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Invest Your Time in Two Books for Independence Day

Posted on 30 June 2017 by Scott Cooper

Last week my column discussed our collective need to work on “Improving Our Communication Skills.”  The previous editorial discussed “Starting the Investment,” specifically thinking about a summer reading list for those graduating from Middle School.  “Starting the Investment,” compared the relative maturity of young men and women graduating from the 8th grade 100 years ago to today, and recommended a book, Do Hard Things, written by modern teenagers, sharing history of some heroic teens of other era’s, as an inspiration for today’s teens to initiate a “rebelution against low expectations!”  Yes, it’s a play on words, combining rebel and revolution.  Their website is www.TheRebelution.com.

This week, as Independence Day celebrations approach, we should remember the American Patriots who simply wanted individual liberty were considered rebels and that their effort began formally legislatively, but ultimately led to a revolution.  In that light as we consider how to improve our communication skills about our struggle for liberty today, I urge all of us to add two books to our summer reading list, which I believe will expand our thoughts about what the celebrations this coming weekend really mean.

The financial entanglements our ancestors fought against prior to our first Independence Day were far less significant than the financial entanglements we face today.  Today our central government rewards itself and “the players” both inside and outside of government for doing the exact opposite of what we celebrate this weekend.  Expanding dependency has become the largest byproduct of virtually every government program.  Yet this weekend we continue to celebrate independence and liberty, while at the same time embracing policies which limit choice and increase dependence.  I find this curious, and troubling.

The two books I recommend are:

Future editorials will disc

uss the books in more detail.  I am confident that some of the polarized advocates I referenced in last week’s “Improving our Communication Skills” will have choice words about the first author.  When you find those, remember, they are attacking a person, but not the content.  Remember, that tactic is an effort to stop discussion by demeaning the person.  I call on all of us to do and demand better, and I hope you will too!

As you read the books and have thoughts about the content, I would love to discuss the thoughts with you either on the Edgefield Advertiser editorial page, where this will be posted, or on my Facebook page, where it will also be posted.

Here’s wishing you a very rewarding Independence Day Weekend Celebration with family and friends.

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Improving Our Communication Skills

Posted on 21 June 2017 by Scott Cooper

The greatest challenge we have in our republic is avoiding consequences caused by polarized advocates who can’t hear each other.  The screaming from the extreme is so loud the middle can’t hear a clear message or see a clear path, even when we have a middle of the road compassionate leader, who is trying to articulate one.

One could say the extremes don’t want to hear each other.  Better stated, they don’t want you to hear.

Many have been trained to shut down debate as soon alternative views are shared, by calling names.  Spend any time in Social Media, and you will see this is true.  The name often ends with “phobia,” includes racist, or the individual is labeled uncompassionate.  Words like ignorant or snowflake are also commonly used, but the result is the same – the ability to hear the ideas expressed, if there are any legitimate ideas, is drowned out by name calling.

Some believe the tactic of name calling is utilized because the individual employing this strategy doesn’t really have a coherent message, or isn’t confident enough in their message to discuss it civilly.  I believe there is some truth to that.  Regardless of which polarized side uses the tactic, we need to demand better.

Most citizens, when this tactic is employed simply tune out.  I would urge more citizens to rather than tune out, that we toughen our personal skin, engage and demand better.  Let us NOT allow the polarized utilizing this tactic be successful, where the good patriotic citizen disengages, but rather may the good patriotic citizen stand up, demand more from the bully – enabling the bully to either hone their debate skills, or pick up their sticks and stones, and go home.

I believe the middle of our country, which is where our Commander-in-Chief, with his 8th grade tweeting style regularly reaches, is up to the debate, and up to any required change we must execute to achieve a more unified, financially stable and sustainable republic.

The tactics described above, which are rampantly being deployed, lead to comedians like Kathy Griffin, plays like “The staging of Julius Caesar” by the New York City Public Theater, where a sitting President is assassinated, or the mass assassination attempt last week of the GOP Congressional Baseball team in Alexandria, VA.

These tactics must stop, or we will continue to see an escalation of violence.  The duty lies with us though, average American’s, to engage and put an end to it.  It won’t stop on its own in the media or on the University Campus.  It will only stop when the middle demands it to stop.

I hope you have a blessed and productive week!

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Peace on Earth . . . . . . .

Posted on 26 December 2016 by Scott Cooper

Peace on EarthI watched three programs this weekend which I greatly appreciated, because I learned things I didn’t know which are worth appreciating. One was Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Michelle Obama.  One was the Fox News program Donald Trump: Objectified.  One was Breit Baier’s interview with Charles Krauthammer.  Each program highlighted these individuals for an hour.

Both Obama and Trump have raised accomplished children, who grew up with the tremendous pressure of living in the spotlight in a way 99.9 % of other individuals will never have to navigate. The poise and resilience their children demonstrate is indeed impressive and says a tremendous amount about their parents, which is positive.

Krauthammer is a man whose fierce determination as a very young man enabled him to complete Harvard Medical School while lying on his back in a hospital bed following a freak diving accident resulting in a broken neck.  A feat never accomplished by anyone before.  Krauthammer is a man who has worked for individuals at the highest level of political office on both sides of the ideological spectrum.

As a very young man Trump spent five years leading in many, many categories at the New York Military Academy, graduating in 1964 at the top of his class. Interesting.  Perhaps that is where he garnered so much respect for the military.

Obama has a legitimate concern of our food supply and its connection to healthcare, and attempted to speak out about it in a way not previously done.  Personally, I find it interesting her effort didn’t convey into the healthcare debate more than it did, and I hope it does in the future.

I could list more about these individuals; however, the main thing solidified for me this weekend is that our systems – media, political and educational systems specifically – foster environments where we don’t listen to others very well.  These systems spend more time demeaning and deconstructing people than trying to legitimately listen and understand them.

Also this weekend I thought quite a bit about Christmas 1986, 30 years ago.  That vacation at our family farm 30 years ago was spent reflecting on a year where I had eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner for close to 180 days with students from around the globe.  Literally all my meals at school were eaten at a table of 12 where I was the only American.  For example, the morning of the bombing of Libya on April 15, 1986, following the terrorist attack in Berlin, I was eating breakfast between my two Libyan schoolmates, both of whom had parents in Tripoli, who were unreachable.  I could invest over 500 words on that one breakfast alone! I elaborated on it in April. (linked).

The bottom line for me is we have some serious ideological worldview issues which are struggling for the dominance of our American culture. This struggle ultimately streams into education, media and politics; however we need citizens who can engage in the process thoughtfully, articulately and truthfully without degrading to name calling, which is so prevalent in today’s reality based culture.

As we think this week about “Peace on Earth,” I pray each of us, on both sides of the political aisle, will contemplate how we might get outside of our own echo-chambers and try to understand the human that is on the other side of our ideological divide.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Thoughts As I Left Cleveland

Posted on 31 July 2016 by Scott Cooper

ClevelandPlease click here to read the thoughts I had as I prepared to leave Cleveland after The Republican National Convention.

The link takes you to my Facebook Page, where I originally shared my thoughts.  If you agree, please “Like” and “Share!”  Also – I’d love to follow you!

Blessings!

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Remembering First Lady Nancy Reagan – EA March 16, 2016

Posted on 16 March 2016 by Scott Cooper

Nancy Reagan

With the passing of First Lady Nancy Reagan, I have been thinking about Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan.

President Reagan was 41 when he married Nancy, and they shared 52 incredible years together. She married him at a low point in his life, and helped him achieve amazing things.

To me, as I reflect on Nancy Reagan – I am thinking about the value of marriage. I am thinking about the importance of working as a team. I am contemplating about the amount of work it takes to become such a team, and the fact that it is accomplished not with emotions and feelings only – but by a steadfast commitment. A lifelong commitment.

The work I do with High Frontier, we reflect often on Reagan’s peace through strength strategy and his willingness to call evil, well – evil. We are thankful for his willingness to speak truth to power – and how that changed the course of nations – literally.

I think of Lech Walesa, an imprisoned electrician in Poland, due to his efforts in the labor movement, who later in life, after becoming President of Poland, shared how Ronald Reagan’s optimism and speaking truth to power inspired him, as he studied in prison, and listened to the American President on the radio.

Yes – Ronald Reagan impacted countless people – and the course of nations. This side of the veil, we will likely never know his full impact.

But we know one thing for certain – Nancy was at his side all the way and I believe God worked through Ronald in a greater way, causing him to be the effective leader he was in large part to Nancy being his side.

Thank you Nancy – for your service to our country. We greatly appreciate you!

__________

This was the fourth week I was published in The Edgefield Advertiser, the longest running continues paper in South Carolina, published March 16, 2016.

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Week Three – EA March 9, 2016

Posted on 09 March 2016 by Scott Cooper

Week Three

Each week, I will share a little more about myself, while discussing some topic or topics of the day.  I feel that’s important because it will help you understand how my views have been shaped.  My writing will include my efforts to “get outside the box,” which hasn’t led to a change in my principles, but has helped me understand other’s viewpoints, and think hard about ways to reconcile the divisions our national leadership like to accentuate.

In last week’s edition I mentioned my belief that national leadership in both parties encourage the American people being divided as it enhances their ability to control us.  I believe we’ve evolved into a one party system in Washington, and both parties are leading us in the same direction, simply at different paces.  Divided, we cannot unite against the corrupt and sometime treasonous activities taking place in the faraway land, Washington, DC.  Thus, the hyphenation of America continues.

Since Ms. Derrick asked me to contribute to the Edgefield Advertiser, I’ve outlined a calendar for the remainder of the year.  There are forty-three weeks left in 2016!  I believe if you participate in these weekly editorials, you will begin to see recurring themes in my thought process.  I hope these will eventually be placed online, where discussion can take place.  I hope you will join the discussion, as the topics discussed will be broad indeed.

Also last week, I shared that I was in branch banking in the Washington DC market when in 2008 President George W. Bush decided “to abandon free market principles, in order to save the free market system,” and how that angered me, causing me to engage in the civic arena at the local and state level.  To put it bluntly, the bailouts pissed me off.  I can’t describe in less than 500 words everything I witnessed in the banking world, the correlating real estate bubble, as well as multitude of other issues that caused my blood to boil!

I stayed active until just after the 2012 Presidential election, an election where conservatives were forced to work for a man who really was just “The Lite Version” of the Democratic ticket.

Following that election, combined with a Virginia U.S. Senate Primary defeat in June, which was far more important to me, I needed to take a break from politics.

Over the course of the next year I began something I would encourage everyone who struggles with anger directed toward our civil magistrates to do.  I committed to read one Proverb and five Psalms a day.  I repeated monthly for over 24 months. remaining faithful 65 % of the time!

The process of reading King David and King Solomon’s words each day for over two years re-confirmed for me that there is “nothing new under the sun.”  It also reconfirmed for me that the majority of our issues are “non-respecter of person” issues, which should unite us, not divide us.  More on that next week.

Have a blessed week!

__________

This was the third week I was published in The Edgefield Advertiser, the longest running continues paper in South Carolina, published March 9, 2016.

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I Have Respect for Our Elected Leaders in Washington DC!

Posted on 12 June 2015 by Scott Cooper

Respect Must Be Earned II

Anyone who has been my friend or has followed me for any length of time knows I have publicly stated my disdain for not only the leadership within both of our political parties, but the way they orchestrate the entire political process.  Therefore they are likely to find this title highly unlikely.

It is true though – I do have a selective respect for our elected leaders in Washington DC.

In the last four years I have helped folks running for elections at the following levels: School Board, County Supervisor, State Senate, United States Senate, and now I have the privilege of serving on the leadership team in my state for one of the Presidential Candidates, Ted Cruz.

When this journey began for me, as a middle aged man, it wasn’t because I wanted a career in campaigning or politics – it was only because after being in private industry for two decades, like millions of Americans, my infuriation with the way our national leaders led angered me enough to no longer sit and simply yell at the nightly news, but to actually try and do something to change the leadership of our country.

Having a front row seat in several campaigns, one of the many things I have learned is the personal sacrifice it takes, not only for the candidate and the spouse, but generally for his or her entire family, to seek the privilege to serve a constituency of any size.

When it comes to the elected leadership in Washington, regardless of party, at some point – whether for noble reasons or selfish ones – they and their families chose to enter the arena of public office, which to be successful requires a tremendous amount of time, personal energy and money.  Not to mention, it requires a willingness to undergo scrutiny beyond belief.  It has been said if you want to research your family tree, rather than pay for it or do the research yourself, run for office – your opponents will do all the research for you!  For these reasons – I respect them, even those I philosophically disagree with.

For those who have been in Washington for decades now, they have learned the art of political power: how to acquire, retain and wield it.  With a leadership structure based on seniority rather than gifts and talents for true leadership and statesmanship, as well as a financial and committee reward structure which protects the seniority based leadership, it is a skill which generally is acquired over a long time period.  While the process may disgust us, that willingness and ability to invest the time, which generally requires multiple re-elections, to move up the leadership rank does deserve some respect.

Leadership - Maxwell

For the millions like me who engaged because we see the financial titanic we are on is about to hit the iceberg, as well as philosophical worldview issues we face – not for the purpose of “wielding power,” which under the current system takes decades to acquire, it is somewhere between the fifth and seventh paragraphs above where my respect is lost. Between the sentences where I state they sought “the privilege to serve” and “they learned the art of political power.”

While their willingness to enter the arena, and their understanding of how power really works in Washington does deserve respect, and while those who just in the last few years began entering the arena are still learning the power system of Washington, I am convinced that less than 5 % of those who have been in elected office in Washington over a decade should be there any longer.  They simply are too closely connected to the continual extension of debt on our national credit card.

Respect aside, we need a paradigm shift in the way leadership is selected within Washington.  Leadership by seniority has led us to the financial cliff.  It fosters and propagates the status quo – and the status quo is leading us to financial ruin.  Sadly, I am not confident we will be able to fix our existing spending problems under the existing structure. The paradigm shift in leadership selection which is required, likely won’t come until after a financial reset.

It is my prayer that hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans are today considering running for office.  We have over 3,000 counties and municipalities in our republic.  Each of these jurisdictions have at least two dozen elected offices.  The phrase “all politics is local” is so true. Many of the problems we face in Washington are also being addressed at local and state levels – and strong leadership at these levels is required if we ever have any hope of seeing a paradigm shift of leadership, as well as a new breed of leaders in Washington.  Will you join me in that prayer – up to and including putting your hat in the ring?

So, despite my selective respect for our elected leaders in Washington – I am praying for the future folks who are mentally, physically and spiritually preparing to earn that same respect.  I pray they will also earn our respect for truly solving the problems our country faces, something I am convenced very few of those currently in Washington will be able to earn.

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Virginia Has a Primary on Tuesday!

Posted on 06 June 2015 by Scott Cooper

Virginia Emblem

31 of my 46 years were spent in The Old Dominion – so I feel I would be negligent if I did not remind my friends in Virginia to see who is on the ballot, do some research in the next 72 hours and get to the polls to vote, if there is a Primary in either your local or legislative districts.

Click here for candidate listings for both General Assembly Primary Candidates as well as Local Primary Candidates.

The Founding Documents of our country are clear about who is responsible for our government.  We The People are.

It astonishes me that the vast majority of eligible voters do not vote in Primaries.

What grieves my heart even more, is that roughly 50 % of evangelical’s do not vote in general elections, because they are not registered – and of those evangelicals which are registered to vote – the vast majority do not vote in Primaries.

I first wrote about the importance of Primaries in 2011.

I want to make two points about Tuesday’s Primary:

First, neither the Republican Party of Virginia nor the Democratic Party of Virginia has Tuesday’s Election listed on the events page of their website.  Apparently, neither party thinks highly enough of the internal political process of being iron sharpening iron to inform visitors of their website of the upcoming election.  I found this troubling, but expected.

Second, in the General Assembly there are a total of 18 districts facing primaries: 9 Democratic Primaries and 9 Republican Primaries.

In my old stomping ground of Fredericksburg, perhaps the most publicized primary is taking place.  That is where the Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell is being challenged by Susan Stimpson.  That district represents Stafford and Fredericksburg City.

I consider Bill Howell a friend.  We used to attend the same church, and I have met him a couple times to discuss policy.  I have respect for his service not only in the General Assembly but also to the community, especially through Young Life.

Friendship aside, being a great individual aside – I personally believe that one of the reasons our states and our country are in the financial situation we are in is because we have lost the vision of rotational leadership our founders provided for us.  Our founders desired a citizen legislature – where folks serve for a season, then return home to labor in an industry they helped to regulate.  This is not personal – but public service should be for a season, not for a career.  Delegate Howell has been serving in that seat since 1992.

In addition to Term Limits however, there are a several issues, which I believe each citizen needs to research before going to the polls on Tuesday.  Many articles relating to the issues on why Delegate Howell should be replaced by Susan Stimpson have been posted on the Fredericksburg Virginia Patriots Group Facebook Page – and I will refer you to that.  Click here to review!

Don’t Forget to Vote on Tuesday!

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Dad, I’m finally going to Clemson!

Posted on 10 April 2015 by Scott Cooper

Palmetto Panel

It is hard to believe it has been 30 years since my father was lobbying me to become a Clemson Tiger.  I was his last hope, after both my sisters chose to become Virginia Tech Gobblers.  Well sadly, I let him down when I chose to become a Taylor Trojan, and attended Taylor University in Indiana!

The good news is, now that I live in South Carolina, I have had multiple opportunities to be on the campus of Clemson University – and one opportunity is next weekend, Saturday April 18th at The Palmetto Panel.  The Palmetto Panel is a citizen led one day conference on state level solutions to many of the key issues we are facing – from healthcare, energy, national security, school choice, tax policy, political corruption, and many, many others.

High Frontier, the organization I am working with, will be there speaking on the critical issue of securing our nations electric grid and the role South Carolina could and should play in leading the nation.  Specifically, we believe we should harden the cooling systems of South Carolina’s four Nuclear Power Plants ASAP, which would enable South Carolina to lead the nation in getting the electric grid back up, if God forbid we don’t solve the entire problem on time.

I am well aware that you may not live in South Carolina.  If you do, I hope you will join us next Saturday!  If you do not, I encourage you to share this information with your sphere of influence WHO DO live in South Carolina.  Please click here to R.S.V.P. or to see event details.

To follow, in alphabetical order, are all the presenters – and the subjects they will be discussing:

Talbert Black – Mr. Black is the founder of Palmetto Liberty PAC and will provide an overview of issues at the State Level

State Senator Lee Bright – Senator Bright will be discussing three key issues:  American Laws for American Courts legislation, Registration by Party legislation and the Conflict of Interest that exists when the State Senate appoints South Carolina Judges.

State Senator Kevin Bryant – Senator Bryant will be discussing School Choice Legislation and The Healthcare Freedom Act.

Ambassador Henry Cooper – Ambassador Cooper is the Chairman of High Frontier and will be discussing solutions to Securing our Electric Grid and how South Carolina can and should lead the nation.

SC U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan – Congressman Duncan will be discussing the importance of Off Shore Drilling, and what that would do for the economy of South Carolina.

Sheri Few – Ms. Few is the President and CEO of SC Parents Involved in Education. She will be discussing two issues: Common Core and the Refugee Resettlement Program taking place in South Carolina.

SC Representative Jonathon Hill – Representative Hill is a freshman representative and he will be discussing what life is like for the freshman legislator and what it is like running for office.

Ashley Landess – Ms. Landess is the President of the South Carolina Policy Council.  She will be discussing 8 points necessary to make South Carolina the freest state in the country.

Emery McClendon – Mr. McClendon is a board member of Project 21, and a nationally known Conservative activist.  He will be discussing the importance of strengthening citizen engagement at the state level.

Kurt Potter – Mr. Potter is a Founding Member of the Center for Self Governance.  He will be discussing the work the Center for Self Governance is doing and the training of citizen activists they offer.

Alex Saitta – Mr. Saitta is a member of the Pickens County School Board, and he will be discussing his journey of exposing the truth about the funding of our schools at the county level.

Thom Shea – Mr. Shea is a retired Navy Seal and is currently the CEO of Adamantine Alliance.  He will be providing an inspirational message “Never Give Up!”

Dan Tripp – Mr. Trip is the Founder of Ground Game Strategies.  He will be discussing the Healthcare Compact – which is a program encouraging states to contract together to move medical decisions back to the state level.

Ellen Weaver – Ms. Weaver is the President of Palmetto Policy Forum and she will be providing an overview of the issues effecting South Carolina.

I look forward to seeing many of my South Carolina friends at this timely and critical event next weekend.  Again, I would appreciate you forwarding this to your sphere of influence living inside South Carolina.

Blessings,

Scott Cooper

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Reflections From Myrtle Beach

Posted on 24 January 2015 by Scott Cooper

Myrtle Beach

This year was the third Martin Luther King Day weekend in a row I have spent in Myrtle Beach, SC.  My purpose in going to Myrtle Beach was to attend a three day conference which highlighted most of the political issues our country is facing.  Click here to review all the speakers, as you may be interested in studying some of the subject matter.  Video of the conference is available on the internet, in the event you would like to watch any of the speakers.

This year, I also used this time to “Sharpen the Saw,” which is the 7th Principle of Stephen R. Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I purchased the 3 CD audio version of Stephen’s book, and listened to it twice during the course of the weekend – then when I returned home, I reviewed my printed copy of the book, which I had read some 15 years ago.  I also perused one of Stephen Covey’s other best sellers, First Things First.

Every year at this conference I am inspired by the hundreds of individuals who, due to concern for their communities, their state and their country, are investing their time, talent and treasure to not only educate themselves on some of the issues we face – but also to do something they never intended to do – become leaders themselves within the civic arena to improve the areas of concern which is most important to them!

I have written about these inspirational folks numerous times before, including when I referred to them in The Next Greatest Generation!  I write about them because they inspire me. They give me hope.

In my humble opinion, it isn’t the professionals at the front of the room who will steer the ship of state, in my opinion – it is the “newly engaged leaders” – who are consistently honing their knowledge and skills to become more effective leaders.

It is in that vein that I hope to encourage some of these folks – as well as some of those who are already well known enough to have the privilege to speak from the front of the room, to take time in the course of the next couple weeks to read, re-read (or listen to) Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Leadership is what is required.  And while new leadership is what we need, it needs to be grounded on the right principles – the PRINCIPLES of true leadership never change.

All of us need to recognize we are on our own individual leadership journey, which we must daily work on if we truly want to make a difference in the issues which are important to us.

One of the things I appreciate about Covey is that in the process of writing the book, he reviewed over 200 years of popular writing on the principles of success and leadership.  He discusses the fact that effectiveness with ourselves and others is based upon our individual character, not upon quick fix formulas or manipulative techniques.

Covey writes that “during the first 150 years, almost the entire focus of the popular success literature was based on character, that is on principles, what we might call the Character Ethic, attributes such as Integrity, Fidelity, Courage, Compassion, Contribution, Responsibility, Justice, Service – and then because of many, many societal forces as well as moving from the agriculture into the industrial age – the emphasis gradually shifted in the early 1900’s, particularly in the 20’s and 30’s away from the character ethic to what we might call the Personality Ethic, which focuses more on techniques and technologies than on principles.  On how to appear to be, rather than on how to truly be.

Now that we have moved through the industrial age, and into the more advanced information age, this very trend has accelerated, and yet because of the powerful changes that are taking place in the global market place and with the new technologies – there is a pronounced new shift back to the Character Ethic.  Simply for the purposes of pragmatic survival, to maintain competitive viability, I have never seen a closer relationship between pragmatics and ethics.  That is one of the reasons why there is such an enormous and increasing interest in this material on the 7 habits, all surrounding those principles which are central to the character ethic” (p. 18-19).

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People is divided into Four Parts:

  1. Paradigms and Principles
  2. Private Victory
  3. Public Victory
  4. Renewal

In part one, Paradigms and Principles, Covey writes at length about the paradigms of the Character Ethic and the Personality Ethic.  He doesn’t downplay the importance of personality – but articulates that effectiveness / influence is greatest when we start from “the inside out.”  In other words – our public victories will be more significant in the long run, if our private victories have laid a rock solid foundation.

In part two, Private Victory, there are three habits:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Start with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First

In a nutshell – Part 1 states in order to successfully lead, you need to have your own house in order. Covey writes “Private victories precede public victories. You can’t invert that process any more than you can harvest a crop before you plant it. It’s inside out” (p. 51).  The focus is not on impacting society or leading others – but the focus is on the individual who ultimately feels called to lead others and impact society at large.  If a solid foundation of character is made in the individual’s private life, the effectiveness in his or her public life will be exponentially more significant and longer lasting.

In part three, Public Victory, there are three habits:

  1. Think Win/Win
  2. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  3. Synergize

Thinking on this section of the book, as it relates to the context of last weekend, the conference in Myrtle Beach where virtually every subject under the sun that is impacting our country today was discussed, this section is extremely relevant.  There are so many issues facing our country, too many to list, that it can seem overwhelming. Some refer to this time period of rapid change as Fundamental Transformation or Overwhelming the System!

Often when we are passionate about a particular issue, we view it through our prism as being the most important issue – and we want everyone to understand why and agree with us that it is indeed the most important thing.  Our focus is to be heard, to enlist more individuals into our subject matter.

Well, from our perspective that is true – but from the perspective of someone else, that may not be true; therefore in order to be effective, we need to think win/win, seek first to understand, then to be understood and synergize with other like-minded folks who have similar character traits, but different primary issues.  For many this is a challenge, because it requires an investment of time – to build critical relationships so that ultimately, together, we will be able to “synergize.”

Prior to 9/11/01 I worked for a great entrepreneur, who I consider a mentor.  He had achieved great success in his career, and something he repeatedly said during my time observing him in business – “Scott, God gave us two ears and one mouth.  He wants us to spend twice as much time listening as he does speaking.”  In a world where we as activists see the world coming unhinged, this is a hard lesson to learn – but I believe it is critical if we are to be effective in whatever issue we feel called to work on.

Part four deals with renewal and includes the final habit, “Sharpen the Saw.”  Our lives require balance, and we need to put processes in place which will prohibit us from losing balance and proper perspective.  In every walk of life: politics, business, sports and the faith based community, we have vivid examples of leaders who fail to do this, and have tragic “falls from grace,” where the work they spent a lifetime constructing is negated or becomes tarnished because they failed to put these processes in place.  May we structure our lives in such a way that we never lose sight of this final, critically important law.

In closing – I would encourage all of my friends to invest time in reading or listening to the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  I believe it will help us “raise our game” to the next level.

I have great hope for the future – because so many are committed to the principles of character.  We are calling for it in our leaders – but we are striving to live it on our own lives as well. 

Click here for the audio version of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Click here to order from Amazon.com

Click here for an effective video I found which outlines the book.

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