Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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    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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Freedom, Competition, & Progress

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 19, 2013

While studying Western society, one thought has becoming clear, namely, that free competition is the essence of excellence in any field. For without competitors to keep a person or organization honest, the Five Laws of Decline (FLD) will quickly poison the culture. Competition, in other words, is the antidote to the FLD because it ensures a working scoreboard to evaluate whether the person, company, or team is getting results.

There are two ways to gain wealth in society according to Franz Oppenheimer, the noted sociologist. The first is through economic means by serving customers and producing results they are willing to pay for. The second is through political means by feeding off others results by utilizing the political process in organizations or government. There is only one way to determine if someone is a productive performer or a political operative and that is through creating and evaluating results based upon a scoreboard.

For instance, just because someone is 7 feet tall does not mean he should automatically start in the NBA championship. The coach would evaluate his skills and see how he does against competition. Political factors like how nice he is, how eloquent a speaker, or how tall he is, will never take the place of results in a the competitive NBA. Unfortunately, most of society has rejected the competition model, believing it is too harsh on people who cannot perform, thus America has the greatest sports teams (who still use a competitive model with scoreboards) and, in the main, a declining culture where the FLD run rampant because few desire to keep score.

In LeaderShift, Oliver DeMille and I identified the two types of people as creators and credentialist. Creators can range from the ultra-successful Steve Jobs variety to the lesser-known, but more numerous, everyday producers in every field. Creators are the producers who keep the world afloat through their efforts and excellence. Credentialist, on the other hand, seek to ingratiate themselves into the creators current and benefit without producing. They focus less on results and more on their credentials.

Please don’t misunderstand the point. For there are many people with credentials that can also produce results. Nonetheless, when the main focus in a society moves from producing results to obtaining credentials, the society is on the FLD path. With few exceptions, customers around the world could care less about a person’s credentials and only want to know if the person or company can help them solved challenges. Organizations who solve customer challenges will never lack business, but companies who only care about credentials will soon be unemployed.

Plato and Aristotle

Plato and Aristotle

Ancient Greece is an excellent example of rewarding creators over credentialist. For they had little in the area of credentials, but only recognized results in the many fields they studied. Historian Michael Grant explains:

The Greeks like talking, and their climate (in which much daily life could take place out-of-doors) supplied sufficient and suitable space to talk: that is to say, to exchange and test thoughts and plans and ideas. They had leisure to engage in these activities – and leisure was a thing they prized . . . All this offered individuals the time and opportunity to give their best – outstanding individuals, that is to say. Here is something of a paradox. For if the collective, corporate city-state provided the framework and background for this lavish array of feats, they were actually undertaken and performed by a relatively few persons. Some forty of fifty of them created the classical Greek achievement. Without them, it would only have been a shadow.

In today’s ages of egalitarianism, where we attempt to suppress all differences, this paragraph becomes even more relevant. For one thing that is indisputably true is that everyone is created different. Each of us has different skills, talents, passions, and purposes. Not only shouldn’t this be suppressed, but it ought to be nurtured from birth. The greatest societies allow freedom for all because no one knows where the amazingly talented person will arise from. What society needs is enough freedom for the cream to rise to the top for the benefit of all.

Millions of people every year travel to Greek lands to study the amazing achievement of the 40-50 individuals, who were given the freedom to display their skills to the world. If Greece would have forced equality and punished those who dared to excel, then no one would speak of Greece and these 40-50 people would have lived and died like millions of other “ants” in all the other anthill ancient societies. Instead, the Greeks birthed Western Civilization and the ability to rise to one’s level of purpose, passion, and production.

I dream of a world where freedom fosters competition that rises the tide for all ships and provides the highest achievers the ability to bless society. LIFE Leadership was created to build a leadership engine for personal and professional growth for people around the world. I believe it’s time for people to stop playing it small in life. Instead, let’s use the freedoms God has blessed us with to leave our mark. Imagine, similar to the ancient Greeks, future generations reading, studying, and discussing the legacy you dared to live.


Orrin Woodward

23 Responses to “Freedom, Competition, & Progress”

  1. matt mielke said

    Orrin, for sake of online discussion, let’s say we learn about the 5LD, how can we make sure generations to come don’t fall victim to them. afterall, wasn’t that in part what the constitution tried to prevent? Today, the “progressive movement,” which isn’t progressive at all, says the constitution is a living document and no longer relevant in its entirety.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Education and leadership are only defense against FLD. Just like I said in Resolved, every organization eventually fails, the question is how many generations can we develop the education and leaders to stem the tide. thanks, Orrin

  2. Orrin, I am so thankful for LIFE Leadership and your leadership. Prior to LIFE I most definitely would have considered myself as a defender of and believer in freedom. Yet I’ve discovered these past couple of years just how deceived even I was. Thank you for revealing and teaching the principles of freedom as included in this blog. Keep leading the charge. You have many following!

  3. Steve Duba said

    Thanks Orrin. Your dream is alive and well.It will be on display in Columbus,Ohio this very weekend.Thank God you have surrounded
    yourself with like minded people who see the purpose as clearly as you.We are on the precipice of changing a country and a culture.
    The LIFE organization is positioned to hold a spot(pun intended)in history.You and this organization should be very proud.See you in
    OHIO. Thanks,Steve

  4. Don Schultz, Team VIP Phalanx said

    I like the comment by Marianne Williamson that says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” The idea being that we should see ourselves as God has created us to be and that is a man/woman who was created to bring glory to God. John Eldredge says in “Waking the Dead” that “the glory of God is man fully alive”.

    That being “fully alive” involves the striving to be the best in whatever we do. There will be competition with others and the attitude in which we carry out those activities and a recogniton of Whose we are and why we are doing them will keep our egos and attitudes in check.

  5. Keith Sieracki said

    So if we live in America, then we are just like the 7 footer who wants to play in the NBA … we have a basic set of credentials. However, height alone is not enough to be to earn a right to play in the NBA Finals, just as American lethargy and arrogance does not improve our freedoms. To be a champion, we chose to improve our skills through learning, studying and application. Being a creator is a choice, we have the freedom to win, who wants to play?

  6. David Nelson said

    When you lose Jesus Christ as Lord all sorts of crap happens. Your FLD is happening in a country turning from God to self.

    • Jason Dames said

      I was Just wondering if you new what the five laws of decline were. I am not sure if you meant that comment in attacking way or for discussion.The reason I was curiouse is because the five laws of decline are a direct reflection of the fall of man from God but it gives us the system or a way to see the root and repercutions of the fall so we as free agent Humans using wisdom from God can make adjustments and positive changes. Just like the saying goes. You don’t know what you dont’t know right. Orrin is one of the most Godly men I have seen and sets an example to what it means to live a God fearing Life and is exactly why He works on him self to became what God created him to be.

      • Orrin Woodward said

        Jason, I believe David meant it from a discussion standpoint as he see the rejection of God as the vehicle that has allowed the FLD to flourish. Keep rocking Jason! I’ll let David elaborate further if he chooses. thanks, Orrin

      • Jason Dames said

        Oh Thank you Orrin.. I wasn’t sure. I thought that was the case. I appreciate the rsponce. God Bless and look forward to seeing you this Weekend..:-)

  7. Elizabeth Sieracki said

    If we all do our part and make our mark we will create a LeaderShift!! Thanks for leading Wooodward’s!!

  8. Clint Fix said

    It seems that these days the idea of “equal opportunity” has been hijacked to mean “equal starting point” or even “equal results.” The latter two are both much different than the first in that they require coercion to achieve. I would rather live in a place where the rules of the game are the same for everyone, competition is encouraged and one can succeed for fail based on their own merits. For that, we need freedom. I’m thankful to be associated with a group of people dedicated to doing the hard work to turn the tide of our culture and fight fiercely for freedom!

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Clint, that is why I love the NBA example because the game should be played honorably, the referees ensure justice with no special deals, the teams PDCA constantly to adjust their game based upon the strategy of the competition and may the best team win. 🙂 thanks, Orrin

  9. Elaine Mallios said

    Right on!

  10. Jason Dames said

    That was a great article Orrin. God bless Man

  11. CJ Calvert said

    Great article, Orrin. If those great thinkers of ancient Greece produced Western civilization, Imagine what 40-50 PC’s can do!

  12. David Kangas said

    Dear Orrin: How about the PDCA that Shooter did in “Hoosiers” when Hickory ran the picket fence on the opposing team to score the winning basket? Awesome!!

  13. Great article!

  14. Anthony Nieto said

    Awesome blog! I love what CJ said about what 40-50 PC’s would do in our society. On top of that what Orrin said about ” The greatest societies allow freedom for all because no one knows where the amazingly talented person will arise from.” It is so true and logical if we were taught this growing up.

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