Jul 152015
 
The 15 Root Issues

Over the course of the next few months, this blog will be used to spotlight, issue by/per issue, each of the fifteen/15 root issues that exist within the traditional public school/undergraduate educational models, which span from pre-K all the way through the end of the four years until a B.A., B.S., or other functional equivalent credential is received.

The full list of 15 is below to get us started:

o Little, if any, focus on people (soft) skills
o Entrepreneurial / business ownership mindset is rarely, if ever, taught
o Instilling a vision & encouragement of dreams is missing/lacking.
o Financial literacy / wisdom ( too much focus on consumerism )
o “Silo” approach to learning / too narrow. ( nearly all, if not all, content is, and should be, inter-linked.)
o Political climate
o Testing ( credentialist )
o Gift sets ( define/learn/do ) not a focus. Too much standardization and conformity.
o Autonomy & empowerment ( teaching critical/depth thinking )
o Leadership is for all.
o ROI ( $$ -> results ) – this equation is not bearing fruit.
o Stuck in past era/age(s) – the amount of time in the classroom hearkens back to the Agricultural Age, and the curriculum/discussions are akin to the Corporate Industrial Age.
o Remediation – too many have to retake the same material/content later on.
o Lack of focus on personalities/temperaments
o State v. Social (family) power ( the family, not the state, is the cornerstone of society. )

As always, with this blog, feedback is most welcome. Thank you for reading & all the very best at all times!

Mar 282014
 
Praise - human relations skill box - Praise

Praise is powerful food for the human soul.

Why don’t we capture the vibrancy of this truth in our dealings with others far more often?

Consider these words from Mr. Charles Fillmore:

Words of praise, gratitude, or thanksgiving expand, set free, and in every way radiate energy … You can praise a weak body into strength, a fearful heart into peace and trust; shattered nerves into poise and power; a failing business into prosperity and success; want and insufficiency into support and support.

Wow. Tell me that doesn’t hit home with you!  Then again, perhaps it doesn’t … yet. Why could that be?  Our common culture disconnects our heart and soul from our mind and actions, let alone dampens our spirit and desire to be more than average.

Fillmore went on to say:

The whole of creation responds to praise and is glad. Animal trainers pet and reward their charges with delicacies for acts of obedience; children glow with joy and gladness when they are praised. Even vegetation grows better for those who love it.

Two books that stand out on this theme that I highly recommend reading and applying their truth nuggets are here and here.

Make it a great day, evening, or week, wherever you happen to be reading this post. Thank you for investing time in doing so & God Bless.

Oct 282013
 
Habits, Traits, & Principles of the Successful

Successful people are not lucky.

They simply follow a different ‘guidebook’ of habits, traits, and principles which Mr. & Mrs. Average do not either choose to or know about. Chances are, they are living far too much of their lives awash in the conventional wisdom, advertising/PR, and/or mass media entertainment sources to have dug far enough below the surface to hit the gold veins that would transform their lives from the inside-out.

However, let it be said that its never too late to grow into these!  I’m living proof, as it took me several decades post graduation from traditional schooling to have struck the gold. And, now that I have, the veins continue to appear: all over the place!  There is no shortage of world class information to make these veins produce additional gold; in fact, there’s so much that quite some time ago, I made it a large part of my life’s purpose to spread & share what I’ve learned with as many humble, honeable, & hungry people that I am able to build relationships with.

And, with the above mission in mind, here are ten to study, learn from, and live each & every day:

[1]  Have a Focus & a Purpose in Life.

+ Focus like a laser, and not like a flashlight.

+ Know your “Why” – this is imperative!

+ Define your purpose. Mr. Orrin Woodward thought so much of this, he used it as foundational Resolution 1 in his landmark book, ‘Resolved’  (!)

+ Keep in mind that purpose, legacy, and destiny are Level 3/highest of the high/ motivators. Once you find yours, your life will feel far more complete and fulfilling.

[2]  Always strive for Excellence

+ Self explanatory, yes?   However, one would be surprised, mildly, or perhaps more so, to find how many aren’t. Mediocrity and same-ness are prevalent in mainstream culture. “Home to work”, “home to work” …  is the mentality. And, when not working, you may find these same folks who are not living up to their potential holding their favorite sports teams to a super high standard.

+ Be the example. You’re the project. Not someone else – unless you are living intentionally for excellence in all areas of your life, you cannot in good stead point out others’ perceived imperfections or attempt to correct them.

+ Rise above the crowd. The crowd has fallen prey to a little known (yet becoming more clear) factor called ‘Sturgeon’s Law’ –  One has to read NYT Best Seller, ‘LeaderShift’ to be educated in depth on this law, however, in short form, it means that the crowd, defined as the 90%, will be average at best.

[3]  Always leave people better off than before you met them.

+ Every interaction you have with someone else can be scoreboard’ed on a scale of 1-5. Keep yours at 4 or 5 always.

+ Study books like ‘The Great Connection’, ‘Personality Plus’, ‘The Five Love Languages’, & ‘Positive Personality Profiles’

+ Be an encourager & a cheerleader. The world has too many discouragers, cynics, unhealthy skeptics, & correctors.

[4]  Take Responsibility

+ Look in the mirror. You are always the final responsible party. If you have/own a ‘victim card’, toss it in the trash, never to be played again.

+ Sometimes, taking responsibility means you accept fault when something is out of your control. However, leadership entails such high levels of ownership of situations, people/followers, and the resulting circumstances.

[5]  Always take on new challenges.

+ Living in one’s familiar zone won’t result in the success that is earned by those who are in the pool and moving against the current. The current will be given new life by those who stretch and grow in all areas. A challenge is an open opportunity; don’t pull down a shade over it.

+ The mindset of a winner and a climber is that of someone who takes things on with ambition and determination. Create the new reality by tapping into your vision. Overcome the goliaths and achieve the private/personal, public, and leadership victories that are yours for the taking.

[6]  Produce, regardless of the situation you’re in

+ Excuses are useless. Don’t ever make them. Find reasons to produce something remarkable.

+ Never whine. Never complain. Never make excuses.  Wooden’s set of three’s is just as applicable today, a few years after his passing at age 99, as it was when he was growing up.

[7]  Have a strong work ethic

+ You’re entitled to nothing except life, liberty (freedom), and the pursuit of happiness. Natural laws, as so brilliantly espoused by Patrick Henry in his 7 Resolves { 1765 } , are the governing ‘rules of the road’ for true leaders.

+ Laws that encourage anything remotely resembling entitlement are those which successful people repel. Earn your stripes by what you do to make yourself better, and then, thereafter, to go out and serve others.

[8]  Invest in yourself.

+ The monies one earns should be paid to ‘You, Inc.” first ahead of anything else. No one can take away wisdom, knowledge, and learned truth(s) from you unlike they can a house, a car, electronics, or sports gear.

+ The poor have big TV’s; the wealthy have big libraries. A generalization? Sure. Are there exceptions? Sure. However, for the clear majority of cases, this holds true. Study spending & investment trends to find out.

[9]  Persevere.

+ Jack Canfield & Colonel Sanders come to mind – both were extremely successful. Yet, each man found rejection after rejection until someone said ‘yes’

+ Adversity quotient is incredibly valuable; in the aforementioned book, ‘Resolved’, it ranks as number 12. What is your IQ x EQ x WQ = AQ ?

+ Failure is simply an event, and not an individual. Failure is a huge part of success. Be sure you know how to reframe & how to learn from each setback.

[10]  Ability to prioritize.

+ Stephen R. Covey taught this crucial success principle the best in his Habit 3.

+ Have you drawn out your entire life and segmented into ‘priorities’, ‘obligations’, and ‘urgencies’?   Or, at least, done this by the day, week, month, quarter, or year?

+ Priorities should align with your mission(s), purpose, and your dreams. They will get you from “A” to “B” fastest of all, while your obligations and the urgencies will act as anchors.

___________________________________________________

Hope this post, like all others, has added value to you. Comment if you’ve been especially impacted – always welcome feedback at all times.

And … a huge & heartfelt …

… Thank you to Mr. Alex Nickerson for inspiring this content!  Having met him once in person & seen him another time, his credibility in putting forth this kind of content is clearly reflected in the successes he has realized thus far in his life.

Aug 112013
 
What you do MATTERS -- Serve. Pay forward. Give. Bless Others.

Ripples in the still water…

They are caused by something which breaks the stillness; something which serves as the cause, while the effect is palpable to the naked eye …

Who among us, likely while with your parents on a hike, a camping trip, or at a retreat, hasn’t tossed a rock into a pond, a lake, and watched with glee as your act caused something so obvious?  Raising my hand, I am one of them 😀

So, why would we, as adults, not apply this same principle to your life?

What you do MATTERS.

Here’s the principle I speak of. This is not a new idea, yet I wished to cover it today, as earlier this summer, I was privilved to hear a moving talk from an accomplished business owner ** ( w/ her husband ) who re-told the story that I’ve linked back to at the bottom of this post. The story is a core of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ , and is synonomous with ripples from a smooth stone tossed as a young child. Rather than re-tell that story, let’s use it as inspiration – print it off, and refer to it often …

Let’s apply this to our lives today. Stop spending so much time on obligations that only benefit ourselves and which have limited value to our families, trusted friends, and our society. Our families are the cornerstone of our culture – thus, the butterfly effect, the ripples, matter – and our culture is in dire need of an infusion of leadership that rises from organic growth of our own thinking. Our friends are valuable, so why would we not spend time and effort cultivating those relationships?  That will ripple.

And, social capital can only be rebuilt by conscious focus on restoring values which will bring satisfaction in our business ownership (or our careers/jobs), our faith/spiritual development, our marriages/parenting, and in our time spent community building (anything from the YMCA, PTA, church youth groups/VBS, et al.)

Yes, what you do MATTERS. Focus on priorities! Match your calendar to them at all times. No excuses, please. If you rank something as #1 in your life, it should be #1 on your calendar in terms of the time you spent on it, as often as possible. Sure, urgencies will arise; so long as you remember Covey’s ‘Big Rocks’ vid clip, the visual should stick with you  to guide you back onto the path in case you are knocked off of it.

It is a privilege of mine to serve others, paying forward world class/gold medal information which has the highest potential to lead to the butterfly effect in others’ lives. Help one person/family/entrepreneur fix an issue and grow their servant leadership?  Define their purpose? Sharpen their vision?  Up their adversity quotient?  Fix their finances at the deepest roots?  Those are ripples. They are priorities for those folks, right?  So, the stone and rock tossed is the information, that which, once learned & applied, will effect the change.

How amazing a feeling to shake hands, hugs, fist bumps, and pats on the back with the people whose lives you bless!  Up your count. Give of yourself & pay forward transformational info that has benefited you/your family/your business. And, you will have  your own opportunity to be the Moses, the George W. Carver, the Henry Wallace, and the Norman Borlaug in your own ways.

+ + +

** Thank you so very much, Laurie Woodward, for your ability to inspire through stories! The story that she cited can be found elsewhere; however, here’s a great source that is found easily online > http://lifetoday.org/connect/words-of-life/the-butterfly-effect/  <

Aug 032013
 
Mindset -- Thick skin, soft heart > Soft skin, hard heart --

Your mindset is a very large input factor – its impact is much like a rock that ripples the standing, still waters on a lake once a person skips it across the surface.

So, after hearing a talk by a very accomplished business owner/entrepreneur about 6 weeks ago, and re-visiting my notes from her ** talk, I was inspired to blog about some of the contents of her talk, adding some of my own color to her words.  It was a very enlightening perspective!

First >

Being offended.

Have thick skin & a soft heart when it comes to being offended. Our culture is far too close to the soft skin, hard heart than it should be, which causes needless friction in relationships. Let alone, one’s mindset is impacted, as he/she is always either carrying a chip on his/her shoulder(s), or is always being overly concerned about what to say & when to say it. Manners matter, yet having empathy and grace are better.

Second >

Credentialism.

If someone has more credentials, certifications, or other ‘flair’ than the person next to you, please don’t have the mindset that this individual is more intelligent, smarter, or more impactful to society. There’s nothing at all amiss about pursuing these as you go after what you want ( ‘Define’ step ), however, your mindset must be centered on the value of people as far more than their career/occupation/job. The latter is just a small part of our lives. Let alone, the fact that self-directed (liber/leadership) education doesn’t bring with it any of these “tokens”, however, this path is just as valuable,and unquestionably so.

Third >

Being an employee & lacking understanding of being an owner/entrepreneur.

As with the second, neither of these pathways are “wrong”, however, oft-times, with the last century having been a force-shift culture rather than the previous 125 years, there is a mindset that someone who is an owner has to put their entire life on the line by signing a stack of papers, or having a name on a building. Let alone that entrepreneurship is ‘risky’, or requires a ton of time to get ahead versus a 40 hour employee’s average week. Not the case!  Here, again, mindset makes all the difference. Have thick skin if you are an owner facing questions like this; have a soft heart if you are dealing with an owner who is chasing his/her dream of freedom

Fourth >

The desire to always win an argument.

Dale Carnegie taught us all about four score years ago that one never really wins an argument. Sage wisdom from the past, as usual, is timeless. However, when your skin is not thick, you may be far more defensive, less humble, et al., so I can clearly can tell why she included this in her talk about mindset.  Instead of winning an argument, and losing the battle, let alone the’ ‘war’, how about digging into people skills books, audios, and surround yourself with those whom will make you better?

Fifth >

Image.

One possible way to approach image is to compare it to one’s reputation, as opposed to what one truly is, inside-out. A person is far more than how he looks on the surface, how much schooling/education she has, etc. Being materialistic, judgmental of someone’s choice of clothing without knowing details, critiquing his way of talking; all of these are image-conscious. It’s far more valuable to re-focus your mindset on something that will edify and glorify others.

and, lastly, Sixth >

Excuses.

We’ve all made them; in fact, Dr. David Schwartz, in his landmark book, ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’, dedicated a whole chapter to ‘Excuse-itis’!  So, let’s not reflexively judge others, nor beat ourselves up if we’ve come up with excuses. These are signs of the latter from this blog’s subject – a hard heart and thin skin. Rather, turn the excuses into reasons! And, have a thick skin and grace when it comes to dealing with others who have not yet reshaped their mindset to one of solutions, rather than problems.

_________

** – all credit for the outline/core themes from this post to Mrs. Terri Brady. Her talks are always a value add to my life. Visit her blog @ http://terribradyblog.com for an excellent dose of success, wealth, and interpersonal development thinking.

Jul 112013
 
Offense, Defense, & 'Playing' Field ... for Finances / Economics

Economics. Finances. Government budgets. Money. Investing. Spending. Bills.

What emotion(s), thought(s), or image(s) spring to mind when you heard these words?

Fear?

Confusion?

Uncertainty?

Confidence?

I hope that you can answer in a very positive way, however, with the way our culture and society have been so heavily commercialized, flooded with PR/marketing/advertising, and political mumbo-jumbo ( to put it mildly ), I would suspect that the emotion, thoughts, or otherwise would veer rather strongly to the negative, or perhaps just indifference.

Then, let’s introduce an equation which is far from original, yet can help dispel many many myths, confusion, and other maladies which are preventing the mass of our great republic from being able to earn their freedom  – financially ( from being a slave to debt & time ), spiritually ( to be able to donate freely to charities and church/faith organizations, if desired ), socially ( to be able to share wealth with those less fortunate, inc. struggling families , single parents, et al. ), and personally ( becoming educated and empowered, instead of programmed & trained to borrow, spend, and not invest in ‘You, Inc.’

 

INFORMATION  ~~~>  THINKING ~~~> ACTIONS/HABITS ~~~> RESULTS

 

May I take the liberty to recommend digging into some world class, gold medal information which is a compilation of nearly two decades of wisdom gained, education earned, and lessons learned through the vehicle of PDCA? (plan/do/check/adjust-act)?

Please watch this short vid clip

& click through the various options (workbook, forms, full package/set)

It would be a privilege to share with anyone how much this information has changed my economic & financial thinking from the inside-out. I will never look at money, budgets, investment, or spending/expense the same again. For the better. Way better. Immeasureably better.

Have a terrific evening & enjoy every minute of your day. Its a blessing to be alive & well!

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 🙂 )

Jun 292013
 
Earl Nightingale's timeless wisdom ... on criticism

Earl Nightingale was a terrific inspiration to many before my time, however, his wisdom lives on ad infinitum due to the power of the internet, through those who are still alive from his generation, and via various sources of ‘off’line media ( books, audios ).

It is from the middle of these that I heard this information, and it was so valuable, it is forming the fundamental core of this post.

To preface:  Critics are everywhere, most especially when you are doing something that makes him/her/them uncomfortable, something they do not understand (or wish to), or due to some base negative emotion – jealousy, envy, fear, greed, or revenge.  Now, why would you, as someone who is striking out on a journey to do something un-average, something that blesses lives, something that is significant in its impact on your family, friends, culture, or the nation in which you live, ever listen to a critic?   Quite likely, its due to the concept of ‘peer pressure’ — there’s something inside of each of us that wants to drive us to conform, to gain or curry favor from those whom we know, to “fit in” with the crowd. Herein lies the problem at its root; those who do the greatest acts often are criticized, sometimes completely without provocation, with very little merit. Many historical examples spring to mind: Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Lincoln, Washington, Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ, Pythagoras, Mandela, … the list goes on and on.

So, you’re not nearly as well known as those men & women?  Neither were they at one point or many points in their lives. They stepped out. They became public figures. They strived to effect change and be part of the solution(s) to problems. How many critics do you know who have done great and lasting things?  Exactly. I bet you said ‘none’.  🙂

Let’s now dive into Mr. Nightingale’s list of nine/9 traits of a critic.  See which one(s) strike the most as you are on your journey; if you are on one, or are considering stepping out from the herd, you’ll quite likely experience one or more of these. Here’s hoping they help you reframe, and re-set your mindset. Never let a critic infilitrate your subsconscious mind- those four billion neurons per second are far too valuable real estate to sell to someone(s) who do not have your best interests at heart, in mind, and in spirit.

— . — . —

No. 1 – A critic only thinks of him/herself.

No. 2 – Critics only talk of themselves.

No. 3 – Critics sulk if people aren’t grateful for what they’ve done.

No. 4 – Critics never forget a service that’s been rendered by them.

No. 5 – A critic expects to be appreciated.

No. 6 – Critics are suspicious of everyone.

No. 7 – Critics are sensitive to slight(s).

No. 8 – Critics are jealous and envious.

No. 9 – Critics don’t trust anyone but themselves.

— . — . —

He also added that these all make a critic’s life miserable, so they tend towards being loveless, and can often be non-providers.

After letting the above sink in, think long, hard, and in depth:  Do you really want someone with even one of these traits helping you make a decision of any size?  Offering you an opinion?

Always positively associate with those who have vision, defined/detected purpose, anchored to their priorities, and whom have your back in all situations.

Hope this helps you. As always, feedback is welcomed & encouraged. Many blessings & well wishes!

May 162013
 
Planting shade trees ...

Planting shade trees is a metaphor that, when drawn out, leads to a clear understanding of the value of building and creating a legacy that will far outlast you.

When you plant something that takes time to take root, you quite likely will not be able to partake in the benefits of what you’ve done; however, if you grasp the immense value of paying something of value forward, you won’t bat an eyelash, since it was the very ACT of planting the tree(s) in the first place that gave you the leadership achievement.

In a mass media/consumerist/un-dreaming culture, those that plant the shade trees are defining success not in terms of what’s in it for them, but rather, what’s in it for the next 2-3 generations. That kind of thinking used to be far more common, and it is a mission field of mine to restore it, step by step. When you have detected your purpose, and piggyback your reality onto your vision, it clears up any and all misconceptions or desires to live in the ‘now’.

A tree that protects a future generation from a dearth of wisdom, from poor information, from a lack of dreaming and goal setting, or from become a debt serf, or any of a number of other negatives, is a tree worth buying, planting, nurturing, and watching grow.

Re-defining success in one’s life may require completely rebuilding many things, however, the payoff will be a ripple effect that will not only transform you from the inside out, as it did me, but additionally, it can and will save a marriage, create principle centered servant leaders, pull some out of debt and teach them the huge difference between investment and expense, and restore and promote the eight meanings of freedom.

Have a terrific ‘thank you’ Thursday & I look forward to many stories of those who start planting!

May 032013
 
Service > self

Service.

Self.

Two distinct words.

Yet, how often do we put them in order of what we want vs. what others could benefit by?

Far too often — especially if you live your days in the mass media/consumerist culture.

Changing this at its roots requires heart, mind, and will, all fused together. Can it be done? Absolutely; I am living proof that it can transform a life.

How did I do it?  Or, better phrased: How am I continuing to get better at it?

The answer is that I am purposeful in what I allow to enter my mind. Your thinking is the lever of your life; if you let your thinking go south, let alone take your own advice, or the advice/opinions of those who don’t have the results/success which you strive for, you’ve lost a battle. Does this mean that the war is lost too?  Not in the least!  Just go back to your “trip point“, which is the information. Information changes lives. Undoubtedly.

Service can be defined so many ways; one way that it can be framed is in the context of servant leadership. When you understand leadership as equaling influence, you know that by being a servant, and putting service ahead of self, you’ve blessed someone else. Ego must be subservient to excellence, just in the same way as service > self.

Self -focus is caused by a society/culture which glorifies success in a mis-defined manner:  By the love of money ( as money is not the root of all evil; the love of it is); by characterizing success as financial (“being rich“) only; by what the celebrities & sports stars are doing; or even by encouraging competition ahead of community/interdependent ( ‘Law of the Inner Circle‘ , ‘Level 4‘ thinking.)

Going back to the information as the root source leading to the lever going up (service) or down (self) — it does require humility/humble-ness, hone-ability, a lack of self-deception, and courage to want to take steps to change the information flow. Here in the connected/internet/info age, information is beyond plentiful; it is all encompassing!  It surrounds us like a cocoon, and if we aren’t perceptive, it can impact our thinking in mere seconds. Think of how your mood changes by listening to a negative source, such as the TV news; why would you constantly shovel snow ONTO your grass when you could use your snow blower to REMOVE it?  This is analagous to letting bad/un-edifying/uplifting info into your head when you could turn it off.

Be a blessing to others by serving them. Think of how you felt when you volunteered at a charitable event, or when you donated monies, or when you helped at your church , or when you stepped up to help a neighbor in need. That’s obviously putting service before self, and doing this consistently can be encouraged by starting at the information ‘step’, and observing the changes in your thinking over time.

Thank you for reading, and all the very best in the days ahead!