Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Key to Success

Warrior Dash 2012 - Finish Line
Andy Veen & Craig Gray

There was a young man who wanted to be successful in life, so he went to this old guru who was very successful at everything he did and asked him how he did it. The guru said to meet him on the beach at 6am the next day and he'd show him how to be successful. So, next morning the young man dresses in his best clothes and meets the guru on the beach at 6 am.

The old man grabs on to the young mans hand and asked, "How bad do you want to be successful?"

The young man says, "really bad."

So the old man takes the young man by the hand and wades waist deep out into the morning surf. The young man is thinking, this old man is crazy, I want to be successful, not learn how to swim! But he humors the old man because he wants to know how he became so successful.

The old man goes out deeper in the water and says "come out a little further."  So the young man does. Now the water is up to his chest and the young man is starting to think about going back in. The guru sees his hesitation and says, "I thought you wanted to succeed in life?" To which the young man replies, "I do." Well then, the old man says, you'll need to come out further.

About the time when the young man walked out deeper until the water is just below his lips, the guru pushed the young man's head down under the water and held him down. The young man began to panic and struggle, but the guru held him down firmly. The startled young man kept thrashing around trying to get to the surface, but the guru continued to hold his head down. Just when the young man was ready to pass out the old man let him go.

Coming up gasping for air the young man screamed, "You crazy old bastard, what are you doing trying to kill me?" To which the guru replied, "When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful."

The journey to success in anything often takes more than we hope or we would like. It is not easy, nor is it convenient. It take hard work and sacrifice. There are no short cuts to success. Most people who say they want to be successful don't want it bad enough, they just kinda want it. They'll take it if it's easy enough, if it's cheap enough, if it's convenient enough, if it fits in with everything else they have going on in life. If it isn't they give up and make excuses why it wasn't their fault that they aren't successful. Or they try to measure their success by the stuff they have rather than the life that they are living.

Don't go and quit, your already in pain, you've already sacrificed, make your pain and sacrifice worth something. Keep going. You will never be successful until you're willing to do it without being paid a dime. You'll do it even when it isn't convenient or easy. When you want to be successful as much as you want to breathe then you'll succeed. 

Are you willing to do what it takes to be successful?

If you are, be careful at what you choose to be successful in.

Keep going.

*Story and some commentary paraphrased from Rap Preacher Eric Thomson

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ethics and the Ethical Warrior

Guest blog post by John Kowalski - Visit his websit at

Ethics are a funny thing. Defined as 1) moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity; and 2) the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.

Huh? Still not sure what that means. A couple weekends ago I got the privilege to attend a workshop by Ronin Empowerment Group that featured Jack Hoban of Resolution Group International (RGI) on the subject of the Ethical Warrior. Jack served as a US Marine Corps officer and is a long time practitioner of martial arts. He assisted in the creation of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and remains a subject matter expert for the program. He has led more than 500 workshops and seminars around the world addressing universities, government and private organizations on ethics and martial arts, including the FBI and the NYPD.

A good reminder for all of us and Jack’s definitions definitely outline a clear understanding of the hierarchy of values.
  • Values – “Things that have an intrinsic worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor,” or “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.”
  •  Relative values – Values shared by some people, some of the time (sporting team fans).
  •  Life value – Shared by everyone – life (the first inalienable right).
  • Moral values – Moral values are relative values that support life and respect the Dual Life Value of self and (all) others. (honor, courage, commitment, love, integrity, justice, charity, truth, freedom, dependability, knowledge, unselfishness, loyalty)

To be moral, the relative value must respect the Life value of self and (all) others. The Life value of self and others is the “true north” of the moral compass. We can orient ourselves using the Life value during times of moral confusion.

Most people already have a sense of morality, but sometimes morals can be obscured or trumped by our emotions and/or strong relative values. Rather than “taught,” morality can be clarified then “activated” through: lessons in context, values stores, shared adversity and leadership.
Ethics are moral values in action.

A person who knows the difference between right and wrong – and chooses the right – is moral. A person whose morality is reflected in their willingness to do the right thing – even if it is hard or dangerous – is ethical.

Think of the bully on the playground. Where does your compass point you?
Each one of us are faced with moral and ethical dilemmas each and every day, ranging in scale, but nonetheless important. Keep in mind that ethics are moral values in action, which always support the universal life value.

To learn more about values, morals and ethics, pick up a copy of Jack’s book, The Ethical Warrior.

It’s a great read and an model for all of us to Evolve, Connect and Inspire.

Where does your compass point?

~Guest blog post by John Kowalski - Visit his websit at