Why Should I Read | Entreleadership

I used to be flat broke.

When I moved from Colorado to Texas at the beginning of September 2014, I had about $200 in my bank account, and wasn’t going to get paid a dime until the end of the month from the job I had just taken.

I remember walking down the aisle of Walmart in Temple, Texas and thinking to myself “If I buy supplies for PB&J I can eat that for a week for about $12.”

Dave Ramsey, the founder of Financial Peace University, starts his book, Entreleadership, with a similar situation that he found himself in during his early career, and from the first page of this book I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Entreleadership” is a word coined by Ramsey as the mash-up of “Entrepreneur” and “Leader.” He states that a leader is a proven force within an organization and can either get results herself or motivate others to excel.  His definition of entrepreneur is one who is driven to strike out and try something that’s never been done before, one who has a compulsion to create. By taking strengths from each of these persons, Ramsey trains his teams to get results while looking for opportunities to innovate.

This book is easily one of the most comprehensive guides for small business owners I have read. Ramsey states on the cover that this book contains “practical business wisdom from the trenches,” and the content is curated to contain strategies that a business owner can use, TODAY.

bag-and-hands.jpg

I was recommended this book by a friend since she knew I am considering starting my own small business. After reading it, I would put this book near the top of any reading list for small business owners.

While planning this week’s video, I paused to think about some of the topics that this book covers, off the top of my head in about 30 seconds I compiled this list:

  • Technology Changes
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Cash on hand
  • Buying new facilities
  • Compensation plans
  • Personality styles in the workplace
  • Leadership vs management
  • Types of small business
  • Taxes
  • Selling styles
  • Mechanics of starting new business
  • Percentage of revenue to save for taxes

There are so many more topics covered in this book and ALL of them are backed up by personal stories from Ramsey’s companies.

Personally, from one quick time through the book, I can pinpoint multiple potholes that I’ll be avoiding while starting a new business later this year.

Ramsey writes in his wrap up that he tried to write a “different kind of business and leadership book.” This work is Ramsey’s personal playbook, and if you’re entrepreneurial or desire to lead well, I encourage you to view his results and take his advice.

Until next week,

Keep Reading Friends!

Jon

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Why Should I Read | Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk is going to Mars.

Everything about his life is submitted to the litmus test of whether it furthers his dream that humans must be a multi-planetary species.

Before we go on, think about the level of vision that it takes to even consider mounting an assault on the challenges of colonizing another planet.

mars.jpg

NASA Photo of Mars

Even if we stop right there and I don’t share anything else about the book, you can get a feel of the tenacity and grit Elon possesses.

We’ll quick cover a bit about his history, the vision for his two companies, and some controversy surrounding this figure.

Growing up in South Africa, Elon escaped the reality of constant bullying and a harsh father through reading and programming. His first video game he designed and built at 12 years old. He was already looking for ways to control or escape his reality.

After emigrating to Canada and then the US, he founded an Internet company, Zip2, rather than starting a PH.D. Program he had already been accepted into at Stanford.

After selling Zip2 his next venture, X.com, merged with PayPal and eventually sold to eBay for 1.5 billion.

This buyout allowed him to start first SpaceX, and then buy into Tesla early enough to make him a co-founder.

Things were not all rosy however, SpaceX struggled to get any rocket into the air for more than 90 seconds and any space company unable to get to space has, as we tell Houston, a problem.

Eventually they succeeded, but not after depleting much of Elon’s fortune. And he was being pressed from both sides as the early days of Tesla were not much better.

Elon’s goal with Tesla is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation. The master plan was (and is) to produce an expensive sports car, move on and add scale for a luxury sedan, and eventually mass produce an affordable model that the everyman can own.

The problem was, the first roadster was listed for thousands less than production cost. Towards the end of 2008, Elon was down to less than $100,000 to his name and needed to raise more venture capital to even keep his doors open.

Obviously today it’s becoming more difficult to find someone who doesn’t recognize the name Elon Musk, so he must have turned the companies around, but I’ll leave the details to your imagination until you go read it yourself.

Today, SpaceX is the only private company to ever deliver cargo to the International Space Station and they are exploring methods for making rocket fuel from chemicals found on the surface of mars (who else thinks to build gas stations on mars!)

long exposure rocket launch.jpg

Long exposure photo of a SpaceX launch

Tesla today has had over 80,000 orders this year alone for  the luxury sedan: the Model S, according to CNN Money.  They also have hundreds of thousands of pre-orders for the upcoming Model 3, the “everyman’s” car.

Things are not out of the woods yet for Musk. Tesla has yet to post any profit, according to the CNN article, and SpaceX could be derailed by public opinion if and when they reach a point of transporting humans and a rocket blows up.

Musk is working to revolutionize multiple industries like only a few others have ever attempted, much less accomplished. But this is not without toll on the people around him. He has gone through three divorces and a former employee says that while he inspires trust and admiration, “he seems to have no capacity for human connection, instead viewing others as pawns to be played, or ammunition to be spent in the pursuit of a target.”

In short, the technical aspects of this book are accessible and you’ll enjoy learning about the bleeding edge of technological entrepreneurs. I recommend this book to anyone interested in high achievement or changing the world.

However, Silicone Valley has a saying that goes around start-ups, “be like Elon,” and while I certainly respect his accomplishments I wouldn’t encourage you to emulate his attitude towards others or his personal life.

Until next week,

Keep reading, friends!

Ps. I’ll update this post with hyperlinks and images soon, I’m just done with a road trip today after being away from home for two weeks.

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The Go Getter, Gateway Arch, & Garcia

Why is self reliance valuable?

Do we want employees or partners?

Better yet, are you a self reliant partner where you work or are you merely punching in and out?

In this week’s video, recorded at the base of the Gateway Arch in St Louis Missouri, the main idea I point out from “The Go Getter” by Peter Kyne is that we remember people who state “It shall be done.”

People like Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and Clark, who are immortalized in…. you guessed it, the Gateway Arch.

gateway arch

Majestic, isn’t it?

How can you and I become Outliers like that? It requires real change kickstarted by emotion and story. SEE-FEEL-CHANGE from Switch gives us the framework, and along with this week’s 62 page story you should check out an outstanding 3 page essay from Elbert Hubbard entitled A Message to Garcia. See this quick preview:

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?” By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- “Carry a message to Garcia!”

Until next week. Keep reading friends!

P.S. Do you like the shorter format?

First image credit: Gatewayarch.com

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Why Should I Read | The Case for Life

If you’ve never thought logically about a deeply emotional issue like abortion, welcome, this article won’t overwhelm you.

If you’ve already had many conversations about worldviews and how your ideas relate to others, then there are resources linked below that will give you material for those conversations.

The Case for Life by Scott Klusendorf isn’t the ultimate philosophical and academic work of the prolife position but it does give lay individuals the tools and tactics to logically articulate their position. Klusendorf draws heavily from sources on both sides of the aisle on this issue and puts them in perspective so someone without prior knowledge on the subject can immediately grasp the collision of ideas.

case for life cover

As mentioned in the video, if you find yourself in a conversation about abortion the issue boils down to how to define the humanity of the unborn and whether they differ in fundamental ways from adults that justify ending their life.

What clarifies the conversation?

Syllogism.

Yes, syllogism.

If it’s been awhile since 7th grade logic class, a syllogism is a formula for constructing a deductive argument that consists of two premises and a conclusion. In order to disprove the conclusion, one must show that it is either illogical or disprove one of the premises. Here is the syllogism of the abortion issue.

  1. It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.
  2. Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being.
  3. Therefore, abortion is wrong.

This is a tactic that Klusendorf  states will narrow the conversation at least to the question “Are the unborn human?”

He writes in the book that if one can prove the the unborn are NOT human than the entire case for life is moot and there should be no moral qualms for obtaining an abortion than there would be to have one’s appendix removed.

This question is addressed by the science of embryology in that from the earliest stages of development you were a distinct, living, and whole human being. See these quotes from embryology texts at princeton.edu for more information. Another tactic for clarifying these differences is known as “Trot out the Toddler” and can be found on Klusendorf’s website.

In the one minute case for life I state at the beginning of the video, I quote Scott as saying “While science can tell us what the unborn are, we turn to philosophy to determine if their differences are fundamental in ways that would justify ending their life.”

Klusendorf runs a training company called Life Training Institute that educates people in the prolife position and they excel in the explanation of the philosophical differences between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today. From the page “How to Defend Your Pro-Life Views in 5 Minutes or Less:”

As Stephen Schwarz  points out, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo that you once were and the adult that you are today. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant such that we can say that you had no rights as an embryo but you do have rights today. Think of the acronym SLED as a helpful reminder of these non-essential differences:

Size: True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more human than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than the adults they’ll one day become. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one human. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already human, merely changing their location can’t make them valuable.

Degree of Dependency: If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature.

In those two basic points and utilizing the Columbo Tactic to clarify what the other person truly believes, you can have a rational conversation about the abortion issue. This doesn’t mean however that we can expect everyone to coalesce around a shared view, this is an issue that is deeply personal and tough to address for many.

You will hear some common issues come up when talking with proponents of the right to choose.

The most common are issues of bodily autonomy of the mother, exceptions based on cases of rape or incest, the alleged silence of the Bible on the topic of abortion, and the issue of embryonic stem-cell research and cloning. Check out these links to read about Klusendorf’s response to each in turn.

If you wish to dive deeply into the issue and look at the logical reasoning on each side of the issue, you’ll discover names like Francis J Beckwith, David Boonin, Peter Kreeft, Peter Singer, and Nadine Strossen. These individuals are all involved in writing, debating, and speaking extensively on the opposing views surrounding the abortion issue.

In conclusion, I encourage you to examine this issue logically. Go do your own study, I’m sure it will be an enlightening process.

Keep reading friends!

-Jon

P.S. For extra credit, here are two links to debates that have happened in the past few years on the subject.

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Why Should I Read | Tactics

You’re at lunch and your co-worker looks at you a bit oddly and says with a smirk. “Hey you’re a Christian just like those folks at Westborogh Baptist Church, why do you believe in gay-bashing?”

At a family reunion, you are catching up with a cousin you haven’t seen in awhile and she says that Christians are intolerant, and even Jesus says that the Father desires that none should perish….

What do you do? You have 10 seconds…

Tactics: A Game plan for discussing your Christian convictions is a book by world-class apologist Greg Koukl and provides a framework for responding to worldview issues like those in the intro. I’m going to share with you the main tactic for responding to others about their claims and your beliefs, and it’s named after this guy… Lieutenant Colombo. Colombo 1

This book goes beyond just rhetoric for defending the Christian faith however and gives you the ability to steer a conversation so each person can be heard and offered the opportunity to see the strengths… and weaknesses of their views.

While most of the world in the 21st century communicates entirely emotionally, this book is built on the premise that in order to converse successfully in the world of ideas one needs three skills. From pg. 25.

  1. Knowledge: An accurately informed mind.
  2. Wisdom: An artful method
  3. Character: An attractive manner

Tactics is structured around building wisdom and being artful in your conversations with others. To build Knowledge, it really depends on the subject- although in apologetics the Bible is always a great start for Christians. I recommend the book How to Win Friends and Influence People for building an character and an attractive manner with others.

Note: This tactic we are going to cover is extremely powerful and can be used to verbally bludgeon another person. Please don’t use this if you’re going to be a jerk about it. Speak the truth in love, and realize that many in our society are emotionally driven and when confronted with logic can resort to anger or attacks on you.

Let’s get down to the heart of the book.

Colombo 2

COLUMBO — Sleuth Series — Pictured: Peter Faulk as Lt. Frank Columbo — Sleuth Photo

This guy again.

The Colombo tactic is built around questions.

Why?

Questions are friendly, they are educational, and they put you back in the drivers seat.

Never make a statement, at least at first, when a question will do the job. p.47

Here’s your first Colombo Question that you can always return to when someone makes a claim. “What do you mean by that?”

“All truth is relative” What do you mean by that?

“Trump is a terrible candidate” What do you mean by that?

“All Christians are hate mongers” What do you mean by that?

The other person then has to take the time to respond (remember, some people are simply blowing steam or merely repeating slogans they heard) and clarify exactly what they are asserting. General statements like “You’re a man. You shouldn’t have an opinion on abortion” are vague and need refining before you can move on to your second Colombo question.

Once the other person responds and clarifies, your second question is this:

Now, how did you come to that conclusion?

Say for example you are told, “Well there are thousands of universes and ours just happens to be the one that looks designed.”

How did you come to that conclusion?

This question puts the burden of proof back on the person who put forth the view instead of asking you to respond to the assertion. (Are they going to visit the other universes to figure out if they appear to be designed? How did you find out there are other universes?)

In order to stand up, their explanation needs to not only be possible and plausible, it also needs to be probable or more likely than the idea you hold. To determine this, you’ll need the third point of the Colombo tactic.

You can use this third question method to lead the other person to a logical conclusion. This “leading with questions” step of the Colombo tactic requires practice, as well as listening carefully to their line of reasoning and being able to respond to assumptions one at a time as they appear. When a new idea surfaces, go back you your tried and true “What do you mean by that” and take it from the top. Your most non-threatening approach is to continue to point out errors of logic with questions.

While you won’t be prepared to respond to every conversation after watching this 5 minute video or reading one blog post, I encourage you to use this knowledge for building others up by strengthening their thought process. You don’t have to convince everyone that they are wrong and you are right, but you shouldn’t let them get away with making assertions you know are false.

Lastly, don’t be a “logical justice warrior” and go looking for fights with your new found tactics. Build your knowledge. Grow in wisdom. Develop your character.

Thank you so much for reading, The next two weeks will continue to be apologetics books since I’m prepping for a couple classes in July. Go Subscribe on youtube, like the page on facebook and I’ll see you next week for book #22. ­­

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Why Should I Read | The Richest Man in Babylon

If you’re like me, you too have tried to “get into” a finance course or personal finance book. You may be  realizing, like I am as well, that a failure to learn good financial principles compounds throughout your life and that not knowing what you’re doing is an incredibly bad idea.

Last week we talked about why stories drive change. This book, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason, presents useful financial principles in story form. I won’t reprint the stories here, so you’ll have to settle for a quick bullet-ed list of the “7 cures for a lean purse.” The audiobook version is $1.95 and only 4 hours long too!

This book was published in 1926 a few years before the great depression. Clason was the owner of a prominent map company and applied the principles he writes about throughout his life.

This small paperback is the seminal work on personal finance and entrepreneurial thinking. These lessons address topics such as avoiding debt, seeking out mentors and protecting assets. The short, allegorical book struck a chord with Depression-era readers, who clamored for its easy-to-read financial advice and wisdom on building wealth.

This book is concise, it delivers financial principles in story form, and it provided a basis for many authors and speakers of the 20th century as they wrote books and delivered seminars on financial success.

You may actually prefer a change of pace from the dry financial tomes that tell us how to pay down debt, buy a home, invest in stocks or other strategies like flipping houses or starting a business. Then the stories of Arkad, Dabasir, and Sharru Nada  set in the exotic gardens of Babylon or the deserts of the Middle east will be a welcome change of pace.

Babylon from above

NASA photo of Euphrates River, along which Babylon grew up.

If that sounds interesting, and you want more than these 7 quick points to overcome being broke we are going to cover, then go get this book on amazon for 4 dollars for a paperback or 1.95 on audiobook.

Think about this for a second, Og Mandino, one of the most successful personal development speakers and authors of the 20th century called this book the greatest text on personal finance and thrift of all time and it’s 1.95 on amazon. The problem isn’t lack of information, people, it’s lack of implementation.

Another personal-achievement expert, Brian Tracy, explained in his book Getting Rich Your Own Way that Clason’s message, despite its age, is still valid today. “The book is a primer on financial success because its principles are simple, direct and effective,” Tracy says.     Pulled from Success Magazine, April 13, 2011

Here are the seven bullet points on overcoming a lean purse from the Richest Man in Babylon.

  1. Set thy purse to fattening
    1. Specifically, hold 10% of your income for your own future.
  2. Control the expenditures
    1. Live on 90% of your income or less and don’t deviate from the budget.
  3. Make thy gold multiply
    1. Straightforward, don’t let it sit there, invest wisely. Parable of servants matt 25.
  4. Guard thy treasures from loss
    1. Invest only where the principle is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where you earn reasonable interest. Also seek counsel from wiser heads when investing.
  5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.
    1. Own your home. Here’s the thing, I take issue with this one to some extent but in almost all cases it’s better to own if you can do it without debt.
  6. Insure a future income
    1. Provide in advance for your family and/or retirement
  7. Increase thy ability to earn.
    1. Build your capacity, study and become wiser and more skillful, and act as though you respect yourself.

Those are the 7 cures for a lean purse from The Richest Man in Babylon. The audiobook is 4 hours long and costs less than a cup of coffee. If you can’t handle some Thees and Thous don’t bother, but with experience comes wisdom and many experienced individuals highly recommend this book.

Why Should I Read | Switch

“Many people try dieting religiously, but only stop eating in church.” -Zig Ziglar

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard is the second book from brothers Chip and Dan Heath. Published in 2010, the book starts in a movie theater popcorn bucket, visits malnourished children in Vietnam, pulls out tree stumps in Miner county South Dakota, and even goes drilling for oil with BP.

Why all these stories?

This book takes it’s own advice and lays out a path for individuals seeking to create lasting change in themselves or their own organization. The reason for stories is apparent through each of their three main points.

*Note, I am going to relate each of their three main points to the reason why stories are helpful. However, there is much more depth to this book. Please click this sentence to read an excellent overview of this book on Derek Sivers site, he gave Switch a 9/10*

The brothers Heath begin their excellent treatise on change with an imaginative analogy. They equate the three principles of change within our own minds and environments to a “Rider,” an “Elephant,” and a “Path.”

First a quick explanation. The authors refer to the rational, conscious part of our brain as “The Rider” and the emotional, subconscious part of our brain as “The Elephant.” It follows, then, that “The Path” refers to our surroundings and habits.

So why stories?  “In almost all successful change efforts, the sequence of change is not ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE, but rather SEE-FEEL-CHANGE (p.106).”

Without stories, life is a series of spreadsheets, bytes, and data points. The realm of machines, efficiency, and errorless judgement.

But we don’t work like that.

Consider this, on the market currently there’s an alarm clock named Clocky that chimes, and then scampers around the room. At 5:45am you need to haul yourself out of bed and hunt Clocky down. I do the same thing, when I actually want to wake up to my alarm, I put my alarm clock on the far side of my room. alarm clock

“Clocky is not a product for a sane species. If Spock wants to get up at 5:45 a.m., he’ll just get up. No drama required (p.6).”

If we didn’t need stories, we could ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE like Spock and do the logical thing.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Sorry, unlikely to happen.

You and I need to SEE-FEEL-CHANGE in order for it to last, and we can use the Rider Elephant and Path to our advantage.

The Rider excels at analyzation and logic but is usually powerless against the Elephant. (Ever been offered a freshly baked chocolate cookie the day after you vowed to eat healthy?). Because of this, we can use our Rider to identify or SEE what’s going on but have to move on to the other two parts to get our act together.

The Elephant, extremely powerful and able to make us FEEL in exceptional ways, nevertheless doesn’t do a great job of thinking through what’s next. For example, social media is increasingly designed to elicit a FEEL response without a lot of follow up. (ever tried to have a logical conversation in Facebook comments?). Stop trying to think with your emotions.

Here’s the kicker, both of those formulas end in CHANGE. 

Yet if us humans try to “Spock” our way to life change we’ll keep hitting snooze because we spent all our time in analyzation, thinking with our emotions and the change we end up with won’t be what we set out to accomplish, it will be whatever comes just a little bit easier.

If we tell good stories, we can recognize and SEE the opportunity, we FEEL connected to the solution because of the story we are telling ourselves, and the CHANGE that results can be more in line with our original intent.

Our lives are designed to fit into narratives, and as human beings we recognize and connect to stories. You and I can use this to our advantage when we want to make change. 

Go check out the book, this is just one aspect of change. 🙂

Best of luck getting out of bed on time, friends! (Plus, Clocky won’t tell stories about you if you decide to rely on him).

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Why Should I Read | Bringing Out the Best in People

The Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us on this island or lose the war…

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: “This was their finest hour.”

With these words, Winston Churchill, the stodgy has-been who somehow was given the Prime Ministership, galvanized an entire nation huddled in their homes awaiting bombardment. Through his thunderous voice booming across the airwaves, Churchill instilled a will to survive and an unshakeable spirit in the people of Britain.

Dr Alan Loy McGinnis distills principles of great motivators down into 12 principles recorded in his book Bringing Out the Best in People. Each of these principles has tremendous potential for application and one blog post can hardly do justice to even one of them.

Here is the full list of 12, but realize there are four indexed pages of names at the end of the book… Each name represents a story of how that person exemplified one of the principles somewhere in the book. So go read the book!

12 Rules for Bringing Out the Best in People

  1. Expect the best from people you lead.
  2. Make a thorough study of the other person’s needs.
  3. Establish high standards for excellence.
  4. Create and environment where failure is not fatal.
  5. If they are going anywhere near where you want to go, climb on other people’s bandwagons.
  6. Employ models to encourage success.
  7. Recognize and applaud achievement.
  8. Employ a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement.
  9. Appeal sparingly to the competitive urge.
  10. Place a premium on collaboration.
  11. Build into the group an allowance for storms.
  12. Take steps to keep your own motivation high.

This may seem like a daunting list, but McGinnis reminds the reader on p. 16: “Motivators are not born – they are made. And they are almost always self-made.”

While some may possess several of these traits naturally, they can all be learned and implemented with increasing effectiveness.

Let’s explore the first of these twelve.

I promise in the beginning of this week’s video that we’ll discuss someone you have never heard of before.

That’s right, there’s almost no chance that you’ve heard of John Erskine before. Go ahead, Google him.

The thing is, you’ll have to go to the end of the second page of hockey player results to reach a result about this John Erskine.

While Google may pass him over for someone who has a twitter account, former U.S. president (and former president of Columbia University) Dwight D. Eisenhower called John Erskine the greatest teacher Columbia ever had. Teaching in the english department he was also a concert pianist, author of 60 books, and was described as having a defiant optimism.

His bullish view of the future became apparent when he would often tell his classes, “the best books are yet to be written; the best paintings have not yet been painted; the best government are yet to be formed; the best is yet to be done by [you].”

That kind of inspiration caused one of the most powerful men on the planet to call him, “Columbia’s greatest teacher.”

That sums up in a certain sense principle #1. “Expect the best from people you lead.”

Another way to look at this expectation principle other than simple sanguine predictions is the idea of necessity and building on people’s innate desire to succeed.

In one of the toughest experiences of my life, I realized the power of these points.

I was working on a campaign to elect the next governor of Texas. At 3 weeks to election day, our campaign manager got all of the staff on a call and announced that the final two weeks would be entirely filled with phone calling. She expressed her sincere belief that we could reach our individual call goals and reminded us of the stakes of the election.

After getting off the call, I realized that to reach my goal I would need to make over 1,000 calls every day myself within my districts. I knew at the rate I had been calling I couldn’t do that. After a brief period of fuming, I began figuring out how to change process so that I could hit my goal.

phones

Our Campaign Manager sincerely expected the best of each of us on staff. I knew that we had to figure out how to make enough calls to voters unlikely to vote if they were not contacted and I had an intense desire to win.

Her belief coupled with these other factors motivated me to change my process, work longer hours, and stay at the office later during those last two weeks than I thought possible several days prior.

The study of becoming a great motivator and an effective leader is the pursuit of many lifetimes. Towards the end of the book McGinnis oversimplifies in an elegant way his view of the two things one must possess to be a successful leader: “1) an astute knowledge of what makes people tick; and 2) a spirit that spreads excitement and energy to other people” (p. 161).

I personally think that is far to simplistic but it wouldn’t be a great book if I agreed with everything, right?

I’ll leave you until next week with this thought from Zig Ziglar:

“Motivation is like a shower, you might not notice if you don’t have it every day, but those around you sure will!”

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Why Should I Read | The 5 Love Languages

This past week I heard the song “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake. It’s playing right now as I write this post. It’s a catchy tune, upbeat lyrics, and a great summer jam. The problem is that most people fall in love and expect that this song is going to describe the rest of their lives with this amazing person they have found.

Dr. Gary Chapman states in his immensely insightful book, The 5 Love Languages, that the “in love” feeling will change after roughly two years.

There are several paths after that transition though. If we go down what we’ll call the “Hollywood” route, a couple will simply move on and try to find the next person that can give them that same rush they experienced first. If we go down what we’ll call the “Roommate” route, a couple will stay together but having never transitioned into lasting love they lose the spark. At the other end of the spectrum, a couple can learn how to emotionally fulfill each other in ways that speak loudly to their partner and the relationship matures and blossoms in ways that are unfathomable to others on different paths. We’ll call that couple the “Lasting Lovers.”photo-1426543881949-cbd9a76740a4

So what makes the difference?

Chapman lays out a framework for understanding the reactions of others to our efforts at love. He states that there are five primary “Love Languages” that people receive and give love through. Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Giving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Before we give a quick overview of these, I think that the entire mindset can be summed up in two quotes from the book.

Almost everything ever written on the subject of love indicates that at the heart of love is the spirit of giving.

P. 82

While in the context of giving gifts, this short sentence sums up the sacrificial and active role that Lasting Lovers experience. While the Roommates wonder why the feeling faded and Hollywood looks for the next ecstatic experience, the Lasting Lovers take action and are others focused.

A tender hug communicates love to any child but it shouts love to the child whose love language is physical touch. The same is true for adults.

P. 110

Notice the distinction here? When you speak the right love language, you are directly connecting with the individual who you are aiming at. Someone may appreciate the encouraging words, but if they yearn for you to help with the laundry then your time is better spent in that activity.

The Five Love Languages

The Lasting Lovers learn their lover’s language (apologies for liberal alliteration). In all seriousness though, when one can identify their partner’s, or anyone else’s love language, they can target their actions to fill the other’s emotional needs.

A common Roommate response in the book to Dr. Chapman letting them know of the love languages is, “but that love language doesn’t come naturally to me.” Dr Chapman would respond with a 100% sincere and loving “So?” Refer back to the quote from page 82, if the spirit of love is giving, it would follow that you conform to the person you are serving in love.

One quick note, the use of the term “Language,” is extremely intentional. While one can interact with someone of a different language the meaning is often lost and there is certainly no nuance or meaningful conversation taking place. In order to fully experience a different culture one must experience it within the native language. The same goes for fully loving another individual. In order to truly experience life with them and find a life full of nuance and meaningful connection, it is imperative that you learn their language.

Check out the book for a full treatment of these languages.

Words of Affirmation. Words of Affirmation are sincere, delivered in appropriate tone, and usually come as compliments or encouragement.

Quality Time. Quality Time is time spent with the other person while fully present. Phones, TV, and other distractions almost completely annul the time as being “quality.” Quality conversations and quality activities are the two most common forms of this language.

Giving Gifts. A gift is a visible representation of one’s love for another. We can observe many “Hollywood” couples (literal hollywooders and figurative) trying to impress their partner with increasingly extravagant gifts. However a gift need not be expensive to express love. Although you shouldn’t get a washer for a wedding ring, some expressions of extravagance are signs of love 🙂

Acts of Service. This love language is one that can seem especially foreign to those that don’t receive love in this way. One may think, “Really? Doing my wife’s to-do list is an act of love?” But this expression of giving speaks just as loudly as any of the others to those that crave this love language.

Physical Touch. Many times men will assume they have the love language of physical touch because their affinity for sex is so strong. The love language physical touch is more than simply sexual attraction or actions however. The implicit touches such as a hand on the shoulder or a quick hug transfer an emotional depth that is far different than simple sexual desire to the person who’s love language is physical touch. Check out the story in this week’s video to hear about an example of that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PFTKJ_eDIE

So where does a couple diverge from the tingly feeling and embark into Hollywood, Roommate life or find Lasting Love? The answer lies in identifying your opposite’s love language and speaking it in ways that they receive.

Chapman says to identify your spouse’s love language you answer three questions in the context of his relationships. (from pg. 175)

  • How does he most often express love to others?
  • What does he complain about most often?
  • What does he request most often?

In answering these questions you will begin to unearth the nuanced emotional framework of your spouse. This is a lifelong pursuit of intimacy. This knowledge is NOT common, guard the emotions of your spouse; these languages can be spoken with incredible benefit or devastating consequences.

I write this as a single guy, I am bit envious of you who are married reading this as well as looking forward to a lifelong partnership in the future.

Love well, friends.

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Why Should I Read | Tribes

For those of you that don’t know Seth Godin, go type “seth” into any search engine, and he’s the first result.

But, for anyone who has been even remotely connected with the marketing world of the twenty-first century, the name Seth Godin is probably not new.

The concept of “Tribes” in the current era has also made it’s way through the cycle of introduction, fads, and then, rather than fading away, it is now part of the lexicon of business jargon.

The book, written in 2008, makes sweeping declarations about the opportunity available for individuals to lead a tribe. Some people criticize the book for making these generalizations as it seems they would like more of a textbook approach to leadership.

Seth Godin, rather than responding to his critics, makes it a point of his to define leadership as those people who are willing “to do things that might not work.”

This is at the core of the book Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us. The idea is that a tribe leader doesn’t create the tribe, she merely provides a way for those with shared interest to communicate and coalesce.

While I totally disagree with Godin on certain worldview issues, I believe he has one of the best minds on building trust and attention in the marketplace of ideas. At the end of this article there will be a couple links to some long-form interviews with Seth Godin. If you are at all interested in building a group of people or an audience, you owe it to yourself to pay attention to what this man has to say.

In this week’s video, we talk generally about assumptions and specifically about “Sheepwalking.” The book, and the article just linked, defines “Sheepwalking” as: “the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.”

Enough fear to keep them in line.

Ever thought you’d like to try something great at work but didn’t because you might get in trouble?

Ever thought about starting a blog to share your ideas but didn’t?

Ever wanted to start your own business but decided it was too risky?

Our culture, and our education systems are designed to churn out individuals who can work a job optimized for the industrial age. The problem is that we ceased to live in that age back in the early 90s.

As I was writing this article and trolling through Seth’s blog & Google results (If you’re not subscribed, try it! It will make you think every day), I found this video from him given to a group of kids at a TEDxYouth event. I am going to go watch it, and I’d encourage you to as well.

Think about your ambitions. Go lead a Tribe. Don’t be held back by the fears supplanted into your mind on top of your dreams.

Interviews with Seth Godin:

With Tim Ferriss: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/02/10/seth-godin/ (Long but AMAZING)

With Chase Jarvis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xMxAZhgVvU 

With Gary Vaynerchuk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D65-9sz7V0g (Shorter than the others, Gary probably swears 😉 )

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