Jul 152015
 
The 15 Root Issues

Over the course of the next few months, this blog will be used to spotlight, issue by/per issue, each of the fifteen/15 root issues that exist within the traditional public school/undergraduate educational models, which span from pre-K all the way through the end of the four years until a B.A., B.S., or other functional equivalent credential is received.

The full list of 15 is below to get us started:

o Little, if any, focus on people (soft) skills
o Entrepreneurial / business ownership mindset is rarely, if ever, taught
o Instilling a vision & encouragement of dreams is missing/lacking.
o Financial literacy / wisdom ( too much focus on consumerism )
o “Silo” approach to learning / too narrow. ( nearly all, if not all, content is, and should be, inter-linked.)
o Political climate
o Testing ( credentialist )
o Gift sets ( define/learn/do ) not a focus. Too much standardization and conformity.
o Autonomy & empowerment ( teaching critical/depth thinking )
o Leadership is for all.
o ROI ( $$ -> results ) – this equation is not bearing fruit.
o Stuck in past era/age(s) – the amount of time in the classroom hearkens back to the Agricultural Age, and the curriculum/discussions are akin to the Corporate Industrial Age.
o Remediation – too many have to retake the same material/content later on.
o Lack of focus on personalities/temperaments
o State v. Social (family) power ( the family, not the state, is the cornerstone of society. )

As always, with this blog, feedback is most welcome. Thank you for reading & all the very best at all times!

Mar 022014
 
p A i L s = High level significance

Whom amongst you would have expected that a pail would signify anything but:

.. Something used at the beach.

… A tool used to haul water from a well.

…. or, a plastic carrier for kids to use for Halloween candy.

Not any longer … a pail(s) has far more significance here in 2014. Why, one may ask?

It is now a visual metaphor for significance in your life. I’d heard a talk a few months ago re: this concept, and it really hit a home run; it was profoundly impactful for someone who had spent so many years just surviving and passing the time – I was doing “pretty well”, or was I?

( When you spend many hours of the week in non growth activities like watching TV & shopping on credit, or excessive time on social media sites, is that really doing well?  )

This post will just scratch the surface of this new wisdom that I’m blessed to pay forward – there’s a strong likelihood that there will be a future post with more detail; for certain, there will be a book review.

PAiLs stands for :

Preparatory experiences [ potential ]

+ future focused

Actualization

+ present day/actions, activities, habits

in/to

Legacy

+ what you plan to leave behind ( “rescued into the past.” )

(with/notwithstanding)  Spillage

+ time lost by design/intentional, or un-intentionally that didn’t get you closer to your aspirations.

Profound, yes?

Think about it. In depth. Don’t react, nor respond. Definitely ponder how it may change your thinking on each of those 86,400 seconds that you are granted every time you start anew each day.

Strongly recommend taking a moment to review & check out the same talk ( & now, also a book) that served as the inspiration for the core of this post. You will not regret doing so for even one minute.

Feedback is always welcomed & encouraged. Create a great week ahead!

Nov 272013
 

Do. Learn. Define.

Therein lies the fundamental, root issue with why so many do not find lasting success (however they chose to define it) nor significance in their lives.

Define. Learn. Do.

Not only is this 180 degrees different when you examine in writing or hear someone say it out loud, it is also inside-out transformational for one’s thinking and mindset.

Why is the former far inferior to the latter?

Let’s dissect this at a high level in this post. This concept can easily form the spine of a book, or the core theme of an entire evening’s seminar, so additional comments from those who read this post & identify with this are most welcome to offer input.

First, the former.

In old style, agricultural/industrial age schooling, you are often asked at some, or many points, by an adult in authority something along the lines of “What do you want to do when you graduate?” Without being aware of the far superior alternative, this seemingly straightforward question has pinned the teenager (‘you’) into a corner, and continued a programming that nearly often leads to mediocrity and a settled for life rather than one of uncovering genius, serving others, & being part of something far bigger than oneself.

Then, often, the answer received by the adult ranges from a shrug/blank stare, to a verbal “I am not sure/don’t know”, to, in some cases, a detailed reply from a smaller percentage of teens. This is quite often the lead-in to the learn step, where, often, one finds themselves on the college prep track, taking classes to beef up the transcript for colleges “A”, “B”, and “C” to evaluate when it comes to the next stage. You are embarking on a journey to learn whatever it is that you want to do

Lastly, whatever you end up learning defines your life; its contours, its obligations, most usually, your budget ( mostly debt ), and even where you live and whom you associate with.

You’ve now been boxed in = a Pre-defined outcome based on the first step you took. And, keep in mind, this step was driven often unconsciously, due to societal norms and perhaps peer pressure. Can this box be broached, so you can re-learn something else after changing your answer to the “do”? Yes, however, not all that easily.

What about flipping the entire equation, and turning it on its head? Let’s look at it:

Define – define your life, ‘Johnny’; where do you see yourself in 5? 10? 20? years. What’s your ideal day look like? What are your priorities that you want to fulfill?

Learn – Let’s find / lead you to someone(s), something(s) which will lead you through the steps, phases, decision points, thought processes, and commitments which are required in order to reach the lifestyle which you’ve defined in step one.

Then, wrapping up with Do. Now, after your thinking has been changed by this new information and perspective/mindset, it’s time to act. Take action! Make mistakes. Failure is a direct input to success. Do what the someone/something advised and recommended. For instance, if you want to be wealthy and have both time & money, follow the success principles which the truly wealthy advised in the books & audios, and what your mentor(s) who have what you want have told you.

Is this not evolutionary, let alone revolutionary, in how it differs? For certain.

Why don’t more folks in the West, let alone America, make the latter choice? Simple reasons > Too much noise v. proven gold medal information. Conditioning & programming. Those without success teaching those who have yet to have the opportunity to learn success principles that break the mediocrity ‘chain’. A lack of reading & listening, and being unaware of the value of education v. schooling.

These reasons can be dealt with. And, it’s one of my missions to reach as many as I can to help them realize that there is a choice.

Thank you for reading & may your days be blessed in all ways!

Nov 042013
 
Why aren't you doing (or have quit doing) something worthy? ...

… There’s a strong likelihood that the reasons are deeply seated, below the surface of your life, and in need of being brought out so you can dedicate your days to something that will leave a mark in our dark world. Being a candle in such a world isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever embark on doing, however, it will have the most worth — by far.  ( I am living testament to this truth. )

From a fantastic audio recorded from a talk that I had the utmost pleasure to hear and experience in person,  below I’ve recapped the Top 10 reasons ##.  The reasons are fully from the speaker’s vast experiences in working with people for years upon years; the commentary below them is mostly my own, tying to my own ongoing journey taking the road less traveled.

**

10 > Pride

Prideful-ness is a major contributor to many negative traits and decisions. Often, it is connected to crowd-satisfying peer pressure, or negativity of some type. Study ways in which you can learn how to remove pride from your life to the greatest extent.

9 > Besetting sin(s)

In most anyone’s closet, there are skeletons from the past. After all, man is not by nature “good”, he (she) is a fallen sinner. We all have done, or perhaps are still doing, things which are sinful. Many quit something of value to avoid conflict, or to avoid having to confront thing(s) which are unpleasant.

8 > Lack of character

Resolution 2 from the highly regarded book, ‘Resolved’ includes an equation:  Integrity x courage = character. Do you know someone who quit before the finish line?  Perhaps he/she simply lacked the former, integrity itself. Or, on the other hand, maybe there was a shortage of courage at the root. Either way, character counts, as Os Guinness taught us in his short, and profound book of that name.

7 > Distractions

Broken focus. Ah, what was that you said again?!.  Yes, your focus was just broken. Maybe it was the lure of “lesser things” ( good > great , reversing the order ); or, was it a lack of sorting out your priorities from your urgencies and obligations?  Regardless: Distractions hurt the pursuit of the worth (-y).

6 > Comfort.

Odysseus fell prey to a siren song, did he not?  Have far too many modern day Americans, let alone most of the ‘First World’ citizens done the same as this well known Greek legend? Yes, I say — the verdict is in. Entitlements?  You’re entitled to very very little, except which is transmuted to you via natural laws. Comfort comes in many forms – if you want to join the 2-20% of society that is far ahead of the rest, avoid it! Have lots of fun, and restore yourself — self-care, so to speak, but don’t get comfortable!

5 > Dream is too small

The cure for this at the very root?  Three fantastic books:  ‘The Magic of Thinking Big”, “The Dream Giver”, & “Visioneering”.

You have to dream. And dream often & consistently. Please, though, do not confuse this with fantasy, or wishes, or the ‘SFN’ (Something for Nothing) club. Dreaming is a discipline, a requirement to be successful, and very invigorating to the soul, spirit, and mind. Be sure yours are B-I-G. !

4 > Relational challenges

We all have them, or had them, including me. It’s part of life in many ways – people are … people! And, since the 80-98% don’t study, learn, and practice human relations/people skills as a matter of due course, chances are, they have these challenges more often. To fix this instead of quitting something valuable to your legacy, study conflict resolution first. Best books in this area?  “Courage” & “The Anatomy of Peace”

3 > Personal responsibility

You’re the project. Simple as that. You cannot change others, and never, ever should you blame another person, let alone something inanimate, such as a golf club, for what you alone control. Personal responsibility is a brother to personal growth/change; it is the antithesis to dependence. Jump over independence, and move into the interdependent level of action & thinking to really learn how to get better on this point.

2 > Selfdoubt / low belief

Belief, and its companion faith, are imperative in everyone’s life. Quitting, being the opposite of success, easily can tie into missing the ‘belief’ coin. Let alone letting self-doubt, or being in a valley reflect your day to day living. Doubt is cured by plugging into better information — stopping listening to yourself — and, finding better association. One’s ‘tribe’, community, or platoon/foxhole should be shared with only those who are going to edify, uplift, encourage, and coach/mentor you to greater things. Get your hands on the new in 2013 book, “Confidence of a Champion” as a key add-on. It is stellar!

1 > Lack of mental toughness

A leader armours him/herself – tough skin required. Toughness is an ingredient in large quantities. The best read to counter-act this reason for joining the ‘quitter’s contingent’?  “Toughen Up!” — Mr. Hamilton pushes all the right buttons in this 2013 tome. In a world of correctors, cynics, discouragers, and unhealthy skeptics – many of whom do not read, or grow themselves in any other discerning way, adding layers of toughness, while keeping a soft heart, is the right way to prevent quitting due to this reason.

**

My hope is that this list & the books/tidbits tied to them, added a large measure of value. As always, comments & shares are deeply appreciated & welcomed. Gratitude in abundance is how I live.

**

## – that talk was from Mr. Chris Brady. You’ll find his blog in my blogroll, and numerous books that he authored, or co-authored, reviewed and recommended on my second (Tumblr) blog, also linked in the corner of the main splash page.  All the best to him & his family at all times, as his example is one that I wish to emulate as a lifelong self-directed student.

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.

___________________________________________________

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 112013
 
What you do MATTERS -- Serve. Pay forward. Give. Bless Others.

Ripples in the still water…

They are caused by something which breaks the stillness; something which serves as the cause, while the effect is palpable to the naked eye …

Who among us, likely while with your parents on a hike, a camping trip, or at a retreat, hasn’t tossed a rock into a pond, a lake, and watched with glee as your act caused something so obvious?  Raising my hand, I am one of them 😀

So, why would we, as adults, not apply this same principle to your life?

What you do MATTERS.

Here’s the principle I speak of. This is not a new idea, yet I wished to cover it today, as earlier this summer, I was privilved to hear a moving talk from an accomplished business owner ** ( w/ her husband ) who re-told the story that I’ve linked back to at the bottom of this post. The story is a core of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ , and is synonomous with ripples from a smooth stone tossed as a young child. Rather than re-tell that story, let’s use it as inspiration – print it off, and refer to it often …

Let’s apply this to our lives today. Stop spending so much time on obligations that only benefit ourselves and which have limited value to our families, trusted friends, and our society. Our families are the cornerstone of our culture – thus, the butterfly effect, the ripples, matter – and our culture is in dire need of an infusion of leadership that rises from organic growth of our own thinking. Our friends are valuable, so why would we not spend time and effort cultivating those relationships?  That will ripple.

And, social capital can only be rebuilt by conscious focus on restoring values which will bring satisfaction in our business ownership (or our careers/jobs), our faith/spiritual development, our marriages/parenting, and in our time spent community building (anything from the YMCA, PTA, church youth groups/VBS, et al.)

Yes, what you do MATTERS. Focus on priorities! Match your calendar to them at all times. No excuses, please. If you rank something as #1 in your life, it should be #1 on your calendar in terms of the time you spent on it, as often as possible. Sure, urgencies will arise; so long as you remember Covey’s ‘Big Rocks’ vid clip, the visual should stick with you  to guide you back onto the path in case you are knocked off of it.

It is a privilege of mine to serve others, paying forward world class/gold medal information which has the highest potential to lead to the butterfly effect in others’ lives. Help one person/family/entrepreneur fix an issue and grow their servant leadership?  Define their purpose? Sharpen their vision?  Up their adversity quotient?  Fix their finances at the deepest roots?  Those are ripples. They are priorities for those folks, right?  So, the stone and rock tossed is the information, that which, once learned & applied, will effect the change.

How amazing a feeling to shake hands, hugs, fist bumps, and pats on the back with the people whose lives you bless!  Up your count. Give of yourself & pay forward transformational info that has benefited you/your family/your business. And, you will have  your own opportunity to be the Moses, the George W. Carver, the Henry Wallace, and the Norman Borlaug in your own ways.

+ + +

** Thank you so very much, Laurie Woodward, for your ability to inspire through stories! The story that she cited can be found elsewhere; however, here’s a great source that is found easily online > http://lifetoday.org/connect/words-of-life/the-butterfly-effect/  <

Jul 242013
 
The Three Most Important Q's you will ever ask yourself

Who am I?

+ Do you know what drives your economic engine?  Your faith/spiritual walk?  Do you embrace liberty & know the meanings of freedom?  Do you have a family that means the world to you?  What is your WHY? +

Where did I come from?

+ What are your roots & even more to the point, do you know WHY you believe WHAT you believe?  Be an independent thinker at all times; let no media, PR/advertising, or other outside influence sway you without heart, spirit, and mind being engaged through your own research. +

Where am I going?

+ Do you see your future clearly, whether over present day obstacles/challenges, or clear as the blue sky above?  Do you have a 1,3,5, 10 year vision?  Is your subconscious mind pulling your conscious mind along for the ride to your dreams?  Do not plan more for your wedding, vacation, or your ‘weekend’ more so than your life. The latter is far too important to drift through w/o focus, hard/smart work, & chasing something far bigger than your present reality. +

 

May 032013
 
Service > self

Service.

Self.

Two distinct words.

Yet, how often do we put them in order of what we want vs. what others could benefit by?

Far too often — especially if you live your days in the mass media/consumerist culture.

Changing this at its roots requires heart, mind, and will, all fused together. Can it be done? Absolutely; I am living proof that it can transform a life.

How did I do it?  Or, better phrased: How am I continuing to get better at it?

The answer is that I am purposeful in what I allow to enter my mind. Your thinking is the lever of your life; if you let your thinking go south, let alone take your own advice, or the advice/opinions of those who don’t have the results/success which you strive for, you’ve lost a battle. Does this mean that the war is lost too?  Not in the least!  Just go back to your “trip point“, which is the information. Information changes lives. Undoubtedly.

Service can be defined so many ways; one way that it can be framed is in the context of servant leadership. When you understand leadership as equaling influence, you know that by being a servant, and putting service ahead of self, you’ve blessed someone else. Ego must be subservient to excellence, just in the same way as service > self.

Self -focus is caused by a society/culture which glorifies success in a mis-defined manner:  By the love of money ( as money is not the root of all evil; the love of it is); by characterizing success as financial (“being rich“) only; by what the celebrities & sports stars are doing; or even by encouraging competition ahead of community/interdependent ( ‘Law of the Inner Circle‘ , ‘Level 4‘ thinking.)

Going back to the information as the root source leading to the lever going up (service) or down (self) — it does require humility/humble-ness, hone-ability, a lack of self-deception, and courage to want to take steps to change the information flow. Here in the connected/internet/info age, information is beyond plentiful; it is all encompassing!  It surrounds us like a cocoon, and if we aren’t perceptive, it can impact our thinking in mere seconds. Think of how your mood changes by listening to a negative source, such as the TV news; why would you constantly shovel snow ONTO your grass when you could use your snow blower to REMOVE it?  This is analagous to letting bad/un-edifying/uplifting info into your head when you could turn it off.

Be a blessing to others by serving them. Think of how you felt when you volunteered at a charitable event, or when you donated monies, or when you helped at your church , or when you stepped up to help a neighbor in need. That’s obviously putting service before self, and doing this consistently can be encouraged by starting at the information ‘step’, and observing the changes in your thinking over time.

Thank you for reading, and all the very best in the days ahead!

Apr 242013
 
'Four Corners' of Friendship

Friendship. So very important, yet so many don’t put a time value on creating, building, and bonding with others in a healthy, win:win friendship: Why is that?

This type of analysis could fill a research paper, let alone an entire book, so this post will necessarily only address at a high level. I am using some content gathered from my own reading & the majority from a seminar that I attended a few months ago where the speakers did a tremendous job weaving together  a tapestry of just what true friendship really is.

First core is to separate the underlying skill set of attractiveness from maintenance. Both of these are learnable, and do not require luck nor talent nor false flattery (or teeth whitener 😀 ) – however, like with so many things in the consumerist, mass media culture, neither are taught all that well.

To Attract —-

Empathy

Responsive listening

Ask lots of questions

Keep good posture / stance & eye contact on the other person

Be likable & build confidence. Trust doesn’t grow overnight.

and …

Edification

Be a ‘good‘ finder at all times

Grace over law ( don’t correct )

Make the other person feel better after having been with you.

—-  —- —

This paves the way so very well for the second core:   To maintain —-

Enthusiasm

Be joyful & use big words to describe how you feel.

Focus on lending others your spirit ( especially if he/she/they are down )

Give ‘happy’

Encourager

Affirm the traits that you previously edified. (i.e., you admire how well the person speaks in front of people she doesn’t know; you think the person is very skilled in cooking steaks on the grill.)

Be a great ‘expect-or’ ( expect the best. Don’t reward mediocrity. )

Talk & share experiences, dreams, goals, & affirmations/resolutions together. Positive association is so very valuable.

—- —– —– —– —-

The talk started to wrap up through the discussion/listing of a terrific selection of books that buttress each of these four  – please feel free to comment on this post if interested in any of the titles:  Am happy to offer up personal testimonials/recommendations for them, as I’ve been blessed to have already read the vast majority of them.

The capstone was the visual of a graph of friendship achievement that looks very much like an exponential curve. In other words, the growth of true, principle based friendship may appear to be completely flat for quite some time, and you may be thinking, “Have I really helped this person know, like, and trust me (as a friend)?”    The answer is:  “Yes!” , and the pay-off, like any solid success or wealth building principle, is going to take some time to show up, but once it does, the reward will return so many blessings to your life.

Then, it becomes your responsibility to pay it forward into another’s life. Friendship isn’t Resolution 7 for nothing – it is central to ever-lasting, purposeful, resolved living.

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!