Jul 062014
 
Invest in Independence ... Every single day.

A republic, age 238 years: America. Always a bright beacon; a light house beckoning humanity to its vast shoreline. To visit its amazing landmarks, vibrant cities, small towns, beaches, & farms ….. America has offered all eight meanings of freedom, abundance in all its forms, and a potpourri of means to grow and prosper economically, spiritually, & socially. That is the ever enduring siren call of our blessed, bountiful, and native land …

So, today (and every single day), renew your vows & your sacred duty to preserve all of what you love, value, & treasure about our country. Prevent the FLD & promote with all your might the SDS … Read the Federalist & Anti Federalist Papers; The Constitution, & the Declaration. The SDS are the keystones for the next hundred years of birthdays.

God Bless our Independence Day!

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.

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!

Mar 232013
 
14

This was so eye opening to me, that I immediately had my next blog post topic!

So yes, we’ve all heard of rules before. Many times. Often. However, what about these kind of “rules” , those which have a strong root in past history, and can surely be re-applied as history’s rotating cycle has brought us into a ‘4th season’ and on the upcoming brink of a ‘1st season’ ?   Most definitely worth discussing!

These 14 are derived from C.E. Sargent’s classic read, ‘Our Home‘ , which is a Top 100 recommendation on the TJed Teen/Youth list, thereby making it a must-read, regardless of if you grew up in this classical educational tradition, are now embarking on it, or will be in the future.

One/1 :  Embrace the New, then Embrace the Now.

“Those who pine away for the old will not succeed, nor will those who wait around for the old days to come back.”

Two/2 : Spend evenings and Sundays with family.

Community’s cornerstone is the family unit. When endless entertainment, excessive trading of time for money, dissolution of family, or other issues arise, it’s surely best to address these at the root.

Three/3 : Strengthen your selfculture.

This is the antithesis of popular culture; it runs counter to the concept of peer pressure (fitting in with the crowd, looking for approval, being right with others)

Four/4 : Articulate and write out your individual rules for life.

Who are you?  Leaders are not conformists, except to core morals & goodness.

Fifth/5 : The focus of families is on raising adults & the focus of education is to prepare young people to be good parents & informed citizens.

Opportunities abound to offer leadership and other crucial chances to impact society positively to those age 12 & up; responsibility is borne from the need to help the family succeed.

Sixth/6 : Meaning is a central component of learning.

Replacing the tunnel focus on ‘getting ahead’ & prosperity for self. Gratitude, mistakes as growth moments, & persistence shine through.

Seventh/7 : Spend time serving the less fortunate/vulnerable in society.

Service ahead of self (entertainment all the time) and boredom are moved aside. This creates real community and rebuilds social capital.

Eighth/8 : Marriage as a central, vital project/focus.

This evolves from putting working & parenting ahead of your spouse. Family is strengthened, tying back to the fifth rule above.

Ninth/9 : Pursue & complete a true leadership education.

Also known as an ‘Impact’ education, this replaces 1:1 the previous focus on job & career / professional track. Initiative, ingenuity, tenacity, creativity, and persistence, amongst other skills/values are at the core.

Tenth/10 : Entrepreneurship.

A must. Period. Even for those who have apparent security in their job/career, many find that the security translates to prosperity or fulfillment. The views of entrepreneurs changes over the seasons; the best to emulate is “build(ing) a business to change the world.”

Eleventh/11 :  Produce wealth.

The best time to produce wealth? Build it when the community, including your family (to maintain standard of living), your country, and society need it the most — in times of economic calamities and challenge. The response is to become a producer, which is far more valuable than a dependent, victim, employee, or consumer.

Twelfth/12 : Developing Creativity and Inventiveness.

Doing so helps address society’s problems & ties back to the 11th rule in producing something(s) of value. Opportunity springs from challenges in offering people what they need, as well as want, even in times that it seems far more difficult to do so.

Thirteenth/13 : Inner resiliency.

Winston Churchill is a wonderful role model for this rule. He was able to remain optimistic and enthusiastic even when life was very very hard. Leadership dovetails perfectly here with effecting positive change.

Fourteenth/14 : Growing your ambition.

Being clear to define ‘ambition’ in the right context for the season/time, as either/both of these >  Making sure the right side wins. Making sure the right changes happen.

The quality of the education and leadership determines at the heart what will result from the winning side’s victors and after the change(s) take place.

 

Did this information hit you as mentally hard as it did me?  I have come to believe more and more that the times we are in are far from what the self-anoited ‘experts’ are saying is a ‘great recession’; on the contrary, it is far, far deeper than that. However, without reading, studying, and listening, let alone associating with those who also do these things, its clear why a fair number of those in America & the West have agreed, at least on the surface.

Comments are most welcome. Thank you, as always, for reading, and God Bless.

————————————————-

* Chapter 7 in the terrific book, ‘Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens” was my primary reference for the above; some of the comments below each rule are mostly my own, tying in from other books.

Dec 232012
 

Culture. That word alone can be the theme of an entire book!  So, suffice to say, I will not be delving in too deeply, just skirting the word’s meaning/definition and tying it into the words ‘credential’ (-ist) & ‘consumer’ to form the core of this pre-Christmas post.

As the West has always faced its share of challenges, two of these are much more recent, and perhaps have eluded the radar of many citizens, those being the rise of an overly credentialist and consumerist culture. What are the definitions & tell-tale signs of each, one might ask?

Credentialist:  Someone who believes that they are an expert, and knows all there is to know based strictly on having various paper-based, classroom-focused credentials, whether a B.A., B.S., M.A., M.B.A., J.D. or post doctoral coursework.  A person(s) who believes he/she/they can make decisions for others who may not have as much schooling*

Consumerist:   A person(s) who, incidentally or otherwise, puts consumption of goods & services ahead of production; Someone whom does not anchor their consumption to what they can actually afford based on their production, but rather, uses credit to expand their income beyond their means to pay in the present without selling off their future; lastly, someone who does not know, understand, or ignores the vast difference between expenses & investment.

Here’s why I believe both of these to be challenges that require a firm and even-handed response:  Both are acting together, and in some cases separately, to erode the foundations of free enterprise and the traditions of the West which brought countries like the United States and Canada unprecedented prosperity.  How so, one might ask?

First, while I’d not say there is anything wrong with classroom based schooling, there is something wrong when men & women get credentials and any of these happen thereafter:

1. He/she/they cannot find a stable career that pays back the time spent in earning the credential(s)

2. The credential offering institution does not focus on entrepreneurship as a way forward.

3. The schooling leads to thinking which does not offer the student(s) the mindset to know and understand “How” to think, rather than just “what” and/or “when”.

4. The debt burden for attaining the credential(s) puts the student in financial bondage.

5. The credentials lead to a way of thought that says “I earned “X” , therefore I am smarter than you” and I am immediately qualified to make decisions for everyone else.

6. The schooling does not recognize or teach that values like creativity, tenacity, innovation, humility, character, & purpose matter, and always will matter.

Second, while every one of us is a consumer of goods & services, putting consumerism on a shelf and almost considering it a religion to be worshipped, that is where the common, every day need to consume crosses over into the challenge for us to recognize, face, & counter-act. Here’s why this matters:

1. Consumerist culture alone pushes too many citizens into financial bondage to credit card companies, banks, leasing agencies/firms, marketers, advertisers, & Hollywood/NY/Miami celebrity trends.

2. Seed corn/wheat is a metaphor for having money always available to invest in oneself. (no, I’m not talking about 401(k)s and stocks) – when one is a consumer above most/all else, he/she often not only has no seed in reserve, but actually OWES seed to someone else — i.e., a bank!

3. Compound interest is the 8th Wonder of the World in some respects, and not only does it have such a label, it is also, sadly, a mystery to the majority of citizens, who haven’t had financial education in the K-12 (conveyor belt) schooling (and often not much more, if any, in undergrad or graduate professional track curriculum)

4. Consumerism often puts pleasure and short term thinking well ahead of happiness and mid to long term vision.

5. Being that there is a gigantic difference between investment & expense, it is crucial to grasp the concept of delayed gratification, and how buying books, listening to audios, attending seminars & conventions, and the like is an investment in one’s MIND, and therefore, has a return that cannot be measured in mere dollars and cents alone. Expenses come and go out of one’s wallet, and often draw a person(s) into bondage to others, especially if compound interest is involved, without the same return.

6. There is nothing at all amiss with having fun, and entertaining oneself; however, restoration and serving others is far more valuable than just spending money to have temporary fun, esp. if its seed wheat, on something that is often not remembered even a week later.

To bring these both together and tie to the response needed to counter-act the challenges posed, I offer up some thoughts, and some references to other sources.

Response A : Read. History will show that many many great men & women did not have so much schooling, yet they were highly educated. If you don’t read much, or at all now, start small:  15-20 mins./day-night, and build a habit. Trade those 15-20 for wasted time already in your day:  while waiting for an appointment; while (in park!!) in a traffic jam; by turning off the radio or TV in a 1:1 ratio to time spent in a book.

Response B : Listen. Audios (CD, mp3, vid clips, webinars) are golden. Learn from someone else’s experience(s) – especially someone who may not have any press clippings, however, he/she has the ‘fruit on the tree’ and has earned the responsibility to lead, and thus is worth following.

Response C : Associate positively. One can spend time most anywhere and for any amount of time, yet, is it in an environment where education is primary, and does it encourage personal growth and change that will ripple outwards into society?

Response D : Pay it forward/Serve others. If you have read a great book, listened to a fantastic audio, or been to an event that inspired you to find your purpose, sharpened your vision, and taught you principles and not pragmatism, bring someone else with you next time!  Give that book or audio to a friend(s) who may be struggling with life’s circumstances.

Response E : Do not confuse schooling and education. Being in school is one thing, but is the student coming out on the other end of the tunnel with an education?  Therefore, look into a self-directed/liber education, and understand how many in the West had just such an education and changed the world ( Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Franklin, et al. )

Response F : Use an acronym like “Y-D-I-L” as a financial education tool.  Y = You, Inc. Invest in your mind first, always. D = Debt. Pay off all consumer debt as quickly as you can, ahead of saving or investing in non mental things. I = Investment. This is the classic type of investment that the conventional wisdom teaches; nothing wrong with it, however, it comes after the first two letters. L = Lifestyle. Be a consumer last. Of course, you have to eat and buy clothes, and shop for a place to live with a roof; otherwise, never let an advertiser, PR specialist, the mass media, or a celebrity/sports star convince you to part with your hard earned income to “look like” him/her/them.

Response G : Understand the value of production. Study, think like, and learn from entrepreneurs. Even better, become an entrepreneur!  What you learn from the transition from employee-ship type thought to ownership type thought is priceless; there’s no dollar value that can be placed – it is that important to the future of our culture and the restoral of the Western world that reigned supreme for centuries.

 

Nothing but the best to one & all. May you find your North Star, and put service ahead of self!  Blessings & good will to my readers. 🙂

Dec 192012
 

… must understand, study, and learn from history.

That is the unvarnished truth. Yet, the West, especially America, has drifted from this truth, and the results have been evident.

For instance, while I had top of the line results in my history classes from K-12 (conveyor belt) & in my undergrad (professional track), I never learned much about the Sumerians; I only recall a very limited discussion from a class in middle school.

So, when I learned the the first known reference to the word ‘freedom’ was from clay tablets dating to the Sumerian era, it was a new discovery. How grateful I am to learn and grow on a self-directed educational journey that covers so many genres!

During the reign of Urukagina, in roughly ~2,350 B.C., one of the tablets referred to (slightly paraphrased from the translation), “Make manifest to all, by means of the written word.”

What possible impact does this have 4,300+ years later?  Plenty!  While there is nothing wrong with having fun ( after all, it is one of the 8 F’s 🙂 ), too much entertainment at the expense of learning and true education has caused many citizens to lose touch with their roots. And, in many cases, whether intentionally or unintentionally, a large number have also outsourced their thinking, and are relying on others who often do not have their best interests in mind.

The sooner this is counter-acted through intentionally living for excellence by sharpening the saw ( Habit 7 ), the better off we will all be as citizens, voters, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and friends.

Have a great evening!