5 Reasons Why George Washington Was a Great Leader

496952669_63c8d2f127_bGeorge Washington was the most beloved American of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and is still regarded as one of our greatest leaders. There were specific qualities that defined Washington and that enabled him to become such a monumental figure in not only American, but also world history. What made George Washington a great leader? Here are five reasons why George Washington was a great leader:

  1. George Washington was passionate. When Washington committed himself to a task or mission, he was “all in.” There were no half measures with Washington. And even when things got rough, Washington remained committed because of his deep-seated passion. The Revolutionary War is a perfect example. Washington considered the American cause a “sacred cause,” and put his entire heart and soul into the fight. Great leaders are men and women of passion….just like Washington.
  2. George Washington was morally upright and trustworthy. While the “I cannot tell a lie” cherry tree legend is regarded as a myth by most historians, there is no dispute that Washington’s contemporaries regarded him as an honest and moral man. Thomas Jefferson would later write of Washington: “His integrity was pure…He was, indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.” Washington’s greatest act of integrity was his refusal to become king or dictator after the war and to instead resign his commission and go home. Even when called out of retirement to serve as President, Washington served only two terms and retired once again to Mount Vernon. Washington was, as King George III exclaimed, “the greatest man in the world.”
  3. George Washington was prudent. Jefferson considered this Washington’s strongest feature of leadership, writing that Washington never acted “until every circumstance, every consideration was maturely weighed.” Certainly there are situations where slow, deliberate decision-making isn’t always possible. As a battlefield commander, Washington understood this. But more often that not, leaders get themselves into trouble by saying or doing things before or without thinking those things through. Washington was careful and intentional as a leader. And America was better for it.
  4. George Washington was courageous. If more people knew of Washington’s bravery under fire during the French and Indian War and later the American Revolution, they would be in a state of perpetual awe. Washington defied danger. When one reads of his exploits, which included recklessly riding in between lines of British and colonial soldiers firing on each other by accident during the French and Indian War as well as deliberately exposing himself repeatedly to enemy fire during the Revolution, it’s amazing the man lived as long as he did! One might even argue that he was too brave with his life, but no one can question his courage. And it was a courage that inspired his men and won the respect and admiration of his country.
  5. George Washington was a man of prayer. While not all of my readers are people of faith (and I respect that), it would be unfair to not recognize that George Washington was a man of faith. Whatever the specifics of his faith (and there has been much debate on that subject), Washington believed in the power of prayer – and regularly practiced it. This shaped his view of the world, influenced his character, and made him recognize there was an Authority outside of himself.

If you’re a leader or wish to be one some day, there’s much you can learn from George Washington. The father of the United States is indeed one of the greatest leaders in the history of the world.

**For more on George Washington, check out The Religion of George Washington by Brian Tubbs

10 Best Leadership Books for New Leaders: Must-Have Leadership Books for Your Bookshelf

Those new to leadership or looking to get into leadership positions should grab the following ten leadership books as soon as possible. Add them to your library and read them. These leadership books are excellent and are must-reads for new and experienced leaders alike.

  1. The Book of Proverbs by King Solomon and others — Featured in the Bible, this collection of ancient biblical proverbs is something no leader should be without. Most of the Proverbs are attributed to King Solomon, but others (including Moses, Lemuel, etc) contributed to the collection. No matter the particulars of your faith, don’t even try being a leader without availing yourself of the wisdom from Proverbs.
  2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu — Every leader should read this classic ancient text on military leadership. Much of the wisdom contained in Art of War applies not only to war, but also to politics and business.
  3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie — Leaders must deal effectively with people. Dale Carnegie’s classic is the best book on people skills ever written. If you want to better understand people and develop productive and mutually beneficial human relations, then read Carnegie.
  4. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield — This is one of the most personal development books I’ve ever read. Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, knocks it out of the park with this comprehensive and systematic take on personal success.
  5. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey — A leader must be a master of effective habits. That’s what Covey’s classic is all about.
  6. Winning With People by John C. Maxwell — Maxwell’s Winning With People is probably the second best book on people skills ever written.
  7. Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips — There have been many biographies written on our sixteenth President. Among the best are Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln. I highly recommend each of those, but this book focuses specifically on Lincoln as a leader. No question that Lincoln is among the most effective leaders in history. The more you study him, the better off you’ll be.
  8. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell — Maxwell explores all the key principles and facets of leadership in this well-renowned classic. Definitely a must read.
  9. See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar — This is probably the late, great Zig Ziglar’s magnum opus. It’s one of the best self-help books written in the 20th century and is something any leader (especially new leader) can benefit from.
  10. The Art of a Leader by William A. Cohen — A retired Air Force general and former student of the great Peter Drucker, Cohen authored over 50 books and textbooks, including The Art of a Leader. While some may not agree with my including it on this “Top 10” list, it was one of the first leadership books I read after college and was helpful in getting me started on the path to leadership. I believe you’ll find it a very influential and helpful addition to your library.

There are many other great leadership books, including biographies of and autobiographies by famous leaders from our past, but the above ten are must-haves for any would-be leader’s library. Get them and read them as soon as you can. You’ll be a better leader as a result.

Leadership Characteristics: Learn to Accept Correction if you want to be a Good Leader

Good leadership requires humility.

Good leadership requires humility.

One of the most important leadership characteristics is the willingness to accept correction. Solomon, the great Israelite king, said as much when he wrote: “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1). Truer words cannot be spoken. The acquisition of knowledge requires humility, the desire to learn, and the willingness to accept correction from others. Those who resist such correction, including those who never admit they are wrong, are (in the words of Solomon) “stupid.”

History is full of leaders who became casualties to their pride and stubbornness. And if they somehow escaped much of the consequences of their stupidity, their followers and those around them weren’t as fortunate. Few people are more dangerous than a stubborn, proud, narcissistic leader who rarely listens to the counsel of others and seems unwilling (if not incapable) of admitting when he or she has made a mistake.

Most historians agree that the two greatest Presidents in U.S. history were George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Some put Franklin Roosevelt in that camp as well, but it’s hard to top Washington and Lincoln. And one of the greatest attributes each man had was the willingness to seek counsel and accept correction. President Washington surrounded himself with aides who were arguably much smarter than him. His first Cabinet included such intellectual giants as Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. A lesser man would have been intimidated by such men and would’ve wanted to avoid anyone else taking attention. Consider the jealousy President Richard Nixon often had with Henry Kissinger. Not so with Washington. Perhaps an even more commendable example is President Lincoln who invited political rivals onto his Cabinet. Lincoln was more than willing to humble himself to accept advice, counsel, and even correction from those whose wisdom he valued.

To be a leader requires that you are constantly learning and growing — even as (one might say “especially as”) you actually occupy a position of leadership. Many years ago, my mother bought my paternal grandfather a mug that read “Don’t bother me with the facts. My mind is already made up.” A funny mug, and my grandfather was actually a very well-read and well-studied individual. But there was some truth to my mom’s jab. Grandot (that’s what I called him) could be quite stubborn at times. And stubbornness is not always a good trait for a leader. Not when it comes to receiving counsel and accepting correction, that is.

It is of course refreshing to see a leader stand on conviction. I’m not suggesting that leaders shouldn’t, when appropriate, draw lines in the sand and refuse to surrender. What I’m saying is that leaders should never stop seeking out and receiving information. And they should always learn from their mistakes. A true leader keeps himself or herself humble. Good leaders know they always have something more to learn.

How to Discover Your Purpose in Life

Finding a worthy purpose in life is key to one's success.

Finding a worthy purpose in life is key to one’s success.

The late Zig Ziglar said people were either “wandering generalities” or “meaningful specifics.” Those who wander aimlessly through life with little to no sense of purpose or commitment fall into the first group, and those who know what they want and are heading in that direction comprise the second. You want to be in the second group. You want to be a “meaningful specific.”

Self-help guru Anthony Robbins writes: “There are people…who seem constantly lost in a fog of confusion. They go one way, then another. They try one thing, then shift to another. They move down one path and then retreat in the opposite direction. Their problem is simple: They don’t know what they want. You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is.”

You want to be in the group that knows where it’s headed. You want to be in a group that knows for what it’s aiming. You want to be the kind of person sets goals – or “targets” as Mr. Robbins says – and who can measure his or her success by hitting a target and moving onto the next one.

The best way to accomplish this is by identifying a general story arc for your life and then setting a series of incremental goals to move you along that arc. It may seem awkward or even corny to think of your life as a story, but that’s essentially what it is. Several years ago, I taught high school history, and I would challenge my students to see history not as a collection of names, dates, and facts to memorize, but rather as a collection of stories to enjoy and learn from. When I think of the American Revolution, I don’t see a bunch of dates, names, and places. I see a story of ordinary people embracing a “glorious cause” (as George Washington described it), facing incredible odds, and emerging in triumph to start the greatest nation the world has ever seen! The same dynamic is at play in any era of American history, whether we’re talking about the Civil War, the fight against slavery and segregation, the struggle for women’s suffrage, or America’s victory in the Cold War. And in the midst of all these exciting time periods are people — heroes and villains, activists and spectators, human beings all. These are people with individual stories of achievement and adversity — of mistakes and setbacks. Some of them, like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, completed their journey to become great statesmen and heroes. Others, like Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, John Wilkes Booth, and Lee Harvey Oswald, went the other direction.

Knowing one’s overall purpose and direction in life helps keep a person honest and on track. While people may compromise and will certainly make mistakes, if they have a definite purpose in life, they can get back on the path and resume their trek to success and fulfillment.

The first step then in creating your story arc is to determine your major, definite, overall purpose in life. You can accomplish this by asking yourself a series of questions:

  • What do you want to be known for or remembered as?
  • What kind of mark do you want to leave?
  • What kind of difference do you want to make in the world around you and in the lives of those you care about?
  • What do you want to be, do, or have in life?

If you’re a person of faith, this story arc creation process should be (to steal a phrase from a former pastor of mine) “bathed in prayer.” You will never be happy if you’re not congruent, and to be congruent, you must act in accordance with your deep values and convictions. A person of faith must tie this process in with his or her faith.

If you’re not at present a person of faith, this is a time for you to really confront the highest questions of existence and reality. Don’t go through life as a “wandering generality.” If America’s Founders were correct and there is a Creator, the most important connection or relationship for any person to pursue is with that Creator.

Whatever your faith perspective, being clear on your core convictions, deep passions, and personal aspirations is critical. Don’t skip this step. All others flow from it. The clearer you are on your purpose, the clearer you will be about life.

Why Does God Allow Evil?

Many people have walked away from faith because of evil in the world. For them, the idea of an all-loving, all-powerful God permitting evil to flourish is both unfathomable and unacceptable. Anyone who therefore professes faith in such a God must eventually confront the question: Why does God permit evil?

What do we mean by evil?

Before we can answer why a just and loving God would allow evil, we must define our terms. What do we mean by evil? And if we can arrive at a suitable and acceptable definition of “evil,” who decides (and how does that person or entity decide) which person, group, belief, or action warrants the label “evil”? After all, we live in a day and age where some cultures readily accept slavery, cannibalism, sexual abuse, rape, and other practices most people consider abhorrent. Are these practices “evil”? If so, are they evil simply because a majority of the world’s population feel that way? And let’s consider the aspect of time. For many years, slavery was widely accepted and practiced in the western world. Now, most westerners deplore slavery. Did the morality of slavery change? Was slavery okay in the 1700s and 1800s, but is wrong today? Or has slavery always been wrong? Has slavery always been evil? What makes something or someone “evil?”

It seems logical to conclude that one has but three standards when it comes to assessing good versus evil. Those standards are the Individual (“I say what’s right and wrong”), the Community (“Society says what is right and wrong”), or … a Higher Power. It was this Higher Power to whom the American Founders appealed in the Declaration of Independence. In Thomas Jefferson’s masterful prose (edited and approved by the Second Continental Congress), the Founders said in the Declaration they were “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions.” The Allies, during the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi war criminals, made a similar appeal when Nazi defendants attempted to escape accountability for their atrocities by claiming they were following the orders of their own superiors and acting in accordance with the laws of their own country. What right did the United States have, they argued, to prosecute the people of another sovereign country? The lead prosecutor for the United States quoted the famed Lord Chief Justice Edward Coke who said to King James that even the kingthough superior to all other menwas “under God and the Law.” The British prosecutor at Nuremberg agreed, declaring Nazi laws and practices as being “manifestly contrary to the very law of nature.”

To assert that there is such a thing as objective evil is to affirm the existence of a Higher Power. Without a Creator of Nature, there can be no Law of Nature. Without a Supreme Law-Giver, there can be no objective Moral Law. Remove God from the equation and all you have are preferences. If all you have are preferences, the words “good” and “evil” are meaningless.

Why does God permit evil?

While it is a point of fact that evil cannot be identified without good, there’s still the pressing question of why a loving, merciful, and all-powerful God would allow evil into the world. After all, if there is a natural law to which all people are accountable (as was said at Nuremberg), is it not fair to ask why God would allow the repeated transgressions of natural law (often resulting in horrific pain and anguish) when He has the power to stop such transgressions?

Matt Slick, writing for the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM), says that it’s possible “God has reasons for allowing evil to exist that we simply cannot understand.” This may seem like a frustrating dodge, but it’s nevertheless true that a lack of information doesn’t mean it’s safe or appropriate to fill in the blanks based on speculation or imagination. If we don’t know all the answers, we must come to grips with that reality. Ignorance should not be the basis for judgment.

Taking the point further, Timothy Keller argues in his book The Reason for God that our failure to understand God’s reasons says nothing about the fact or quality of those reasons. Says Keller: “Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.”

Though we don’t have all the answers, part of the answer for evil’s presence in the world seems to relate with the choices God gives human beings. Rick Warren, the bestselling author of The Purpose-Driven Life and the pastor of California-based Saddleback Church, says: “God could have eliminated all evil from our world by simply removing our ability to choose. He could have made us puppets — marionettes on strings that he pulls. By taking away our ability to choose, evil would vanish.”

In Why Does God Allow Suffering? I lay out four reasons I believe God allows evil and suffering. They boil down to the following: 1) the fallen world, 2) the sins of other people, 3) our own sin, and 4) supernatural intervention. We won’t always know which of the four reasons causes the particular suffering we experience. Sometimes, we can guess. Sometimes, we can’t. But it does help to know that one or more of those four reasons is or are in play. For a more thorough explanation, I encourage you to check out the book.

Evil isn’t a Christian problem.

Some will refer to the “problem of evil” as if Christians alone or especially need to come up with an answer. Truth be told, the Bible does provide answers, even if we don’t want to accept those answers. In fact, the Bible pointedly and repeatedly tells us there is and will be evil in this world. But the main point I wish to make is that the reality of evil is something that everyone, regardless of his or her faith, must confront and address. It’s not a “problem” unique to Christianity. It’s something that every worldview must address. Many pantheist religions claim evil doesn’t exist. Not exactly a credible answer. And what’s the atheist answer? That there is no God and thus no ultimate hope? That this world is all that there is? Thanks, but no thanks!

With Christianity at least, there’s hope. There’s the assurance that, in spite of whatever evil exists in the world, a just and righteous God presides over the affairs of this life and promises His followers an eternity in the next life that is free of all pain and suffering. As the apostle Paul writes: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18).

God bless you!

**For more on this subject, check out Why Does God Allow Suffering?

 

Why Presidents Day is Celebrated (and Why it Shouldn’t Be!)

720px-US-WhiteHouse-Logo.svgWant to know why Presidents’ Day is celebrated? Well, the generally understood (though not official) purpose of “Presidents Day” (alternately spelled President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, or Presidents Day) is to celebrate the American presidency and remember all those who served as President of the United States. This, however, is not the actual, legal purpose of the holiday.

The Origin of Presidents Day

In 1885, Congress officially set aside February 22 as a national holiday to honor the birth of America’s first President, George Washington. Thus, the holiday we know as “Presidents Day” began as a day to celebrate only one President. And, legally, it is still (at least at the federal level) a day exclusive to George Washington.

In the decades following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, there began a movement to honor the 16th President as well as our first one. Since Lincoln’s birthday (February 12) fell so close to Washington’s birthday (February 22 by the modern calendar), it became popular and fashionable to celebrate both birthdays. (Those readers who have birthdays on or close to December 25 understand how this kind of thing happens). Some states began doing this.

In the 1960s, Congress considered officially re-naming Washington’s holiday to “Presidents Day” to honor both men. That was shot down, but Congress did pass the Monday Holidays Act, taking Washington’s birthday holiday away from his actual birthday and moving it to the third Monday in February.

By the late 1980s, thanks to several states and (most significantly) retail establishments advertising “Presidents Day” sales on TV, the name “Presidents’ Day” stuck in popular culture.

Most businesses, calendars, and individuals now say “Presidents Day” rather than “George Washington’s Birthday Observed” (even though the latter is the federally designated, official name for the February holiday).

The Legacy of Presidents Day

Though the original intent behind the “Presidents Day” concept was to honor both Lincoln and Washington, the day has lost much of its significance. It now stands as a weak celebration of all our Presidents.
1789_97_George_Washington
And, most people pass by the holiday with little regard for its meaning anyway. They simply see it as a day off work. An extra day to travel, visit family, or shop.

The Monday Holidays Act may be good for the economy and convenient for families, but it’s terrible for holiday celebrations. After all, the root concept behind “holiday” is “holy day” – a day to set someone or something aside as sacred and worthy of celebration.

Of course, I’m not saying that George Washington was holy. He was a flesh-and-blood human being — one flawed in many areas. But the original dream (carried out in 1885 by federal law) to honor the Father of our Country with a day set aside for esteem and celebration has long vanished.

And, for that matter, those who wish to honor Abraham Lincoln by hijacking Washington’s day have fared little better. Their man has also been lost in the ambiguous, meaningless “Presidents Day.”

Moving Forward

At this point, the term “Presidents Day” is deeply entrenched in American culture and in popular lexicon. Eradicating it will be nigh unto impossible, unless we move “Presidents Day” to another date (say January 20 when we inaugurate Presidents?) or return Washington’s birthday holiday to the actual day of his birth. As for honoring Lincoln, the expensive solution (expensive in terms of cost to the federal government, but perhaps good for the economy) is to have two holidays in February. Give both Washington and Lincoln their own individual day.

Whatever our society decides, the status quo is unacceptable. At a time when the American people repeatedly demonstrate a pathetic ignorance of basic history and civics, we should be holding up our nation’s father, not relegating him to irrelevancy. Maybe some day enough Americans will recognize that, without George Washington, they likely wouldn’t have a nation to live in, let alone a holiday in February to appreciate. It will be great day for America if that awakening ever occurs.

America’s Greatest Leader Dies…216 Years Ago Today

washington-death1Two hundred sixteen years ago today (December 14), George Washington breathed his last breaths and slipped into eternity. The death of George Washington marked the passing of America’s greatest leader – then and since. To be sure, our nation has been blessed with wonderful leaders, including several of Washington’s contemporaries (the men we know as “the Founding Fathers”) and many of our Presidents, military leaders, civil rights activists, and religious figures throughout history. But Washington tops them all given the sheer breadth of his experience (political, business, and military leadership) as well as the indispensable nature of his contributions. Without Washington, there would be no United States of America today.

While certainly an imperfect man (Washington, after all, was a slave owner – though a progressive one whose conscience led him to manumission), George Washington embodied the highest ideals of character and service. Faced with the temptation of becoming dictator (or perhaps king) after the American Revolution, Washington instead chose retirement. Then the nation’s leaders begged him out of retirement to supervise the Constitutional Convention and to accept the presidency under the new Constitution. Washington faithfully served two terms and, once again, turned over the reins of power and headed home to Mount Vernon.

Anyone wishing to be a great leader should look to the life and legacy of George Washington. To steal a phrase from one of Tina Turner’s songs, Washington was “simply the best.”

In the end, Abraham Lincoln summed up Washington’s legacy the best: “To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked, deathless splendor, leave it shining on.”

6 Leadership Principles Every Leader or Manager Must Know

When I was in my teens and twenties, I wanted to be a leader. Those who knew me well back then will remember how high those aspirations were. Whatever God had in store for me, I knew leadership was a part of it. And while I’ve not (yet) led any countries or Fortune 500 companies, my expectation to spend my life in leadership has come true.

In the course of my professional career, I’ve been a project coordinator, non-profit middle manager, private school teacher, department chair, the administrator of a small private school, and the pastor of two churches. And I can say this: leadership isn’t always fun.

With this blog post, I want to share six principles I’ve learned are crucial to understanding what leadership is really all about…

1. Leadership is based on responsibility.

Leadership is NOT about giving orders or being in the limelight. It’s about responsibility. You’re not a true leader, unless you fully and completely engage the people you’re working with and totally embrace the responsibilities you’ve been given.

2. Leaders get criticized.

Most of my life, I recoiled from, withdrew from, and tried to avoid confrontation and criticism. Unfortunately (for my sensitivity), leadership is all about agitation and confrontation. Why? Because leadership involves change. It involves moving people from one place to another and challenging people to do X or Y, when they may have other plans. It involves sticking your neck out. And, quite often, it means that you’ll get criticized — sometimes gently and sometimes not so gently. Sometimes, the criticism is based on a misunderstanding. Being misjudged and criticized unfairly is the hardest type of criticism. Of course, sometimes, the criticism has merit. :-) And a good leader learns from it and is humble enough to admit when he or she is wrong.

3. Leaders disappoint others.

My nature is that I want to encourage everyone and make everyone around me feel good. It’s why I love to crack jokes and have developed a sense of humor (that is, at least SOME of the time, effective :-) ). But there are times when the laughter needs to stop and tough decisions need to be made, and people get hurt or disappointed. And the leader is right at the center of it, and there’s nowhere to hide. A good leader has to stand up straight, make the tough decisions, and accept that he or she will at times be misunderstood. And that, at times, some people, including solid, good, wonderful people, might be hurt or upset due to his or her decisions or actions.

4. Leaders must be followers.

No leader can become a leader, unless he or she is first a follower. And not only that, but no leader can remain a leader, unless he or she remains a follower.

5. Leaders must be accountable.

As Harry Truman once said, “The buck stops here.” Earlier in my career, I had the privilege of being a part of organizations in which I exercised some influence, safely under an umbrella of managers and leaders above me. That’s not the case, when you advance in levels of responsibility. While a certain amount of lee-way and patience can and should be extended to leaders at the top (when it comes to mistakes, inefficiencies, problems, etc. within the organization), there comes a point where all eyes are on the leader to address situations and resolve problems. And there’s nowhere the leader can run or hide. The leader is…the leader. And he or she is accountable as such.

6. It’s easier to give an opinion, than to make a decision.

When I was lower in the leadership food chain, I had lots of opinions and ideas. And I would often share them. The higher up I got, the more aware I became that sometimes, leaders must say ‘no’ to ideas, even sometimes GOOD ideas, because of the need to maintain direction and balance in the organization overall. Giving an opinion is easy. Opinions are the cheapest commodity on earth. Making a decision is hard, because it affects more than simply your mood or state of mind or even your life. As a leader, the decisions you make affect a lot of people. This requires wisdom. And wisdom is not a cheap commodity. It is, in fact, more precious than gold and all the rare gems in the earth. And it’s something I pray for every day.

 

Success is in Your Blood

7086297_mBillions of people live on planet Earth today, and a staggering number of them are going through life each day believing they are not worthy of love or happiness and that they are incapable of achieving their dreams.

The truth is that you have incredible value and potential. You are, in fact, created for success. In the words of the magnificent document that started the United States of America, all members of the human race “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” While our nation has struggled through its history to live up these noble ideals, it must be acknowledged that the principles of the Declaration of Independence have provided inspiration for hundreds of millions of people and bear a great deal of responsibility for the rapid rise and success of the United States as a nation.

If the Declaration of Independence is correct (and I believe that it is), then it means that the Creator of this universe has endowed you with not only life, but with the capacity to pursue a life of accomplishment and happiness. You have a destiny carved into your humanity. You have potential for greatness stamped on your very soul.

For some of you, this talk of a soul and of a Creator may be unsettling, but who are we to argue with the Founders on such a fundamental point?

What’s this all have to do with blood? Well, your blood delivers essential substances, such as nutrients and oxygen, to your body’s cells, while also transporting away metabolic waste taken from those same cells. I’m not a doctor by any stretch of the imagination, so I’m not qualified to elaborate on blood’s nature and functionality much more than that. I would, however, like to take that concept of blood flow (specifically as it relates to the delivery of vital materials and the removal of waste) and apply it to our personal development. In order to succeed, we need a healthy mental delivery-and-transportation network that brings in the good stuff and takes away the bad.

If you will purpose in your mind to retain and focus on the good stuff, while learning from and then discarding the bad, you will be positioned for an extraordinary life indeed. And then you can truly know that…

Success is in your blood.