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The Right Way to Read (and Make) History

washington crossing delaware The Right Way to Read (and Make) HistoryThere is a danger in studying history, which has direct implications for your life.

The danger is to view past lives as being pre-determined, the past choices of historical characters as inevitable.

We take what happened for granted, ignoring the infinite possibilities of what could have happened had the characters chosen differently.

We view history as static facts and dates and fixed events, rather than a rich, dynamic, fluid, unfolding story that can take twists and turns at any moment.

Think of it this way: The first time you watch an action movie you’re on the edge of your seat, held in suspense, anxious to know what will happen next, wondering what the characters will choose in response to events and circumstances.

The twists at the end that you never saw coming surprise and delight you, make the story wondrous and satisfying.

The second time you watch that same movie, you’ve lost your sense of wonder. When you already know how the story ends, you take the characters’ choices for granted.

Of COURSE they chose that, you think (at least subconsciously). What other choice did they have?

Ah. There is the danger.

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Having Eyes, See Ye Not?

partyinvite Having Eyes, See Ye Not?The legend is told of a wise and powerful guru who promised a maiden a rare and valuable gift if she would walk straight through a field of corn and, without pausing, going backward, or wandering, select the largest and ripest ear.

She passed by many magnificent ones, but was so eager to get the largest and most perfect that she kept on without plucking any.

As she continued walking, the ears she passed were successively smaller and more stunted.

Finally they became so small that she was ashamed to select any of them. Not being allowed to go backward, she came out the other side without any, thus losing out on the gift.*

The legend reminds me of the man…

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Only One Way to Make a Difference

nellie Only One Way to Make a DifferenceVeannetta died this week at the age of eighty-eight.

Her obituary said she enjoyed a wonderful childhood. Her father passed away when she was fifteen years old.

She was a hard worker, always upbeat, always pleasant. She enjoyed sewing and was an exceptional quilter. She loved being outdoors, especially in her garden.

Veannetta married Rex Harris on January 27, 1981. They spent many happy years together in Toquerville, Utah. Rex and Veannetta traveled in their later years and it was a highlight for her.

Veannetta is no one to you, but she is someone to my wife, Queen Karina.

Last Christmas Karina felt inspired to start visiting elderly people in a local nursing home.

From the moment she stepped into the nursing home, she felt overwhelmed by how many people there were to visit, and how much they were suffering, mostly from loneliness.

But she couldn’t visit them all. Randomly, she chose two ladies, Veannetta and Nellie.

Every Sunday since last December she has taken our two youngest daughters to visit Veannetta and Nellie.

I love her for that — as I’m sure Veannetta and Nellie do.

She reminds me of a story:

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Be the Author

author Be the AuthorHarold is an IRS auditor who is obsessive about measuring and quantifying his life — down to counting brush strokes when he brushes his teeth.

He times all his routines with his wristwatch. Every day is like the one before it with no deviation.

Until one day he hears a voice in his head, omnisciently narrating his life.

Then, Harold’s watch stops working. He resets it using the time given by a bystander and after doing so, hears his narrator say, “Little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.”

Harold slowly realizes that he is the main character in a novel — that his choices and the eventual outcome of his life are determined by someone else writing his story.

In desperation, he does everything he can to change the plot and the ending of his story, but to no avail — he is not the author.

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Why Miley Cyrus Eclipses Suffering Orphans

energy Why Miley Cyrus Eclipses Suffering OrphansThere’s a reason why Miley Cyrus rakes in money hand over fist while my friend Ed can barely scrape together any money to fund an orphanage in Uganda, Africa.

After helping his son complete an Eagle project improving an orphanage in Uganda, my friend Ed was moved to continue helping the orphanage.

He came home and began soliciting donations, only to be met with bewildering indifference.

“It’s been so frustrating,” he told me. “Especially the number one objection I get.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“People tell me they don’t want to contribute to anything in Africa, because they say Africa is a ‘bottomless pit.’ They worry that they’ll just be wasting their money.”

And then he said something that stopped me cold, which will haunt me for the rest of my life:

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The Only Thing That Can Save America

Among other entrepreneurial ventures, my wife and I are building a referral-based business with a real estate investing company called Strongbrook*.

I recently spoke at their convention and explained why I’m deeply passionate about Strongbrook and entrepreneurship in general.

Here’s the video of my speech. Enjoy!

*Learn More & Get a FREE Book

To learn more about Strongbrook, explore the websites for the Strongbrook investment program and Strongbrook Direct referral program, and/or email me at spalmer@thesocialleader.com.

To get FREE digital and audio versions of The Strait Path to Real Estate Wealth, which I wrote for Strongbrook founder Kris Krohn, click here and enter the code FREE.

Why We Get Burned Out

OutOfOrder1 Why We Get Burned OutThe movie “Jerry Maguire” tells the story of sports agent Jerry, played by Tom Cruise, as he becomes disillusioned with the dishonesty in his business and has a moral epiphany.

He writes and distributes a memo to his co-workers detailing a better, more honest way to do business, which inspires them all. But Jerry is fired for the memo.

Misreading just how inspired his co-workers were, he tells them he’s starting a new agency and, as he’s leaving, asks, “Who’s coming with me?”

He’s met with dead silence for a long and fateful moment.

Then one woman speaks up and expresses what I fear is all too common:

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Yes, You Suck — Now Get Over It

bandaid Yes, You Suck    Now Get Over ItToday’s message is going to feel like I’m tearing a Bandaid off you.

Will you trust me that I love, respect, and appreciate you and have nothing but your best interest at heart?

Good. Now listen up.

I’ve mentored dozens of writing students. One of the most common things they express at the beginning is a strange mix of open dread and secret hope — dread that I’m going to think their work sucks, and hope that I’m going to love it and fawn over them and tell them I’ve discovered the next literary genius.

For example, after asking my latest student why she wanted to become a good writer, she gave a great response and then finished by adding, “So I suppose the emotional turmoil of having you tear my papers to shreds just might be worth it.”

That “emotion turmoil” is exactly what I’m talking about — that ever-so-vulnerable hope that your amateur work might be good, overshadowed by the dread that it’s not nearly as good as you hope.

There’s nothing wrong with having those emotions — it’s perfectly natural. And I have the highest respect for anyone willing to submit themselves to that agony.

But here’s the problem:

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Why You Should Focus On Your Problems

question man Why You Should Focus On Your ProblemsWhat is the toughest problem you face personally or professionally that, if solved, would have the greatest positive impact on your life?

First of all, if you don’t have an immediate answer to that question, that is your problem. The first step of progression is to define reality.

Furthermore, you can’t know your problems until you know your purpose. Problems are a function of purpose — by definition, they are impediments to a goal.

If you don’t know what you’re trying to make happen, how can you possibly know what’s hindering your progress?

Do you know your purpose? Without a purpose, there are no problems. A man lounging on a couch cannot stumble over blocks — nor can he climb any stepping stones.

Now, if you do know your problem (and your purpose), consider this profound perspective from Dan Sullivan, author and founder of Strategic Coach:

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Would You Pass the “Red Shirt Warrior” Test?

Chief Red Shirt Oglala Sioux Would You Pass the Red Shirt Warrior Test?Long ago, within the Lakota Indian tribe there was a prestigious warrior society called the “Ogle Lute Wicapi,” or the Red Shirt Warriors.

The exclusive society issued only two invitations for new members once every four years. Not everyone who was invited passed the test required to become a member.

The membership requirement involved a test of endurance — combined with a concealed test of honor.

In the hottest time of the year, prospective warriors had four days to run a route to a prominent landmark — a high shale cliff along a river — and recover a red sash tied to a stone at the top. They could carry no food or water with them, and had only a knife for protection.

Each prospective member would usually return by sunset of the fourth day, exhausted, hungry, thirsty.

But before he could eat or drink, he was taken to the lodge of the Red Shirt Warriors Society and asked to present the red sash he had retrieved.

In the entire history of the society, no warrior ever returned without a sash.

The sash was rolled tightly, and the warrior was asked to hold it high above his head and let it unfurl.

If it touched the ground, the warrior became a member of the society. If it did not, he was denied.

What the society always kept hidden is…

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