Orrin Woodward: Life Leadership

NY Times/WSJ best-selling author Orrin Woodward shares his life leadership secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

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    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 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 Leadership. 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 the ‘Faith’ Category

Know why you believe what you believe.

Mentoring Matters

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 11, 2012

After nearly twenty years of working with people, building teams, and leading people, I have learned that there are many Biblical truths that can be applied daily. For instance, Romans 1:18 clearly explains why unrighteous people refuse to see the truths about themselves and their sinful condition. In the ESV version of the Bible, Romans 1:18 reads, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”  Paul wrote this epistle to explain why the people who see the truth of God all around them—systems designed beyond the capabilities of today’s best engineers, anthropic principles that if off by even the slightest amount would not have supported mankind, and proof (cosmological, teleological, and natural theology) that points toward a Creator—suppress and reject it. Interestingly, nearly 2,000 years ago, Paul, in apparent anticipation of today’s faithless age, captured the reason why people chronically suppress truth.

Certainly Paul’s statement was intended to reflect the suppression of the truth of God, but it has secondary applications as well. For example, even today’s secular leadership manuals teach the importance of “confronting reality,” the same principle Paul expounded above. Leaders have learned that people do not like dealing with uncomfortable truths of any size. Whether that truth is major (like the existence of God) or small (like miscommunication with a co-worker), people quickly suppress the truth, allowing themselves to be held blameless while the other party is held responsible for any issues. Consequently, most people never fulfill their leadership potential because they are too busy suppressing truth to learn from it.

Have you ever wondered why it is that people see others’ faults so clearly, yet seem to struggle to discover, or at least admit discovery of, their own? This is a big challenge. Even so, imagine what could change in a person’s life if he could see his own areas of needed improvement as easily as he sees others’. This is a HUGE part of the leadership journey and a HUGE part of a mentor’s role. I can promise you this: People who run around blaming everyone but themselves for their current predicaments are hopelessly self-deceived through the repeated suppression of truth. (Internet Haters come to mind. :) ) Thankfully, few people allow themselves to slide so far from truth; however, all of us veer from truth to some degree. Thus, one of the key leadership assignments is to identify and address areas where untruth has seeped into one’s thinking. In other words, a problem identified is half solved.

Mentoring matters because it helps people see their blind spots and begin working on them. I have been blessed with superb mentors over the years and have read many books that have helped me. With that said, my wife Laurie, who has developed the tact and courage to address her husband in love, has done the best job of pointing out where I might be suffering from suppression of truth at any given time. It is my assignment, as a leader confronted with truth, to view the situation without emotion and address the facts as they are, not as I want them to be. No one is perfect at this art, but with practice and courage, a person can grow and change. The Mental Fitness Challenge from the LIFE business is a personal mentoring program to improve one’s ability to deal with truth.

What about you? Are you dealing with uncomfortable truths in your life? Let me speak to the Christians reading this post for a moment. Christians need to understand that suppressing truth in any area of life is just another name for sin. That may sound strong, but please hear me out. Suppressing truth is really just a simpler way of saying that people would rather believe comfortable lies than difficult truths. Since the Bible states that all lies come from the “father of lies,” then suppressing truth makes one believe lies and, in that instance, a person has chosen to follow Satan, not God. This is a significant distinction that I believe would revolutionize the Christian church. The Christian church must repent from believing Satan’s lies in any area of life and begin to live and reflect God’s truths again.

Okay, okay, I will hop off my soapbox now. I just encourage each person to examine his thinking and identify where the suppression of truth may be hurting him. If you have mentors, then seek their help in the process. 2012 is shaping up to be a breakthrough year for so many, and I encourage you to break through, too. Below is the inaugural HBRN Leadership Factory interview. Tony and I asked Claude Hamilton on as our special guest and we dove into the mentoring process. Enjoy.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in All News, Faith, Leadership/Personal Development | 39 Comments »

Shoot the Light

Posted by Orrin Woodward on July 15, 2012

Recently, I finished several weeks of extensive study of the Gospel of John. What struck me most was the many references to darkness and light scattered throughout the book. Indeed, further research has led me to the conclusion that light and darkness is themed through the entire Bible. Numerous verses direct those who desire mercy to come to the light. In contrast, those who reject the light do so because they desire evil deeds more than mercy.

Take time this Sunday to contemplate your life and work. Every person needs forgiveness; however, only those who come to and live in the light will receive it. I have attached several verses that I pulled together on the subject to write the following poem on light and darkness. It seems that people who love darkness HATE anyone who reflects Christ light. Even so, Christians are commanded to reflect His light anyway and are without excuse for cowardice.

So here is my question for Sunday morning: Are you walking in the light or hiding in the darkness? If in the light, are your reflecting that light into the darkness of the world? Stop hiding in the darkness and shooting at the light; instead, come to the light and receive mercy.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Proverbs 2:13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,

Jeremiah 9:6 You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the LORD.

John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

John 7: 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

John 12:46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Shoot the Light
by Orrin Woodward

In Him is life eternal,
casting rays of light,
Hell is a raging infernal,
slaying hope with its might.

Day versus night, cosmic wars
Man must choose – love or hate.
One surrenders, light restores,
One resists, darkened his state.

Men in darkness shoot the Light
Christians kneel grace received.
Truth against lies is the fight.
Satan’s minions are deceived.

Shooting light, Christ reflected,
Quenching rays, hiding deeds.
Denying truth; duty neglected
Darkness blinds a sinner’s needs.

Repent from sin and believe.
Jesus Christ grace and love.
God-man on earth is conceived.
Faith in Him is life above.

Posted in Faith | 81 Comments »

Chris Brady: A Month of Italy

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 3, 2012

When Chris Brady called me last year and told me he was working on another book, that didn’t surprise me as he loves writing and has produced a series of wonderful books; however, when he sent me over a draft copy, I knew immediately this one was different. Chris, although certainly one of the top leaders in the personal development field is, in truth, difficult to fit into the typical leadership expert genre.  Indeed, because of his versatility developed through numerous experiences, innovations, and interests, Chris talents flow in so many directions – he’s artistic, witty, philosophical, humble, and the most creative person I have ever met!

Chris applies all of these qualities in writing this book. In fact, Laurie and I have toured Italy several times in my life, but we felt reading A Month of Italy was as enjoyable, if not more so, than us actually being there. How is that possible? Because Chris, through his creative writing style, gives you a seat in the Brady mini-bus as they tour the Italian countryside. In addition to the informative history and gut-splitting humor shared during the day trips around Italy, Chris will also have you pondering the finer distinctions in life, like the difference between the urgent and important, as you “experience” renewal within the context of the Brady family vacation. I laughed; I cried; I thought; but most importantly, I changed after reading this book. Below is Chris’s description of his new book.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Italy Book pictureHave you ever felt overworked, overstressed, maxed out, and out of focus?

Have you ever needed a break from it all, and by that, I mean something more than a frenzied weekend or busy plastic vacation?

Have you ever had enough of your cell phone, emails, social networks, texts, and the like?

Have you ever felt like you were out of balance and needed some serious restoration?

Have you ever considered the fact that you could take a career break – a sabbatical – to allow you to clear your head and restore your focus?

Have you ever dreamed of traveling through the back roads of Italy and seeing the famous Tuscan countryside?

Have you ever wanted to sample Italy’s cuisine, sunsets, culture, art, architecture, and history?

Are you entertained by humorous narrative and adventure stories?

For anyone who can answer “yes” to even one of these questions, I am happy to announce that my latest book, A Month of Italy: Rediscovering the Art of Vacation, is set to debut this July. For just a little taste, here is the dust jacket inscription:

What can possibly be said about Italy that hasn’t been already? Primarily, that you can enjoy it too! Refreshingly relate-able in a genre previously populated by wealthy expats and Hollywood stars, this book chronicles an ordinary family taking an extraordinary trip, and most importantly, paves the way for you to take one of your own! With hilarious wit and fast-paced narrative, Brady thrills with honest commentary on what a “trip of a lifetime” actually feels like, and most endearingly, he succeeds in convincing you that not only should you take a similar one, but that you will!  Within a few pages you’ll be visualizing panoramic Tuscan vistas and breaking open the piggy bank, laughing as you turn the pages and dreaming of your own escape.  This story is one of going slow in order to go fast; it’s about rediscovering and brining back into favor a lost art, namely, the art of vacation, and it is, or rather should be, a story about you.

Here are some of the early reviews:

“I was intrigued from the first sentence clear through the book! It teaches so many life and leadership lessons—about family, relationships, learning, improving, and becoming better. I’ll read it again and again, and I’ll read it on the plane on every vacation I ever go on.” – Oliver DeMille, NY Times best selling author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, Freedom Shift, and 1913

“A beautiful story and pivotal idea for a book!” – Richard Bliss Brookeauthor of Mach II, The Art of Vision and Self Motivation and The Four Year Career

“With humor, Brady guides you through heart-warming history, incredible beauty, the most gracious people, and of course, the world’s most delicious food and wine! After reading his entertaining work, you will be charting your own course to Italy.”  -Sharon Lechter, Co-author of Outwitting the Devil, Three Feet From Gold and Rich Dad Poor Dad

 “Extremely engaging and delightful – a well told story!” – Chris Gross, CEO Gabriel Media Group, Inc., cofounder of Networking Times.

 “This is a book every traveler should read and bring along in order to experience the best of Italy.” – Dr. Gaetano (Guy) Sottile, President and Founder, Italy for Christ, Inc.

“Witty, funny, and at points downright hilarious, but mixed with profound truths shared in a way that makes one pause and ponder.” – Orrin Woodward: Winner of the 2011 IAB Top Leadership Award

“A spell-binding lesson in learning how to live again, with real purpose. You can’t stop turning the pages . . . .” – Art Jonak, founder MastermindEvent.com

“I have never read a book that teaches so much while being this fun at the same time.” – Tim Marks, best-selling author of “Voyage of a Viking”

“This is the best work Chris Brady has written to date. If this is a vacation handbook, it has redefined the vacation experience.” – Venkat Varada, Silicon Valley Executive

“Vacationing truly is a lost art, and Brady poignantly and beautifully illustrates why it is so vital for driven leaders. A timeless treatise on ‘sharpening the saw,’ A Month of Italy is a book I will sip and savor, ponder and reflect on time and time again. Not only are Chris’s insights powerful and refreshing, but his vivid and witty writing is simply a pleasure to read. Reading this book is a charming vacation itself, and it will inspire you to vacation deliberately, effectively, and joyfully.” – Stephen Palmer, New York Times best-selling author of “Uncommon Sense: A Common Citizen’s Guide to Rebuilding America”

“In our hectic lives we are rarely 100% present in any situation. Chris Brady shows that with proper play time, our work time is so much more effective. He has freed my spirit!” – Jason Ashley, country singer/songwriter (Texas Songwriter of the Year 2008)

“Italy is unique. Moreover, it is a country where the traveler can en- joy the most various experiences. Chris Brady’s book has the ability, astonishing even for an Italian, to convey to the reader that variety, that richness of feelings, sights, perfumes, tastes . . . and people.” – Senator Lucio Malan, Senior Secretary of the Presidency of the Italian Senate

In early July, look for it in bookstores and online stores everywhere, and of course, here. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!

Chris Brady

Posted in Faith, Family, Fun | Tagged: | 81 Comments »

Western Civilization and Judeo/Christian Influences

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 27, 2012

Here is a portion of a fantastic article by Cheryl Stansberry on the influence of Christianity on Western Civilization. Just as trees dies when the roots are damaged, so too will Western Civilization die when its roots are neglected. In my quest to re-educate the West on its past, this research paper will help immensely. Our family has been reviewing this article and discussing its key implications. One of the missing ingredients in today’s histories is the moral aspect. History without morality tends to downgrade into useless dates, names, and events; instead of the actual moral battle between good and evil. Regretfully, the reason most people do not enjoy history is that they were exposed to the subject without being taught the underlying moral struggle within it.

I have had my personal battles with injustice and have learned greatly from the experiences, leading me to understand history at a whole new level. It is through the struggles in life that resolutions are made and it was through my struggles that I (and my co-founders) resolved to start the LIFE Business, giving people the opportunity to grow into the people God intended them to be. What struggles in your life helped you resolve to change? Enjoy this portion and please discuss what you learned below. Thanks!

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

The Influence of Christianity on Western Civilization

The positive influence of Christianity is far reaching especially in the rich history and culture of Western Civilization despite a long standing ignorance or adamant denial of its contributions. The Bible itself is responsible for much of the language, literature, and fine arts we enjoy today as its artists and composers were heavily influenced by its writings. Paul Maier, in writing the forward to the book How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin J. Schmidt, says this about the profound impact Christianity has had on the development of Western Civilization:

“No other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, movement—whatever—has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done. Its shortcomings, clearly conceded by this author, are nevertheless heavily outweighed by its benefits to all mankind” (Schmidt 9).

Contrary to the history texts treatment of the subject, Christian influence on values, beliefs, and practices in Western culture are abundant and well ingrained into the flourishing society of today (Schmidt 12). In the Old Testament book of Hosea the writer states: “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” a statement that can well be applied to those today who are forgetful of the past (The Reformation Study Bible, Hosea 4.6a).

Schmidt writes regarding liberty and justice as seen by today’s culture:

“The liberty and justice that are enjoyed by humans in Western societies and in some non-Western countries are increasingly seen as the products of a benevolent, secular government that is the provider of all things. There seems to be no awareness that the liberties and rights that are currently operative in free societies of the West are to a great degree the result of Christianity’s influence (248). History is replete with examples of individuals who acted as a law unto themselves “often curtailing, even obliterating the natural rights and freedoms of the country’s citizens (249). Christianity’s influence, however, set into motion the belief that man is accountable to God and that the law is the same regardless of status. More than one thousand years before the birth of Christ the biblical requirement given by Moses comprised an essential component of the principle that “no man is above the law.”

One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Deuteronomy 19.15)

Thus the accuser, regardless of position in society, could not arbitrarily incarcerate or execute the accused and was himself subject to the law. The New Testament also mandated two or more witnesses in ecclesiastical matters regarding an erring Christian in Matthew 18:15-17 (Schmidt 249). The criminal and justice systems of many free countries today employ this Judeo-Christian requirement of having witnesses testify and in British and American jurisprudence, witnesses are part of “due process of law,’ a legal concept first appearing under King Edward III in the fourteenth century (Schmidt 249). One startling example of the concept that no man is above the law is seen in the conflict between the Christian emperor Theodosius the Great and St. Ambrose. It happened in 300 A.D. when some in Thessalonica rioted and aroused the anger of the emperor who overreacted by slaughtering approximately seven thousand people, most of whom were innocent. Bishop Ambrose asked the emperor to repent and when Theodosius refused, the bishop excommunicated him. After a month Theodosius prostrated himself and repented in Ambrose’s cathedral. Often mistaken as a struggle for power between church and state, the evidence in which Ambrose’s letter to the emperor cited sole concern for the emperor’s spiritual welfare conclude this as being the first instance of applying the principle that no one is above the law (Schmidt 250).

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty | 41 Comments »

The Meaning of Liberty

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 17, 2012

Liberty is nearly a sacred principle for most North American citizens. With that said, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that most of us do not understand all of its implications. For example, liberty doesn’t mean license, since a person isn’t free to do anything he likes as robbing and pillaging violate others rights. Furthermore, liberty doesn’t demand society to live according to a person’s preferences enforced by coercive means. Rather, liberty implies a respect for the God-given rights of others, refusing to use violence against others, unless in self-defense.

This confusion over the meaning of liberty seems to be at the forefront of today’s culture wars. Humanists want to force everyone in school to be fed their world-view; while on the other hand, many Christian leaders want to use the public schools to force-feed a Christian world-view. One example I have read, from many, is a 1980′s article from the Humanist magazine:

I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool, daycare, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of “love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved.

I disagree with this philosophy for numerous reasons, one being it’s totalitarian implications. Indeed, in a free society, both the Humanist and the Christian agendas for our State school systems are improper, because they surrender liberty of thought to a monolithic mindset of one size fits all. The liberty philosophy, on the other hand, would step back from the problem further and ask: why have a public school system at all? Why not privatize the educational system so that humanist, Christians, Jews, etc, can teach the principles that they believe to their children. Isn’t freedom in education foundational to freedom in society? It seems peculiar that America values freedom so greatly, yet surrenders the freedom to educate their children to the State.

Why battle it out in public schools when liberty demands freedom for all world-views to compete in the marketplace of ideas? School vouchers would bring freedom and competition back to the woefully struggling American educational system. This isn’t a knock on the many hard-working teachers attempting to make a difference in a poorly designed system; rather, I am simply stating the “the Educational Emperor has no clothes on,” so to speak. :) America will fall further and further behind if we continue to use our schools as indoctrination and socialization facilities, instead of its intended roles as learning, thinking, and doing educational centers. By giving parents the power of the purse, schools would quickly start serving the customers, not their own agendas. This is what the FREE in Free-Enterprise is all about.

America was the bastion of free enterprise and freedom for the individual, but now fights totalitarian style battles with the next-generation’s minds. America as a whole is the loser as our kids are quickly falling further and further behind in education as compared to other countries. Despite the fact that America spends more money per child than all the rest, we struggle to place in the Top 50 nations in education. This is a national embarrassment! The Mental Fitness Challenge is a program to restore some of the lost principles of a proper education back into the marketplace. Early results indicate the need is massive and the hunger is present within the populace.

Here is an article on Thomas Jefferson’s views to start the discussion on how we can free education from the powers-that-be. Even though I disagree with the humanist positions, I would fight for their right to liberty in the education of their children. Similarly, I would hope there are enough liberty loving people left in all philosophies to do the same for my family.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty, Orrin Woodward | 56 Comments »

LIFE Island: Family & Friends

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 6, 2012

In 1998, I got this crazy dream. I had had many dreams that others thought were crazy at the time, but I had always believed they were fairly reasonable. Yet even I knew this particular dream was crazy! However, an important point about life is that if you’re not willing to dream crazy dreams, then crazy dreams will never come true for you.

Anyway, as an engineer at Delphi, a division of General Motors, I placed pictures on my cubicle wall of an in-house movie theater, houses on the lakes, properties with forests, and yachts, to name just a few. Each of the pictures was courageously pinned on the wall. I say courageously because when new engineers joined the Delphi division, they were given a tour of the facility. Without fail, one of the last stops was my cubicle to show them the crazy pictures I had on the wall. Sure they laughed at me while the tour guide explained again why engineers don’t live like this. I didn’t like it, but it only steeled my resolve. I figured that it was better for them to laugh at me while I kept my dreams than for them to stop laughing because I had surrendered my dreams.

As I reflect back, every single picture pinned on that wall came true. In fact, many of the PC members have accomplished the pictures today. Ok, there is one picture that still hasn’t been accomplished. It’s not that it hasn’t come true; it’s still just a work-in-progress. :) Some of you may have already guessed what that dream is: LIFE Island. I remember hesitating when I placed the island picture on the wall; I didn’t take placing a picture lightly because I knew it was a commitment made to myself to follow through, and this island picture was a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG (as Jim Collins calls it). Many times, I stared at that island dreaming of the day when a fleet of yachts would travel from Florida (yes, I had a Florida property on the wall) to the island.

There are two types of people reading this article. The first group will think I am crazy to dream a BHAG of this magnitude, believing there’s no way the LIFE community can achieve that. The ones in the second group, in contrast, will study the picture and feed their elephant minds. This group understands Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s proclamation, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” This article won’t teach a person how to build a LIFE business; instead, it is an expression of fourteen years of longing for an island to enjoy with my family and friends.

Can anyone else imagine the evening picnics at the beach park, cookouts, volleyball, horseshoes, and late-night conversation around the firepit all while enjoying the beautiful views and listening to the ocean surf behind us? Community and fellowship are essential for the picture I have envisioned. I can see the fleet of PC yachts making its way into the LIFE Island harbor. Laurie and I greet people as they disembark from their private yachts and ready themselves for several months of R&R on the island. As you step off your yacht, you realize that every plan, every challenge, every year was worth the effort required to achieve this victory.

The aroma of freshly grilled steaks, chicken, and fish permeates the air as you mingle among friends. Freshly squeezed fruit juices tease your taste buds as you recalibrate yourself to the island tempo. Imagine Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Claude Hamilton, George Guzzardo, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, and their lovely brides looking you in the eyes and welcoming you to the dream-come-true LIFE Island. Later, many will walk the island trails for the first time—speechless as they realize that the dream they have yearned for, the dream they have worked for, the dream they have struggled for has finally come true.

I know; I know—I must be crazy. I have been hearing the same thing for years now. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about BHAGs, it’s that if it doesn’t take your breath away, then it’s not a BHAG at all. This dream has always (and still does) taken my breath away! Today, by posting this picture, I am officially launching the quest for LIFE Island. Consider this blog as my new office wall. Go ahead and look at the picture. Now that you have seen it, here is my question: Which group do you belong to? One group will laugh now but live with the pain of sacrificed dreams later; the other group will sacrifice now but live with friends on an island of dreams later.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Walker Cay picture

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Life Training, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , | 62 Comments »

Lindsay Lohan – Vanity of Fame, Fortune, & Power

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 5, 2012

It was another typical morning; I wrapped up my Bible studies and sat down to briefly (all the news in five minutes or less) review today’s current events. However, today’s news really got me thinking. Yahoo had posted a video of child-star to troubled-teen to drugged-up-diva Lindsay Lohan. Watch the video and then let’s talk.


I don’t know her background. I don’t know her movies. But I couldn’t help but feel her pain. How many people must go through the same storyline before the world wakes up? All that glitters is not gold! Solomon said it most succinctly when he proclaimed, “All is vanity.” Do not be fooled by the world’s definitions of success; fame, fortune, and power do not satisfy. Examine the lives of Marilyn Monroe (fame), J. Paul Getty (fortune), and L.B. Johnson (power); they each had what others crave, yet they died alone, unhappy, and practically friendless. I could go on; anyone ever hear of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, or Whitney Houston?

History is full of the vanity of fame, fortune, and power, and yet each year millions more chase the illusion. In my personal life, I have experienced my share of each of these “false gods” and I can speak from first-hand experience that all is vanity. Does this mean we shouldn’t strive for excellence, or that we should settle for mediocrity? Of course, it doesn’t. However, it does mean we should begin with the end in mind, and fame, fortune, and power are terrible ends with which to start.

Each of these “false gods” turns a person inward, making him focus more on himself, his needs, and his desires – a sure recipe for unhappiness. The saddest day in a star’s life is when he has accomplished everything he aimed for only to discover it is all vanity. The endless displays, divorces, and drugs are all attempts to mask the emptiness of the accomplishments. For most superstars, the results were not worth the investment; for in order to achieve the prize, the stars had to sacrifice themselves.

Fortunately, there is a path out of the dilemma. Jesus Christ stated the two greatest commandments were to:

1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
2. Love others as yourself.

In truth, a person finds his life when he loses it in a worthy cause. What, in other words, are you willing to sacrifice your life for? Every single day, you pay for the twenty-four hours provided to you by sacrificing another day of your life. In your life, has the investment been truly worth the sacrifice? If not, why do you continue in that direction?

The greatest return on investment is when a person fulfills God’s plan for his life. Serving God and others is the only path to true fulfillment. In RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I share the principles that helped me stop chasing an illusion and start living my destiny.

In this Easter season, Lindsay Lohan’s video reminded me how thankful I am that God saved a ruined sinner like me through the finished work of Jesus Christ. I pray that someone close to Lindsay Lohan can share the same message of grace, hope, and mercy with her.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | 23 Comments »

Truth & Tact: The Art of Loving People & Truth

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 1, 2012

Truth and tact are two concepts that rarely mix; however, when they do, one knows that he is in the presence of leadership greatness. On one side, the world is filled with blowhards who will bluntly state truth while influencing no one, and honestly, even annoying those who agree with them. On the other side, are the people who refuse to share the truth for fear of causing offense. These people would rather see someone run a car off a cliff than offend him by urging him to slow down. Both extremes are wrong but, unfortunately, ubiquitous.

Imagine the leadership revolution that would be possible if we learned to speak truth in love. I know this may only be a dream, but it’s one I am willing to pursue. My life through twenty-five years of age was moving from one disastrous incident of lack of tact to the next. I’m not exaggerating here; I was clueless when it came to tact and truth. Sadly, my cluelessness hurt those closest to me. Although I have certainly improved in this area, not a day passes without catching myself lacking tact in some conversation. Indeed, I would say tact, next to character, has been the biggest stumbling block for many potential leaders.

Chris Brady states, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and it wasn’t until I started reading, listening, and associating with leaders that I realized how tactless I truly was. Where do you fall in the truth-tact continuum? Anyone can change, but he must first begin with a clear perspective on the truth of his current condition. Read the following excellent essay from the 19th-century writer J. R. Miller and honestly confront your current level of tact. Would to God that more people would confront reality on their current level of tact and choose to change.

I guess what I am saying is: Imagine if more people applied the unvarnished truth (while committing to change, grow, and win) upon themselves and loving tact upon others, instead of the current method of applying loving tact upon themselves and unvarnished truth upon others. Now that would be a LIFE revolution worth participating in! :)

Sincerely,
Orrin Woodward

“Evil is wrought by lack of thought—as well as lack of heart.”

True tact—is sanctified common sense. It is Christian love doing its proper and legitimate work. It is that wisdom which our Lord commended so heartily to the disciples as they went out among enemies and into a hostile world. It is at the same time as harmless as a dove. No one can read the New Testament thoughtfully, without seeing how love moves everywhere as the queen of all the graces. Truth is everywhere clothed in the warm and radiant beauty of charity. Positive, strong and mighty, it is ever gentle as the touch of a child’s finger. Someone has said that whoever makes truth unpleasant, commits high treason against virtue. The remark needs a qualification. There are unpleasant truths that must cause pain when faithfully spoken. Yet truth itself is always lovely, and we are not loyal to it when we present it in any way that will make it appear repulsive.

Christian tact is wise and loving thoughtfulness. It is that charity which is wisely gentle to all, which bears all things, which seeks not her own, which thinks no evil. It has an instinctive desire to avoid giving pain. It seeks to please all men for their good. It knows very well, that the surest way not to do men good, is to antagonize them and excite their opposition and enmity; therefore, as far as possible, it avoids all direct attack upon the life and opinions of others. It shows respect for the views of those who differ in sentiment or belief.

A wise writer has said, “When we would show anyone that he is mistaken, our best course is to observe on what side he considers the subject—for his view of it is generally right, on his side—and admit to him that he is right so far. He will be satisfied with this acknowledgment that he was not wrong in his judgment, though inadvertent in not looking at the whole of the case.” How much wiser and more effective this method, than that of violently assaulting the position of one who differs from us, as if we were infallible—and he and his opinions, were worthy only of our contempt! We can accomplish by indirection, what we could never do by direct methods.

In no class of work is this wise tact so much needed, as in trying to lead men to Christ. There is somewhere a ‘key to every heart’, and yet there are good and earnest men, to whom no heart opens. They have zeal without knowledge. Sanctified tact shows its skill in a thousand little ways, which no rules can mark out—but which win hearts and find acceptance for the living truth, and for the wondrous love of Christ. I believe it will be seen in the end, that many lives which might have been saved by the gentle methods which love teaches—have drifted away from Christ and been lost, through the unwisdom of workers.

Tact has a wonderful power in smoothing out tangled affairs. A pastor, with it, will harmonize a church composed of most discordant elements, and prevent a thousand strifes and quarrels, by saying the right word at the right time—and by quietly and wisely setting other influences to work to neutralize the discordant tendencies. A teacher possessed of this gift, can control the most unruly pupils and disarm mischief of its power to annoy and disturb the peace. In the home it is a most indispensable oil.

Quiet tact will always have the soft word, ready to speak in time to turn away anger. It knows how to avoid unsafe ground. It can put all parties into a good humor, when there is danger of difference or clashing. It is silent—when silence is better than speech.

Nothing else has so much to do with the success or failure of men in usefulness, as the possession or non-possession of tact. A man with great gifts and learning accomplishes nothing; while another, with not one-half of his natural powers or acquirements, far outstrips him in practical life. The difference lies in tact—in knowing the art of doing things. We need more than brains, and erudition. The talent of all which tells most effectively in life—is that which teaches us how to use the power we have. One person will do more good without learning—than another with his brain full of the knowledge of the ages.

Tact is no doubt largely a natural endowment—but it is also partly an art, and can be cultivated. The awkward man who is always swinging himself against someone, or treading down some tender flower—may acquire something of the grace of easy carriage. The harsh, brusque man may get a softer heart, and with it a softer manner. The man who is always saying the wrong word and paining someone, may at least learn to be silent on doubtful occasions. There is no better way to acquire this wonder-working tact—than by becoming filled with the spirit of Christ. Warm love in the heart for all men, unselfish, thoughtful, kind—will always find some beautiful way to perform its beneficent ministries.

A delicate kindness moves us—more than the sublimest exhibition of power. Gentleness is mightier than noise or force. The tiny flower growing high up on the cold, rugged mountain, amid ice and snow, impresses the beholder more than the great piles of granite that tower to the clouds. The soft shining of the sun can do more than the rude wintry blast—to make men unfasten their heavy garments and open their hearts to the influences of good.

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Bodin Defeats Althusius in America?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 27, 2012

Althusius versus Bodin

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely – Lord Acton

Power reveals; absolute power reveals absolutely – Orrin Woodward

Government and People

James Madison once wrote, “If men were angels there would be no need for government.” Since men aren’t angels, however, governments are formed to protect mankind’s life, liberty, and property. There are two overriding question are: Who is the ultimate sovereign? And how do the people protect themselves against the government’s “monopoly of force” if the sovereign disregards its intended function and begins to abuse the very people it should be protecting? These questions date back to the fall of Adam and Eve.

Absolute and Divided Sovereignty

There are two radically conflicting views pertaining to government and sovereignty. The first philosophy is portrayed in the writings of the 16th century writer, Jean Bodin. In his Six Books of the Commonweale, he wrote: “For as the great sovraigne God, cannot make another God equall unto himselfe, considering that he is of infinit power and greatness, and that there cannot bee two infinit things, as is by naturall demonstrations manifest: so also may wee say, that the prince whom we have set down as the image of God, cannot make a subject equall unto himselfe.” Charles Loyseau summarized Bodin’s political thoughts when he wrote, “Sovereignty is inseparable from the state, because sovereignty is what brings the state into being; in concreto, state and sovereignty are synonymous.” The second philosophy is best exemplified in the 16th century writings of Johannes Althusius.  His political thoughts combined the medieval and modern, birthing the main ideas of the later federalism of America’s founding fathers. Althusius perceived the State as a “coalescence” of provinces and regions confederated together. He rejected absolute sovereignty; instead, he advocated selected sovereignty over individual provinces and regions that freely combine for the benefit of all.

Althusius divided sovereignty to protect the people’s freedoms. Alain de Benoist, an Althusian scholar, writes:

By posing the question of shared jurisdictions, and by arguing that on all levels of public life the state should take care only of tasks that lower levels cannot accomplish, Althusius established himself as the first post-medieval defender of the principle of subsidiary authority. The word “subsidiarity,” which Althusius used often, is derived from the Latin subsidium, which was used to refer to troops or reserves called up to reinforce regular armies when needed. Politically, the principle of subsidiarity signifies that higher levels must always be limited in the sense that they do not intervene unless and until a lower level is unable to carry out a required task. This is a principle of equilibrium and regulation that aims to keep initiatives at the lower level, and to protect them from being subsumed by those above.

The Abysmal Twentieth Century

The question of sovereignty hinges upon man’s ability to check himself if given absolute power. Historically, the answer to this question is abysmally clear. Man, unlike God, cannot handle absolute sovereignty due to his inherently sinful nature. As Martin Luther said, “Let God be God and ruined sinner be ruined sinner.” Absolute sovereignty has always eventually fell into tyranny against the people allegedly being served. In fact, in many ways, the history of the twentieth century is simply an extended case study on the inability of absolute sovereigns to check their urge to plunder the people. From Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, etc, the historical evidence points overwhelmingly to the need for divided sovereignty. Regretfully, however, one of the few lessons learned from history is that no one learns lessons from history. :)  If anyone needs further evidence on how ideas have consequences, think upon Bodin’s 16th century writing. Ponder how many lives have been lost because of the adoption of Bodin’s teachings.  Quoting Alain de Benoist again:

This absolute concept of sovereignty is what triumphed in Jean Bodin’s Six Books of the Commonweale, first published in 1576, when Europe’s stability was upset by religious wars. Bodin writes: “If there be two princes equall in power, one of them hath not the power to command the other. . . . The laws of the prince are not dependant because they are pure and frankly voluntary.” The Latin word Bodin uses to define sovereignty is majestas, and his book opens with the following words: “Commonweale is a lawfull government of many families, and of that which unto them in common belongeth, with a puissant soveraigntie.” Extending the thought of French legists, Jean Bodin’s political doctrine is founded on the concept of indivisible sovereignty and on legislative power as a dominant principle. Given the state’s centrality, it is the source of all other authority. Yet, Bodin recognizes the importance of intermediary bodies, of families and “partial” societies. But he claims that they should not infringe on the powers of the prince, who is sovereign by divine law and is the pinnacle of a society conceived as a pyramid. Thus, sovereignty is defined as the “absolute and perpetual power of a republic,” i.e., as unlimited power: having no rival in the political and social order; in reality, power is exercised by the prince, who is the sole interpreter of divine right and natural law. Of course, he must respect jus gentium and the constitutional laws of the monarchy, but he is not subject to any human law, since he is accountable only to God, whose political “image” he represents on earth.

Absolute power has brought nothing but absolute horror to mankind. It is time to push sovereignty back to the people and localize its use. The federal government was intended to protect life, liberty, and property – nothing more. The founding fathers separated sovereignty between the local, state, and federal governments; however, since 1913, the federal government has usurped the sovereignty and rules absolutely over the people. Bodin, in other words, has conquered Althusius in the battle of ideas. Unless the people awaken themselves, America’s freedoms will fall as predictably as the Greek, Roman, and English freedoms fell before ours.

Sincerely,
Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | 6 Comments »

Leadership, Life, & Liberty

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 20, 2012

When I was 26 years old, I joined community building for one of the strangest of reasons – to get my baseball cards back. Although inexplicable to me, since I typically didn’t join anything, I realize now that God was opening up the door to my destiny. Through community building, my leadership inabilities were quickly revealed, forcing me to undergo nearly 12 years of intensive hands-on experience before finally mastering the fundamentals of leadership. The culmination of this leadership journey occurred on a private-island retreat when Chris Brady and I began a long conversation on the principles of leadership that led to our #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller Launching a Leadership Revolution.

With this initial success, my perspective changed from leadership success to life success. I started studying the principles of holistic success in a purpose-filled life, rather than just effective professional leadership. Eventually, this led me to write RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, which shares my personal philosophies on living a life that matters. In truth, without the leadership principles learned and applied that led to my personal freedom from a 9-to-5 job, I would never have found the time to invest in the reading of thousands of books needed to write RESOLVED. Professional leadership success, in other words, allowed me the free time to learn, apply, and share the 13 resolutions.  God’s blessings in one area ought to be used as blessings to others when possible. In this case, my leadership blessing led to the free time needed to capture and share the resolutions for enhancing people’s lives.

While writing RESOLVED, however, I realized that without liberty, a resolved leadership life is nearly impossible. For what good is a road map to success if a person isn’t free to drive? This led me to my third great quest for knowledge and understanding, seeking the principles underlying spiritual, economic, and political liberty. Many questions have been asked and answered during this quest. Who were the greatest “apostles of liberty” in the history of mankind? What did they teach and why? What can we learn from these men and women today? Why is liberty so important? If any of these questions are of concern to you, then stay tuned to this blog as we discuss the story of liberty and its importance in today’s society.

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Finances, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »