Mar 022014
 
p A i L s = High level significance

Whom amongst you would have expected that a pail would signify anything but:

.. Something used at the beach.

… A tool used to haul water from a well.

…. or, a plastic carrier for kids to use for Halloween candy.

Not any longer … a pail(s) has far more significance here in 2014. Why, one may ask?

It is now a visual metaphor for significance in your life. I’d heard a talk a few months ago re: this concept, and it really hit a home run; it was profoundly impactful for someone who had spent so many years just surviving and passing the time – I was doing “pretty well”, or was I?

( When you spend many hours of the week in non growth activities like watching TV & shopping on credit, or excessive time on social media sites, is that really doing well?  )

This post will just scratch the surface of this new wisdom that I’m blessed to pay forward – there’s a strong likelihood that there will be a future post with more detail; for certain, there will be a book review.

PAiLs stands for :

Preparatory experiences [ potential ]

+ future focused

Actualization

+ present day/actions, activities, habits

in/to

Legacy

+ what you plan to leave behind ( “rescued into the past.” )

(with/notwithstanding)  Spillage

+ time lost by design/intentional, or un-intentionally that didn’t get you closer to your aspirations.

Profound, yes?

Think about it. In depth. Don’t react, nor respond. Definitely ponder how it may change your thinking on each of those 86,400 seconds that you are granted every time you start anew each day.

Strongly recommend taking a moment to review & check out the same talk ( & now, also a book) that served as the inspiration for the core of this post. You will not regret doing so for even one minute.

Feedback is always welcomed & encouraged. Create a great week ahead!

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.

Jun 302013
 
The never-ending value of audio based learning

The only edge that you have in this economy – which is moving ever faster & deeper into the internet/connected/tribal/information age – is how much of a learning culture you’ve immersed yourself in. This culture could be a mastermind group, a community that you’ve built, a challenge (such as the MFC) that you participate in with friends, or even just by yourself.

Part of this learning is necessarily audio based. Adults tend to learn best by being impacted from all their senses — eyes ( reading, video ), ears ( see this post. ), and via “touch” ( positive association with others of like mind, purpose, and vision. ).  A topic like this could easily form the thesis of a whole book; thus, this post will cover a major theme of the value of such learning.  Learning, framed w/ the right mindset ( humility, honeable, hungry ) can easily equate into wisdom, as you learn how to discover, which is a core of true education.

With that foundation, laid, below is a list of the many fundamental reasons why you should invest in your own thinking via audios:

+ + + + +

> They put a lid on your own self-talk, so you don’t take advice from yourself. Bottling up your personal negativity is a key forward step to living for significance and not just survival..

> They substitute in something that is positive & valuable to help grow yourself.

> The impartation of timeless principles of success and good living.

> They take the place of the world’s dominant media, the vast majority of which is very negative, de-edifying, and lacking in wisdom.

> An input into building a strong attitude & sharpening your purpose.

> Give you staying power and persistence, allowing you to get through low points, valleys, and the inevitable bumps in life.

> They start to build an entrepreneurial mindset, one of an owner.

> The building of dreams, encouragement of belief in something bigger than your present reality.

> They teach principles of self-confidence, posture ( steadfastness ), & individuality ( vs. negative peer pressure/conforming to the crowd )

> Principles of consistency, which are lacking often in a society that is so steeped in a microwave mentality that pits the ‘quick fix’ ahead of ‘staying the course.’

+ + + + +

May you find this insight valuable on your own pathway to personal growth, change, and as you learn how to serve others first. Thank you for taking the time to read, and all the very best!

______________________________

* with sincere, heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Chris Brady, whose talk inspired the content of this entire post ( some of the wording and organization of the points was mine – icing on the cake 🙂 )

Mar 182013
 
Do social capital & mental fitness overlap?

To answer the question in the post header …  my answer is an unqualified ‘Yes’.  Of course, as always with my blog, comments are most welcome, however, first, let’s discuss this in more detail:

( note that these are core topics that can fill entire books, so the post’s purpose is to encourage sensus plenior = metaphorical, systems based type thought, reflection, and focus. May it make you a better person too! )

 

Social Capital

Social capital & a related ‘twin’, community building, both cover some similar ground. One way to describe is putting a premium on voluntary association in/with groups of like minded people. Rebuilding of organizations that focus on positive social capital creation & maintanence is imperative in order to restore a key building block that made America what it used to be in the time of the Founding generation, and well into the 19th century.

I could cite a litany of groups that fit under this vast umbrella; to wit:  YMCA/YWCA; 4-H; Red Cross, Salvation Army, PTA, church youth groups/Sunday school, and even local governmental bodies / positions within like a (low or non paid) city manager or mayor, council member, or volunteer fire fighter.

Regrettably, as our culture and society has fractured due to various reasons over the past century, participation in these groups has not kept up with population growth and the aging of those who made time spent in/with these groups central to their lives. I’ve nothing against technology, as its march into our lives will continue forward and has brought us numerous positives, however, I’d cite it, a too relentless focus on trading time for money, and too many hours spent on personal entertainment (mass media) as the main culprits to lift time spent building social capital and community to where they need to be.

How does the ‘twin’, community building, come into the picture?  Community building is a focus on growing your own leadership ability to lead someone to follow you. Cast a vision, focus on one’s purpose, coach/mentor/counsel, and bring out the best in everyone, and you have the core “tools” to build a community. And if you compensate it, that’s the icing on the cake 🙂

Mental Fitness

Mental fitness. A broad category/classifiation, indeed. For the purposes of this post, let’s define as a focus on strengthening your ability to handle what life brings your way – for instance: building relationships (esp friendships); generating the right mindset/attitude; how to handle conflict & adversity.

What vehicle are you using to grow your mental fitness ‘muscle’?  Are you even growing it, or is it weakening?  It is really important to realize how important it is to be humble, honeable, and hungry  to get better; no one who understands people skills will think any less of you if you admit that you can be a better person through conscious focus!

The mental fitness of our society overall, I believe, has been weakened by the very same forces that I discussed above: technological over-dependency; mass media over-entertainment, and too much focus on making money over making memories and putting time ahead of dollars instead of trading them. Like the re-generation of social capital, this can be fixed, and there are people out there who realize this – anyone from Peter Block, Robert Putnam, John StahlWert, Chris Brady, Dan Hawkins, and Charles Murray, to name just a few.

Some concluding thoughts >

The overlap gives those who want to restore a foundation in America (let alone other Western nations) a ring of bulls eyes to focus on. Does this mean that someone who wants to improve his/her mental fitness or rebuild social capital cannot ever entertain him/herself?  That he/she cannot have a smartphone, or social media accounts?  No! It just means that you have to parcel out your time more wisely:  We have the exact same 24 hour day as all the men and women who have walked the Earth before us, yet there is far too many who say they are “busy”. That is a time allotment and prioritization issue, and nothing else, at its direct core.

Recommendation:  Find a mentor & join a group that is focused on building communities & instilling mental fitness and social capital in our society. By definition, it’s a voluntary decision and quite often, the decision is the best thing that you’ll ever do. Why?  You are growing yourself personally, and given tools to bring out your inner genius, so you can, over time, pay it forward to someone else. Your legacy won’t be written by how many hours of TV you watched, how many songs you have on your iPod, how much O/T you worked, or how many times you posted on your Facebook:  these are all part of the fabric of your life, however, your real legacy is reflected back in how many people you edified; how many marriages you helped improve, how many you helped to get out of debt & grow their financial literacy, how much better you handle conflict and adversity, and the revival of the numbers who are joining you in whichever social capital groups that you are part of.

These are part of a mission which has completely revolutionized my life, and I extend my hand to others to ponder it in depth as I did/have. Many kind regards, blessings, and success to you!

Dec 302012
 

Role models. Heroes. Those who carry a positive burden.  Leaders.

These are descriptors that sum up proactively what I’m going to discuss in today’s post.

First, let’s discuss those whom should not be considered any of the above ** :

Actors/Actresses

Other celebrities.

Politicians.

Sports stars/athletes.

Mass media stars ( anchors, reporters, journalists.)

From my reading, listening, and associating positively, I have come to the foregone conclusion that the real role models, heroes, and leaders are those whom we can look to from our rich history and from the present day who aspire to live up to timeless values, principles, and resolutions which bring out, as Alan Loy McGinness taught us, the best in people.

These are those whom should be considered instead :

Entrepreneurs

Statesmen

First Responders

Social capital rebuilders

 Authors/writers

Why, for instance, would an entrepreneur be a role model for our culture/society?  Simple. He/she/they have stepped out from the crowd/herd, and built a business, nearly always from scratch, and by doing so, has put up a bridge between a problem identified and a likely solution.

Think of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Randy Gage, Carrie Wilkerson, & countless other entrepreneurs too numerous to name. These men & women were/are rascals. They made, and still are, making a difference by doing something to ‘dent the universe’, and not simply settling for their perceived lot in life, as far too many do by default (or due to following societal norms/conventional wisdom)

Social capital rebuilders – who/what am I talking about?  I am referring to those who have grasped that something is wrong with our society due to a lack of interdependent thinking, connectedness, bonds of true friendship, faith/hope, strong marriage, and model parenting. As these entail a vast percentage of what really makes someone happy, someone who embraces any or all of these should be a role model worth writing about, following, or studying; Edmund Burke realized this centuries ago, and today, Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Art Jonak, Oliver DeMille, Paul Zane Pilzer, Bob Burg, John Maxwell, Tony Dungy, & Seth Godin fill this bill very well.

First responders. That’s an easy one. Think of 9/11:  Every single man & woman who ran TOWARDS danger, knowing that they were serving others by upholding their responsibility, is automatically a qualification to be a role model, and a hero worth emulating. Unquestionably.

Authors/writers. Regardless of the medium/vehicle used to consume, study, and then apply the wisdom (paperback, hardback, audio, or e-reader), authors and writers should be applauded and properly recognized as role models for our citizenry. Thomas Jefferson once said that he couldn’t live without books, and there are many other fantastic quotes from history just like his; in short, do not let technology or entertainment distract you from consuming the words that these men & women put from their will, heart, and head into yours.

Lastly, statesmen/women. What a HUGE difference there is between this category and politicians!  Huge. The same yawning gap exists between a politician and a true leader. We are seeing this today in present day America & elsewhere in the West, especially when compared to those who practiced and understood public virtue and servant leadership from our past. These names should never be forgotten:  Thomas Nelson, Abraham Clark, & Robert Morris. All three of these men, along with their wives, were statesmen & women were heroes. Look up their stories: There’s nothing that changes the world more than these type of folks.

I hope this blog stirred something in your mind, your heart, and/or your souls. We must understand the true nature of those whom we pattern our lives after and define, learn, and then do our way to success with the right role models. The world as a whole badly needs true leadership, and these categories of citizens are those who have the most to offer.

** – There are always exceptions, I think of Joe Thomas, Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, Andy Roddick, & Chuck Norris.

Have a fantastic night & week ahead!

Dec 152012
 
Monthly Movie Recommendation for Eagles & Climbers – V

Today’s blog post is the fifth 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 :) November’s movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( those who soar! ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 1984’s original script by Robert Mark Kamen, which ended up as the film known world wide as   ‘The Karate Kid‘.

As this is yet another movie that’s been released well over 20 years ago (28! believe it or not, ’80s fans), there’s not much new I can share about the characters, favorite scenes/lines, or otherwise, however, my specific intent is to tie the script’s premise into the LIFE mantra of the 8 core F’s and/or the MFC‘s 13 resolutions for LIFE. I’d say it goes without saying that Daniel ended up living intentionally for excellence by the time the movie’s credits started rolling!  🙂

As with any movie, song, poem, or other medium, it is quite often when one looks below the surface level (“waves”) with his/her thinking that you unearth much more meaning, applicability, and messaging. Oliver DeMille  calls this ‘sensus plenior’ , or metaphorical/depth thought. Applying this thinking is so much more powerful and useful when on a journey of leadership growth, personal change, discovery! Daniel’s journey from semi-confident ‘Jersey home anchored teen to emotionally & physically scarred California transplant teen is rather jarring, however, I am quite sure that many in the world, America/West, or elsewhere, have been through something like what he experienced on screen.

Notice how much his life changed for the better once a coach/mentor (and, additionally in his case, a father figure/replacement) entered his life?  Why don’t many more of us listen twice as much and talk twice as less and grow/learn/prosper as he did?   I’d say the root reason is that society/culture teach children -> teens things entirely backwards!   It should be ‘Define’ -> ‘Learn’ -> ‘Do’  rather than the more commonplace ‘Do’ -> ‘Learn’ -> ‘Define’. What does this excellent teaching movie show us about the 13 resolutions ?   Let’s dive in!

Resolution 1 – Purpose:   Daniel, not wanting to leave NJ, had to discover his purpose after being dropped in a very unfamiliar environment.  It took him a while, however, once he did, his life improved immeasurably.

Resolution 2 – Character:  Integrity x Courage.  Mr. Miyagi & Daniel’s mentor-student tag team covered very neatly! The mentor was a man of few words, and high integrity ( the scene with Daniel discovering the old newspaper articles & medals is raw and powerful! ), whereas the student developed the courage to confront his “goliath” over the span of numerous training montages.

Resolution 3 – Attitude:  Daniel’s was in dire need of an overhaul. His mother didn’t discuss the cross country move w/ him, and without his friends, and with no father figure while his mother worked a lot, we see that his self-talk was in the bottom of the barrel. However, as he met, dated, lost, then patched things up with Ali, and became very close to Miyagi, his attitude did an almost full 180!

Resolution 4 – Vision:  When the subconscious mind (‘elephant’) & conscious mind (‘ant’) are not aligned, one’s ability to achieve, to realize goals & dreams, and to have a positive affirmative vision of victory is stifled. Daniel clearly had to work through this during the film, and Miyagi’s calm and cool demeanor, and hidden lessons served as just the tonic that the young teen needed.

Resolutions 5 & 6:  PDCA + Scoreboard‘ing:   Having the plan & do of training for the karate tournament truly served a huge role in the student’s progress towards his mentor’s highest aspirations. The scoreboard of 3 points for a win?  Very clear. Being able to consult with his mentor during the training montages, and later, this tourney?  Allowed the ‘check’ and ‘adjust’ steps to take firm grip and lead to the wins on the scoreboard!

Resolution 7 – Friendship:  Daniel and Miyagi’s relationship during the movie very neatly covered this resolution’s core. It became beyond clear to the viewer during the scene after Daniel obtained his license & stopped over at Miyagi’s for birthday cake 🙂

Resolution 8 – Finances:   Lucille, Daniel’s single mom, made clear early on that there wasn’t much room in their California budget for karate lessons at a ‘good school’ – and how well that turned out for Daniel!!  It doesn’t take chasing money to get what you want; it takes having positive energy and cultivating your time doing the right things.

Resolution 9 – Leadership:   A leader casts a positive vision, has influence, is purposeful, and serves. Undoubtedly, Mr. Miyagi meets this definition head-on. So very often, the leaders in our lives are those who have no titles, no positions, no credentials, and no press clippings.

Resolution 10 – Conflict Resolution:  If Daniel, let alone his tormentors (Johnny, Tommy, Dutch, Bobby) only knew about the five/5 steps, so much would have been better for the new kid from Jersey at his new high school.  Not to mention Sensei Kreese, who taught violence as an answer well ahead of resolution to one’s issues. Miyagi’s family culture in Okinawa taught this resolution quite well, minus what we later find out in the sequel!

Resolution 11 – Systems Thinking:  Once someone grasps this kind of thinking (a la, Peter Senge, Chris Brady, Ray Kroc, Orrin Woodward, Sam Walton), it changes your perspective on everything. Daniel was able to grasp, after Miyagi’s admonition on the deck, how the “wax on, wax off” , “paint fence, up! down!”, “sand the floor. sand the floor” , & “paint house. Not up, down. Side, Side” connected to karate. It felt, looked, and sounded like just a bunch of hooey until the switch clicked on.

Resolution 12 – Adversity Quotient:  This one undoubtedly applied. As a review, AQ = IQ x EQ x WQ.  Putting aside IQ, as that side of Daniel wasn’t brought out in the script, it was clear that his EQ was in great need of repair, renewal, & insight from a mentor. Mr. Miyagi was clearly a father figure for him, and over the months that passed, with all the training, and friendship, the EQ became whole by the final scene at the tournament.  Lastly, Daniel’s WQ was improved along the road that the young man traveled from his arrival at the California apartment complex to the All Valley Under 18 tournament’s many matches.

Resolution 13 – Legacy:  Legacy cuts across personal, public, and leadership achievements, and is tied to the 8 F’s as well. Daniel’s personal growth under the wing of a wise mentor led to public achievement, and he was able to grow into a Level 2 Leader. His family life, faith, friends, fun, following, & fitness also grew as his legacy was shaped from the opening scenes in NJ to the final music as the credits rolled.

 

I hope this review resonates, enlightens, and makes the readers think and ponder. All the very best to everyone, and may your life be enriched on your growth journey!

 

Oct 082012
 
Manifestos - Value to the Eye, Value to the Heart, & Value to the Mind

Today, I chose to post a blog about the value of manifestos in our modern times. This is by no means a comprehensive study – just a compilation of my favorites, with a snapshot & a link to where you can buy my all time #1 to hang on your wall 😀

So, what is the value, you might ask?

My answer is multi-faceted.  First, I’d start with saying that without foundational principles and truth to build upon, the house you live in will not withstand the buffeting winds of circumstances, events, & distractions. Second, knowing why you believe what you believe is very crucial.  Next, having a core theme/thesis to wrap your vision around, to anchor dreams to … let alone shape your legacy:  that’s purpose.  If you can sum things up in a manifesto, you’ve put words and images side by side, and are appealing to both your conscious and subconscious minds.  Lastly, a manifesto’s value today is priceless in that it puts priorities ahead of urgencies, and long term thinking ahead of the next shiny (short term) object/distraction:  You’ll notice that with the manifestos on my list.

To sum up, here’s my list (ever evolving and sure to grow!) of manifestos.  I hope one, several, or all of them appeal to your mind, heart, & will/spirit!

ALL TIME FAV :

Rascal Manifesto

REST OF TOP 5 :

(in no particular ranked order)

Seth Godin’s Education Manifesto

Producer’s Manifesto

Entrepreneur’s Manifesto

Leave a Legacy Manifesto

AND, here are several others that deserve (very) honourable mention :

Leadership Education Manifesto

Live Extraordinary Manifesto

 

All best regards!  As always, thank you for visiting & reading!

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 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. )