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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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Like Agriculture Fields Require Rest – So Do Our Leaders in Washington

Posted on 31 December 2014 by Scott Cooper

This morning I did my exercises walking the perimeter of a field we hope to incorporate into our Grass Fed Beef operation, Lord willing, around 2020.  Several things transpired during my brisk walk.

First, I looked onto a portion of a field that we have basically allowed to be dormant for close to two years.  Even though it is in a prominent, highly visible location, we intentionally have done virtually nothing to it, except allow the cows to graze it 4 times this year and hand pull some of the undesired plant life that naturally came back into the field when fertilizer and pesticides weren’t added.  We also cut it for hay twice during the first year.  It has been fascinating to watch what happens naturally, when nature’s system is left alone.  I am a novice at agriculture, but the more I study, the more I become convinced that all of God’s creation needs rest and healing – not just our bodies!

During my brisk walk, I also called my oldest son, who lives in another state. With the exception of discussions and a couple of weeks work at the very beginning, he has had very little involvement in our farm operation.  We spoke about the farm, some of the plans over the next several years.  Then we spoke about real estate – his passion – and some of the goals and projects he is focused on.  Then we spoke about other business opportunities, concluding by speaking about one specific entrepreneur who has used what God had blessed him with to bless countless other organizations, all of which have done great work in the civic arena.  This particular entrepreneur passed away in 2014 – and we briefly discussed how the philanthropic work this man has done over the last several decades will likely change as his foundations are passing to the next generation.

After hanging up with my son, I was at a different vantage point, looking back at the field that is coming out of two years of rest, yet still walking in the field that we hope to incorporate in 2020 – likely to place in its own 2 years of rest, which it will come out of in 2022, Lord willing!

For some reason, my mind went to Congress – and I thought – what if Congress and Washington simply took a rest – and did nothing for two years?  What would our world look like, after watching the effects of what they have done already – without doing anything new – no new additives, no tweaking – just a rest to observe the nature of what those who have been in Washington the last 2 – 4 decades have created?

Then I wondered, when they (those in Washington) look at and vote on their 2,000 page bills – do they contemplate what stages their “comprehensive” reforms will be in 5 years out from passage?  Do they contemplate the effects and the unintended consequences of their “comprehensive” reforms which often include hundreds of changes for things that have nothing to do with what the title the legislation indicates?  Then I wondered, are they building relationships with those who they hope will come behind them to manage the work they are so passionate about?  Do they listen to their viewpoints – as different generations do see things differently?

Yes – those are rhetorical questions – and if you got this far in my writing – you likely have the same conclusion I do.

Congress

In December of 2009, five years ago, I had the privilege of sitting at a large Conference Table in the U.S. Senate Russell Office building, which is where Virginia U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s office is, to discuss The Affordable Care Act Legislation.  That day we started in a Small Conference room – but because the number of people that ended up showing up at what we thought would be a small meeting was exponentially larger – we had to move to a room that would accommodate 150 or so people.

That was an infuriating meeting, because while Senator Warner’s Chief of Staff and a Legislative Aide did provide the public service their constituents are entitled to, and met with us – it was clear they were not open to any of the comments that came from their constituents – which included one passionate couple who had escaped the tyranny of Eastern Europe and an individual who had escaped Cuba.  One individual who had previously experienced socialized medicine, through her tears began to pound on the table out of anger and frustration – and others began to do the same.  I was angry that day as well – but I was also fearful for my country – because while there might be such a thing as righteous anger – what was being displayed would accomplish nothing, except end the discussion, which it did.

Well – we now know that The American Public was lied to in order to pass that “comprehensive” reform.  We know the answers to the rhetorical questions I asked above – because we are living through them – and it is painful.  And the pain is likely going to become more and more intense before it gets better.

The reason I share my experience in December 2009 in that Conference Room on Capitol Hill in conjunction with my walk this morning, five years later, is because I am convinced that just like our Bermuda grass fields, which have experienced a mono-culture for decades, require a rest – I believe the leadership in Washington requires a rest as well.  While I believe many of those in Washington were well intentioned when they arrived in DC, it is clear they have lived in the mono-culture of the beltway for far too long – and it is time for them to return home, take a rest and manage their own fields.

In my idealism, I would love to see a groundswell of patriotic action by those who have served us in Washington in elected office for the last 2 – 4 decades, and see them to return into an industry they have spent their lives legislating and regulating.  I would love to see them become entrepreneurs in the economy they have created vs. spending their final days on K Street.  That would be patriotism, in my humble opinion.  And if they achieve success in business, they would have opportunity to be benevolent with the wealth they create.  That is an American value.

In conclusion, before I began my walk this morning I read two articles about John McCain working to purge conservatives from the Arizona GOP.  This causes me to grieve.  Senator McCain has served his country nobly in war, as a prisoner of war and in public office – serving in Congress since 1983.  Even though there are policies I disagree with Senator McCain on, I believe that at 78, he has such an opportunity to leave Washington as a Statesman.  However rather than investing his energy encouraging conservatives and mentoring a replacement, my prediction is he continues to stiffen against the current trends within his party, will leave Washington like Eric Cantor – and the Arizona GOP will experience continued renewal much like RPV did this year.

Something happens inside the beltway to the vast majority of those who go there to serve.  Let us pray that the Dave Brat’s of this generation, and I predict many, many more in 2016 and 2018 – will learn from this time period – stay grounded – and remember that after a season or two – everything needs a rest.

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Will Our Current Leaders Face Evil?

Posted on 24 October 2014 by Scott Cooper

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My thoughts on this fine Friday morning –

The Problem of Evil

Many Americans are headed off to work, or whatever they have planned for the day, sad because their income is down, discouraged because as a result they can’t go out to eat or go see a movie this weekend. Perhaps there are couples discouraged because they don’t have the funds to send their kids to college, like they had hoped and planned.

Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time with a dear friend of close to three decades who is losing his business, going bankrupt and has moved back into his parent’s home with his wife and child (in his mid-40’s) – and plans on being there for several years while rebuilding his life.

Well – all of that is happening in America. Even that last sentence is happening on a far larger scale than most recognize, especially those within the beltway region recognize.

In America, people start over financially all the time.

Both poverty and wealth are not respecters of persons. Their laws SHOULD apply to all people, regardless of race, creed or gender, EQUALLY. Individuals go up and down the ladder all the time – and while we are called to be productive – and our founders believed in the pursuit of property / happiness – THIS IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING – even though many have chosen to make it so. Before moving on to my most important concerns of the morning – I want to reflect for a minute on the difference between the leaders at our founding, and the leaders today as it relates to acquiring wealth.

The men who represented the 13 colonies at the time of The Declaration of Independence thought so highly of the importance of being productive, they referenced it in the very first sentence of the preamble of the Declaration. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

 

The word Happiness was originally property. In other words – in the first sentence, they encouraged all individuals, to use their GOD GIVEN life and liberty, TO BE PRODUCTIVE and pursue property / happiness. Nowhere did they guarantee property / happiness – but they encouraged all individuals TO BE PRODUCTIVE in their pursuit of such things.

Today’s leaders are prolific with words, (referring to the productive) such as “you didn’t build that,” and we need to ensure those who have acquired the very thing our founders encouraged individuals to pursue, that they “pay their fair share,” to pay for things (birth control for example) which really shouldn’t be paid for out of federal funds. In other worlds – our current leaders are promoting a worldview that is in diametric opposition to the worldview of our founders.

There is so much I could write about this, but let me say this reversal – this breeding of covetousness – has become THE PRIMARY FOCUS of much of our elected leadership today. The focus is on class envy and strife vs. what is best for humanity – ensuring all principles/laws – including the principles/laws of poverty and wealth creation are executed equally among all individuals in the republic.

Because this is where the focus of our leadership is – breeding covetousness – we cannot as a country focus on the truly important thing – specifically the rise of evil in our world. THE RISE OF EVIL IN OUR WORLD, AND ITS IMPACT ON WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

And while the economics hits close to home for me, as it does all Americans at this moment in history – it is this rise of evil in our world that most grips my heart – and infuriates me about the lack of leadership we have – that while they are breeding class warfare, they should be educating Americans on the evil that is transpiring to our friends – and that is inevitably coming our way.

My thoughts this morning are with the Kurdish people, who have been our friends, are staring evil in the face, and are being slaughtered. Not just those who are Christians, but our Muslim friends there too – slaughtered by an evil ideology that is not based on the individual, but is based on the Political System, The Financial System, The Judicial System, The Military System AND THE FAITH System that is called Islam. It is a five part system, and the last, and honestly least ranked of the five that is being used against us here in our country and in the west to undermine our future security.

Whether it is the beheading we saw last month in Oklahoma, the shooting in Ottawa this week, the “workplace violence” we witnessed at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Hasan in 2009, the three American Girls who were en route to fight for Jihad in Syria that were stopped in Germany just this week, the prayer rugs and Quran’s that are being found on our Southern Border, or the dozens and dozens of other examples that could be listed – it should be extremely obvious to our leaders – “Houston, we have a problem!” Yet our leaders choose to refuse to act in a significant way to protect our friends, the Kurds, who are being slaughtered.

Closer to home, the inheritance we desire to leave our children and grandchildren is at risk as the same enemies staring down the Kurds over there are gaining strength inside our borders, and they continue to be inside The Trojan Horse of the 21st Century, Political Correctness.

Many of “We the People” see the Trojan Horse – and continue to beg our leaders to act – knowing that eventually those inside that Horse will be coming out with their 7th Century worldview, the five “systems” of Islam and their machetes. Just like the beheading in Oklahoma last month – they will act, not with random solo exhibits like Oklahoma, but with well executed masterpieces, like we witnessed the 19 individuals execute on 9/11/01. Yes, in the event you forgot, 9/11 was executed by simply 19 Individuals.

Just do a study of one Mosque, the Boston Mosque, where the Boston Marathon bombers came out of, and you will see there are thousands of American’s (home grown) who are being radicalized, and yet, it only took 19 on 9/11.

Evil exists. It is not the lack of birth control. It is not the lack of healthcare. It is not the lack of opportunity. It is not the evils of slavery, which still exists in North Africa, as the U.S. fought a war and settled it in our country 150 years ago. It is the slaughter of Christians and Muslim’s in the Middle East who are infidels. It is the silent jihad that is being waged on the west – that is still masked by political correctness. It is a Spiritual war – and now more than ever, we should recognize – those on the side of evil do not subscribe to the “Co-Exist” bumper sticker worldview.

With Jay SekulowLast week I had the privilege to meet Jay Sekulow at The Crisis Pregnancy Center annual dinner in Augusta, Georgia. He is the author of a new book titled “The Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore.” He eloquently stated: “The same force involved with abortion is the same force involved with ISIS, a complete disregard for human life.” He went on to say, “We are looking at what could be a 30 year war…..we are in the battle of battles.”

I am praying for new leadership for our country. Leaders who will focus on the evil which truly exists. Leaders who will help lead “We The People” to overcome what is coming our way. Leaders who will stop focusing on covetousness in an effort to control the electorate – which itself is evil.

I am praying for new leadership. Will you join me?

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Mark Levin’s Forth Coming Book

Posted on 30 July 2013 by Scott Cooper

Mark Levin's New Book

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This book, TheLiberty Amendments, which comes out in a couple weeks will be required reading for all Conservative Americans – and then we must begin the work of building our STATE Legislatures.  Please take 30 Minutes to listen to Mark talk about it: 

Updated in the Fall of 2013:

Shortly after the release of Mark Levin’s book, The Convention of The States (COS) launched their grassroots effort to help make the principles of Mark’s book a reality.  I strongly believe this is our last hope of reigning in the Federal Government, and placing it back in it’s constitutional limits.  I strongly urge every conservative to sign up and get engaged with COS.

 

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State Legislative Solutions to Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration

Posted on 19 October 2012 by Scott Cooper

Written by: Scott Cooper

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Many individuals and groups are speaking about the infiltration of Muslim Brotherhood into all levels of society in the United States of America: Media, Education, The military, and the government bureaucracy.

Some want to go beyond simply talking about the problem.  Some want to talk about Solutions.

One area where we can focus our attention is on legislative actions at the State level.  On Monday October 15, Frank Gaffney and Christopher Holton of Center for Security Policy discussed six specific legislative solutions which need to be implemented at the state level.  The flagship legislation is titled American Laws for American Courts, but it is not the only one.  There are a series of legislative initiatives which will take several years to implement.  To hear about some of them, please enjoy watching the session we held on Monday October 15, 2012 in Fredericksburg, Virginia:

Please help us let our state legislators know you want to see American Laws for American Courts passed in your state legislature by signing the petition.  Click here to sign the petition.

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The 68th Anniversary of D-Day – My Thoughts

Posted on 06 June 2012 by Scott Cooper


D Day

My eye’s popped open this morning at 3:50 AM. When I went to sleep last night, I was already reflecting on the 68th anniversary of D-Day, which is this morning. It is the first thing on my mind today.

Before I comment on where we are today, I hope you will take time to listen to two brief speeches from that day:

General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1 min 43 second speech to the men of the Allied Expeditionary Force.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 6 min 30 second speech to The American Public the night before.

For me, the most striking element of these brief speeches by our leaders at the time, a mere 68 years ago, was their reliance upon Providence, their willingness to beseech Almighty God and to boldly proclaim the righteousness of the cause the Allied Forces were embarking on.  President Roosevelt asks our people “to devote themselves in a continuance of prayer, invoking thy (God’s) help to our efforts.”

The total military dead from WWII range from 22 – 25 million and civilian dead estimate about 40 million.  Over 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded in the Normandy invasion.  An extremely heavy price was paid for the liberty that was won for France, for Europe and indeed the entire world a mere 68 years ago.

According to Wikipedia, the length of a generation has risen, being somewhere between 25 and 30 years.  If we use 30 years, we are barely two complete generations removed from the day that 160,000 troops landed on the beaches of Normandy to reclaim a continent from tyranny.  Two generations removed, and we hardly remember that day or reflect on what transpired there and contrast those events to current trends.

I believe this is a day that we should be teaching all children of the western world about, especially here in America.  The reality is most youth do not know very much about it, nor will they reflect on this day and the sacrifices their great grand-parents’ generation made for the cause of liberty and freedom.  We should never forget, yet I fear for the most part as a nation, and the West as a whole, we have already forgotten.

This year (less than 2 months ago) in France, democratic elections took place where an individual whose philosophy and worldview is diametrically opposed to the ideals we fought and died for 68 years ago was elected.  Socialist Francois Hollande was elected President.  What is starker is that it was the socialist partnership with the Muslim population of France that put Mr. Hollande over the top.  Close to 2 million Muslims voted in the election, and 85 – 93 % voted for Mr. Hollande.  Without that vote, the socialist party would not have won.  It is also worthy of noting that as a group, atheists supported Holland.

I mention those two groups because the West is in a conflict of worldviews that no one in political leadership wants to talk about.  Our leadership 68 years ago understood the conflict.  Just 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan in his “Evil Empire Speech” on June 8, 1982 understood it and could articulate it, against the wishes of “his handlers.”

This is not about individuals within a belief system it is about understanding how belief systems behave as blocks of power.  While there is a partnership right now between the socialists, atheists and Muslims, as we are witnessing in Europe, that coalition will only last until they conquer Western Civilization as it has been known in the 20th century, and then they will turn on one another.  Take a look at this picture taken Election Day in France:

France Election Day
There is only one French Flag, I think, in this picture.  They are not unified except in their desire to destroy the belief system which has led to the most productive and prosperous century in human history.  The belief system they are fighting against is the system our grandparents generation fought and died for.

The relevance of our history is rapidly being lost.

It is my prayer to visit the beaches of Normandy one day, and see the graves of the men who died there, in a heroic effort to save France and a continent from Tyranny.

Normandy

If you enjoyed this, here are some thoughts I wrote almost a year ago about “The Next Greatest Generation.”

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