Why Should I Read | The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Great fiction writing highlights a familiar truth in an unexpected way.

Gaiman writes about the world of the dead as he reminds us to cherish the time we have in this life. Because most of the characters in The Graveyard Book are eternal, the experiences of the mortal main character, Nobody Owens, are seen in stark relief.

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The Graveyard Book came recommended to me via Tim Ferriss as he consistently promoted it on his podcast in conjunction with Audible. I picked it up for a recent vacation, an easy way I could justify adding a fiction book to my reading list, and was not disappointed! I was immersed into a world that swirled with mist and creaked as I opened the gate to enter the graveyard.

If you enjoy the fantasy genre, you’ll find yourself walking with werewolves. If you prefer mysteries, this book opens upon a Man outfitted entirely in Black immediately after a murder has taken place. If you’re like me and you enjoy a great history reference, the inhabitants of the graveyard are stuck in the years in which they died. Because of this, they bring their culture with them as they interact with one another.

Gaiman has written a book that entices the reader ever deeper into a mythology that parallels modern life. You find yourself in small-town England amid rolling hills as soon as you turn the first page.

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Since the book follows the opening years of Nobody Owen’s (Bod, as he’s known to his friends) life, you experience the passage of time in a graveyard which is incongruous to the inhabitants, who are eternal. Bod can converse with the inhabitants of the graveyard, and is raised by them, with the specter of the Man in Black in the background of the story, until he isn’t.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story. I trust you’ll enjoy this book as much as I did.

Happy Halloween folks!

Until next week,

Keep Reading friends.

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Why Should I Read | Attitude 101

I didn’t want to read another book on attitude. Then I realized I had to fix my  attitude about it.

This drove home to me the principle reinforced by John Maxwell, that we are in control of our attitudes. In the book Attitude 101 Maxwell condenses volumes of work available on attitude to give you and I thoughts on the impact of attitude, the formation of attitude, and the way to approach your future with the right attitude.

Attitude 101 is the third book reviewed on this blog about attitude. “Attitude is Everything” by Jeff Keller is great attitude philosophy and “The Difference Maker,” also by John Maxwell, delves into the idea that our attitudes can provide us with a competitive edge.

This book is part of Maxwell’s “Real Leadership” series and is a half-size, ninety-seven page, one-sitting read. Yet the wisdom contained in this small book has a big impact.

As far as impact of your attitudes, Maxwell defines attitude as “an inward feeling expressed by action” (pg. 13). If your attitude is good, others are aware of those actions that exemplify your inward feelings. But if your attitude stinks, you are betrayed by the inevitable overflow of your attitude. According to Maxwell, “most bad attitudes are the result of selfishness” (pg. 11).

Check out this week’s video for an explanation of how you are in control of the formation of your attitudes and your thought habits can be changed:

Another tool we have to use is our word choice in forming our attitudes. Maxwell shares on pg 48 a list of common words that we should replace in our vocabulary. Remember, attitudes are the outward expression of inward feelings. If we can change our inward thoughts, this sort of outward language follows:

Eliminate These Words Completely

  1. I can’t
  2. If
  3. Doubt
  4. I don’t think
  5. I don’t have the time
  6. Maybe
  7. I’m afraid of
  8. I don’t believe
  9. (minimize) I
  10. It’s impossible.

Make these corresponding words part of your vocabulary.

  1. I can
  2. I will
  3. Expect the best
  4. I know
  5. I will make the time
  6. Positively
  7. I am confident
  8. I do believe
  9. (promote) You
  10. All things are possible.

Language reflects reality and definitely affects our perception of the facts. Tell yourself a positive story and watch your feelings change.

What is the possible future of having a great attitude in life? Does it mean that everything comes easy and you never struggle again? Certainly not. However, adversity can serve to lift you when you have the right attitude.

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Think of running around as a kid with a kite. Could that kite fly without wind? No, there had to be wind to lift the kite, but it was anchored at the same. That resistance lifted it higher and higher with tension on the line. In the same way, with the right attitude we can use the winds of adversity to lift us higher and higher while staying anchored by the line of truth.

John Maxwell will be the first to tell you that attitude doesn’t replace aptitude. But having aptitude without the right attitude means someone may replace you.

Until next time (Next week I’ll be traveling, unlikely I’ll be able to get a blog up),

Keep reading friends!

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Why Should I Read | The Ideal Team Player

Are you a Jackass?

Patrick Lencioni can tell if you are.

Lencioni, the NYT Best Selling author of The 5 Dysfunctions of a Teamhas followed that foundational work on teams with his newest project on the individuals that make up a team.

As the founder of The Table Group, consultant to 78 of the Fortune 100 companies, Lencioni is perhaps  the most qualified individual to teach about jackassery within teams.

A fable like several of his other books, The Ideal Team Player addresses the three core virtues that an individual must possess to be an effective member of a high functioning team.

The story revolves around CEO Jeff Shanley of Valley Builders as he and his core executives take on two new projects and need to radically expand their team. They endeavor not to hire “jackasses” and come up with three essential virtues and innovative ways to identify and cultivate these into their employees.

The three virtues are not new concepts. An individual must be humble, hungry and smart to be an ideal team player. These are not interchangeable, they must ALL be present in the same individual else the person falls into danger of being a “jackass” as Shanley puts it.

Semantics of the story aside, the Table Group has been building a culture around these three virtues for nearly 20 years. They actively hire and fire on the presence of humility, hunger, and smarts.

Humility, according to Lencioni, is “the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player” (pg 157).

Check out Why Should I Read | Humility: True Greatness for a fuller discussion of humility.

Hungry workers never have to be told to work harder by their boss, they are diligent and self-motivated (p. 159).

Finally, Smart is simply having common sense in dealing with people (pg.160).

You may be thinking, “I could have told you that!” You would be correct, these attributes are not news to most people. However, identifying the presence and cultivating all three simultaneously is the challenge.

If you’d like to access a self assessment or to learn more about these attributes, visit the free resources page available at tablegroup.com/books/the-ideal-team-player

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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.

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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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WSIR 002 | How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success

Why should someone read a book on sales? I asked myself this question when this book was recommended to me the first time. I didn’t feel that anyone outside of the profession of sales should have to pick up a book entitled, How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling. I realized later, and as the title of this post points out that the title could easily have been, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success” and still been entirely accurate. The principles in successful salesmanship are directly tied to the principles of human interaction

Most people think sales is something like this:

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This book, first released in 1947, covers topics all the way from arguing for keeping detailed records to Benjamin Franklin’s program of personal improvement to even how to talk to your barber to look your best.

Three topics addressed in the video are enthusiasm, overtalking, and a correct view of failure. There are certainly more key topics in this book, especially the section on asking questions to effectively listen and on handling objections but you’ll need to go read the book to get those broken down.

1. Enthusiasm!

If there were a single thing in your life that you could change and by changing that one thing you were able to double your results, would you do it?

That switch is called enthusiasm, look at anyone who is successful and in some capacity they have used enthusiasm to help them. Without getting too political, Dr. Ben Carson has been widely criticized for lacking enthusiasm in his campaigning and it has damaged his bid for the White House in 2016.

Bettger recollects to his mindset of nervousness and how he (understandably, I’ve done this too) let nervousness translate into laziness or lack of enthusiasm. This actually got him fired from a minor league baseball team. He discovered however that he could force himself to be enthusiastic regardless of his feelings and he tried this tactic out at his next team.

Three things were a direct result.

  • His enthusiasm overcame his fear, his nervousness began to work for him!
  • Other players noticed his electric manner, and began to match his enthusiasm.
  • Rather than being tired from the heat, he was exhilarated at the end of the game.

Another thing was an indirect result, Bettger gained a reputation of enthusiasm and Frank “Pep” Bettger used that reputation all the way to becoming the third-baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I urge you… to make a high and holy resolve that you will double the amount of enthusiasm that you have been putting into your work and into your life. If you carry out that resolve, you will probably double your income and double your happiness. – Dale Carnegie

2. Overtalking

We’ll keep this section short 🙂

Bettger was convinced that the biggest reason salesman lose business was their tendency to overtalk.

I work as the Director of Development for a non-profit so I have meetings with donors quite often. One of my mentors has suggested a 70/30 split on how much the other person should talk in conversation compared to how much the person presenting should talk. This is based on the idea that the more the other person talks the more they like you. You pay them a subtle compliment by listening to their ideas.

Abraham Lincoln had a knack for cutting to the core of an issue in his communication with others. Most people are familiar with the Gettysburg Address. In 272 words, our 16th president started with the founding of the country, reminded those present of the tragedy that took place before them, and cast vision for the future.

Edward Everett, who spoke for 2 hours before Lincoln that day, is quoted as saying,

I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the center of the idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.

Remember, “We quickly resent the person who is abrupt; but we admire the person who is brief and to the point.”

3. Failure

“Your greatest asset is is the number of strike outs you have had since your last hit.”

Most people, if asked, “what is the opposite of success?” Would immediately respond with the idea of failure. However, this mindset that failure is where someone should stop is far from what should happen in that situation.

When someone fails, the opportunity for learning is present. If you quit because of failure, you’ve in effect said, “This issue will always beat me, and I won’t attempt to win here again.”

Babe Ruth, the baseball star not the candy bar, in his day was known widely for being a man who could hit. His home runs are legendary. Most people don’t know this though but he also led the league in another area, strike outs.

That’s right, the man who is immortalized with 714 home runs, struck out at that very same home plate 1330 times!

Ruth is quoted as saying,

“I just keep going up there and swingin’ at ’em. I know the old law of averages will hold good for me the same as it does for anybody else, if I keep havin’ my healthy swings.”

We need to adopt some of that same attitude, whether in sales, customer service, or engineering. The law of averages is real, and if you have built the correct skills and implement them regularly, your efforts will pay off.

Bottom Line, If you are looking for a book that gives rock solid principles for successful every-day interaction with others, look directly at Frank Bettger’s How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.

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Chapters of Life

Reality.

Sometimes it hits you.

After 5 years, my time with TeenPact Leadership School has come to a close.

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If you look back on your life you can identify different turning points that changed things profoundly for you even if they didn’t seem so significant in the moment. When I packed up for a week of government class in 2010 with some friends I never thought that things could change so much.

TeenPact, as I’ve written before is an organization that does a number of things. The 2014 season is the 20th year that TeenPact has been in existence, a ministry that formed in Georgia in 1994 after a prayer meeting in the basement of the capitol building. Over the years, the ministry has expanded to serving thousands of individuals in 40 states- their mission is this:

Our mission is to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend the christian faith and engage the culture at a time in their lives when, typically, they do not care about such things.

Just a week ago, I returned from Alaska where I had spent 11 days with the Alaska State TeenPact Class. This was a phenomenal experience with which to finish my time with TeenPact. The scenery was beautiful. This is Lake Eagle and Lake Symphony in Chugach State Park near Eagle River Alaska- this shot was 6.3 miles from the trailhead- totally worth the hike.

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The new friendships I made were great, and the old friendships I had already were strengthened. Danny Sullivan our Program Director for the week and myself.

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We had some fun extracurricular activities too (hiking, climbing, flying, sledding, picture taking, etc)

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But all good things must come to an end. I am so thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had with TeenPact but the week had to come to a close.

The Alaska state class was the final class to finish the 20th season of the TeenPact state classes

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TeenPact has taught me many things and I’ve changed immensely since 2010 when I was first involved.

One big thing that I’ve taken with me through time with TeenPact is a mindset of not losing opportunities.

With the fast-paced nature of a TeenPact class there are rare times that are not jammed with activity in the 4 day class. With a spiritual focus that overarches the entire week, one must as Ephesians 5:16 says:

making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

As we go through our time, whether at an event or simply living our everyday lives we need to be entirely aware of the opportunities that are passing by each of us. We can choose to take them or to let them slide. In a situation like TeenPact, the time is short and urgency helps to spur one on to action.

Yet so many times we blaze through time, a week, a day, an hour without capitalizing on the opportunities that were presented to us. This is something that pricks me, the value of time.

Our time is precious, and we dare not waste it on things that are outside our scope of purpose in life. This doesn’t mean that we never waste time, just that we must be aware of the fact that we have limited opportunity to make a difference.

This is not a Carpe Diem motivational post though, don’t seize opportunity for opportunity’s sake. Evaluate the chances based on your foundation, mine is the Bible, and take the path of the most impact for the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, while being bummed that my time with TeenPact as a traveling staff member is completed. I know that I took the opportunity to pour into those that were around me. Hopefully pointing others back to Christ.

I urge you to take your opportunities.

P.S.

For those of you perhaps wondering what’s next for me, I am continuing my college studies with CollegePlus! and getting more excited by the day to invest part of my summer with Summit Ministries as a summer staff member. I’ll be out there from July 16-August 30th. If you haven’t yet, familiarize yourself with this ministry- their work is absolutely phenomenal.

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Friendship: Deposits and Withdrawals

friendship

Friendship is a word in our culture that has lost much of its meaning. Now, this is not a post ranting about how “Back in my day, when you unfriended someone they had a black eye.” No, I believe that while friendship has deteriorated because of less quality interaction, it is a topic that we can do something about! So let’s dive in.

What is Friendship?

A Friend is defined on Dictionary.com as “a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty.” Does that describe the people that you interact with regularly? If it is, awesome let’s learn how to keep it that way. If not, perhaps we need to examine a few true friends from history and draw an analogy.

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.

-Elbert Hubbard

In many stories from history, a friendship plays a large role. You can check out a great in-depth article on Male Friendships on this site: artofmanliness.com/malefriendship

The Bible has something to say on every subject and true friendship is no different. One of the most iconic friendships of all time was the relationship between David and Jonathan.

A good summation of their relationship can be found in 1 Samuel 18:1

Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.

You can read a full account of their adventures in 1 Samuel chapters 18-20

Another friendship that is less well known is the relationship between George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary war. Washington, a man of 45 developed a tight relationship with Lafeyette who, at 19, came to america to fight for freedom. They met soon after Lafeyette arrived and immediately bonded. They ignored their age difference because they were united towards a goal of freedom. After the Revolutionary war, they kept in contact as Lafayette returned to France to become involved in the French Revolution as the Commander of the French National Guard. His first act as Commander was to raze the Bastille. He took the key to the west portal, a key that held over 5,000 prisoners captive during French Monarchy and sent it to his friend, George Washington. That key still hangs in Washington’s historic home, Mount Vernon, to this day.

 

So what is the difference between that one person that sits on your friends list on facebook that you kind of know and the unshakeable bonds that held together great leaders of history like Washington & Lafeyette?

In each of the two examples we looked at there were a few principles.

  • Common Purpose
  • Continuing Communication
  • Shared Experience

These each could be talked about at length, but suffice it to say that without some form of commonality, a certain amount of communication, and some interaction together a friendship does not happen.

So what’s the difference? Why do so many people feel alone in the crowd, or isolated among others. One analogy that I have heard from Life Leadership leader George Guzzardo is to visualize each relationship that you have as a bank account. With common purpose, different forms of communication, and experiences that people share- they create deposits into each other’s bank accounts. Each period of time that one or all of these are missing create withdrawals in those accounts.

As a spin-off to this analogy, I would like to challenge you to think about the quality of deposits you are putting into other’s accounts. Remember, as you deposit into other’s accounts, you are creating greater potential for others to fill yours as well. There is a big difference between liking the same page on facebook and going camping together. Think of either laughing so hard you can’t breathe with friends or texting someone “LOL” or going way overboard and texting “ROTFL” You see the difference? One is real money in the account the other is Monopoly money.

So my question for you is this.

Whose account is filled with Monopoly money that you need to go fill with real deposits?

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Learning to be Heroes

You can define a society by the heroes it keeps. You can also define a person by the heroes he or she keeps. Who are your heroes? Who are you modeling yourself after?  -Jeff Olson The Slight Edge

As individuals strive to be what we are created to be there are different avenues to pursue. Specifically there are three pathways of learning: #1 Learning by study, #2 Learning by Doing and #3 Learning from a Mentor.

#1 Learning by Study (Book Smarts).

This is the kind of learning that we commonly think of. Books, CD’s, Seminars, all things that I am passionate about because of the power of learning that they have! As we invest our time listening to a positive audio, perhaps even while doing something else, our brain can process that learning. Also, like we talked about in a previous post, the small actions add up to big results. This principle works in all areas, Reading 10 pages a day and listening to 15-30 minutes of audio for information is a simple thing to do. It’s unfortunately easy not to do as well. But the results are tremendous over time! 10 pages a day turns into a book a Month. 1 hour of audio a day on a certain subject after a year means you are in the top 5% of the world educated on that subject. Simply because there is no better way to take in information than our eyes and ears, this method of Learning has been championed. Seminars bring in, hopefully, the third type of learning so we will move on to pathway #2.

#2 Learning by Doing (Street Smarts).

If you’ve ever started a new job you understand this process. Our minds function in such a way that after a time of learning by study, we have a pressure to apply what we learned. Try listening to an audio of a leader talking about the benefits of a good attitude and then you’ll be able to, as Cassie Birtles says “Catch a grump off guard with kindness.” This is a FUN way of learning too! It feels good to put into practice the values that one has in their heart. There comes a time when book learning reaches a tip-over point and that knowledge has to be put into practice.

As a valuable aside here, putting a new discipline or concept into practice means that you will fail. Yes. I said it, you will fail. And this is good! the opposite of success is not failure, the opposite of success is quitting. Failure offers an invaluable opportunity for learning.

If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.  -Thomas J. Watson

If you still don’t believe me on this one, think on this quote by Wayne Gretzky:

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

At my current job in a restaurant, we mention certain promotions to each customer. I’ve found that only be doubling my failure rate (by talking to more customers) can I get a higher rate of results.

#3 Learning from a Mentor

There is a lot I could say about learning from a mentor, but Jeff Olson goes into this topic pretty heavily in The Slight Edge and is very concise.

Take a look at who your heroes are- write down a list and examine it. Ask yourself, “Can I become like them? Are these people doing the kinds of things that I aspire to do and living the kinds of lives that I aspire to live? Can they really help me become who I want to become? pg 151 in The Slight Edge

You are who you associate with most. Be very aware of the philosophy, values, income, and accomplishments of those that you hang out with the most.

You can read more about The Friends Effect on Clarity.fm

Success has a lot to do with the learning that takes place before the action actually happens.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. -Abe Lincoln

The Three types of Learning are all necessary to become what you aspire to accomplish. Book smarts and Street smarts are great, but they are catalyzed and accelerated by finding mentors and friends that spur you on.

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A Listening Ear

This Christmas Season you will have multiple opportunities, if you haven’t already, to listen to others. This is a fundamental way of being a good conversationalist: letting the other person talk.

The more they talk, the more they like- You! Because all the other bodies are busy talking about Themselves!

-Chris Brady

In the spirit of listening I won’t drag this post on and on. I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about listening.

If you’d like to dig deeper on Listening, artofmanliness.com has a great three part series on listening. Here are the links to the series:

Part 1: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/05/02/how-to-listen-effectively/

Part 2: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/05/08/listen-up-part-ii-15-techniques-to-improve-our-listening/

Part 3: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/05/08/listen-up-part-ii-15-techniques-to-improve-our-listening/

Merry Christmas everyone!

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