being apart from their birth families and friends thousands of miles east-bound, learned, over time, to place their trust ( character x competence ) in Artorius.  This trust led to bonds of friendship being created that kept these men from turning on each other even when the pressures of losing & certain death awaited them at most any turn, esp. north of Hadrian’s Wall.

5. Following { Leadership }

– Leadership is influence ( http://www.moneymatters101.com/books/launch.asp ) and beyond …

One of the best, by far, definitions was coined by leadership experts, Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward, in their landmark book, ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution‘ :

Leadership is the influence of others in a productive, vision-driven direction and is done through the example, conviction, and character of the leader

Arthur is a true and unquestioned servant leader. He exemplifies this above definition; his life was productive — having grown to be a Roman commander through the define/learn/do process by modeling his father’s example before him, it was visionary, in that he knew how to win, how to be successful, and how to put service to others ( his knights ) ahead of his own self-serving (ego) needs. And, his character and conviction were a sterling example to his fellow Romans ( including Germanus ), his men, and numerous others – even one of the Saxons!

6. Freedom

The capstone of this review = freedom. Freedom is NEVER free. Never was this more true than in this era!  See above re: the Sarmatians, let alone the peoples who had to slave away daily just to survive behind Hadrian’s Wall, or those Romans were were over-run by the barbarian invaders to the south — although this latter group surrendered their freedom in trade for complacency, false security, comfort, and hand-outs.  ( read this classic :   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire for much more )

Freedom is so well defined by Oliver DeMille. I consider him to be the most renowned expert on this “F” alive today;  his books and audio recordings, available through my business, are must reads and must listen-to’s.  He would likely concur that Arthur was a true patriot, and lover of freedom; again, without giving away too much of the plot/script, let’s say that as the movie reaches its crescendo, Arthur realizes his purpose, and puts his life on the life for his legacy and destiny to be written!

To wrap up this review, even considering the number of likely historical inaccuracies, I can unequivocally recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in personal growth/change, leadership, freedom, & success.  I find that spending time around eagles, and climbing with them is the only way to live a purpose-ful life.  I pray that you found this blog to be interesting, inspirational, and infomative!    Many regards, blessings, & well wishes on your own personal success trail!

Aug 292012
 

This post’s content is fully credited to an award winning blogger, leadership mind, and best selling author, Mr. Chris Brady.

He recently did a talk on toughness and courage.  Out of it, came this ‘doctrine’ with 11 core principles to apply to our lives, each & every day. The content is of gold medal quality, so I transcribed it & am paying it forward here in the blogosphere. All best to you, each & every day!

 

 

The 11 are ….

Life is NOT and NEVER will be fair.  Leaders understand this inwardly and intuitively and deal with it.

Leadership is an inside job.  No one is responsible for motivating you, EXCEPT you.When you find your ‘pilot light’, feed it oxygen consistently and constantly; fan the flames of your dreams!

Expect obstacles and problems.  It’s how you respond that always counts; remain calm — ‘this, too, shall pass.’

Success is NEVER easy.  However, it is ALWAYS worth it. Things that we do not earn, we give little or no esteem.

It’s a long climb from the bottom & a short drop from the top.  You’ve NEVER arrived. Avoid hubris!   Be the same “you” as you were before as you move forward.

Winners play hurt.   They push through the pain, struggle, grow, fail, get back up, …

It’s always worth it be a hero.  Stand for something, stay in the gap. Don’t back down.

To be tough, you must find your courage.  Jump out of the nest to lead and to grow yourself.

Tough doesnt mean: Cold hearted, mean, dogmatic, bossy, or pushy.  It DOES mean – loving, tenderness, kindness towards your family & friends.

The role of leadership requires the uniform of thick skin. Be prepared for critics, cynics, and skepticism. 

Purpose is the KEY ( to all this ). You must be tough in the name of SOMETHING. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

There can be no peace without justice ( = tyranny ). And, even more importantly, there is never justice without a fight.
We are not a free country because of the founding documents alone.  Please remember this – every day.
Aug 232012
 

Earlier this year, I read the amazing book ‘Outliers‘ ( Malcolm Gladwell ) —  and, very fortunately, yesterday, while scrolling through my Twitter timeline, I saw a tweet with a link to a website { Credit to :  http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/08/14/malcolm-gladwells-10000-hour-rule-visualized-practice-makes-perfect/ } which linked back to a blog with this highly insightful diagram of the core/theme of Mr. Gladwell’s book.

I am glad to be able to pay it forward & share with the readers of my blog.

Once I truly understood the underpinnings of the ‘10,000 hour rule’ , I immediately stopped using the word ‘expert’ when I described anything that I had done, since to this point in my leadership & self-directed/liber educational journey, I have not reached this threshold.  I also no longer give credence to the casual use of the word ‘expert’ unless I know for sure that the person(s) using the word had/have their 10,000 hours in  ( ala, Sam Walton, Bill Gates, the Beatles, John Maxwell, Chris Brady, John Wooden, Oliver DeMille, Robert KiyosakiZig Ziglar, et al. )

Aug 152012
 

 

 

 

 

 

For the third time, I am in the process of reading a legendary & highly impactful book,  ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People‘  by Dale Carnegie.  Near the end of Chapter 1, Mr. Carnegie includes this classic editorial which, in its time, was very widely disseminated. I am happy to link to it & share it here decades later in the blogosphere:

 

Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a twoel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came Up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, form a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to your for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too muchof youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in yourcharacter. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself overthe wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you alugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing buy a boy – a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55EbjaOLfwA

 

http://www.csua.berkeley.edu/~chrislw/dadforget.html

 

Blessings & all best regards!

Aug 082012
 

As I was finishing up a book ( ‘1913‘ ) a few days ago, in the final chapter, I saw a reference to these four desires that most any of us have in our lives:

Purpose     








  • Happiness





  • Prosperity




  • Freedom

 

 

 

 

 

As I read on through the final pages, the author is quoted as saying:

“Without freedom, the other free are much more difficult. Freedom makes purpose and prosperity possible, and it greatly enhances each person’s pursuit of happiness.”   – Oliver DeMille

I completely agree w/ him.

On my leadership journey, which I’ve anchored to a robust self-directed education, I have been blessed and fortunate to discover how crucial knowing your purpose is; in fact, it’s an anchor resolution in the MFC within my leadership/LIFE coaching business ( http://servicebeforeselfleadership.com ) & as Viktor Frankl advised, you “detect” your purpose.

We then move to Happiness.

Goodness, that word can be (and is) defined so many different ways. I happen to believe that it is often confused with pleasure; additionally, it is also often tied to material things rather than higher levels of motivation.  Oh, and lest we forget that many want to ‘microwave’ their success and have it come out 60 seconds later as happiness.  However, let’s tie Happiness back to the era of our Founding Fathers and how it was laid out as a right in the landmark Declaration of Independence :

 

 

 

 

 

‘The pursuit of’ = the journey; the chase; the ‘walk a mile: see a mile’ ..   THAT is happiness. Level 2 motivation can drive true happiness through  earning respect & recognition, let alone the pinnacle motivation driver, Level 3, which is creation of Destiny, Legacy, and (there’s that word again!) Purpose.

How one defines prosperity is a matter of knowing one’s purpose. Before my journey, I would have defined prosperity as simply having more income, while not properly allocating my spending to the right sources. Then I ran into a formula in my studies =  “Y.D.I.L” .    Y = You, Inc ( invest in yourself first at all times.) | D = pay off debt, primarily consumer and bank loans/cards | I = Invest ( build a foundation starting with bullion metals & other hard assets, along with sticking to sectors that will be stable in inflationary times; then, go up the staircase from there. ) | finally, there’s L = Lifestyle  ( Q: who are the “Joneses“, and why do we/you want to keep up with them?  Being ‘consumerist‘ and having ‘affluenza‘ only hurt your ability to be prosperous! )

Then, the capstone.  Freedom.  In ‘FreedomShift’ , Mr. DeMille, spent some time near the end of his previous book discussing the ‘Eight Meanings’ that summarize this well known word:

  • political freedoms
  • economic freedoms
  • religious freedoms
  • national security
  • individual freedoms (privacy)
  • freedom of the presswe
  • academic freedom (freedom of thought)
  • social justice
Think of how often so many of us simply take these eight for granted, trading them for comfort, affluence, security, or idleness.  A fish knows his environment is water and a bowl;  many Westerners ( esp. Americans ) think freedom will always be there, like the fish thinks the water she swims in. Fortunately, by being on this self-directed education x leadership journey in my own life, wrapped around serving others through my business, I came to realize that freedom is the capstone desire, however, we need to actively educate people on its deep seated importance and how we will forever miss it if we continue to absent minded-ly trade it away or outsource things to the aristocracy/elites.
Much gratitude to everyone who reads this post & all best regards in your LIFE!
** http://www.amazon.com/The-Four-Desires-Happiness-Prosperity/dp/0553803980   [  this is the book that Oliver DeMille cross referenced in his final chapter of his book, ‘1913‘ ]
Aug 052012
 

It is necessary always to give a great deal of thought to liberty. There is no substitute for it. Nothing is quite so effective. Unless it be preserved, there is little else that is worthwhile … the protection of rights is righteous.

– President Calvin Coolidge

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://t.co/8KyHVNei   <———–  my recently posted review/recommendation of an EXCELLENT book * that discussed liberty, freedom, & how valuable it truly is.

( * you can order this book here:  http://servicebeforeselfleadership  —  and search under either ‘DeMille’ , ‘Freedom’ , or ‘1913’  )

Blessings to all & thank you for reading!