Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial 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 financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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

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Archive for the ‘Leadership/Personal Development’ Category

Everything rises and falls on leadership.

Dream Big and Long

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 28, 2016

Many people dream, a few dream big, but only a select few dream big and long. These select few, not coincidentally, also happen to be the ones who achieve the most in any field. Dreaming big, in other words, although a necessary ingredient to success is not sufficient in itself, for without the ability to endure the predictable ups and downs on the success journey, a person’s poor thinking will disqualify him from continuing the journey.

Indeed, this is why one of the resolutions in my Top 100 All-Time Leadership book RESOLVED is Adversity Quotient (AQ) , the ability to handle setbacks without quitting. Perseverance is a combination of knowing why one began the journey, reframing failures into teachable moments, and holding onto the success rope when everything in you wants to let go. This is what makes a champion a champion, the relentless pursuit of perfection regardless of the time and effort needed to create the desired results.

Perseverance

Perseverance

If I had a dime for every person who had what it takes to win who quit on himself, I’d double my net worth. 🙂 Talent, in other words, is rarely the problem; instead, perseverance is what separates the haves from the have-nots. No matter what the field, the resolutions of Purpose, Attitude, and AQ are all part of building the level of perseverance necessary to achieve success at the highest levels. Does the reader know why he does what he does? Has he developed the ability to reframe his setbacks into teachable moments? Can he persevere no matter how great the pain of temporary denial and frustration?

If the reader answered yes to these questions then his success clock is ticking and its only a matter of time before his internal victories are revealed externally. Yes, get a big dream, but also back it up with the AQ to dream long. Success rarely goes to the most talented, but it always goes to the one who refuses to quit until he wins! Perhaps it’s time for the readers to pick up RESOLVED again and begin building the resolutions on the inside to reveal them on the outside.

Furthermore, for advanced study, the Mental Fitness Challenge can help burn the resolutions into one’s thinking to make living them part of one’s DNA. Needless to say, the resolutions are the most predictable formula for success that I know, but they only work when the person does.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC), Orrin Woodward | 5 Comments »

Frontline Community Leadership

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 24, 2016

“Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

Having practiced leadership for nearly twenty-five years, I don’t believe anyone has captured the essential difference between effective leadership and ineffective management in community building any better than Eisenhower did in his pithy statement above.  Building communities requires three steps: 1) Learn, 2) Do, and 3) Teach. For some unknown reason, managers believe they can skip the vital second step and move directly into teaching what they have never done. Predictably, the managers fail miserably in this endeavor, but then, even more bizarrely, some then blame the lack of results on the community building model versus their lack of leadership. 

For instance, I don’t care what community building business one is in, if a potential leader desires to build a big community he must do more than simply recommend the proper teaching CDs on contacting and showing the plan. He must also master contacting personally before he can effectively teach it to his community in business launches. Further, if he desires to teach how to show the plan and share the products with others, he must be doing it himself at least 15 times per month. Indeed, before he can run successful house plans, he must know his message inside and out and have encouraged through his example how others can do one on one’s as well to ensure new people are at his house plans. In other words, the leader learns before he does, and does before he teaches. If this process gets out of order, the person is managing, not leading, and his business flounders.

Successful house plans revolve around new people seeing a bigger vision for the company’s products and vision than the new member is capable of providing. As a result, if no new people are at the house plan, then the leader has most likely fallen into management mode. First, learn the skills of contacting by doing it over and over before presuming to teach it others. Second, learn how to show the plan and share the products by attending opens and then show it over and over again before presuming to teach others how to do so. Successful house plans only occur after the community is confident in showing the plan and sharing the product with others through numerous one on ones. The people who showed interest from the one on ones are then fed into house plans or open meeting to see a bigger picture. Top leaders will promote the next seminar to help the new people see the community in action that will help them get financially free. Miss any of these steps and the potential leader is competing for manager of the year, not leader of the year. 🙂

What are you waiting for? A person can dream all day long while listening to all the CDs, reading all the books, and attending all the seminars, but until he starts DOING the work, he is not qualified to teach. The future has never been bright for those who will act towards their dreams. Learn, Do, Teach works, the only question is will you work. 🙂 True education, in short, leads to ACTION! Quit pushing others strings. Instead, tie the communities strings to your leadership and move in the direction of financial freedom. Your team is sure to follow a person who leads. Plug into LIFE and start the process of learning by doing so one can eventually teach what one has learned to others. In the process, not only will you change your life, but the lives of many others who had no other way out of the Financial Matrix.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Chairman of the Board

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Life Training | 7 Comments »

Emperor’s New Clothes: Confronting Reality

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 8, 2016

An excellent example of ego over excellence is found in Hans Christian Anderson’s short story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The wayward emperor cared more about his clothes and status than the people and truth. Indeed, he was so obsessed with his attire that he changed suits every hour, flaunting his wealth and prestige to his subjects.

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes

One day, two shysters, pretending to be weavers, presented themselves to the emperor. They bragged about their ability to weave the finest clothes with the most beautiful colors and elaborate designs. The clothes, according to the charlatans, were invisible to any simpletons or anyone unworthy of his office. The emperor, seduced by their claims, paid large sums of money to the weavers for new clothes. The two weavers, requesting the most expensive fabrics and threads, set up two looms, pretending to weave on the looms night and day while placing the materials inside their sacks.

The impatient emperor sent one of his loyal ministers to examine the clothes. The minister, discovering nothing, not even a single strand on the loom, feared that he must be a simpleton. He listened to the impostors describe the beautiful colors and patterns, but he only saw them working on empty looms. Still, not wishing to appear unworthy of his office, the minister reported back to the emperor what a genius the king was for hiring such competent and capable weavers. The emperor, after further delays, sent another official, hoping to encourage the completion of his suit. The official also saw nothing but, fearing the emperor’s wrath, reported to the king in a similar manner as the first minister did.

Finally, the day arrived for the emperor to preview the weavers’ work. The emperor, seeing nothing, but fearful of being considered unfit for his kingdom, played along with the deceit, proclaiming his love for the patterns and colors in his new outfit. The two con men proceeded to ask the emperor to remove his clothes, raising their arms as if holding something to put on him. The court officials, scared to speak the truth, pretended to agree with the emperor, lauding his genius and the weavers’ design. The people, in anticipation of the king’s most expensive and wondrous clothing to date, gathered for the parade to view the new clothes.

The emperor paraded through his capital city, listening as the people lavished complements on him and his new clothes. Nearly all were spellbound the king’s new clothes, but over the din of praise could be heard the cry of a child, shouting, “The emperor has no clothes on!” The father quickly reprimanded his son, but everyone around the boy heard the truth. The emperor, although secretly agreeing with the child, continued the parade as the crowd fawned in endless adulation because his new clothes were only seen by those with intelligence, worthy of their high offices.

Confronting Reality

The story highlights how easy it is for data to be ignored when false beliefs cause one to reject real data. Moreover, it reveals how most people prefer comfortable lies over uncomfortable truths. Leaders, however, are different. They demand truth, for they know only with truth can a person or business thrive. It’s vital at the check step of the PDCA process that a person confront reality (the king has no clothes) rather than go along with conventional wisdom, company expectation, or peer pressure. The facts are the facts and the PDCA process reveals whether one is dealing in facts or fantasy. Again, in God we trust, all others must have data. If the person suffers from self-deception, a distortion between reality and his perceptions, he will not confront the data accurately nor adjust his plans to win. The person must choose between comfortable illusions or disturbing realities and only leaders choose the latter.

Why do so many people go through the motions and avoid the PDCA process? They have so much potential and yet so few results. On one hand, winners make changing a habit, choosing to suffer the pain of growth rather than live in mediocrity. On the other other hand, losers make lying a habit, choosing to avoid the pain of losing by blaming others. People who lose live lives of delusions (similar to the king) hating to change so badly they distort reality instead. Naturally, this becomes more difficult as life becomes progressively tougher, but for most, this just increases the creativity of the excuses made.

Strangely, both winners and losers escape the pain of losing creatively: one the creativity to change themselves; the other the creativity to excuse themselves. Disastrously, however, the road usually taken, and what at first blush appears to be the easier route, the escape of pain through self-delusion (the emperor’s choice), ends up being the toughest road of all. For the pain of change is temporary, but the pain of regret is permanent. Be that as it may, the good news is that a person can get off the road to regret and change his destiny at any time by ending self-delusions. After all, when a person is sick and tired of being sick and tired, he will confront reality and start changing.

Leaders refuse to run from issues. They allow setbacks to build an increasing internal level of frustration, until finally, fed up, they explode past previous limiting beliefs. The pain of defeat has become stronger than the pain of changing. If, at any point in the process, the person chooses any of the escape valves to avoid the mounting pressure (excuses, blaming,  or justifications), he temporarily kills the pain but only by passing the buck, denying he is responsible for the problem. Leaders refuse this option because the know they kill the pain only by killing the dream.

Anyone can be a leader, but he must refuse the seductive avenues of escape that lead to mediocrity. Reject completely the temporary mental comfort from avoiding the scoreboard of life. Instead, stare at the scoreboard until one has a plan to change and the DO IT! Don’t settle for mental peace and mediocrity. Rather, embrace the mental tumult of confronting brutal reality to win! Ultimately, there are only two choices in life: surviving or thriving. Start starting and quit quitting for (as I say repeatedly) when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

What is the area of life, where the reader has been avoiding truth, that confront and deal with the facts? This will be your finest hour because only the truth will set you free!

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | 15 Comments »

Self-Betrayal: Sabotaging Success

Posted by Orrin Woodward on August 6, 2016

The fatal flaw to success, a flaw so personal and painful that most people avoid its truth at all costs, an avoidance that derails more dreams than all other obstacles combined, is self-betrayal. Of all the challenges facing leaders today, perhaps none has more impact on the community’s success than personal character. After all, leadership is character in motion and how can someone have character if he betrays himself?

Self-Betrayal to Self-Deception

Self-Betrayal to Self-Deception

Self-betrayal begins the moment a person does not follow through on his personal commitments. This type of betrayal is so difficult to detect because its so subtle. For instance, maybe the reader set a goal to get up early and study or exercise before work, but when the alarm went off, you quickly shut it off and rationalized you needed sleep more than following through on your commitment to yourself. Of course, this “little” lie fuels further compromises and before long lying to oneself has become a habit. In fact, any time you make a commitment to yourself, and do not follow through, you have taught yourself that lying is acceptable. This is where most people fail – personal character to one’s self. I know. I know. No one likes to be called a liar, but how many times have you committed to do something and didn’t follow through? I’m not talking about commitments to others, but rather personal commitments.

I still remember the day, reading underneath a huge maple tree at lunch, when Stephen Covey kicked me below the belt. He said, “Many times success begins with mind over mattress!” Ugh! That one hurt, because I had made hundreds of excuses for why I just couldn’t be more disciplined in Bible studies, believing I had too much work to do. Covey’s statement changed my perspective, helping me realize that my self-betrayal had already progressed into self-deception – where I convinced myself that lying was ok if it was only to myself. In reality, however, if one cannot tell the truth to himself, he stands no chance of telling the truth to others. Internal character, in a word, always precedes external character.

At the risk of saying too much, for today’s age doesn’t like self-analysis much, probably because these matters hit too close to home for most people and if thought upon for long, they would have to address some of the personal issues. Nevertheless, I believe self-deception is the biggest killer of dreams in the world! People deceive themselves to avoid changing, but the price for this avoidance is their own success. The self-betrayal blooms into self-denial and then people become offended if others dare to question their impeccable character. 🙂 Most people react defensively, thinking, “How dare anyone question my character when I have spent years rationalizing it to myself?”

In all seriousness, I have never given a talk, nor written an article, without the guns first being directed at myself. I, along with every other human being, cannot live our ideals 100% of the time. I am in need of the grace of Jesus Christ just as much, if not more, than you are. Still, why get offended at truth? How is this going to help you change? Indeed, when a person gets offended at unpalatable facts, its a sure sign that self-betrayal is leading to self-deception. Truth has been sacrificed on the altar of personal ego.

If the reader will grant me just a little more time, I would like to suggest a remedy for self-betrayal. The Bible states, “those who are faithful in the little things will be faithful in the bigger things.” Did you catch that? Character begins by being faithful in the little things that if avoided, no one would know but you. Many believe this is ok, since you didn’t let anyone else down, but this is a lie from the depths of hell. For a person that would have no qualms about lying to himself, a self he typically loves more than any other human being in existence, will not be a truth-teller to others. Internal lies lead to external ones. If anything, compromises in personal character lead to greater compromises in one’s relationships with others.

Consequently, true character begins with character to self. Once the war for personal character is accomplished, the authentic individual is now ready to treat others with the same level of character. Not surprisingly, in today’s self-betrayal and self-deception age, it’s pretty much a given that leaders with character will suffer attacks from those who have self-betrayed themselves. Since leaders with character grow big communities, simply by the law of averages, they will have people who perpetually lie to themselves join their community. Naturally, albeit ironically, the people who have cheated and lied to themselves the most are the ones who shout the loudest that others have lied and cheated them. Playing the victim, evidently, is their key strategy to not have to address the lies keeping them from success.

The simple, but painful, truth is no matter how much a leader wants to help others, he truly can’t help until they are ready to help themselves. Self-liars must confront reality and admit it’s their own lies keeping them in bondage. For when people resist truth they are also fighting the change that would set them free. Nonetheless, when people have spent a lifetime betraying themselves, giving up for the umpteenth time in life, their self-deception quickly identifies the reason for the failure and they play the victim card once again. Self-deception has so entrapped them in a web of lies that the truth can no longer set them free. Thus, they are sentenced to a life of victimhood unless God’s graces pierces the veil and wakes them up to this eternal truth, namely, as Shakespeare said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Heraclitus once said, “Character is fate” and I concur. Character is an inside job and only those who develop character will ever see longterm success. Start today! What is a personal commitment one can make to yourself, you family, your community? Make the commitment and keep it! Quit betraying yourself and your dreams! Quit playing the blame game! Get out there and achieve to serve the greater community! This is your mind over mattress, or to add others, life over lies, and purpose over pokemon moment! 🙂

Remember, success is three things. 1) What does one want? 2) What does it cost? 3) Pay it! Only when a person accepts responsibility for his life will he determine what he want, determine its cost, and then pay it! What area of your life are you ready to stop self-betrayal and let the truth set you free? 

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Chairman of the Board

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | 51 Comments »

Leadership Culture and Cognitive Dissonance

Posted by Orrin Woodward on July 13, 2016

There is nothing more important, its proper implementation determining the destiny of nations, companies, charities, and families, than the creation of culture. Culture, a system of beliefs, values, and customs a community follows, cannot be seen, but it influences every behavior within the community.  Interestingly, despite nearly every leader expressing the need for right culture to produce right results,  few seem to build culture with specific intent. This, I believe, is one of the biggest leadership mistakes.

In other words, every community must get intentional about culture or suffer the grave consequences. Just over a year ago, in a conversation with Chris Brady, he boiled down influence within a company to the three R’s – require, recognize, or reward it. Although we weren’t specifically talking culture at the time, it didn’t take me long for me to realize Brady had just summed up the different methods one can create culture within a community. Ever since, I have thought deeply on how to create a culture that requires, recognizes, and rewards the right behaviors.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance

Needless to say, this is much more difficult to do than it sounds, for most companies suffer from cognitive dissonance – a malady where the organization promotes one thing while rewarding another. Cognitive dissonance is perhaps the biggest failure-mode for most communities because it involves a misalignment between the culture and the longterm vision. This misalignment creates cultural inertia that, left to itself, will divide the community and blur the vision. Dissonance, in a word, destroys unity.

Accordingly, great leaders must identify the purpose and vision of the community; then develop the culture of requiring, recognizing, and rewarding to ensure the proper behaviors are performed to accomplish the vision. Moreover, if the leader realizes the 3 R’s currently instituted will not achieve the stated purpose and vision, he must have the courage to make the needed adjustments. In fact, this is what makes the leader the leader, namely, the courage to create the culture in order to achieve the community’s purpose. Any leader not willing to do this, is not truly a leader, for he merely follows the current culture rather than building the proper culture. 

In essence, leaders are responsible for eliminating cognitive dissonance out of the culture to ensure the actions of the organization move it towards its purpose and vision. After all, nothing validates the leader’s value so much as his/her ability to move the cultural current in the proper direction. It doesn’t matter if it’s easy; it doesn’t matter if it’s convenient; it doesn’t even matter if it’s popular, but what does matters is whether the community can accomplish its reason for existing with the current culture. Thus, if there is cognitive dissonance, the culture must change.

When an organization is suffering in the throes of cognitive dissonance, the leader’s responsibility is to charge to the front lines and resist the improper cultural current, converting the dissonance into resonance by aligning the 3 Rs to the purpose and vision. Indeed, when the cultural current is flowing smoothly, the requirements, recognition, and rewards align the people win personally and professionally when the company wins purposefully. Proper leadership, therefore, creates the culture and the culture creates the results.

What is the purpose for your company? What is the culture of your company? Do the culture’s results aligned with the purpose of the company? If so, then the community will win. If not, then the leader must get to the front and lead, for as Harry Truman once said about leadership, “the buck stops here”.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, LIFE Leadership, Orrin Woodward | 37 Comments »

The Lost Art of Action

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 20, 2016

One of my all-time favorite quotes, a quote I first heard from a professor at GMI-EMI (now Kettering University), a thunderbolt of wisdom that changed my perspective, is, “When all is said and done, much more is said than is ever done.” Perhaps, the reason it struck me so profoundly, back in the day, was the financial strain I was under. Having moved out of my parent’s house on my 19th birthday and completely oblivious to living expenses, I was so broke that I could not even afford to pay attention. 🙂 Seriously, I lived on one hot dog and one potato per night, kept the heat at 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of the winter, and still didn’t have enough money for bills and school. Tuition alone costs more than I made as a Co-Op student at AC Spark Plug, forcing me to borrow $17,500 just to continue my education.

Picture of Farah's Market One Block From Apartment

Picture of Farah’s Market One Block From Apartment on Third Avenue – Flint, Michigan

Although hopelessly naive and inexperienced in the ways of the world, I vowed to make it without having to run to mommy and daddy for help. Of course, this wasn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I lived in a dangerous neighborhood in the most wretched of conditions, renting the bottom half of a varmint-infested house, a house condemned less than a year after I moved out. Nonetheless, I was not depressed or even fearful, for I had a dream, a plan, and the motivation to escape my poverty and live my dreams. I quickly realized the key to making the dream come true was massive action! Without this, I would be out of college, out of a job, and practically out of options. Needless to say, my back was against the proverbial wall; however, I believed that if I walked my talk by implementing the game plan, busting my butt at work, and graduating as an engineer, my life would improve. 

Reflecting back, I believe the lack of options was a blessing because it narrowed my focus and helped me apply massive action on the one plan I had in front of me.  I simply didn’t have the time or money to even entertain other options? This is how I was blessed with FOCUS! 🙂 To me, the process boiled down to three things: 1) What do you want? 2) What does it cost? and 3) Pay it. Strangely, however, while the first two question are talked about incessantly, the third step, the action one, is rarely applied. What gives? Why, in other words, would perfectly capable people, who know what they want and know what it’s going to take to achieve it, refuse to do the actions necessary to accomplish it? I believe this is one of the biggest leadership paradoxes facing people moving from the performer lens (I can do this) to the leadership lens (we can do this).

After all, true leaders are not people who coax people into doing something they DON’T want to accomplish, for that would be manipulation. Rather, leadership is about inspiring people perform the actions necessary to accomplish what they DO want. Over the next decade, in the process of building leadership communities, I realized just how rare the person who does what he says actually is. For instance, if I had a dollar for everyone who said they were going to become a top leader, I would be a millionaire all over again. It reminds me of my friend Chris Brady, whose dad told him repeatedly, “Talk is cheap, but it takes money to buy whiskey.” Likewise, talk is cheap, but it takes action to buy one’s dreams.”

The reason I am sharing this is to emphasize to my readers the importance of ACTION! Quit waiting for conditions to be right, for they rarely are; quit waiting for others to lead, for they rarely do; finally, quit waiting for inspiration and focus on perspiration! So many, in other words, wait to feel right before acting right. I have learned, over the years, that a person must start acting right, then he will feel right about it. If you have a dream, then act on it, regardless of feelings. Shamefully, most people wait their whole life and accomplish little of substance. This reminds me of the old Chinese proverb which stated, “Man who stands on side of mountain waiting for roasted duck to fly into his mouth waits a long time.” 🙂

Although many seem to think there are hundreds of ways to become a Financial Sovereign (ethically, morally, and honorably), this simply isn’t the case. Most careers pay just enough to keep someone comfortably (or uncomfortably) stuck in the Financial Matrix. Bottom line is: If you have a vehicle to win, then develop a plan, determine its price, and pay it by applying massive action! Everyone wants to live his dreams, but only those who plan and work ever truly will. My accounting professor at GMI-EMI gave me a priceless nugget and now I am passing it onto you, “When all is said and done, much more is said than is ever done.”

The world is filled with talkers, but everything Laurie and I have accomplished as leaders is based upon dreaming a big dream, creating a culture that separates the talkers from the walkers, and learning to love the talkers while leading the walkers. Indeed, the art and science of leadership is nothing more or less than modeling the right behaviors, messaging the right behaviors, and then mentoring those who ACT on the right behaviors. This is the culture of execution that every great leader in every field develops to create lasting success.

Well, the article is done and this is the point where everyone talks, but I think it’s time to take action. Why not leave a comment and state: 1) What do you want? 2) What will it cost? 3) Whether you are ready to pay the price? Nine out of ten of the people reading this will not comment and instead will just talk about their dreams, but the one out of ten will comment and ACT their way to their dreams! I encourage you to be part of the ten percent because that’s what leaders do. 🙂

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Leadership – Chairman of the Board

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, LIFE Leadership, Orrin Woodward | 72 Comments »

The Greeks: Freedom and Force

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 1, 2016

This is Part 2. For Part 1, please click here.

Unfortunately, the Greek miracle does not have a happy ending, but it does have a huge lesson. For the same drive to compete that built Greek society also destroyed it when the positive life-lifting competition in arts, sciences, and sports, degenerated into negative death-delivering competition of military campaigns. Importantly, no one wins in war, certainly the losers don’t, but neither do the alleged winners. The defeated sacrifice many of their best leaders on the altar of a lost cause, not to mention the untold wealth, figuratively and literally, burnt to ashes, and finally the lost freedoms as the “winners” assume control over society. The winners, however, lose as we’ll because many of their best citizens were also sacrificed on the altar of war. Furthermore, they lost the hunger to produce wealth, for why build wealth when you can steal it, and the Five Laws of Decline secretes its poison into society. To add insult to injury, they also lose their liberties by denying others’ the right to enjoy theirs. Paradoxically, the winners must now set up a prisoner society where the defeated are closely viewed, supervised, and cajoled into obedience 24-7. The costs in time, money, and lifestyle lost by the oppressors outweighs the benefit of the oppression, but rare is the State who realizes this.

The Spartans and Helots

The Spartans and Helots

Indeed, Greek history is filled with many examples of this principle at work, where both the winners and losers pay greatly by going to war – the ultimate lose-lose vehicle. Perhaps the Peloponnesian war is the best example of lose-lose but there are many more. For instance, just a cursory look at the “victorious” Spartans in the Messenian War will reveal the Spartans lost as much as the defeated, for boys under 10 were forced to live in military barracks for the next twenty plus years, suffered under an oppressive form of socialism, and lived in a state of constant state of paranoia, fearing the Helots, who outnumbered the Spartans by as much as 20 to 1, would revolt. To deny freedom to others, in other words, one ends up destroying his own. Of course, if this was the fate of the winners, imagine how much worse the fate of the Messenian Helots. Unfortunately, no one seems to learn from history. This is why, although I support our national military, my dad was an elite Green Beret after all, its function should be defensive, protecting against foreign aggression, not offensive, expanding into foreign territories; otherwise, the same fate visited upon Sparta, Rome, and England, to name just a few, will knock on America’s door.

This leads to a strange twist in the battle between force and freedom. Whereas competition benefits in every life-lifting endeavor, it is a tragedy in death-delivering ones. When the the centralized State is eliminated, the void must be filled with mini-states to ensure order and not anarchy. If there is not a force strong enough to ensure the strong do not oppress the weak, rest assured they will. The mini-states maintain order while creating competition in the life-lifting activities, at the same time a limited central government ensures the mini-states do not compete in the death-delivering ones. The key to freedom is the limited central state is no longer is absolute within society; instead, it merely ensures the mini-states settle their disputes peacefully through adjudication and arbitration rather than through war.

The centralized body is now limited in its power, capable of enforcing judgments and protecting the mini-states political, economic, and religious freedoms without growing big enough to issue central commands in areas it does not belong. Limited funds are essential here, for anytime the State has access to unlimited funds, it quickly obtains unlimited power. Limited funds, in a word, for a limited State. Imagine the state of freedom if, in the USA, the centralized Federal government’s only funds came from a straight 10% import tax. This is plenty for the federal government to effectively arbitrate disputes amongst the fifty states and also defend our borders militarily – defense only. True, we would have to exit the over 140 nations where the USA presently has a military presence, but the improvement in society by the reduced money, time, and heartaches (lost loved ones from foreign wars) is worth the loss of empire. No longer would State bureaucrats have the power to send our children off to war to increase their need for power and glory.

Imagine the competition and cooperation that would result in the USA if the functions of government were moved from the monolithic Federal government to the local township/city levels. All the interactions between citizens and State could be achieved at the local level, ensuring a higher level of justice because those closest to the facts are the one’s addressing the issue. The locality would be responsible for the judicial and police  functions to ensure justice while each locality would compete to outdo its rivals in life-giving functions just as the Greeks did originally. If they serve the customers they will prosper, if they don’t they will not. Moreover, because the locality receives its income from a 5% property tax, it will seek to serve its community because as it serves them well, the community will grow, and thus the tax base grows. Naturally, the reverse is true also, for if they don’t serve, the community doesn’t grow, and the tax base decreases. Welcome to State competition to serve the customers, namely, its citizens! What a concept.

The state governments would adjudicate disputes between localities/cities and be funded by a 5% state sales tax. Again, every state would compete to increase business because it would benefit from increased tax revenues as economic activity increase within the state. Further, the state leaders would select the next president from amongst the governors of the state. No longer would the Presidency be the democratic charade parade where those with the most power and money get elected. Instead, the  governors of each state would select the governor with the best track record, his proven performance in balancing budgets and running a just government making the difference. The President would not be elected by the people at large, thus eliminating the media’s negative manipulation against anyone who threatens their power. Instead, governor peers, elected by the leaders of each locality, select the President, similar to how the founder originally intended the President to be elected. See Oliver DeMille and my New York Times bestseller LeaderShift for more details on these concepts.

Finally, as mentioned previously, the Federal government would survive on a 10% import tax and nothing else. Imagine, no more IRS needed! Of course, the ability to create money out of thin air (Federal Reserve) and the special deal fractional-reserve banking would be rescinded. The gold standard would be calibrated to the current money supply and only 100% reserve banking would be permitted by law from here forward. Think about it, the people would elect the local governments (those who know them the best) by returning to town hall meetings. The local leaders would elect the State leaders (governors) because they work with each other on a monthly basis to approve the state budgets. Cream rises to the top and the local leaders, from amongst their peers, will select the governor from among the most qualified. Finally, the state leaders will elect the federal President because they work with them monthly and approve the federal balanced budget. Yes, balanced budgets are a given or the irresponsible leader is immediately subject to recall and a new election. Mediocrity and poor leadership can no longer be tolerated by public servants, especially if they expect us to trust and follow them.

To restore freedom, we must end the control over money (no one should have centralized control over money creation), then follow it up by ending the monolithic control of the media (less than six corporations, all with interconnected boards, control what the people read and think), and only once these two are accomplished, will the controlled, centralized State be overturned and America launch a Freedom-shift. Numerous local governments are much more difficult to capture than on centralized government, especially when the centralist controllers already control the money and media.

Ok, my rant is done. Needless to say, what I propose is a huge dream and it’s going to take work, but only those who have a big dream can expect a big dream to come true. For the past twenty years, I have read extensively on leadership, liberty, and the State, and believe history supports my conclusions. The challenge, however, is the elites are not on the side of history, but rather on the side of force, and thus, centralization. In consequence, the Money Power rewards its media (TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Universities, and Foundations) for rewriting history, a history that makes the State the hero of the story and freedom the anti-hero. Pedictably, the “educated” (propagandized) people demand the State hero fix the challenges facing society while the noose tightens around freedom’s neck. This is why the elites will tolerate any change so long as the money system (what I have termed the Financial Matrix) is not changed.

As I said at the beginning of Part 1, freedom and force are in a battle to the death, and, dismally, freedom is the one dying. Is there anyone left who will, like our forefathers and foremothers, pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to resuscitate freedom?

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Leadership Chairman of the Board

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | 14 Comments »

Memorial Day Message: Freedom and Force

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 30, 2016

Since the dawn of civilization, freedom and force have fought for mastery in human societies. Freedom, to the liberty-lover, implies the ideal way to freely reward people for serving others. Each society is set up to follow the laws of the land (just laws that permit no person or group to receive a special deal), a society where the State’s role is like referee rather than a participant, ensuring a level playing field for all competitors. The ideal of ordered freedom is the best mankind can aspire to this side of heaven, or so the liberty-lovers claimed.

To Statist controllers, in contrast, freedom leads to chaos, greed, and an unholy desire to separate one’s self from the herd. Absolute force is the Statist’s answer to ensure society remains peaceful, compliant, and equal. Naturally, the State must be given this absolute power, a power entrusted to a group of ruling-elite, who will make decisions not based upon personal advantages but only for the good of society. The masses must simply trust and obey, or so the Statist controllers claimed.

Interestingly, the battle between liberty and force has a celebrated history. Force/Freedom battles between the Pharaoh vs. Moses, Caesar vs. Cicero, Jesus vs Pharisees, are just a few of the legendary conflicts that come to mind. In one sense, the history of the world can be viewed as a series of particular battles in the universal struggle between the State and Society to secure either force or freedom.

Ancient Greece Innovations

Ancient Greece Innovations

For most of human history, the controllers have had the upper hand. The Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians elites ruled absolutely as god-kings though centrally-controlled oppressive civilizations. Although there were flickers of freedom scattered throughout society, the flame was snuffed out before it could catch fire. Something, however, changed with the birth of Greek civilization, for the pendulum clearly moved towards liberty. While many explanations have been suggested for freedom’s growth, perhaps the most significant was the multitude of Greek city-states increased the number of competitors seeking centralized control over Greek society. Whereas in previous civilizations the State controlled vast swaths of territory extending for thousands of miles, the Greek landscape, mountainous with few inland rivers, made centralized control over the whole are extremely difficult.

As a result, smaller units of centralization, the city-state, prospered. Each city-state’s laws were only enforced within the confines of its territory, effectively creating hundreds of mini-states ruling over a fragmented Greek society. This was the dreaded conditions for chaos that the absolutist controllers feared. However, instead of collapsing into chaos, the competition amongst city-states for political, economic, and military power, created innovation and improvements like never seen before. The competition amongst the city-states led to cooperation within them.

Instead of the oppressive standardization experienced by cities within the former centralized tyrannical States, the fragmented, decentralized city-states, shockingly, through the competition for power and glory, created, as it were, a free market environment for State services – each city seeking to impress the other Greek city-states with its ability to solve the political, economic, and religious challenges better than its neighbors. Of course, this led to a significant increases in freedom for the people since ideas were favored, not because the bureaucratic representatives of the god-king issued it, but rather because the idea worked to solve the challenge it intended to address. The city-state that solved the most issues and served its people the best would rise in this free market environment against its rivals.

Talent, effort, and innovation became the buzz words that drove the Greeks forward in their mission to achieve their rational and aesthetic objectives. Practically every field of the arts and sciences saw levels of innovation and discovery never witnessed before as society’s cream rose to the top made possible by the increased societal freedom. The monolithic State no longer controlled every city, and thus, the brightest minds with the best ideas were rewarded as each city sought to outdo its competitors in the arts, sciences, and even the sporting events of its day.

The Greek miracle, according to historian Michael Grant, was accomplished by the work of less than 500 individuals. In other words, although millions lived and died in Greece, freedom enabled 500 people to use their gifts to bless everyone in the Greek communities. Where previously, talented individuals had lived and died in obscurity, the freedom allowed this cream to rise for the benefit of all. This created the world’s first Renaissance, not repeated until the Italian Renaissance over a millennia afterwards.

Perhaps the biggest lesson to learn from the Greek experience is the importance of competition, namely, when the number of competitors in any field increases, society benefits. Of course, the antithesis is true also – when the number of competitors is limited in any field, society is harmed. The monolithic State, not surprisingly, is the peak of reduced competition since there is no competition. The State, in a word, is like one contestant in a beauty contest, and she always takes first place. 🙂 This does not mean the author believes in anarchy; rather, the goal should be a fragmented state similar to the ancient Greeks. In fact, this is what Oliver DeMille and I proposed in our New York Times bestseller LeaderShift.  Stay tuned for Part 2 where I unpack the fragmented state and how to protect against anarchy. Happy Memorial Day!

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward: LIFE Leadership Chairman of the Board

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | 13 Comments »

Life Leadership: The Insiders’ Confession

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 27, 2016

Socialism is Equal Sharing of Misery

Socialism is Equal Sharing of Misery

LIFE Leadership insiders have confessed! In this video, viewers will learn the many reasons why someone should not join LIFE Leadership, or any other business for that matter. According to Chairman of the Board  Orrin Woodward and CEO Chris Brady, success takes focus, hard work, and perseverance, traits that take time to develop – who has time for that? 🙂

People looking for get-rich-quick schemes, people looking for something-for-nothing and people looking for a hand-out rather than a hand-up, will NOT be happy after watching this video. LIFE Leadership has the temerity to encourage people to learn, grow, and change! As stated previously, who has time for that? 🙂

Then again, practically all successful people express that the person they become is more important than the money they make, but what do they know? In this exclusive video, we have captured Orrin and Chris spilling the beans on LIFE Leadership, a company that clearly refuses to lower the bar, even when so many are demanding it. Undoubtedly, LIFE isn’t for everyone! 🙂

Then again, it may be for you.

Posted in Fun, Leadership/Personal Development, LIFE Leadership, Orrin Woodward | 17 Comments »

Freedom and Force: The Leadership Challenge

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 8, 2016

If we look beneath the surface of leadership, we can discern one fundamental fact of influence, namely:  to whom much is given, much is required. This is a fact that should interest all true students of leadership. He has only a secondary or derived interest in matters like character, relationship, honor, loyalty, vision and similar items of influence that fill the pages of books, magazines, and speeches of leadership gurus. All of these can be run up under one head. They have an immediate and temporary importance, and for this reason they monopolize attention, but they all come to the same thing; which is, an increase in responsibilities the higher one climbs in leadership.

It is unfortunately none too well understood that in a free society leadership is freely given by followers, not physically coerced by the leader. All the alleged power of the leader, is in fact merely the display of confidence the community has in his ability to take them where they want to go. Therefore, any attempt to physically control the community, whatever else it may be called, should certainly not be labeled leadership. In effect, influence is something a leader earns through his character and competence whereas coercion is the non-leader’s substitute for the lack of the aforementioned qualities.

Moreover, it follows that as coercion increases, true leadership decreases. After all, if the alleged leader actually had the community’s buy-in, then why would force need to be applied at all? Unfortunately, communities across the globe have become so inured to the use of force by positional leadership that the difference between influence and intimidation has been blurred beyond recognition. Bureaucratic exercise of force has been applied so steadily, that most people are unaware of any other approach to achieving the communities goals.

Nonetheless, there is a better way. In fact, it’s the only way that deserves the noble title of leadership. While neglected and abused by its ersatz replacements, true leadership is the art and science of influence without coercion. In a word, servant leadership. Under the auspices of the industrial revolution, however, servant leadership was replaced with the command and control structures modeled upon national militaries. Indeed, Big Government, Big Banks, and Big Corporations (aka: Big Bureaucracies) have all defaulted to coercion, rather than service, as the ruling modus operandi. Students of politics, naturally, recognize this trend for what it is, namely a continuation of what James Madison called “the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for accumulating force in the government”. Needless to say, the effect all of this has upon the balance between force (coercion) and freedom (service) upon leadership cannot be overstated.

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

For these reasons, among many others, Chris Brady and I wrote Launching a Leadership Revolution. The force tide must be checked before the freedom tide will return. This, however, will not occur until people free themselves from the addiction to debt, for debt is cancerous to freedom. Imagine how many people would happily exit Big  Bureaucracies command and control structures were they financial capable of doing so to pursue their purpose rather than a paycheck. Not surprisingly, the longer a person is addicted to pleasure and debt, the more difficult it is to break the paycheck dependency.   In other words, debt addiction not only leads to craven obedience to commands, but also atrophies the ability to think and act independently.

Accordingly, the Financial Fitness Program is an essential first step in returning to freedom and servant-based leadership. After all, only when a person is financially independent can he afford to act upon his own opinions rather than simply obeying his superiors mandates. The question boils down to how important is freedom to the reader? Strangely, some of the most vociferous supporters of societal freedom do not seem to recognize the cognitive dissonance inherent in selling themselves into debt slavery.

Thankfully, the LIFE Leadership community has identified debt as the biggest roadblock to freedom in the developed world. To put it bluntly, I simply do not believe our forefathers intended to sacrifice so much for freedom so we could be debt-slaves.  The thought is ludicrous! Unlike most of the talking pundits, however, we are not just going to bewail our current situation. Instead, we are going to do something about it, namely, declare our debt independence and write our personal Emancipation Proclamation.  Then, and only then, will true leadership rise again as free people make free choices to follow servant-based leaders.

And this has brought us back to where we began.  We must maintain the torch of liberty handed to us by the sacrifice of our ancestors, for to whom much is given, much is required. 

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, LIFE Leadership, Orrin Woodward | 20 Comments »