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.

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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.

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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.

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## – 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 132013
 
Leadership correlates with education, education with freedom, and leadership engenders freedom: Connections

A couple months ago, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear a very moving talk from a well regarded, influential servant leader #. His ability to interweave leadership principles, liber education (self-directed/leadership), & the meanings of freedom seamlessly together is quite impressive. I’ve noticed that such an ability to synthesize concepts is often missing from today’s schooling, although its value is hard to underestimate in any context once you’ve experienced it.

That talk inspires this post. My wishes for the reader are to think independently; to understand that it is very important to grow his/her leadership abilities — in the ‘soft skills’ — and, lastly, that schooling and education are far from one in the same.

It’s been proven throughout history that freedoms that citizens enjoy are connected to their education. And, that information learned, studied, and applied is where wisdom originates. We cannot depend on faux ‘experts’ to determine anything — businesses large and small, schools, public, private, and home based, and other institutions crave and are clear need of leaders who are honeable, hungry to learn, and are humble, realizing that for every book they read, there are thousands yet to be.

Our freedoms, best described through the lens of either the ‘eight meanings’, or the ‘three types’ ( DeMille & McEwen, respectively ), rest with embracing the age in which we presently live, while renewing our past, and looking evermore into the future. A business model that combines servant/replacement leadership with education, and which filters out the best information from the noise and mis-information in our world today, is beyond priceless. It is troubling when so many citizens are struggling when we have more info at our fingertips today than even 10 years ago; so, let’s connect these together and serve first, to address our problems at their very root.

Businesses which are cutting edge often are very abstract and intangible —  it can be argued that Microsoft, let alone Facebook in the present time, are very much in this category. So, information that isn’t pure, which is not based on fundamental concepts and principles of leadership, nor which encourage any of the types or meanings of freedom, can get out into the marketplace through such an outlet. Think of all the banner ads, the advertising in the news feed, and such as cases in point.

Enter into the marketplace of our global world a similar model, based strictly on information and connecting people together who share a like-minded vision. Going further, the model teaches the soft skills to those who are hungry to invest their 86,400 seconds a day into those who own a share of it; let alone, existing to reach out to others who don’t yet own a share, but wish to do so since they realize that doing the same old, same old in the familiar zone just won’t get them ahead in life.

What may restrain the growth of such a fused model of self-directed education, servant/replacement driven leadership, & the impartation of freedom principles?  Alexander Tytler saw many of them coming centuries ago:  Complacency. Cynicism. Apathy. Dependence [ in this case, on big institutions, words instead of action/deeds ]. Bondage [ here, speaking of debt – spending much of your time plying a trade to pay creditors instead of focusing on what really matters ]. However, can anyone change this?  Of course!  Should you have some healthy skepticism that you can?   Sure. Just use the latter as fuel, and don’t catch the dreaded disease known as ‘excusitis’.

Dr. Schwartz taught us about this disease years ago in his landmark book ( a MUST read.); being “busy” and broke, let alone leaning back on your health as a crutch, all fit into this category of mediocrity. Breaking free from it by solving the idea and ambition problems is exactly what this type of fused model solves!  Leadership requires independent thought, & a different lens and thinking pattern. Education requires the same, and dispenses with much of the (more subtle) programming that schooling includes. And, freedom is precious, and requires one to lead from the front, educate constantly, and think in depth.

Don’t find yourself on the outside looking in while the “experts” attempt to solve problems in your town/city, county, province/state, or nation. Don’t let yourself be distracted from the real issues. Avoid living vicariously through others’ successes, inc. a favorite sports team(s). Curtail excessive entertainment that can become entrenched in your lifestyle, which will neutralize your potential to be great, instead of just average. Be extraordinary!  As Don Soderquist taught us in his book, live, learn, and lead to make a difference. This type of internet age model gives you the intangible tools to do all of the above & much, much more.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog & may your life be filled with all the things that you have earned by service before self.

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# Sending many kind regards to Mr. George Guzzardo. Please take the opportunity to visit his blog; he updates it frequently and his posts are filled with wisdom; the link/URL is in my blogroll.

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!

Feb 282013
 
How much are you reading?  How much are you growing?

“The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will how to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have–with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.

Will Smith

 

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Reading. Such an imperative activity for making one’s life better, yet why aren’t more in the West making it a habit?   There are many reasons, although I’d posit that the vast majority of them are dressed up excuses which are actually reasons to read, once unraveled and consider in depth.
So many of us know Will Smith by his many many successful movies, perhaps his old TV show, or even his time as a music mogul, rapping with DJ Jazzy Jeff 😀  However, were you aware of his love of reading, and how much he values it?   The quote is powerful in its own right, and its shines as a truth beacon.
How often have we spoken with, heard, observed, or been pulled into an unfamiliar or tense situation in any area – say with a friend, a manager, your kids, even a perfect stranger, and not been able to handle it well?  Would not having read some world class books on people skills, leadership, faith, or history have given you the tools to learn from those who had those same situations in their own lives?    Undoubtedly!
I strongly urge all readers to think about this – please don’t react; think. Self-improvement, personal change, and lifelong growth don’t just happen:  They require intentionality, determination, focus, humility, and courage. None of these are talents, though, they are skills, learnable skills. The question that you have to ask yourself tonight is:  Am I willing to make a difference in the lives of everyone I encounter, and in my own mirror, and start to read from quality books?
I hope the answer is ‘Yes!’.
May you be blessed in your days ahead.
Thank you for reading.
Sep 302012
 

Today’s blog post is the third 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 :)

September’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 1989?s original script/film,  ‘Field of Dreams‘.

My review/recommendation will uncover no new facts, as this film has been reviewed by so many different folks over the past 20, almost 25 years, however, my specific intent and purpose in writing this blog post is to tie the themes of the script into the values/resolutions/categories for which I have chosen to use to serve others with = the 8 F cornerstones,  the 13 resolutions and the entrepreneurial/freedom values that many of us take  for granted, but which are the anchor posts of our republic.

 

We open the movie with some backstory on Ray, a non descript 30-something married man with a young daughter who owns a farm in small town/rural Iowa. I enjoyed the opening moments, as they made Ray seem so real to the viewer – and truly, any of us, single or married men, can step right into his shoes. He loves his small family, he seems to like farming ( humour about settling down on a farm aside ;)), and he really loves the American pastime – baseball.

However, his quiet lifestyle is rocked to its core very early on, a voice from the cornfield exhorts him to ‘build it, and he will come’  Who will come?!  Much of the first part of the movie answers that question, and later on, the same voice has a new twist:  ‘Ease his pain.’     At one point, Ray is in his bedroom with his wife, Annie, and he talks about the concerns he has of turning into his father, who lived a safe life – peaceful, yet without vision. No vision, no dreams of something bigger than him, a legacy, although he had sacrified by going off to WWI like so many men in his early 20th century generation.

 

As the movie runs on, we meet some wonderfully descript characters, like Terance Mann, Archibald/Archie ‘Moonlight’ Graham, and so many MLB Hall of Famers too numerous to count!  (of course, the primary spotlight being on ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson).  Each of these men help justify, in Ray’s mind, heart, and soul, that what he did – to break from his father’s dream-less existence and build a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield (!) – was the exact right thing to do. He surely faced the usual criticism, cynicism, and skepticism, and even some outright derision from his own in-laws and many in the nearby small town, however, none of it dissuaded him, or Annie herself, from sticking with this unexpected, yet powerful vision.

And, as the movie moves towards wrapping up (after many tears – I am far from ashamed to admit that I shed them; this movie is so amazingly good, and puts the mind & heart together, as oft our present day society fails to do), while this decision almost split him from his wife (ever so briefly), and put his finances, (economic) freedom, & faith all to the test, it all paid off in spades. Ray gets to spend time with Mann, whom was he & his wife’s favorite author in their college days at Berkeley, he grows closer to his daughter & wife, he travels to Boston & Minnesota to get answers from that voice, and he makes friends with a whole bunch of baseball players who are a who’s who in Cooperstown 🙂

There are so many tie-in’s to the 8 F’s that I have the privilege to share in my business, which is all focused on blessing lives.  I watch this movie to remind me of this high responsibility that I have to serve others, and help them live a life like Ray’s – focused on a vision for the future, wrapped in their dreams, and anchored in quality information that is timeless & based on principles that have served our republic for generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family:   Ray’s family life was very good before the voice changed his life, turning it upside down. However, it is clear that it was improved immeasurably afterwards.  Goes to show that the ‘good’ is quite often the enemy of the ‘great’

Faith:  Ray’s faith was like many from his generation ( read: ‘How Shall We Then Live?’ to better understand). However, he surely had to grow some very deep roots into fertile soil quickly in order to wrap his mind around what he had to do!  And, he won. Faith can and does move mountains. His fears were very moral, and nary physical. And, there’s a big difference between the two.

Finances:   His wife nearly had to pull the plug on his dream once – while she was with him on his decision, she ran the books, and almost put scarcity ahead of abundance. The abundance of good will he had received from Jackson, the other players, his daughter ( who loved to watch ‘the baseball men’), and Terance Mann were almost toppled by a short term focus on the mortgage and other bills. God will provide for those who have vision and purpose ( read: ‘Visioneering’ to better grasp this)

Following (Leadership) :  Ray is like most true leaders; he doesnt have a title, or credentials, or a position, or lots of fame, power, or money. He was the leader of his small family, and he developed a following of Hall of Famers who, due to mistakes they had made when they were active ballplayers, truly embraced the opportunity to again step onto the dirt infield, grab a bat, and run out into the grass outfield.  Ah, how we take things for granted, as they did!

Fun:   Ray sure did have a lot of fun, laughs, and enjoyment hanging out with the players, and on his somewhat (mis) adventure to Boston!

Freedom:   Like described above, Ray’s finances went from stable to very rocky over the time period in the movie, however, he stuck to his vision, putting the short term on a rope, and pulling it along behind the long term.  It is imperative to always attach your reality to your vision!  ( and definitely avoid the other way around.)

Friends:   Ray built new friendships with all the Hall of Famers ( many of whom were starters on the infamous ‘Black Sox’ of 1919, his father’s favorite team at one time) & a true blue friendship as well with Terance Mann. What a joy it was to watch the latter develop from their first meeting in Boston to the very end, not long after Mann’s ‘steamrollers, blackboard, & people will come talk!!)

And, the 13 Resolutions. How much can be said about how these are so very valuable.  Many of them make an appearance in the script, let’s add them up here below –>

Purpose; Character; Attitude; Vision; Friendship; Finances; Leadership; Adversity Quotient; Legacy

Ray detected, as Viktor Frankl described, his purpose. It changed his life from the inside out, and all for the better. His character was shaped, as we know the equation well, Integrity x Courage, yes?   Ray had integrity, as he had settled down after his college years and was a model citizen, however, he knew his father lacked courage to go after his dreams;  he clearly didnt make the same mistake.

Attitude. How very important this resolution is!  Ray kept his in very good form for nearly the entire movie, even when confronted with some struggles, doubts, and moral fears. Vision. He surely had it in spades, as discussed above!   Friendships were created from scratch and in some cases, given new concrete bonds (the latter with his wife, primarily, who had stuck by Ray, even becoming very impassioned at a PTA meeting, of all places!)

Ray’s leadership shone through all the while building a legacy for his daughter and those family members after her in the Kinsella tree. Lastly, AQ = IQ x EQ x WQ.  A powerful and crucial equation to build!  Ray’s emotional intelligence/quotient was tested in the fires of public opinion, in what his own family members thought of his dream being a ball field in his corn (!) and how this put a major strain on his finances, and in having to prove himself to strangers like Mann & Archie Graham.

We then come to the freedom / entrepreneurial values –  how do they relate to Ray’s story as told in this award winning script?

Innovation:   Ray surely was an innovator. With some help from Annie & his daughter, he built the entire field from scratch!

Initiative:  He took the reins on his vision and anchored the vision to his work ethic & determination to prove to himself and everyone else that dreams can & do come true for those who have courage.  Let alone the fact that he already was an entrepreneur as a family farmer, which is the choice of roughly 1-2% of Americans at the time of the movie’s release, and probably less 20+ years later.

Ingenuity:  See above. And to further illustrate, Ray was given an opportunity to showcase his inner genius, and it surely shown through. Genius is not restricted to simply IQ; far from it. Genius is within all of us, so long as we don’t let the ‘glaze’ of day to day life cover us so thickly as to restrict our neural growth. Remember the “ant” and the “elephant” ?  ( read:  ‘Ant and the Elephant’  for more details)

Lastly, tenacity. All entrepreneurs and those who value freedom are tenacious;  Ray certainly had to be, as the tomatoes were hurled at him from multiple directions, and he put his present situation at risk (family and finances) to realize his dream through that vision that came out of nowhere one hot summer day!

 

I hope you truly enjoyed reading this post, and as always, comments & shares via the blogosphere or through social media are welcomed with open arms. Have a grand-tastic week ahead & enjoy the month of October!  🙂

Jul 252012
 

Today’s blog post is the first 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 plan there to be 🙂

July’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 2006’s 6th & final movie in the series which in the mid ’70s, ‘Rocky Balboa

There are many other detailed reviews of this inspirational, heart warming, & edifying movie out there online, so my review is limited in scope to discussing how Stallone’s script ties in with growing personally, proactive change, service to others, dreaming big, and turning rejection into energy (fuel from critics & skeptics).

Stallone’s Rocky is in his mid to late 50’s, with the movie set 15+ years after ‘Rocky V‘ & 20+ years after ‘Rocky IV‘ –  it seems clear that there was expectation that Balboa would ever again fight in the ring, show raw courage & determination, or chase down any more dreams.  However, in a chance encounter with a lady, Marie, whom he hadn’t seen since they were kids, her son (Steps), and through his restaurant’s community, his life would end up taking an unexpected turn towards being a leader once again.

While at the restaurant, Paulie, his brother-in-law, came in one night & said that he wanted to watch a “cartoon” fight before going into his job for the night. Turns out, this fight was between Mason ‘the Line’ Dixon, current heavyweight champion, and a younger version of Rocky from his championship prime when Mickey was still alive/his manager. Rocky wins the simulated fight!

This leads to a real fight, a “glorified sparring session/exhibition”, eventually being scheduled in Las Vegas. Before he agreed to do so, his passionate speech to the PA State Athletic Commission + a talk with Marie, convinced him that it was his passion rekindled & his legacy reborn, to get back in the ring one final time.

What does this movie teach us about positive/self growth, personal development, dreaming, & servant leadership?  Plenty!   Let us count the ways …

 

1. Positive change begins with your own personal example. Rocky modeled this to his son, who had gotten ‘lost’ in the mass media/consumerist world of living for the weekend and not for something greater than oneself.

2. Self growth and personal development do not move in direct proportion to age. As Marie said in a memorable line, ‘The last thing to age on somebody is their heart.’ –  if you change your thinking, you can change your life.

3.  Dreaming big is crucially important and has priceless value regardless of your age, gender, economic background/history, geography, or any other measure.

4. The ‘American way’ and the ‘American dream’ are completely divergent paths. Rocky’s son, Robert, was on the former, and Rocky, having re-discovered his passion, began to again live the latter, as he had in his past.

5. Servant leadership is putting others ahead of yourself, excellence before ego, & service before self. Rocky served his son by challenging him head on with that gold medal talk in the street; he served Marie’s son, Steps, by becoming his mentor; he served Marie by offering her a better life through his job offer to come work for him; he served his customers/community in his restaurant; and, he served Spider by giving back to him years & years after their fight by offering him food and shelter.

In short, without spoiling this excellent movie by saying any more about the plot, script details, or its well rounded characters, I post this blog in the hopes that this movie’s sterling example will inspire even one person in the blogosphere to watch/re-watch it, and be inspired to step out, detect their purpose/passion, build a legacy that outlives him/her, and dreams great dreams.

Blessings!