Jul 082013
 
On a peak (of life)? in a valley (also of life)?

I recently put a cap on a terrific book called ‘Peaks and Valleys‘ by Spencer Johnson, M.D. What a truly inspired read! I compare it to the ‘Great Connnection‘ , ‘Leadershift‘ , and ‘The Ant and the Elephant‘ in terms of how much it impacted me through the lens of a business parable writing style. This post will not serve as a recommendation / review of the book ( please visit my other blog for that in near future ), but rather, I will sum up some immediate thoughts that I had about the book; it’s core themes can easily be applied to anyone’s life.

Five Major Themes

1 + ‘To Manage Your Good and Bad Times:’ > ‘Make Reality Your Friend’

What an on point, to the heart question Mr. Johnson poses! “What is the truth in this situation?”

How often do we allow ourselves to think independently, or use our self-talk as a positive, rather than a huge lead weight?  Let alone bringing the word ‘truth’ into the solution to a problem, however small or vexing, or seemingly unsolveable?

2 + ‘To Get Out of a Valley Sooner:’ > ‘Find and Use the Good Hidden in a Bad Time’

Fantastic perspective! How often have we heard that there’s a silver lining in every dark cloud?  This is a corollary of that metaphor. Yes, but it sounds so corny?! You may say..

Sure, you may respond that way, and it may even be the case, however, being able to laugh at yourself and have fun, even in bad times, brings levity and is like dropping some of the bricks from the bag which you filled yourself.

3 + ‘To Stay on a Peak Longer:’ > ‘Appreciate and Manage Your Good Times’

Absolutely. Comparing this to what I’ve heard on an audio multiple, multiple times — you should not eat your seed corn or wheat. These crops are akin to good times; one may also be familiar with the metaphor, ‘every good time must come to an end’

Don’t use these in any way but to be a good steward of your resources — financially, do not spend every penny that you make; ignore the incessant calls to borrow more money which will keep you in debt in perpetuity — relationally, always be humble, do what you have done to get to your peak. Turn the spotlight off of yourself, and onto others.

4 + ‘To Get to Your Next Peak:’ > ‘Follow Your Sensible Vision’

Mr. Johnson describes it well – “Imagine yourself enjoying a better future in such specific, believable detail, that you soon enjoy doing what takes you there

You cannot merely fantasize, wish, or pretend; you have to use the immense power of vision ( Resolution 4 ) combined with planning, doing, checking, and adjusting ( Resolutions 5 & 6 ) to make what you have dreamed about real!

Bastiat’s Law, one of the FLD, will tug you away from doing any of these last four action steps, making you want to play the lottery, or wait for someone to leave you inheritance monies, however, to scale a peak require real work and effort.

Lastly, 5 + ‘To Help People:’ > ‘Share It with Others!’

Simple, yes? However, don’t fall into a trap of human-ness, and want to hold these lessons close to you like a blanket in the winter; be grateful you heard them, and turn around and pay them forward. Resolution 13 is a clarion call to thinking well beyond you, and planting the seeds that will become great trees, or stalks of corn, or fruit in others’ lives; those whom you may barely know, or will never meet.

Whether you give this book out as a gift, loan your personal copy to someone, practice these lessons and be the example in front of everyone, or something else not listed, just be sure to get “outside of yourself”, and put service before self.

~~~~

Have a wonderful week~!

~~~~

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.