Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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Archive for September, 2010

Separation of Education & State

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 30, 2010

Public Schools picturePeeling away the layers of rhetoric from reality in our Public School System, one discovers an interesting paradox; even though Americans enthusiastically support the Separation of Church & State, strangely, they do not feel the same vigor for Separation of Education & State.  What are the real differences between religion and education? By lifting the veil, looking underneath the shiny veneer, both reveal underlying presuppositions that are unprovable, making them more a matter of faith rather than science, requiring belief in doctrines that cannot empirically be proven true or false.  The administrators (High Priests) of both genres feed the faithful accepted doctrines, brooking no resistance to the approved creeds.  Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against organized religion nor organized education, the more of both the better, as far as I am concerned, for man and society.  Everything in life boils down to faith when you track back to first principles,  since it deals with world-views and beliefs.   My question to the State School Board or, if I may be so bold, the Priests of Education, is why, during the founding of America, was it so important to ensure the State never crossed into the religious sphere, protecting the people against a powerful centralized State Church, even going so far as to make it one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights?  The government wouldn’t consider creating a State Church, requiring mandatory attendance every Sunday, teaching State Doctrines at State Churches in every neighborhood; but we yield to our government the same level of control, requiring mandatory attendance, not on Sundays, but Monday through Fridays, educating all adolescents in State Doctrines at State Schools (Churches).  When State centralized education requires mandatory attendance of children at State School schools, teaching doctrines much like churches teach creeds,, reaching into every home, I get a bit concerned.  The only options for parents, other than surrendering to tyranny, are to quit the public school system entirely, while still supporting them with their local taxes. This doesn’t sound like freedom to me.

As I see it, religious doctrines and educational doctrines are merely different sides of the same coin.  Just as theories abound, teaching various religious creeds, suggesting the proper methods and principles to worship God, so too, theories abound teaching various educational creeds, suggesting the proper methods and principles to teach a child. Yet, somehow, we believe an omniscient State will select just the right creeds for our child, regardless of his or her circumstances, ignoring our child’s family life, religious principles, or career aspirations.  Now I am a reasonable person, certainly willing to hear all rational discussions on the subject, but something strikes me as disingenuous, separating a man’s religious beliefs so completely from his educational beliefs.  To use just one example, suppose a young man was taught in the home or church, that God made men and women for each other, under the sacrament of marriage.  He might have a hard time swallowing any contrary doctrine, offered up in our State Schools.  Now before you bash me as a sexist, gender hater, etc, please hear my point, the point is, shouldn’t the same freedoms that apply to religion apply when referring to education?  Regardless of the specific doctrines one believes in, a higher doctrine ought to be the freedom to choose, since America is famous for being the “land of freedom.”  No one should be forced to endure an indoctrination against his will nor forced to submit his children to the same treatment.  If parents choose to send their children to another school, aligning better with their personal beliefs, they ought to have that right, transferring their tax dollars to the school of choice, instead of paying more.  I believe in freedom of choice so much, that I would fight for your right to disagree with my beliefs, choosing to send your children to another school; the school of your choice.  Freedom ensures that we all get the education for our children that we desire, not what the State desires.  Free discussion and free choices makes us all better, that’s what makes America great.

Thomas Jefferson, one of the earliest and strongest proponents of religious freedoms, shared these principles with his fellow Virginia delegates, arguing that it’s unjust to charge Presbyterians, Baptist, Congregationalist, etc, to support the Virginia Anglican State Church.  For example, if a Baptist moved to Virginia, he was required to pay a tax to support the Anglican church even though he didn’t attend nor believe the Anglican creeds. Liberty loving Virginians could see the justice in Mr. Jefferson’s views and repealed the mandatory tax supporting the Virginia State Church.  The Separation of Church & State became a foundational plank in Virginia, eventually finding its way into the Constitution through the Bill of Rights, inspiring millions to come to America to enjoy religious freedom.  An interesting aside is George Washington’s thoughts on the Separation of Church & State, believing that churches built character through faith and creeds, Washington was hesitant to see churches not funded by public taxes; therefore, he proposed to tax all citizens, but give them a choice of which church to support.  Mr. Washington proposed a voucher program for religion, giving freedom of choice while ensuring that churches thrived to build character in the people for the benefit of society. No, I’m not proposing launching church vouchers, invoking the name of the great George Washington to bolster my position.  I believe keeping government out of local churches, the true meaning of Separation of Church & State, has been a blessing, allowing each church to serve their God and congregations as they please, not requiring, nor asking for, government handouts.

My aside on Washington was merely to point out how important freedom of choice was to our Founding Fathers, a freedom sadly missing from our current Public School System.  How many millions of children over the years, having conflicting beliefs with the High Priest of Education, went to private schools by the free choice of the parents, paying a tuition for private school on one hand, while still being taxed by the State School on the other hand. But let’s not forget the recent phenomena, if not outright revolution, called Home Schooling.  Over the last thirty years or so, millions of children have been home schooled, a challenging endeavor, where parents choose to educate their children, receiving no pay, giving of their time and money in a labor of love, but still suffering from the tax load of a State School they are no longer employing.  A young Thomas Jefferson, when faced with a similar situation in 18th century Virginia, confronted by the injustice of forcing parishioner of other sects to pay for a church they didn’t attend, loved freedom enough to do something about it. Maybe George Washington’s idea, if converted from religion to education has merit.  School vouchers, a plan where each parent is given a voucher from the State to spend at the school of their choice, would solve the Separation of Education & State issue.  Giving each parent a voucher, allowing each family to choose the school that best fits their needs, brings free enterprise and decentralization to the school system.  The school options will increase and conflicts over doctrines will decrease by allowing parents to choose an education that marries with their religious beliefs and student’s career choices. Perhaps America, that beacon of light, though flickering a bit of late, will remember its great heritage, standing against injustices, even if it doesn’t directly affect them; because tyranny, when given a chance to seed in society’s soil, sinks it roots deeply, consuming everything in its path.

I purposely kept this discussion at fifty thousand feet, not diving into the details of our State School System, not that there isn’t plenty to say, but only because I didn’t want to take away from my main message.  Few will argue that our State Schools are broken, throwing more money at State Schools seems to be the only solution bantered about.  I have learned over the years that, if the riverbed is wrong, pouring more water in the river isn’t the answer.  Until we start working on the foundation, the riverbed, nothing is going to change.  The riverbed change, in my opinion, is Separation of Education & State. Of course, the State System is failing, because the State is involved in an area that is shouldn’t be. Can you name any government program designed to serve the public that hasn’t failed miserably?  It’s not the teachers, nor the students, but the entire system based upon centralized control that must be rooted out.  Thomas Jefferson understood this, which is why he decentralized religion from government, making a riverbed change; we need modern day Jefferson’s to decentralize schooling from government, making another riverbed change. I believe firmly that a free enterprise school system, where parents vote with their vouchers, rewarding excellence while punishing incompetence as all customers do in free enterprise, will build a world class educational system that can compete in today’s “flat world.”  The key is for free people to make free choices.  As over time, free people making free choices will always thrive over tyrannized people following State bureaucrats.  Perhaps a Jefferson will step up, creating a Separation of Education & State as Thomas Jefferson’s created a Separation of Religion & State.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith | 5 Comments »

Social Security – What Happened?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 29, 2010

Social Security pictureWhen I was eighteen, I had, in one day, two life changing experiences, both coming on my first day of work.  One for good, the other, not so good.  All of the new co-op students for AC Spark Plug, then a division of GM, gathered around a long wooden table in a conference room, to learn of their roles and responsibilities.  It was at this meeting that I first met Chris Brady, my good friend and business partner.  This was the good life changing event, as Chris and I have partnered in business over the last fifteen years, producing results and memories that will last a lifetime.  I will save my Brady stories for another time, mainly, because I want to discuss the other life altering experience that day.  I was an A section student at GMI-EMI (now Kettering), so I went to school during the summer while B section students worked in the summer, with each section rotating between work and school every twelve weeks.  Because I was A section, I was only at work one day that summer for my initiation, meaning AC had to cut a check for that day before I headed to school the following Monday.  You can imagine my anticipation, after leaving work, making my way to my rusty Chevette, when opening my first ever paycheck.  I made a whopping sixty-four dollars minus,  Federal withholding, Michigan State withholding, Flint City witholding, and FICA, leaving a grand total of around forty dollars.  I couldn’t believe the taxes taken from my check, over one third of my check vanished, but still a nice amount for a broke eighteen year old.  I quickly reviewed the taxes and acknowledged some legitimacy (the tax, not the amount) for the Federal, State, and City, but what is this FICA (Social Security)?  No one told me about any FICA tax, exactly what is FICA Tax?  I raced home to talk to my financial guru, my mom,  sharing with her my concern at this extra tax.  Laughing at my ignorance, she shared with me that our benevolent government withholds a certain amount of money from your paycheck, planning to take care of you when you retire.  “But I don’t need the government to take care of me when I retire,” I emphatically stated, “I’m going in there and telling them to stop withholding that FICA tax.”  My mother chuckled at me, like she has many times over the years, figuring I would have to learn this truth the hard way.

Imagine how strange I felt, realizing for the first time, that the State can help itself to my paycheck, not just for protection of my life, liberty, and property, but also to provide nanny services in my retirement years.  I appreciate the offer Mr. State, but I will take care of myself through my own savings plan; sadly, that isn’t an option as we are forced to save our money with the State.  Always the curious one, I asked around, seeking wisdom from some of my older co-workers, learning that employees and employers both pay half the bill, totalling over 12.5% of a employee’s income.  What I learned, that government can take our money, becoming a mandatory bank for us, didn’t sound like freedom as I understood the term.  But like most eighteen year olds, my mind quickly lost focused, conveniently forgetting about my lost freedoms, reassuring myself that I could trust the Federal government to save my money; after all, if you can’t trust your own government, the one assigned to protect our life, liberty and property, who can you trust?
What’s most surprising to me, looking at our Social Security system, isn’t its upcoming bankruptcy, nor its over 12% tax on every incomes, but the curious lack of concern by the American citizens.  Look at the latest statistics from the Mark Crovelli, writing for Mises Institute, on our American Social Security system.

For those people not gifted with accounting ESP like Lindorff, Social Security’s unfunded liabilities are conservatively estimated to be around $17.5 trillion. Oh yeah, and that “trust fund” that Lindorff mentions as if it were really overflowing with saved money — all the money has already been spent by Congress. As you can see, the numbers are not exactly as rosy as Lindorff’s ESP has led him to believe.
What is really interesting is that even while Lindorff is trying to make the case that Social Security’s fiscal condition is not all that serious, he concedes that Social Security will indeed go bankrupt this year. He writes:

So with beneficiaries rising faster than anticipated, and the total national payroll in sharp decline, of course things have gone negative for Social Security earlier than originally anticipated.

One would think that an institution going “negative” (i.e., bankrupt) is a sign that there is something fundamentally flawed with it. For Lindorff, however, bankruptcy is nothing to get ourselves worked up about, especially since the bankruptcy is only caused by the demographic problem posed by the baby boomers.

Lindorff thinks the boomers are only a “demographic wave that will eventually pass.” He’s right — we only have around 30 more years until the “wave” passes. Thirty years of bankruptcy is nothing that need trouble us!

Now, let’s see if we can understand these figures.  The unfunded liabilities is $17.5 trillion, that’s a boat load of money, even if your last name is Buffett or Gates, certainly enough to bankrupt the 100 wealthiest Americans with plenty of room to spare.  The tax money, taken from us against our will allegedly for our own good, because it was assumed government would be more responsible than its citizens, saving it for us until we retired, is missing in action.  Politicians transferred the money out of Social Security into other projects, violating our trust and their fiduciary responsibility, exhausting themselves in an orgy of spending, leaving a huge IOU to unsuspecting Americans.  The problem, as I see it, is our government has proven incapable of balancing the budget with the Social Security surplus; how will they balance the budget and fund Social Security when there is no surplus?  Can anyone say higher taxes or inflation?  I heard recently, that Social Security is now paying out more in benefits than its receiving in taxes; simply put, this means it’s time for us to reap what we the State has sown. Believing Americans, from all regions of the United States, allowed the federal government to go beyond its normal responsibilities, surrendering their money to FICA,  assuming their savings is secure.    Every year, for approximately the next 30 years, the numbers will get worse, accumulating more debt as baby boomers retire faster than the younger generations enter the workforce.  Remember,   currently, the State relies on the tax from the workers to pay the benefits of the non-workers.  If the pool of workers reduces while the pool of non-workers increases, exactly the condition we find ourselves with the Baby Boomer retirements looming, the State is in trouble.  The Social Security system is a classic example of a Ponzi scheme, where people get paid only if new people join fast enough to compensate existing beneficiaries.  If new members do not appear, the system collapses. Population growth, not to mention the economic conditions, are not cooperating with the needed tax revenues to fund.  By reviewing the State’s results, it’s clear to me, that Social Security isn’t going to be social and it certainly isn’t secure.

After hearing the dismal record of government involvement in Social Security, one can only pray for leaders to arise and address the root causes.  America is suffering a courage crisis at the highest leadership levels.  It’s time for government to stop trimming the leaves, calling this change; instead, start pulling out the failed government bureaucracies root and branch.  Leaders in the business community, that want to serve their customers, not partner with the State, need the freedom to do so.  Only production can generate real GNP and job growth, hiring more government employees only means higher taxes for the few courageous enough to still produce.   Perhaps the biggest lesson learned in the Social Security mess is that government is the wrong place to look for retirement planning.  We can make politicians our scapegoat, but the system rewards the wrong behaviors; changing politicians will do nothing, until we change what we ask government to do.  Of course the politicians, tempted by potential votes, increased the Social Security benefits; of course the politicians, enticed by the “free money” surplus, spent it all, writing IOU’s that come due after they leave office.  Social Security is in shambles, whether the government inflates its way or taxes its way out of the mess is the only question. We can complain about how poorly the Social Security system has been managed, but government wasn’t designed to manage our affairs, placing the responsibility upon citizens to clearly define and limit government’s roles.  Politicians, by their nature, cannot think long term, having to stand for re-election every two, four or six years; when you consider that Americans live over seventy years on average, making life a long-term project, even retirement happening after thirty or more years, you quickly see the fallacy of our short term government involved in our long term lives.  This is another example of the “Destruction of the Commons”, the politicians choosing their personal short term “good” creating the public’s long term bad.  A simple way to remove the risk of “Destruction of the Commons” is to privatize, similar to what the airlines did in the early 1980’s, ensuring there is no commons to destroy.  Government has always been a hot bed for short term fixes, pushing the long term consequences off into the future, a future that never comes for them, since they are out of office, being replaced by others who quickly learn the rules of the political game.

The problem, even though accurately defined and easily predicted, is not simply solved.  Because of the politics associated with Social Security, every electable politician is afraid to touch this with a ten foot pole, assuring the problem isn’t addressed, passing the buck into the endless future.  By studying the failure of Social Security, learning the “Destruction of the Commons” principles, seeing the political take over from the economic any field government enters, one becomes certain of the proper course, keeping government out of people’s affairs.  Americans, if we include colonial times, without the help from government, saving their own money and relying on family and friends, survived for 250 years without a Social Security system. Government, it seems, by offering to care for us in retirement, taxed our incomes, reduced our savings, forced us to hope in government’s solvency, a hope perpetually deferred.   I have mentioned only one area of government intervention, but there are plenty of others to choose from.  Each of the areas have their own particular facts, but all have the same underlying failure modes – “Destruction of the Commons.”   Without looking at Public Schools, Medicaid, Federal Housing Aid and many more, don’t we already have enough knowledge to know that less government intervention is better?  Is anyone truly going to argue that a $17.5 trillion deficit in one program is a success? With that said, is it really in our best interest to sacrifice our Health Care system on the State altars?  You don’t have to be a prophet to see the effects of the “Destruction of the Commons” in the Health field, offering slower services, less doctors, but always the higher taxes as our reward for trusting in the State.  As a leader, I learned a long time ago not to listen to what a person or organization says.  Instead, I learned to watch what they did and the results they achieved.  The rhetoric out of Washington may tickle the ears, but it empties the pocketbook.  We can and must do better.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Posted in All News | 4 Comments »

The American Constitution – A Republic if You Can Keep It

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 28, 2010

Founding Fathers pictureMy adventure with the American election process began much like other young people entering college, not certain who the candidates were, or even what they stood for, I voted with zeal but with little knowledge.  As I gained more experience, through reading newspapers and magazines, I quickly fell into the democratic herd, who spout their surface knowledge regurgitated from the morning newspaper, but understand little if any of why the system operates the way it does.  I conscientiously cast my vote election after election, hoping to maintain my freedoms by the wonderful power of the democratic election process, until a curious thought entered my mind and would not leave.  This uninvited guest, this alien idea would not depart, no matter how much I recited the alleged benefits of democracy.  The thought was simple, but inarguable, if the key to our American freedoms is our democratic elections, if freedom is endangered when Americans neglect this right, how is it that every four years we seem to lose more of our freedoms that our vote was allegedly cast to secure, regardless of which party is elected?  No one seemed to have a satisfactory answer to that question and I quickly realized that we all had the same pat answers espoused to us during our high school indoctrinations.

What if democratic voting isn’t the key to securing freedoms at all?  More pointedly, if it is, why have Americans lost their freedoms at an increasing rate since we inaugurated our full fledged democracy around the turn of the 20th century?  Many times, the worst of errors occur when the key to solving the problem is buried in the unquestioned assumptions of the ruling paradigm.  These questions and others engaged my thoughts as I pondered America’s voting paradox, leading me on to an election epiphany-that it’s not the vote that ensures a people’s freedoms, but a contract between the rulers and the ruled.  Starting with the Magna Carta written to protect English freedoms against a money hungry King John, all the freedoms of the English speaking people’s have been ensured by written contracts between the governed and the governors.  Merely casting your vote, herding into schools and town halls, does not ensure anyone freedom in America.  Even Adolph Hitler, that megalomaniac of power, that dictator of dictators, used the legitimate democratic election process to gain power in Germany.  The more I thought, the more suspicious I became, the constant drum roll of praise beaten into me during my high-school years on the joys of our democratic process, seemed not to square with the facts, leading me to read the Founding Fathers in their own words to learn what they thought of democracy.  To my great surprise, if not downright horror, I learned that democracy was the least favorable form of government in the opinion of nearly all of the Founders.  Even Thomas Jefferson, one of the strongest supporters of the people, was quick to disassociate himself with democracy and stay safely under the republican banner.

If democracy isn’t working in practice, anyone alive during the last 40 years can vouch for this, and the Founding Fathers knew that it didn’t work in theory over 200 years ago, why are American’s constantly bombarded with messaging on the importance of our democratic system?  With taxes increasing yearly, government regulations increasing monthly, the money supply increasing weekly, government bureaucracy increasing daily, government power increasing hourly, our national debt increasing by the minute and our freedoms waning by the second, exactly who is benefiting from this democratic process?  If you answered: Politicians, Political Parties, Big Business, and Wealth Transfer Recipients; you have just qualified for double jeopardy.  Edmund Burke wrote about England in the 18th century, “For us to love our county, our country ought to be lovely.”  I love America and I dream of a lovely America where all races, creeds and colors can come together and unite around the idea of justice and liberty for all.  The Founding Fathers didn’t trust in a democratic election process to ensure their liberties, remember many of the Founding Fathers were lawyers, writing contracts was part of any business partnership, a partnership between the people and the government required a contract to ensure the terms, that contract, written to protect the people from potential government encroachment upon their freedoms was called the American Constitution.

Contracts in business are essential, helping each side of the written agreement maintain his pledge of fidelity to the written terms, but if either side becomes negligent of the contract, abuses can and will occur.  The American people have lost the understanding and intentions of the original contract, sending a clear message to government that the majority to not care to defend their freedoms, most willing to surrender their freedoms for the security of government provisions.  It’s a fools game that must end in the bankruptcy of a once great country, since, if given the choice, the majority of people will choose handouts rather than work.  Only through production can any country maintain its solvency, printing money is not production, borrowing money is not production, only producing goods and services that can be sold on the free market will restore the American Dream.  Able bodied men and women should not be paid to idly sit by while others produce, it’s debilitating in three separate but related ways: to the self esteem of the recipients, to the total production of the country, and to the attitudes of those who are forced to work for others who do not. I don’t read a paragraph on government handouts in our written Constitution, but it’s going to take more than a few of us to read our agreement to set this straight. It’s possible for a group of people, sick and tired of voting every two years only to lose more freedoms, rising up peacefully together, to ensure that government does not encroach upon it written responsibilities.

The majority in a democracy does not have the right to vote its hands into the pockets of any its citizens anymore than an elite has a right to use government power to coerce open the pockets of the majority.  The American Republic must be restored based upon the natural rights and natural law inherent in each person, as the Declaration of Independence has clearly stated.  Further thoughts on our American Constitution can be found in The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, a must read for any hungry student of our written contract.

Ben Franklin, one of America’s greatest Statesmen, was prophetic when, upon exiting the Constitutional Convention, he was asked what type of government America would be; he answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”  We cannot keep our Republic since it was been lost at the turn of the 20th century, but we do have a responsibility to restore it. God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Finances, Freedom/Liberty | 5 Comments »

Free Enterprise & Economism – The Difference

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 27, 2010

Communism Cartoon pictureFree Enterprise describes a society that allows each man or woman the liberty of economic choices, permitting the companies that best serve the customers to survive by the good will engendered.  Government and private coercion are held in check, providing a free environment for the people to thrive based upon their efforts.  Government, in the free enterprise system, plays the role of an umpire, ensuring equality of playing conditions, so that the winning team is the one that serves the customer the best, giving no special deals to any team.  Although free enterprise is the best system in theory and practice, it has rarely been understood in theory and never applied in practice.

Economism describes a society where big business partners with government to provide positive economic arrangements for the chosen few.  Government, instead of playing the role of a neutral umpire, becomes the 12th man on the proverbial football team, helping assist Big Businesses, regardless of the on the field performance.  It’s not hard to find evidence of Economism, simply glancing at any city newspaper, you will read about the latest government “bail out” of XYZ company for the sake of “protecting American jobs.”  Every bail out, in the end, is funded by tax payer dollars, which means the tax payers get to subsidize the wealthy business owner who isn’t competently running his business.  Bail outs cost more to job holders than any protection of jobs the bail out can offer, but that is of secondary importance and not the immediate concern of the politician who is only in office for a limited time anyway.  Government involvement brings in a political element into the economic sphere, damaging the ability of the customers to vote for the business which serves them best.

The sad part of Economism, a confused middle way between Fascism and Free Enterprise, is people will assume Free Enterprise has failed.  In fact, Free Enterprise hasn’t failed in America, it hasn’t been tried.  Any time government involves itself positively in the economy, it begins to play a god-like role, choosing which companies will survive, and which companies will die, even though, it’s less qualified to do so than the millions of customers playing that role in a true Free Enterprise system.   Economism isn’t new, dating back to Egypt under the Pharaohs, if not even earlier, but its modern day examples play god on a much bigger scale.  Look at China, it isn’t communist any longer, but it isn’t free enterprise either; instead, it’s a blend of big business partnered with government, i.e: Economism.  Sadly, China is giving more freedom to business owners in its titular communist system than the United States is giving to business owners in its titular free enterprise system.

What first attracted my attention to this was the astonishing extent to which the rich received special deals from the government.  This is simply unacceptable in a Free Enterprise system.  Many, but not all, of the great fortunes were made by means which were patently unfair, and were known to be so.  Owners of large conglomerates who gained control or at least influence of the State’s machinery, and were using it to their own advantage by way of land-grants, tariff concessions, franchise monopolies and every other known form a law-made privilege, abused the system, all in the name of American Economism.  In view of American justice for all, this was shamefully bad.  Yet on should not blame business owners for exploiting the existing system to their personal advantage, after all, flowing water always follows the riverbed; therefore, true change needs to correct the riverbed, not just punish the water for following the riverbed.  Economism gives the government the unnatural right to intervene in protective tariffs, income taxation, regulation, etc; we should not be shocked that some enterprising, but characterless individuals utilize government intervention for exploitation purposes.  True Free Enterprise has no part and parcel with Economism, knowing that favoritism can never be squared with justice.  On the contrary, free enterprise views government as a neutral umpire in the game of business, while Economism views government as a partner to exploit the masses for the benefit of the elite politicians and business owners.  With Economism reigning as the world-view of nearly all politicians and Big Businesses, what could we expect but a continuous struggle for control of the State machinery, many resorting to pay offs, corruption and the lot to win, all for the right to exploit others with State’s power for one’s personal advantage.

While there are many issues, some listed above on the short sightedness of government intervention in the economy, one of the biggest is the concept called “Destruction of the Commons.”  Government when it ceases to be an umpire and starts playing as a participant in the economy, quickly becomes the battleground of competing groups for control of government’s monopoly of power.  Since citizens have no appeal to any source that isn’t part of the government, gaining control over the political means of power is a major competitive advantage for any big business over its unconnected competitors.  Politicians do not own the government, but only rent their seats for a time, willingly surrendering their influence to the needs of big business in order to ensure their elections.  The politician is thinking of his gain by being elected and isn’t worried about the long term effects of his behavior to the people in general, which perfectly describes the “Destruction of the Commons.”   When you rent a car, you’re not as worried about taking care of it, it isn’t yours and the owner will have to fix those brakes, shocks etc anyway.  If you go faster over bumps in the road, it isn’t the end of the world since it isn’t your car anyway.  Sadly, most politicians think that way about our government, caring little about the national debt, crippling taxation, and economic ruin as that will be someone else’s problem, not theirs.

As a leader, father, and an American, I am asking for my fellow American’s to get educated and informed on our American history and ideals.  What the Founding Fathers envisioned, implemented, and expected, they certainly weren’t perfect and we could learn much from their successes and failures, would be a great start.    There are many books to begin this journey, but I recommend starting with Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy the State.  It clearly explains why government and business do not mix; even though it is written in the 1930’s, it predicts accurately many of America’s current fiscal dilemmas.  The best way to change the future is to learn from the past and to act in the present. I think its time we start that process. God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Finances | 3 Comments »

Restoring the American Dream by Robert Ringer

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 25, 2010

Restoring Dream pictureThe American Dream, the yearning for freedom inside of all Americans, no matter what race, creed or color, has lost its luster in recent years.  American Dream? How about staying ahead on my bills?  Dazed and confused by the endless maize of government regulations, most American’s have reduced their dreams to keeping their head above the water.  A new book has the map out of the maize.  Robert Ringer, the author of three number one best selling books, a true lover of liberty and justice, has captured the principles in his newly re-released book, Restoring the American Dream, to return America to greatness.  What Margaret Thatcher famously quipped, while leading Great Britain back from the brink of disaster, still holds true today, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money to steal.”  Mr. Ringer eloquently captures the fundamental errors in our national policies, sharing where we have veered off track from the Founder Father’s vision, while gently directing us back to the principles that made America great.  Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, or undecided, this book will awaken inside of you a hunger to learn more.  

The American Dream is not dead, only sick from heavy doses of government intervention.  Our economy shakes like a drug addict suffering a downer from his latest hit, searching for the next government quick fix, instead of cleaning out his system of every bad habit. It’s time to put socialism and Keynesianism where it belongs, on the ash heap of history.  People did not travel to America from around the world to seek the latest government program.  No, people traveled to America for an opportunity to succeed or fail based upon their own efforts.  Mr. Ringer explains that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were the only guarantees that government was to insure, the rest would be accomplished by your efforts and God’s Providence.  Restoring the American Dream is a clarion call for individualism, self-responsibility, and personal freedom, a perfect fit for small business owners who proclaim this message every night.

Entrepreneurs from all over the world flocked to America for freedom.  I pray the trend doesn’t reverse, entrepreneurs flocking away from American to escape oppressive taxation and policies.  Whether you agree with every point isn’t as important as thinking through the points and Mr. Ringer’s book will make you think.  Every concerned American needs to get informed on what government has done to our liberty, our money, our taxes and thus our futures.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Freedom/Liberty | 1 Comment »

Marriage – The Leadership Team Begins at Home

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 23, 2010


The sad state of most marriages, nearly half ending in divorce, most others in a tedious state of non-aggression, but hardly any truly happy, concerns me.  I do not claim to have all the answers, nor even most of the answers, but I have learned a few lessons in my 18 years of marriage to one of the strongest willed ladies I have ever met.  In truth, I am sure she would say I am the strong willed one.  Don’t get me wrong, Laurie and I love each other dearly, but that didn’t make our marriage happy or workable in the early days.  Bringing baggage into a marriage, having to be right, and suffering from low self-esteem are not recipe’s for success in anyone’s marriage book.  What are the key principles to apply and what are the principles to avoid in building a happy marriage?  This was the question that led Laurie and me on a lifetime quest to improve our own marriage, and subsequently, hopefully, any marriage in our community.   As God led us to faith in His Son, we started asking questions on what our Biblical roles were as a husband and a wife.

How can two people who love each other enough to publicly profess it in a marriage ceremony end up months, if not weeks after, in a crazy cycle of turmoil and despair?  Who is the leader in a marriage?  What does the leader do?  Is it true that anything with two heads is a freak?  I teach men that they are responsible for the results, good or bad, in their household.  This doesn’t mean they they should be a dictator, in fact, it means nearly the opposite since a leader is defined as a servant.  Yes, I am the leader of my family, but that just means that I am the first to sacrifice when sacrifice is needed, that I am the first to accept responsibility when things go wrong, and that I must develop a plan to rescue my family if they need rescuing. Leaders cannot pass the buck and men have been given the responsibility to lead their families whether that assignment is easy or not.  Just as there cannot be two starting quarterbacks with only one football, there cannot be two heads on one family team.  Until this is settled, no proverbial touchdowns will be scored by your family.

Let me give you a few examples from the Woodward marriage. First, Laurie and I both wanted to make the final decisions in our house on nearly every issue.  This led to numerous disagreements, arguments, and perpetual unhappiness. The situation continued for years until I finally understood what Stephen Covey meant when he stated, “Big rocks first,” wrapped in with the Biblical concept of dying to self.  Mr. Covey taught the futility of majoring on minors with a beautiful analogy of a jar being filled with big rocks, small rocks, sand, and water.  The placement of the small rocks, the sand, or the water in prior, will not allow enough room to squeeze all the big rocks into the jar.  This example captures the essential point that big rocks are the majors and leaders must focus on the majors.  Laurie and I spent so much time arguing over small rocks, sand, and sadly, even water, that we had no energy or focus left for the big rocks.  My big breakthrough here was to surrender my desire to be right on all the small rocks, sand and water, while maintaining leadership over the big rocks.

If the big rocks are placed in first, it’s much easier to get the smaller rocks, sand, and water into the jar around the big rocks.  Every marriage is unique, meaning the particulars may vary, but the principles will stay the same.  Instead of Laurie and I arguing over every decision, I willingly surrendered 90% of the issues as “not majors,” while retaining the 10% which are critical to the success of our family.  If you asked Laurie, she would tell you that at least 90% of the time we will do what she wants, as I trust Laurie’s judgment and it doesn’t meet the big rock criteria.  But when I need Laurie’s support on a big rock, I have it, because she understands that I have surrendered on the minors to have her support on the majors. I am amazed at how long it took me to understand that arguing over the 90% only hindered my ability to lead on the 10%.  Whoever said, “Happy wife means a happy life,” was preaching real truth!  Yes, that means I have watched my share of “chick flicks,” yes that means I eat at Mexican restaurants more times than not, but that’s hardly a sacrifice worth arguing about.  Serving one’s wife and ensuring her happiness is one of a husband’s greatest responsibilities.  You can tell a lot about a man’s leadership in the house from the countenance of his wife.

Another key point I would like to share with couples is the power of mentorship.  If the husband is serving on the 90%, then he needs the wife’s support on the 10%. If the couple’s mentors have developed a plan for their future, it makes sense to follow it.  One of the quickest ways for a man to fail is for him to stop mentoring with his leader and instead mentor with his wife.  Don’t misunderstand me; a man should always seek input from his wife on all major decisions, listening to her thoughts and sharing his thoughts.  But after listening and understanding he must make a decision and that decision must be supported 100%.  If the wife starts giving cross-counsel that is different than the mentor’s, the man is placed in a moral quandary.  On one hand, he loves his wife and wants to please her, but on the other hand, he respects his mentor and the results he has achieved.  When a man is cross-counseled, he hits analysis paralysis.  Being unsure of counsel makes him tentative in his actions.  This is one of the reasons that Laurie and I have learned to mentor the couple together and not individually.  Gathering all the facts, hearing all sides of the truth, and addressing issues with all parties present, are just a few of the advantages of mentoring together.

I have learned over the years that when a man is placed between his mentor and his wife, he will eventually succumb to his wife’s thinking, often to the detriment of his calling.  Why is that?  The simple answer is that the man spends much more time with his wife than he does his mentor and his wife offers services to him his mentor is unwilling to provide. 🙂 Serving your wife and seeking first to understand is not the same as mentoring with her.  When you have successful entrepreneurs willing to mentor your husband, why would you choose to interrupt that mentoring by cross-counseling?  Everyone is free to do what he believes is best for his family, but Laurie and I decided early that I would listen and learn all I can from her while mentoring with the top leaders in the areas in which I needed counsel.  By getting on the same page, husbands and wives stop arm wrestling each other, stop claiming pyrrhic victories over each other, and fulfill the purpose for which they were created, together.

Getting on the same page, working together to pursue your dreams, and serving one another unconditionally are keys on your journey to success.  Call a family meeting weekly, developing a “safe zone” to talk over any issues that may be hindering your family from the accomplishment of its dreams.  Do not attack one another, but listen carefully, asking yourselves how you can each improve to serve the other better.  The real TEAM begins at home and expands outward from that solid foundation into the communities.  Get it together, together and your Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Friends, Freedom, Fun, and Following will all improve.  One final thought: the Bible states that love covers a multitude of sins.  Since all of us need love and forgiveness, let’s start in our homes.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family | 2 Comments »

Tri-Lateral Leadership Ledger

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 22, 2010

I read recently of Sturgeon’s Law that states that 90% of anything
is crud. Theodore Sturgeon developed his law in arguing against critics
who didn’t like science fiction books. His answer defended the best of
the science fiction genre. Like anything in life, cream rises to the top
and only a few are willing to do what it takes to climb the mountain.
As I thought on Sturgeon’s Law, I realized that it tied in perfectly
with Chris Brady and my Tri-Lateral Leadership Ledger (TLL) from our #1
Wall Street Journal Best Seller, Launching a Leadership Revolution. The
idea behind the TLL is that leaders must develop their skills in
Character, Task and Relationships in order to influence effectively.
Sturgeon’s Law ties in with the TLL by revealing that only 10% of the
people will excel with character, only 10% will excel in task and only
10% excel in relationships.

The TLL scores you on a scale from 1
to 10 in each of the three areas and then multiplies the scores together
for a total leadership score. 1000 being the highest theoretical score
that you can achieve – 10x10x10 and zero being the lowest score
possible. Sturgeon’s Law reveals that only 10%x10%x10% will excel in all
three areas necessary to effectively lead. This amounts to 1 out of
1000 that lead people with character, task and relationships. This
number matches with what I have learned experimentally through building
communities. You have a performer for every 100 to 150 people and you
have a true leader for every 1000 people associating in your community.
This is just another example of how rare true leadership is. When you
find someone with Character, Task and Relationship, it is important to
serve them and reward them. John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and
falls on leadership” and I concur.

How are you doing in the three
areas? The tendency is to overrate yourself when you think through the
TLL. If you are part of a networking community and have 1000 people
attending your leadership events, then you are scoring around 350
points. A 100 people at leadership events is around 100 points. Every
leader has room to grow because none of us have hit anywhere close to
1000 points. What are your numbers at your training events? The numbers
do not lie even if we may desire to inflate our scores. This leads me to
Woodward’s Law which is a natural Corollary to Sturgeon’s Law
pertaining to leadership. Woodward’s Law – 90% of the leaders are
convinced they are part of the 10% in Sturgeon’s Law. Ok, that may sound
strong, but self-deception has costs more people success than any other
single factor. Is anything good coming from self-deception in your
life? Is ignorance truly bliss?

Why do people desire to live with
comfortable lies when only the uncomfortable truths will set them free?
Every leader should assess their strengths and weaknesses on the TLL
and then change what needs to be changed. In leadership, you cannot
take your old self into your new reality. If you are not happy with the
results you are getting then stop blaming God, society, your parents,
your team, your mentor, your situation, etc. and place the blame
squarely on the one person who can do something about your character,
your task, and your relationships. 2010 is the year to Play to Win! Are
you Playing to Win? God Bless, Orrin Woodward

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Chris Brady’s New Book – Rascals

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 21, 2010

Rascal pictureChris Brady’s new book was just released at the TEAM major function!  I cannot share enough adjectives to describe the effect that this book will have on you.  If you have ever dreamed of entrepreneurship, independence, and achievement, then this is the book you must read.  I have witnessed first hand the amazing accomplishments of Chris over the years.  Rascal captures the essential difference between follower and leaders and gives you the tools necessary to develop into a leader.  Read the book and please share your thoughts on what you learned.  Here is the Foreward that I wrote for the book.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Rascal?  Who are you to be calling me names?  But that is exactly what every great achiever is in life.  Rascals are willing to step out of line and pursue their own dreams, not conform to the wishes of the masses.  What is it that separates the Rascals from the rest of humanity?  Chris Brady’s new book will reveal that and much more.   

I have known Chris Brady since I was 17 years old and have been a business partner and close friend for 15 plus years.  As I read his captivating book on Rascals, I saw so many parallels between the characters described and Chris that I have named him Honorary First Rascal.  Rascals fear insignificance more than they fear peer pressure; they fear losing more than they fear change; they fear endless talk more than dangerous actions.  I believe that everyone has inside of them a rascal, but it has been buried by endless, mind-numbing conditioning to be part of the herd. 

Let me share just a few highlights of Chris Brady’s life as an example of rascality.  Chris grew up in a middle class family with supportive parents who taught their two boys that anything was possible in life.  Chris bought into this principle and pursued his passion for racing motorcycles to a competitive level, even though he started at the late age of 16.  From this early success, he parlayed his work ethic into a sponsorship with General Motors and a degree at the prestigious GMI Engineering & Management Institute (now Kettering University).  Chris graduated at the top of his class and went on to obtain his Masters at Carnegie Mellon University, even conducting his thesis in Japan!  With all of these credentials for success behind him, you would think he would have followed the traditional route and climbed the corporate ladder.  Everything certainly seemed to indicate that he should.

All of this changed when he went to a Michael Dell seminar and learned from a billionaire that many of tomorrow’s future leaders would be those who could master the art of building communities that drive traffic to on-line sites.  Being the Rascal that he is, Chris put all of his efforts and know-how to work, leaving his corporate job, and putting everything on the line to develop his leadership skills and systems understanding to help found the TEAM.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Hundreds of thousands of people in community and millions of dollars of revenue later and a lifestyle that is incomprehensible to non-rascals, Chris and his lovely wife Terri have traveled the world with their four talented children.  With multiple best selling books including a Wall Street Journal #1 Best Seller: Launching a Leadership Revolution, I would say Chris has broken out of the herd.  

What made the difference?  Was it just sheer talent?  Luck, by being in the right spot at the right time?  Connections?  God’s Providence?  The Bradys would certainly agree they have been blessed, but I believe this book spells out many of the keys of the Bradys Rascal-like success.  If I were to boil it down into one sentence, I would say Rascals have the courage to pursue their own dreams.  Chris knew what he wanted and pursued it with a singular focus against opposition, against the norms, against the setbacks until success finally surrendered its secrets.  In life, you either hate losing so much that you are willing to change or you hate changing so much that you are willing to lose.  Rascals cannot stand the thought of surrendering their dreams, so instead surrender their comforts in pursuit of their destiny.  

I am proud to strongly recommend this book to all who dare to dream and hunger for significance in life.  Chris doesn’t promise easy when you step up to the Rascal plate, but he does promise worth it!  Get reading and find out that everything you need to be a Rascal has been inside of you all along.

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Hungry, Honeable, & Honorable

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 20, 2010

Leadership Revolution pictureIn our Wall Street Journal #1 best selling book Launching a Leadership Revolution, Chris Brady and I talk about the 3H principles of every leader. Hungry, Honeable, and Honorable each plays a part in the developing leader. If you desire to lead in your home, community, workplace, church or club, these 3 characteristics are essential for your success. Anyone can improve their leadership by studying these attributes and applying them to their leadership journey. Each of these is explained in full in our book, but let’s elaborate a little on them here.

There is no leadership without a hungry person mentally willing to learn and grow. Without hunger, a person is satisfied with the status quo. Since every major achievement happens when a goal is set, satisfied people will not get uncomfortable enough to change. The old saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” explains this well. What do you yearn for in your life? What existing situation that you are dealing with must change? These are the seeds of discontent that lead to hunger and eventually leadership if directed properly. I believe it is easier to teach a hungry person the skills for leadership than it is to teach a skilled person how to be hungry.

If a person is willing to work, that is a good start, but real change occurs only with examination. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Are you examining your results and honing them for improvement? Failing is not fatal and is a great way to learn. If you run from your failure or blame someone else, you steal from yourself a learning experience. Failure is a given in life, but learning is optional. A honeable student is willing to take counsel, confront reality and change where needed. Too many would-be leaders will not accept any counsel and thus are frozen in work mode without growth. Life is too short to learn only from your own experiences. Find a mentor and be their best student.

The last characteristic is the foundation that holds your leadership together. Without honor you have nothing. People will not remember the car you drove, the house you live in, or your net worth, but they will remember if you treated them with honor. People will disagree and as a leader, you will have to separate from some people, but always do it with honor. Remember when you throw mud, all you do is dig yourself into a hole. Everyone grows and changes at their own pace and mistreating people or doing anything without honor ultimately hurt you more than anyone. Take the high road even when others choose the low one.

Everyone can lead when they incorporate the 3H principles into their life. If you are tired of being part of a group that isn’t being led and tire of thinking someone should lead, maybe it is time to promote yourself. Leadership is not a tile, a position, or rank, but just plain service to others. Those who serve will deserve. I encourage you to Launch a Leadership Revolution in your life. God Bless, Orrin Woodward

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Twitter Originals

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 16, 2010

Over the past several years, Chris Brady and I have been tweeting our leadership thoughts on an almost daily basis.  We have one several awards from our twitter accounts and now are moving ahead on another project for twitter quotes.  Both of us are reviewing our tweets and pulling out the originals for further comment.  I reviewed some of my favorites today and I am requesting help in selecting a few for further study.  Having read books  and listened to so many CD’s over the last 15 years, it is difficult to determine the original content from comments that I have heard over the years, but to the best of my knowledge these are original tweets.  If you can help me select the best ones, I would greatly appreciate it.  If you know this is a quote from another author or speaker then please share so I do not include.  Select your top 10 or so and then I will add up the scores and proceed accordingly.  Also, the voting is now taking place for the Top 30 and Top 25 Leadership Guru list.  I will attach the links if you would like to vote. Thanks in advance and keep leading and learning on your journey to success. God Bless, Orrin Woodward

http://leadershipgurus.net/index.html – Vote for Top 30
http://www.topleadershipgurus.com/index.php – Vote for Top 25

Don’t be your own worst critic; there are plenty of other people willing to fill that position.

Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.

Everyone deals with problems in life, but remember the goal is to solve them and get new ones.

Leaders always choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong.

A bitter heart is never thankful & a thankful heart is never bitter.

It’s hard to set yourself on fire with your dream when you are busy wetting yourself with your dread.

Most people settle in life without any satisfaction, winners are satisfied with life without ever settling.

Excuses are used to justify leaving the scene of truth without changing.

Many times in life, those who do the most correcting, need the most correcting.

Just as a gardener pulls weeds from a garden, leaders pull weeds from their thinking before they spread.

People will forget what you kept for yourself, but they will never forget what you gave of yourself.

The higher you climb the mountain, the better your perspective.

It is not what happens to you that matters as much as what happens in you.

Most people are waiting to feel right & then will do good, but successful people do right & then will feel good.

Too often we view learning as a period of life, instead of a way of life.

Living your priorities is telling your time where it’s going, instead of asking where it went.

Competition ensures that winners won’t buy their own excuses.

You cannot have a new beginning, but you can change today and have a new ending.

People will forgive a leaders skill deficiency but rarely will they will forgive a character deficiency.

People harp on others issues because they are too scared to confront and change their own.

Many know what to do, but winners do what they know.

Blaming someone else for your failures only ensures that you won’t learn from them.

The more you tackle the things you fear, the more fearless you will become.

A group’s leadership limit is reached when voluntarism ends and compulsion begins.

The strength of our convictions is measured by how much we are willing to sacrifice for them.

A leader truly listening to his team speaks more than any talk that he can give to them.

It’s easy to be positive when all is positive, but you know you’re positive when everything is negative & you are still positive.

If you feel a teammate acted without character, but won’t confront the issue to ensure you have all the facts, then you lack character.

You don’t feel like a winner and then do, you do like a winner and then feel.

If you accept excuses from others, it’s usually because you have accepted your own excuses.

Leaders dig into their business to learn painful realities rather than believe peaceful illusions.

Success never goes on sale, but most spend their whole life dickering over the cost & never make the purchase.

All people experience failures in life, but the successful people learn from them while the unsuccessful people quit  because of them.

Just because those around you have surrendered their dreams does not mean that you should.

Licking your wounds will not stop the bleeding, but applying pressure will.

Teach character and if you must, use words.

True knowledge is understanding how little you truly know.

Success is not as easy as winners make it look, but not as hard as losers make it sound.

A life of success requires sacrifice for a period of time while a life of failure requires sacrifice for lifetime – period.

Telling a person to seek a nice secure job is like telling a lion to seek a nice secure zoo.

You cease to be excellent the moment you accept mediocrity in your life.

Being a critic is much easier than being a leader since it requires no sacrifice or results to qualify.

Today’s age worries too much about image and not enough about integrity.

Never surrender your convictions for your conveniences.

 Anyone can throw money at problems but successful leaders throw better thinking at them.

The only place where compensation comes before service is in the dictionary.

Followers need help, leaders need example.

A person who cannot handle setbacks will never handle victories either.

Ingratitude produces pride while gratitude produces humility.

If you want to make a difference, but are afraid to be different then you won’t make a difference.

In life, most people surrender what is possible for what is comfortable.

In life, you either hate losing enough to change or you hate changing enough to lose.  

You cannot seize your future until you let go of your past.

Your business is going to change, either led by you or your competitors.

The winds of change can be used like a kite to lift you higher or like a tumbleweed to toss you about.

Unaddressed problems on the inside of a person leads to unaddressed problems on the outside.

The worst decision is indecision.

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