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

Just in time for Father’s Day …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All best!

Nov 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.

Aug 192013
 
S - U - C - C - E - S - S

This acrostic caught my eye right away when I heard a highly successful entreprenuer lay it out on a white board earlier this month. I think the value of such a visual can often be under-rated, so rather than let that happen, am using this gentlemen’s focus on the familiar word ‘success’ as the heart of tonight’s post.

/////////////

S = $

U = You.

C = Common

C = cents ( sense 😀 )

E = Enthusiasm

S = $$

S = $$$

\\\\\\\\\\\\\

I can easily relate to why the ‘S’ s all were tagged to money. Since so many equate success to financial well being, it was a neat idea to build the acrostic with book ends which a majority of individuals will relate to at a surface level. Does this mean that success is exclusively financial?  Of course not. It is far, far more, yet since many aspire to financial freedom, with being successful as their vehicle to get there, it makes sense.

‘C’ & ‘C’ = how valuable, yet its not all that common sometimes, is it? This can be attibuted to so many root reasons ( e.g., non physical fears, programming, poor/bad information, not associating with positive communities/individuals, entertainment overload, schooling instead of education ) — so, let’s counter that by mentoring with those who have your best interests in mind, plugging into gold medal quality information, and changing your thinking. Mentorship matters.

Enthusiam, let alone excitement, are so crucial. Frank Bettger taught us this so many years ago in his remarkable book, ‘How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling’. Have vivid, clear goals that you are chasing at all times. Be in the race to the top. A winner is up even when she is down – you must pour the gas on the dreams, and act enthusiastic even if you don’t quite feel all the way there 🙂

Lastly, we back up to the U.  That is you. Yourself. (and I!). We are our most valuable asset, yet we often take our trillion dollar on board computer known as our brain (primarily the subconscious/unconscious = a goal setting device) and feed it the equivalent of junk food, yet we expect the best of our sports teams and celebrities (?).  This is entirely upside down.

There’s nothing amiss with having a favorite player, team, or even a star actor, but why do so many tolerate mediocrity in their own day to day lives?  This must be fixed at the core. We control our decisions and our choices. Never play the victim, or bring out the victim card; if you do, the success card is off the table, and will not be in the deck. Why? By doing the latter, you’ve donated it to the person next to you who is reading to be a leader and borrowing the experiences of those who have results; the person in the car in the next lane who is using her vehicle as a rolling university; the man who is attending seminars and conventions and rubbing shoulders with eagles/climbers/creators who want to get better.

It is an honour and a privilege of mine to lead others to their oasis of success. And, I hope this recap, with my own analysis attached, helped the reader, even if just a little. Blessings!

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!

Apr 102013
 
Making a difference starts with ...

… better quality information.

Contention of the day:   Information changes lives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 🙂