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.

Dec 302012
 

Role models. Heroes. Those who carry a positive burden.  Leaders.

These are descriptors that sum up proactively what I’m going to discuss in today’s post.

First, let’s discuss those whom should not be considered any of the above ** :

Actors/Actresses

Other celebrities.

Politicians.

Sports stars/athletes.

Mass media stars ( anchors, reporters, journalists.)

From my reading, listening, and associating positively, I have come to the foregone conclusion that the real role models, heroes, and leaders are those whom we can look to from our rich history and from the present day who aspire to live up to timeless values, principles, and resolutions which bring out, as Alan Loy McGinness taught us, the best in people.

These are those whom should be considered instead :

Entrepreneurs

Statesmen

First Responders

Social capital rebuilders

 Authors/writers

Why, for instance, would an entrepreneur be a role model for our culture/society?  Simple. He/she/they have stepped out from the crowd/herd, and built a business, nearly always from scratch, and by doing so, has put up a bridge between a problem identified and a likely solution.

Think of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Randy Gage, Carrie Wilkerson, & countless other entrepreneurs too numerous to name. These men & women were/are rascals. They made, and still are, making a difference by doing something to ‘dent the universe’, and not simply settling for their perceived lot in life, as far too many do by default (or due to following societal norms/conventional wisdom)

Social capital rebuilders – who/what am I talking about?  I am referring to those who have grasped that something is wrong with our society due to a lack of interdependent thinking, connectedness, bonds of true friendship, faith/hope, strong marriage, and model parenting. As these entail a vast percentage of what really makes someone happy, someone who embraces any or all of these should be a role model worth writing about, following, or studying; Edmund Burke realized this centuries ago, and today, Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Art Jonak, Oliver DeMille, Paul Zane Pilzer, Bob Burg, John Maxwell, Tony Dungy, & Seth Godin fill this bill very well.

First responders. That’s an easy one. Think of 9/11:  Every single man & woman who ran TOWARDS danger, knowing that they were serving others by upholding their responsibility, is automatically a qualification to be a role model, and a hero worth emulating. Unquestionably.

Authors/writers. Regardless of the medium/vehicle used to consume, study, and then apply the wisdom (paperback, hardback, audio, or e-reader), authors and writers should be applauded and properly recognized as role models for our citizenry. Thomas Jefferson once said that he couldn’t live without books, and there are many other fantastic quotes from history just like his; in short, do not let technology or entertainment distract you from consuming the words that these men & women put from their will, heart, and head into yours.

Lastly, statesmen/women. What a HUGE difference there is between this category and politicians!  Huge. The same yawning gap exists between a politician and a true leader. We are seeing this today in present day America & elsewhere in the West, especially when compared to those who practiced and understood public virtue and servant leadership from our past. These names should never be forgotten:  Thomas Nelson, Abraham Clark, & Robert Morris. All three of these men, along with their wives, were statesmen & women were heroes. Look up their stories: There’s nothing that changes the world more than these type of folks.

I hope this blog stirred something in your mind, your heart, and/or your souls. We must understand the true nature of those whom we pattern our lives after and define, learn, and then do our way to success with the right role models. The world as a whole badly needs true leadership, and these categories of citizens are those who have the most to offer.

** – There are always exceptions, I think of Joe Thomas, Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, Andy Roddick, & Chuck Norris.

Have a fantastic night & week ahead!

Oct 212012
 

Today, I want to address a topic that can be sensitive to many, especially living in the economic times that we do here in the US, and that is the crucial difference between investment & expense(s).

This post will not go in depth into the textbook definitions, nor will it serve as a step by step guide, however, my goal is to just blow up a few myths and bad, or even obsolete, information re: these, and ideally, help you think deeply when it comes to your money.

First, high high level.  What is an expense?  I define it as something that you exchange your money for that doesn’t offer any long term value, return (ROI), or which grows your wealth or reduces your debt burden.  Let’s briefly cover each of these:

1. Long term value. Many excellent authors/business owners/entrepreneurs have made crystal clear that money is NOT something you simply trade in exchange for a good or object; it is much more – money should create memories, and most definitely, bring something back to you that doesn’t simply last for a day, a week, or a month. What you get back must have value that carries on a least a year, and even better, a decade or more.

2. Return ( ROI ). Rate of return, for the purposes of this post, is simply summed up as —  did/will you receive something of value back, over an adult time frame, for what you spent your money on?  ROI is not necessarily just measured in financial terms (such as if you were able to pay down debt quicker by buying a financial pack to apply principles that you were never taught); it can also be measured intangibly: Did you sign up any new clients in your consulting business due to that seminar on people skills you attended?  Have you been able to get on the career path/track that you wanted after pursuing more credentialist based (professional track) education?

3. Reduction of debt / Growth in wealth. Growing one’s wealth/assets runs inversely to lowering one’s debt(s)/liabilities. And, keep in mind, a mortgaged home is a LIABILITY, not an asset, unless you have rented it out and are receiving recurring rental income. From that perspective, expenses need to be reduced, including paying off consumer debt, and eventually investing in ‘hard’ assets, like bullion metals, later on down the line. Growing one’s wealth requires buying back time, having a systems based model, understanding the power of compounding (of interest, of invested monies, et al.), & delaying expense based gratification until you can truly pay or whatever you want in cash based equivalent(s).

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Now, let’s move on to investments. Investment is not what you may think!  Let’s start w/ understanding that investment in one’s mind most definitely counts just as much as investment in something paper-based ( like stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or REITs ). The vehicle of a 401(k) or its functional equivalent has only been around for 30+ years, yet it seems like it, or the becoming obsolete pension plan gets mentioned most when this word is discussed in the mainstream of society.

Don’t get me wrong:  these are all investments, however, how much stronger is your mental fitness if you just put 10% of your W-2 income into a 401(k)?   Will you be closer to true wealth?  Unlimited time & money choices?   Perhaps a step or two, or ten, yet think bigger and more metaphorical (in depth):  what about directing some of these monies into your mind?   That’s a key threshold to cross when it comes to understanding even better the critical distinction b/w expenses and investment.

Here are some examples of investment now that we’ve set this foundation in place:

1.  Building a library.  Whether its a virtual (read: e-book) library, meaning you invest in an e-reader/tablet & download books online or via app, or the other way, where you buy paperbacks or subscribe to receive them monthly, this is a perfect starter example for someone who wants to invest in the mind.  We’re all worth minimum wage from the neck down; all the great leaders of history, from Napoleon, to Teddy Roosevelt, to Thomas Jefferson — they read. A LOT. Books matter. They expand your horizons, expose you to lessons you can learn from by living someone elses’ experiences, and you can apply what you read to your life immediately.

2.  Audio Learning.  Subscribing to, or buying audio material – whether books, podcast downloads, mp3’s, CDs from seminars – they all count. Audio is an excellent complement to reading, as it engages different areas of  your brain, and rounds out further the investment in your mental fitness.

3. Attending Seminars / Streaming webinars. Association with other climbers, those who are on the success curve of life, and whom understand the critical importance of ‘You, Inc’ investing, know that being around others who are growing from the inside out, who value personal change, will put monies into this category.

4. DVD / web videos ( YouTube ).  Another option as technology continues to evolve is to purchase, subscribe, or click on a link to have vids sent to you to watch. Visual learning on your own time is still another investment vehicle that will pay great dividends on your leadership development/self help journey.

5. The final one I’ll list is a BIG one. I would strongly and unequivocally urge everyone to do this:  Start a business. Own something, an asset that is yours, which will generate income that is not subject to a third party and will allow you to direct monies away from expenses and into the above options I listed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To put a capper on this post:  I wholeheartedly believe that entrepreneurship and self-directed learning, investment understood in a much different way than what is the “CW” , and outside the realm of pure ‘credentialist’ institutions, is a crucial element to being able to maintain freedom (see my earlier blog posts) & to strengthen your financial standing in our internet/connected/information age world. The industrial age is gone, regardless of what the politicians are saying in this election cycle; the sooner you invest in ‘You, Inc’, and turbo-boost your mental fitness, the better off you will be.

All the very best & God Bless.

Oct 082012
 
Manifestos - Value to the Eye, Value to the Heart, & Value to the Mind

Today, I chose to post a blog about the value of manifestos in our modern times. This is by no means a comprehensive study – just a compilation of my favorites, with a snapshot & a link to where you can buy my all time #1 to hang on your wall 😀

So, what is the value, you might ask?

My answer is multi-faceted.  First, I’d start with saying that without foundational principles and truth to build upon, the house you live in will not withstand the buffeting winds of circumstances, events, & distractions. Second, knowing why you believe what you believe is very crucial.  Next, having a core theme/thesis to wrap your vision around, to anchor dreams to … let alone shape your legacy:  that’s purpose.  If you can sum things up in a manifesto, you’ve put words and images side by side, and are appealing to both your conscious and subconscious minds.  Lastly, a manifesto’s value today is priceless in that it puts priorities ahead of urgencies, and long term thinking ahead of the next shiny (short term) object/distraction:  You’ll notice that with the manifestos on my list.

To sum up, here’s my list (ever evolving and sure to grow!) of manifestos.  I hope one, several, or all of them appeal to your mind, heart, & will/spirit!

ALL TIME FAV :

Rascal Manifesto

REST OF TOP 5 :

(in no particular ranked order)

Seth Godin’s Education Manifesto

Producer’s Manifesto

Entrepreneur’s Manifesto

Leave a Legacy Manifesto

AND, here are several others that deserve (very) honourable mention :

Leadership Education Manifesto

Live Extraordinary Manifesto

 

All best regards!  As always, thank you for visiting & reading!

Sep 192012
 

I recently had the privilege to both hear a talk about these five major, yet very much under the radar, trends live, and then, to be able to dissect it further by listening to it when it came out on an audio (CD/mp3) recording within the past week.  Today’s blog post is focusing on some notes that I transcribed from Mr. Oliver DeMille and what he shared with those of us who were fortunate to be present in person, and then to subscribe to Freedom “F” information from the best source for such info that I know of in the country, LIFE.

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Trend No. 1

Genius

When you’re in a society like the West (specifically the USA & Canada) today, you end up with way too much dependency and delegation of thinking to the self-professed “experts” and larger institutions, whether it be government agencies, large corporations/businesses, huge universities, or ‘think’ tanks.  With so many putting trust and outsourcing the running of things, their hope and faith hinge on what they cannot control or, in most cases, influence directly.

A freedom based society, like America was up until Wilson’s presidency (and having declined more and more each decade since), puts the spotlight on individuals to shine, so their inner genius is able to shine brightly. The hope and faith of the nation(s) rests not with “experts” , most of whom aren’t truly up to the exacting standard of one, but rather, it rests on equal opportunity in a free enterprise macro & micro economy with men & women who step up, lead from the front, and act like a lion, rather than following like a sheep.

 

Trend No. 2

‘Glaze’

There’s a direct correlation between No. 1 & this one. ‘Glaze’ as defined for the purposes of this talk & my summary/post, is metaphorically referring to the opposite of genius; namely, the institutions who supposedly are making the right decisions for the rest of the populace/citizenry are actually smothering genius through innumerable reliance on dates, names, rules, regulations/red tape, authority, power, & fear. Freedom based societies look to individuals who have it in their heart, mind, will, and soul to be ‘glaze’ killers: those who go out, serve others, and help them find their genius!

To illustrate in broad strokes, think of what you’d likely find (as always, there will be/are exceptions) when you compared a classroom of preschoolers/kindergartners to a class of 11th graders/juniors in the district’s high school. The former would be very excitable kids, full of questions for their teacher and their classmates, high energy motors, and ready to take on the world = dreaming BIG.  The latter would likely be observed as mostly bored, only asking questions if called on, and looking at their phones wondering when they get to go to play football, or run track, etc.   Let alone, if we take this continuum further to large research universities, business/law schools, or huge multi-national corporations; by this point, the ‘glaze’ has nearly completely hidden all the genius, and is exponentially expanding, as each new student, employee, professor, or TA is steeped further in the society ‘as is’.

 

Trend No. 3

Sensus Plenior‘ 

Sensus plenior can be defined:  “Multiple/many senses/ways”.  It is a means/methodology of reading and thinking that freedom based societies, such as that which existed from 1776-1913 in the USA, uses, from the highest levels of government officials down to, and including the regular store/shop business owner. This is a root reason why farmers and other ‘common’ citizens understood completely what the Founding generation had come up with during the Constitutional convention in 1787 & prior to that, in being able to comprehend the Federalist Papers.

To expound further, the opposite is ‘Sensus Solum‘ .  Sensus solum is a means/methodology that’s nearly a 180 shift; it literally translates as “dry land”. One is reading something or thinking about an issue, from the perspective that there is a solitary, single answer, one that is often required to get the grade/approval from the aforementioned “experts” and institutions to whom our current society tends to turn for way too much. When they are concerned about the ‘masses’ challenging authority on the right ground, for the right reasons, sensus solum thinking dominants, genius is mostly blanketed in a thick ‘glaze’ and creativity, production, and independent thought are discouraged.

One great example from this talk:  When you get a book ( note to self: I need to do this going forward. No excuses! ) off your bookshelf, before beginning to read it cover to cover, come up with a short list of questions, say 3-5, that you will use this book to help you find better answers, to sharpen your thinking to improve your attitude, habits, behavior, results, and get you where you want to go in life.

 

Trend No. 4

Entrepreneurial Values

To no one’s great surprise, except perhaps to those who believe success comes out of the microwave 😀 , there are rock-solid, time tested principles of success that always work when applied consistently, while working hard & smart, and over an adult timeframe ( I am using 5-10 years for my business )

This is by no means an exhaustive list, however, those that Mr. DeMille highlighted were excellent picks, from my perspective on my leadership journey.

Initiative

Ingenuity

Innovation

Tenacity

They are most definitely vital and quite difficult to replace with anything else, I couldnt agree more with him. What really caught my attention, and earned my agreement due to how logical the connection is, is how he connected them with the values of a freedom based society.  If one thinks about it, sensus plenior of course, when there are more entrepreneurs, and that class of business owners is growing, freedom comes alongside and expands outward. (and, by extension, so would prosperity > scarcity, wealth/abundance, and production > consumption )

 

Trend No. 5

Entrepreneurs & their impact on Elections

The final trend neatly ties back to No. 4:  As entrepreneurial values = values of freedom, and freedom based societies, having entrepreneurs understand just how important their individual voices are to their nation’s elections is crucial and cannot be overstated. I admire, respect, and recommend Mr. DeMille & his books (his best known 4 are available through my business) without reservation, and one of the numerous reasons I do is his position on political parties:  he takes no ‘red’ nor ‘blue’ side, he is simply a true master/expert ( WAY over 10,000 hours! ) on freedom, and he realizes, as I have come to see over the past 3-5+ years, that neither US based party has the best interests of the inner genius of our citizenry at its core. While I am an American, and cannot speak for Canada, nor other Western nations ( please comment on this post if you have something to add ), I have a strong inkling it is not any different elsewhere, since most of the world is in the same societal bind at present.

I found his discussion (building off his friend and leadership expert, Orrin Woodward‘s comment) of how the fish has been taken out of the water, and hasn’t realized how badly polluted the bowl’s water has become to be an apt illustration of where we are today. Entrepreneurs need to be successful, inspiring others to become entrepreneurs themselves, and every single one of us has to never take an election, especially local & state, and also federal, for granted. “Hoping” it goes well is not the answer:  The fish can only return to its bowl, and be able to swim freely like before if entrepreneurial = freedom values are sought out in every single candidate for whom you cPeriod.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruler’s Law, as WCleon Skousen discussed at length in his past works, is where the tick on the arrow is too far to the left; right now, our Western societies, and most definitely the USA, are there now, too far away from the optimum in the middle. Aristocracy, dependence on so-called “experts” (many of whom are also elitists), reliance/trust in “too big to ignore/fail” institutions that are mainly caught in a bygone era (industrial age), and not enough ‘sensus plenior’ thought = these can be fixed at their roots by creating more ownership, more production/generation of assets, growing our entrepreneurial class, swapping ‘glaze‘ for genius, and simply put: NOT taking freedom for granted.

May you all have a blessed evening, week, and I look forward to any comments you might have.  Thank you very much for reading.