Orrin Woodward Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his financial & leadership secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    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.

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 »

Intelligent Design, Evolution, & Molecular Machines

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 1, 2012

Because of my background as a product/process engineer, the molecular machines found within living cells are fascinating to me. These assemblies aren’t just machines metaphorically. Rather, speaking as an engineer who designed electric-motor pumps for nearly a decade, these units are truly micro-machines with functions/features beyond anything currently imaginable within the electric-motor design community.

How is it possible for world-class, patentable designs, which any engineer would be proud to invent, to be labeled as time/chance occurrences? Let’s reflect on this. On one hand, the most intelligent, skilled, and knowledgeable engineers in the world cannot recreate the functions/features of these machines using all available knowledge. And yet, on the other hand, the general public is repeatedly indoctrinated with the idea that time and chance alone created these complex machines.

Perhaps, for those not trained in the technical fields, this may be believed because one doesn’t understand the leaps of logic made from simple structures to complex machines. However, for an engineer who worked in this field for a decade, it is difficult to swallow some of the conclusions. For instance, one of my four patents improved an electric motor – rotors, stators, and magnets, shafts, bushings, etc. – and yet the machines within the cell blow away the functions/features designed within the patented part. Can you imagine an engineer developing a motor with equivalent functions to these molecular motors and management refusing him a patent because they reject “intelligent design” as a cause prima facie based upon their naturalistic philosophy?

In his landmark book Darwin’s Black Box, Dr. Michael Behe describes machines as having “irreducible complexity”:

By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution.

In other words, all the parts of the machine must be in place for the unit to function properly. If any part of the assembly is missing, then the function is not accomplished. Accordingly, the unit would not survive the time/chance model of evolution as Darwin described it. Remarkably, at the cellular level, there are numerous “irreducibly complex” machines that cannot be accounted for within any known evolutionary model hypothesis.

Even so, everything I have just described is actually just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, the most significant aspect of the cell is the unexplainable (by naturalistic means) DNA information code. To build the cell with proper specifications requires an operating code that spells out the sequence of events in its exact order. How big are these operating codes one might ask? Neo-Darwinian Dr. Richard Dawkins states that one bacterial cell contains more information (in the form of specific step-by-step instructions) than the Encyclopedia Britannica. Furthermore, the billionaire super-programmer Bill Gates elaborates, “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”

Nonetheless, Dawkins, despite conceding, “The machine-code of the genes is uncannily computer-like,” unabashedly rejects a programmer to account for the volumes of programming code. I say rejects a programmer, but that’s not technically correct anymore. Surprisingly, in an interview with Ben Stein for his movie Expelled, Dr. Dawkins, after a caustic attack on God, was all too quick to postulate on the viability of “aliens from another planet” designing life on earth. It appears that philosophical naturalists and scientific evolutionists don’t have an inherent problem with design and programming as such; otherwise, they would reject all designers and programmers. Instead, it seems that design is acceptable as long as it isn’t “The Programmer” called God. Dawkins, in other words, doesn’t reject design or designers; he just inherently rejects God. Evidently, in this instance, it isn’t data, but dogma driving his conclusions.

At any rate, the information code and irreducible complexity, even after decades of time, are still unexplained phenomena within the evolutionary paradigm. In my opinion, the specific programmed information within the cell is the single biggest hurdle for an evolutionary world-view. For example, the complex protein synthesis operation is coordinated by a blueprint inscribed in the four-letter DNA chemical alphabet, which is then translated into the twenty-letter alphabet of the proteins. Just this protein synthesis process alone is more complicated code than the writing of this blog with its twenty-six letter code you are reading.

Simply stated, books don’t write themselves regardless of how much time or chance is provided. In a similar fashion, computer programs, the size of Encyclopedia Britannica, require profounder thought than just a pencil-whipped time/chance explanation. Increasingly, the scientific community is waking up to the fact that Darwinism has huge problems and is without a viable hypothesis to account for information and programming. Without answers, these massive fissures will eventually lead to modern evolutionary theory, as we know it, collapsing on its own unsupported foundations.

Biblically speaking, this is nothing new. When a man denies God, it’s not from the data, but from dogma. The scientific research continues to reveal overwhelming evidence of design and programming. Nevertheless, the naturalist world view rejects God outright; therefore, regardless of what the data indicates, if it points to intelligent design, then it must be rejected as a matter of faith. Astonishingly, it’s not that they don’t see where the data leads them, but rather, they reject the data for taking them where they didn’t want to go. The Apostle Paul explains this phenomena in Romans 1:18-23 (ESV):

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Hence, scientists, like the rest of mankind in their fallen condition, deny the truth set before them. Science, however, by its very definition, is no longer science when it accepts dogma over data. Consequently, what we are watching unfold in the intelligent design/evolution controversy is less about science and more about philosophical world views. All of us can benefit by learning from all sides of the controversy. Science, in order to be science, must allow the data to speak for itself, but the data overwhelmingly points to design/programming, which leaves naturalists in a moral quandary. Either they reject their world view and continue to be scientists, or they reject science and continue to be the priest and prophets of naturalism.

Let me close with one more thought. The Human Genome Project, completed in 2000, described the hereditary information in the genome of DNA as the “book of life.” Watson and Crick discovered that DNA stores text, but not until Francis Collins and his Human Genome team, did scientists begin to decipher its full message. The resulting revolution has catapulted biology into the information age. Again, this is nothing new for a Christian. In fact, the Apostle John started his Gospel with the importance of the Word. What if this Word was a program for life within each living creature? We know every living cell is organized around information-driven machines. Let’s review John’s words on the Word in John 1:1-4 (ESV) with our new understanding from science.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

As a Christian, I am not afraid to seek truth wherever it may lead. How about you? Are you on a quest for truth, allowing the data to lead where it may? Or, are you on a quest for dogma, repeating slogans learned in school regardless of its relevance or accuracy today? Living as a human being today demands one to think through what one has learned, separating fact from fiction. I respect the scientists and their research on all sides of this issue. They are amazingly hardworking and intelligent; however, I refuse to swallow anyone’s paradigms without thinking through the ramifications.

In the same way, whether one agrees with everything I wrote is not the point. The key is that you start thinking about what you “know.”  Indeed, it’s not as important that we all think the same, but it is desperately important today that we all start to think.


Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith | 54 Comments »

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.


Orrin Woodward

Posted in All News, Faith, Leadership/Personal Development | 41 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.


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 | 82 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.


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!


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.


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.


Orrin Woodward

Walker Cay picture

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Life Training, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , | 75 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.


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! 🙂

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.

Posted in Faith, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: | 12 Comments »