“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” - C.S. Lewis
That’s right, folks. Today we are talking about that thing called “friendship.” Difficult to define, yet wonderful to behold, it is probably best summed up by leadership author Chris Brady, who labels it “the obscure obvious.”
“Scan any book store and you’ll find millions of books on how to make more money, thousands about how to be more spiritual, hundreds about how to be a better wife and mother, and maybe five or six on how to be a better husband and father. Rarest of all, however, and relegated to the skinny shelf-space reserved for titles such as “Honesty Among Politicians” and “Government Thrift,” you may occasionally find one or two books on friendship.” (Read the rest of the article here)
Isn’t it curious that we seem to have devoted the least amount of time studying one of the most powerful and rewarding aspects of our lives? We don’t even have many stories about friendships. Well, non-fictional ones, that is (I’m looking at you, Turk and JD). Stories about famous lovers? Sure. Famous enemies? Check. Famous friends? Meh.
Orrin Woodward writes in his book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for Life about the famous friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, but in all on honesty, I’d never heard about them being friends until after I read Orrin’s book. Before I began studying leadership, it never occurred to me how limited resources really were when it came being a better friend. Most likely because I didn’t think any resources were necessary.
The Eight Principles of Friendship
Speaking of resources, here’s a list of eight principles from Orrin Woodward’s aforementioned book that explain what is involved in a true friendship. (Have you checked out his new book, by the way? It’s awesome!)
- True friends form around a shared insight or interest, enjoying the common bond uniting them.
- True friends accept one another, loving each other despite our human imperfections.
- True friends approve of one another, protecting each others’ weakness while enhancing each others’ strengths.
- True friends appreciate one another, encouraging, serving, and believing in one another’s gifts and talents.
- True friends listen with empathy, learning the hopes, dreams, fears, and struggles of each other.
- True friends celebrate one another’s success, being proud of each other’s accomplishments without a hint of envy.
- True friends are trustworthy, maintaining all confidences.
- True friends are loyal, respecting one another’s character, reputation, and motives, as far as truth allows, while addressing any issues or concerns between them promptly and privately.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I struggle with some of those principles. How ’bout you? The beautiful thing is we can always grow and get better. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start.
Okay, so I know many people love to claim they are not creative (which I believe to be a flat-out lie), but even if you truly believe you don’t have a creative bone in your body, I still think you should watch this video. Maybe some of it won’t directly apply to what you want to do in life, but the sentiment is this video is so amazing. “If you want to be something, start being it.” So many of us have some notion of what we could do or be somewhere down the line, but we never actually get around to doing it. It’s like the abstract idea that maybe someday we could have it is good enough, until one day even the idea is so painful, we just let it go.
Everyone has genius inside of them. As best-selling author Orrin Woodward loves to quote, “People are born geniuses and taught to be idiots.” We all have the ability to be great, yet so often we settle for mediocrity. I love this video so much because it puts it so plainly: if you want to be something, you should start being it. Not tomorrow, but today.
Hello all. Sorry for the long break between posts, but I’m back now, and I’m starting off with a clip from a movie I saw many years ago: Facing the Giants.
Because of where I was in my life at the time I saw it, the movie didn’t impress me much. Now that I’m older and (hopefully) wiser, this clip alone almost brings me to tears. Someone is screaming this at you when you’re in the fight. Whether it’s a coach, a mentor, a friend, God, or just a quiet (or loud) voice deep inside you. The question is, “Will you listen?” Enjoy.
Years ago, I bought a book on how to be more proactive and stop putting tasks off for later. Staring at the book on my desk now, I hope the universe likes irony, because I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. Sometimes, it makes me laugh. Other times, when I really let myself think about it, it merely solidifies in my head the fact that I have fallen victim to the epidemic that has swept this nation: procrastination.
It’s no secret that it’s much easier to work really hard when there’s a deadline. I just happen to be the type of person who feels naturally inclined to wait until the day before the deadline to jump on a project. My justification? I have more important things to do right now. It worked really well (albeit stressfully) for me in school, and I’ve definitely pulled a number of all-nighters with work. But how does that type of justification work when I apply it to the rest of my life?
“Oh, I can’t work on achieving my dreams right now because I have more important things to do.”
…..WHAT? [Begin Rant Now] The deadline for life is death! Do I really want to wait until the day before I DIE to get started on living the life I’ve always wanted? Every thought in my head screams out, “Noooooooooo!” But are my actions lining up? Actions speak louder than words, and they’re practically shouting over our thoughts. So what if in my head I know what I should be doing? Doesn’t change the fact that I’m not doing it! [/End Rant]
Why Are You Here?
The first resolution addressed in both the Mental Fitness Challenge and the book off of which the Challenge is based (RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE by best selling author and LIFE founder Orrin Woodward) is that of discovering one’s purpose. Knowing where our passion, potential, and economic engine intersect lays the foundation for us to being able to attack the rest of the resolutions more effectively and intentionally.
The truth is I’ve been reading about and wondering what my purpose is long before ever reading RESOLVED or taking the Mental Fitness Challenge, but this time around, something inside me snapped. While I may only have an inkling what my part to play in the grand scheme of things could be, I do know that it certainly WAS NOT what I found myself spending most of my time doing. That’s when I finally came to the decision that something had to change.
Why waste another minute? We’re only given so many to use in our finite lives. Think about what makes you come alive. Think about the many talents with which you’ve been blessed. Find your economic engine (I’ve found LIFE’s compensated communities to be an especially great vehicle for this one).
If you already found the intersection of the three concepts, and you feel you’re already living out your purpose, then congrats and more power to you. (Seriously, that’s amazing.) For those of us who have a knack for dragging our feet, I will close with this poem. Let’s get out there and change the world by chasing our dreams!
Two men gathered on a lonely road.
The first man young, the second one old.
Said the second to the first, in a knowing tone,
“Our tragedy lies in the time that’s flown.”
Then says the first with youthful pride,
“I care not for these matters of time,
some turn of phrase on how it goes by.
In my future before me is where my interest lies.”
The old man sighed and furrowed his brow
As he watched the young man stand tall and proud.
Sadly he explained the truth he’d found:
“Your tune will change when you’re my age now.”
The young man shrugged and left the old sage,
The dreams he had dreamed were his to take.
But as life can do, it got in his way.
And suddenly those dreams would have to wait.
“With marriage and kids, it’s hard you see,”
Said the man to himself so his pain would ease.
“The dreams I had, they were all about me,
But now I have more people to please.”
And on he went, still singing his song,
That his day would come, and it wouldn’t be long.
Life flew at him, and he tried to be strong,
But before he knew it, much of it had gone.
One day he walked down a lonely road,
And found a young man who thought him old.
He tried his best, in his most knowing tone,
To warn this young man of how his time had flown.
But this young man was swelling with pride,
And cared not for these matters of time.
He had a clear vision in the front of his mind,
And it was only there that his interests could lie
Have you taken the Mental Fitness Challenge yet?
One week since its launch, and already I’ve seen the positive impact of the Mental Fitness Challenge in myself and in others. As leadership expert Claude Hamilton writes, “The LIFE products provide the tools to change yourself for the better so that you can live the life you always wanted.” And taking the Mental Fitness Challenge (LIFE’s flagship product) is a guided way to help grow us, mold us, and shape us into the people we need to become to achieve the life we’ve always wanted.
Chris Brady, a best-selling author and leadership guru, wrote a wonderful analogy comparing his difficulty to stay at his run to the difficulty to persist on the road to success:
I was in the middle of my run yesterday and fighting to stay at it. If you’ve worked out much at all, you know what I’m talking about. You hit that point where your heart is beating, your sweat is flowing, your lungs are working, your legs are throbbing, and you just want to quit. It’s as if a little voice in your head says, “Go ahead, wimp out, slow down, stop, no one will know. What difference does it make, anyway? Just a few less steps here or there aren’t going to make THAT big of a difference in your health!” And on it goes.
…And really, it’s at that sticking point, when you want to quit, when that little voice tries to talk you into wimping out, that your mental toughness must kick in and rescue you. As Orrin Woodward likes to repeat the famous phrase, “When the going gets tough the tough get going!”
This is what the Mental Fitness Challenge is designed to do to your whole life. Not just in the area of physical fitness, to which it most certainly applies, but also to every aspect of your life. The principles of successful living are the same no matter which category we care to consider.
Success demands we become mentally tough. So go ahead. Take the Challenge!
You know when you get a new toy, and suddenly it’s all you want to play with? With the explosive launch and viral buzz of the Mental Fitness Challenge, it’s hard to believe I’ve only been at this for a few days, but it’s been a blast!
During a conversation with leadership expert and LIFE founder Claude Hamilton, he brought up P90X, the popular extreme home fitness program designed to completely destroy your body…okay, not really- I’ve actually tried it and enjoyed the results. But I love the comparison because the Mental Fitness Challenge is basically P90X for your brain. Instead of turbocharging our metabolisms, we’re turbocharging our thinking. And remember, everything from the neck down is worth minimum wage- it’s the neck up that moves us forward.
The Mental Fitness Challenge Self-Assessment Test
Naturally for me, one of the most fun parts of taking the challenge is the self-assessment test you get to take before starting. Who doesn’t love learning about himself/herself? Since the program is based on the 13 resolutions laid out in Orrin Woodward’s RESOLVED, the test questions are set up to get an idea of how we’re doing in each of those areas. They even show you a nifty chart to help you gauge your starting point (mine looked all kinds of skewed…lot’s of work to do). And, of course, the best part is that the test is free!
The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates once wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Is yours? Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great that we must confront the brutal facts. So what’s stopping you? Take the test and begin embarking on a journey that could truly change your life forever.
Anyone who has spent any time around or listening to LIFE founder and leadership guru Orrin Woodward knows that he’s had a decade-long (or longer) vision of positively changing a million lives. Given the resources Orrin had when he first birthed the dream, I’m sure most people wrote him off as crazy or delusional. Now, with the massively successful growth of the newly formed LIFE business and the launch of their flagship product, The Mental Fitness Challenge, it’s not a question of whether or not he’s going to do it, but when. According to Orrin, it’s very soon.
And it really is going to change the world. Why?
1. The Mental Fitness Challenge: 90 Days to Change Your Life
The product is finally here. The result of decades upon decades of leadership training developed through the blood, sweat, and tears of LIFE’s founders, it’s a 13-week program based on Orrin Woodward’s RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, and I couldn’t be more excited to embark on the journey. From LIFE founder Chris Brady, it includes “three best-selling books, a bunch of CDs, an online environment for tracking progress, a video library which accumulates for future viewing as videos stream in through email on a regular basis, a self-assessment test, unlimited 360 feedback, accountability partners, goal and tracking sheets, and more!”
For anyone who has ever wanted a guided program to achieve the results in life you’ve always wanted, this is for you. As Ben Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
2. The Law of the Vital Few
History has proven that significant change always begins first with a handful of individuals. As author Oliver DeMille writes in his book FreedomShift, this is a principle referred to as “The Law of the Vital Few.”
“History calls it ‘The Law of the Vital Few’; in math it is reflected in Factor Sparcity. In economics, the idea that small things guide the big things is often referred to as the 80-20 Rule or Pareto’s Law. The concept asserts 20% of our actions create 80% of the results and 20% of the people have 80% of the impact…in the history of human greatness…the 97-3 Rule prevails.” (Emphasis added by me.)
Got that? Three percent. Three percent of the population is responsible for the direction of the entire people. In the United States of America, three percent rounds off to a very interesting number: 1 million.
Onward to a Million!
Imagine one million people embracing The Mental Fitness Challenge to change their lives for the better. One million people learning, reading, listening, discussing, waking up to problems facing this country and stepping up to help make a difference. I write all the time about the importance of leadership. Seven years ago, Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady wrote about Launching a Leadership Revolution. Having just come home from a LIFE leadership conference that had 15,000+ people in attendance, it’s clear that revolution is well on it’s way. So let’s join the call: Onward to a million!
Types of Education
Found in public schools, private or charter schools, and even in home schools; works like a factory, testing and grading all students on the same scales regardless of individual needs or interests; its objective is to prepare everyone for a job, any job, by teaching them what to think
Creates specialists by teaching their students when to think; arose from the tradition of apprenticeship, where the student was systematically taught what his master knew before venturing out on his own; outside of a narrow scope of knowledge, he tends to rely on the understanding of other experts
Primary goals are to 1) train thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs, and statesmen, 2) to perpetuate freedom by helping people understand what freedom is and what must be done to maintain it, and 3) teach people how to think
According to DeMille, Conveyor Belts have an important place in society, but cannot “become a monopoly…professional and leadership training schools [must be] maintained.” And while the professional system is very important and effective in training our doctors, lawyers, and business managers, nothing takes the place of a leadership education.
“…What happens when a society does not prepare leaders? We get managers and professionals leading in areas they have no training for, such as government, and we get a nation of followers who see no problem with that because they have no experience with anything else. …This was the legacy of Germany in the 1930s—a highly trained but uneducated people easily swayed by Hitler.” - Oliver DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education, 2nd Edition, page 27
Since leadership is so essential in maintaining a free and prosperous society, it comes as no surprise the predicament in which we all find ourselves.
“The recent graduates find themselves in a constricting job market. They lack outlets for their educational training: training funded by student loans originally embraced as a means of self-empowerment. The loans are now a source of misery- a financial millstone. Tens of thousands of our best and brightest have been unwittingly set adrift in a boat carried forward in a current of economic despair.” – Christopher VanDevere, Is Orrin Woodward’s leadership style the missing lecture for today’s college graduates?
LIFE’s Leadership Education
“Nobody will be able to make their way through life without needing to draw upon the toolbox of leadership. Sadly, many people lack these tools and therefore get to live with the consequences of being ill-equipped. These consequences include missed opportunities, unfulfilled career aspirations, financial woes, and broken relationships.”
The solution to today’s challenges does not lie in pointing blame, whether it be directed at greedy politicians or greedy corporations. It lies with us stepping into the role of leader in our own lives. The world-class LIFE leadership training materials empower us to do this through focusing on eight areas of our lives (the 8 F’s):
By improving in these areas of our lives, we can improve our lives, our families, our country. The LIFE business- it’s the education we should have had.
Leadership expert Orrin Woodward recently posted on article on two of the LIFE business founders- Claude and Lana Hamilton. I loved it so much that I’m re-posting it here. Claude and Lana are a couple of the most inspiring leaders I’ve ever met. Every time I’ve had the privilege to be around them and learn from them, I have walked away better for the experience. And so now, without further adieu, I give you Orrin’s post.
Today’s featured Life Founders are Claude and Lana Hamilton. The Hamilton’s home is one of the largest in their Canadian province, which isn’t shocking to me since they have one of the largest dreams in the province also. Neither Claude nor Lana come from wealth, so how did this young couple achieve so much with so little? Simply put, they joined a leadership community, learned principles that allowed them to rise to their potential, and acted upon it.
Both of them started in the Canadian military. Lana in the Navy and Claude in the Great White North’s equivalent to the Navy Seal program. With little money, no connections, and no plans, the Hamilton’s joined networking where they promptly struggled for years. In fact, the miracle of their first five years in business is that they didn’t quit. With little outward success to show for years of relentless effort, only huge dreamers like the Hamilton’s would have continued to hold out hope. This hope, however, was the key to their future success and was not held onto in vane.
After missing numerous leadership conventions, since they were convened on the other side of Canada and the Hamilton’s had no money, Claude did the unthinkable. With Lana serving at sea, Claude, hungry to learn the proper leadership mindset, hitchhiked across Canada, attending his first-ever conference. This may sound crazy to some, but the Hamilton’s lifestyle today is also crazy. Great achievements come with great sacrifice, period! Indeed, the higher the mountain, the harder the climb. Claude and Lana vowed to climb to the top.
I met Claude when his organization joined forces with TEAM in 2006. He had already accomplished great successes in community building before I met him. In fact, his huge dreams, drive, and determination were evident to me immediately. Later, I would also witness first-hand his character, courage, and convictions. As Claude is a voracious student, we quickly teamed up and his business began to surge ahead even further.
In late 2007, when legal disputes arose with our former supplier, Claude and Lana displayed their true valor. With many choosing to hide out, fearful of drawing attention to themselves and falling into litigation, the Hamilton’s charged to the front, leading their teams to fast growth. Even when the TEAM income and numbers dropped precipitously in 2008, the Hamilton’s never wavered on their core belief in the community’s right to freedom.
In early 2009, the Hamilton’s defining moment arrived. The Hamilton’s were offered peace and an end to all litigation. However, they quickly refused the offer. Why do you ask? Because as part of the settlement offer, Claude and Lana would have to separate permanently from TEAM, choosing peace over their principles. This Faustian bargain was not even considered by the principle-centered couple. They knew that the best opportunity for their team to win involved staying with TEAM, even if it meant increased personal hardships and severed friendships. In other words, they kept themselves in harms way in order to ensure the best opportunity for their community. This type of sacrificial leadership is extremely rare today, making Claude and Lana Hamilton modern-day heroes and admired by all who know their story.
Thankfully, in late 2010, all legal disputes were settled and the TEAM finally was free to pursue its destiny. The Hamilton’s are Founders of LIFE because they are leaders of character who have proven their mettle on the front lines, not hiding out in the foxholes. Anyone can talk about character, but living it when it counts is what matters. Claude and Lana live their principles daily.
On another note, on top of leading one of the fastest growing teams with the TEAM, Claude also volunteered to be the PC leader over the TEAM events department. In this role, he has greatly improved the quality and profitability of the opens, seminars, and major functions. I cannot imagine the TEAM’s turnaround without the endless hours sacrificially invested by Claude for the benefit of us all.
Laurie and I want to personally thank our good friends and LIFE Founders Claude and Lana Hamilton. It’s because you are who you are that makes LIFE what it is and what it’s going to be. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward