Sep 082013
 
Education v. Training -- many differences

As it becomes clearer & clearer how much of a difference there is between schooling and education, this particular page and a half in the most recent book that I’m reading (‘On Becoming a Leader’) really stood out to me, and will form the core of this evening’s post.

This conclusion is nothing original, as Twain, Einstein, and others have spoken of it in past  ages, and in the present day, more are making the seminal choice to focus more on education in lieu of schooling. This is a crucial choice, in my view, as what has been described so often as a ‘recession’ (in some cases with the word ‘Great’ added to amplify) wasn’t one — the past 4-6 years have been another of several waves that have been washing away the remnants of the agricultural, industrial, and corporate industrial ages, which is being replaced by the digital/internet/tribal/information age.

Therefore, this is a paradigm change, a ‘tectonic plate’ shift which is completely taking our economy in directions which, if you’re not prepared for them, will make life more challenging. The challenge, though, can be overcome and mastered by focusing on changing the information and the thinking on the front edges; once you work on your honeability, hunger, and humility, you are well on your way to flipping the switch from being reactive to this shift to being proactive.

Mr. Bennis did a terrific job with laying out the differences between education and what he  refers to as training, and which I’d contend is equivalent to schooling, as it is not a revelation that the past 3 eras of schooling tends to be heavily focused on career/vocation/job training in lieu of education. With all credit to him (see pages 42-43), here’s his table with my comments added in >

 

Education

Inductive, tentative, dynamic, understanding, ideas, broad, deep, experiential, active, questions, process, strategy, alternatives, exploration, discovery, active, initiative, whole brain, life, long-term, change, content, flexible, risk, synthesis, open, & imagination.

Training ( *what I’ve made = to schooling as a synonym for this post )

Deductive, firm, static, memorizing, facts, narrow, surface, rote, passive, answers, content, tactics, goal, prediction, dogma, reactive, direction, left brain, job, short-term, stability, form, rigid, rules, thesis, closed, common sense.

 

Bennis caps off his table with these words: “If the list [under education] seems strange to you, it’s because that isn’t the way we are usually taught. Our educational system is really better at training than educating. And that’s unfortunate.”

How true this is. I’d only swap out the word ‘educational’ for ‘schooling’. I, like many, many others have come to realize this when reflecting back, especially after beginning self-directed/liber education.  There’s a reason why past generations were more prepared for the previous shifts that took hold in America and elsewhere in the West:  They were well educated instead of being trained.

Another way ( see previous posts ) that this can be summed up is to look at it through the lens of the Latin language; ‘sensus solum’ would be equal to the latter, and ‘sensus plenior’ to the former. When you are focused on memorizing facts, rote learning, with rules and directions taking the place of ideas ( the “great conversation” ), learning to discover, synthesizing multiple genres at the same time, and retaining imagination and creativity to bring out inner genius, you turn out people into the world who are often unprepared for the shifts that come to the macro economy.

This is NOT an unsolvable problem. It is a challenge that I’ve embraced by walking the pathway I’ve chosen, and which I am privileged to share with others through the vehicle of being an owner with a business wrapped around Resolution 13 missions & Resolution 1 purpose.

May your days this week be filled with exploration, questions which lead you to look up answers in your library of books, and deep, metaphorical thinking which brings a hop to your step.  All the best, always!

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 )

Jun 302013
 
The never-ending value of audio based learning

The only edge that you have in this economy – which is moving ever faster & deeper into the internet/connected/tribal/information age – is how much of a learning culture you’ve immersed yourself in. This culture could be a mastermind group, a community that you’ve built, a challenge (such as the MFC) that you participate in with friends, or even just by yourself.

Part of this learning is necessarily audio based. Adults tend to learn best by being impacted from all their senses — eyes ( reading, video ), ears ( see this post. ), and via “touch” ( positive association with others of like mind, purpose, and vision. ).  A topic like this could easily form the thesis of a whole book; thus, this post will cover a major theme of the value of such learning.  Learning, framed w/ the right mindset ( humility, honeable, hungry ) can easily equate into wisdom, as you learn how to discover, which is a core of true education.

With that foundation, laid, below is a list of the many fundamental reasons why you should invest in your own thinking via audios:

+ + + + +

> They put a lid on your own self-talk, so you don’t take advice from yourself. Bottling up your personal negativity is a key forward step to living for significance and not just survival..

> They substitute in something that is positive & valuable to help grow yourself.

> The impartation of timeless principles of success and good living.

> They take the place of the world’s dominant media, the vast majority of which is very negative, de-edifying, and lacking in wisdom.

> An input into building a strong attitude & sharpening your purpose.

> Give you staying power and persistence, allowing you to get through low points, valleys, and the inevitable bumps in life.

> They start to build an entrepreneurial mindset, one of an owner.

> The building of dreams, encouragement of belief in something bigger than your present reality.

> They teach principles of self-confidence, posture ( steadfastness ), & individuality ( vs. negative peer pressure/conforming to the crowd )

> Principles of consistency, which are lacking often in a society that is so steeped in a microwave mentality that pits the ‘quick fix’ ahead of ‘staying the course.’

+ + + + +

May you find this insight valuable on your own pathway to personal growth, change, and as you learn how to serve others first. Thank you for taking the time to read, and all the very best!

______________________________

* with sincere, heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Chris Brady, whose talk inspired the content of this entire post ( some of the wording and organization of the points was mine – icing on the cake 🙂 )

May 032013
 
Service > self

Service.

Self.

Two distinct words.

Yet, how often do we put them in order of what we want vs. what others could benefit by?

Far too often — especially if you live your days in the mass media/consumerist culture.

Changing this at its roots requires heart, mind, and will, all fused together. Can it be done? Absolutely; I am living proof that it can transform a life.

How did I do it?  Or, better phrased: How am I continuing to get better at it?

The answer is that I am purposeful in what I allow to enter my mind. Your thinking is the lever of your life; if you let your thinking go south, let alone take your own advice, or the advice/opinions of those who don’t have the results/success which you strive for, you’ve lost a battle. Does this mean that the war is lost too?  Not in the least!  Just go back to your “trip point“, which is the information. Information changes lives. Undoubtedly.

Service can be defined so many ways; one way that it can be framed is in the context of servant leadership. When you understand leadership as equaling influence, you know that by being a servant, and putting service ahead of self, you’ve blessed someone else. Ego must be subservient to excellence, just in the same way as service > self.

Self -focus is caused by a society/culture which glorifies success in a mis-defined manner:  By the love of money ( as money is not the root of all evil; the love of it is); by characterizing success as financial (“being rich“) only; by what the celebrities & sports stars are doing; or even by encouraging competition ahead of community/interdependent ( ‘Law of the Inner Circle‘ , ‘Level 4‘ thinking.)

Going back to the information as the root source leading to the lever going up (service) or down (self) — it does require humility/humble-ness, hone-ability, a lack of self-deception, and courage to want to take steps to change the information flow. Here in the connected/internet/info age, information is beyond plentiful; it is all encompassing!  It surrounds us like a cocoon, and if we aren’t perceptive, it can impact our thinking in mere seconds. Think of how your mood changes by listening to a negative source, such as the TV news; why would you constantly shovel snow ONTO your grass when you could use your snow blower to REMOVE it?  This is analagous to letting bad/un-edifying/uplifting info into your head when you could turn it off.

Be a blessing to others by serving them. Think of how you felt when you volunteered at a charitable event, or when you donated monies, or when you helped at your church , or when you stepped up to help a neighbor in need. That’s obviously putting service before self, and doing this consistently can be encouraged by starting at the information ‘step’, and observing the changes in your thinking over time.

Thank you for reading, and all the very best in the days ahead!

Feb 162013
 
Is the entrepreneurial community the future of business?  Thoughts of the Day

Something to closely think about as 2013 moves full steam ahead:  What is the future of business in the West, let alone the world?

Could a concept melding entrepreneurship, in some ways historically considered to be someone(s) who is a lone wolf (-ves), and community, which by its very definition is plural, be the path forward, the ‘Ho Chi Minh‘ trail out towards prosperity, purpose, and to fulfill our potential as born geniuses who have been covered in ‘glaze‘ ?

My answer:  Most definitely.

Why?

Think about it. When you take the ‘edge’ off of the perceived risks of entrepreneurship as compared to its alternatives by mixing it with community, which is rightly perceived as a team who has come together to make the individuals forming it stronger ( ‘iron sharpening iron’ ), you get a potent combination, do you not?

Taking this a step further, we live in a completely new age/era – we are well past the years when people were looked at as mere hands to build widgets while not exercising independent thought; we’re also beyond the time where huge corporations and other big entities dominated the landscape, and everyone felt secure in giving up autonomy and trade it for perceived (false) security. And, are we also not well past the time when your only entrepreneurial pathway was to sign a big stack of papers, putting your entire future on the line, to get a loan to build a business from scratch?

Again, my answer is:  Most definitely.

The issues we have in order to grasp this is to replace traditional thinking, traditional sources of information, and traditional habits for what is already working well. Going back centuries into history, we find that Edmund Burke opined about entrepreneurial communities in his time & place; he called them ‘little platoons’, although he was living in a time when agriculture was still the dominant industry.  Talk about having foresight!  So, now that we live in a time when the internet connects us all, and the ‘six degrees of separation’ have been shrunk to four, is there any reason why the little platoons of yore cannot become the dominant business model of the 21st century?

These communities can & will comprise of men & women who want to learn together, grow personally by applying better quality information into their day to day lives, leverage their investment into their minds by pooling those perceived risks of being an entrepreneur, & al l the while, being the ‘glass cleaners’, the ‘candles in the dark’ for society.

What kind of non traditional, non conformist thinking, information, and habits will be an asset to those who voluntarily choose this path forward?  Let’s ponder for a few:

 

1. Putting aside that winning means someone else loses (‘zero sum’) and trade it for Level 4 thought / Habit 4 from Covey — win:win

2. Tossing aside entitlement and victimology for earned results & personal accountability

3. Understanding that big institutions/entities no longer can effectively offer security, govern society, or be on the cutting edge of thought.

4. Over time, replacing mass media sources ( satellite/cable + radio, FM/AM, newspapers, magazines, et al.) with specialized information culled from the very best in entrepreneurship & community building.  This is a branch off the crucial “Define. Learn. Do” tree that is a base law of success.

5. Realizing that schooling & education are not one in the same. There is nothing at all wrong with conveyor belt & professional track schooling ( K-12 & undergrad/grad/post grad ) so long as they are supplemented by self-directed education, also known as liber/liberty/TJed.

6. Building the habits of associating positively, putting others ahead of yourself ( ‘service before self’ ), reading, and listening.

7. Studying entrepreneurship and applying the skills that these men & women use in your day to day lives within the community (while learning, studying, & growing oneself) & outside of it the rest of the time by practicing top notch people skills.

8. Being very clear on the massive difference between investment and expense.  (using the “Y-D-I-L” equation goes a long way to help make this simple. )

9. Putting mental fitness and physical fitness on the same level playing field. Both matter; a LOT. This seems so simple, yet why do so many not put money into their minds, yet spend so much money on gym memberships?  The latter is very useful, but the former is just as much.

10. Paying forward what you learn inside of the entrepreneurial community with others. Learning is best applied when you teach/coach/mentor someone else who is not yet part of the community with you. The old way would be to ‘hog’ what you know, thinking it would be a competitive advantage; this is Level 3 thought at best, and perhaps Level 2;  Only Levels 4-5 are useful in this developing model.

 

Thank you for reading today, and I hope & trust that this post made you pause, ponder, & stretch your mind. Nothing but the best to you on your journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 212012
 

Today, I want to address a topic that can be sensitive to many, especially living in the economic times that we do here in the US, and that is the crucial difference between investment & expense(s).

This post will not go in depth into the textbook definitions, nor will it serve as a step by step guide, however, my goal is to just blow up a few myths and bad, or even obsolete, information re: these, and ideally, help you think deeply when it comes to your money.

First, high high level.  What is an expense?  I define it as something that you exchange your money for that doesn’t offer any long term value, return (ROI), or which grows your wealth or reduces your debt burden.  Let’s briefly cover each of these:

1. Long term value. Many excellent authors/business owners/entrepreneurs have made crystal clear that money is NOT something you simply trade in exchange for a good or object; it is much more – money should create memories, and most definitely, bring something back to you that doesn’t simply last for a day, a week, or a month. What you get back must have value that carries on a least a year, and even better, a decade or more.

2. Return ( ROI ). Rate of return, for the purposes of this post, is simply summed up as —  did/will you receive something of value back, over an adult time frame, for what you spent your money on?  ROI is not necessarily just measured in financial terms (such as if you were able to pay down debt quicker by buying a financial pack to apply principles that you were never taught); it can also be measured intangibly: Did you sign up any new clients in your consulting business due to that seminar on people skills you attended?  Have you been able to get on the career path/track that you wanted after pursuing more credentialist based (professional track) education?

3. Reduction of debt / Growth in wealth. Growing one’s wealth/assets runs inversely to lowering one’s debt(s)/liabilities. And, keep in mind, a mortgaged home is a LIABILITY, not an asset, unless you have rented it out and are receiving recurring rental income. From that perspective, expenses need to be reduced, including paying off consumer debt, and eventually investing in ‘hard’ assets, like bullion metals, later on down the line. Growing one’s wealth requires buying back time, having a systems based model, understanding the power of compounding (of interest, of invested monies, et al.), & delaying expense based gratification until you can truly pay or whatever you want in cash based equivalent(s).

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, let’s move on to investments. Investment is not what you may think!  Let’s start w/ understanding that investment in one’s mind most definitely counts just as much as investment in something paper-based ( like stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or REITs ). The vehicle of a 401(k) or its functional equivalent has only been around for 30+ years, yet it seems like it, or the becoming obsolete pension plan gets mentioned most when this word is discussed in the mainstream of society.

Don’t get me wrong:  these are all investments, however, how much stronger is your mental fitness if you just put 10% of your W-2 income into a 401(k)?   Will you be closer to true wealth?  Unlimited time & money choices?   Perhaps a step or two, or ten, yet think bigger and more metaphorical (in depth):  what about directing some of these monies into your mind?   That’s a key threshold to cross when it comes to understanding even better the critical distinction b/w expenses and investment.

Here are some examples of investment now that we’ve set this foundation in place:

1.  Building a library.  Whether its a virtual (read: e-book) library, meaning you invest in an e-reader/tablet & download books online or via app, or the other way, where you buy paperbacks or subscribe to receive them monthly, this is a perfect starter example for someone who wants to invest in the mind.  We’re all worth minimum wage from the neck down; all the great leaders of history, from Napoleon, to Teddy Roosevelt, to Thomas Jefferson — they read. A LOT. Books matter. They expand your horizons, expose you to lessons you can learn from by living someone elses’ experiences, and you can apply what you read to your life immediately.

2.  Audio Learning.  Subscribing to, or buying audio material – whether books, podcast downloads, mp3’s, CDs from seminars – they all count. Audio is an excellent complement to reading, as it engages different areas of  your brain, and rounds out further the investment in your mental fitness.

3. Attending Seminars / Streaming webinars. Association with other climbers, those who are on the success curve of life, and whom understand the critical importance of ‘You, Inc’ investing, know that being around others who are growing from the inside out, who value personal change, will put monies into this category.

4. DVD / web videos ( YouTube ).  Another option as technology continues to evolve is to purchase, subscribe, or click on a link to have vids sent to you to watch. Visual learning on your own time is still another investment vehicle that will pay great dividends on your leadership development/self help journey.

5. The final one I’ll list is a BIG one. I would strongly and unequivocally urge everyone to do this:  Start a business. Own something, an asset that is yours, which will generate income that is not subject to a third party and will allow you to direct monies away from expenses and into the above options I listed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To put a capper on this post:  I wholeheartedly believe that entrepreneurship and self-directed learning, investment understood in a much different way than what is the “CW” , and outside the realm of pure ‘credentialist’ institutions, is a crucial element to being able to maintain freedom (see my earlier blog posts) & to strengthen your financial standing in our internet/connected/information age world. The industrial age is gone, regardless of what the politicians are saying in this election cycle; the sooner you invest in ‘You, Inc’, and turbo-boost your mental fitness, the better off you will be.

All the very best & God Bless.