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.

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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.

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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.

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## – 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.

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!

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!  🙂

Aug 312012
 

Today’s blog post is the second 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 :)

 

August’s movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( eagles soar = leaders ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 2004’s re-imagining of the classic tale,  ‘King Arthur‘.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I am the fortunate & blessed owner of a business that gives me the privilege of serving others and blessings their lives by helping them grow in 8 ‘F’ categories – this review will focus on how King Arthur’s script ties into numerous of these, including Following (leadership), Faith, Friends, Fun, Family, & most especially, Freedom.

The movie begins in the mid 5th century, A.D., and swings from the Black Sea up to Hadrian’s Wall, which was built three centuries earlier, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, to separate Romano-occupied Britain from the natives ( Picts; in the movie, known as ‘Woads’ ) who were very tribal and considered the Brits their enemy. At this historical point, during antiquity, the Roman Empire was essentially a dead letter, as swaths of what is now Italy were being over-run by barbarian invaders from southern & north-central Europe. However, in a time long before the information age’s 24x7x365 communication, up in Britain, only a small select few, inc. Bishop Germanus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanus_of_Auxerre ) were keenly aware. In fact, it is the Bishop who informs Artorius ( at this point, he is now the commander of a group of Sarmatian knights ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmatians ) ) that the Romans were planning to withdraw from Britain, and leave the Picts (Woads) to deal with the invading Saxons, who were coming from what is now Germany, and pillaging the countryside north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Suffice to say, the Sarmatians were not free; earlier on, it was established that when the Roman legions beat the Sarmatians on the battlefield, in order to avoid death, they (and their sons) had to serve 15 years under a Roman commander, without the ability to negotiate terms, and at threat of death far away from their homeland near the Black Sea.  Artorius, however, had been a benevolent commander who put these men ahead of himself, and had shown himself to be a character (integrity x courage) based servant leader.

Advancing the narrative forward, Artorius/Arthur had to lead his men on a final mission before they received their Roman paperwork which said they were free.  This mission required amazing levels of courage – testing everyone to their breaking point and putting them in mortal danger from both the Saxons & the Picts/Woads. During this time, it is established that there is a family based tie between one of the Picts & a woman that Artorius rescues, and the relationship with his knights is established with broad brush strokes – you really get to know what makes each of these men ‘tick.

Without spoiling the rest of the script for those readers whom might not have seen this movie and/or haven’t in a while, I will move on  🙂

So, from my perspective, what does this movie teach us about the “F’s” mentioned above?   a LOT.

1. Family

– Artorius/Arthur’s family life is shown in flashbacks & during scenes as he reflects back & looks forward to a day when he doesn’t have to spend most of his waking time fighting simply to survive to return to Rome as a conquering hero (all the while putting his knights’ lives ahead of his own.  Thick skin = soft heart. )    Family is simply the cornerstone of every age there ever has been —  from Antiquity/Iron Age, to the agricultural, industrial, corporate industrial, and presently, the information/tribal/connected age.

2. Fun

– These men certainly have their fun times!  Even in such a rough & tumble era with very little of what we all now take for granted, they have a grand time when they aren’t on the next battlefield.  Fun, when had in the right dosage, for the right reasons, is crucial as part of a personal growth journey.

3.  Faith

– Arthur is unquestionably a Christian. This is shown very early, when he says a prayer to God on behalf of his men before this final mission. You also see the contrast to Germanus, who is more ‘religious’ than a Christian, and to Arthur’s best friend, Lancelot., who has no faith – he having been apart from his family for 15 years, and not converting from being a pagan to his commander’s faith.

4. Friends

– These Sarmatian knights, with little choice but to migrate to Romano Britain and be held captive, lacking in many of the eight meanings of freedom, and being apart from their birth families and friends thousands of miles east-bound, learned, over time, to place their trust ( character x competence ) in Artorius.  This trust led to bonds of friendship being created that kept these men from turning on each other even when the pressures of losing & certain death awaited them at most any turn, esp. north of Hadrian’s Wall.

5. Following { Leadership }

– Leadership is influence ( http://www.moneymatters101.com/books/launch.asp ) and beyond …

One of the best, by far, definitions was coined by leadership experts, Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward, in their landmark book, ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution‘ :

Leadership is the influence of others in a productive, vision-driven direction and is done through the example, conviction, and character of the leader

Arthur is a true and unquestioned servant leader. He exemplifies this above definition; his life was productive — having grown to be a Roman commander through the define/learn/do process by modeling his father’s example before him, it was visionary, in that he knew how to win, how to be successful, and how to put service to others ( his knights ) ahead of his own self-serving (ego) needs. And, his character and conviction were a sterling example to his fellow Romans ( including Germanus ), his men, and numerous others – even one of the Saxons!

6. Freedom

The capstone of this review = freedom. Freedom is NEVER free. Never was this more true than in this era!  See above re: the Sarmatians, let alone the peoples who had to slave away daily just to survive behind Hadrian’s Wall, or those Romans were were over-run by the barbarian invaders to the south — although this latter group surrendered their freedom in trade for complacency, false security, comfort, and hand-outs.  ( read this classic :   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire for much more )

Freedom is so well defined by Oliver DeMille. I consider him to be the most renowned expert on this “F” alive today;  his books and audio recordings, available through my business, are must reads and must listen-to’s.  He would likely concur that Arthur was a true patriot, and lover of freedom; again, without giving away too much of the plot/script, let’s say that as the movie reaches its crescendo, Arthur realizes his purpose, and puts his life on the life for his legacy and destiny to be written!

To wrap up this review, even considering the number of likely historical inaccuracies, I can unequivocally recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in personal growth/change, leadership, freedom, & success.  I find that spending time around eagles, and climbing with them is the only way to live a purpose-ful life.  I pray that you found this blog to be interesting, inspirational, and infomative!    Many regards, blessings, & well wishes on your own personal success trail!

Jun 282012
 
Today's Spotlighted Quote

You don’t build trust by talking about it. You build it by achieving results, always with integrity and in a manner that shows real personal regard for the people with whom you work.

– Craig Weatherup

 

The book, ‘Trust‘, by Les Csorba, is an absolute winner and ties in perfectly with this quote. You can find my recommendation of this book from the fall/winter of 2011 at my other blog,  http://tumblr.com/follow/thisrascallovesfreedom