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.

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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 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!

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.

__________________________________

# 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.

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!

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.

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* 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.

Mar 182013
 
Do social capital & mental fitness overlap?

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

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

 

Social Capital

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

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

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

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

Mental Fitness

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

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

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

Some concluding thoughts >

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

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

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

Jan 122013
 
Associate like an Eagle

One thing that goes without saying:   Associate positively.

What does THAT mean?!?

In short form, it simply means to spend as much time as possible around those, whether they be friends, family, fellow businessmen & women, or other students, who have the right thinking, and who are striving to become.  There’s been an awful lot of ‘dumbing down’ in our Western society over the past 50+ years, and the results are in, and continue to roll in:  Friendship, true friendship, the number of those whom you’d put your trust into without concern of gossip, is well down from the past; Less people know their neighbors; marriages don’t last as long; parents aren’t as prepared to raise quality kids since they don’t spend enough quality time with them …

So, let’s do whatever we can, house to house to house, family to family, and person to person, to change this. Not surface level/wave change, though. Rather, let’s resolve to be the example, to break away from the conventional wisdom/norm, and go out and meet people who are living lives intentionally, who are growing themselves personally, and who realize that education is different from schooling, and thus are putting world class information into their lives on a day to day basis.

Nothing is promised, and will doing the above & associating with people of this caliber by itself be easy?  No.  Nothing easy is ever worth it, and nothing worth it is ever easy. However, the price we are paying for the questionable association and for putting endless entertainment ahead of lifelong learning is ever clearer, and it is high:  High in that the foundation of the West is crumbling, and it will take true leaders to put their feet down in the proverbial pool to change this.

When you find a group of men & women who are doing this very thing, do not even think to criticize them, to complain, or to whine that it won’t matter, or that what they are doing is too hard, or will take too long to show results.  Instead, make a decision ( far different from a preference ) to join them.  The West needs more of us to answer the call:  Will you?