Sep 162013
 
Trail riders

Educate the ignorant.

Spread prosperity.

Heal families.

Promote freedom.

What do these have in common?  They are all defined missions. And, I’ve been blessed to have begun to build the rest of my years around each of them – additionally, they are purpose driven ways to lead and live a significant life.

A ‘trail rider’ can be defined as one who may sometimes have to follow, as Frost taught us, the ‘road less traveled’. He (she) may have to invest time and sacrifice some events in the here and now for far greater reward later.  Another definition is that of a leader who is willing to serve, and serve, and serve …. and to help with shifting the dialogue from that of a problems to a solutions based mindset.

Yet, with the state of Western civilization, North America, and the U.S. itself in decline, there’s no doubt whatsoever that more trail riders are very much in demand so the supply will increase to meet the deep challenges that face us. It won’t be the politicians of either the red, blue, or any other color/shade that will meet these head on: it will be the regular citizenry that joins the ranks of the trail riders.

How can someone make this crucial decision and have it not be a ‘try’?  There are some hurdles to jump over, however, with the stakes as high as they are, these are worth far more than their weight in gold when weighed on a scale against the alternative. What is the alternative? A nation, let alone a continent, or numerous countries across the globe, that is/are far less free, or entirely un-free. [ * By the by,  this entire post is inspired from a live talk (and a subsequent audio recording of it) by freedom, Constitution, and leadership education expert, Oliver DeMille. ]

The hurdles – what are they?  Each of them simply require a shift of priorities. Everyone has plenty of time to focus on these, however, it will be a far smaller percentage who do each. Let’s review them on a high level, and at some point in the future, there’ll be a new blog post or two to revisit this critical topic.

First / 1st /  A

Spread Entrepreneurship

THE most important.

Mr. DeMille has studied historical cycles going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, and in the peak civilizations from early antiquity to the present information/connected age, many citizens were owners; they were building assets, and did not depend on a third party for their livelihood.

And, think about it: Why depend on a single stream of revenue (income) in such a turbulent time as the present?

Second / 2nd / B

Read like the American Founders

Also very very important.

The Founders were highly educated ( not trained, not schooled; educated. ) — they were far from perfect men, and their signature document, The Constitution, had about 3-4 loopholes, however, one thing that cannot be disputed by even their most vocarious critics? How much they read. They were well studied in the great conversation:  ideas in all genres, from history, economics, science, faith/The Bible, literature, and far more.

is 2013 a far different era than 1764-1789?  Of course. However, listen to Mr. DeMille’s amazing recording ‘The Four Lost American Ideals” to put the rest that citizens from today can ( and will ) make the difference.

Third / 3rd / C

Know the fine print – from laws, bills/legislation, court cases, budgets, treaties.

Very valuable — lest you ‘outsource’ your gov’t to faux experts who do this for you, and NOT in your best interests.

The founding generations treated their youth far different – they held them to high standards which created succeeding generations that were prepared for citizen leadership from a very early age. In the book, ‘LeaderShift’, page 110, read of Samuel Williams from 1794, and compare it to the stories in the mass media and culture of 2013.  What a difference, and not for the better.

Also, keep in mind that budgets are not just for ‘green eyeshaders’ – they are moral documents, since the currency we spend on our government’s every agency/dept/program should reflect what we, the people, deem to be valuable. If we let those aforementioned ‘faux’ experts determine what’s right, what’s valuable, et al., are we not abdicating our solemn responsibility as a citizen?

Mr. DeMille summed up his walk throughout history by documenting which of the above 3 fall first, as freedom retreats from a society, and the number of trail riders doesn’t grow.  Which one?  Fine print. Then, being a voracious reader, then lastly, entrepreneurship and the values & principles that go along with it.

We can’t let that happen. Putting service before self can be summed up in many different ways, one of which is to promote freedom; another is to educate the ignorant on topics like this ( think: were you taught this in any of your years of schooling? ); still another is to heal families by offering them the education and the tools of financial fitness which show them that having multiple streams of income, esp. those from owning something, can regenerate family life. And, each of the above will lead to sustained prosperity when each organically grow and encompass more households.

Will you accept this challenge?

I have. It’s been one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made & I look forward to helping write the story of how this ends with the pen in my hand. Freedom needs trail riders, just as fish need water. Thank you for reading, and as always, comments are welcomed.  Best of the best!

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!

Mar 102013
 
Do you have the mindset of an innovator & creator?

Innovation & creation. Are they not both building blocks of a growth based, free enterprise economy?

For sure!

So, in that case, we can draw an arrow, without any leap of logic, to what one engine of rebuilding the entrepreneurial mindset of America is and what we need to encourage across all socio-economic classes, whether age, gender, race, ethnicity, or otherwise.

The below information was culled from a fantastic book I read about 15 mos. ago, by none other than leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, ‘Developing the Leader Within You’ 

For any given change proposal, the graphing of the responses looks like this:

2%  – Innovators

10% – early Adopters

60% – middle adopters

20% – late adopters

8% – laggards

I’d say that this is very telling as to why the macro economies of the West have stalled; of course, there is far more to this analysis than just this, however, it’s definitely a piece of the analysis that may not be as well studied as others. Regardless of one’s intent, often, a review will be colored by the person writing it- so if you’re reading an economic study, you may not find out that the person is resistant to change in his/her profession, or generally, so could that’s why, perhaps paired with a lack of reading, we’re not hearing more about this.

When roughly 12% of the population embraces change openly and without time, emotional, or rational resistance acting as ‘sand in the gears’, and 28% on the other side of the teeter totter, could that be why so many look not to entrepreneurs, but to big institutions of yore ( think: big business/corporations, big education, big unions, big government ) or “experts” (many of whom aren’t really experts, lacking their 10,000 hours invested ) to deal with the issues causing economic dis-location, stagnation, and missed growth opportunities?

Let’s change this graphing by addressing the deep roots:  Read more. Listen more (at the expense only of your own thinking that you know the answer(s)). Invest in yourself ahead of all else by cutting needless expenses that have no return on dollars spent. Find mentor(s)) to follow. Join a community based leadership growth group in your area. And, by all means, focus on the great that’s out there – innovate your thinking, and adopt the mindset of an eagle. We have enough chickens and chicken littles 😉

Nov 292012
 
Strength, Trailblazing, Raising expectations, Serving 1st, & Purpose

I just had the honour and pleasure to review & strongly recommend this book ( please see:  http://t.co/wSWP5P4c ) — this post is a companion to the review.

Just a few brief comments on each of the Five/5 action steps –  I simply cannot say often enough how radical ( in the best possible way) this “upside down pyramid” really is!  The sooner it is adopted in the West, whether in communities, small businesses, government, educational institutions, or non-profits, the better off we’ll all be.

 

BUILD on Strength

Very valuable!  Dale Carnegie taught 75+ years ago how important it was to talk of your own mistakes (e.g, areas of improvement, weaknesses) first. Additionally, his landmark book cited the story of Charles Schwab & how important it is to praise and show appreciation often. Same concept/action here: focus on your followers’ strengths, as well as your own. Surround yourself with those who have strengths that you yourself don’t = interdependency.

BLAZE the Trail

Kevin Hall spoke of a pathfinder in his amazing book, ‘Aspire‘ –  a serving leader is much the exact same!

RAISE the Bar

The book does an excellent job delving into this topic. In a culture/society that all too often defines standards ever lower, and mediocrity reigns, a serving leader does the exact opposite from the herd/crowd & “conventional” wisdom. He/She asks aspiring serving leaders & their followers to dream bigger, serve more, and never settle.

UPEND the Pyramid

Awesome and eye opening perspective! The true leader, one who serves first, moves his/her way to the BOTTOM of the well known pyramidal/hierarchial diagram.

RUN to GREAT Purpose

Purpose, after all, is Resolution #1. It is also the ‘sweet spot’ from Jim Collins’ “hedgehog concept”.  Undoubtedly, a steel x enamel x rock foundation point on the pyramid.

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Please check out the recommendation/review, order this book, and you’ll not regret your decision, even for a second.

All best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 132012
 
Legacy & the Laws - Resolve to Avoid Decline

I had the privilege & great fortune to read the ‘full version’ of this landmark book, appropriately named ‘Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE’ about 9 mos ago (my full review/recommendation is found on my second blog )

Now, the author, Mr. Orrin Woodward, has released a ‘Primer’ version, which will serve to further spread the crucial message of how important it is for modern day citizens to again build a foundation base on the core principles (resolutions) = those such as Purpose, Character, Vision, Leadership, & Adversity Quotient, to name just a handful.

Today’s post is focused squarely on the capstone resolution, #13 in both editions/versions = Legacy.

Legacy was also discussed in Mr. Woodward & Mr. Chris Brady‘s best-seller (on multiple well known lists!), LLR , as being part & parcel of Level 3 motivation.

In this chapter/resolution, we, the readers, are exposed to a topic that needs a LOT more attention in the world as we know it today, with societies and cultures in many cases declining due to various root causes – such as a lack of leadership, hubris, financial illiteracy, an excessive ‘peace & affluence’ mentality, too much cynicism/doubt, & too much of a focus on credentialism instead of true education. Mr. Woodward has come up with Five/5 Laws of Decline based on the thousands of books he has read, the thousands upon thousands of people he has met, and the many US states, Canadian provinces, and other nations of our world that he has visited.

Below is my brief commentary on these Laws (there’s no way I could top Mr. Woodward’s scholarship 😀 ) & how they tie back into entrepreneurship, freedom values, & setting your purpose to be laser focused on servant leadership & ownership.

5 Laws of Societal Decline 

1. Sturgeon’s Law

– Simply put, 90% of anything is substandard & doesn’t have ‘value add’ — the proverbial “noise” , the chaff to the wheat, to coin a couple simple ways to reframe what Mr. Sturgeon stated back in the 1950’s.  This clearly applies to leadership — how often we associate the word ‘leader’ too loosely to a person with simply a ‘credential’ , a flashy title, a ranked ‘position’ in society.  Once you apply this law, you end up finding out that only 10% of those ‘leaders’ are actually LEADERS. (caps intended for emphasis)

2.   Bastiat’s Law

– I had vaguely heard of Mr. Bastiat back during my professional track (i.e., under-grad) education, however, it took this excellent book to truly bring out how valuable of a contribution he made! I have a ton more to learn about him, needless to say 🙂  In short, though, this law states that the average man or woman will seek to satisfy his/her wants by putting exploitation and ease ahead of earning it through hard/smart work, over time. Therefore, you see how quite a few, sadly, respond emotionally to appeals of non leader politicians who use crass class warfare to pit class against class.

3. Gresham’s Law

– This one is deep!  And, oh so obvious when applied to the institutions that many of us are a part of, deal with, or must interact with daily. It states that non quality/unproductive will triumph over quality/productive; and, furthermore, what’s rewarded will increase over what’s not. There are several great examples in this chapter, however, my favorite, which is very timely, is how the value of the US Dollar, the world’s reserve (fiat) currency, continues to decline, since the Federal Reserve (‘Fed’) continues to devalue it every time they print more to buy more bonds – so, consumption and debt/financing (“money as a master” to Mr. & Mrs. Jones are being rewarded over production and savings/investment (“money as a slave”) to the same folks.

4. Law of Diminishing Returns

– I love the succinct description of this law:  Quantity up, quality down ( once a certain threshold is hit/exceeded.).  How true this is!  This is one reason why there’s so much discontent with large institutions in present day society;  think of it:  how effective is a large governmental agency?  how many mergers can a large corporation go through before its performance and quality of work, let alone the products/services offered show signs of less value add?   That’s why I personally no longer put any confidence in big business, big labor (unions), big government, or big educational institutions. The future is in tribal leadership, communities, entrepreneurship, & leadership/liber education.

5. Law of Inertia

– I am far from a scientist, nor was I a systems engineer like Mr. Woodward in his pre-leadership days 😀   In my eyes, this law is simple – unless you do something that is opposite from the crowd/herd, or more colloquially, the ‘sheep’ , you will run smack into this natural, universal law!  Another way to sum up:  Whatever the ‘CW’ (conventional wisdom’) says is the “right” thing to do – think of the popped ‘bubble’ in the housing market, or the quickly developing ‘bubble’ in professional track education, it’s much better to head the other way.  Sam Walton touched on this in Chapter 17 of his book:  Rule ’10’ , Swim Upstream.

I see a direct correlation from these laws back into having a defined purpose and being an owner/entrepreneur. An entrepreneur builds something to go from problem identified to problem solved, by offering a service to bridge the ‘opportunity’ gap in the middle.  Only entrepreneurs will be able to counter-act/balance these natural laws from causing irreversible decline as they continue to chip away at our societies. The freedom values of ingenuity, initiative, innovation, & tenacity rarely are found in any of the ‘big’ institutions discussed above; however, you’ll find them in abundance when you move into tribes (Seth Godin & Oliver DeMille discuss this in depth: read their books), communities (mini-‘factories’ , little platoons), and in the realm of leadership education .

Readers, please strongly consider investment in yourself – be an owner, build an asset, join a community/tribe, and pursuea add’t self-directed education outside of the ‘credentialist’ big institutions. When you have a purpose of serving others and being a 10% (read: true) leader, you will have taken big steps down the journey of moving against, and not towards/with, the 5 Laws so vividly discussed in this incredible book.

All the very best & many blessings to one and all.

Sep 192012
 

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

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Trend No. 1

Genius

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

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

 

Trend No. 2

‘Glaze’

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

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

 

Trend No. 3

Sensus Plenior‘ 

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

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

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

 

Trend No. 4

Entrepreneurial Values

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

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

Initiative

Ingenuity

Innovation

Tenacity

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

 

Trend No. 5

Entrepreneurs & their impact on Elections

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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