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!

Jun 082014
 
Here Comes The Boom - 2014 Rascal's Guide to + Movies Series - One

Here Comes the Boom‘ was released in late 2012, and I first watched it at a family/friends/fun themed movie night in the summer of 2013.

I can most certainly recommend it. Will this test your advanced knowledge at a credentialist level (PhD or otherwise)? Not in the least. Rather, this movie pulls at heart strings which you may not even know exist. It also will offer a hilarious account of a 40 something public school teacher who pursues something that seems wildly out of the question for someone his age. Its script lays out lessons in chasing dreams, the difference between schooling and education, the building of relationships, how to handle adversity and persevere.

In short, here are some of what I drew from the movie ( which I’ve since purchased & have watched numerous more times )

Schooling v. Education
– Already have learned this, however, this movie further cemented the very large gap between the two.

Dreaming
– Always chase your dreams and never live a settled for life. Case in point was Mr. Voss’ friend who was unhappy as a painter, yet found he was perfectly happy as a chef

Encouragement/inspiration
– Always be a “balcony person” and not a “basement person” ( see my other blog for a review on the book which taught this so very well: ‘Balcony People’ )

Adversity
– Resolution 12 is ‘AQ’ ( adversity quotient ). The script embeds this crucial trait in it’s movement of the storyline from a very dis-engaged teacher at the onset to one who refuses to quit even after being nearly defeated near the end.

Friendship & Relationship building
– Always value how important this is. Do not, at any time, rely only on social media/networking.

Fighting
– Fight for the right reasons. Have a purpose, a cause, and/or a mission to answer the most valuable Q : “Why?”

Example/role model-ing
– Be one in your life. Daily. Don’t attempt to change people; change yourself from the inside -> out, and transform your own thinking & mindset. That is far more powerful and transformational than any other means.

Serving/Giving > Receiving
– Mr. Voss, after starting on the wrong foot, realized that to be what he had to become, he had to give & serve others before thinking of himself. He shoved his ego aside, and put his time into looking after his friend, the music teacher, the kids in the school ( esp. his biology class ), and others.

Success is comprised of failure
– You will see numerous instances of failing in this movie. That is great! Failing is required to be successful.

In sum, definitely give this movie a chance to impact your life as it did mine. Am glad that my life & business mentor chose to share this flick with me last year & am glad to pay forward my review of it in the blogosphere.

* * * * *

One of my favorite clips / scenes :

http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/here-comes-the-boom/earning-respect

An excellent source for additional media is found here

Thank you for reading this first post/entry in the 2014 rascal’s movie guide & create your best day ahead!

Mar 022014
 
p A i L s = High level significance

Whom amongst you would have expected that a pail would signify anything but:

.. Something used at the beach.

… A tool used to haul water from a well.

…. or, a plastic carrier for kids to use for Halloween candy.

Not any longer … a pail(s) has far more significance here in 2014. Why, one may ask?

It is now a visual metaphor for significance in your life. I’d heard a talk a few months ago re: this concept, and it really hit a home run; it was profoundly impactful for someone who had spent so many years just surviving and passing the time – I was doing “pretty well”, or was I?

( When you spend many hours of the week in non growth activities like watching TV & shopping on credit, or excessive time on social media sites, is that really doing well?  )

This post will just scratch the surface of this new wisdom that I’m blessed to pay forward – there’s a strong likelihood that there will be a future post with more detail; for certain, there will be a book review.

PAiLs stands for :

Preparatory experiences [ potential ]

+ future focused

Actualization

+ present day/actions, activities, habits

in/to

Legacy

+ what you plan to leave behind ( “rescued into the past.” )

(with/notwithstanding)  Spillage

+ time lost by design/intentional, or un-intentionally that didn’t get you closer to your aspirations.

Profound, yes?

Think about it. In depth. Don’t react, nor respond. Definitely ponder how it may change your thinking on each of those 86,400 seconds that you are granted every time you start anew each day.

Strongly recommend taking a moment to review & check out the same talk ( & now, also a book) that served as the inspiration for the core of this post. You will not regret doing so for even one minute.

Feedback is always welcomed & encouraged. Create a great week ahead!

Feb 152014
 
Eight Strengths 4 Success

Please think in depth today, and every day thereafter, about the correlations between these strengths and success principles; they are intertwined & inseparable.

 

Attitude

Courage

Character

Duty

Honour

Relationships

Passion

Tenacity

 

If you’re already pursuing true success (please don’t confuse this pursuit with mere money) , this correlation may seem more clear to you than to the other readers of this post. Regardless of where you are on your journey, my hope is that this made you consider your life in a different, more significant way than before you saw it.

 

Recommended readings on this topic:

Toughen Up!

Courage: The Backbone 

Resolved: Primer

Voyage of a Viking

Character Counts

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

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

Five Major Themes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~

Have a wonderful week~!

~~~~

Jan 242013
 
Monthly Movie Recommendation for Eagles & Climbers - VI

Great day to all!

This month’s (and year) kick off movie for those folks in the blogosphere who are, or want, to live intentionally for excellence as an eagle, and climb the summits of their vision and dreams is a very well known multiple Oscar winner from 1995, ‘Braveheart‘.  In my view, this movie was/is a classic of the first magnitude; having a history background, I surely realize that some of the script’s characters, chronology, and scenes were not exactly what happened in the 13th and 14th centuries, however, this should clearly not detract from this film’s amazing upside.

My specific intent with this recommendation is the same as with the other previous blog posts in this ongoing series: To tie this movie into either or both of the fundamentals for LIFE, those being the eight cornerstone, foundational F’s and the thirteen resolutions. Otherwise, as this movie has been reviewed by an army of folks over the past 17+ years, no new ground will be discovered 🙂

William Wallace, the central character and a real life hero, simply defines leadership. There are so many definitions of leadership, however, I’ll point the reader to the one in the early pages of ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution‘ to flag what is one of the very best, if not the best, summation. He had no positional rank in the Middle Ages hierarchy/aristocracy of England/Scotland; he had no official bestowed from on-high title; he was not schooled formally, nor did he ask to lead. In the end game, over the roughly 40 years that the script covers in 3 hours, he simply LEAD. And, his leadership was world class!

Robert the Bruce, another central character, and also a real life hero, defined leadership in a somewhat more circuitous direction. His growth as a man was evident throughout the film:  He realized the value of keeping his word, the definition of courage, how to overcome the handicaps of  positional authority, and the power of words.

The examples and illustration of the resolutions, which incidentally, are simply outgrowths of latter day Western world leaders Ben Franklin, George Washington, & Jonathan Edwards, are in abundance throughout the scenes in this movie. To wit:

Resolution 1, Purpose –  Wallace’s original purpose was to return home, having grown up in his formative years with his uncle’s mentorship, and stay out of the limelight, being a non aristocratic farmer while marrying and raising a family nearby his original home. However, events changed everything for him;  his purpose did nearly a 180, and he was knighted.

Resolution 2, Character – As Wallace grew up in a violent era, where battles fought with crude weapons like spears, axes, and broadswords was the norm, character was definitely earned on a battlefield in most instances. Unquestionably, William’s was!  Coupled with his uncle Argyle’s wise mentorship as he grew into young adulthood, there’s no doubt that Wallace exhibited this resolution to a ‘tee’.

Resolution 3, Attitude – The movie goer will notice that Wallace always brought out the best in his army, and he kept them focused on ever greater heights. He was an encourager & spoke from his heart. The cards he was dealt ( Scots not being allowed to train with weapons, divided clans, et al. ) could’ve led to him being resigned to the English ruling his homeland ad infinitum, however, he listened to his positive voice far more often.

Resolution 4, Vision / Alignment –  What a vision that this great historical leader had!!  He epitomized attaching one’s reality to his/her vision!  He aligned his facts/logical mind (conscious) with his images/metaphorical mind (unconscious/subconscious) like no one else in his era did – and the results were clear to all. A leader’s influence has a strong component of vision, and ending the ‘war‘ between the two sectors of the brain is imperative to have lasting success.

Resolutions 5 & 6 , PDCA’ing / keeping score –  William Wallace surely knew the importance of this combo; he realized that if he did the exact same as his forerunners, he would surely lose as they did, and his vision of a free & independent Scotland would not come to pass. So, he planned ahead how he would defeat the English:  He consolidated the clans together in one common cause; he reached out to the nobility ( Council of Edinburgh ); and he came up with different tactics both for hit & run battles and for the major battlefield encounters. Then, he did what he said he would do, checked the progress, and adjusted as necessary.  He avoided living vicariously through others, he didn’t make excuses and pass the buck when he did come up short, and he knew that the price of winning was always worth it.

Resolution 7 , Friendship – What can be said about Wallace’s inner circle that wasn’t quite obvious by watching the film?  Not all that much. It is beyond clear that he was tight w/ them. He built relationships and bonded w/ Hamish & Stephen, let alone others that were with him through the down times & the up. Sharing agape love with them developed his heart & fortified his will.

Resolution 8 , Finances – Not much focus here, however, while it wasn’t directly mentioned in the script or viewable on screen, Wallace’s leadership and uniting the clans quite likely led to a major hit on Edward I’s treasury!  On a more personal level, Wallace leveraged the power of compounding, he delayed his gratification (i.e., wanting to simply raise crops & build a home nearby where he grew up), & he invested his own capital by putting his country ahead of his personal peace & affluence.

Resolution 9 , Leadership – A true no-brainer. William Wallace = Leadership. ‘Nuff said. He served others at all times; he had a BHAG / huge dream! ; he was a visionary, anchoring the reality of Scotland’s situation to his future vision; and, he brought out the best in people: his inner circle loved him, the clans rallied to him, and like anyone who leads from the front, he polarized.

Resolution 10 , Conflict Resolution – Admittedly, Wallace’s idea of resolving conflict was crude:  Fight & kill them 😉  However, let’s also call a spade a spade:  He did not practice the deadly sins of conflict avoidance, silence, or triangulation either.

Resolution 11 , Systems Thinking / Holism – Thinking in systems is a trait that lacks in so many corners of society; it also did in this era. Wallace, though, was ahead of his English enemies on several fronts related to holistic thought. First, his battle plans were ahead of their time, turning the last few centuries on their head. Second, he understood that if Scotland “had no sense of itself” , his homeland couldn’t be free. It required thinking as a system, getting to the root level to bring warring clans together in a common cause for a higher purpose.

Resolution 12 , Adversity Quotient –  Wallace fit this so very well. He surely experienced a lot of adversity — family wise, growing up in a country with very few freedoms, & seeing friends die on the battlefield. However, like 20th-21st century men & women such as Jack Canfield, Margaret Thatcher, Lou Holtz, & Frank Bettger, his iron will x his emotional intelligence x his intellect ( the latter borne through his growing up with a strong self-directed education ) put him on a level unlike anyone else in his era.

Resolution 13 , Legacy –  Another easy one. When you think of Scotland & even if you know only a little about European history, I’d bet that the name ‘William Wallace‘ isn’t too far from the forefront of your mind. His legacy echoes and ripples to this very day. In fact, once the Scottish Parliament was re-convened, some of the MP’s referred to Wallace as their inspiration! Additionally, Wallace’s amazing leadership helped change the current of decline and statis in Scotland by putting a check on the FLD (‘Five Laws of Decline‘).

In summation, may I conclude that Mel Gibson did an extremely admirable job both in front of , and behind, the camera. His portrayal of Wallace as an actor, and his director role brought out the human qualities of a man that history’s books had not done prior to 1995. I am privilged to be able to offer up my review, and clear recommendation, to this blog’s readership to not only watch this film, but to view it through the filter of resolutions.

May your days ahead be bright, filled with cheer, laughs, & smiles. Nothing but success as you soar like an eagle and climb the mountains to your destiny 🙂

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.

——————————————————————————-

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

All best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 062012
 
Book Review & Recommendation | from the Service Before Self Leadership bookshelf

( Author: Colonel Jeff O’Leary )

Just had the great fortune to finish this fantastic book to wrap up the month of September, and I am thrilled to be able to share my recommendation in the blogosphere.

Colonel O’Leary hit so many high notes with this book; it rings like a tuning fork for someone who enjoys history ( the way it SHOULD be learned/taught! i.e., not just colorless dates/times & names ) and how that genre and leadership can and do completely overlap.

The introduction & the final Chapter (11) focused exclusively on the Roman centurion; Mr. O’Leary neatly opens the narrative & closes it focusing on his core thesis – the traits, principles, and choices that a centurion leader can, must, and will make to reach the pinnacle of historical leadership.

Of the other ten chapters, each dedicated to a different historical Centurion leader, my favorites (all essentially tied) were 1-4. I am enthralled with European history, and reading his write ups of Hannibal, Alexander the Great, & Joan de (of) Arc taught me SO much more than what I learned in conveyor belt education; let alone being introduced to Scipio ‘Africanus’ , whom I had never heard of.

Anyone who aspires to begin, continue, or refocus/tune up their leadership journey needs to have this book on their shelf & refer to its fountain of wisdom filled pages.  I could cite many quotes, factoids, and lessons here, however, I’ll save additional words in my review to give the reader of my blog something to ponder when it comes time to add to your collection.