Knowing history can change the future

The more I learn about historical figures, the more influence they have on me.  One of the things that I most enjoy learning about historical leaders is about their personal weaknesses that they overcome.  This may be because I have so many personal weaknesses to overcome myself and am inspired and gain hope from knowing that the heroes of history were also human, but overcame those weaknesses and became the great leaders of history.

A perfect example of this is illustrated in this powerful article by Oliver DeMille about George Washington: Continue reading


The importance of community

Cover of "War and Peace"

Cover of War and Peace

Have you ever felt like you had something important to say, but when you try and share it, you feel alone and that nobody supports or wants to listen to you?  Or have you ever met someone who shares your point of view and this strengthens your own resolve and conviction?

I think most people can relate to both scenarios because we have all felt either like we are standing alone for something we find important, or found strength in our convictions by finding someone with whom to share them.

As human beings, we have an innate desire to connect with other people.

Several years ago I attended a seminar by Oliver DeMille, where he spoke about the 7 major institutions of society: Family, Community, Religion, Academia, Media, Business and Government; and how their relationship with each other affects freedom in society.  If they are all given the same importance and influence over society, freedom exists.  When there is any degree of inequality of influence over a society, freedom is lacking.  He gave several examples of this.  Each institution has a proper role to play in influencing society and that each role is important to maintaining freedom and an ideal society.  Keeping each of these roles balanced with the others is the role of statesmen and stateswomen.

He spoke about statesmanship and how a statesman or stateswoman is one who sees an inequality between any two of these institutions, places themselves in the middle and rights the inequality either by reducing the influence of the one, or increasing the influence of the other.

I felt something strong inside of me, telling me that the institution of community has declined in today’s society and that I must do something to fix that.  This was a bit unnerving to me, because I felt woefully under-qualified as a statesman, but I felt strongly about community and knew that I must seek to become the person necessary to fix that change.

So my quest to improve and help revitalize communities has taken me to many places, but most recently in the past year it has taken be to two places that are helping me immensely.  First of all, in 2012 I obtained a mentor in community building in Diann Jeppson.  This has been extremely valuable in helping me become familiar with the steps necessary to begin a local community organization and be successful.  She is mentoring me through the reading of many great classics, currently War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

The next thing that was brought into my life a few months later was the LIFE Leadership company, founded by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady.  Now if you know anything about these two individuals, they have gained their financial freedom through the network marketing industry.  I know what you might be thinking.  I’ve heard most of the objections to network marketing.  LIFE Leadership is kind of like a savant of network marketing.  It takes all of the things that “don’t work” in the field of network marketing and works on fixing them.  Now because network marketing is a business that is all about connecting with people, you are never going to get rid of the human element that has both positives and negatives associated.

What I have learned is that if I want to build communities, I need to learn to relate to and lead people.  There is no getting around that in order for communities to be revitalized as an essential institution to society, people are going to have to interact with other people.  Any time that happens there is a need for leadership to be exercised.

However, as Boris Drubestkoy, in War and Peace realizes as he observes a conversation between a General and a Captain in the army:

At that moment Boris clearly realized what he had before surmised, that in the army, besides the subordination and discipline prescribed in the military code, which he and the others knew in the regiment, there was another, more important, subordination, which made this tight-laced, purple-faced general wait respectfully while Captain Prince Andrew, for his own pleasure, chose to chat with Lieutenant Drubetskoy. More than ever was Boris resolved to serve in future not according to the written code, but under this unwritten law. He felt now that merely by having been recommended to Prince Andrew he had already risen above the general who at the front had the power to annihilate him, a lieutenant of the Guards. Prince Andrew came up to him and took his hand.

(War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, Book 3, Ch IX, 6th paragraph in the Project Gutenberg EBook)

As I learn from Diann Jeppson and from the excellent Leadership development material and training found in the LIFE Leadership company, I will do my best to document my progress in this blog – mostly so that I can get in the practice of writing and improving there, but also so that others may see my progress and hopefully be inspired to assume leadership in their own lives.

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