Pounding Head (A poem by ME)

Pounding head
Fuzzy light
Bulging eyes
Neck so tight...

Follicles of hair
aching bad
Face muscles
I've never had...

Computer screen
Blinding Brain
Squinting forward
lots of pain...

Late night work
Morning coming
Deadline tomorrow
Constant drumming...

Pounding Head
Lousy Week
Just don't care
Going to sleep.

No Credit For Victory vs. No Blame or Excuse For Defeat

Allow me to spare those of you who might read this from having to waste time reading a long dissertation about why Blaming and Excuses are a waste. Here is the fact:

BLAMING & EXCUSE MAKING satisfy only those who make the excuses, and rob the excuse makers of the opportunity to learn and progress.

The single most successful businessman and exponential thinker I have ever personally known says regularly, "I will take responsibility for ANY defeat, and NEVER blame or make an excuse... but I will TAKE NO CREDIT FOR VICTORY." (His name is Spencer Hunn, and I WILL give him credit for the quote.)

I intend to focus my blog tonight on the POWER of taking NO CREDIT FOR VICTORY. This topic is sort of similar to not Blaming... but a bit different - it is why you shouldn't "BLAME" yourself when good things happen - but give credit instead to the reasons for your good fortune.

I'm not a "Blame-guy" or an excuse maker. (I'm not talking about giving my wife excuses on why I was late picking my daughter up from school - I am full of those excuses!), but the kind of excuses you give yourself - for not taking a business risk, or blaming the economy for your circumstances or whatever.

I just don't waste time Blaming others and begrudging things when stuff doesn't go my way.

But there is a HUGE weakness I have: I am quick to take credit for victory.

This is not to say that I publicly stand up and tell everyone all the reasons why each time I succeed it is 100% my doing... but inside myself... I am far too quick to give myself credit for victory... and that practice is DANGEROUS. In fact it may be just as dangerous to sustaining success as excuse making or blaming.

Here are some examples:

1. The Real Estate market was SOARING nationally... yet each time Jake completed a profitable transaction, he gave himself credit. (After making a profit on selling a home Jake thought, "I must be one of the smartest people around... this is so easy for me... why doesn't EVERYONE do this?") Jake gave himself far too much credit.

A far more realistic observation might have been, "How fortunate I am to benefit financially from a strong housing market just like EVERYONE else... I am grateful to benefit from good timing. My result is NOT unique. (While those of us who made money in Real Estate might deserve a small amount of credit for capitalizing on an opportunity, the reality is that when the momentum stopped, we were stuck!)

In this case, refusing to allow myself to take credit for a victory might have saved me a lot of losses and heartache.

2. Recently I observed a young man (I'll call him Walter) begin to have modest but quick success in a business venture. In the beginning he made minimal but consistent effort into the business, yet his work quickly multiplied with little effort. Several senior partners in our venture recognized his quick success, and complimented him to give him encouragement. He was awarded with a gold ring for recognition.

Immediately this Walter believed he was the origin of his good fortune in our project. Rather than recognizing the good fortune of his quick success, he took credit, and began to parade his shiny new ring, and believed himself too important to continue his minimal efforts. I believe that Walter was truly talented in the business venture, but gave himself credit too readily... and in little time at all the success that had found him so quickly was gone.

How fortunate for me to be able to observe Walter and his youthful foolishness... because I MYSELF am actually EXACTLY AS FOOLISH... but perhaps only a few years - and missed opportunities wiser.

3. Consider similarly the gambler, who upon entering the Casino promptly wins $1,000 on a hand of Black Jack. However silly it may sound, he truly believes he is "Just Lucky", that somehow, the Casino Gods and statistics do not actually apply to him.

To sum it all up, this type of "TAKING CREDIT FOR VICTORY" is DANGEROUS... because it can rob us of clarity that allows us to reasonably achieve success.

So as one of my New Years Resolutions: Take no credit for victory.

My thanks to Spencer for opening my mind to this important principal and idea: There is power in taking no credit for victory, but instead identifying where the credit really belongs and recognizing it.

Magic Formula Turns Life's Challenges Into Building Blocks

My last post, Challenges become Blessings, Weaknesses become Strengths is sort of a journal entry about some of the more serious life challenges I have been confronted with in the past several months.

I decided while I slept last night, that there must be more to learn from this topic... there must be a FORMULA that can be gleaned from all of this.

Here is what I came up with:

  1. Identify the Challenge. Spend time REALLY contemplating the Challenge. Is the Challenge simply "Not enough money?" (Everyone I know would claim that challenge - or is "Money" a SYMPTOM of the REAL PROBLEM). It may help to write down the challenges, and then group them if necessary... into Challenges and Symptoms, or groups of challenges. Don't think you can stop at just one! The most difficult challenges come in groups.
  2. Take ownership of the Challenge. Take personal responsibility for it. No room for blaming others or wasting energy on feeling sorry you have to go through it.
  3. Ask empowering questions of Yourself. "What would I need to do in order to make more money even though... (INSERT CHALLENGE HERE)." If this step is going to work, you are going to have to BELIEVE that you CAN overcome the challenge.
  4. Learn from others and ask for help. When mired in the agony of our own challenges this can be the toughest. It is tough to admit to others we are stuck or in need of help... but it is a big world, and there are lots of people who have gone through it before. I would LOVE to expend some of my energy really trying to help someone else untangle a life's challenge! So if you have no else to ask, ASK ME!
  5. Go to work, while you plan. TAKE ACTION. Sometimes the biggest breakthroughs in life come in working, NOT in planning. It is no wonder that the Wright Brothers' very first airplane did not fly... it took dozens of iterations and modifications to finally get one that would work. I have lived this principle if nothing else. My Dad always says that "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly, at first".
  6. EVERYTHING serves a purpose toward your goal. If "More Money" is your problem, and the only thing you can come up with is taking a second job delivering Pizza to earn more money - then listen to personal development books on tape while you drive, and resolve to ASK every person you see who has more of what you want than the people you know how they did it. Then take the information you gain, and re-apply it to your challenge.
  7. Repeat. Check out my blog on REPETITION = GREATNESS. The simple fact is that setting Goals regularly and working at them will nearly always lead to a more productive life. Carefully managing ones expenses will surely lead to greater financial freedom, and working at ones Challenges will strengthen a person in nearly every way.

If you had looked at my list several months ago it might have looked something like this:

Step 1. Challenges & Symptoms:
1. Have no money
2. Need to finish building 5 houses
3. Banks refuse to lend money
4. I am not earning any money to pay my bills
5. Homes costing more to build than they will sell for
6. Committed to finish homes, and now I have to find a way to earn a living
7. Investors have all taken a bath in the market
8. Nobody wants to invest in housing
9. Owe the Bank $20,000 per month in interest
10. Some anonymous coward smeared me on a blog
11. Subs don't want to do work for fear of not getting paid
12. Heading into winter
13. Can't afford to employ anyone to help me resolve this mess
14. Everyone I know seems to be blaming me for the problem
15. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I feel like dying!!!

That seems like such a short and simple list compared to all the emotion I felt... but perhaps that is the power of making a list? By creating a list it forces us to consolidate our challenges into concise statements, instead of staying stuck in an emotional quagmire.

Step 2: Personal Responsibility; & Step 3. Ask Empowering Questions:
1. I gotta EARN... "How can I find a way to earn lots of money in a smaller amount of time, and still spend the time I need to deliver on the other promises I have made? (How do I find some "time & money leverage" to create personal income?)
2. Probably can't deliver on all of the promises I have made at once, so I had to prioritize which promises I focus on now, which ones I simply break, and which ones I postpone. (I went to people and gave them the option to wait for me to be ready, to move on without me because I could not deliver at this time, or simply quit altogether. Generally, people appreciated my candor.)
3. I enlisted the help of the banks in ensuring subcontractors that they would get paid for doing the work... this came as a result of asking: Who else wants me to get this work done as much as I do, and would be willing to vouch for what I am doing? The answer was simple - the Bank!
4. What can I do to cut down on the budget, AND ensure the work gets done right, and on time? In order to save money, and get work done, I actually went to work Myself, acting as an assistant to many of the skilled tradesmen on the homes. (My participation in the work allowed the Subs to cut their labor costs, and ensured they would show up to work with me... but there was a HUGE secondary benefit: This created a strong spirit of "teamwork" with some of my Subs, and we all went to work together... sometimes working on things that might normally have been outside of our skill set - like my HVAC guy, my Countertop Guy, and a finish carpenter working side by side with me to do everything from helping the Plumber install toilets and lids to helping the Electrician put cover plates and switches on everything, even down to trash pickup, etc. These subs once enlisted in the cause were even calling their friends and contacts getting them to come help out, and so on! AMAZING!)
5. Stating the challenges AS THEY WERE to my previous equity investors FINALLY helped us draw some "lines in the sand" and move on from a stalemate of "who flinches first". This got some momentum moving forward, and helped us stabilize a deal that should have been resolved back in May.
6. The entire mood of the effort changed... instead of me looking for people to blame, and others following my lead, EVERYONE either checked out completely, or enlisted in the cause... which they could do because they could see and feel that we were on a MISSION!

Step 4 & 5: Learn from others, and TAKE ACTION.
I have eluded already to some of the specific actions that I took, and how sometimes the actions I took yielded a result that was different or better than I intended. In the process there was plenty of calling around and asking what others had done. One specific example of this is a 13 acre piece of ground we had purchased for several million dollars... and was now because of the housing market - worth a fraction of the price we paid. I had read several articles in my favorite Real Estate publication, Builder & Developer Magazine, that encouraged me that more affordable housing was a trend that would stand a chance at survival, and when in a conversation with an officer at my bank he indicated he would support a density change, I immediately took action and began Re-Developing the land we had acquired. Literally we had nearly finished the development as 50 single family lots, but I stopped the construction THAT DAY and began amending the project. We started with increasing the density from 50 to 90, and have proposed versions as high as 225 units... the final unit count is currently around 187... but I definitely learned from others, and took action... and those two concepts have saved the deal.

Step 6: Everything Serves a Purpose Toward the Goal.
I still get bad news every day. An investor withdraws capital or support from a deal, a bank had previously committed to fund payment to subs now has changed its story, new business partners I was excited about opted to go a different direction, or a renter who is helping to cover a mortgage on a home we are carrying loses his job and can't or won't pay rent... all impacting the PLAN. Not too long ago my wife's vehicle was repossessed by the Bank, leaving us with only one car. (This is embarrassing to share, but should help clarify the realities of the situation we are in.) I could have dwelt on the negativity, and seen the glass as half empty... or as half full. The way we both chose to see this was that large SUV's had gone down in value significantly, and that the car was not worth what we were paying on. Now we had a monthly savings of her car payment, the insurance on that vehicle, and other fuel and maintenance costs! Now we had more money to dedicate toward the goals we had... and I have not given it much thought since. (We will surely have to deal with the deficiency and other things, and I completely regret that circumstances have become so dire at times... but all that is left for us to do is keep going!)

Step 7: Repeat.
Now on to new and different challenges! Like "My wife doesn't have a car", LOL! While I am unsure just what these new challenges will be, I am confident that I will face them head on and wind up victorious, because I have done this in the past. And so have you!


Challenges become Blessings, Weaknesses become Strengths

There can be no doubt that 2008 has been a year of Challenges and Weaknesses.

Generally, weakness in the economy and the failings of companies large and small, and many leadership weaknesses, from myself personally to governmental leadership shortfalls, to bank execs, and more, we are set to jettison the past year with abundant examples of Weakness...

All of this weakness has of course spelled a year of Challenges for all of us. Millions have watched as retirement funds shriveled to record lows. Many of us sheltered by the once warm-and-fuzzy comfort of knowing we had a Home Equity Line of Credit we could tap in a time of need have alarmingly been put on notice that these "Reserves" are frozen by the bank, meaning (say it isn't so!) we are relegated to financing our not-so-awesome Financial Year's Holiday Season with CASH or perhaps nothing at all... We can all agree that Challenges have abounded, and many as a result of Weakness on our own part, or that of others.

How Grateful I am that these two things are inseparably connected!

There is salvation in the connectedness of Weakness and Challenges. Consider the following evolution: Weaknesses become Challenges, which command our Focus & Energy, which in time begets Time & Effort, which creates the Overcoming of Challenges, which leads to Strength and Efficiency.

In fact, I believe that this cycle, when combined with God's inspiration and a spirit of willing work and lack of blaming can be attributed to every major accomplishment Man has ever developed. Consider the following:

Heavy Rock in Field commands a solution, and "Viola" we have the Lever & Wheel. Lever & Wheel are refined and set to work to become Wheel & Axel, which become Wagon and Gears, which become Steam Engine which becomes Locomotives, Cars and so on, and the rest is history... from the Panama Canal to the Empire State Building... and look at all we can do now! (Although I still refuse to shovel my driveway)

Around October this year, I decided that I would complete a home I have been building for 2 years... and complete it before Christmas NO MATTER WHAT. I went to work, and while other important priorities (such as this Blog) may have slipped in the process, I am thrilled to say that on December 19th, 2008... it was FINISHED! FINALLY!!!

My late-year 2008 challenge was to find a way in a lousy economy to finish the house I was building full time, keep pushing forward on many of my other critical Real Estate projects and objectives, continue supporting a fledgling new business I'm working on, and still find a way to provide financially for my family, and have the means to pay for Christmas. While I fully believe that each family has been confronted with their very own "Tall Order" of things to do... this collection of tasks seemed to me to be a nearly insurmountable.

As I attempted to zero-in on a game plan, I really felt that just finishing the house alone could easily require 12 hours per day... in fact every one of these objectives could require a full time effort. I had 4 or 5 projects that would demand my full-time attention, not just one. All I could do was resolve to work on all of them, and give every day my very best... and that is exactly what I did.

Many intriguing truths revealed themselves to me throughout this process. One stand-out is that I had no one to blame for the mess but myself... so I was empowered to take complete and total personal responsibility. (What a blessing!)

I knew that any time spent complaining about or blaming "The economy", "lack of funds" , "being exhausted", or "investors pulling the rug out from underneath me" would in the end, not create the result I had decided I would generate. I simply could not afford to spare one eating or sleeping, much less to blaming... and this sort of singularity of purpose became my sanity in the last 3 months!

Literally, EVERYTHING in my world became one of two things: Either 1) A building block by which I could accomplish my nearly-impossible task, or 2) A hindrance to the very same task.

I found a freedom in calling people and explaining what I was going to accomplish and then in asking them if they could help in the work. I was simply sorting between those who doubted or did not support or believe in my cause, and replacing them as quickly as possible with those who could, or would.

Of course there were times late at night, when I was the only person who could be fully enlisted in the goal, so I would work late into the night, alone just working to complete the goal. Other times, my willingness to do the work myself inspired other to work beyond their usual limits of 5 or 6 o'clock at night to stay later and help me finish.

I have even had several occasions recently when I was in need where I even went back to the naysayers for help, and I was able to extract some help from them as they could see my goal getting closer to reality.

I owe a very special debt of gratitude to my wife, my Parents, Troy, Terry, Gabriel, AJ & Justin, Ron, Jay, Rick, Burt, and Curt for getting on board with my goals over the past couple of months and helping me see these things through!

I am so grateful that in the process of getting more done in a short period of time than I ever thought possible, I feel like even more was accomplished than what was intended. In the process of all of this, not only were my goals accomplished, but I feel I lived what it means to have a Challenge become a Blessing, and Weaknesses become some of my Strengths.

I am so grateful for the direction of God in the process. There have been dozens of specific circumstances where I have felt I was literally led or directed to find the very last box of whatever I needed to finish the house, or say just the right thing to a bank officer to have them hang tough with my group so I could rally my equity team.

Through these small but simple serendipities or coincidences, I find nothing "miraculous" in the accomplishment itself. I truly believe that ANY person could have done the same work - or better in less time. The miraculous part of this experience has been its effect on me.

The reality has been that in my life, all of the Challenges that seemed so insurmountable were not... but I feel stronger and better for having gone through them. The challenges have presented me with the opportunity to confront the weaknesses uniquely mine, and get stronger as a result, and having done both and overcome what was just months ago so daunting, is extremely gratifying... and for me - a little life miracle.

So now I embark upon the New Year with feelings of renewed energy and spirit. I carry feelings of loyalty, gratitude and indebtedness to those who have stood by me through so much adversity and who have worked with me at my tasks as I have worked at theirs. I embark the New Year with continued resolve to improve who I am, and to chase my dreams.

I am appreciative of the opportunity to be a Husband, Father, Brother, Son, Friend, and Person living in this world full of so many Challenges and Blessings!


Easy vs. Simple

Recent events in my professional life have led me to contemplate the critical distinction between Easy and Simple.

Anyone who is a parent can probably remember a half dozen instances per day in which their kids try to do something the easy way, and they wind up having to go back and do it over again... whether it be math homework done sloppily so the child can fly out the door to play with friends, making a bed by just pulling up the bed spread and leaving the sheets (and sometimes clothes, toys and other stuff) hidden underneath, or the famous jamming of all the toys under the bed or into closets, instead of putting them where they really belong.

Naturally, this EASY and immediate solution gave each of us as children something my Dad used to call Instant Gratification. The problem of course arrived when once we had been discovered, and you got that call at your friends house when the ill fated announcement came from your friend's mother: "Jake - your mom just called... you need to go home."

Weren't those the longest walks across the street? I have to laugh remembering those times... knowing I was done for, and feeling pretty queezy as I opened the front door.

I have had more than my fair share of long walks back across the street, both as a child and as an adult - in my personal life and in business.

There are other types of long walks aren't there?

Remember breaking that special something that your dad had told you a dozen times was NOT a toy? Or getting into trouble because you were goofing off and your brother got hurt, and even though it really was just an accident, you are going to have to face the music?

We all have to face the music... and on the surface it is never EASY, right? Maybe...

I hope that this post is as much or MORE for me than any reader... but it seems to me that some lessons we can glean from a lifelong worth of evidence is that most of the time, the EASY WAY is pretty hard in the long run... and that really, the RIGHT way might require more work, but is usually SIMPLE.

Simply clean your room like your parents asked you to, and do it right - and be done. SIMPLE.


Jam your clothes, toys, books and junk under your bed or in closets and drawers... leave the house 15 minutes sooner... pretty EASY... until you get called home in 30 minutes and have to start over, and now you can't play anymore. HARD.

In my own real estate dealings, I have certainly been guilty of the same faults.

In 2003 to 2007 it was EASY to gather "investors" together who could use their credit and little or no money to build homes on spec. Many of these investors were requesting to do 2, 3 or 5 homes at a time.

I had long lines of people ready, willing, and anxious to participate in building homes we could sell and split profits. At the time, we imposed what I allowed myself to believe were "standards" of integrity. (Only 1 owner occupied home at a time for our building clients, requiring clients to review and sign all bank draws, all checks from banks cut directly to subs instead of to our company, blah, blah, blah.)

Growth as a home builder in Utah was EASY. We promptly grew from a few homes per year (built with an artistic eye and a personal passion of my own for quality and stylistic consistency) to 20 to 30 homes going all the time.

Allow me to point out for the sake of the soap box that I was working very hard through all of this... at no point was my job EASY, it was hard work! But, today... with the benefit of perspective it was hard work that came too EASY. Too few of our homes had committed buyers. Too many of the Realtors we employed were similarly addicted to the EASY way (stick a sign in the yard and wait for the paycheck).

In the end, Wallstreet has told the tale of the result of EASY STREET.

The story does NOT end with Wallstreet.

The story ends when my son stops pulling his bedspread over his sheets instead of really making his bed. It ends when he musters up the courage to tell me he got carried away and scribbled crayon all over his sisters wall.

For me the story ends when I look at myself and decide to do things RIGHT and SIMPLE, and stop looking for EASY.

EASY today is "Blame the Economy", "Blame the Builder", "Blame the Banks", or "Blame Everybody". I have lived the story of the current economy first hand. It is very EASY to get lots of sympathy in the current market.

I have personally witnessed countless stories of grown men and women tell about all of their business knowledge and experience, and how much knowledge they have about Real Estate, economy, and investing... and 1 year later, these same people blame their Builder (in some cases me), the Realtor, the Appraiser, the Bank, the subs, everybody. It is so EASY to blame... but so hard to learn real lessons.

By no means is it SIMPLE or EASY to take responsibility when the ship is taking on water, headed into a storm, and the crew is bailing... but I have found peace in RESPONSIBLE.

Your feedback is welcomed.

This post would not be complete if I did express gratitude to & honor several individuals who, despite terribly frustrating and life altering circumstances brought to pass by the events described above, whether as home owners or speculative investors maintained professionalism and set an example for me of taking personal responsibility: D.&C. B., D.&M. M., C.&K. F., B.B., D.B., J.H., B.G., K.&A. K., M.&S. R., S.&C. T., M.&B. D., J.&A. A., R.A., R.&L. J., D.H., B.H., R.H., K.C., B.&B. B., R.H., and others.

I want you all to know that I wake up everyday and go to work, doing my best to be my best, and some of the best experiences I have had have been your quiet votes of confidence, well wishes, forgiveness and understanding. I wish it had gone differently for all of us.

My truest wish for all of us, for myself and my children is that we can seek and find happiness, and never stop learning or getting better. Keep life simple - but not EVER settle for going the EASY WAY.


Working Hard or Hardly Working...

Doesn't everybody gets caught in the trap called life?

One minute you are 18, graduating high school, celebrating the world that is your acorn, and being celebrated by parents, grandparents and loved ones... then you wake up one day 12 years later (like I did today) and you wonder if anything you do matters.

So Amanda and I are working hard to push for a big check this month... and we have rented the house and are moving by the end of the month into our new house. I am so excited I can't sleep, and it can't happen fast enough. Home Depot has been my number 1 destination (a minimum of 2 times daily for the last week) and I am only about 50% of the way done with Home Depot.

("Excuse me sir, did you know you can save up to 10% on your purchase today by opening a Home Depot account?")

The fascinating observation for the week, is that early in the week I set some specific goals for my business that will require some emotional risks and a small risk of failure... accomplishing these goals is the true WORK that I need to accomplish right NOW.

I have now procrastinated this REAL work, in favor of a lot of other work. Work on the new house, work on consulting others on their business, work in several other capacities. I have been working so hard that I am physically and mentally exhausted, yet the very work I MUST do - which would require far less exertion, and likely yield far greater results is postponed until the last minute.

Over the weekend, I listened to a speech by a great man named Thomas Monson. He has led an incredible life. He cautioned, "Pile up enough 'Tomorrow's' and you'll wind up with nothing but 'Empty Yesterday's'".

I worry I have been bumped out of the groove. So tomorrow I will do the stuff I have been putting off and keep chasing the dream!


The Importance of Learning Something From Everyone

It has been said that "A wise man learns from his mistakes".

Naturally a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.

There is however a more important concept than looking at the mistakes of others, and learning what NOT to do. The greater truth is that if we are hungry to learn we just might be able to learn What To Do which, if we can discipline ourselves trumps learning What Not To Do.

I think that there is a quote that basically says "In life, you will get results comparable to the people you surround yourself with". (That is a lousy attempt at the quote, so if someone finds the quote, please let me know! I did look for the quote, but after 30 minutes of searching for it unsuccessfully, I got distracted and suckered into taking an online IQ test - that then required me to subscribe $20 per month just to get my test score - which I did'nt pay - and all I proved is that I don't have a quote, and that my IQ must be pretty pathetic.)

Another similar quote: "It is not WHAT you know but WHO you know." Perhaps this blog may demonstrate that it is not solely who you know, but also WHO WE LEARN FROM.

Think about it. Suppose you grow up surrounded by gang members & drug dealers. Statistically it is highly likely you will become one, and either serve time, get shot, or something bad will happen. Conversely, suppose you grow up going to a private school where everyone graduates high school and gets a 4 year degree in college. Statistically you would be highly likely to achieve the same outcome.

Naturally there are remarkable stories of individuals who, despite their own life's circumstances and upbringing, defy the odds and go on to achieve greatness. We could look at hundreds of examples... from Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Buffet, all the way to Daddy Warbucks (You know... the self-made millionaire, whose shaven head and affection for the curly red-headed orphan Annie proved to all of us how great he was!)

I am confident however that in each such remarkable story, there was a desire to LEARN and grow... and that an extensive interview with such remarkable individuals would demonstrate that they learned critical lessons from their humble beginnings, and also went about their lives seeking additional learning opportunities from others.

Wasn't Albert Einstein the first guy to say, "I know that I don't know". Being aware of our own lack of knowledge is one part of an important equation to growth, but a desire to learn from others is a second, probably more important one.

Nothing can be as frustrating as being surrounded by those that believe they know everything. My brother Dave does a "bit" about a guy who knows everything - even before you tell him. Surely we have all experienced a such a conversation. It is remarkable to realize how stuck these individuals are. (Maybe some to some that know me better, I am just such an individual... I hope not!)

Allow me to present a formula that I have found to be valuable in learning from others:
  1. WATCH & LISTEN. Allow myself to observe what is taking place.
  2. THINK. Sounds like a novel concept, right? Consider the perspective of the individuals I am observing. (Include Myself)
  3. ASK QUESTIONS. This may include literally asking the other person "Why did you do that?" or "What is it you would like me to understand from your request?". Asking question may also come later in introspection... "How did that person know to do ___________?" or "How did that person react when _________" and so on...
  4. CONCLUDE & TAKE ACTION. Sometimes learning can be a guessing game, but take the lesson the best you can understand it, and put it into action. Taking Action includes things like writing it down, talking with someone about the thing you learned or observed, setting a goal to duplicate a pattern, or deciding to manage your time better, etc.
  5. PRACTICE. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly, at first... and worth doing well after practicing.
In many ways, the very blog you are reading is just that... perhaps the only value being rendered is to me, the author... but it is valuable to me. I find myself not only putting many principles I write about into action, but am constantly on the lookout for things I can learn and write about.

Imagine that if you put this principle to use, what a collection you would have after some practice.

  • What I learned from my Mom: Don't be afraid of who you are, because everyone else might be... LOL! I can talk to any one at any time about anything, and I never have to be afraid.
  • What I learned from my Dad: No matter how bad things get, it won't last. No matter how good things get, it won't last. Don't quit. Tell the truth. Work hard. Put your family first.
  • What I learned from Jarvis Webb: People do what benefits them, first.
  • What I learned from Brandon Osborne: Don't let anybody push you around. Who cares if you get beat... you will command respect and respect yourself if you stand up.
  • What I learned from Jimmy Dunn & Family: What true friendship is. How to love people, no matter what. How to see the best in everyone we meet. I learned that I was worth loving.
  • What I learned from Matt Kennedy: How to talk to women. How to find humor in everything.
  • What I learned from Ed Scholz: Just do what I am supposed to do, and who cares about everybody else. Everybody is imperfect, even the ones who think they are perfect. I learned what I hope Heavenly Father is like.
  • What I learned from Louis Scholz: Don't get myself dirty, or I will regret it. Stay clean.
  • What I learned from Daron: You can never do a good deal with a bad guy.
  • What I learned from Dan, Jay, Dave & Marion, Kenny & Amber, others: Forgiveness & Mercy.
  • What I learned from Cameron Foster: Believe in people. Believe in who they are. It helps them be their best.
  • What I learned from Bryan Miller: I had to learn true friendship again. It doesn't matter where you come from, what matters is where you are going. You can accomplish a lot, with very little effort simply be deciding to do it.
  • What I learned from Bryce Blanchard: Be the best at what you do, The Best. Every positive has a negative, and every negative has a positive... and you have to see both before you are even in the game. Hold your cards, aka keep your mouth shut. Negotiating.
  • What I learned from Spencer Hunn: Never stop believing in what you do. Be a good person. Never stop doing what you do best.
  • What I learned from My Wife: Love. Patience. Service. Charity. Laughter is the most beautiful sound on earth. Don't do dumb things to distance myself from the people I love, or I will feel lousy about it. Not every problem has to be solved on my schedule. I have a very long way to go!
  • What I learned from My Children: There is a God, and he loves each of us... personally and individually. No one is forgotten.
I could go on forever, and so could you. Now: Let's PRACTICE!

Please write me and let me know a lesson you have learned from someone, that pops into your mind... or anything else. Make your own list.

"If" by Rudyard Kipling

Allow me to credit Bryan Miller for first introducing me to this poem. It has given me a lot.

There are many parts of this poem that could be discussed... but as a piece of art, I'll leave it with you and let it stand alone. I encourage you to read it often and give yourself time to contemplate it and let it inspire you into action!


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!


The Most Incredible Love Story Ever Written - OR Never Written!

Wow... What a trip!

Took a day and went to a training conference in Modesto, California yesterday.

This jam-packed, no-seats-available, Sunday evening flight to Oakland was not something to look forward to. I wound up finding my seat next to 2 sisters - and the conversation that ensued was one for the ages.

Lemme give a shout out first to Elenore "Ellie" the Barbara Streisand lookalike, and her sister Lisa... a beaming romantic still in love with her High School boyfriend.

We started with some banter about the books we were reading, and it went from there... HANG WITH ME, because I can't tie this to greatness for a minute.

The two were obviously sisters. They had a similar happy smile (In fact they told me, "we have the same smile"). Each had a different father, and had been in Salt Lake City visiting their mother. A sense of kinship and connectedness between the two and their mother (now married for the 3rd time), and a quiet tone of acceptance was pervasive throughout our 2-hour flight.

On the surface, the 2 sisters were friendly and sweet. None eluded to a life's accomplishment worthy of boasting. Both are mothers of 2 or more children, as was their Mom. Both work. Both love their children dearly. As our exchange meandered from family, to kids, to marriage, to background, I was privileged to hear more in-depth information about their stories.

The story of first sister's father... and being raised primarily by her mothers next husband - and father to the second sister. The story of the second father, and his abrupt departure from the United States to live in Thailand (or somewhere) when the second sister was still young, and the older sister had moved out of the house. The story of their mother finding love, and moving to Utah (of all places).

Ellie told stories of her life, and her 3 children. The story of an incredible adventure with a past boyfriend - how they met on an airplane, and later how they flew to Hawaii, hitchhiked to a remote trail head, hiked 14 miles, camped in caves, and got a ride home on high seas with drunken fisherman - all with not much more to eat than dry bagels and some canned chili. (She quite literally described scooping the chili from the can with the dry bagels... great story!) She told other stories.

Lisa talked with a smile about her husband of 20 years, who was her high school boyfriend, and her 2 children. She expressed what could be interpreted as a longing to see her family more often, and not seeing family as often as she felt she should. She seemed excited to share (and I was truly in disbelief that she will soon become a grandmother to her oldest daughters first child.

It was nice to get a chance to express my own affections for my wife and children and share a few personal tidbits as well.

These stories that came out in our conversation seemed like stories that need to be written. They were GREAT STORIES to me... because for these two women and their mother, they are the most important stories that will ever be told. But the most important part now, reflecting on the stories - were the love stories.

I have spent a day contemplating what was the most important part of their story, and realized it was the love story they were each writing...

As I reflected, I thought about the movie THE NOTEBOOK. When you watch the story portrayed in "The Notebook" it seems so incredible on the silver screen... but I submit that it is a common story. So common in fact that it is almost not newsworthy. It is a story about a boy who falls in love with a girl, and never gives up on that love he feels for her.

What is incredible about "The Notebook" is that it is a story that is TOLD.

In just a couple of hours, we as an audience are allowed to see the stories highs and lows, observe the depth of the struggles and triumphs, feel the power of the resolve to stay together, and watch the couple grow old.

Every couple struggles through real life. We all feel the moments of passion, anger, defeat, and loneliness... we just don't have the benefit of being able to watch the outcome in 2 hours.

This is what makes MY love story The Most Incredible Love Story Ever NOT WRITTEN.

I know the depths of sorrow I have felt, and caused my wife to feel. I know how incredible it is to see her laugh & smile, and how bad it feels when we go a week or two without connecting at all. She has (not me) been the most loyal, forgiving and committed wife ever. I know how much fun it has been, and all of the work it has required just to get to where we are - and our story is just in the first couple of chapters!

Can we be honest with each other for a moment?

I am not a great author when it comes to writing. You and I both know it.

But my quest is not to "be a guy who can write good and stuff", but to AUTHOR a life that is worthy of being written about.

The GREATEST achievement I could accomplish, would be in 20 more years to have my wife feel about me as Lisa & Ellie seemed to about their husbands.

Now who knows - maybe their love story is over, and I am just imagining something here... I hope not.

My parents have a love story that has been more than 33 years in the writing, and I assure you that it would not fail to entertain if condensed into a movie. More importantly, I believe that for each of my six brothers and two sisters and I, the love story will prove to be NEXT TO OUR OWN, one of the most incredible love stories ever written... and maybe someday one of us will decide to write it.

Seen in the proper perspective, perhaps there is NO GREATER ACCOMPLISHMENT than becoming the successful author of our own life's love story?

Here's to hoping that you & I live to see OUR LOVE STORY become the Greatest, Most Incredible Love Story Ever Written - Or Not Written.


Through the Forbidden Valley, Over the Perilous Pass, Around the Swamp of Solitude, and Into the Belly of the BEAST!!!

Every great story of an incredible journey must have adversity, Right?

So if you ever find yourself stuck where I am - up to my eyeballs in adversity, I guess you just remind yourself about that.

Frodo Baggins kept on walking. Despite all odds, that little fuzzy-footed foot soldier would not quit. He put one foot in front of the other all the way to Mordor. (Spelling of Tolkien names is not under warranty)

Yesterday, I finally finished a critical task I had been working on for 3 months. As a result, I was going to be able to free up a little bit of money from a bank to pass on to subcontractors to whom I owe an unbearable amount of money. Bear in mind, I was far from done, but my whole heart had sort of brightened at the idea of being able to give some people something.

I don't care to bore with too much detail, but the funds were Frozen. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! Upon hearing the news, I was off to the races. Calls from my cell phone were flying to the bank, my attorney, subs who I had written checks, my wife to tell her I was not on the way home to spend time with my children after all...

Disaster had struck.

What do you do when the one thread of hope you have been hanging on to for the last 3 months is clipped as casually as my 3-year old daughter knocking over a glass of newly poured milk? I guess you just stand there in disbelief.

That is in fact what I did yesterday. Stood there as if looking down on the milk - now dripping from the counter onto her clothes, seat, and the floor - and feel sorry for myself.

Where was Staples with their fricking "Easy Button" now?

So not by choice, I'm forced to take a night to think about it... What does all of this mean?

From the $700 Billion bailout in Washington D.C. to the loans that I got and maybe shouldn't have, to the loans I helped other people get who are now living the same mess as me, to the subcontractors who did the work and can't pay the suppliers, to the suppliers who can't repay loans to the banks for the losses, and all of our employees we've let go who now can't find work or pay their mortgages, just like I can't pay my mortgage...

Back when money was more abundant in my life, and my ego abounded (not necessarily a happier time, just a time when I was more stymied by illusions of success due to my own skill as a business man, and the resulting imbalance in life's priorities), I used to think the legacy I would leave behind to my children was that they could do anything they dreamed of.

My children would sit captivated as I told them stories of slaying mighty "mean Dragons" while I rode triumphantly on my "nice Dragon" who brought me my sword. I think for about a week, they were pretty convinced Dragons were really real.

I wanted to start a little thing called "Dragons Live". An organization, charity, foundation... or maybe just a children's book - but something dedicated to letting kids know that they can make their very own dreams come true.

Needless to say - that has not gone very far. (nowhere)

What has happened is that I have achieved a quiet confidence knowing that I, like Frodo - can keep going.

I will be forced to - in my own realm, "go through the Forbidden Valley, over the Poisonous Pass, around the Swamp of Solitude, and Into the Belly of the BEAST, just as Frodo was.

Just as my parents were - and are. Just as whoever is reading this blog must do.

I imagine that these desperate times, when we can't make it any farther, and the last strand of hope has been cut - are some of the times that Jesus Christ experienced on our behalf in his Atonement in Gethsemane.

He too, had a path to walk that could be walked by none other. He went as far as He could go on His own, and then was broken.

Even then, He placed one foot in front of the other as He faced Pilate, then Herod, then Pilate again. He even climbed Calvary with the help of the man who carried His cross.

By no means am I a martyr as He was, and by no means holy.

I hoped to gain a profit, and gain wealth and worldly accolades. For the record, I tried my best to do it the right way - but in the end, I too have been broken.

So what incredible adventure in life would be so without a breaking point?

I guess this is the essence of this blog, for me. Climbing Everest for Sir Edmund Hillary was no meager accomplishment. Only HE could do it for himself. As it is with a Marathon (I suppose, mine comes next year).

While hundreds of people have climbed Everest, and hundreds of thousands complete marathons and other remarkable feats of strength and endurance each year... it is the accomplishment of each individual for themselves that is miraculous.

To finish any such task a goal must be set, and one foot placed in front of the next in succession until the task is finished. I suspect that in the process - each person must push past the barriers that would hold them back, like the Swamp, or the Valley, or the "Belly of the Beast".

Relative to my own life's calamity: I will wake up tomorrow. Get dressed. Skip the bowl of cereal as I almost always do. Kiss my kids & wife, and keep trying.

I hope that you will join me!



Amerigo Vespucci vs. Christopher Columbus

Waking up early doesn't happen enough... but when it does I try and let it lead me.

One of the friends that has been a true inspiration to me is Bryan. When we met we shared a cynical disdain for accepting life for what it gives us. Both of us seemed to be searching for some answers to life's most important questions:

1. Who am I?
2. Who is God, really and where do I stand with him?
3. What am I going to do when I grow up?

Bryan has been an inspiration because he has pursued the answers with seemingly greater commitment than I. (Grant me an 8 month offset for a financial meltdown, and he is still ahead in the race.)

I'll blog another time about the importance of surrounding ourselves with people that will make us better... this whole intro is actually intended to lead into my topic: Amerigo Vespucci vs. Christopher Columbus.

It all started when Bryan created a list of 17 goals he would accomplish. There is no question in my mind that he will accomplish all of them. One night at the gym he recited all 17 goals to me, and I was (as I often am by my friends) inspired once again.

It is far from my place to list HIS goals, but since I have adopted a handful of them as my own, I will name 3 of the goals I adopted.

1. To walk 50 miles in 20 hours or less.
2. To complete the Mongol Rally.
3. To run a full Marathon.

Each of these goals deserves a Blog all its own.

I am very proud to say that #1 (Walk 50 miles in 1 day) is DONE! That is right, I was a participant with Bryan, Mya, Ken, Heather, Cherie, Phil, Jason & Charlie in the first ever PROTOSA. This blog may be the first ever public online record of the event which was founded by Bryan Miller.

We walked 50 Miles (actual mileage probably more like 52+/-) from the Provo Temple, to the Salt Lake Temple. I will blog about this later, but it was an incredible and unforgettable life experience. I can not wait to do it again next year.

#2 on the list of goals adopted from Bryan is the Mongol Rally.

A quick overview of the rally: Participants drive (for charity) from London to Mongolia in a car with no greater than a 1 Liter engine, and have an adventure of a lifetime along the way. Visit the website and read about it!

Excitement to participate in this event is an understatement. Thoughts of the Mongol Rally have flooded my subconscious for several weeks. I have spent more than an hour on multiple occasions visiting Google and looking over different routes that might be selected. Thoughts about the vehicles we will drive, what might happen, countries to visit, I've even pictured myself coming home to my wife and kids... all kinds of things.

In the course of contemplating, discussing and planning these seemingly ostentatious and would-be self centered undertakings Bryan discovered another incredible adventure, called LONG WAY ROUND.

Ewan McGregor and 3 Friends simply decided to ride their motorcycles nearly around the world, and document the trip. They travel from London across Europe into Asia across Russia, driving North and literally crossing from Russia to Alaska. They finish by driving from Alaska through Canada, the U.S. and finally end in New York City. INCREDIBLE

This has awakened my mind to ideas I have not had since I was learning about Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci in the 8th Grade.

So when I woke up early, I had dreamed of a route around the world that I would drive. I would play COPY CAT cat to Ewan McGregor and his pals, and plot a route all my own. I dreamed of Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus.

Consider these thought for a moment: Christopher Columbus was the first, and greatest explorer. He risked all. He discovered the New World.

So what about the rest of the explorers, like Amerigo Vespucci? Were they not just COPY CATS themselves? Once the New World was discovered, what else was there but to copy? Did'nt these explorers literally attempt to copy Columbus?

Haven't I, literally done nothing more than copy Bryan for his goals?

So this pondering sets the stage for where my brain was at when I fell asleep.

Upon waking I had dreamed about my route around the world. I had dreamed of Columbus & Amerigo Vespucci. So I woke up and googled Vespucci and found the following article. What a fun and interesting article about how How America Got It's Name. I encourage you to read it when you have time:


So now that I have had a day to reflect on these thoughts, and how they may (or may not) relate to my quest to become great, please allow me to conclude:

Great men often mimic, even copy the great actions of other great men.

This "Copy Cat" behavior may seem at first to be less than inspiring to the sideline observer... but contemplated it. Did Abraham Lincoln not read and study the works of George Washington? Can we suppose that Michael Jordan did not aspire to some day reach the level of Dr. J, and some of the other Greats? How many incredible parents have become so because they were emulating their own parents or grandparents... etc.

I don't believe that it is a venture outside the realm of probability to say that Columbus himself aspired to be like some other great hero sailor/explorer of his time.

So in my quest to climb this everest... I will try to be like Bryan. I'll even take some of his goals as my very own. In the end if we walk 50 miles together, it is an accomplishment that still required me to put one foot in front of the other until I had finished, as it did him.

I will gladly work someone else's idea, and try to improve upon it for my own. I will seek knowledge and understanding from the teachings and lessons of other teachers, and simultaneously attempt to share what I am learning in my own way with others...

These actions alone surely do not GREATNESS make - but they probably don't hurt our chances either.

After all - consider Vespucci's outcome:

Christopher Columbus has now and will always have international renown. Every school child makes the little Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria out of construction paper. Every person in America can recite "in fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and so on. I've always been inspired by Columbus. He is celebrated all over the world. Each year Columbus has his very own day, and we revere him.

But for Vespucci you have to admit - having a little continent named America be named after YOU is a pretty remarkable accomplishment.

P.S. If anyone knows the name of the very first explorer to sail all the way around the world, please let me know.


Nasal vs. Life Congestion

Woke up with nasal passages so clogged it was like someone had poured concrete through a tube into my nose. This is not the normal clogging we are talking about - this is ear popping mind numbing clogged nasal that is so severe, I found upon waking I had spent the last 3 or 4 hours breathing through my mouth, and my now Sahara-dry tongue had shriveled into a stale pink piece of ABC Gum... (already been chewed).

Aaahhh... Sunday at last.

Not only has my face/head/nose been congested. My brain is congested as well... so after convincing myself that missing church would be acceptable under the circumstances, I go to work reading another chapter in The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clayson.

Pretty incredible book if you want to live life as a free man not a slave. I read the chapter called "The Camel Trader of Babylon".

This chapter is a short story of a man who began his adult life getting married, earning a decent living - but living beyond his means. Soon his debt is a suffocating noose around his neck. (Sounds very familiar!)

After his debts become unbearable he dispatches his wife to live with her parents, and flees the city. After several attempts at different career options (a merchant, a bandit, etc.) his life spirals further downward he is taken captive. Next the good part: He is sold as a slave and nearly castrated into a eunuch. (This simply must be mentioned, because in the next 10 years I find it unlikely that I will ever have the opportunity again to write in context about a eunuch... how terrifying and hilarious! We should all set a goal to use the word eunuch at least once this week in conversation. Eunuch... LOL!)

His life takes a turn for the better when his master - the woman he serves spares him his castration, and asks some important questions:

"If a man has in himself the soul of a slave will he not become one no matter what his birth, even as water seeks its level? If a man has within him the soul of a free man, will he not become respected and honored in his own city in spite of his misfortune?"

Later after a proving period she asks directly, "Dabasir, hast thou the soul of a free man or the soul of a slave?"

As I read this story today a conviction grew within me once again to be a free man... to REPAY my debts, no matter how long it takes.

There are some very incredible inferences here... but please forgive me if my enthusiasm is over-zealous: did Dabasir have the "balls" to do what needed to be done? Let your imagination run wild with jokes after this story.

Not to get the cart before the horse here. Because the blog is brand new - I don't believe I have even mentioned anything about my debts... but with the collapse of the Real Estate market comes a failure of my business, and some pretty significant debt. It has been pretty darn "emasculating", and my ego has undergone several subsequent rounds of circumcision.

Just reading this story inspired me that this debt must be repaid - albeit eventually, if I am to be FREE. The chapter closes with the lesson: "WHERE DETERMINATION IS, THE WAY CAN BE FOUND"

I have the determination... now it must be done... creating for myself a new goal. REPAY ALL MY DEBT.

Next, I went out to the web and tried to find a picture of the book to post on my blog, and found a pretty awesome website instead:


The site is by who seems to be a very down to earth individual named Trent Hamm. The site is very worth a visit and some study. Remarkably his story is not unlike my own. His blog states that he went through a financial meltdown in 2006 and has since documented it very well, and the tools and knowledge he has since acquired to climb back to the top of his Everest.

I congratulate Mr. Hamm on his accomplishments, and thank him for his inspiration.

In conclusion: My nose is congested. My life is congested. I want to live and breath freely. I am convinced there are many more resources available to me for my life than there are my nose.

The difference is that with my nose, I can simply take a pill, and wait. With my life, I must be willing to stick to a plan for longer than a pill. I must act... read, study, implement.

Should I go back and beat the drum that consistency = greatness?

The bad news is that no matter what I do today, it looks like my Sunday will be spent with Nasal Congestion.


Fear of Cheese

Okay... so 3 days into this, the predominant fear inside myself is that this blog is way too cheesy to actually pull off.

I can hear the cynics now: "Climbing Everest... this guy is a self absorbed bastard who is so completely unaware of his own mundane mediocrity he actually believes he is trying to be great, LOL!"

As I read the blog... and schedule my Saturday I truly fear they might be right.

1. Get kids cereal. (Only after being told to do so by Amanda)
2. Drive to Orem, Utah to pick out carpet for the new house.
3. Do a meeting for ACN at 11:00 AM. (ACN is a Network Marketing company I belong to.)
4. Clean up my yard for the home I am building.
5. Go home & watch movies
6. Set up my fantasy football teams for tomorrow.

It is now 8:46 AM, and already the day has its disappointments.
1. I got mad at my oldest daughter (and was rude to her) for standing on my foot.
2. Since I was rude to her, have been grumbling around the house in a bad mood, warning everybody to stay out of my way.
3. Subscribed as the first and only follower to my very own CHEESY blog.
4. Am seriously considering calling people, and asking them to subscribe so I feel less cheesy about it. (I won't do it. I won't, I won't, I won't)


Repetition = Greatness???

Greatness = Repetition?

So... the first thing to say about being great is that there are a lot of different iterations of this word.

Observation #1: There can be no true achievement of GREATNESS without REPETITION.

We have all heard the saying that "Every dog has his day" or "Every squirrel finds an acorn". There have been comical stories aplenty about the guy who got up to bat in the Major Leagues one time, and got a hit... his lifetime career average is 1.000! Clearly, that does not compare to the true greats who manage .333 and send our nostalgic fathers into tears at the mention of their names. (My dad loves Mickey Mantle... and can't talk about him very much without really being in awe of just how great he was... and he does actually choke up sometimes!)

So my thoughts on Repetition: It is the most difficult thing anyone will ever do.

In the books of sacred writ... "Enduring to the End" is the part that seams toughest. I have my heroes when it comes to repetition... Amanda; Mike, Barb, & Jimmy; Trent; My Dad; My Father-In-Law.

My wife speaks in such admiration of her Dad when she recounts that almost every morning she can remember growing up, he was awake before her, and studying the scriptures. The same can be said of some of my best friends... and my Mom.

So far, I have been more of the "VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE" kind of guy. I put my car keys in a different spot every day when I come home - and change my clothes in a different room in the house - and without even thinking about it.

So a few weeks ago a man I respect tremendously made a comment about the Book: THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON" by George S. Clayton. My respect for Bryce is such that him mentioning the book made me go buy it. I will talk about it for the rest of my life, because it is a great book.

In that book, Arkad is the Richest Man in Babylon. Some of his friends question him on how he achieved it... and one commented that he simply had "strong will power". Humor me, and allow me to quote a paragraph from the book:

"Willpower!" retorted Arkad. "What nonsense. Do you think willpower gives man the strength to lift a burden the camel cannot carry, or to draw a load the oxen cannot budge? Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfillment. If I set for myself a task, be it ever so trifling, I shall see it through. How else shall I have confidence in myself to do important things? Should I say to myself, 'For a hundred days as I walk across the bridge into the city, I will pick from the road a pebble and cast it into the stream,' I would do it. If on the seventh day I passed by without remembering, I would not say to myself, 'tomorrow I will cast two pebbles which will do as well.' Instead, I would retrace my steps and cast the pebble. Nor on the twentieth day would I say to myself, 'Arkad, this is useless. What does it avail you to cast a pebble every day? Throw in a handful and be done with it.' No, i would not say that nor do it. When I set a task for myself, I complete it. Therefor, I am careful not to start difficult and impractical tasks, because I love leisure."

This paragraph inspired me with insight about greatness... in fact much of the inspiration to do this blog came from reading the book, and discussions with my friend Bryan.

So... time will tell. Do I have the fortitude Arkad speaks of to complete a task, once set for myself?

My goal is to post on this blog regularly... several times per week, and report on my progress.

Hopefully in the coming weeks the stage will be set for me to do more specific reporting about what is happening, not just the psudo-inspirational B.S. that I come up with to get the Blog going.

We shall see...


Intro to Nano Economics... er, My Blog

So... this is my blog.

More than 1 year ago I was sitting in a beautiful 2500 square-foot condo overlooking the Marina in Cabo San Lucas with my wife and (at the time) 3 children.

I was checking emails when it became evident something was very wrong. The Real Estate market was crashing, and I knew instantly my life would never be the same.

There are moments in your life you simply don't forget - the birth of a child, your wedding day, getting bit by a shark (if applicable) - and this is one that will stay with me. I can still feel the cold air of the air conditioned hotel room. I can picture the blinding sun outside, and the feelings of panic and helplessness sitting there in the room reading those emails.

Since then, a lot has gone on.

I was active in the Real Estate market, and had a dozen investors at the time... I have lived the "Credit Crunch" and Mortgage Crisis as first hand as anyone.

I have come to feel a sincere gratitude for the opportunity to watch this MELTDOWN first hand.

Life has tossed me its share of curveballs and sliders on the inside corner. The result is that I am better.

I am starting this blog to recount some of the crazy stories that went on, and still happen from time to time. I am excited to chronicle my life.

Don't you want to be GREAT, not just good? Haven't you ever wanted to climb Everest or win the Boston Marathon, instead of climb the stairs or do 15 minutes on the treadmill on the 5.5 setting while you watch some skanky music video at the gym you only attend once per month?

I want to be great... so read about my quest!

Please be a part of it!