Why It’s Important For You To Strongly Desire Autonomy

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Photo by Markus Winkler on UnsplashHow do you picture an entrepreneur? In a recent survey by Cox Business, small business owners listed their top three entrepreneurial idols as Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin and Walt Disney. But another part of that survey may be more revealing.

Roughly two-thirds of the respondents said the desire to be their own boss motivated their entrepreneurial pursuits. This sense of autonomy has come to embody the rugged individualist persona often associated with the entrepreneurial spirit.

“Following a process that does not make sense to me has a strong tendency to undermine Continue Reading “Why It’s Important For You To Strongly Desire Autonomy”

Why America’s Founding Secretly Influences You

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You don’t have to be an American to say you’re an American. That was the whole idea of the American Experiment – it was meant for all nations, not just those uppity Tea Partiers who frolicked in Boston Harbor a few centuries back. But this experiment didn’t start with the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence or even the United States Constitution. It began with a collection of oppressed runaways and an accidental metaphor that endures to this day.

After reading a perhaps too rosy account of the Plymouth Colony by the Pilgrims Edward Winslow and William Bradford, excitement grew in England to establish more companies to Continue Reading “Why America’s Founding Secretly Influences You”

The Secret to Getting Anything You Want

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History’s Greatest Quest

“TELL ME, O MUSE, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Hyperion; so the god prevented them from ever reaching home. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them…”

(BOOK I, The Odyssey, Homer ca 800 BC)

Before embarking on the journey you are about to take, some self-doubt is normal and healthy. But it shouldn’t hold you back. The very nature of self-discovery resides in your blood.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll reveal how and why this is so. I’ll explain to you why your Continue Reading “The Secret to Getting Anything You Want”

The Road All Runners Run

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Photo by Jennifer Marr from FreeImagesThe world is an imperfect place. And we are its imperfect inhabitants.

You shouldn’t, as the saying goes, allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. For all our imperfections, we all possess some ounce of good.

Like hating the sin and loving the sinner, it is that ounce of good that we should glorify, amplify, and dignify. It’s what gives us all hope in a world marred by inadequacy and faultiness.

So it was with A.E. Housman, the troubled poet of the 19th Century. If you’re on your toes, you may have caught that the title of this piece alludes to a line in Housman’s greatest work: “To an Athlete Dying Young.”

While Housman’s works reflect the tragic demons that tormented him, this poignant poem still contains that ounce of good that makes it memorable.

A behavioral economist might call it “reframing.” Us regular folk simply say it’s looking at Continue Reading “The Road All Runners Run”

In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the (Summer) Evening

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It was about thirty years ago that I threw in the towel. After a little more than three decades of roughing it without central air conditioning, I broke down.

I have to admit. There’s something sweet about swimming in the hot muggy midsummer air. Like the reassuring aroma from your mother’s kitchen, you can smell it. Like the snuggling comfort of your favorite blanket, you can feel it. Like the glittering neon signs of the exciting night, you can see it in the twinkling above.

Yes. All the radiating vapor creates waves of transparent turbulence, only visible through Continue Reading “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the (Summer) Evening”

A Confession from a Hypocrite: Alas, I, too, am a Free Rider

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It was the most regrettable thing I had ever done in my entire life. At the time I thought it was a giant step forward, a statement that, because of who I was, because of who we were, would make a difference.

Organizing the protest had other alluring advantages. Our teacher encouraged us. We respected her and she respected us. She treated us like adults. We liked that. It presented us with the ultimate reward: greater self-esteem. In addition, the entire class participated. That meant we could be with our friends, and all the social rewards that brings. Finally, only our class was allowed to participate. It was a reward for getting our schoolwork done in a timely fashion. There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment to fill the soul with self-confidence.

Of course, it helped that we hooked our wagon to a national movement. It was the first Continue Reading “A Confession from a Hypocrite: Alas, I, too, am a Free Rider”

The Secret Power of Multitasking No One Ever Talks About

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“If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” I first heard this famous adage from Benjamin Franklin in my early twenties. I had just joined the Data Processing Management Association and the new president asked me to volunteer for a position. She was a smart, motivated, and very successful woman. So it goes without saying she was more than prepared for my inevitable (and lame) response. “I’m kinda busy,” I sheepishly replied. That’s when she said it.

“You know what they say, Chris, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person.’” She didn’t know it (or did she?), but, Continue Reading “The Secret Power of Multitasking No One Ever Talks About”

In Search of Virtue: How Boy Scouts Helped Me Do the Impossible

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In 1748, the French philosopher Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, anonymously published his opus The Spirit of Laws. Two years later, Thomas Nugent 928906_80180220_Pontifical_Authority_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300published the initial English translation. This work, from where the term “separation of powers” first appeared, greatly influenced our Founding Fathers.

Montesquieu outlined three essential forms of government – Despotism, Monarchy and Republic – each dependent on one vital and defining character trait among its citizens. Under despotism, it’s fear. In a monarchy, it’s honor. But in a republic, Montesquieu maintains, those governed must be disposed to nothing less than virtue. Our Founding Fathers understood this. They possessed high expectations of both their new country as well as its citizens.

Oddly enough, the nation’s forebears did not see it as the role of government to imbue virtue upon its citizens. Rather, they expected the people to embrace virtue of their own volition. Nothing said this more than Benjamin Franklin’s answer to a woman who Continue Reading “In Search of Virtue: How Boy Scouts Helped Me Do the Impossible”

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