Sep 162013
 
Trail riders

Educate the ignorant.

Spread prosperity.

Heal families.

Promote freedom.

What do these have in common?  They are all defined missions. And, I’ve been blessed to have begun to build the rest of my years around each of them – additionally, they are purpose driven ways to lead and live a significant life.

A ‘trail rider’ can be defined as one who may sometimes have to follow, as Frost taught us, the ‘road less traveled’. He (she) may have to invest time and sacrifice some events in the here and now for far greater reward later.  Another definition is that of a leader who is willing to serve, and serve, and serve …. and to help with shifting the dialogue from that of a problems to a solutions based mindset.

Yet, with the state of Western civilization, North America, and the U.S. itself in decline, there’s no doubt whatsoever that more trail riders are very much in demand so the supply will increase to meet the deep challenges that face us. It won’t be the politicians of either the red, blue, or any other color/shade that will meet these head on: it will be the regular citizenry that joins the ranks of the trail riders.

How can someone make this crucial decision and have it not be a ‘try’?  There are some hurdles to jump over, however, with the stakes as high as they are, these are worth far more than their weight in gold when weighed on a scale against the alternative. What is the alternative? A nation, let alone a continent, or numerous countries across the globe, that is/are far less free, or entirely un-free. [ * By the by,  this entire post is inspired from a live talk (and a subsequent audio recording of it) by freedom, Constitution, and leadership education expert, Oliver DeMille. ]

The hurdles – what are they?  Each of them simply require a shift of priorities. Everyone has plenty of time to focus on these, however, it will be a far smaller percentage who do each. Let’s review them on a high level, and at some point in the future, there’ll be a new blog post or two to revisit this critical topic.

First / 1st /  A

Spread Entrepreneurship

THE most important.

Mr. DeMille has studied historical cycles going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, and in the peak civilizations from early antiquity to the present information/connected age, many citizens were owners; they were building assets, and did not depend on a third party for their livelihood.

And, think about it: Why depend on a single stream of revenue (income) in such a turbulent time as the present?

Second / 2nd / B

Read like the American Founders

Also very very important.

The Founders were highly educated ( not trained, not schooled; educated. ) — they were far from perfect men, and their signature document, The Constitution, had about 3-4 loopholes, however, one thing that cannot be disputed by even their most vocarious critics? How much they read. They were well studied in the great conversation:  ideas in all genres, from history, economics, science, faith/The Bible, literature, and far more.

is 2013 a far different era than 1764-1789?  Of course. However, listen to Mr. DeMille’s amazing recording ‘The Four Lost American Ideals” to put the rest that citizens from today can ( and will ) make the difference.

Third / 3rd / C

Know the fine print – from laws, bills/legislation, court cases, budgets, treaties.

Very valuable — lest you ‘outsource’ your gov’t to faux experts who do this for you, and NOT in your best interests.

The founding generations treated their youth far different – they held them to high standards which created succeeding generations that were prepared for citizen leadership from a very early age. In the book, ‘LeaderShift’, page 110, read of Samuel Williams from 1794, and compare it to the stories in the mass media and culture of 2013.  What a difference, and not for the better.

Also, keep in mind that budgets are not just for ‘green eyeshaders’ – they are moral documents, since the currency we spend on our government’s every agency/dept/program should reflect what we, the people, deem to be valuable. If we let those aforementioned ‘faux’ experts determine what’s right, what’s valuable, et al., are we not abdicating our solemn responsibility as a citizen?

Mr. DeMille summed up his walk throughout history by documenting which of the above 3 fall first, as freedom retreats from a society, and the number of trail riders doesn’t grow.  Which one?  Fine print. Then, being a voracious reader, then lastly, entrepreneurship and the values & principles that go along with it.

We can’t let that happen. Putting service before self can be summed up in many different ways, one of which is to promote freedom; another is to educate the ignorant on topics like this ( think: were you taught this in any of your years of schooling? ); still another is to heal families by offering them the education and the tools of financial fitness which show them that having multiple streams of income, esp. those from owning something, can regenerate family life. And, each of the above will lead to sustained prosperity when each organically grow and encompass more households.

Will you accept this challenge?

I have. It’s been one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made & I look forward to helping write the story of how this ends with the pen in my hand. Freedom needs trail riders, just as fish need water. Thank you for reading, and as always, comments are welcomed.  Best of the best!

Aug 292013
 
By the hour, by the task, by the relationship, or by ROI

I’ve had the privilege to expand my formerly fixed pie mindset into that of a lifelong student with an ever growing pie mindset due to being on the ‘path less traveled’ which I’ve been walking down these past 3+ years.

In this time, I’ve read north of 100 books, listened to somewhere between 500 and 1,000 audio recordings, watched over 50 DVDs, read hundreds of blog posts, and been to between 100 and 200 different events where I am surrounded by creators/builders/eagles/climbers. All of these, summed up, has completely been transformational. Not an overstatement in the least!

As part of the above, one particular book, amongst many, serves as the inspiration/foundation stone for this post – that being ‘Cashflow Quadrant’. It was one of the first dozen books I read when I discovered what true education really was ( = liber/liberty/how to think ), and I constantly recommend it in the present, and will do so into the indefinite future:  It is THAT crucial — a must read.  In fact, I believe it should be required reading in all high schools, regardless of if public, charter, private, Christian, or one of the many home school curriculums.

Taking a high level view of the acres of material in this book leads back to the title of this post. There are four/4 quadrants —  each of them will appeal to people based on their core values, their personality traits/temperaments, and their willingness to be a student (read: humble, honeable, hungry).  Each of these can also be attached to one of the short descriptors;  let’s unpack them one by one, then will close off this post with a summation.

By the Hour

E > Someone who ‘lands’, chooses, or is shuttled here through the ‘system’ and/or programming most usually thinks in chunks — hour(s). Extended further out: days, weeks, with a mindset of “hump day”, or Friday is more important than any other day of the week. This is due to an ingrained mindset where he/she measures things in such time increments which are short term in focus and perhaps also in vision.  Often, someone in this quadrant will say he/she “has no time”, or is “very busy”. Chalk this up to a priorities/urgencies root issue, and the age old difficulty in being unable to do anything about the time v. money 1:1 exchange.

By the Task

S > Here is a quadrant where one also tends to be shuttled or programmed to put up stakes, although there is a definitive difference b/w it & its cousin, ‘E’. A person(s) here now thinks more along the lines of – how much can I earn (income) for task “X”, “Y” ?  Example is the trading of time for an appointment which requires the other party to pay ( e.g., Doctors, dentists, accountants, certain types of coaches/counselors, stylists, consultants, lawyers ). So, to extend, it is in the best interests of the person to squeeze as many clients-customers into a given time period as possible. The outlook here can usually be longer than a day or a week, although a person here can oft-times employ others, so he/she may also be marking off in his/her head the time between ‘now’ & when payroll is due.

 

We’ve now traversed the metaphorical wall/chasm between sides of the squared quad. What is the difference between them, one who has yet to read this landmark book may inquire?  Quite straightforward:  One’s incoming information, and subsequent thinking (and actions/application of the former two). Another way to say it:  You are no longer depend”E”nt nor are you a member of independent”S” Inc. (so to say)

 

By the Relationship

B >  The least understood corner real estate, yet within lies the most profound answers to many of life’s perplexing issues/questions. Such as?  :  Why can’t I ever seem to get ahead? — Why don’t I think I have enough time in the day to do everything I must get done? ( yet, the day is just as long as it was millennia ago ) — Why is there more week/month than what is in my paycheck ( net income ) ?  Just who are the folks who own (not manage!) those ‘chains’ = franchises that I spend all of my waking time or currency in?

When you quite likely have made your way into this quadrant, since a very small number will be born here, you will find that your thinking requires a reboot. And, furthermore, that much of what you learned before quite likely will need to be unlearned over time. To “B”, you are no longer the magic elixir. You’ve instead discovered interdependent life — its all about Resolution 11: Systems (Holism) & working in concert with a proven, duplicatable system. This system often takes the form of a recurring inflow of life changing information or, in some cases, it is a reference manual/guide/book that you can use over + over + over again to get the same result.

How does relationship(s) tie in?  This way:  Since you are interdependent, you are interlinked in many cases with others in common purpose. The others will either ensure your financial security through their prosperity; and/or they will be your extended term clients/customers as you have earned their unshakeable trust and loyalty; and/or, lastly, you are seeking to grow your tribe and expand your network, so you must know people skills and sharpen the human relations art & science abilities that are not nearly as well taught as an “E” or an “S”‘er. Folks here also have a strong understanding of financial fitness & are coming to the realization that you don’t retire — unless the word is re-defined to mean that you are retiring from your obligations.

This leads to the final corner >

By ROI

I > This is rarified “air”, as the % of those occupying the ground in this bottom right real estate are most always those who spent a good deal of time as a “B”, and they’ve earned their stripes and have become truly free:  In both time and in money. So, they can now put their money on the line in great big chunks, and become real investors. No, if you are “investing” in a corporate-industrial age retirement vehicle such as a 401(k) nor an industrial age one like a defined benefit pension plan.

In those two latter examples, you are not spending money, however, you have not leveraged money to get an ROI on money. The leverage here is purely monetary as opposed to a system from its cousin to the north, the ‘B’. Instead, this is building or creating of an asset(s) that kicks off cash flow. The book describes the levels of investors far better than I could attempt to dissect, so dear readers, please be sure to read, or re-read, this seminal book, then pay it forward to your friends, family, and especially, the younger generations.

In this quadrant, to cap it off – you are receiving so much inflow of currency from your dependent ‘E’ & independent ‘S’ neighbors across the wall, that your well being is set. You are a living breathing example of the maxim of financial fitness that its NOT where the $ starts, but rather, where it ends up that COUNTS.

 

In wrapping up, please be willing to always change. It is hard, however, beating one’s head against cement and expecting cement to crumble!  If you have those questions above, or simply are a student and wish to gain wisdom and knowledge to then turn around to apply & then pay forward to another, you have found (A) one of the best books ever written, and (B) a post here in the blogosphere which has attempted to explain it all from a slightly different perspective than others likely have already. ( since this book has sold so many copies, I know there are tons of links online talking about it! )

Be the best you can be. Live. Learn. Grow, And may you find & earn your dreams.

Oct 212012
 

Today, I want to address a topic that can be sensitive to many, especially living in the economic times that we do here in the US, and that is the crucial difference between investment & expense(s).

This post will not go in depth into the textbook definitions, nor will it serve as a step by step guide, however, my goal is to just blow up a few myths and bad, or even obsolete, information re: these, and ideally, help you think deeply when it comes to your money.

First, high high level.  What is an expense?  I define it as something that you exchange your money for that doesn’t offer any long term value, return (ROI), or which grows your wealth or reduces your debt burden.  Let’s briefly cover each of these:

1. Long term value. Many excellent authors/business owners/entrepreneurs have made crystal clear that money is NOT something you simply trade in exchange for a good or object; it is much more – money should create memories, and most definitely, bring something back to you that doesn’t simply last for a day, a week, or a month. What you get back must have value that carries on a least a year, and even better, a decade or more.

2. Return ( ROI ). Rate of return, for the purposes of this post, is simply summed up as —  did/will you receive something of value back, over an adult time frame, for what you spent your money on?  ROI is not necessarily just measured in financial terms (such as if you were able to pay down debt quicker by buying a financial pack to apply principles that you were never taught); it can also be measured intangibly: Did you sign up any new clients in your consulting business due to that seminar on people skills you attended?  Have you been able to get on the career path/track that you wanted after pursuing more credentialist based (professional track) education?

3. Reduction of debt / Growth in wealth. Growing one’s wealth/assets runs inversely to lowering one’s debt(s)/liabilities. And, keep in mind, a mortgaged home is a LIABILITY, not an asset, unless you have rented it out and are receiving recurring rental income. From that perspective, expenses need to be reduced, including paying off consumer debt, and eventually investing in ‘hard’ assets, like bullion metals, later on down the line. Growing one’s wealth requires buying back time, having a systems based model, understanding the power of compounding (of interest, of invested monies, et al.), & delaying expense based gratification until you can truly pay or whatever you want in cash based equivalent(s).

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, let’s move on to investments. Investment is not what you may think!  Let’s start w/ understanding that investment in one’s mind most definitely counts just as much as investment in something paper-based ( like stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or REITs ). The vehicle of a 401(k) or its functional equivalent has only been around for 30+ years, yet it seems like it, or the becoming obsolete pension plan gets mentioned most when this word is discussed in the mainstream of society.

Don’t get me wrong:  these are all investments, however, how much stronger is your mental fitness if you just put 10% of your W-2 income into a 401(k)?   Will you be closer to true wealth?  Unlimited time & money choices?   Perhaps a step or two, or ten, yet think bigger and more metaphorical (in depth):  what about directing some of these monies into your mind?   That’s a key threshold to cross when it comes to understanding even better the critical distinction b/w expenses and investment.

Here are some examples of investment now that we’ve set this foundation in place:

1.  Building a library.  Whether its a virtual (read: e-book) library, meaning you invest in an e-reader/tablet & download books online or via app, or the other way, where you buy paperbacks or subscribe to receive them monthly, this is a perfect starter example for someone who wants to invest in the mind.  We’re all worth minimum wage from the neck down; all the great leaders of history, from Napoleon, to Teddy Roosevelt, to Thomas Jefferson — they read. A LOT. Books matter. They expand your horizons, expose you to lessons you can learn from by living someone elses’ experiences, and you can apply what you read to your life immediately.

2.  Audio Learning.  Subscribing to, or buying audio material – whether books, podcast downloads, mp3’s, CDs from seminars – they all count. Audio is an excellent complement to reading, as it engages different areas of  your brain, and rounds out further the investment in your mental fitness.

3. Attending Seminars / Streaming webinars. Association with other climbers, those who are on the success curve of life, and whom understand the critical importance of ‘You, Inc’ investing, know that being around others who are growing from the inside out, who value personal change, will put monies into this category.

4. DVD / web videos ( YouTube ).  Another option as technology continues to evolve is to purchase, subscribe, or click on a link to have vids sent to you to watch. Visual learning on your own time is still another investment vehicle that will pay great dividends on your leadership development/self help journey.

5. The final one I’ll list is a BIG one. I would strongly and unequivocally urge everyone to do this:  Start a business. Own something, an asset that is yours, which will generate income that is not subject to a third party and will allow you to direct monies away from expenses and into the above options I listed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To put a capper on this post:  I wholeheartedly believe that entrepreneurship and self-directed learning, investment understood in a much different way than what is the “CW” , and outside the realm of pure ‘credentialist’ institutions, is a crucial element to being able to maintain freedom (see my earlier blog posts) & to strengthen your financial standing in our internet/connected/information age world. The industrial age is gone, regardless of what the politicians are saying in this election cycle; the sooner you invest in ‘You, Inc’, and turbo-boost your mental fitness, the better off you will be.

All the very best & God Bless.

Oct 132012
 
Legacy & the Laws - Resolve to Avoid Decline

I had the privilege & great fortune to read the ‘full version’ of this landmark book, appropriately named ‘Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE’ about 9 mos ago (my full review/recommendation is found on my second blog )

Now, the author, Mr. Orrin Woodward, has released a ‘Primer’ version, which will serve to further spread the crucial message of how important it is for modern day citizens to again build a foundation base on the core principles (resolutions) = those such as Purpose, Character, Vision, Leadership, & Adversity Quotient, to name just a handful.

Today’s post is focused squarely on the capstone resolution, #13 in both editions/versions = Legacy.

Legacy was also discussed in Mr. Woodward & Mr. Chris Brady‘s best-seller (on multiple well known lists!), LLR , as being part & parcel of Level 3 motivation.

In this chapter/resolution, we, the readers, are exposed to a topic that needs a LOT more attention in the world as we know it today, with societies and cultures in many cases declining due to various root causes – such as a lack of leadership, hubris, financial illiteracy, an excessive ‘peace & affluence’ mentality, too much cynicism/doubt, & too much of a focus on credentialism instead of true education. Mr. Woodward has come up with Five/5 Laws of Decline based on the thousands of books he has read, the thousands upon thousands of people he has met, and the many US states, Canadian provinces, and other nations of our world that he has visited.

Below is my brief commentary on these Laws (there’s no way I could top Mr. Woodward’s scholarship 😀 ) & how they tie back into entrepreneurship, freedom values, & setting your purpose to be laser focused on servant leadership & ownership.

5 Laws of Societal Decline 

1. Sturgeon’s Law

– Simply put, 90% of anything is substandard & doesn’t have ‘value add’ — the proverbial “noise” , the chaff to the wheat, to coin a couple simple ways to reframe what Mr. Sturgeon stated back in the 1950’s.  This clearly applies to leadership — how often we associate the word ‘leader’ too loosely to a person with simply a ‘credential’ , a flashy title, a ranked ‘position’ in society.  Once you apply this law, you end up finding out that only 10% of those ‘leaders’ are actually LEADERS. (caps intended for emphasis)

2.   Bastiat’s Law

– I had vaguely heard of Mr. Bastiat back during my professional track (i.e., under-grad) education, however, it took this excellent book to truly bring out how valuable of a contribution he made! I have a ton more to learn about him, needless to say 🙂  In short, though, this law states that the average man or woman will seek to satisfy his/her wants by putting exploitation and ease ahead of earning it through hard/smart work, over time. Therefore, you see how quite a few, sadly, respond emotionally to appeals of non leader politicians who use crass class warfare to pit class against class.

3. Gresham’s Law

– This one is deep!  And, oh so obvious when applied to the institutions that many of us are a part of, deal with, or must interact with daily. It states that non quality/unproductive will triumph over quality/productive; and, furthermore, what’s rewarded will increase over what’s not. There are several great examples in this chapter, however, my favorite, which is very timely, is how the value of the US Dollar, the world’s reserve (fiat) currency, continues to decline, since the Federal Reserve (‘Fed’) continues to devalue it every time they print more to buy more bonds – so, consumption and debt/financing (“money as a master” to Mr. & Mrs. Jones are being rewarded over production and savings/investment (“money as a slave”) to the same folks.

4. Law of Diminishing Returns

– I love the succinct description of this law:  Quantity up, quality down ( once a certain threshold is hit/exceeded.).  How true this is!  This is one reason why there’s so much discontent with large institutions in present day society;  think of it:  how effective is a large governmental agency?  how many mergers can a large corporation go through before its performance and quality of work, let alone the products/services offered show signs of less value add?   That’s why I personally no longer put any confidence in big business, big labor (unions), big government, or big educational institutions. The future is in tribal leadership, communities, entrepreneurship, & leadership/liber education.

5. Law of Inertia

– I am far from a scientist, nor was I a systems engineer like Mr. Woodward in his pre-leadership days 😀   In my eyes, this law is simple – unless you do something that is opposite from the crowd/herd, or more colloquially, the ‘sheep’ , you will run smack into this natural, universal law!  Another way to sum up:  Whatever the ‘CW’ (conventional wisdom’) says is the “right” thing to do – think of the popped ‘bubble’ in the housing market, or the quickly developing ‘bubble’ in professional track education, it’s much better to head the other way.  Sam Walton touched on this in Chapter 17 of his book:  Rule ’10’ , Swim Upstream.

I see a direct correlation from these laws back into having a defined purpose and being an owner/entrepreneur. An entrepreneur builds something to go from problem identified to problem solved, by offering a service to bridge the ‘opportunity’ gap in the middle.  Only entrepreneurs will be able to counter-act/balance these natural laws from causing irreversible decline as they continue to chip away at our societies. The freedom values of ingenuity, initiative, innovation, & tenacity rarely are found in any of the ‘big’ institutions discussed above; however, you’ll find them in abundance when you move into tribes (Seth Godin & Oliver DeMille discuss this in depth: read their books), communities (mini-‘factories’ , little platoons), and in the realm of leadership education .

Readers, please strongly consider investment in yourself – be an owner, build an asset, join a community/tribe, and pursuea add’t self-directed education outside of the ‘credentialist’ big institutions. When you have a purpose of serving others and being a 10% (read: true) leader, you will have taken big steps down the journey of moving against, and not towards/with, the 5 Laws so vividly discussed in this incredible book.

All the very best & many blessings to one and all.