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!

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.

Aug 192013
 
S - U - C - C - E - S - S

This acrostic caught my eye right away when I heard a highly successful entreprenuer lay it out on a white board earlier this month. I think the value of such a visual can often be under-rated, so rather than let that happen, am using this gentlemen’s focus on the familiar word ‘success’ as the heart of tonight’s post.

/////////////

S = $

U = You.

C = Common

C = cents ( sense 😀 )

E = Enthusiasm

S = $$

S = $$$

\\\\\\\\\\\\\

I can easily relate to why the ‘S’ s all were tagged to money. Since so many equate success to financial well being, it was a neat idea to build the acrostic with book ends which a majority of individuals will relate to at a surface level. Does this mean that success is exclusively financial?  Of course not. It is far, far more, yet since many aspire to financial freedom, with being successful as their vehicle to get there, it makes sense.

‘C’ & ‘C’ = how valuable, yet its not all that common sometimes, is it? This can be attibuted to so many root reasons ( e.g., non physical fears, programming, poor/bad information, not associating with positive communities/individuals, entertainment overload, schooling instead of education ) — so, let’s counter that by mentoring with those who have your best interests in mind, plugging into gold medal quality information, and changing your thinking. Mentorship matters.

Enthusiam, let alone excitement, are so crucial. Frank Bettger taught us this so many years ago in his remarkable book, ‘How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling’. Have vivid, clear goals that you are chasing at all times. Be in the race to the top. A winner is up even when she is down – you must pour the gas on the dreams, and act enthusiastic even if you don’t quite feel all the way there 🙂

Lastly, we back up to the U.  That is you. Yourself. (and I!). We are our most valuable asset, yet we often take our trillion dollar on board computer known as our brain (primarily the subconscious/unconscious = a goal setting device) and feed it the equivalent of junk food, yet we expect the best of our sports teams and celebrities (?).  This is entirely upside down.

There’s nothing amiss with having a favorite player, team, or even a star actor, but why do so many tolerate mediocrity in their own day to day lives?  This must be fixed at the core. We control our decisions and our choices. Never play the victim, or bring out the victim card; if you do, the success card is off the table, and will not be in the deck. Why? By doing the latter, you’ve donated it to the person next to you who is reading to be a leader and borrowing the experiences of those who have results; the person in the car in the next lane who is using her vehicle as a rolling university; the man who is attending seminars and conventions and rubbing shoulders with eagles/climbers/creators who want to get better.

It is an honour and a privilege of mine to lead others to their oasis of success. And, I hope this recap, with my own analysis attached, helped the reader, even if just a little. Blessings!

Jul 112013
 
Offense, Defense, & 'Playing' Field ... for Finances / Economics

Economics. Finances. Government budgets. Money. Investing. Spending. Bills.

What emotion(s), thought(s), or image(s) spring to mind when you heard these words?

Fear?

Confusion?

Uncertainty?

Confidence?

I hope that you can answer in a very positive way, however, with the way our culture and society have been so heavily commercialized, flooded with PR/marketing/advertising, and political mumbo-jumbo ( to put it mildly ), I would suspect that the emotion, thoughts, or otherwise would veer rather strongly to the negative, or perhaps just indifference.

Then, let’s introduce an equation which is far from original, yet can help dispel many many myths, confusion, and other maladies which are preventing the mass of our great republic from being able to earn their freedom  – financially ( from being a slave to debt & time ), spiritually ( to be able to donate freely to charities and church/faith organizations, if desired ), socially ( to be able to share wealth with those less fortunate, inc. struggling families , single parents, et al. ), and personally ( becoming educated and empowered, instead of programmed & trained to borrow, spend, and not invest in ‘You, Inc.’

 

INFORMATION  ~~~>  THINKING ~~~> ACTIONS/HABITS ~~~> RESULTS

 

May I take the liberty to recommend digging into some world class, gold medal information which is a compilation of nearly two decades of wisdom gained, education earned, and lessons learned through the vehicle of PDCA? (plan/do/check/adjust-act)?

Please watch this short vid clip

& click through the various options (workbook, forms, full package/set)

It would be a privilege to share with anyone how much this information has changed my economic & financial thinking from the inside-out. I will never look at money, budgets, investment, or spending/expense the same again. For the better. Way better. Immeasureably better.

Have a terrific evening & enjoy every minute of your day. Its a blessing to be alive & well!

Jul 082013
 
On a peak (of life)? in a valley (also of life)?

I recently put a cap on a terrific book called ‘Peaks and Valleys‘ by Spencer Johnson, M.D. What a truly inspired read! I compare it to the ‘Great Connnection‘ , ‘Leadershift‘ , and ‘The Ant and the Elephant‘ in terms of how much it impacted me through the lens of a business parable writing style. This post will not serve as a recommendation / review of the book ( please visit my other blog for that in near future ), but rather, I will sum up some immediate thoughts that I had about the book; it’s core themes can easily be applied to anyone’s life.

Five Major Themes

1 + ‘To Manage Your Good and Bad Times:’ > ‘Make Reality Your Friend’

What an on point, to the heart question Mr. Johnson poses! “What is the truth in this situation?”

How often do we allow ourselves to think independently, or use our self-talk as a positive, rather than a huge lead weight?  Let alone bringing the word ‘truth’ into the solution to a problem, however small or vexing, or seemingly unsolveable?

2 + ‘To Get Out of a Valley Sooner:’ > ‘Find and Use the Good Hidden in a Bad Time’

Fantastic perspective! How often have we heard that there’s a silver lining in every dark cloud?  This is a corollary of that metaphor. Yes, but it sounds so corny?! You may say..

Sure, you may respond that way, and it may even be the case, however, being able to laugh at yourself and have fun, even in bad times, brings levity and is like dropping some of the bricks from the bag which you filled yourself.

3 + ‘To Stay on a Peak Longer:’ > ‘Appreciate and Manage Your Good Times’

Absolutely. Comparing this to what I’ve heard on an audio multiple, multiple times — you should not eat your seed corn or wheat. These crops are akin to good times; one may also be familiar with the metaphor, ‘every good time must come to an end’

Don’t use these in any way but to be a good steward of your resources — financially, do not spend every penny that you make; ignore the incessant calls to borrow more money which will keep you in debt in perpetuity — relationally, always be humble, do what you have done to get to your peak. Turn the spotlight off of yourself, and onto others.

4 + ‘To Get to Your Next Peak:’ > ‘Follow Your Sensible Vision’

Mr. Johnson describes it well – “Imagine yourself enjoying a better future in such specific, believable detail, that you soon enjoy doing what takes you there

You cannot merely fantasize, wish, or pretend; you have to use the immense power of vision ( Resolution 4 ) combined with planning, doing, checking, and adjusting ( Resolutions 5 & 6 ) to make what you have dreamed about real!

Bastiat’s Law, one of the FLD, will tug you away from doing any of these last four action steps, making you want to play the lottery, or wait for someone to leave you inheritance monies, however, to scale a peak require real work and effort.

Lastly, 5 + ‘To Help People:’ > ‘Share It with Others!’

Simple, yes? However, don’t fall into a trap of human-ness, and want to hold these lessons close to you like a blanket in the winter; be grateful you heard them, and turn around and pay them forward. Resolution 13 is a clarion call to thinking well beyond you, and planting the seeds that will become great trees, or stalks of corn, or fruit in others’ lives; those whom you may barely know, or will never meet.

Whether you give this book out as a gift, loan your personal copy to someone, practice these lessons and be the example in front of everyone, or something else not listed, just be sure to get “outside of yourself”, and put service before self.

~~~~

Have a wonderful week~!

~~~~

May 272013
 
Book Recommendations & Reviews

Leaders are readers.

We know this to be rock solid advice for those who aspire to leadership, which starts by being a follower, and which grows through time through the private/self achievement(s), onto public achievement(s), and into the leadership realm, where you climb the stairs from Level 1 to Level 5.

With that in mind, I make it a point to pay forward book recommendations in the blogosphere; reviews are public and I hope they provide you the value-add you need to make the decision to read/invest in the book(s) thereafter.

Here’s a link to one of my most recent reviews:

http://tmblr.co/Zk5D-xlz2WXm

Note that this social media/blogging platform requires direct links to access outside of being a user/having a profile, so the above is meant to allow anyone an opportunity to view.

Have a fantastic week to come!

Apr 042013
 
Personalities & People

Greetings!

These two words could, and have (!), filled entire books, so my discussion of them and how they are fused together is necessarily brief in breadth, but is meant to still be impactful, esp.. for those readers whom are not in a mastermind/leadership growth style group, familiar with effective networking principles, and/or have not yet embarked on a self-directed/liber educational model.

Personality types:

I strongly recommend reading and applying the information from the following books:

Personality Plus  

The Great Connection

Robert Rohm also wrote a book ( I won’t list it above since I haven’t yet read it ) whose theme is personalities; I have listened to a leadership talk he gave on the backgrounder for them – so I can still easily recommend the D.I.S.C. model from the audio learning alone.

Layers”

Readers should most definitely check out the blog of one Mr. Bill Lewis to dive in further on this people related topic –>  http://bill-lewis.net/2012/11/01/be-encouraging-by-removing-your-layers/

From notes taken tying back to his blog, and from an audio he recorded, am happy to summarize details that I gathered from both sources. While I didn’t realize it before, most definitely, layers impact every single relationship, and person to person  encounters that we have, so understanding them & learning to grow through the below areas can only benefit you in every area.

The common layers >

Super serious all of the time; makes it difficult to laugh at yourself.

Sarcasmsarcastic

Cocky attitude / cockiness

Very defensive when questioned

Joking all the time ( there’s a diff. between being funny and this )

False humility

—— Two root issues if we don’t ‘shed’ these?  —-

We are seeking a desired avoidance or a desired response, rather than truly connecting with someone. The layer impedes trust and the ability to serve them without having yourself/self in the way.

You’re not in control and forcing something to happen; reaching for a desire should not be a motivating factor in relating with others.

 

Can the personality types in any of the three books discussed above lead someone to have more layers? Conceivably, yes. However, speaking personally, several of the layers from the above list were ones I had until I started to change personally — taking a mental ‘shower’, if you will. While facing issues like layers will be a lifelong challenge, it is one that I face with aplomb, and information like the above from the books, blog, audio, and associating positively (while rebuilding social capital), many more will learn their personality, be able to relate to the differing personalities of others, and avoid or remove the layers.

Have a terrific day ahead & be blessed on your journey of a 1,000 steps.

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!

Feb 282013
 
How much are you reading?  How much are you growing?

“The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will how to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have–with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.

Will Smith

 

********
Reading. Such an imperative activity for making one’s life better, yet why aren’t more in the West making it a habit?   There are many reasons, although I’d posit that the vast majority of them are dressed up excuses which are actually reasons to read, once unraveled and consider in depth.
So many of us know Will Smith by his many many successful movies, perhaps his old TV show, or even his time as a music mogul, rapping with DJ Jazzy Jeff 😀  However, were you aware of his love of reading, and how much he values it?   The quote is powerful in its own right, and its shines as a truth beacon.
How often have we spoken with, heard, observed, or been pulled into an unfamiliar or tense situation in any area – say with a friend, a manager, your kids, even a perfect stranger, and not been able to handle it well?  Would not having read some world class books on people skills, leadership, faith, or history have given you the tools to learn from those who had those same situations in their own lives?    Undoubtedly!
I strongly urge all readers to think about this – please don’t react; think. Self-improvement, personal change, and lifelong growth don’t just happen:  They require intentionality, determination, focus, humility, and courage. None of these are talents, though, they are skills, learnable skills. The question that you have to ask yourself tonight is:  Am I willing to make a difference in the lives of everyone I encounter, and in my own mirror, and start to read from quality books?
I hope the answer is ‘Yes!’.
May you be blessed in your days ahead.
Thank you for reading.