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.

Jan 242013
 
Monthly Movie Recommendation for Eagles & Climbers - VI

Great day to all!

This month’s (and year) kick off movie for those folks in the blogosphere who are, or want, to live intentionally for excellence as an eagle, and climb the summits of their vision and dreams is a very well known multiple Oscar winner from 1995, ‘Braveheart‘.  In my view, this movie was/is a classic of the first magnitude; having a history background, I surely realize that some of the script’s characters, chronology, and scenes were not exactly what happened in the 13th and 14th centuries, however, this should clearly not detract from this film’s amazing upside.

My specific intent with this recommendation is the same as with the other previous blog posts in this ongoing series: To tie this movie into either or both of the fundamentals for LIFE, those being the eight cornerstone, foundational F’s and the thirteen resolutions. Otherwise, as this movie has been reviewed by an army of folks over the past 17+ years, no new ground will be discovered 🙂

William Wallace, the central character and a real life hero, simply defines leadership. There are so many definitions of leadership, however, I’ll point the reader to the one in the early pages of ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution‘ to flag what is one of the very best, if not the best, summation. He had no positional rank in the Middle Ages hierarchy/aristocracy of England/Scotland; he had no official bestowed from on-high title; he was not schooled formally, nor did he ask to lead. In the end game, over the roughly 40 years that the script covers in 3 hours, he simply LEAD. And, his leadership was world class!

Robert the Bruce, another central character, and also a real life hero, defined leadership in a somewhat more circuitous direction. His growth as a man was evident throughout the film:  He realized the value of keeping his word, the definition of courage, how to overcome the handicaps of  positional authority, and the power of words.

The examples and illustration of the resolutions, which incidentally, are simply outgrowths of latter day Western world leaders Ben Franklin, George Washington, & Jonathan Edwards, are in abundance throughout the scenes in this movie. To wit:

Resolution 1, Purpose –  Wallace’s original purpose was to return home, having grown up in his formative years with his uncle’s mentorship, and stay out of the limelight, being a non aristocratic farmer while marrying and raising a family nearby his original home. However, events changed everything for him;  his purpose did nearly a 180, and he was knighted.

Resolution 2, Character – As Wallace grew up in a violent era, where battles fought with crude weapons like spears, axes, and broadswords was the norm, character was definitely earned on a battlefield in most instances. Unquestionably, William’s was!  Coupled with his uncle Argyle’s wise mentorship as he grew into young adulthood, there’s no doubt that Wallace exhibited this resolution to a ‘tee’.

Resolution 3, Attitude – The movie goer will notice that Wallace always brought out the best in his army, and he kept them focused on ever greater heights. He was an encourager & spoke from his heart. The cards he was dealt ( Scots not being allowed to train with weapons, divided clans, et al. ) could’ve led to him being resigned to the English ruling his homeland ad infinitum, however, he listened to his positive voice far more often.

Resolution 4, Vision / Alignment –  What a vision that this great historical leader had!!  He epitomized attaching one’s reality to his/her vision!  He aligned his facts/logical mind (conscious) with his images/metaphorical mind (unconscious/subconscious) like no one else in his era did – and the results were clear to all. A leader’s influence has a strong component of vision, and ending the ‘war‘ between the two sectors of the brain is imperative to have lasting success.

Resolutions 5 & 6 , PDCA’ing / keeping score –  William Wallace surely knew the importance of this combo; he realized that if he did the exact same as his forerunners, he would surely lose as they did, and his vision of a free & independent Scotland would not come to pass. So, he planned ahead how he would defeat the English:  He consolidated the clans together in one common cause; he reached out to the nobility ( Council of Edinburgh ); and he came up with different tactics both for hit & run battles and for the major battlefield encounters. Then, he did what he said he would do, checked the progress, and adjusted as necessary.  He avoided living vicariously through others, he didn’t make excuses and pass the buck when he did come up short, and he knew that the price of winning was always worth it.

Resolution 7 , Friendship – What can be said about Wallace’s inner circle that wasn’t quite obvious by watching the film?  Not all that much. It is beyond clear that he was tight w/ them. He built relationships and bonded w/ Hamish & Stephen, let alone others that were with him through the down times & the up. Sharing agape love with them developed his heart & fortified his will.

Resolution 8 , Finances – Not much focus here, however, while it wasn’t directly mentioned in the script or viewable on screen, Wallace’s leadership and uniting the clans quite likely led to a major hit on Edward I’s treasury!  On a more personal level, Wallace leveraged the power of compounding, he delayed his gratification (i.e., wanting to simply raise crops & build a home nearby where he grew up), & he invested his own capital by putting his country ahead of his personal peace & affluence.

Resolution 9 , Leadership – A true no-brainer. William Wallace = Leadership. ‘Nuff said. He served others at all times; he had a BHAG / huge dream! ; he was a visionary, anchoring the reality of Scotland’s situation to his future vision; and, he brought out the best in people: his inner circle loved him, the clans rallied to him, and like anyone who leads from the front, he polarized.

Resolution 10 , Conflict Resolution – Admittedly, Wallace’s idea of resolving conflict was crude:  Fight & kill them 😉  However, let’s also call a spade a spade:  He did not practice the deadly sins of conflict avoidance, silence, or triangulation either.

Resolution 11 , Systems Thinking / Holism – Thinking in systems is a trait that lacks in so many corners of society; it also did in this era. Wallace, though, was ahead of his English enemies on several fronts related to holistic thought. First, his battle plans were ahead of their time, turning the last few centuries on their head. Second, he understood that if Scotland “had no sense of itself” , his homeland couldn’t be free. It required thinking as a system, getting to the root level to bring warring clans together in a common cause for a higher purpose.

Resolution 12 , Adversity Quotient –  Wallace fit this so very well. He surely experienced a lot of adversity — family wise, growing up in a country with very few freedoms, & seeing friends die on the battlefield. However, like 20th-21st century men & women such as Jack Canfield, Margaret Thatcher, Lou Holtz, & Frank Bettger, his iron will x his emotional intelligence x his intellect ( the latter borne through his growing up with a strong self-directed education ) put him on a level unlike anyone else in his era.

Resolution 13 , Legacy –  Another easy one. When you think of Scotland & even if you know only a little about European history, I’d bet that the name ‘William Wallace‘ isn’t too far from the forefront of your mind. His legacy echoes and ripples to this very day. In fact, once the Scottish Parliament was re-convened, some of the MP’s referred to Wallace as their inspiration! Additionally, Wallace’s amazing leadership helped change the current of decline and statis in Scotland by putting a check on the FLD (‘Five Laws of Decline‘).

In summation, may I conclude that Mel Gibson did an extremely admirable job both in front of , and behind, the camera. His portrayal of Wallace as an actor, and his director role brought out the human qualities of a man that history’s books had not done prior to 1995. I am privilged to be able to offer up my review, and clear recommendation, to this blog’s readership to not only watch this film, but to view it through the filter of resolutions.

May your days ahead be bright, filled with cheer, laughs, & smiles. Nothing but success as you soar like an eagle and climb the mountains to your destiny 🙂

Nov 232012
 
Monthly Movie Recommendation for Eagles & Climbers – IV

Today’s blog post is the fourth 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 :)

October’s ** movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( those who soar! ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 1982’s  ‘Rocky III‘, written by the star of the series himself, Sylvester Stallone.

As with the previous posts, my perspective with this review/recommendation is to tie the script in with the 13 resolutions for LIFE and/or the 8 cornerstone F’s, along with a short take on the movie itself. Due to the movie having been released nearly a quarter century ago, there’s nothing original to be said in the latter 😉

In this 2nd sequel to the ground-breaking original from 1976, we find Rocky at the top of his game. He has won the Heavyweight Championship from Apollo, and he and Mickey, his original and current manager, are seen in the opening montage, along with Adrian, while Rocky is on a domestic and international tour, defending the title and remaining undefeated throughout. Survivor’s iconic song, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgSMxY6asoE is playing in the background 🙂

Fast forward from here to Rocky’s first in person encounter with his nemesis in this film, Clubber Lang, played by, a debuting to the big screen/celluloid star in the making, Mr. T. Clubber is clearly the guy with hunger and passion, and his purpose is clear:  He wants the title, and he will go through whatever it takes to get it. Rocky, on the flip side, is basking in the peace and affluence of being on the peak of the mountain-top.

We see what happens when there’s a clash of hunger v. satisfaction “as is” – Rocky is pounded mercilessly, and loses – badly. Along the way, as the narrative advances, Rocky is re-introduced to his former adversary/foe, Apollo Creed, and he and Apollo build a relationship and bound together as friends with aim at common goals: to regain the title and rediscover Rocky’s hunger and original passion, his courage, and raw determination. And, with this movie being as popular and long-lasting as it is, we all know the end result:  Rocky, against all the odds having been stacked up against him by the critics, cynics, and even his own subconscious mind for a time, wins, and wins going away. The final 5-10 minutes are stand up and cheer all the way!  😀

How does Rocky’s dream, struggle, and victory storyline tie in with the 8 F’s of LIFE?   Let’s look closer:

Family – Rocky & Adrian had their first child, a boy, in the first sequel a few years hence. He is now growing up, and Rocky feels a pull on himself that did not exist before:  He now has two very important cornerstones in his life that transcend boxing, and his mentoring/coaching relationship with Mickey (and later Apollo).

Faith – Rocky always says a prayer in the corner before his bouts. Like with many athletes, including much more recently, Tim Tebow, this grounds him properly before he goes off to make his living in the center of the ring.

Friends – Mickey, while a tough nosed trainer, has become a trusted friend to Rocky. Rocky grew up under his tutelage, after all. Rocky also forms a concrete bond with Apollo Creed as the film moves forward after Clubber won their title bout.

Finances – Rocky started in the original movie with very little money, and by the time of this second sequel, his success in the ring had brought him riches that seemed to have no end: endorsement deals from all corners, title bout monies from promoters worldwide, and merchandise sales from his public training! ( the latter thanks to the entrepreneurial Paulie 😉 )  However, it is clear that the money took the edge off of his hunger, determination, and willingness to be a student. This cost him far more, at least for a good chunk of the film, than what he had gained.

Fitness – The training montages from the Rocky films are legendary. This sequel did not disappoint one bit!  After Adrian reached Rocky’s soul with her admonition on the beach, it was like the ‘Italian Stallion’ was reborn!  His heart (EQ) reconnected with his mind (IQ), and the will to win returned (WQ).

Fun – Rocky knows how to have fun. The initial training at the gym before his title loss was hilarious in many ways; not to Mickey, mind you, but to the fans who came to see the champ up close.

Following – Leadership is character in motion; Rocky’s character is battle tested throughout the series, and in a special way in this sequel. Having lost his original fire in the belly (hunger), not to mention his humility, he had to rediscover them both after experiencing failure. Failure is simply an event; every leader knows this. However, until Apollo came along, let alone his wife’s from the heart (to heart) talk, Rocky identified his loss to Clubber as a failure = he as a man, and as a father/husband. His success that won him the title originally was based on failure after failure, including mistakes!

Freedom – The financial windfall after defeating Apollo in the sequel gave him plenty of freedom through wealth:  wealth is composed of time and money. However, it came at a steep price – he paid it in spades, and once he found his purpose ( the convergence of potential, passion, and profits = hedgehog concept, all credit to Jim Collins ), this type of freedom was grounded not on a foundation of mud and sand, but rather on concrete.

The 13 Resolutions apply rather neatly to the narrative as well –

Purpose has been mentioned numerous times; Rocky’s character ( integrity x courage ) was put through the furnace of struggle. His attitude needed a lot of work, and his friend and wife helped him immensely to fix it at the core. He struggled with vision, due to issues that too few of us understand:  the subconscious mind is so much more powerful than the conscious, and for Rocky, the former was in a war with the latter, and when this happens, the person almost always doesn’t get what he wants. He needed to understand the immense value of PDCA’ing, including grasping that his scoreboard/card was missing some key elements.  Along the way, he built a deep seated friendship with Apollo, and grew closer to his wife, who clearly is his friend and confidante as well as his spouse. Undoubtedly, his finances improved markedly by being a champion, however, he let the affluence get to his head & heart, which whittled away at his will to win. Leadership includes so many features, inc. the willingness to change, to have priorities in line, and to be interdependent, and practicing team-work. Along the way, Rocky learned how crucial each of these are to being a winner both in and out of the ring. He also had to learn how to be a better man, which often comes by truly grasping conflict resolution skills; triangulation, avoidance, and silence are each poor substitutes for truly getting to the heart of what’s dividing one person from another. His thinking was also lacking both before his startling defeat at the hands of Clubber Lang, but also after during the initial training with Apollo. Systems thinking shows that circular reasoning, such as knowing something needs to be different (behavior/understanding) to face a new foe (a threat, competitor, et al.) and responding defensively will simply not work. Unquestionably, we saw that Rocky’s adversity quotient was lower than one might expect from having a World Championship belt around his waist; so it took a crushing defeat, a return to basics, bonding with his wife, and a new friend to bring his equation of IQ + EQ + WQ up to the standards required to again be victorious. Last of all, Rocky’s legacy was put in serious doubt due to his response-ability after winning the belt. He didn’t realize that Mickey was accommodating his protege, which dulled his passion and iron will. Of course, this led to failure and defeat, and in some measure, took Rocky back to his roots through the eyes of Creed, his new mentor. In the end game, though, his legacy was restored to its former glory, and his fans went wild after he took Clubber and pounded him into the mat 🙂

While some see this movie as simply a sports flick, there is so much more below the surface. As usual, a sensus plenior / metaphorical perspective produces so much more lessons than a sensus solum / surface level one.  Thank you so very much for reading, and as always, shares & comments are most especially welcomed.  Namaste!  🙂

Sep 302012
 

Today’s blog post is the third in a monthly series that I plan to post for the rest of 2012.  I hope all the readers of this blog find as much inspiration, value, & encouragement in these as I intend there to be :)

September’s movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( those who soar! ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 1989?s original script/film,  ‘Field of Dreams‘.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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