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 🙂

Dec 152012
Monthly Movie Recommendation for Eagles & Climbers – V

Today’s blog post is the fifth 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 :) November’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 1984’s original script by Robert Mark Kamen, which ended up as the film known world wide as   ‘The Karate Kid‘.

As this is yet another movie that’s been released well over 20 years ago (28! believe it or not, ’80s fans), there’s not much new I can share about the characters, favorite scenes/lines, or otherwise, however, my specific intent is to tie the script’s premise into the LIFE mantra of the 8 core F’s and/or the MFC‘s 13 resolutions for LIFE. I’d say it goes without saying that Daniel ended up living intentionally for excellence by the time the movie’s credits started rolling!  🙂

As with any movie, song, poem, or other medium, it is quite often when one looks below the surface level (“waves”) with his/her thinking that you unearth much more meaning, applicability, and messaging. Oliver DeMille  calls this ‘sensus plenior’ , or metaphorical/depth thought. Applying this thinking is so much more powerful and useful when on a journey of leadership growth, personal change, discovery! Daniel’s journey from semi-confident ‘Jersey home anchored teen to emotionally & physically scarred California transplant teen is rather jarring, however, I am quite sure that many in the world, America/West, or elsewhere, have been through something like what he experienced on screen.

Notice how much his life changed for the better once a coach/mentor (and, additionally in his case, a father figure/replacement) entered his life?  Why don’t many more of us listen twice as much and talk twice as less and grow/learn/prosper as he did?   I’d say the root reason is that society/culture teach children -> teens things entirely backwards!   It should be ‘Define’ -> ‘Learn’ -> ‘Do’  rather than the more commonplace ‘Do’ -> ‘Learn’ -> ‘Define’. What does this excellent teaching movie show us about the 13 resolutions ?   Let’s dive in!

Resolution 1 – Purpose:   Daniel, not wanting to leave NJ, had to discover his purpose after being dropped in a very unfamiliar environment.  It took him a while, however, once he did, his life improved immeasurably.

Resolution 2 – Character:  Integrity x Courage.  Mr. Miyagi & Daniel’s mentor-student tag team covered very neatly! The mentor was a man of few words, and high integrity ( the scene with Daniel discovering the old newspaper articles & medals is raw and powerful! ), whereas the student developed the courage to confront his “goliath” over the span of numerous training montages.

Resolution 3 – Attitude:  Daniel’s was in dire need of an overhaul. His mother didn’t discuss the cross country move w/ him, and without his friends, and with no father figure while his mother worked a lot, we see that his self-talk was in the bottom of the barrel. However, as he met, dated, lost, then patched things up with Ali, and became very close to Miyagi, his attitude did an almost full 180!

Resolution 4 – Vision:  When the subconscious mind (‘elephant’) & conscious mind (‘ant’) are not aligned, one’s ability to achieve, to realize goals & dreams, and to have a positive affirmative vision of victory is stifled. Daniel clearly had to work through this during the film, and Miyagi’s calm and cool demeanor, and hidden lessons served as just the tonic that the young teen needed.

Resolutions 5 & 6:  PDCA + Scoreboard‘ing:   Having the plan & do of training for the karate tournament truly served a huge role in the student’s progress towards his mentor’s highest aspirations. The scoreboard of 3 points for a win?  Very clear. Being able to consult with his mentor during the training montages, and later, this tourney?  Allowed the ‘check’ and ‘adjust’ steps to take firm grip and lead to the wins on the scoreboard!

Resolution 7 – Friendship:  Daniel and Miyagi’s relationship during the movie very neatly covered this resolution’s core. It became beyond clear to the viewer during the scene after Daniel obtained his license & stopped over at Miyagi’s for birthday cake 🙂

Resolution 8 – Finances:   Lucille, Daniel’s single mom, made clear early on that there wasn’t much room in their California budget for karate lessons at a ‘good school’ – and how well that turned out for Daniel!!  It doesn’t take chasing money to get what you want; it takes having positive energy and cultivating your time doing the right things.

Resolution 9 – Leadership:   A leader casts a positive vision, has influence, is purposeful, and serves. Undoubtedly, Mr. Miyagi meets this definition head-on. So very often, the leaders in our lives are those who have no titles, no positions, no credentials, and no press clippings.

Resolution 10 – Conflict Resolution:  If Daniel, let alone his tormentors (Johnny, Tommy, Dutch, Bobby) only knew about the five/5 steps, so much would have been better for the new kid from Jersey at his new high school.  Not to mention Sensei Kreese, who taught violence as an answer well ahead of resolution to one’s issues. Miyagi’s family culture in Okinawa taught this resolution quite well, minus what we later find out in the sequel!

Resolution 11 – Systems Thinking:  Once someone grasps this kind of thinking (a la, Peter Senge, Chris Brady, Ray Kroc, Orrin Woodward, Sam Walton), it changes your perspective on everything. Daniel was able to grasp, after Miyagi’s admonition on the deck, how the “wax on, wax off” , “paint fence, up! down!”, “sand the floor. sand the floor” , & “paint house. Not up, down. Side, Side” connected to karate. It felt, looked, and sounded like just a bunch of hooey until the switch clicked on.

Resolution 12 – Adversity Quotient:  This one undoubtedly applied. As a review, AQ = IQ x EQ x WQ.  Putting aside IQ, as that side of Daniel wasn’t brought out in the script, it was clear that his EQ was in great need of repair, renewal, & insight from a mentor. Mr. Miyagi was clearly a father figure for him, and over the months that passed, with all the training, and friendship, the EQ became whole by the final scene at the tournament.  Lastly, Daniel’s WQ was improved along the road that the young man traveled from his arrival at the California apartment complex to the All Valley Under 18 tournament’s many matches.

Resolution 13 – Legacy:  Legacy cuts across personal, public, and leadership achievements, and is tied to the 8 F’s as well. Daniel’s personal growth under the wing of a wise mentor led to public achievement, and he was able to grow into a Level 2 Leader. His family life, faith, friends, fun, following, & fitness also grew as his legacy was shaped from the opening scenes in NJ to the final music as the credits rolled.


I hope this review resonates, enlightens, and makes the readers think and ponder. All the very best to everyone, and may your life be enriched on your growth journey!


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!  🙂

Oct 172012


This is a very interesting short vid.

While pure, unfiltered optimism should always be tempered by having a scoreboard in life (Resolution 6) & a solid understanding of the ‘Stockdale Paradox’, there’s no question that we need to surround ourselves with climbers. Positive association is so very important, and being able to have this kind of perspective, as Mr. Silva describes, is very helpful to counter-act the negativity, cynicism, skepticism, moral fears, & doubt that one runs into often.

Blessings & all best regards!