How to Quantify the Value of “Showing Up!”

attitude, Constitution, Personal Application, personal development, Podcast, resolutions

Society pays a price when people don’t show up.  Coaches complain when their teams don’t “show up” to play.  You and I pay a price when we halfheartedly show up and nations can rise and fall depending on who shows up.  So what does our lack luster approach to “showing up” in every sense of the word cost us?  Now that the fire works and parades of the American Independence Day celebrations have ended what will you do today to secure your own freedom?  And whether or not you “show up” has more to do with it than you may imagine.

Click here to listen to this Podcast of a dramatic true story about the power of “showing up!” 

*some of the events of Abraham Baldwin’s story was gathered from content in  Ron G. Carters book, Unlikely Heroes.

Take a Stand

attitude, character, communism, Constitution, freedom, leadership, Podcast, Success, supreme court, trust, virtue

Podcast # 19   On Taking A Stand

Learn how holding fast to your character leads to greater opportunity in this podcast!

Throughout history there are those who boldly plant themselves in the critics path to defend just principles. The strength of their character preserves freedom and justice for all.  Listen to this inspiring story of one in our modern era who did just that.  He represents the thousands of others who, in pivotal moments, put adulation, power and even popularity aside to protect the principles that set us free.   Enjoy this powerful podcast about James Donovan!

The Virtue of Money and the Value of Today’s Resolutions

achievement, attitude, Blog Entries, money, resolutions, Success, Uncategorized, virtue

Why do we wait for the New Year for “new resolutions,” when in reality most of those goals are just old resolutions resurrected under a different time and title?  Why don’t more of us resolve to fix our work, health and financial habits right now when we are feeling the pain?  In fact, why not resolve today to adjust just one habit that can improve your relationships or increase your sales or grow company profits?  Because just being engaged in the right activity consistently brings rewards.  Let me provide a couple of illustrations.

In a cause I have worked with for years, one of our sales reps I’ll call Bob shared with me an experience he had while cold calling on businesses for support.  During a drop in call, a customer of that business after hearing his introduction walked up to Bob and warmly said, “its good to see you out beating the streets.  I used to be a supporter of your organization before I retired and I want to support you again.”  He then pulled out his checkbook without another word and wrote him a decent sized check.  You see, he wanted to reward effort, diligence and important work.  Now, if Bob hadn’t maintained the daily habit of being out in the field he would have missed that “easy” sale.

For the next example, I turn to the author Ayn Rand.  In her controversial book Atlas Shrugged, she creates a scene which emphasizes the merit of dedicated work.  The scene is set at a party where a wealthy industrialist responds to an intellectual who proclaimed that, “money is the root of all evil:”

 

“…So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is  a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them.          Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by  trade and give value for value.  … Money is made possible only by the men who produce.  Is this what you  consider evil?

“When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will  exchange it for the product of the effort of others.  It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to  money.  Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your  wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow.  [Money is],…, a token of honor—your claim upon  the energy of the men who produce.  Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world  around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money…

To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will.  Money rests on the axiom that every man  is the owner of his mind and his effort.  Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except  the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return…”

 

Thomas Jefferson put it this way, “It is not to the moderation and justice of others we are to trust for fair and equal access to market our productions… but our own means of independence, and the firm will to use them.”

So what does all this have to do with resolutions? Well, I believe most resolutions stem from a desire to be happier.  One thing that keeps us from enjoying happiness is a lack of resolve to get engaged in meaningful work and worthwhile goals.  Unfortunately, society has allowed “moochers and looters,” as Ayn Rand puts it,  to manipulate the supply and flow of money to reward special interest as opposed to value added.  The more we allow this the more it affects our ability to produce fairly and enjoy wider happiness. This goes for the welfare recipient who is fully capable of working to the politician who uses his position to get something for nothing.  Happiness won’t be found that way and society certainly has no value added in both cases.  As more people buy into this “something for nothing mentality” economies slow.  Individuals then become fearful and hold on tightly to the few remaining dollars and freedom for all diminishes.

So the next time you decide to skip making your daily sales calls, or stay in bed, or avoid work or that uncomfortable conversation you must have with an associate, or skip breakfast, or burn up your savings, or stop investing, or watch TV instead of reading that book  or listen to the tabloid talk shows instead of personal development audios or stay up late playing video games instead of taking your wife on a date or whatever productive task we drop because idleness is easier, resolve to look squarely at the habits that lead to the results you know down deep that you want and ask, am “I willing to make my resolution now to produce?”  In other words, will you put forth an effort that is worthy of the honest trade of another man’s money.  Because when you do, that willing exchange will not only make you wealthy and free, but your nation as well.  And that can only happen now not on January 1st!

Want More Energy? Keep it Positive!

association, attitude, freedom, leadership, Optimism, positive mental outlook

Have you ever interacted with a person who left you amused, baffled, frustrated or down right angry?  If you get out of the house much I know you have.  And if you are anything like me you’ve probably laughed some of it off, told some of them off or complained about one or two of them to a co-worker, spouse or friend.  Now certainly we all need a way to relieve the pressure that builds in dealing with interesting folks (if you know what I mean), but how we vent the inevitable buildup can mean the difference between failure and success on any given day.

Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.”  Now wait a minute, surely Mr. Franklin didn’t intend that to apply to your hard-nosed boss or the “moron” who cut you off in traffic.  And certainly he wasn’t referring to the unpatriotic pessimist who told you he’s fleeing the country to live life out on a beach.  It can’t possibly apply to your in-laws and their unsolicited advice—or maybe it does. While venting can ease immediate frustration, perhaps Mr. Franklin was also giving a sound formula for managing attitude and effort on a daily basis.

According to Dr. David Schwartz, author of the Magic of Thinking Big, we are a product of our environment; he is referring more to our psychological environment than our physical one. Wow! If that is even partially true, how long should we remain in the “moron’s” psychological environment?  It makes me wonder if dwelling on or gossiping about them perpetuates the environment?

Some of the most successful men in American History were Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.  They accomplished nearly super-human feats with what appeared to be boundless energy.  Perhaps not so coincidentally both created mechanisms to improve their psychological state.  Among these were affirmations that encouraged them to avoid gossip in all its forms. Many of Franklin’s 13 virtues, that he systematically attempted to master throughout his life, dealt with creating a positive encouraging environment in all human interaction.  Washington followed a pamphlet called the Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation to help him develop a sincere demeanor in both professional and personal interactions.  In it he learned to: “1. Sleep not when others speak… speak not when you should hold your peace…; 6. Shew not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy; 9. Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for ‘tis a sign of tractable …nature, and in all causes of passion permit reason to govern;  13. Speak not evil of the absent for it is unjust.”
Often I think in our fast paced, technologically advanced society we discount these age old rules of civility, but today books like How to Win Friends and Influence People have repackaged these concepts, concepts that go well before Washington’s time.  So let me conclude with this piece of wisdom that goes back some 2500 years.  Perhaps you’ve even read this Aesop Fable to your kids:

A Farmer placed nets on his newly-sown plow lands and caught a number of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed.  With them he trapped a Stork that had fractured his leg in the net and was earnestly beseeching the farmer to spare his life.  “Pray save me, Master,” he said, “and let me go free this once. My broken limb should excite your pity.  Besides, I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a bird of excellent character; and see how I love and slave for my father and mother. Look too, at my feathers—they are not the least like those of a Crane.” The Farmer laughed aloud and said, “It may be all as you say, I only know this: I have taken you with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their company.”

 

The moral: “Birds of a Feather Flock Together”

 

The next time we need to blow off a little steam let us pause to think about who we are about to psychologically “flock together with.”  For whether we see ourselves as one of them or not doesn’t change the fact that our minds are still caught up in the very same net. So if for no other reason at first than to preserve our own energy stay clear of the net of gossip and negativity so that our minds and activities can focus on freedom and productivity in all its forms.