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!

Jun 082014
 
Here Comes The Boom - 2014 Rascal's Guide to + Movies Series - One

Here Comes the Boom‘ was released in late 2012, and I first watched it at a family/friends/fun themed movie night in the summer of 2013.

I can most certainly recommend it. Will this test your advanced knowledge at a credentialist level (PhD or otherwise)? Not in the least. Rather, this movie pulls at heart strings which you may not even know exist. It also will offer a hilarious account of a 40 something public school teacher who pursues something that seems wildly out of the question for someone his age. Its script lays out lessons in chasing dreams, the difference between schooling and education, the building of relationships, how to handle adversity and persevere.

In short, here are some of what I drew from the movie ( which I’ve since purchased & have watched numerous more times )

Schooling v. Education
– Already have learned this, however, this movie further cemented the very large gap between the two.

Dreaming
– Always chase your dreams and never live a settled for life. Case in point was Mr. Voss’ friend who was unhappy as a painter, yet found he was perfectly happy as a chef

Encouragement/inspiration
– Always be a “balcony person” and not a “basement person” ( see my other blog for a review on the book which taught this so very well: ‘Balcony People’ )

Adversity
– Resolution 12 is ‘AQ’ ( adversity quotient ). The script embeds this crucial trait in it’s movement of the storyline from a very dis-engaged teacher at the onset to one who refuses to quit even after being nearly defeated near the end.

Friendship & Relationship building
– Always value how important this is. Do not, at any time, rely only on social media/networking.

Fighting
– Fight for the right reasons. Have a purpose, a cause, and/or a mission to answer the most valuable Q : “Why?”

Example/role model-ing
– Be one in your life. Daily. Don’t attempt to change people; change yourself from the inside -> out, and transform your own thinking & mindset. That is far more powerful and transformational than any other means.

Serving/Giving > Receiving
– Mr. Voss, after starting on the wrong foot, realized that to be what he had to become, he had to give & serve others before thinking of himself. He shoved his ego aside, and put his time into looking after his friend, the music teacher, the kids in the school ( esp. his biology class ), and others.

Success is comprised of failure
– You will see numerous instances of failing in this movie. That is great! Failing is required to be successful.

In sum, definitely give this movie a chance to impact your life as it did mine. Am glad that my life & business mentor chose to share this flick with me last year & am glad to pay forward my review of it in the blogosphere.

* * * * *

One of my favorite clips / scenes :

http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/here-comes-the-boom/earning-respect

An excellent source for additional media is found here

Thank you for reading this first post/entry in the 2014 rascal’s movie guide & create your best day ahead!

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.

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?

Sep 262012
 

A few months ago, I was fortunate to be watching, listening, and taking notes from a live stream webinar where the topic of “momentum” as applied to one’s mental fitness, was the cornerstone of the speaker’s talk. He surely hit a grand slam with his research findings!  I do have to agree with him; he said that he didnt know of much discussion in leadership/self-help/personal growth/life coaching circles on this topic, and I haven’t seen anything to contradict his take.  So, with that in mind, and in the interests of paying great information forward in the blogosphere, here’s what I took away from the webinar on my trusty iPad 3  🙂

Feel free to comment & share, and regardless, thank you for taking some time to visit my blog!

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Physical momentum is preceded by your psychology. You must get a positive current in the pool ( i.e., with your finances, job/career, thoughts/thinking, family )

Mass & motion = two big factors.  How many are moving forward in life?

 

Jim Taylor –  Momentum Chain  – 5 steps

1. Precipating or game changing event
2. This game changing event causes a change in attitude for those involved –>  increase hope, energy, & confidence
3. The change in attitude = leads to change in behavior
4. The subsequent change in behavior will lead to a change in performance  ( an offensive / thriving mindset takes hold. )
5. Lastly, the change in performance drives a change in Results

 

Even a person who is, in all respects, a fish floating downstream (no purpose, lack of vision, just looking to the next day or next weekend) – can & does come upon a game changing event once in a while;  i.e., an unexpected shift in his/her financial outlook, a promotion, a chance to open a new business.  Therefore, he/she must create & capitalize on it.

 

Two Key / Different Ways :

1. Be the Example  ( Leaders lead from the front )
– with purpose , attitude , strong adversity quotient –

 

2. Law of Buy-In  ( getting the big ‘mo )
– get others bought in to what we’re doing –

a.  Excitement
b.  Encouragement – exhorting others
c.  Edification – be a ‘good finder’ in those whom you encounter

 

What’s your purpose?  Living just for the upcoming weekend?  What’s your goal(s) in life?

What do you want?  What’s the price?   PAY it.   ( Resolution 5 )

Developing the right attitude ( Resolution 3 )

– Must constantly crank down the volume on the negative  voice(s)

– Are there bugs on the windshield or are you looking in rearview mirror , be sure to you are cleaning your ‘glass’

– Have to re-frame & get a different perspective all the time.

 

3 Choices :   Give up, give in, or give it all you got.

 

Action – Starts w/ Courage : always a choice there. What holds us back ?   Could be the …

 

Fear of Man
Fear of Loss ( hunker down.; chase freedom, will get security )
Fear of Failure ( only way we learn! )

 

In sum, don’t be a captive of your fear, say no excuses, & have no regrets.  🙂
Making it a romantic battle beats the alternative = going thru the motions / getting into a rut !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deepest appreciation to well regarded business owner/entrepreneur and devoted family man, Kirk Birtles, for taking the time to put together such an inspired, educational, and informative talk!  The content is his from his research & is mixed in with my note taking / added verbiage; it is my privilege and desire to share it here in the blogosphere – if we, combined, can help touch even a single life and make it better, the mission is accomplished.

Aug 312012
 

Today’s blog post is the second 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 :)

 

August’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 2004’s re-imagining of the classic tale,  ‘King Arthur‘.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I am the fortunate & blessed owner of a business that gives me the privilege of serving others and blessings their lives by helping them grow in 8 ‘F’ categories – this review will focus on how King Arthur’s script ties into numerous of these, including Following (leadership), Faith, Friends, Fun, Family, & most especially, Freedom.

The movie begins in the mid 5th century, A.D., and swings from the Black Sea up to Hadrian’s Wall, which was built three centuries earlier, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, to separate Romano-occupied Britain from the natives ( Picts; in the movie, known as ‘Woads’ ) who were very tribal and considered the Brits their enemy. At this historical point, during antiquity, the Roman Empire was essentially a dead letter, as swaths of what is now Italy were being over-run by barbarian invaders from southern & north-central Europe. However, in a time long before the information age’s 24x7x365 communication, up in Britain, only a small select few, inc. Bishop Germanus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanus_of_Auxerre ) were keenly aware. In fact, it is the Bishop who informs Artorius ( at this point, he is now the commander of a group of Sarmatian knights ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmatians ) ) that the Romans were planning to withdraw from Britain, and leave the Picts (Woads) to deal with the invading Saxons, who were coming from what is now Germany, and pillaging the countryside north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Suffice to say, the Sarmatians were not free; earlier on, it was established that when the Roman legions beat the Sarmatians on the battlefield, in order to avoid death, they (and their sons) had to serve 15 years under a Roman commander, without the ability to negotiate terms, and at threat of death far away from their homeland near the Black Sea.  Artorius, however, had been a benevolent commander who put these men ahead of himself, and had shown himself to be a character (integrity x courage) based servant leader.

Advancing the narrative forward, Artorius/Arthur had to lead his men on a final mission before they received their Roman paperwork which said they were free.  This mission required amazing levels of courage – testing everyone to their breaking point and putting them in mortal danger from both the Saxons & the Picts/Woads. During this time, it is established that there is a family based tie between one of the Picts & a woman that Artorius rescues, and the relationship with his knights is established with broad brush strokes – you really get to know what makes each of these men ‘tick.

Without spoiling the rest of the script for those readers whom might not have seen this movie and/or haven’t in a while, I will move on  🙂

So, from my perspective, what does this movie teach us about the “F’s” mentioned above?   a LOT.

1. Family

– Artorius/Arthur’s family life is shown in flashbacks & during scenes as he reflects back & looks forward to a day when he doesn’t have to spend most of his waking time fighting simply to survive to return to Rome as a conquering hero (all the while putting his knights’ lives ahead of his own.  Thick skin = soft heart. )    Family is simply the cornerstone of every age there ever has been —  from Antiquity/Iron Age, to the agricultural, industrial, corporate industrial, and presently, the information/tribal/connected age.

2. Fun

– These men certainly have their fun times!  Even in such a rough & tumble era with very little of what we all now take for granted, they have a grand time when they aren’t on the next battlefield.  Fun, when had in the right dosage, for the right reasons, is crucial as part of a personal growth journey.

3.  Faith

– Arthur is unquestionably a Christian. This is shown very early, when he says a prayer to God on behalf of his men before this final mission. You also see the contrast to Germanus, who is more ‘religious’ than a Christian, and to Arthur’s best friend, Lancelot., who has no faith – he having been apart from his family for 15 years, and not converting from being a pagan to his commander’s faith.

4. Friends

– These Sarmatian knights, with little choice but to migrate to Romano Britain and be held captive, lacking in many of the eight meanings of freedom, and being apart from their birth families and friends thousands of miles east-bound, learned, over time, to place their trust ( character x competence ) in Artorius.  This trust led to bonds of friendship being created that kept these men from turning on each other even when the pressures of losing & certain death awaited them at most any turn, esp. north of Hadrian’s Wall.

5. Following { Leadership }

– Leadership is influence ( http://www.moneymatters101.com/books/launch.asp ) and beyond …

One of the best, by far, definitions was coined by leadership experts, Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward, in their landmark book, ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution‘ :

Leadership is the influence of others in a productive, vision-driven direction and is done through the example, conviction, and character of the leader

Arthur is a true and unquestioned servant leader. He exemplifies this above definition; his life was productive — having grown to be a Roman commander through the define/learn/do process by modeling his father’s example before him, it was visionary, in that he knew how to win, how to be successful, and how to put service to others ( his knights ) ahead of his own self-serving (ego) needs. And, his character and conviction were a sterling example to his fellow Romans ( including Germanus ), his men, and numerous others – even one of the Saxons!

6. Freedom

The capstone of this review = freedom. Freedom is NEVER free. Never was this more true than in this era!  See above re: the Sarmatians, let alone the peoples who had to slave away daily just to survive behind Hadrian’s Wall, or those Romans were were over-run by the barbarian invaders to the south — although this latter group surrendered their freedom in trade for complacency, false security, comfort, and hand-outs.  ( read this classic :   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire for much more )

Freedom is so well defined by Oliver DeMille. I consider him to be the most renowned expert on this “F” alive today;  his books and audio recordings, available through my business, are must reads and must listen-to’s.  He would likely concur that Arthur was a true patriot, and lover of freedom; again, without giving away too much of the plot/script, let’s say that as the movie reaches its crescendo, Arthur realizes his purpose, and puts his life on the life for his legacy and destiny to be written!

To wrap up this review, even considering the number of likely historical inaccuracies, I can unequivocally recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in personal growth/change, leadership, freedom, & success.  I find that spending time around eagles, and climbing with them is the only way to live a purpose-ful life.  I pray that you found this blog to be interesting, inspirational, and infomative!    Many regards, blessings, & well wishes on your own personal success trail!