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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Trim Tabs, Tug-of-Wars, and Ocean Ships

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 31, 2017

To ensure the safety of the passengers and cargo, the captain of the ship must somehow steer his vessel, a vessel that can weigh upwards of 150,000 metric tons, to ensure it stays in deep water. For this reason, every large ocean going ship has a steering system, consisting of several parts working within a system, including a Trim Tab, designed as a rudder for the rudder which then turns the craft.  The Trim Tab is designed to allow the captain to do systematically what is impossible to do physically, apply enough force to turn the megaton ships and fulfill his role efficiently and effectively in a predictable fashion.After all, not only is the amount of force it would take to turn one of the large ships beyond the strength of the strongest person, even the force to turn the rudder of one of these ships is beyond his strength. And yet, due to the leverage of systems, the ship turns on the Captain’s command.  

In a similar vein, every successful business applies a Trim Tab designed to produce results systematically that are impossible individually. As discussed more fully in the systems chapter of RESOLVED, the concept of Trim Tabs allows what appears to be unbelievable to become predictable, if not even mundane.  In LIFE, for instance, the leader (captain) steers his ship by growing numbers, numbers that expand by running the play that scores every time (Power Player), a play made possible by the leaders building depth. If no depth is built, however, no one goes Power Player, and thus, numbers do not grow within the community.  A non-depth building leader, referring back to the ship analogy, is like a non-steering captain of a ship, practically worthless because the craft is beached somewhere in the shallows going nowhere.

In consequence, the true objective in any profession is to determine the Trim Tab activities and master them. To be sure, the captain could have many other great qualities, friendly, loyal, and a communication skills, but he will still run the ship aground if he does not use the trim tab to turn the rudder to steer the ship. Indeed, this is why I disagree with the statement, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and it is all small stuff,” for this is a recipe for disaster. Instead, I suggest, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, but sweat every detail of the important stuff (the Trim Tab actions).” Success hinges upon nothing less than identifying and mastering the Tim Tab activities.

Several months back, I did a talk where I explained depth building to be like pulling the rope in a tug-of-war – the winning side must want it so bad that he/she will do everything legally, morally, and ethically, to obtain victory. Then, last week, a video surfaced from a tug-of-war contest that highlighted the importance of knowing the Trim Tab behaviors (pulling the rope) and staying focused. There was a young boy who simply refused to surrender, encouraging his whole team by his example to keep fighting and stay focused regardless of the setbacks and later exhaustion. This is impressive Trim Tab tenacity, to say the least.

Where is this type of focus, determination, and drive today that this young boy displays? Why do so many people, even those who know the proper Trim Tab activities, simply give up when the going gets tough? Laziness is not the proper response when one’s dreams are on the line; unfortunately, in contrast to the young boys persistence, quitting seems to be the most popular response in today’s pampered age. Nevertheless, as the video teaches, there is a point in every person’s life where he has to determine whether he will do whatever it takes to win or simply be content with losing.

Perhaps this is why basketball great, Kobe Bryant, minced no words when he stated, “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.”  The Green Box community has declared war on lazy (lazy habits, lazy excuses, lazy thinking) and replaced it with winning habits, winning reasons, and winning thinking. I simply cannot comprehend why a person would make excuses when others are counting on him. While the movie Bleed is mediocre at best, near the end it had one of the best lines on success I have ever heard. Below is the dialog between the reporter and the three-time world boxing champ, Vinny Pazienza, on the biggest lie ever told about success:

Reporter: So what would you say the biggest deception was? What was the biggest lie you were told?

Vinny Pazienza: It is not that simple.

Reporter: Why not?

Vinny Pazienza: No that is the biggest lie I was ever told.” It is not that simple” and it is a lie they tell you over and over again.

Reporter: What is not simple?

Vinny Pazienza: Any of it. All of it. It is how they get you to give up, they say, “It is not that simple”

Reporter: So what is the truth?

Vinny Pazienza: That it is. That if you just do the thing that they tell you “you cannot” then it is done. and you realize it is that simple and that it always was.

This is IT! Vinny, in a nutshell, is saying find the Trim Tab and do it regardless of how many failed captains, the ones who refuse to steer their ships, tell you bad advice. When Laurie and I discovered the Trim Tab we simply did it – we did it when everyone told us we were crazy; we did it when we physically didn’t feel like it; we did it when no one else believed. We simply did what others said could not be done and then realized how much easier doing it was than thinking about doing it while justifying why it wasn’t working.

The difference between winners and wannabes is captured in the two quotes above, namely, quit listening to those who haven’t gone where you are going and then start (and never stop) walking while everyone else is talking. No wonder why my favorite action quote is, “When all is said and done, much more is said than is ever done.” 🙂


Orrin Woodward

27 Responses to “Trim Tabs, Tug-of-Wars, and Ocean Ships”

  1. Micah Kramer said

    Thanks O!! Perfect article for closing out today. Impeccable timing…that video is profound. Time to put the finish on the finish!


  2. Elaine Mallios said

    Great post Orrin. It is just that simple. More DO!

  3. Josh Melton said

    I love the video! That lil guy is a WINNER!

    • Orrin Woodward said

      He kept the main thing the main thing (pull the rope) and never quit! In fact, the tougher it was, the though he was! 🙂

  4. Thank you for this, Orrin. It is just about the decision to win and then doing it. Thank you for your constant encouragement and vision!

  5. Steve Duba said

    Thanks O .” The lessons will continue, until the lesson is learned”. Favorite quote by an amazing LIFE COACH we both know. L.W. You two are an inspiration to us all. Another would be ” Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying. We love you all and we WILL celebrate one million together. God Bless, Duba.

  6. Hey Orrin, Another fantastic Article, Love the video and that quote from Vinny Pazienza is awesome. Thanks for all you do!!!

  7. Jeff Darling said

    Awesome post! Thanks for the trim tab we have! Never been so excited about everyone’s future – those who decide to keep tugging and using the trim tab & our awesome COMMUNITY!
    On to A MILLION

  8. Kenny Cleveland said

    Wow! What a fantastic article O. Then you tie it in with the video. I couldn’t help but to lean with the young boy as he was giving it his all. Never give up and keep pulling the rope. Let’s go do this!


  9. Marc Militello said

    Absolutely love that video! Don’t cross the red line!!! PULL!!!!!!!

    Thanks for all you do brother!!

  10. CJ Calvert said

    Thank you Orrin. Love that quote from Vinne. It IS that simple. Great article!

  11. Krysla Folsom said

    Thank you, Orrin, for clarity I needed today. I am ready to start doing everything I have been told I can’t. So watch out, world!

  12. Tina Abernathy said


    Great article and video…Raymond recently posted the same thing on his Facebook.

    I love how you ended “start walking while everyone else is talking”.

    AaaaaaaaOooooo onward to 1 million lives blessed and beyond

  13. Norm Hayner said

    Thanks, Orrin, for a great article and inspiring video! What an excellent visual of team approach and the importance of drawing a line in the sand for what matters most in life. So much symbolism and truth… thank you for your continuous encouragement and all you do to enrich the lives of others to ultimately set people free!

  14. Peggi Kern said

    Orrin, Thank you for consistently keeping the main thing the main thing, then teaching in such powerful visuals means! Loved the article and today’s Turbo 5 zoom!

  15. Ben Durrant said

    Thanks O, It’s time to master the trim tabs of Life. Your blog is a huge asset to the teams success. Thanks for your continued commitment to help us all win!

  16. Renee Oettinger said

    I, like Kenny, also found myself leaning with the boy and find that is true when i attend my children’s sporting events. We want to put effort in to help them win and with the Green Box we have the answer to help many people win in Life. Thanks Orrin

  17. Orrin,
    Oustanding. Inspiring. Hang in there to the last breath. Give it your all.

  18. Jerry said

    Wow Orrin that was an awesome read, I never thought of the trim tab in that fashion but it’s true! Awesome analogy !

  19. Clif Gibson said

    Great post, Orrin. I’ve read it several times and watched the video over and over. So much truth and conviction. Thank you my friend.

  20. There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. – Victor Hugo

    It’s time we become the trim tab for solving a multi-trillion dollar problem! You and Laurie, the Fotu’s and the Robson’s have been that boy to our family. We will never let go of the rope again!

  21. One of your very best blog posts. Ever. It’s exactly what I needed to read, what I needed to see, what I needed to feel! Thanks for taking the time to capture this amazingly simply, yet so incredibly important perspective.

  22. Charles Clermont said

    Super article Orrin!
    And great timing too. No matter what, we will NOT CROSS THE RED LINE!!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  23. Mary Hermsen said

    Great post, Orrin! Thank you for continuing to find ways to light a fire under us, and for leading the way. Looking forward to seeing you in Kansas City!

  24. Meko Arroyo said

    Tremendous! Simply focus on the small Important things daily (Trim tabs) to achieve success. Thanks for breaking it down O!

  25. Nathan Taylor said

    Outstanding IT IS that simple. My light bulb has been turned on. Work like is depends on me. Pray like it depends on God. Give my LORD all the glory and my team. No doubt I have gone past that line and lost my rope. I have that rope and I am pulling the line today.

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