Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • 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.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

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Archive for October, 2012

Ancient Greece: Concord to Chaos

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 31, 2012


Greeks & Persians at Marathon

Here is some research I am doing on the ancient Greeks and their love of freedom. How a small band of freedom-loving people stood and conquered the mighty Persian empire only to destroy one another in bloody civil wars is one of the keys to political science. In fact, the Five Laws of Decline (FLD), which I teach in my Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, predict the downfall of the Greeks.  The goal of the LIFE business is to prohibit the growth of the FLD through a performance-based culture where no special deals are allowed. Everyone is paid as they perform—period!

Harry Truman once said, “There is nothing new under the sun, only the history you do not know.” One of our goals in LIFE is to learn and apply the lessons of history so we don’t repeat its mistakes. Enjoy the article and please share how you avoid the growth of the Five Laws of Decline in your company.


Orrin Woodward

In 481 BC, 10,000 Athenian warriors at Marathon blocked a Persian army rumored to be over 100,000 strong. Indeed, the Persians were the conquering force of the ancient world, having amassed an empire that included modern day Iran, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, and many more. In contrast, the entire Greek peninsula and islands added together are about 2/3 the size of Portugal. Moreover, the Persians were believed to be invincible in military expeditions, having recently conquered the Ionian Greeks (on the western tip of modern day Turkey) before invading the Greek mainland. In fact, no Greek state had successfully withstood the advance of Persia and many of the mainland Greek states had succumbed to the “earth and water” tribute demanded by Persia signifying Greek subjection to the Persian King. Nonetheless, the Athenian hoplites marched over 26 miles to the plains of Marathon to defend their precious freedoms from Persian tyranny while their families awaited word in Athens.

The ancient Greeks are unique when compared to the Asian people of Persia and Egypt. In truth, the “earth and water” demanded by the Persian King wasn’t entirely unpalatable, allowing the Greeks to live peacefully if they paid their tax tribute and provided military help when the Persian King desired to conquer more territory. While many races and countries chose enslavement and peace, the Greeks, led by Sparta and Athens, chose liberty or death. Politically, because of the unique geography of Greece – no navigable rivers and mountains physically separating communities – instead of one national government ruling over smaller units of sovereignty, Greece consisted of numerous city-state sovereignties that confederated together for defense, religious ceremonies, and sporting competitions. While the rest of the world worshiped God-like kings, surrendering their freedoms like ants within a colony. The Greeks, who lived too close to their kings to be fooled, pledged loyalty instead to their cities and structured monarchies, aristocracies, or even democracies for the benefit of the polis, not the political leader. By separating their religion from their King, the Greeks began to see each other as equals before the city-state’s laws, not serfs before God’s regent on earth. The effect of this revolutionary mindset is what led the Athenian’s to fight at Marathon. In other words, they valued their freedoms more than they valued living under slavery.

The Athenian Greeks defeated the Persians on the plains of Marathon, thanks to the courageous leadership of Miltiades.  Several years later, the Greeks confederation defeated the Persians again in the naval battle at Salamis, capitalizing on the leadership strategy of another Athenian hero, Themistocles. Rarely, does one find a people like the Athenians, who willingly surrendered their city to Persian destruction, taking the citizens to the island of Salamis and the men into the ships to defend their city-less country. The Greeks didn’t just speak about the value of freedom; they lived it out in their lives. With the final defeat of the Persians on the Boetian plains, led by the Spartan King Pausanius, the Greeks were finally safe from Persian tyranny. Freedom loving people conquered against overwhelming odds thanks to great courage, leadership, and strategy. But this happy story doesn’t end so well. The Greeks, who had so bravely united to defend Greece, ended up destroying one another in a series of fratricidal wars that left mainland Greece exhausted and vulnerable to Macedonian empire building.

What went wrong? How could a people who valued freedom so highly destroy one another, consequently, losing their freedom? The answer is the Five Laws of Decline. The Greeks were the first people to quest after political concord. History has proven concord is a difficult objective since it lies between the Scylla and Charybdis, rocks of chaos on one side and coercion on the other. Before Greece, the history of human civilization is a litany of kings using absolute power to enforce obedient submission of his subjects or lack of absolute power creating chaos and war until a King built enough power to rule his subjects again. Accordingly, in studying the Greek failures, keep in mind that, in the history of the West, this was the first community to attempt a political solution of concord between chaos and coercion. With no historical precedents before them, the Greeks sailed blindly into uncharted seas, confident that they could solve human civilization’s dilemma. After all, hadn’t they just defeated an alleged invincible power and displayed a fierce defense of freedom and all it entails?

Posted in Freedom/Liberty | 44 Comments »

LIFE Business Major Function

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 29, 2012

It’s Monday morning after an amazing LIFE Business Major Convention. Thousands of people were recognized on stage for achieving new pins, numbers, and vacations. From Thursday night through early Sunday afternoon, the LIFE community experienced its best information and inspiration weekend ever. The teams within the community have united together to create more Power Players than ever before.

With speakers the caliber of Chris and Terri Brady, Tim and Amy Marks, Claude and Lana Hamilton, Bill and Jackie Lewis, George and Jill Guzzardo, Dan and Lisa Hawkins, Mark McDonald, and Pastor Stephen Davey, I knew it was going to be a great weekend. However, what put it over the top was the enthusiasm and belief of the attendees. Never before have so many people advanced in the business, and that belief spread to everyone attending the event.

There were many magic moments in Columbus. If you attended the event, please share your magic moments and the key nuggets you are taking away from the Major to help you grow. The LIFE business is changing the world one person at a time!


Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Life Training | 113 Comments »

Start Starting; Quit Quitting

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 22, 2012

Success in life is much simpler, but not any easier, when you learn two key principles: start starting and quit quitting. Identify what it is one wants to do and then apply the two principles. For instance, when I was ten years old, I wanted to learn how to wrestle. Hence, I went out for practice but happened to wrestle the kid who had been winning medals for five years! Somehow we got paired up for live two-minute drills on takedowns. Even though he knew all the moves, it took him nearly the whole two minutes to get one takedown. I should have been elated, knowing that I would only improve and, given enough repetition of the proper moves, I could become a champion wrestler. However, not understanding the above principles, I labeled myself a wrestling loser and didn’t wrestle again for three years. Regretfully, I violated the quit quitting rule and paid the price of self-imposed exile for three years from an activity that I wanted to do.

Nonetheless, I look back with thankfulness for my mistakes in life because I have used each of them as teachable moments for myself and others to improve. The good news is that readers can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. If a person desires to do a sport or other activity, he shouldn’t let fear hold him back. Regardless of how poorly he performs in the beginning, if he starts starting and quits quitting, he will improve dramatically over time. In reality, every great champion started out poorly in his field of endeavor compared to his more experienced competitors. Therefore, one must get going in order to get good, working with these principles, not against them. After a person is going, then the rest is summed up as: quitters never win and winners never quit. Despite the times when a person feels like quitting, ignore it and persist; despite the times when a person feels like a failure, ignore it and persist. Invariably, the biggest breakthroughs occur when the person refuses to quit notwithstanding the present dismal results. Persistence in a just cause through numerous failures builds character and determines whether a person joins the ranks of perpetual winners or perpetual quitters in life.

Gold Medalist: Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking

Interestingly, while watching the Olympics, did anyone else notice how many champions cried while receiving their gold medals? Why did they cry? It’s doubtful that they cried for the worth of the gold and silver in the medals themselves. More likely, it was from reflecting back upon the many hours, days, months, and years of consistently persisting in the face of countless setbacks, failures, and fears. In effect, all these thoughts burst to the surface as the champion released the pressure of the process created on his way to becoming a gold medalist. Likewise, in my profession, leaders, in the process of building their LIFE business compensated communities, have to overcome setbacks, failures, and fears in order to achieve the LIFE Coach level. Since only those who persist will become champions, many times, leaders cry tears of joy when they fulfill their purpose and complete the journey to LIFE Coach. Importantly, one learns on the journey to success that all success paths run parallel to each other, for they all must overcome the negative inner-voice (see RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE) to achieve victory.

The great news is that everyone can be a champion because everyone has a positive voice inside. Even so, if a person allows the negative voice to shout inside him and the positive voice to whisper, his success journey will not be fulfilled. Accordingly, the biggest lesson I learned on my way to start starting and quit quitting is to tune into the right voice, never allowing a disempowering thought to go unchallenged in my mind. Yes, the reader read that correctly. I have had many arguments with my negative voice, telling him he is welcome to provide input, but the positive voice is the leader in my mind. 🙂 The question of the day for any would-be champion is: Who is in charge in the battle for the brain? When I hear that answer, I can easily predict how well he or she will do with the principles start starting and quit quitting. Like I said previously, success is simple, but it’s not easy because it demands that a person win the battle for the brain. Well, what are you readers waiting for? Let the battle begin. 🙂


Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development | 34 Comments »

Courage and Humility

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 20, 2012

Rarely in our pagan past does one find courage and humility used to describe the same person; however, G.K. Chesterton explains how true Christianity marries the two seemingly paradoxical terms together within believers. In today’s dumbed-down culture, reading Chesterton can stretch a person’s thinking, not to mention his vocabulary. 🙂 Still, I encourage everyone to sift through Chesterton’s thoughts and wrestle with the ramifications of the Christian faith for leadership in society today. The greatest leaders are humble and courageous. How? Because they know their cause is bigger than themselves and their own personal needs. (See RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE for more on purpose.) The bigger the purpose then, the less about self it is. For those who would change the external world must first change their internal mindset. The LIFE business cannot transform the world until the members have transformed themselves. This is the ultimate assignment. Here is the close of Chesterton’s article.


Orrin Woodward

I have not spoken of another aspect of the discovery of humility as a psychological necessity, because it is more commonly insisted on, and is in itself more obvious. But it is equally clear that humility is a permanent necessity as a condition of effort and self-examination. It is one of the deadly fallacies of Jingo politics that a nation is stronger for despising other nations. As a matter of fact, the strongest nations are those, like Prussia or Japan, which began from very mean beginnings, but have not been too proud to sit at the feet of the foreigner and learn everything from him. Almost every obvious and direct victory has been the victory of the plagiarist. This is, indeed, only a very paltry by-product of humility, but it is a product of humility, and, therefore, it is successful. Prussia had no Christian humility in its internal arrangements; hence its internal arrangements were miserable. But it had enough Christian humility slavishly to copy France (even down to Frederick the Great’s poetry), and that which it had the humility to copy it had ultimately the honour to conquer. The case of the Japanese is even more obvious; their only Christian and their only beautiful quality is that they have humbled themselves to be exalted. All this aspect of humility, however, as connected with the matter of effort and striving for a standard set above us, I dismiss as having been sufficiently pointed out by almost all idealistic writers.

It may be worth while, however, to point out the interesting disparity in the matter of humility between the modern notion of the strong man and the actual records of strong men. Carlyle objected to the statement that no man could be a hero to his valet. Every sympathy can be extended towards him in the matter if he merely or mainly meant that the phrase was a disparagement of hero-worship. Hero-worship is certainly a generous and human impulse; the hero maybe faulty, but the worship can hardly be. It may be that no man would be a hero to his valet. But any man would be a valet to his hero. But in truth both the proverb itself and Carlyle’s stricture upon it ignore the most essential matter at issue. The ultimate psychological truth is not that no man is a hero to his valet. The ultimate psychological truth, the foundation of Christianity, is that no man is a hero to himself. Cromwell, according to Carlyle, was a strong man. According to Cromwell, he was a weak one.

The weak point in the whole of Carlyle’s case for aristocracy lies, indeed, in his most celebrated phrase. Carlyle said that men were mostly fools. Christianity, with a surer and more reverent realism, says that they are all fools. This doctrine is sometimes called the doctrine of original sin. It may also be described as the doctrine of the equality of men. But the essential point of it is merely this, that whatever primary and far-reaching moral dangers affect any man, affect all men. All men can be criminals, if tempted; all men can be heroes, if inspired. And this doctrine does away altogether with Carlyle’s pathetic belief (or any one else’s pathetic belief) in “the wise few.” There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob. Every oligarchy is merely a knot of men in the street—that is to say, it is very jolly, but not infallible. And no oligarchies in the world’s history have ever come off so badly in practical affairs as the very proud oligarchies—the oligarchy of Poland, the oligarchy of Venice. And the armies that have most swiftly and suddenly broken their enemies in pieces have been the religious armies—the Moslem Armies, for instance, or the Puritan Armies. And a religious army may, by its nature, be defined as an army in which every man is taught not to exalt but to abase himself.

Many modern Englishmen talk of themselves as the sturdy descendants of their sturdy Puritan fathers. As a fact, they would run away from a cow. If you asked one of their Puritan fathers, if you asked Bunyan, for instance, whether he was sturdy, he would have answered, with tears, that he was as weak as water. And because of this he would have borne tortures. And this virtue of humility, while being practical enough to win battles, will always be paradoxical enough to puzzle pedants. It is at one with the virtue of charity in this respect. Every generous person will admit that the one kind of sin which charity should cover is the sin which is inexcusable. And every generous person will equally agree that the one kind of pride which is wholly damnable is the pride of the man who has something to be proud of. The pride which, proportionally speaking, does not hurt the character, is the pride in things which reflect no credit on the person at all. Thus it does a man no harm to be proud of his country, and comparatively little harm to be proud of his remote ancestors. It does him more harm to be proud of having made money, because in that he has a little more reason for pride. It does him more harm still to be proud of what is nobler than money—intellect. And it does him most harm of all to value himself for the most valuable thing on earth—goodness. The man who is proud of what is really creditable to him is the Pharisee, the man whom Christ Himself could not forbear to strike.

My objection to Mr. Lowes Dickinson and the reassertors of the pagan ideal is, then, this. I accuse them of ignoring definite human discoveries in the moral world, discoveries as definite, though not as material, as the discovery of the circulation of the blood. We cannot go back to an ideal of reason and sanity. For mankind has discovered that reason does not lead to sanity. We cannot go back to an ideal of pride and enjoyment. For mankind has discovered that pride does not lead to enjoyment. I do not know by what extraordinary mental accident modern writers so constantly connect the idea of progress with the idea of independent thinking. Progress is obviously the antithesis of independent thinking. For under independent or individualistic thinking, every man starts at the beginning, and goes, in all probability, just as far as his father before him. But if there really be anything of the nature of progress, it must mean, above all things, the careful study and assumption of the whole of the past. I accuse Mr. Lowes Dickinson and his school of reaction in the only real sense. If he likes, let him ignore these great historic mysteries–the mystery of charity, the mystery of chivalry, the mystery of faith. If he likes, let him ignore the plough or the printing-press. But if we do revive and pursue the pagan ideal of a simple and rational self-completion we shall end–where Paganism ended. I do not mean that we shall end in destruction. I mean that we shall end in Christianity.

Posted in All News, Faith, Leadership/Personal Development | 15 Comments »

The Paradox of Christian Virtues

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 19, 2012

Here is part two of G.K. Chesterton’s article. Chesterton compares the best virtues of our pagan past with the paradoxical virtues of the Christian faith and arrives at insights that everyone ought to think deeply upon. Whether a person ultimately agrees or not, it’s important to know why he believes what he believes. Again, the key to this blog is to stimulate thought in a friendly and non-combative fashion. Remember, a person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. Consequently, all real change begins on the inside when a person begins to think. In sum, that’s the goal of the LIFE business. Here are some profound thoughts by Chesterton to think upon. 🙂


Orrin Woodward

G.K. Chesterton

My general meaning touching the three virtues of which I have spoken will now, I hope, be sufficiently clear. They are all three paradoxical, they are all three practical, and they are all three paradoxical because they are practical. It is the stress of ultimate need, and a terrible knowledge of things as they are, which led men to set up these riddles, and to die for them. Whatever may be the meaning of the contradiction, it is the fact that the only kind of hope that is of any use in a battle is a hope that denies arithmetic. Whatever may be the meaning of the contradiction, it is the fact that the only kind of charity which any weak spirit wants, or which any generous spirit feels, is the charity which forgives the sins that are like scarlet. Whatever may be the meaning of faith, it must always mean a certainty about something we cannot prove. Thus, for instance, we believe by faith in the existence of other people.

But there is another Christian virtue, a virtue far more obviously and historically connected with Christianity, which will illustrate even better the connection between paradox and practical necessity. This virtue cannot be questioned in its capacity as a historical symbol; certainly Mr. Lowes Dickinson will not question it. It has been the boast of hundreds of the champions of Christianity. It has been the taunt of hundreds of the opponents of Christianity. It is, in essence, the basis of Mr. Lowes Dickinson’s whole distinction between Christianity and Paganism. I mean, of course, the virtue of humility. I admit, of course, most readily, that a great deal of false Eastern humility (that is, of strictly ascetic humility) mixed itself with the main stream of European Christianity. We must not forget that when we speak of Christianity we are speaking of a whole continent for about a thousand years. But of this virtue even more than of the other three, I would maintain the general proposition adopted above. Civilization discovered Christian humility for the same urgent reason that it discovered faith and charity—that is, because Christian civilization had to discover it or die.

The great psychological discovery of Paganism, which turned it into Christianity, can be expressed with some accuracy in one phrase. The pagan set out, with admirable sense, to enjoy himself. By the end of his civilization he had discovered that a man cannot enjoy himself and continue to enjoy anything else. Mr. Lowes Dickinson has pointed out in words too excellent to need any further elucidation, the absurd shallowness of those who imagine that the pagan enjoyed himself only in a materialistic sense. Of course, he enjoyed himself, not only intellectually even, he enjoyed himself morally, he enjoyed himself spiritually. But it was himself that he was enjoying; on the face of it, a very natural thing to do. Now, the psychological discovery is merely this, that whereas it had been supposed that the fullest possible enjoyment is to be found by extending our ego to infinity, the truth is that the fullest possible enjoyment is to be found by reducing our ego to zero.

Humility is the thing which is for ever renewing the earth and the stars. It is humility, and not duty, which preserves the stars from wrong, from the unpardonable wrong of casual resignation; it is through humility that the most ancient heavens for us are fresh and strong. The curse that came before history has laid on us all a tendency to be weary of wonders. If we saw the sun for the first time it would be the most fearful and beautiful of meteors. Now that we see it for the hundredth time we call it, in the hideous and blasphemous phrase of Wordsworth, “the light of common day.” We are inclined to increase our claims. We are inclined to demand six suns, to demand a blue sun, to demand a green sun. Humility is perpetually putting us back in the primal darkness. There all light is lightning, startling and instantaneous. Until we understand that original dark, in which we have neither sight nor expectation, we can give no hearty and childlike praise to the splendid sensationalism of things.

The terms “pessimism” and “optimism,” like most modern terms, are unmeaning. But if they can be used in any vague sense as meaning something, we may say that in this great fact pessimism is the very basis of optimism. The man who destroys himself creates the universe. To the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sun is really a sun; to the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sea is really a sea. When he looks at all the faces in the street, he does not only realize that men are alive, he realizes with a dramatic pleasure that they are not dead.

Posted in All News, Faith | 16 Comments »

G.K. Chesterton: Pagans and Christians

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 18, 2012

Last night, while doing some research on the Greeks for a future book, my mind kept ruminating on Solomon’s statement “vanity of vanities” as I read the history of the Greek’s self-destruction. While pondering human sinfulness, I started to read the last article in a book of essays on the genius of the Greeks. Even though I had no idea who the author was when I started reading, within minutes I knew this writer viewed the intellectual landscape from a different perspective than the rest of the essays. The whole book was fascinating, but the last article, by G.K. Chesterton, blew me away. Remarkably, in less than 3,000 words, he summed up what I was wrestling with, capturing the similarities, as well as the differences, between the best of the Pagan past and the Christian future.

Indeed, most of the authors raved about the greatness of the Greeks, and truth be told, there is much to admire and respect. Still, when one methodically analyzes the Greeks’ dreams in comparison to their historical realities, it’s enough to make the most optimistic of leaders (me) suffer from temporary melancholia. 🙂 In a nutshell, Greek society’s apex was the united city-states defeat of the previously invincible Persian Empire. Unfortunately, however, after a thirty-year Periclean peace, the rest of Greek history is one long series of fratricidal wars, ending with the Roman Conquest and Pax Romana. In consequence, some of the greatest mental achievements (in philosophy, politics, science, theater, etc.) in the world’s history were accomplished in the midst of the mass destruction of the very civilization responsible for their creation.

Needless to say, Chesterton’s article was a breath of fresh air, helping me sort out the gap between the Greek dreams and the Greek realities. Why is this important? Because the LIFE business has big dreams as well. One of my reasons for reading about past leaders and cultures is to learn lessons from their example so I don’t have to repeat the same mistakes. Yesterday, Chris Brady and I discussed how much one can learn by simply reading, listening, and associating. 🙂 Without any further ado, here is the first of several posts on Chesterton’s Pagans and Christians.


Orrin Woodward

The real difference between Paganism and Christianity is perfectly summed up in the difference between the pagan, or natural, virtues, and those three virtues of Christianity which the Church of Rome calls virtues of grace. The pagan, or rational, virtues are such things as justice and temperance, and Christianity has adopted them. The three mystical virtues which Christianity has not adopted, but invented, are faith, hope, and charity. Now much easy and foolish Christian rhetoric could easily be poured out upon those three words, but I desire to confine myself to the two facts which are evident about them. The first evident fact (in marked contrast to the delusion of the dancing pagan)—the first evident fact, I say, is that the pagan virtues, such as justice and temperance, are the sad virtues, and that the mystical virtues of faith, hope, and charity are the gay and exuberant virtues. And the second evident fact, which is even more evident, is the fact that the pagan virtues are the reasonable virtues, and that the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity are in their essence as unreasonable as they can be.

As the word “unreasonable” is open to misunderstanding, the matter may be more accurately put by saying that each one of these Christian or mystical virtues involves a paradox in its own nature, and that this is not true of any of the typically pagan or rationalist virtues. Justice consists in finding out a certain thing due to a certain man and giving it to him. Temperance consists in finding out the proper limit of a particular indulgence and adhering to that. But charity means pardoning what is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all. Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all. And faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all.

It is somewhat amusing, indeed, to notice the difference between the fate of these three paradoxes in the fashion of the modern mind. Charity is a fashionable virtue in our time; it is lit up by the gigantic firelight of Dickens. Hope is a fashionable virtue to-day; our attention has been arrested for it by the sudden and silver trumpet of Stevenson. But faith is unfashionable, and it is customary on every side to cast against it the fact that it is a paradox. Everybody mockingly repeats the famous childish definition that faith is “the power of believing that which we know to be untrue.” Yet it is not one atom more paradoxical than hope or charity. Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate. It is true that there is a state of hope which belongs to bright prospects and the morning; but that is not the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope exists only in earthquake and eclipse. It is true that there is a thing crudely called charity, which means charity to the deserving poor; but charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. For practical purposes it is at the hopeless moment that we require the hopeful man, and the virtue either does not exist at all, or begins to exist at that moment. Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful.

Now the old pagan world went perfectly straightforward until it discovered that going straightforward is an enormous mistake. It was nobly and beautifully reasonable, and discovered in its death-pang this lasting and valuable truth, a heritage for the ages, that reasonableness will not do. The pagan age was truly an Eden or golden age, in this essential sense, that it is not to be recovered. And it is not to be recovered in this sense again that, while we are certainly jollier than the pagans, and much more right than the pagans, there is not one of us who can, by the utmost stretch of energy, be so sensible as the pagans. That naked innocence of the intellect cannot be recovered by any man after Christianity; and for this excellent reason, that every man after Christianity knows it to be misleading.

Let me take an example, the first that occurs to the mind, of this impossible plainness in the pagan point of view. The greatest tribute to Christianity in the modern world is Tennyson’s “Ulysses.” The poet reads into the story of Ulysses the conception of an incurable desire to wander. But the real Ulysses does not desire to wander at all. He desires to get home. He displays his heroic and unconquerable qualities in resisting the misfortunes which baulk him; but that is all. There is no love of adventure for its own sake; that is a Christian product. There is no love of Penelope for her own sake; that is a Christian product. Everything in that old world would appear to have been clean and obvious. A good man was a good man; a bad man was a bad man. For this reason they had no charity; for charity is a reverent agnosticism towards the complexity of the soul. For this reason they had no such thing as the art of fiction, the novel; for the novel is a creation of the mystical idea of charity. For them a pleasant landscape was pleasant, and an unpleasant landscape unpleasant. Hence they had no idea of romance; for romance consists in thinking a thing more delightful because it is dangerous; it is a Christian idea. In a word, we cannot reconstruct or even imagine the beautiful and astonishing pagan world. It was a world in which common sense was really common.

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty | 23 Comments »

Heroic Entrepreneurs

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 16, 2012

Candace Allen and Dwight R. Lee wrote an enlightening article on entrepreneurship of which a portion I posted below. True entrepreneurs are constantly thinking and envisioning where the trends are taking the world in the future. In fact, the best entrepreneurs are the best predictors and executors of the products and services needed in this future reality. Accordingly, entrepreneurship is not for the weak of heart or those looking for security, but it is for those in a quest for excellence. In my opinion, one of the greatest needs is more entrepreneurs to drive growth and change within society. The founders of the LIFE business launched the company with the goal of finding and forming men and women willing to become heroic entrepreneurs, desiring to build a better tomorrow by their efforts today. Thankfully, this quest has not been in vain.


Orrin Woodward

LIFE Business Entrepreneurs


Mrs. Allen is a teacher-on-special-assignment in the Education Alliance of Pueblo, Colorado. Dr. Lee is Ramsey Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia.

What do you want to be when you grow up? was a question that adults regularly posed to all of us when we were young. Generally, even as children, we imagined ourselves becoming like those whose accomplishments we respected or whose qualities we admired. At a time when sports figures, Hollywood personalities, musicians, and even politicians vie for the hearts of the young, why not honor those among us who provide the energy and strength behind the invisible hand of economic progress?

Entrepreneurs are, in fact, heroic figures, and their accomplishments are worth celebrating. All of us are better off because entrepreneurs have been willing to attempt what others knew couldn’t be done, and then persist in the face of adversity. Their visions extend beyond existing horizons, and eventually expand the realm of the realistic, transforming one generation’s dreams into the next generation’s necessities.

Who Are Heroes?

Who is a hero? For some, a hero represents a person who embodies such age-old values as honesty, integrity, courage, and bravery. For others, a hero is someone who is steadfast or who sets a good example. To many, being a hero means sacrifice, even of life itself, for the sake of others. Increasingly, many people find heroic those who simply gain notoriety or attention.

However, Joseph Campbell, an expert on world mythology, would probably find all of these definitions to be incomplete. Campbell contends that every society celebrates heroes, and in doing so, honors the past, energizes the present, and shapes the future. In studying most known cultures, Campbell has discovered that though details of the heroic path change with time, the typical journey of the hero can be traced through three stages. In our view, the entrepreneur travels through all three.

The first stage involves departure from the familiar and comfortable into the unknown, risking failure and loss for some greater purpose or idea. The second stage is encountering hardship and challenge, and mustering the courage and strength necessary to overcome them. The third is the return to the community with something new or better than what was there before. Ultimately, the hero is the representative of the new—the founder of a new age, a new religion, a new city, or a new way of life that makes people and the world better off.

The Modern Entrepreneurial Hero

In our modern world, the wealth creators—the entrepreneurs—actually travel the heroic path and are every bit as bold and daring as the mythical heroes who fought dragons and overcame evil. With conventional virtues, the entrepreneur travels through the three stages of the classic journey of the hero to achieve unconventional outcomes and should serve as a model of inspiration and guidance for others who follow.

In the first stage of the heroic journey, the entrepreneur ventures forth from the world of accepted ways and norms. He asserts, There is a better way, and I will find it! Unlike those who are overwhelmed by the challenges of their immediate world, the entrepreneur is an optimist, able to see what might be by rearranging the world in creative and useful ways. The entrepreneur refuses to accept the conclusions of others about what is or is not possible.

In this first stage, risk-taking entrepreneurs are motivated by many factors. Some want to become rich or famous. Others desire to better themselves, their families, or their communities. Some seek adventure and challenge. Regardless, they are characterized by energy, vision, and bold determination to push into the unknown.

In the second stage the entrepreneur finds himself in uncharted territory. Everything is at stake. The entrepreneur sacrifices for an idea, purpose, vision, or dream that he sees as greater than himself. Comfort and security become secondary.

Entrepreneurial action is often controversial. An entrepreneurial educator, for example, might leave the state school system to find a better way to provide education to youngsters as an alternative to government schooling. Yet, former colleagues might see him or her as a traitor. Regardless of what the entrepreneur sacrifices during this stage of the heroic quest, he is impelled into risky, unfamiliar territory. He must be resilient in the face of mistakes or failure.

In this discovery stage, the entrepreneur often encounters those who have a stake in maintaining the status quo. Business opponents may even turn to the state, as Netscape has pushed the Justice Department to hound Microsoft for alleged predatory behavior. Professor Don Boudreaux, writing in the Wall Street Journal, sees this anticompetitive tactic as a serious abuse of the legal and judicial system in an attempt to prevent entrepreneurs from bringing new products and services to consumers.

The third stage of the classic heroic journey begins when the entrepreneur returns to the community with his product, service, or new process. By buying the new offerings, the customer acknowledges the entrepreneur’s success. The more profit that is generated, the greater the value of wealth produced. Thus, profits are the entrepreneur’s reward for increasing benefits to individuals in society. Serving in the capacity as wealth creator, the entrepreneur becomes a social benefactor.

The true heroic entrepreneur will continue to anticipate future challenges. He is no ordinary business person whose main priority is keeping one step ahead of his competitors and maintaining market share. Nor does he seek government subsidy or protection. For him, the quest is to venture forth again and again into the unknown to create and bring back that which other individuals value.

Posted in All News, Leadership/Personal Development | 29 Comments »

Building and Bonding Through Culture and Current

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 12, 2012

A video that Art Jonak and I did on Conflict Resolution and dreams or drama has taken off. It has over 16,000, 17,000, 18,000, 19,000 20,000 21,000 22,000 views in just a couple of months. Why? In my opinion it captures a key ingredient of success in community building, namely, bonding a team together. So many performers can build a team; however, if they don’t also learn how to bond it together, they will never fulfill their potential. The Mental Fitness Challenge teaches on the importance of relationship in the Friendship chapter. Drama breaks friendships while dreams unite them.

Sadly, most people major on drama rather than dreams. In contrast, one of the first things a leader learns is to focus on empowering dreams to move him ahead, not disempowering drama to bury him in quicksand. Leaders address issues upfront and forthrightly with the goal to resolve misunderstandings, hurt feelings, or wrong actions. Nonetheless, even a leader cannot solve conflict if the other side is unwilling. It takes two to reciprocate the proper leadership behavior to bond a relationship.  For instance, just as it takes two to slow dance, it also takes two to resolve conflict.

People who have dreams resolve conflict quickly because they receive no joy from drama. Unfortunately, people who have no dreams love drama for they have nothing else to do with their excess time.  At twenty-six years old, Laurie and I made a personal decision to leave drama and gossip behind. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. Certainly issues still come up, but our focus is on resolution and restoration where possible. Life is too short to dwell on drama and the small people who perpetually live in it. Moreover, if you spend too much time in your own or others’ self-made dramas, your dreams will be assassinated.

Are you a leader? Then serve other unconditionally. Furthermore, do all you can to build tight relationships. Following this advice has blessed our business beyond anything imaginable outside of God’s grace. A decade ago, Laurie and I set a goal to build each of our organizations to over 1,000 people attending events. Why is 1,000 people at events important? First, because if people sign up, but don’t attend, then no influence is occurring and the goal is to make a difference, not just sign them up. Second, because when an organization has 1,000 people attending events, there is at least one top leader and several others potential top leaders within the organization. Indeed, the only way to get sustainable large numbers is through a process called building and bonding.

I am pleased to report that though building and bonding, our sixth leg will surpass 1,000 people at seminars within the next couple of months. Incidentally, six legs isn’t the goal, it’s just the start. The longterm goal is 12 legs over 1,000 and then help as many other hungry leaders do the same thing on our way to millions of people’s lives changed. With our 10th leg closing in on 400 people at events, it won’t be long. Over the next year, Laurie and I will be evaluating potential leaders to mentor two more legs over one thousand people in attendance to complete our goal. We are thankful for our current leaders and numbers, but we know, with the leadership potential within our community, we can do much more. In fact, with a goal to reach millions of people, even 12 legs over 1,000 people at events is just a start.

Imagine what would happen if all community leaders redefined the definition of a big leg? Instead of calling it a leg when it reaches the top of the chart, why not start with a “built to last” mentality. If making a difference and  ongoing income is the quest, then leaders aren’t a nice add on, but an essential aspect. So many in community building jump to the “next big thing,” not understanding that without leadership, the “next big thing” will be a “last has been” within several years. In truth, everything rises and falls on leadership.

I say all this to make one major point: numbers do not grow themselves; leaders must grow them! Since one leader cannot do everything to grow thousands of people in multiple legs, he must build a culture to create and maintain leadership throughout his organization. In other words, the current builds the numbers and the culture maintains them. A leader must create the current by consistent performance and results, then he creates a culture where people learn, grow, and resolve, rather than run from conflict. This video teaches on the importance of culture. Study the video and please share what you have learned about leadership within your organization’s culture.


Orrin Woodward

Posted in All News, Leadership/Personal Development | 16 Comments »

HBRN’s Leadership Factory with Bill Lewis

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 11, 2012

Tony Cannuli and I had the honor of interviewing Bill Lewis in this week’s HBRN Leadership Factory. As you watch this interview, notice how much Bill had to overcome his old labeling in order to become the champion he is today. The subjects discussed were character, integrity, and courage. Bill exemplifies each of these qualities. With his first three organizations surging past 1,000 people attending events, Bill is one of the top depth and community builders in the industry. In fact, Bill is a poster child for the Leadership Factory!

Listen to the interview and please comment on how Bill and Jackie’s story can impact and inspire you to move to the next level.


Orrin Woodward

Posted in All News, Leadership/Personal Development | 7 Comments »

Bill Lewis: Be Prepared

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 9, 2012

Bill Lewis shares on the importance of preparation in this insightful video. Bill has become one of the best teachers within the LIFE business through constant preparation and performance. Remember, failure to plan is a plan for failure. In what areas of your life can you apply these principles?


Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development | 9 Comments »