Follow the Money: Time to Get Financially Fit!

Podcast

Have you ever wondered why your dollar isn’t stretching like it used to?

Do you want to know how to take charge of your finances? 

With so many factors working against your financial security it pays to become educated on who/what is vying for your money and why its time to hang on to more of it.  If you are concerned about how consumerism, banking policy, government/currency manipulation and more is effecting your financial well-being, then listen to this podcast and resolve to take charge of your money now.

After listening to this podcast I invite you to check out this amazing resource I’ve been effectively using to win financially by clicking on the link below.  This program quickly helped us put more money away at a faster rate than ever before.

THE FINANCIAL FITNESS PROGRAM  

What Benjamin Franklin Could and Could Not See!

Blog Entries, freedom, George Washington, Podcast

Podcast # 14: What Benjamin Franklin Could and Could Not See!

Robert Kiyosaki would credit Benjamin Franklin’s great wealth to three key ingredients.   One is long-term vision.  Find out how Franklin leveraged these three things not only to create his independence but to significantly contributing to the independence of the most powerful nation on earth.

Thomas Jefferson, Titan of Liberty

achievement, Blog Entries, Education, freedom, perseverance, Personal Application, personal development, Podcast, Thomas Jefferson

Podcast # 13: Thomas Jefferson, Titan of Liberty

The list of incredible accomplishments assigned to Thomas Jefferson seems super human.  How did he accomplish it and what was he most proud of?

You’ll discover the foundation of this answer here and in the process you just may find yourself accomplishing a whole lot more.

Listen in and tell me what you think

A Century of Education and the Slight Edge = Freedom!

Podcast

What do MICROWAVES, MOVIES AND MODELS all have in common?  They’ve all contributed to changing our perception of the success cycle.  The farmer understands that you have to plant, CULTIVATE and then harvest, but today’s fast paced society leads us to believe we can plant, skip cultivate and go right to the harvest.  It took over 100 years of education in America to create the right environment to reap the rewards of freedom.  The good news is it won’t take you that long, but you will need to apply the principles of the Slight Edge (great book by Jeff Olsen) to live the life of success and happiness you desire.  LISTEN IN TO LEARN MORE…

Veterans Day Message- A Hero Passed…And Present: Van T. Barfoot

Podcast

Click Here to Listen to an Amazing Story of Combat Both on and Off the Battlefield!

After leaving my corporate career to begin working with the legislative research firm National Write Your Congressman, I encountered numerous veterans in Arizona where I was working.  Their stories inspired me to work harder to create accountability in government and protect our liberties.  In sharing this Story of Col. Van T. Barfoot I hope to first honor our veterans and then transfer that feeling I experienced in visiting personally with other heroes like Barfoot.  This story will amaze you! 

Lessons Learned From the 49ers, My Brother and John Adams

achievement, Education

Few childhood memories stand out more for me than experiencing the USFL Oakland Invaders football practice from the sidelines.  The crunch, pop and bang of colliding helmets and pads mixed with heavy grunts produced a sense of awe and excitement that deepened my enthusiasm for the game.  The bigger rush washed over me though when my brother put a sweaty arm around me after that practice and ruffled up my hair.  Messed up hair, dirt and grime were imperceptible in that moment—I was enjoying a piece of boy heaven.  All of this coupled with loyalty to my brother and the several NFL teams he played for, however, could not turn me from cheering for my San Francisco 49ers.  After all, the Dynasty created by Bill Walsh, Montana, Owens, Craig, Rice, Lott and others in the 80s was more than a fan could ask for.  In those days it didn’t matter how far behind they were, when Montana went under center I knew he could orchestrate a winning drive! Back then it was all about entertainment, but now I realize that incredible leadership, discipline and work ethic made both my brother’s achievements (later as an entrepreneur/founder of Max Muscle) and that incredible 49ers’ run possible.

A blog post by Dan Coyle, author of the Talent Code, points out that the creation of  winning organizations is not so much about selecting the most talented but rather the most determined.  The data he analyzed showed that in spite of intense measuring systems used in drafting professional athletes, success in selecting the next star performer seemed to be more luck than science.  For example, the NFL subjects prospective recruits to rigorous evaluations in the “combines” where they measure explosiveness, speed, agility, strength, etc. At the end of the day they know which players are literally, bigger, faster and stronger and they are generally the ones selected.  He observed however, that only 50% of these biggest/fastest athletes are still found in the league after four years.  So if they are the most dominate specimens, why are so many cut from NFL teams?  The author suggests that perhaps growth potential should be measured and not just current skills and ability.  A measurement of grit has proven to be a better predictor.  “Grit?” you say, “But how on earth can you measure that?”  Actually, there is a study, referenced in Coyle’s post, that does.  It suggests that the ability to see long term and take ownership of that vision is a better predictor of success than “raw talent.”

This doesn’t apply just to athletics.  A study of John Adam’s life, second president of the United States, reveals many personal weaknesses such as a quick temper and reoccurring feelings of inadequacy. As a young man, a journal entry uncovers how he overcame this.  He developed grit because of his ability to see long term and work towards change.  He wrote, “I am resolved to rise with the sun and to study Scriptures on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, and to study some Latin author the other three mornings.  Noons and nights I intend to read English authors…. I will rouse up my mind and fix my attention [on improvement]…”  The next day he was frustrated because he slept in, but because he knew where he was headed, he kept moving towards his vision.  Now, at that exact moment in his life no one would have selected him to be president of the U.S., Chief Diplomat to Great Britain or delegate to the Continental Congress, but his life illustrates that success is realized by developing a personal growth mindset and pushing past setbacks.

So let’s get back to 1980, the year Coach Bill Walsh firmed up the foundation for the 49ers Dynasty.  He was coming off his first season as head coach with a 2-14 losing record and was in the middle of a seven game loosing streak. His combined record to that point made him the “loosing-est” coach in the league.  Then in a self-inflicted devastating loss to the Dolphins the next week, the 49ers slid to eight straight defeats.  Reflecting on that loss he wrote, “It was a horrible and numbing defeat, overwhelming for me because of its potential impact—a job I had worked for my entire adult life was in jeopardy…I stood on the sideline…emotionally gutted, wondering if I had the strength to get back to our locker room.”  Everything from that moment until the plane ride home is a faded blur for Walsh, but the deep depression and anguish that dragged him down to literal sobs as he sat in the darkness in his front row seat of their chartered plane burned an unforgettable memory that motivated him for years to come.  Contemplating resignation he recalls trying to describe his anguish, “Everything I had dreamed of professionally for a quarter of a century was in jeopardy just 18 months after being realized.  And yet there was something else going on inside me, a ‘voice’ from down deeper than the emotions, something stirring that I had learned over many years in football and, before that, growing up; namely, I must stand and fight again, stand and fight or it was all over.”

After that six hour long flight, he deplaned emotionally drained at 3:15 am and immediately went to work.  They won 3 of the next 5 games and went on to win San Francisco’s first Super Bowl the next season.  The Dynasty was born on the heels of defeat when a coach who had hit rock bottom turned to grit, determination and hard work to complete the turn-a-round from the worst team in the league to the best.

Anyone who has achieved great success, my brother Joe included, will tell you that defeat and frustration are inevitable, but victory goes to those who apply dedicated work to a clear vision of a desired outcome.  As a boy I took 49er wins for granted, failing to fully appreciate what Walsh and Montana went through to thrill me week in and week out.  I even took my brother’s business success for granted, not fully understanding the level of dedication it required. Later as a young adult, I took my freedoms for granted not understanding what a John Adams went through to persuade a nation to choose freedom over captivity.  Studying their lives and the principles they taught has helped me be more resolved to protect freedom and promote success principles every chance I get.

So whether you are an entrepreneur, parent, business leader or politician it turns out that it is not so much your apparent talent that determine success, but rather your grit.  So even if you are inadequate in a real or perceived way or someone else is a little faster, more eloquent or quicker on their feet, John Adams, Bill Walsh and Joe Wells demonstrate that it’s really not “raw talent” that is the greatest determinant of success, but rather determination itself.  So if you and our nation are to live free, get clear on your vision of excellence and keep moving towards it because success goes to the “gritty” not those who had it easy.

Education or Slavery? It’s a Choice

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Does inflation irritate you?  Do you every think about how to protect yourself against it? After all, it is constantly on the move creeping up all around us.  Even with the massive market correction in housing in the past decade, the U.S. government reports a 357% increase in the average price of a home from 1980 ($ 76,400) to 2010 ($ 272,900) (1).  That statistic far outpaces the 165% cumulative inflation rate the U.S. has experienced over that same period (2). 

If you think housing was bad, consider the massive increase in education costs.  The NationalCenter for Education Statistics reports that the average cost to attend one year of a 4-year college in 1980 was $ 3,499.  Jump ahead to 2010 and the average cost shoots up over $22,000—an incredible 631% increase in cost!  With the exception of healthcare, very few items can keep pace with inflation in higher education.  If a stock increased 631% over that same period, investors would be ecstatic, but can the education sector boast such a dramatic return on investment? And let’s get away from the dollars and cents return.  Is America fundamentally sounder because of the training it’s giving the rising generation?  Put another way, is post-secondary education merely about opening a door to making some money or are we preparing a generation to think, create, improve, uplift and promote freedom?  This question must be asked in determining the true value of our own education and that of our educational system.   

            Years ago a man seeking investment advice from a wealthy Benjamin Franklin received a surprising answer.  Franklin responded that the best return would be realized by investing in himself. He went on to emphasize that an investment in his own education could always be called upon and never lost.  Even though his formal schooling ended at age 10, Franklin realized that the gateway to success was knowledge and personal development.  Thus, he poured time and money first and foremost into a self-directed education and his list of accomplishments seems never ending.

Another figure who recognized the power of a self-directed education was Booker T. Washington, a black slave born in Virginia at a time when state laws prohibited the education of slaves.  That state, reacting to an insurrection among the slaves, realized that an educated slave was more apt to think and fight for his freedom.  As a result they reasoned that controlling their education was the best approach to controlling their behavior—just ponder that statement for a minute

            As a boy slave, Washington recalls sleeping on a pallet of dirty rags with his siblings in a cabin on a southern farm.  He received little attention from his mother who was literally enslaved in household work from early in the morning to late at night.  His chores were relatively light, but he dreaded one chore above all others—taking the corn three miles to the mill.  During the long haul the corn would often shift and fall from the horse’s back.  Helpless to reload the heavy bag himself, long hours would pass as he waited for a willing passerby to do it for him.  With each passing moment, fear of the return trip in the dark and the flogging he would receive for his tardiness drove him to tears.

Though he had no schooling as a slave, he relates an experience that sent a charge of inspiration through his body that he could hardly understand at the time.  Carrying the books for his mistresses to the schoolhouse one day, he recalls being mesmerized by the sight of “several dozen boys and girls in a schoolroom engaged in study…I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise.” (3)        Not long after this at age 9, a Union Soldier entered the home of his owners and read a piece of paper declaring the slaves free. Overcome by emotion, his mother’s eyes filled with tears that wet his cheek as she kissed him and thanked God for this day of deliverance that she had long prayed for. 

However, their rejoicing quickly turned to somberness as the full weight of independence rested squarely on the shoulders of families who had never made decisions for themselves.  W.E.B. DuBois sums up the former slaves plight as follows, “[He] felt his poverty; without a cent, without a home, without land, tools, or savings, he had entered into competition with rich, landed, skilled neighbors. To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.”

Under those conditions Booker walked hundreds of miles to West Virginia to unite with his step-father.  There he labored first as a salt packer, then as a coal minor before taking a job as the house boy for the mine owner, Lewis Ruffner.  Mrs. Ruffner slowly warmed to the boy and began teaching him to read and write.  There the spark he felt years earlier when staring at the one-room schoolhouse roared into an unquenchable burning passion to become deeply and widely educated.  In 1872 at the age of 16, Washington left his employment to pursue his dream to expand his mind and enlighten others.  He walked over 500 miles to Hampton Institute where he met his mentor and friend, Former Union Army General, Samuel Armstrong, who would have a profound influence on shaping his life. Together they took on the education of slaves and the goal of helping them learn self-reliance, industry and much more.  Within three years he had earned his BA and began a teaching career. 

When all was said and done, Booker’s passion for learning drove him to earn advanced degrees from Wayland Seminary, Harvard and Dartmouth.  He became a powerful speaker and educator whose advice was sought for by President Theodore Roosevelt.  He dined with presidents, had tea with Queen Victoria in London, spent time with wealthy philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and was able to create TuskegeeCollege for the education of black people in America.  By 1915, he had taken it from a school which met in a rural black church to a prominent institution with over 60 buildings and a 3 million dollar endowment. 

Washington embodies the qualities of greatness and the value of pursuing knowledge and wisdom.  From a spark of inspiration, he disciplined himself to pursue his passion for education and in the process empowered countless former slaves to develop the capacity to live free. You see, a piece of paper can’t do that for you, me or our children.  No, not even a degree that costs $100,000 can do that.  Only a freedom education can empower our country today to enjoy the true benefits of freedom.  So what is the value of your education and are you willing to really invest in yourself today in spite of or maybe in addition to the formal education so many us receive and package up never to be used again?  If you would be free, dust off your thinking caps!  Read a book because you want to.  Turn off your TV and turn on your brain.  For we will either discipline ourselves in this fashion…or someone else most certainly will.

 

1. http://www.census.gov/const/uspriceann.pdf

2. http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

3. Washington, Booker T. Autobiography: Up From Slavery; The Penguin Group, NY, NY, 1986.

James Forten Powerfully Demonstrates How to Get Better not Bitter!

achievement, Blog Entries, Constitution, Education, George Washington, personal development

If you have ever endeavored to step out of the crowd, either in the attempt of achieving a lofty personal goal or undertaking a difficult cause, I am sure that you have been ridiculed or demeaned in the attempt.  In these defining moments you can either decide to quit and get bitter or push forward and get better.

LISTEN TO THIS AMAZING STORY about JAMES FORTEN and how he, in spite of opposition and unfair treatment, succeeded and had a powerful impact on his community!

George Washington and Analysis Paralysis?

achievement, Education, freedom, George Washington, Personal Application

It’s hard to imagine George Washington experiencing analysis paralysis, but the truth is we all do.  The trick is overcoming it.  CLICK HERE TO FIND out what Fred Smith, Founder of FedEx and George Washington have in common….