Jun 152014
 
(Father's Day edition) - 'Courageous' - 2014 Rascal's Guide to + Movies Series - Two

Just in time for Father’s Day …

… it’s my privilege to post a review, and a very strong recommendation, to watch the movie ‘Courageous‘.

Courageous is a terrific movie filled to the brim with truths in it’s moving, insightful, & heartfelt script. It will tug at your metaphysical heartstrings, and make you really reconsider if you are doing all you can as a man in serving your family.

It is very much the case that not all males are men; a man is created from the crucible of living for far more than a paycheck. He is molded by his culture/society, his local community, his friends, his pastor/spiritual leader, and his family unit. Some men run from their multi-pronged duties, some blame shift, some never mature … and then, there are some that fight back the ‘FLD’ (Five Laws of Decline), and serve their families with honour, with courage, with character, and with a determination to never quit on them.

This latter group is what we see emerge as the movie eventually reaches its plateaus of raw emotion & decision point(s). Without spoilers, the four lead characters each have to come face to face with situations which test their faith (or lack thereof), and put them square in the middle of a moral battlefield. Will each of them make the right decision(s)? Will they buckle under pressure? Will they put the lure of lesser things ahead of the greatness and glory of God?

This movie earns an A+ from this reviewer for multiple reasons – it rings like a tuning fork in the quiet room, for starters. It also is very real; we know these characters don’t exist in real life, yet you can surely see them in the faces & voices of your neighbors. Additionally, the movie doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult issues that may be considered “off limits” by those who don’t understand that one should have thick skin & a soft heart, rather than the reverse.

Who would’ve thought that an independent studio could cobble together the funds to put out such a quality film, one may ask? These folks in Georgia did. This movie doesn’t cut corners and it shows in the high level of acting skill, scenery, and quality of script-writing.

As we celebrate Father’s Day in our land, this is the best way I could show support for all the men in my life who are fathers (and for those who read this blog whom I don’t know!): put up a review of a movie which is a must-see (and must own) to sharpen their saw ( Habit 7 ) and use this movie as a sterling example of what a father should be.

All best!

Nov 182013
 
Knowing your 'Why' = mission = legacy

Why

Missions

Legacy

 

Connecting the dots between such important topics is the hallmark and core of synergistic thinking. Covey spoke about this in the early ’90s via Habit 6, and there are other authors, thinkers, and speakers who also clearly understand the value of this kind of approach to analysis. Names which come to mind: Buckminster Fuller, Peter Senge, Oliver DeMille, & Stephen Palmer.

Additionally, being in the midst of a new ‘great conversation’ adds even more impetus; it’s challenging to resolve deep seated problems while approaching them in ‘silos’.

Being about halfway into the fantastic book, ‘Start With Why‘ , and having heard an audio track of a talk by Mr. DeMille re: uncovering one’s inner genius through the tools (technology) of defining mission(s), led me to better frame the capstone resolution 13 from a world class book which I read in late 2011, ‘Resolved’.  This resolution simply calls for the reader to focus on leaving a legacy.

In a previous post, I delved further into a review of that particular talk by Mr. DeMille; this post ties it together with Mr. Sinek & Mr. Woodwards’ books. Notice how all of these overlap?  Ah, it’s that synergy word!

I challenge the reader and those who blog (if you happen to be both of these, even better!), to think about missions, what his/her ‘why’ truly is, and how defining a legacy, regardless of one’s age, is so very important. Traditional, conventional wisdom encourages day to day, week to week, and at best, quarterly thinking. Reframing this way, will expand the mindset and move you out of your familiar zone

‘What’ you’re doing, and ‘how’ you’re doing it both remain important, however, the ‘why’ makes all the difference.

Knowing what legacy you plan to leave to your friends, family, local community, church/charity, & nation will serve as a major anchor to connect your bow line to, as you move towards realizing your vision and fulfilling your life’s purpose.

Lastly, having a mission(s) gives one something to chase well behind mere money. Passion should precede income at all times. And, there are so many fundamental challenges being discussed in the ‘great conversation’ which can be framed by defining a foundational mission and putting a solutions mindset to work.

It’s been said that leadership is the highest paying profession. All of these are inputs into true leadership – will you rise to the challenge?

Nov 042013
 
Why aren't you doing (or have quit doing) something worthy? ...

… There’s a strong likelihood that the reasons are deeply seated, below the surface of your life, and in need of being brought out so you can dedicate your days to something that will leave a mark in our dark world. Being a candle in such a world isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever embark on doing, however, it will have the most worth — by far.  ( I am living testament to this truth. )

From a fantastic audio recorded from a talk that I had the utmost pleasure to hear and experience in person,  below I’ve recapped the Top 10 reasons ##.  The reasons are fully from the speaker’s vast experiences in working with people for years upon years; the commentary below them is mostly my own, tying to my own ongoing journey taking the road less traveled.

**

10 > Pride

Prideful-ness is a major contributor to many negative traits and decisions. Often, it is connected to crowd-satisfying peer pressure, or negativity of some type. Study ways in which you can learn how to remove pride from your life to the greatest extent.

9 > Besetting sin(s)

In most anyone’s closet, there are skeletons from the past. After all, man is not by nature “good”, he (she) is a fallen sinner. We all have done, or perhaps are still doing, things which are sinful. Many quit something of value to avoid conflict, or to avoid having to confront thing(s) which are unpleasant.

8 > Lack of character

Resolution 2 from the highly regarded book, ‘Resolved’ includes an equation:  Integrity x courage = character. Do you know someone who quit before the finish line?  Perhaps he/she simply lacked the former, integrity itself. Or, on the other hand, maybe there was a shortage of courage at the root. Either way, character counts, as Os Guinness taught us in his short, and profound book of that name.

7 > Distractions

Broken focus. Ah, what was that you said again?!.  Yes, your focus was just broken. Maybe it was the lure of “lesser things” ( good > great , reversing the order ); or, was it a lack of sorting out your priorities from your urgencies and obligations?  Regardless: Distractions hurt the pursuit of the worth (-y).

6 > Comfort.

Odysseus fell prey to a siren song, did he not?  Have far too many modern day Americans, let alone most of the ‘First World’ citizens done the same as this well known Greek legend? Yes, I say — the verdict is in. Entitlements?  You’re entitled to very very little, except which is transmuted to you via natural laws. Comfort comes in many forms – if you want to join the 2-20% of society that is far ahead of the rest, avoid it! Have lots of fun, and restore yourself — self-care, so to speak, but don’t get comfortable!

5 > Dream is too small

The cure for this at the very root?  Three fantastic books:  ‘The Magic of Thinking Big”, “The Dream Giver”, & “Visioneering”.

You have to dream. And dream often & consistently. Please, though, do not confuse this with fantasy, or wishes, or the ‘SFN’ (Something for Nothing) club. Dreaming is a discipline, a requirement to be successful, and very invigorating to the soul, spirit, and mind. Be sure yours are B-I-G. !

4 > Relational challenges

We all have them, or had them, including me. It’s part of life in many ways – people are … people! And, since the 80-98% don’t study, learn, and practice human relations/people skills as a matter of due course, chances are, they have these challenges more often. To fix this instead of quitting something valuable to your legacy, study conflict resolution first. Best books in this area?  “Courage” & “The Anatomy of Peace”

3 > Personal responsibility

You’re the project. Simple as that. You cannot change others, and never, ever should you blame another person, let alone something inanimate, such as a golf club, for what you alone control. Personal responsibility is a brother to personal growth/change; it is the antithesis to dependence. Jump over independence, and move into the interdependent level of action & thinking to really learn how to get better on this point.

2 > Selfdoubt / low belief

Belief, and its companion faith, are imperative in everyone’s life. Quitting, being the opposite of success, easily can tie into missing the ‘belief’ coin. Let alone letting self-doubt, or being in a valley reflect your day to day living. Doubt is cured by plugging into better information — stopping listening to yourself — and, finding better association. One’s ‘tribe’, community, or platoon/foxhole should be shared with only those who are going to edify, uplift, encourage, and coach/mentor you to greater things. Get your hands on the new in 2013 book, “Confidence of a Champion” as a key add-on. It is stellar!

1 > Lack of mental toughness

A leader armours him/herself – tough skin required. Toughness is an ingredient in large quantities. The best read to counter-act this reason for joining the ‘quitter’s contingent’?  “Toughen Up!” — Mr. Hamilton pushes all the right buttons in this 2013 tome. In a world of correctors, cynics, discouragers, and unhealthy skeptics – many of whom do not read, or grow themselves in any other discerning way, adding layers of toughness, while keeping a soft heart, is the right way to prevent quitting due to this reason.

**

My hope is that this list & the books/tidbits tied to them, added a large measure of value. As always, comments & shares are deeply appreciated & welcomed. Gratitude in abundance is how I live.

**

## – that talk was from Mr. Chris Brady. You’ll find his blog in my blogroll, and numerous books that he authored, or co-authored, reviewed and recommended on my second (Tumblr) blog, also linked in the corner of the main splash page.  All the best to him & his family at all times, as his example is one that I wish to emulate as a lifelong self-directed student.

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~!

~~~~

May 272013
 
Book Recommendations & Reviews

Leaders are readers.

We know this to be rock solid advice for those who aspire to leadership, which starts by being a follower, and which grows through time through the private/self achievement(s), onto public achievement(s), and into the leadership realm, where you climb the stairs from Level 1 to Level 5.

With that in mind, I make it a point to pay forward book recommendations in the blogosphere; reviews are public and I hope they provide you the value-add you need to make the decision to read/invest in the book(s) thereafter.

Here’s a link to one of my most recent reviews:

http://tmblr.co/Zk5D-xlz2WXm

Note that this social media/blogging platform requires direct links to access outside of being a user/having a profile, so the above is meant to allow anyone an opportunity to view.

Have a fantastic week to come!

Apr 102013
 
Making a difference starts with ...

… better quality information.

Contention of the day:   Information changes lives.

Better yet to sharpen that & say:   World class information changes lives, so long as one has the courage to grow, to be honeable, and humble enough to confront his/her thinking head-on.

Personal testimonial. This is what I did starting just about three years ago. The information I had in my life up to that point had produced the results that I had, which, far from bad, were just … mediocre; additionally, my happiness was nearer to low tide than to flood tide level.

So, thanks to finding a mentor, associating positively with those who cared about my happiness and wanted to build a long lasting trusted friendship/relationship with me, things started to change, step by step:  days, then weeks, months, and now, into the years.

Now, rather than spending so much time worrying about things due to a bad attitude (especially on Mondays; now, all 7 days are equal in how much I look forward to them!), and a focus on self, rather than service, I live a far richer, blessed, and fruitful life in all areas measured through the 8 F’s and the 13 resolutions. I used to make ‘resolutions’ ( not really: they were ‘preferences’ and not decisions), and not live up to them; I used to spend a lot of valuable time sleeping in, or watching television, or reading books that just made me angry about current events, but offered no depth based solutions to fix things. Now, each of these time wasters and productivity drainers have been replaced by far more effectives uses of time, which allow me to make a difference and build a legacy; things such as:

Reading world class books – have built up a library and always am happy to recommend titles ( see my second blog for the write ups ) and also loan out books to those who are hungry to change

Listen to audio recordings which make me think, which challenge me to grow more, and which contain voices of those whose results I desire to have.

Watch various webinars, DVDs, and vid clips (You Tube) that contain information which leads me to be able to write up quotes to help stretch my thinking, push me out of my familiar zone, and bless others by being part of the 20% of society which “vibrates” to a positive frequency.

Association with other climbers, encouragers, and dreamers who have put serving others through servant, replacement driven leadership far ahead of their personal affluence, whims, pleasure, comfort, and entertainment.

And, am able to describe to others just how I did it and am able to pay it forward – Level 3 motivation is the capstone of a life well lived. Being a creator and part of a huge sea change in the West (esp America) which stresses putting the entrepreneurial/freedom values like tenacity, creativity, long term vision, and numerous others in one’s day to day lives.

Unquestionably, it is those who challenge their own thinking through the doorway of better information that can lead the way to an even brighter tomorrow. America’s best days are ahead, and so are the West’s, so long as we recognize the golden value of time far, far ahead of the silver value of money, and as we see the actions and habits we perform & take blaze a new pathway to far better results which will make a difference in our life, our immediate families, friends, community, and even, the nations in which we live.

May your days be filled with gratitude & all the best!

Apr 042013
 
Personalities & People

Greetings!

These two words could, and have (!), filled entire books, so my discussion of them and how they are fused together is necessarily brief in breadth, but is meant to still be impactful, esp.. for those readers whom are not in a mastermind/leadership growth style group, familiar with effective networking principles, and/or have not yet embarked on a self-directed/liber educational model.

Personality types:

I strongly recommend reading and applying the information from the following books:

Personality Plus  

The Great Connection

Robert Rohm also wrote a book ( I won’t list it above since I haven’t yet read it ) whose theme is personalities; I have listened to a leadership talk he gave on the backgrounder for them – so I can still easily recommend the D.I.S.C. model from the audio learning alone.

Layers”

Readers should most definitely check out the blog of one Mr. Bill Lewis to dive in further on this people related topic –>  http://bill-lewis.net/2012/11/01/be-encouraging-by-removing-your-layers/

From notes taken tying back to his blog, and from an audio he recorded, am happy to summarize details that I gathered from both sources. While I didn’t realize it before, most definitely, layers impact every single relationship, and person to person  encounters that we have, so understanding them & learning to grow through the below areas can only benefit you in every area.

The common layers >

Super serious all of the time; makes it difficult to laugh at yourself.

Sarcasmsarcastic

Cocky attitude / cockiness

Very defensive when questioned

Joking all the time ( there’s a diff. between being funny and this )

False humility

—— Two root issues if we don’t ‘shed’ these?  —-

We are seeking a desired avoidance or a desired response, rather than truly connecting with someone. The layer impedes trust and the ability to serve them without having yourself/self in the way.

You’re not in control and forcing something to happen; reaching for a desire should not be a motivating factor in relating with others.

 

Can the personality types in any of the three books discussed above lead someone to have more layers? Conceivably, yes. However, speaking personally, several of the layers from the above list were ones I had until I started to change personally — taking a mental ‘shower’, if you will. While facing issues like layers will be a lifelong challenge, it is one that I face with aplomb, and information like the above from the books, blog, audio, and associating positively (while rebuilding social capital), many more will learn their personality, be able to relate to the differing personalities of others, and avoid or remove the layers.

Have a terrific day ahead & be blessed on your journey of a 1,000 steps.