Nov 132014
 

… of results.

This post is a quick compilation of some especially powerful quotes which have come across my line of sight in recent weeks.

Study them, think about what they mean in depth, and apply. Knowledge learned and not acted upon isn’t a full equation.

During a persons’ lifetime, there are only a couple of opportunities that come your way. If you possess the courage and self confidence to grasp them, they can change your life.

– Lou Holtz

… Our actions are directly connected to our thoughts … you must begin at the level of your thoughts. Seek to isolate the thoughts that lead to the wrong way of speaking.

– Stuart Scott

Look within. Within is the foundation of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.

– Marcus Aurelius

Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation… even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.

– Leonardo da Vinci

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught how to fly.

– Patrick Overton

Jun 152014
 
(Father's Day edition) - 'Courageous' - 2014 Rascal's Guide to + Movies Series - Two

Just in time for Father’s Day …

… it’s my privilege to post a review, and a very strong recommendation, to watch the movie ‘Courageous‘.

Courageous is a terrific movie filled to the brim with truths in it’s moving, insightful, & heartfelt script. It will tug at your metaphysical heartstrings, and make you really reconsider if you are doing all you can as a man in serving your family.

It is very much the case that not all males are men; a man is created from the crucible of living for far more than a paycheck. He is molded by his culture/society, his local community, his friends, his pastor/spiritual leader, and his family unit. Some men run from their multi-pronged duties, some blame shift, some never mature … and then, there are some that fight back the ‘FLD’ (Five Laws of Decline), and serve their families with honour, with courage, with character, and with a determination to never quit on them.

This latter group is what we see emerge as the movie eventually reaches its plateaus of raw emotion & decision point(s). Without spoilers, the four lead characters each have to come face to face with situations which test their faith (or lack thereof), and put them square in the middle of a moral battlefield. Will each of them make the right decision(s)? Will they buckle under pressure? Will they put the lure of lesser things ahead of the greatness and glory of God?

This movie earns an A+ from this reviewer for multiple reasons – it rings like a tuning fork in the quiet room, for starters. It also is very real; we know these characters don’t exist in real life, yet you can surely see them in the faces & voices of your neighbors. Additionally, the movie doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult issues that may be considered “off limits” by those who don’t understand that one should have thick skin & a soft heart, rather than the reverse.

Who would’ve thought that an independent studio could cobble together the funds to put out such a quality film, one may ask? These folks in Georgia did. This movie doesn’t cut corners and it shows in the high level of acting skill, scenery, and quality of script-writing.

As we celebrate Father’s Day in our land, this is the best way I could show support for all the men in my life who are fathers (and for those who read this blog whom I don’t know!): put up a review of a movie which is a must-see (and must own) to sharpen their saw ( Habit 7 ) and use this movie as a sterling example of what a father should be.

All best!

Aug 132013
 
Leadership correlates with education, education with freedom, and leadership engenders freedom: Connections

A couple months ago, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear a very moving talk from a well regarded, influential servant leader #. His ability to interweave leadership principles, liber education (self-directed/leadership), & the meanings of freedom seamlessly together is quite impressive. I’ve noticed that such an ability to synthesize concepts is often missing from today’s schooling, although its value is hard to underestimate in any context once you’ve experienced it.

That talk inspires this post. My wishes for the reader are to think independently; to understand that it is very important to grow his/her leadership abilities — in the ‘soft skills’ — and, lastly, that schooling and education are far from one in the same.

It’s been proven throughout history that freedoms that citizens enjoy are connected to their education. And, that information learned, studied, and applied is where wisdom originates. We cannot depend on faux ‘experts’ to determine anything — businesses large and small, schools, public, private, and home based, and other institutions crave and are clear need of leaders who are honeable, hungry to learn, and are humble, realizing that for every book they read, there are thousands yet to be.

Our freedoms, best described through the lens of either the ‘eight meanings’, or the ‘three types’ ( DeMille & McEwen, respectively ), rest with embracing the age in which we presently live, while renewing our past, and looking evermore into the future. A business model that combines servant/replacement leadership with education, and which filters out the best information from the noise and mis-information in our world today, is beyond priceless. It is troubling when so many citizens are struggling when we have more info at our fingertips today than even 10 years ago; so, let’s connect these together and serve first, to address our problems at their very root.

Businesses which are cutting edge often are very abstract and intangible —  it can be argued that Microsoft, let alone Facebook in the present time, are very much in this category. So, information that isn’t pure, which is not based on fundamental concepts and principles of leadership, nor which encourage any of the types or meanings of freedom, can get out into the marketplace through such an outlet. Think of all the banner ads, the advertising in the news feed, and such as cases in point.

Enter into the marketplace of our global world a similar model, based strictly on information and connecting people together who share a like-minded vision. Going further, the model teaches the soft skills to those who are hungry to invest their 86,400 seconds a day into those who own a share of it; let alone, existing to reach out to others who don’t yet own a share, but wish to do so since they realize that doing the same old, same old in the familiar zone just won’t get them ahead in life.

What may restrain the growth of such a fused model of self-directed education, servant/replacement driven leadership, & the impartation of freedom principles?  Alexander Tytler saw many of them coming centuries ago:  Complacency. Cynicism. Apathy. Dependence [ in this case, on big institutions, words instead of action/deeds ]. Bondage [ here, speaking of debt – spending much of your time plying a trade to pay creditors instead of focusing on what really matters ]. However, can anyone change this?  Of course!  Should you have some healthy skepticism that you can?   Sure. Just use the latter as fuel, and don’t catch the dreaded disease known as ‘excusitis’.

Dr. Schwartz taught us about this disease years ago in his landmark book ( a MUST read.); being “busy” and broke, let alone leaning back on your health as a crutch, all fit into this category of mediocrity. Breaking free from it by solving the idea and ambition problems is exactly what this type of fused model solves!  Leadership requires independent thought, & a different lens and thinking pattern. Education requires the same, and dispenses with much of the (more subtle) programming that schooling includes. And, freedom is precious, and requires one to lead from the front, educate constantly, and think in depth.

Don’t find yourself on the outside looking in while the “experts” attempt to solve problems in your town/city, county, province/state, or nation. Don’t let yourself be distracted from the real issues. Avoid living vicariously through others’ successes, inc. a favorite sports team(s). Curtail excessive entertainment that can become entrenched in your lifestyle, which will neutralize your potential to be great, instead of just average. Be extraordinary!  As Don Soderquist taught us in his book, live, learn, and lead to make a difference. This type of internet age model gives you the intangible tools to do all of the above & much, much more.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog & may your life be filled with all the things that you have earned by service before self.

__________________________________

# Sending many kind regards to Mr. George Guzzardo. Please take the opportunity to visit his blog; he updates it frequently and his posts are filled with wisdom; the link/URL is in my blogroll.

Jul 292013
 
Habits do make (or break) you ...

… in this case, financially.

I recently came upon a post in social media-land that made me stop, read, bookmark it, print it off, and begin to share w/ others.  That’s saying something, in a virtual oasis of information that never ends! There is so much information out there in our modern world, much of which eludes our eyeballs. In many cases, this is for the better, since the information is of 90% (below par) quality per Sturgeon’s Law (Five Levels of Decline/FLD), however, I’d say what I’m going to reference and point the readers to below fits into the 10%.

What do the rich do daily that leads them to financial success that the unsuccessful don’t? Mr. Corley+ lists 20 separate things (see below URL/link for the citation). For the purposes of this post, am going to pick several of them that stood out to me based on my ongoing personal/professional/leadership journeys.

First, let’s use a disclaimer. If you listen to too many politicians, or those who lack results, you may think that the rich are to be disdained. Certainly, some of them lack people skills and don’t properly manage their wealth/good fortune; others earned it through less than admirable means; and a small handful inherited their money, and likely have zero per cent appreciation for where it came from. Put these 3 categories aside. This post has nothing at all to do w/ them.

Onto the list >>>>>>>>>

First:  63% of the wealthy listen to audio books during their commute v. 5% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. I used to be part of the latter. Now, I always use my vehicle and commute time, regardless of time spent (3 min. drive, or many hours) as a rolling university. Over the past 3 years, I’ve listened to somewhere b/w 500 and 1,000 audios, inc. numerous books. What it’s done for my thinking, habits, and results is very clear.

Second: 88% of the wealthy read 30 mins. or more each day for education / career reasons v. 2% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. Again, I was part of the latter. I would read a book here & there, usually a political ‘screed’ that just made me angry at one politician, party, or law, or sometimes a fiction book. Now, I read from many different genres: I presently have 4 books in progress:  1 economics; 1 finances; 1 leadership/history; and 1 human relations/people skills. And, over the past 3+ years, I’ve read over 100 different books, several of them multiple times. Again, the difference that it’s made is beyond obvious.

Third: 67% of wealthy watch one/1 hour or less of TV/daily v. 23% for poor.

* Personal testimonial. Up until 2 1/2 years ago, I watched (or had in the background for sound) roughly 4 hours of TV most days, and sometimes, 8-12 hours if I was home and didn’t have anything else to do. (!?!?!) – and in that time, my financial success was very limited. Programming, advertising/PR, and marketing only encourage consumption and you’d have to search far and long to find anything on the tube that teaches wealth principles. Now, I watch zero hours of TV/day, and with very limited exceptions due to the mobile web & the internet, I do not miss it. And, I’ve learned a ton of principles, lessons, and nuggets that will lead to far better financial results.

Fourth: 79% of the wealthy network 5/five or more hours/month v. 16% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. The value add for focused networking is unquestioned. Meeting new people leads to bigger networks, and in the connected age in which we live ( read Godin and Gladwell to better understand. ), this is a crucial component of growing wealth. I used to watch all that TV — see above — and my circles of influence were stagnant. Now, I have stacks of business cards, numerous new friends, and I am out there at various events on a recurring basis.

Fifth [ and last, for this post. ] : 86% of wealthy folks believe in life-long educational self improvement vs. 5% for poor folks.

* Personal testimonial. This is tough to hear for those who have minds that are finite – perhaps they made excuses for their situation; or, they believe that their credentials (degrees, certifications) mean they have “arrived” and there’s nothing else to know/learn; or, they have a fixed mindset (instead of one of growth). Any of these can easily be overcome, however, it will take changing the information at the front end x increasing humility x adding honeability. Toss in a bonus of understanding the crucial difference between investment and expense, and you will easily grasp that learning and deep seated education, which is often self-directed, never ends. ‘What we know is but a drop, and what we don’t know is an ocean.’

 

I hope you, the reader, found this post to be very insightful!  Learn from it, and make the changes right away – don’t “try” them, just “do” them!   All the best at all times!

——-

+ http://www.richhabitsinstitute.com/ = Mr. Corley’s site ( the article URL was cited by Dave Ramsey )

Feb 082013
 
When you show a man what he wants, he'll move heaven & earth to get it ...

Great morning!

The title of this post ties back to one of the top, if not the top human relations laws in all of civilization.

It is so powerful & insightful that it has, as the (paraphrased) quote from Gladiator states, ‘echo’ed through eternity

In fact, none other than Ben Franklin, yes, he who set up an amazingly successful, win:win franchised printing business that spanned Colonial America, pre independence, let alone all of his other well known ventures as an inventor & statesman, recognized this law’s ringing truth.

Franklin recited the below prayer, tying right back to this law, for over 50 years:

‘O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to Thy other children as the only return in my power for Thy continual favors to me.’

What can you learn from this law & this prayer?  Plenty!  The short answer is:  Get your mind & your thinking off of yourself. Be a blessing to others; pay great information forward; serve first.

Have a fantastic day & week to come!

Jan 302013
 
What traits do you share with Sir Winston?

We’ve all heard so much about Sir Winston Churchill, that his name & legacy are burned into our conscious minds.

Yet, have we really exhausted the deep well of insightful wisdom which this great man left behind for all the successive generations?  I’d say ‘not even close.’  There are numerous reasons why I come to this conclusion: One of which is that we do not teach history nearly as well as we used to; another is that not enough people read great books; a third is that we have bought into the self-deception that we have all the knowledge we need to live fruitful, purposeful lives, yet we are still in want of more wheat & farmers’ seeds to germinate in our minds.

So, with the above in mind – I am summing up the table of characteristics of Mr. Churchill’s life that served him so very well [ my thoughts/comments in ( ) ].

I happily point the readers to Appendix A of a really good book that I read over a year ago, ‘Ready, Begin!‘ by Lawrence M. Kryske., from which this information originated. Mr. Kryske did a fantastic job pulling it all together! Get that book on your shelf/in your e-reader 🙂

 

VISION

Focus     ( whom wouldn’t benefit from laser instead of flashlight focus?)

Innovation   ( producers & creators in society do this. Think: Steve Jobs. )

Perspective  ( C + “P” = E )

Simplicity  ( Something that every Type C/Melancholy needs to remember-note to self )

Being Proactive  ( Habit 1 – Covey )

Open Minded   ( NEVER close your mind or eyes to an opportunity! )

Insightful   ( mentors and coaches provide )

Adding Value   (  Edify. Never subtract from a person via your words. )

Detail Oriented   ( See above re: melancholy 😉 )

Big Picture  (  Vision – Resolution 4 )

Discernment   (  a component of human relations / people skills )

Preparation   (  Plant seeds/a tree well before you need a crop/apples! )

 

COURAGE

Risk Taking   ( entrepreneurs do this & America needs many more of them! )

Introspection  ( deep thinking v. reacting )

Enthusiasm   (  Carnegie & Bettger taught this years ago. Still imperative! )

Generosity   ( Serve others 1st. Always. )

Priorities / Timing  ( Habit 3 – Covey )

Integrity / Truth   (  truth is truth. Know it, live it, and expect it at all times )

Decision Making  ( make a decision, don’t ever fear a mistake or failing. )

Judgment  ( important for growing personally & leading others )

Empathy   (  HUGE importance. )

Accountability     ( NEVER ‘pass the buck’, blame shift, or make excuses. )

Boldness  ( nail your colors to the mast! )

 

DETERMINATION

Tenacity   ( A crucial trait for an entrepreneur. )

Resilience   (  Another for entrepreneurial minded folks. Never, ever quit. )

Problem Solving  (  problem ID’ed —> series of choices –> problem solved. )

Attitude  (  Resolution 3 )

Discipline  (  Build your internal integrity. Don’t cut yourself slack via excuses. )

Dedication  ( Imperative for having long term vision )

Action Oriented  ( can’t have all green lights before you move ahead. )

Patience  ( crucial element in dealing with others )

Versatility  ( grow in all personality types – be Type D, I, S, & C all at once 🙂 )

Involving Others  (  Level 4 thinking – interdependent / Habit 6 – Covey )

Impassioned  ( ollin – all in!

Flexibility  ( very valuable skill. )

 

In the end, what can be learned from this great leader’s life is nothing short of remarkable. That surely explains the vast number of books & other post mortem recognition he has received.  Successful people mirror their lives to those who have results ( define – learn – do ) and one can’t go wrong by using Sir Winston as a role model!