remembering 9 11

Remembering 9/11: Refocusing on the More Important Things

It’s September 12th again. The day after 9/11. How are you feeling? What’s on the top of your mind? Business plans? Getting out of your day job on time? Lots of things going on, I’m sure.

Let’s slow down a little bit. Let me ask you a question.

Did you have the chance to watch any of the memorial services for 9/11 yesterday? Why or why not?

I did – and here’s what I got to share with you.

 

Remembering 9/11

Since the World One Trade Center has been finished, I’ve noticed that every year they read the names of the victims of 9/11. They might have been doing it longer than that, but I didn’t realize it because I was too busy. With college and then with work after I graduated.

Why did I watch? I didn’t lose anyone in the tower. Heck, I don’t know if I knew anyone that was affected by it at the time it happened.

So why did I watch? I guess the simple answer is that I wanted to remember. Remember where I was and what was going through our minds at the time.

 

When I was growing up, before that point, I didn’t know what it was like to be witness of a life changing event.

My mom had always been able to tell me very vividly about her whereabouts for the assassination of JFK. Similarly, she could remember where she was for other “world shattering” events including the Challenger explosion, when she heard of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, and others.

While I’m sure everyone here in the United States can remember where they were at in their lives at that point (if they were alive), I know that not everyone gets the chance to reflect on that day. As mentioned, I didn’t for several years.

 

Remembering 9/12

For most folks, 9/11 isn’t a holiday. Nor is it a celebration. However, I believe that it needs to be remembered and reflected on annually. Not because of the event itself. But what happened the day after.

Just as Texans and the rest of America drove to aid the victims of recent hurricane Harley and the upcoming storm Irma this past week, so did people on 9/12. Local fire and police departments as well as everyday people from all corners of the country went to go help as much as they could.

The acts of 9/11 made us come together and act as one.

 

In 2009, Glenn Beck created the 9/12 Project to reflect upon those selfless actions and who we were at that point in history. Because it seemed that we had too easily forgotten those times.

It being Glenn and the polarizing person he was at the time (he has since apologized for his actions during that time), I don’t think he was able to reach those that needed to hear the message.

And, as you can tell from this video, it’s hard to tell if he won any new friends with those that did hear about it.

While I feel that his heart was in the right place, I think the 9/12 Project missed the mark for most people.

 

The Grocery Store Method of Reasoning

However, he did manage to get my attention. My mom followed him quite a bit – however, I tended to focus more on business type stuff at the time.

Upon hearing this message, though, I did start thinking it was necessary to become more involved in my community. I think it was due to this that I eventually became a member of the Freemasons.

However, not everything he said applied to me, and I think this is where a lot of people have hang-ups in today’s world.

Just because someone says something which doesn’t agree with you, it doesn’t mean that other things that they’re talking about are false or that they’re completely unagreeable.

In fact, most people have more things in common than we don’t have – regardless of where they are in life.

Just as if you were getting groceries, it’s your job to NOT take everything you see at face value. Just because something sounds good, doesn’t mean you should include it in your thought process.

On that same note, simply because something might not agree with you, it doesn’t mean it’s not true or good for you (just like broccoli!).

It’s up to us to see the context of where the message is coming from. And what’s great is that the more Truth we know, the easier it is for us to make a decision based on the context AND message.

 

Finding Truth in the 9/12 Project – Refocusing on the Important Things

So let’s look real quick on what Glenn said about the 9/12 Project. First, he has 9 key principles that we should follow if we were to be a part of the project. Knowing that he’s a pretty spiritual (and religious) dude, I wasn’t surprised to find references to God.

If we take that into context and actually see what he’s saying AND not take it personal (One of the Four Agreements), what can we pull from his message? What the heck is he really saying?

Let’s take a look.

 

America is good.

Yeah, I’d say so. I mean, again, after seeing us come together for the victims of recent hurricanes – I think we’re good. Now, the government, on the other hand… that’s another story, but I think Americans are good as a people.

 

I believe in God and He is the center of my life.

So here’s my take on religion – it’s not for everybody. Most people that it’s not for – they say that religious types don’t practice what they preach. I don’t personally know BAD Christians. Do they exist? Sure. But there’s bad versions of every group out there.

I think this is where most stereotypes come from. But, because they exist doesn’t necessarily make them “normal”.

So let’s talk straight normal person to normal person here.

Perhaps Glenn could have said “I have a core set of principles and I act on those principles on a consistent basis. My life is based on those principles.” to make it a little more all inclusive.

In that frame, I think many of us would agree that we have core principles which we use to define our lives.

 

I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

Yes, of course. Lying to yourself and others ultimately only screws things up. Truth is pure. While some people might get upset at it, that doesn’t mean it’s any less-true.

Big word of advice – start seeking the Truth. Listen to all sides of the story and make up your own mind – not what one particular media source tells you to think.

 

The Family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

This is another of those points that could have worded a bit better. Instead, it could have read “My spouse and I care for and are responsible for the actions, values, and beliefs of our family. Not the government.”

This I agree with because I don’t think it’s the government’s job to make things “fair”. I’ve never seen the government build up any one group. I’ve only seen them tear down others when one group is crying the loudest. That’s the opposite of being fair in my book.

 

If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

Yes. Totally with that.

 

I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

Totally true. There’s also no guarantee that starting points are the same. And what’s ironic, is that I’ve seen more people go from broke to being wealthy, than I’ve seen middle class becoming wealthy. Gary V is a great example – so are a ton of online business folks – AND people I’ve had on the podcast.

 

I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

Yes – totally agree with this. See above. But I think it’s also our own responsibility to know when to be charitable. That’s not something that society teaches. In fact, I’d say that it teaches the opposite most of the time. Every day people are inundated with the idea that it’s them vs the World. It indirectly promotes the scarcity mindset – not an abundant one.

 

It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

Agree. That’s the whole point of protection of free speech and ability to bear arms. While that allows for some very hate filled rhetoric, it also allows for well intentioned speech at the same time. The reason that we can bear arms is that if Washington ever becomes so removed from the people that it’s us against them (or some other apocalyptic situation), then we have the permission of the founders to have our own militias. If you don’t support Americans keeping firearms, then it comes across that you 100% believe the government is never going to turn on you. Which moves onto…

 

The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

Yes, 100%. Even when it comes to taxes and other “governmental” stuff. We technically should have the power to determine what we’re being taxed. However, Washington thinks they’re better than us, so therefore, they vote things into place that shouldn’t have happened if they were doing their job in the first place.

 

12 Values of the 9/12 Project

Honestly, all the values that he put in the list are those that Lewis Howes, Tony Robbins, or someone similar (I can get you a long list if you really want one!) would have said helped them get to where they are today – especially if they’re God fearing folks.

So, I’ve made it a point to make sure that I have these values as much as possible. However, there might have been a little bit of tweak on some for better wording.

 

The 12 Values

 

After looking at these values, do you believe that anyone who has achieved greatness in their life doesn’t practice them regularly? I mean, when I think of Lewis Howe’s show and the people he’s talked to – all of these words come to mind.

 

Action Steps

After seeing these principles and values of the 9/12 project, I hope you can understand why I feel I need to respect those that we lost on 9/11. We should also appreciate how we came together to deal with it all. Personally, I feel if I can reconnect to those feelings, it helps keep me anchored to who I see myself as.

 

Also, it’s especially touching to see some of the kids of these folks read off the victim’s names. Lots of these folks (some near my age) have made their lives better as a contribution to their lost parent, family member, or friend.

 

I can only think that our true friends and family would want the best for us. And because of that, I think it’s on our shoulders to live up to some certain standards in life. If not those of the 9/12 Project, then something else.

I just think the 9/12 Project is a good place to start. A lot of people can relate to it – even if they don’t care too much for its creator.

What are some key principles and values that you have? Let me know below.

Generational Marketing: How to Connect with Millennials

Last week we discussed how Millennials should and can become the next Greatest Generation.

Our generation is full of leaders. It’s just a matter of realizing whether you are one or… a victim.

Whether you’re part of the Hero Generation or the Lost Generation.

If you’re part of the Hero Generation and see yourself as a leader, then you’re going to have to build a following. You can’t be a leader if no one is following you!

So how do you build that following?

In today’s post we’re going to talk about that a bit. And hopefully, once you’re done with this post, you’ll have a little more idea of how to communicate more with other future leaders.

The Past Can Teach Us So Much

Last week I talked a bit about how the Greatest Generation is all about principles vs ego. They sacrificed themselves for the greater good.

Whether it was for their families or for their country, in their heart, they knew their sacrifice was worth it.

This past weekend I was watching CBS Sunday Morning and there was a very pertinent story to all of this.

It was a story of a community coming together to put together an old B-29… to preserve history and give a tribute to those in their community who had done so much for the country.

If that isn’t a feel good story, I don’t know what is.

Find More Context by Seeking More Answers

If you had seen this video on Facebook or YouTube, there’s a number of things you could have done after viewing it. Many folks will watch this and think “Awww!” or “Cool.” and go on with life – continuing on with whatever they were doing or maybe watching another YouTube video.

If you’re like me, that video might actually stick with you a bit more. You might have wanted to get more context about it.

You might have wanted to find out more about the project and how it came together. Maybe find out more about how they pulled the B-29 out of desert, or maybe learn more about Witchita being a capital for producing the aircraft.

These are all big questions.

They’re all forms of “How was this done? If I was wanting to do something like this, how would WE do this?”.

Because really, from the it’s very beginning, the story of Doc, the B-29, was a product of a community.

Leaders are always asking questions that come in the form of “How can I get a group of people to do a certain activity? How can I call them into performing a certain action?

Connection is a Big Deal For Millennials

Comradery and a sense of being connected and contributing to the planet and having vulnerable intimate contexts to be celebrated and creative in is empowering for young leaders and people in general.

Can I also like be alone at times? Is that okay or do I not fit in? If you’re a millennial you couldn’t possibly enjoy solitude. What about the moments that I’m sitting on a mountain or swimming down the river alone. Appreciating life.

I have no interest in community. I’m not gonna be like “Oh thank goodness.” I have no interest in being part of a community without context, and also just because I want to be part of a community doesn’t mean I want it to define me. But then again maybe I’m just special.

When I was in college, I was part of several student run organizations. I got to see up close how much community and volunteerism meant to our generation.

If you’re identifying yourself as a leader, then you’re going to have to learn how to influence others.

In my last post I mentioned that you could study up on creating influence by reading books by John Maxwell. If you took that advice and clicked the link on the last post, you probably realized that there were TONS of books to read.

I’m sure some of them might have seemed interesting, but where do you get started? Which one is for the novice? Which one is a good intermediate option… and so on?

I have several recommendations – and I could tell you which one would make more sense for your particular situation. But I don’t know you – yet. (Feel free to say hi on Twitter!)

But there’s definitely an underlying thing you MUST know when reaching out to Millennials.

As adults, believe it or not, we are not egocentric. We’re all about helping each other while helping ourselves. That’s why the Sharing Economy has blossomed as much as it has.

But why is that?

Just like the Greatest Generation, it’s part of who we are.

The Pendulum Theory – We’re Now a We Society

Our millennial generation – which the Hero Generation is a part of – is part of a larger 40 year cycle.

One can think of his cycle through the movements of a Pendulum – going back and forth between two extremes. The We and the Me.

We are currently heading towards the We extreme. We know this because for the longest time, people took refuge in having things simply to have them.

The Boomer generation is/was all about collections. Having certain things meant having certain status. It was all about Me.

You can’t blame them, though. Many of them and their parents came from a time of forced scarcity. While minimalism is something that many millennials subscribe to, it is a form of scarcity – and there lies yet another example of this cycle.

Anyhow, here’s some resources to further educate yourself on the movement of the Pendulum:

Michael Drew, Pendulum co-author, on TEDx:

Pendulum co-author Roy Williams on Glenn Beck (pt 1):

Pendulum co-author Roy Williams on Glenn Beck (pt 2):

Other Examples of the Ever Moving Pendulum

In Roy’s conversation with Glenn linked above, one of the things that he gets a chance to show towards the end of the conversation is how he’d change one of his most famous commercials from the late 80’s.

It’s really fascinating to see how you can do that.

Here’s a few more of his examples in how things have changed in popularity over the years:

This brings us to…

How Donald Trump Got Elected As President

One thing that has definitely been on many people’s minds since last week is the results of the election. Many people thought Hillary was going to win. But now they’re having to come to terms with Donald Trump becoming our next president.

Currently there’s tons of protests against the results – and it’s easy to understand. Trump is a prime example of the Me side of the pendulum swing.

Millennials who are completely “We” are going to fight that tooth and nail. Especially if they took what he said during the campaign litterally.

However, those same millennials are forgetting how he actually campaigned. He campaigned as part of being in the We. His slogan was “Make America Great Again”, and that completely spoke to those who feel like they’ve been forgotten for the last 8 years. He got elected not because what he was supposed to represent, but because of what could be representing. His supporters took the words he said seriously, not literally.

In fact, it seems to me that many “rust belt” counties that voted for Obama in 2012 voted for Trump in 2016.

And if those numbers aren’t enough for you, here’s what Trump means to many of his supporters from around the country:

Action Steps:

So, what to take from all of this?

Understand that whatever marketing tactics you learned about in 2006 don’t apply anymore.

If you really want to connect with millennials, think and talk to them as if you’re coming from a place where everyone needs to fight the good fight. They want camaraderie. They want to feel other people are with them. So it doesn’t make sense to focus on making one person stand above everyone else.

Make people feel like they’re part of something larger than what they already. If you can do that as if you’re starting a “movement”, you’ll have more success with that than not.

BONUS: If you want to check out the entire hour and a half footage of Doc, the B29 getting off the ground for the first time, here’s that footage.

Millennial Leader

The Millennial Leader: How the US Will Prevail Beyond the 2016 Election

Today is Election Day 2016. If you’re yet to vote today, vote your conscience.

“But what if I really vehemently despise one candidate and feel that I have to vote for the other major party to help make sure they don’t get in office?”

Well, that’s totally your decision. If you don’t like either major party’s nomination like I did, then it’s ok to vote 3rd party.

Either way, this is quite possibly the last election that the Boomers are going to have candidates in. And that means that a lot of us non-Boomers are going to have to step it up.

That means Gen X’ers just as much as it means Millennials.

So, for this week’s post, I thought it’d be important to look to the future and discuss how Millennials can set themselves up to be leaders in the years to come.

Who are Millennials, Really?

Over this past weekend, I found myself going to the 40th wedding anniversary of my neighbors from my hometown.

40 years – wow. For any marriage to make it that long anymore seems to be almost unusual.

Which is unfortunate.

Personally, I think it’s awesome that they’ve stuck together. So often, anymore, you hear that when the kids leave, the parents end up going their separate ways because they realize that they’re both different people than who they were when they were married.

Especially if they were married in their 20’s. In today’s world, many people aren’t considered real adults until after the age of 25. (I mean, there’s got to be a reason why the Obama administration decided that it would be ok for kids to be able to use their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, right?)

In this couple’s case, despite the fact that he’s a good 20 years older than her, I think a good reason that they have stuck together is that the husband was about as young as you could be in being part of the Greatest Generation. The generation that grew up during World War 2.

Also, I know that the wife’s parents had stuck it out over the years as well. In fact, they were so close that when one passed away, it wasn’t much longer that the other followed.

I had a great aunt and uncle that were the same way. They passed within a year or two of each other.

It’s hard to tell if that affection has rubbed off on younger generations. But one thing is certain, that generation rarely divorced.

Why?

millennials-dont-like-socialism

While Millennials don’t understand what the word Socialism means, they reject the idea of it.

Well, maybe because they were in tune with themselves enough to know what they were looking for when they picked a spouse. Or maybe they had principles that didn’t allow them to divorce.

Millennials are Actually Pretty Conservative

Whatever the reason is, most members of the Greatest Generation were pretty conservative in their beliefs compared to their kids and their kids’ kids.

Interestingly enough, us Millennials might behave more like the Greatest Generation than many think. They fought socialism in World War 2 and studies are starting to show that while many Millennials don’t really understand what it is, we don’t like the idea of what it really means either.

In fact, we’re trending more conservative than our parents.

I mean, it makes sense. So many of us are embracing simpler lifestyles. Having companies like Apple, Uber, Google, and Tesla around have given us that ability. Can you imagine those companies being run by the government? Ha!

We’re Trained About Participation More than Winning:

When other generations talk about millennials, we’re often referred to those head in the air, good-for-nothings that think they are entitled to things without working for them. They continue to say that we don’t take responsibility for our actions in what we do or do not do.

Many times they’re right.

But here’s the truth – they, our parents and educators, made us this way. They taught us what it meant to be unique and shoot for the stars. That anything was achievable.

But they also rewarded us for putting in very little work. For many of us school was fairly easy – just show up and you’ll get a C. Do the least amount of work you can do and get good at taking tests and you’ll get a higher grade.

For many, sports were even easier. In the past, people got rewarded for winning. We were the first generation where you started hearing about participation trophies. Whether or not you trained hard to actually win or did very little didn’t matter. We got rewarded for just showing up.

Some of Us Learned the Hard Way

College (or the military) was the first real learning curve for many of us. It was the first time that many of us had to learn how to really work hard to move up. But even that has gotten worse as I found out as a graduate instructor (and Maria has found out as a higher ranking soldier).

Whether we were doing something to win it or just to feel good about ourselves, Millennials have learned that participation counts. Limiting our growth potential in the world after graduation has made many buck the system. The difference is how we’ve responded.

Those Millennials that continue to spin their wheels looking for the easy reward are part of the Lost Generation. One book that they might need to read is “Who Moved My Cheese?“.

Those of us who are trying to figure out how to win are part of the next Hero Generation.

The Hero Generation

The Hero Generation is one of four generations that come and go throughout time. The other three being the Artist, Prophet, and Nomad generations. They are responses due to 4 types of events that happen in every cycle called Turnings. I first learned of these turnings when I saw a documentary a year or so ago called Generation Zero, which was released in 2010.

If you want to find out more about the four turnings or their associated archetypes, you can do so in Wikipedia here. If you want to go deeper, the two books that the authors Neil Howe and William Strauss are most well known for are here:

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy (1997)

Millennials Rising (2000)

If you want a Crib Notes version, here’s a video for that:

Signs of Heroism

Now, if we really are this Hero Generation, would there not be signs that we’re trying to save this world that is falling apart around us?

I think there is. I think it’s this growing boom of creatives that are starting businesses and sustainable social enterprises.

As I said, Millennials don’t know how to wait to be successful. Those who have played the game to win are going to keep winning.

They are replacing the old employee and non-profit mentality. Both of these mentalities were popular but never sustainable. A company could fire an employee at any time. A non-profit could eventually lose their funding.

In fact, I remember a episode of Home Improvement where they made a joke about Tim’s brother who called himself an entrepreneur.

Most small businesses and social enterprises are designed to be self reliant. This means that no one person can control the livelihood of another.

And it’s also what the AoL Podcast is all about. Finding and talking with those individuals who have made the switch to lead their own career and finding out how they made the leap.

One such Millennial that displays our form of Heroism is Dane Maxwell, who my co-host Daniel and I got to interview in session 56.

Leadership is Learnable

Many of those who have taken this leap are considered experts in their field.

Whether it’s deserved or not, experts are looked at as leaders. This makes sense, though, right? Experts can lead others to the answers they’re looking for. So many times we call them thought leaders.

And what really is leadership?

As defined by John Maxwell, leadership is Influence.

Because of this, he has always said that leadership can be taught. So if you find yourself having problems influencing others, then perhaps it’s time to start learning about influence and leadership. John’s work would be a great place to start.

What Type of Leader are You?

Being an expert or Thought Leader, like John, isn’t the only way to lead people. Maybe you’re not interested in becoming the next guru in a particular field of study. There’s still something that you can lead in.

There’s three other types of leaders:

  • Courageous Leaders
  • Inspirational Leaders
  • Servant Leaders

Courageous Leaders

These are people who set an example by pursuing a vision in the face of considerable opposition and risk. Typically, they’re known to have strong convictions about their mission (purpose), vision (long-term goals), and values (right and wrong). They usually set the example by speaking up for their core beliefs and fight for their values, even when their stand is unpopular.

Some popular examples of this type of leader might be Rosa Parks and Abraham Lincoln were definitely example of this. Yet, some would even say that Edward Snowden is an example.

Inspirational Leaders

Many people compare Donald Trump to an anti-Ronald Reagan. While Reagan’s actions usually brought people together towards a common goal, many folks believe that during his campaign, Donald did the exact opposite.

Ronald was an example of an inspirational leader. He promoted change by being able to look forward to the future and help others commit to ideas and ideals.

Yet another example is MLK, Jr.. Like Reagan, he was able to envision a future and unify others behind him for that future.

Servant Leaders

This is the example of leadership that so many of us know and hear about. Usually these are the types of individuals who are discussed on the evening news for going out of their way to do something.

Typically, these folks become leaders by asking “How can I help?” and then following through.

There here have been some really big names over the years that might give you a visual.

Mother Teresa, Oprah with Harpo Inc., and Eleanor Roosevelt’s work in human rights.

Generally these people ask for very little if nothing in return – but, as you can tell, get plenty of publicity.

Who Are You Going to Lead?

Now with all of these examples of leaders, you might be wondering how you can set forth on your own journey of becoming a leader.

It’s actually fairly simple. Ask yourself which of those 4 types truly fit you the most.

For me, as an example, I’ve always seen myself as a teacher. So I’m a natural fit for being a thought leader.

But at the same time, I’ve always thought that I might get into politics somehow, and now that I’m 35 – I feel that I might just have enough experience to start looking at that a bit more seriously.

It’s ok to be more than one of these 4 types – in fact, most leaders are. But you can always tell if someone is better at one than the next.

Action Steps:

Now that we’ve looked at why Millennials are perfect to be leaders, you might be wondering how exactly you’re supposed to figure out what type of leadership role you want to be a part of.

If you have no idea, just go be around extracurricular groups of people that discuss things you have some sort of interest in.

Maybe you’re in a good sized town. If that’s the case, there should be some meetup groups near you that you can attend. If you’re in a small town, then perhaps you can join the local Rotary Club or perhaps get involved with the Masonic Lodge. Many leaders have been involved with both of these during our country’s history.

Once you find something that you think you enjoy being a part of, start applying for leadership roles within that organization. Start low and work your way up – unless you think you’re qualified to start at a higher level.

Other than that, all I have to say is get out there and meet people. If you think you might want to run for political office one day, start small and work your way up there too.

Here’s a neat little wiki that can get you started on a plan.

personal freedom

Are you a Brick or a Stone? Personal Freedom is A Decision

This week I’m going to be releasing a very special interview of myself and Daniel’s. The guest is Dane Maxwell, formerly known as the guy who has helped numerous people build their own SaaS (Software as a Service) based businesses through a program called “The Foundation”.

If you’re not familiar with Dane, check him out on one of Pat’s “early” podcasts via this link. This interview was a game changer (and still is!) for many online entrepreneurs.

The election process is something that a lot of people take for granted. But in the US, we shouldn’t ever forget how many people have fought for what we have today.

Unfortunately, the powers that are in control in society – especially the media and the federal government – have led many of us to believe we’re only capable of what others say we are.

If you look at both sides of presidential ticket, one side says we need more protection from all the bad things in the world, while the other one says that we need protection from all the challenges that we might face in the world.

Either way you look at it, the Federal Government is trying to tell us we need more of it in our lives.

In return they’ll give us liberty to live a peaceful life and just keep doing what we’re doing.

But is it really so simple?

We’re All Stones Treated as Bricks

I recently heard an analogy about how the world is trying to make us copies of each other. Like we’re being made into bricks to be the infrastructure of this society. We all conform into a certain code of conduct.

And we do. Especially those of us who are products of higher forms of formal education.

It’s what our school system trains us to be. Teach to the test, not the individual.

Sure this is fair treatment, but is it the best treatment?

I don’t think so. Not everyone is the same naturally.

Instead of bricks, we’re more like stones. Some of us are big, some are small. Some have weird angles and yet others are made of different materials.

You can still build with stones… but not as easily as you can with bricks.

It’s easy to understand why working with brick might be more preferable by a craftsman (or in the real world, the top 1% of the top 1%). They want the easiest way to build something that has a strong structure.

But value of the end result isn’t going to be as high as if stones were used.

With bricks, you just place each one on top of each other until you have the form you want and put a roof on it. With stones, you have to strategically think about how each stone fits into the building.

Like Glenn, when I see a stone house, I admire the work that went into it.

Can You Be a Stone once You’ve been Trained as a Brick?

When it comes to people, I believe so. We’re never truly bricks. We’re just treated that way.

That’s really what New Inceptions is all about. Helping people who think they’re bricks “refind” their uniqueness. Their own perfect spot in the world.

When it comes to finding your spot, Dane wants us all to know about our individual worth and value. We are valued for who we are and our contributions to helping others.

You might have heard that he’s becoming a musician to get that message out. Further than he could with The Foundation.

His songs are meant to help people feel loved and appreciated for who they are. Here’s a glimpse:

I recommend subscribing to his newsletter to get the rest of his new songs.

But yes, it takes a lot of work to find what makes you unique and realize you’re a stone.

Exercising Your Personal Freedom

Here’s the deal. You, like me, or even Dane, are not defined by your past.

We don’t have to always be the person that everyone sees us as.

Perhaps society and your education would make you believe otherwise, but really your future does not rely on who you’ve been or what you currently think of myself.

Heck, just yesterday Maria let me know of a guy who killed himself over the pressures of what was going on in his life. From what I understand, he turned to alcohol and other means of blocking out the pain. And eventually it got to him. You really have to feel for his family and the grief that he caused them.

But yet, I’m sure he felt stuck.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

As Sandra Bellamy said in session 50 of the podcast, you need to embrace your quirkiness. Or as I would simply put it, you need to exercise your personal freedom.

How do you do that?

Well, besides what Sandra suggests, I’d become familiar familiar with the 5 Obstacles of Personal Freedom. Start with health because you can’t really help people if you don’t have the energy to.

With it being October of 2016, I want to make sure you’re aware of the fifth one.

You need to know what liberties are currently granted to you in your country. Essentially these are the rules that you have to play by.

If you’re like me, you’ll want to fight to keep things as free as they are. The more liberties governments gives their people, it’s usually done through taking away something else that we weren’t aware of.

Remember that the Constitution is all about what powers the government has – not what liberties it gives us. The government should work for us, not the other way around.

And currently it’s looking more and more like we’re bricks working for it.

Wrap Up

As you’re hearing this heavy pounding of political ads this month in the US, I want you to remember the difference between Personal Freedom and Personal Liberty.

Personal Liberty is the “playing field” that the outside world gives us. Personal Freedom is the freedom you give yourself to be the natural you in that space.

Familiarize yourself with which candidates talk about giving you more freedom. Not necessarily those who talk about “being fair”. Brick makers are usually the ones who talk about strong “education” and treating each other as “equals”.

With the internet, you can educate yourself. Educate yourself to be the best version of you and not what formal education teaches you is “important”.

Also, we shouldn’t judge people by what their demographics are. We should judge them based on their character and their actions – if at all. No one person is inherently better than the next.

Not a person who owns 16 profitable businesses or a person who has a spark of a dream.

Now, get out there and meet some other stones!

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5 Obstacles in Achieving True Personal Freedom

No matter who you are or what you’re doing, those of us who are leading (or trying to lead) passion filled lives and businesses are doing so because we feel that we can be ourselves better than what a boss can prescribe for us. We’re trying to gain our Personal Independence, or as most call it, Personal Freedom. Most people don’t like being bossed around, right? (Obviously there’s an exception. But I have yet to meet that person…!)

Until you have personal freedom, you’re always going to have that as a possibility in your life.

In the last post, I spoke of 4 common problems that people have when trying to start a business. These problems are part of a larger list of obstacles that I want to point out in today’s post. Without overcoming these obstacles through actively working on them, or simply through understanding them, a person can never have true Personal Freedom.

Health

The first thing everyone should be able to maintain at an optimum level is their health – both physical and mental. This is the first level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Due to this, many of us who are thinking about building a business take this part for granted. However, ignoring it can have a very negative impact on everything else we do.

In fact, if a person doesn’t have their sanity or the energy to do the activities that need to be done in a certain day, then they won’t get very far.

For many people this is a daily struggle. These people are living a Caged Life. Combined with the potential of not having shelter (the second level of Maslow’s), these folks might not ever think about starting their own business.

That said, one good thing that comes from having to struggle daily is a natural tenacity for “Hustle”. And, ironically, that’s an important ingredient to building a business.

Community

The third level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is Love and Belonging. Once we have ourselves taken care of, we naturally want to start reaching out to others. Our need to engage with others is part of what it means to be human. We want to feel connected to people who are interested in the same things we are. I like to think of this as a need for us to feel that we have social proof. That we’re not alone.

As mentioned in the 6 Cornerstones eBook, a tribe is a very good thing to have when we’re aiming for higher success – it gives us support for when the going gets tough!

If this is done with authenticity, it gives us a feeling of esteem (Maslow’s fourth level) because we know that people appreciate the true us!

Once we have our health and know our role in our community, you could say that we’re experiencing a Comfortable Life. Life is good, but it’s not great. And funny enough, it’s been said numerous times that Good is, in fact, the enemy of Great. It’s really hard to give up Comfortable for what’s coming next…

Knowledge and Skills

On the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is Self Actualization. This is where we start realizing who we are. That we do have passions, particular strengths, and know where we fit in life. It’s when we have this understanding, that we can master our knowledge and build other skills that will supplement what we already know about ourselves and how we interact with the world.

Because we can always keep learning about ourselves and the world around us, this journey never ends. And if you were looking for a label for someone that’s here…  this is called living a Charged Life.

As a side note, our current school system doesn’t work in our favor when it comes to this obstacle. In fact, it makes it worse. Formal education makes us great soldiers who fit like cogs in a larger machine (society) where we don’t question if we’re in the right place.

So to be free in our knowledge and skill building, we typically have to go outside of the formal school system because it isn’t in their best interest to teach us about who we are as individuals.

One way of gaining more knowledge is by actively going out there and seeing it for yourself. That’s why so many millennials would rather have experiences than having things.

Financial

This factor and the next are not necessarily ascending levels like the past three are. But it’s something that I need to discuss in further detail because they’re not discussed hardly at all in formal education in a way that everyone can understand.

As you probably know, the better our finances are, the more options we have in life. What do I mean by this? In our current world, having financial freedom is what gets rid of living a life where you have a boss giving you orders all the time. Obviously, you can buy more expensive things, travel and see the world, but another benefit of having your finances taken care of is that YOU have the ability to help others out in times of need. Have a family member or friend who’s struggling? You don’t have to think twice about helping them out.

What’s interesting is that financial freedom isn’t really as far away as you might think. In fact, it’s  up to you to determine what that means. To me, I think it’s about living the life you want to live while staying within your means. If your cost of living is lower than what your business (or other income) earns you, then you can technically call yourself financially independent.

The whole point of opting for a business versus having a job is becoming financially free. When you’re financially free, you don’t answer for anyone other than yourself and potential clients – but that’s the same even if you have a job.

Just remember, if you don’t tell yourself what to do, the world will gladly put someone next to you will. There’s leaders and followers. Make yourself a leader.

(Just a note: I watched The Wolf of Wall Street over the weekend. Really interesting movie if you can stomach lots of skin, drug use, and swearing. I found it incredible in how quickly he was able to capitalize on penny stocks and quickly start his own firm. In case you already saw it, here’s a list of other movies you can check out as well if you want to learn more about what being an entrepreneur is all about.)

Government – Know the Rules

We should have a clear understanding of how the rules work in our country so that we can know how we can play the game of life within the rules that are set up.

In other words, I like to think of a government as being the entity that makes the rules for it’s people. Which is true, right?

If you think of great sports players, they know how to use the rules to their advantage when needed.

Take Peyton Manning, for example. One of the best, if not the best player that ever played the quarterback position in football.

Up until the past couple of years when they changed the rule, occasionally, he’d hurry his team up to the ball and take the snap as quickly as possible. Why? Because he wanted to get the other team sleeping with too many people on the field.

The other team would get penalized which would in turn gain him a few additional yards… getting him closer to his goal.

Knowing little ins and outs of how the rules work, can really help your game.

Action Steps

So, that about does it! On that last note, if you do have any feedback you’d love to send my way, please do. I’d love to hear it!

As for this post, I wanted to dedicate some time to open up about what personal freedom is all about and let you in on my brain a little bit. These topics are important to me, and I hope you find that they’re cool with you too. My hope is that maybe what I’ve said here will help you prepare for what’s coming… not just in your business (because again I believe it’s the only way to have Financial Freedom) but also help you navigate the waters of life in general.

Supplemental: My Perspective on the Current Political Scene

If you’re not following me on Facebook, you’re missing out on some good postings recently. Currently, the election cycle is in full swing and as many of you know, I’m what many might call a Conservative Libertarian.

In my mind, the simple description of a Conservative Libertarian who believes that the government is in charge of the basics for everyone. These basics are expressed through the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. These are the rulebooks for our government. They say what the government CAN’T do.

Somehow, people have gotten this perspective that they’re about what the government CAN do, which is why they might also think that the rules are out of date. However, when you change the rulebook and what it can do, you’re changing how the game is played.

People generally don’t understand the rules – and again, it’s at the fault of “Formal Education”.

Where Things Stand Currently

Currently, many people rely on the government for one program or another. Typically these are the same people who are stuck in the first few levels of hierarchy of needs. They don’t see past tomorrow because they can’t. So why should they care about what comes after it?

While these programs seem like they’re doing good, they’re actually weakening us as a country. Why would anyone work for something if they’re going to get it for free? Principle? Sure. But for how long?

The problem is that there’s so many people out there that don’t care that what they rely on to get to the next day is coming off the hard work of others. It’s not even that they don’t care. It’s that they’re indifferent to it. They don’t know how things work.

As more and more people take “advantage” of these programs or rely on the government to make big decisions for the people and make everything easier, the more those who have made working for government a career gain more power. Not just power for themselves, but power over you, the individual. This is called Progressivism.

Currently, we have two people who, in their personal history, have shown that they are Statists. A Statist is someone who believes that the state should control either economic and/or social policy to some degree.

One is from Big Money and the other is from Big Government. Many people don’t realize that Big Money folk pay Government members to make legislation that will help them out. The more that these people make laws together, the more the little guy (you and I) get pushed out.

A Growing Oligarchy

As we continue to ask the government for favors because we “deserve it”, we move closer and closer to what’s called an oligarchy. (Here’s one of most referenced videos that describes what that is and more.) The more favors they provide, the more people that need to be in control of those favors. The larger the government (or ruling class) gets.

If the United States ever becomes an oligarchy, we will have became the opposite of what the country was originally founded on. A place where we can never have the opportunity for Personal Freedom. It won’t matter how much you tried to do what you wanted, at this point you have a society which has a specific purpose for you, and you’re going to do that specific job.

So this is why I harp on politics as much as I do. Right now I realize how much we have to lose if the rules are changed completely. While I’m fairly new to this whole personal freedom chase myself, I want to at least have a shot.

With the government adding more and more rules in how people function together, it gets harder and harder for EVERYONE to be more and achieve more in life.