A few ideas about growth and success. But it’s just for grown-ups.

A lot of this effort will require you to be honest with yourself about who you are and ultimately where you want to go in life.  Sometimes this will require you to take a road less traveled.  It will require you to take a risk you wouldn’t have been able to unless you’ve developed the prerequisite amount of self confidence. All of the things I’ve been writing about are not just to help you deal with people successfully. I’ve written them so that at some point you would begin to believe in yourself as strongly as you believe in your faith.  But the mettle of men is always tested, that’s just the nature of things. Will you fold under pressure or will you step up to the new heights which you think you are worthy of?  I’ve always been fond of saying and life has a way of proving that “there is only one way to find out”.  Courage, conviction, faith and action have always been the hallmark of the people we perceive as the doers of this world.  This manner in which great men have created this perception and success is almost always different.  But there are certain similarities we cannot deny and really should try to emulate in our own life.

Washington and Napoleon couldn’t have been more different and yet both employed a certain idea that enabled them to achieve success few men could even dare to dream about.  Washington defeated the army of an empire upon which the sun never set and Napoleon built his own empire for a time, and was even given a second chance at it.  That’s what amazes me.  How often do you get a second chance in life? At anything; much less ruling an empire.  He left such an indelible mark upon the thousands of men who served under him and in such a positive manner that as they rose in power and confidence themselves, they remembered the man and sought his return.  He was a small man, riddled with insecurities, his love life was a mess and some of the people close to him truly did not like him.  But he had a way with the masses.   And it brough him glory, success and fame not once but twice.

Washington on the other hand was a physically imposing man who carried himself with confidence. He was generous in spirit, always ready to overlook slights and he was brave. What other leader could have inspired the young men of the newly formed Continental Army to suffer the winter at Valley Forge?  Hate of the old empire would have burned itself out long ago in the face of such adversity. Something and someone else provide just enough encouragement and belief for these tired, cold and hungry men to stick it out. His demeanor and humility were such that there is a rumor he was offered to be made the King of the new United States. He turned it down, which is an impressive display of modesty coming from a man who was jealous of his rights and privileges, so much so that he resigned his provincial commission as Colonel and resigned from the Army when he discovered that he was to be outranked by any and all commissioned men of the Kings Army. While we may be reminded of the favorite passage from the Havamal that “the lives of the brave and generous are best”, we should also take note that both of the leaders of men and countries expected it.  They believed that they were worth every bit of what they had achieved and they went thru trial after to trial proving they were the real deal.

A study of any of the great military commanders will reveal a similar pattern. Most of them had no doubt that they were going to succeed and they knew how to inspire men to want to do what they knew must be done.  Using what we have learned from this book up to now, how may we enact the same type of behavior in our own lives?  We must develop a sense of dignity and protect our reputation as such.  A dignified man is not the type of stiff, pompous show off fancifully strutting about to cover up his inferiority.  We are talking about a manner of thinking which demonstrates that we understand our own worth.  This implies that we are prepared to defend it.  This has a habit of instilling in others a confidence in our abilities.  Whenever you come across someone who seems to be lacking in respect for himself it breeds an attitude that perhaps he may be imposed upon by others in ways that will compromise his integrity.  If he cannot present himself as a man who will stand up for himself and take care of his own interests, there is little chance he will take care of yours and what you believe to be important.

All of the research, the listening, the hard work, and ego shattering ideals we have been discussing are there to help you establish a true sense of your own worth by enabling other peoples’ positive perception of you.  Now that you have even a small amount of this, I cannot overstate the importance of defending it.  Everything you wish to become is staked upon this, most of the time we do not get a second chance.  I spoke with the president and CEO of a booming corporation recently and we discussed this very principle.  He has on his desk an opportunity to bid on one job in particular which will double the annual revenue of his company. He told me very frankly that he knows this is a huge and golden opportunity but that if his men screw up any part of, it’s done, the company goes bankrupt and we both agreed future business opportunities would be slim.  These types of business deals are happening every day, all across the land and this is why these principles and hard work are so important to us all really.  At some point, if you have played your cards right you will get the chance to make a difference. You probably will not get a second chance.  Some folk will wonder. How does he know this? What has he ever done?  In December of 1998 I had $200 and a car with a clogged catalytic convertor along with a broken foot. I took a phone book, I wrote up a decent price list, obtained some insurance and mailed out letters to every person I even thought might have a tower or some kind of communications facility. By August of 2003 I put $20,199 a month in my personal checking account, by December of that year it was $26,339.00. In Jul of 2004 I made $36,837.00 in August I made $64,213.00.  B&E Tower was a huge success for me. So I am not talking to you as a man who got his Gothi credentials and decided I could tell everyone how to do it.  I am a man who has already done it once and is doing it again.

For historical persons of interest and my own life it is always easy to see these characteristics in the rosy light of the celebrated victors.  Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, Ben Franklin, George Washington, Napoleon have all been written about again and again and it gives us ample material to point out how they handled themselves with such dignity. But what about today?  It seems as if every time someone seems to rise to the top there are vultures galore who would point out there flaws in an effort to denigrate their achievements. How are we to witness an example in this modern day which we would even consider worthy of emulating?  On the 31st of August in 1997 a princess was killed in a car wreck.  By all accounts it was a shocking incident of a celebrated person. But in my mind, it was the dignified actions of her young sons who exemplified royalty.

In the Hyndluljoth we read about Freya escorting one of her faithful along the road to Valhal to seek the favor of the Valfather. She entreats a giantess and her wolf to join them and asks about the lineage of Ottar, her faithful person of interest.  This giantess undertakes to give a complete and detailed account of this man’s lineage.  He is related to heroes and goddesses and she calls him a fool presumably for not understanding and valuing the heritage and lineage from which he has come.  When we look at the funeral procession for Princess Diana, we find two very young princes, bearing themselves with the dignity expected of royalty walking in the funeral procession alongside their father. How in the world, in this day and age, could two such young men display such royal bearing amidst the pain and confusion which was undoubtedly going on within them?  I can tell you that it inspired a nation and a world and endeared them to the hearts of millions as young men of character. They handled themselves with dignity, they protected the image of royalty and they earned the respect of many.  On their own road to Valhal, they met and exceeded expectations.  Haven’t we all discovered some ancestor in our past about whom we are proud?  One that we raise a horn to during Sumbel again and again.  Are you taking action in your life that would make them proud or better yet are you living up to that same standard as those in your line whom you have such respect for?  You should be, because you are made of the same stuff they were and if you can put the tools which are discussed in this book into practice, every single day, you will meet and possibly exceed those very high standards to which we hold our heroes.

One of the best ways to do this, with regards to the ideas which should be forming in your head, is to write them down.  Look at them on paper, in black and white.  I assure that both of the great military commanders we have outlined in this chapter had a very solid and clear plan or outline they wished to follow to win the fight.  Of course Patton was fond of saying that the best laid plans go to hell when you engage the enemy, you will have a very difficult time, recovering and regrouping to pursue your goals if you don’t know what they are to begin with.  Ask yourself things like, “Do I enjoy this? Does this bring me a degree of satisfaction? Will those around me benefit from this or will it tear my family apart? Will it harm other people? Will it last?” go ahead and ask other people what they think about your list of questions. See if the answers match up and use it as a guide of things about yourself which you may need to improve upon.  If you have been using the ideas we have already discussed in the book, chances are there are a lot of people who are already beginning to believe in you.  This may very well be just the feedback you need to truly develop an accurate assessment of the success of your actions.

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