Urgent: Stop Suicide

Thank you, Tim Ferriss, Jocko Willink and Echo Charles . You just gifted me the most urgent podcast message I have ever heard: Jocko Podcast Episode #50.

For the love of God, share Jocko Podcast Episode #50 NOW. And if God is not among your loved ones, for the love of them, share it NOW! This is a message every teenager should hear NOW, every Veteran should hear NOW, every college student should hear NOW. Every ________ should hear NOW. Fill in the blank. Share, share, share, NOW! Why?

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas some years back, my cousin Tyler killed himself, all alone. He had reached out to me and to my sons, just asking what we were doing over the holidays. We sensed he was fishing for an invitation, but we were busy.

We never heard from Tyler again. Instead my aunt called. She could not handle it. I flew out to California and cleaned up what Tyler left behind. He never saw the New Year. And every New Year, I try to forget it could have been different. But I can’t because it could have been.

You don’t need to carry a burden like this the rest of your life. SHARE Jocko Podcast #50 NOW. Listen for the quiet desperation that may lie behind the polite question or phone call of a friend or relative, and SHARE Jocko Podcast #50. Share yourself, your ear, your heart, your time. A false positive carries little risk, but a false negative can mean a death to be borne forever. You can make a difference you may never know you made until in due time you yourself pass over.

 

 

Wisdom Day 29 September 2016: Discipline Just in Time

For people who hate discipline
    and only get more stubborn,
There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
    but by then it’ll be too late to help them. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 29, Verse 1, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Being a fool by nature, I need a daily dose of discipline, or maybe several, to stay out of tough tumbles into tiger pits. But I just can’t make it every day to the psychologist, psychiatrist, priest, pastor, rabbi, imam or group meeting. But every day online I have:

The Word is Wisdom. Wisdom is the Word. Extreme Ownership put me back on a wise path. The fellowship of all the Troopers at zero dark 45 every morning helps me remember that, as Jocko says, Discipline = Freedom.

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (Paul’s Letter to the Church in Galatia, Chapter 1, Verse 1, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

I aim to own the freedom and connect for real with other humans in the pursuit of wisdom, short and long term.

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We Stand!

We know what we stand for, #0445club! Extreme Ownership!

. . . I will always do my duty,
No matter what the price,
I’ve counted up the cost,
I know the sacrifice.
Oh, and I don’t want to die for you,
But if dyin’s asked of me,
I’ll bear that cross with honor,
‘Cause freedom don’t come free. (Toby Keith, American Soldier)

 

 

Wisdom Day 26 September 2016: Beware: Tigers!

Loafers say, “It’s dangerous out there!
    Tigers are prowling the streets!”
    and then pull the covers back over their heads. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 26, Verse 13, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

I can relate! I never considered myself a loafer, but there have been times when I woke up ready to get up, then thought of all the tigers, not in the street so much as in my life. The tigers were circling. Bed seemed a safe place to be.

That was before Extreme Ownership, before The Tim Ferriss Show podcast with Jocko Willink, before 40 + episodes of The Jocko Podcast, before joining the #0445club, and before the recent #fastingsavages sally.

Now, it’s no longer Beware: Tigers! It’s Tigers, beware! Now when I wake up, I feel the spirit of hundreds, maybe thousands of fellow Troopers around the world with me. And I think of the servant of  the prophet Elijah:

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (The Second Book of the History of the Kings, Chapter 16, Verses 15 & 16, The New International Version, BibleGateway.com)

And today it is true. There are more and more of us. We are the tigers in the streets. Get it on, Troopers!

Oh, if you’re not a Trooper yet, you can fix that. Or maybe better just cover your head? Wait for the tigers to spring? No slack.

Some homework?

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Wisdom Day 19 September 2016: Live Well

 

    Take good counsel and accept correction—
that’s the way to live wisely and well. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 19, Verse 20, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Where do I find good counsel? Who will give me wise correction?

Tim Ferriss says we’re the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time.

So what do I do? My plan of action (first draft):

  • Identify the top five sources of wisdom I can access electronically. Jocko Willink is already at the top of this list.
  • Identify the top five sources of wisdom I can access in person. Hmm? That’s a tough one.
  • Invest my “disposable” time there, starting today. Not sure time is like income or modern diapers, but will give it a tumble.
  • Track the time invested and report it to an accountability partner. And that would be . . . ?
  • Track the results in the most difficult problem area of my life, finances at this point. Let’s see . . . What’s a good metric? Credit score? Total indebtedness? Increase in income? I’ll go for inceased income, at least for now.
  • Re-calibrate and repeat.

Can I do it? Will Tim prove right? Can I improve my average me? Stay tuned.

Jocko at 90

My most important question: at the end of your getting after it—-90 year old Jocko….just before he dies thinks/says ?
So asks @TysonBush. My guess? Most likely something out of Tennyson. What else for a guy who loves literature but not quite as much as jiu jitsu?
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
. . .
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
I think he’ll still be tapping out all comers until one day he doesn’t.

Wisdom Day 28 August 2016: Quo vadis?

Lead good people down a wrong path
    and you’ll come to a bad end;
    do good and you’ll be rewarded for it. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 28, Verse 10, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Isn’t it amazing how right Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was?

L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. [What is essential is invisible to the eye.] (The Little Prince)

So what is important for a leader? Quo vadis? Where are you going? Actually, I should make it personal: Where am I going? Where am I taking folks? The real answer here is not some physical place. It may look that way, but it is not. It is not the top of the hill. It is not the end of the obstacle course. It is not graduation. It is not publication. It is not even money. Once I know why I am leading and where, only then should I focus on how.

A Sherpa guide isn’t just leading a climber to the top of Everest. The true goal is a thing of the heart. It indeed cannot be seen. Keep asking why. You will find out. If I ask, “Why are you climbing Everest,” and the climber says, “To get to the top,” we should both have a good laugh at the absurdity of the answer. Then we should keep going with the question “Why?” until why can not be asked any more.

Every day my five-year old daughter asks me why more times than I can remember. I either give her an answer that causes me to learn or an answer that is really no answer at all.

Whom do you lead? Why? “Quo vadis?”

Some resources for finding answers to where, why, and how leadership questions:

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Wisdom Day 28, July 2016: Chaos Country Bear

When the country is in chaos,
    everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
    to straighten things out. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 28, Verse 2, The Message, translation by Eugene Peterson, audio by Kelly Ryan Dolan, BibleGateway.com)

Does this get to the point? Is the country in chaos? Where is the leader of real understanding? Might he be found on the Jocko Podcast? God, grant us a miracle. And, Lord, if you can’t help us, please don’t help that bear: Russian bear, ISIS bear. The world is full of bears, at home and abroad it seems. It’s a tough job, baptizing bears!

Oh Lord, you delivered Daniel from the lions den,
Delivered Jonah from the belly of the whale, and then
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace,
So the Good Book do declare!
Well, Lord, Lord, if you can’t help me,
For goodness sake don’t you help that bear.
(The Preacher and the Bear, The New Christy Minstrels, In Person, 1963)

 

Wisdom Day 27, July 2016: Honor the Boss

If you care for your orchard, you’ll enjoy its fruit;
if you honor your boss, you’ll be honored. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 27, Verse 18, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Jocko Willink really hammers away at this point on the Jocko Podcast and in Extreme Ownership: Serve your boss. Does your boss want to take the credit? Good. Do you find your boss difficult? Good! Show respect. You want to be a leader? Good: Learn to follow.

Had I understood the principles involved here and lived by this advice as a junior officer, I would probably be a general today. I had so much going for me, except the wisdom of humility. My early success had made me haughty, even arrogant, but I didn’t see it.

However, I’ve decided it is never too late to change. Are you young? Get humble! Not so young? Get humble. As Ryan Holiday writes in Ego is the Enemy, ego is the enemy. Holiday’s book is a great primer for practical humility. The Jocko Podcast is a great pulpit from which to hear the message of active, creative, productive humility.

One other thought on my own early pride: I was a Christian. I was arrogant without realizing it. Yes, I had learned some truth. Yes, I did have some important insight not shared by all. I was even a spiritual leader of sorts. All well and good. But like certain religious leaders, of much greater stature than I, my behavior eclipsed important guidance that doesn’t leave much wiggle room for pride:

1-3 I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.

4-5 When God, who is the best shepherd of all, comes out in the open with his rule, he’ll see that you’ve done it right and commend you lavishly. And you who are younger must follow your leaders. But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for—

God has had it with the proud,
But takes delight in just plain people.

6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. (Peter’s First Letter, Chapter 5, Verses 4-7, The Message, BibleGateway.com, underlining by the blog author)

Yes, pride and ego can surely do us in:

18 First pride, then the crash—
    the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 16, Verse 18, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

So I had a big ego and took a big fall. I’m back on my feet a bit wiser. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Meanwhile, the following books offer help in cultivating humility, controlling the ego, and weeding out pride:

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Wisdom Day 20, July 2016: Clean Sweep

Hi, Jocko troopers! Today’s chapter from The Book of Proverbs is just an awesome spring of understanding and insight, especially when it comes to leadership. I hope you can find time to enjoy the whole chapter. As I have said before and will likely say again and again, I just love The Message translation of Proverbs by Eugene Peterson.

At Biblegateway.com I can listen for free as Kelley Ryan Dolan reads The Message a chapter at a time. I can follow along in the text. I can highlight, star, and add notes. It’s a pretty impressive site. Hope you can enjoy.

And hey, this is not just for “Christians.” After all, King Solomon was not a Christian, and he was the primary author. Shucks, he didn’t even speak English. Pretty crazy, huh? Well, on to one great passage on leadership from Chapter 20 (There are several others. Hope you ferret them out on your own):

After careful scrutiny, a wise leader
    makes a clean sweep of rebels and dolts. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter  20, Verse 26, The Message, BibleGateway.com)

Well, here I am trying to figure out how this applies to me. I am not leading any company or military unit. I can see how this applies to high level leaders like Jocko Willink, Leif Babin, Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreesen. But to me?  Well, what comes to mind is that I am a follower of these men and many other purveyors of wisdom, including Jesus. So I guess I can start with scrutiny of myself. Yep, that works.

If I were working for me, I might have to fire me, given my high rebel and dolt quotient. OK. So today, I’ll see if I can’t line up better with operational wisdom, like being on time and catching up on my accounting. Then I can be better as a leader for the sons and daughters who call me Dad or Daddy, respectively.

Meanwhile, for improving skills as both leader and follower, I’ve found the following to be useful guides. May they also prove worthwhile for you:

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