Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard

Lifes Golden TicketLife’s Golden Ticket
by Brendon Burchard

Rating 5 Stars

Buy Now on Amazon

This is a story about second chances. It is written somewhat like a parable. According to Wikipedia, “A parable is a succinct, didactic story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles.”

Most of the story takes place in an old amusement park – Bowman’s Park. An old man named Henry escorts a man through the park where he will meet some very interesting people who will help him. Henry begins by saying, “We all want a return to the summer of our childhood, don’t we?” This begins the journey and the lesson we all need at some point in our life. The journey includes a remarkable cast of characters and memorable experiences, including:

The Wizard at the Truth Booth.
Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel.
An introduction to the park’s theme.
Listen to the screaming carnies.
Harsh the Hypnotist.
Gus and the Elephant’s Leash.
Willy and the Pirate Ship.
Ride the Merry-Go-Round.
The Hall of Mirrors.
The Livestock Pavilion.
The Bumper Boats.
Crank and The Loop-de-Loop.
Meg, the Fortune Teller.
The Flying Zimmerman’s and the Tight Rope.
Larry, The Lion Tamer.
Mike, the Strong Man.
The Center Ring.
The Final Ride.

And the climax is when you finally get to open the envelope found in the book and learn the real lesson of the Amusement Park.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this book is it is written in a similar style of two of my favorite Authors – Og Mandino and Andy Andrews. Og Mandino had the Rag Picker and Andy Andrews has Jones. Brendon Burchard has Henry accompanied by a whole cast of interesting characters.

I highly recommend this book and give it both two thumbs up and 5 stars. Read the book and I promise your life will be different.


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Are You A Leader Or A Boss?

Nido Qubein - Good LeadersOn a rare day for me, I am in my home study catching up on eMails, reading a few of my favorite blogs and thinking. Yeah I know – me thinking is a scary thought for some people. It sometimes scares me.

I subscribe to an email newsletter titled Simple Truths. I usually receive a daily, inspirational email that includes an offer to buy one of their motivational books. Today’s book was titled 2120 Leadership The Ten Rules For Highly Effective Leadership by Mac Anderson. In the email there are several quotes and a short story to illustrate the 10 rules. Those that know me or follow me on Facebook  know how much I enjoy great quotes.

Nido Qubein said, “Great leaders must become what they want their followers to become.” In other words a great leader must lead by example otherwise you are nothing more than a boss.

“Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them.” –Ken Blanchard

In an excerpt from his book Mac Anderson tells a short story about the leadership style of Walt Disney. The following is the excerpt”

A gardener at the Disney studio left some tools in an empty parking space. When a producer drove up and saw the tools in his space, he honked at the gardener and gave the poor man a chewing out. Walt walked up and interrupted the producer’s tirade. “Hold it!” he said. “Don’t you ever treat one of my employees like that! This man has been with me longer than you have, so you’d better be good to him!”

That was Walt. To his employees, he was not only a leader. He was their defender and their servant. That’s what separates leaders from bosses.

I have always noticed that not just great leaders, but people in general, have developed their leadership or personal styles around their personalities and their values, and in the end, their actions are consistent with what they truly believe. This is worth repeating, peoples actions are consistent with what they truly believe. Put more simply, actions speak louder than words.

Mac Anderson states the ten rules are:

Rule #1 Think Serve…Not Lead
Rule #2 Companies Don’t Succeed…People Do
Rule #3 Simplify Your Vision for Success
Rule #4 Remember “Old Warwick” (watch the short video)
Rule #5 Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Rule #6 Set the Stage for Innovation
Rule #7 Commit to Excellence
Rule #8 Take Full Responsibility
Rule #9 Measure Results
Rule #10 Your Example is Most Important

When I first went to work as a young man my second job was a 3rd shift computer operator at Associated Grocers. I wanted to be a programmer. I taught myself COBOL. The company was going to convert from an IBM 360/30 to a Burroughs 3500. I approached our 2 programmers and asked if I could help write some of the conversion programs and other applications. They could take credit for the completed work and I would do it off the clock – on my own time.

As we got closer to the conversion cut-over the company was having daily status meetings with senior management. As questions arose about the status of many of the programs, the 2 official programmers, kept responding we will have to ask Henry. Finally, the president asked, “Who is Henry?” They told him I was the 3rd shift computer operator. The president responded, “Not any longer. He is now a programmer. Get him into this meeting.” I later became the youngest DP Manager in the history of the company.

I did not realize it at the time but I was essentially applying the 10 rules of leadership.

Do you want to be a leader or a boss?

My 2 cents,

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Why Am I A Conservative

Dana Perino - And The Good News Is

And The Good News Is
by Dana Perino

The following is an excerpt from her book, “And the Good News Is…” that explains how she realized she was a conservative and how that’s helped her organize her thoughts and her life.

Why am I a conservative?

That’s a question I get a lot. I don’t know if liberals are ever asked to explain themselves, as if liberalism is a natural state of being and conservatism is an aberration that must be examined and defended.

Usually when I’m asked this, it’s with some sort of disbelief or even disdain: “How could you possibly be a Republican?”

It actually comes quite easily to me.

I don’t know if people are born with a worldview or if their thinking is a product of their environment. Many university studies are being done to figure that out (probably with the hope of finding a cure for conservatism). The answer is probably a little bit of both.

Like most conservatives, my path was a bit meandering. I grew up around people who mostly held conservative or libertarian views. The liberals I knew were fairly quiet about it, or at least I don’t remember it being very heavy-handed. At the time I didn’t know how liberal the media was, but looking back at clips, I’m amazed that after all the news I consumed, I still emerged as I did.

The first presidential election I really paid attention to was in

1988 when George H. W. Bush ran against Michael Dukakis. I grew up admiring Ronald Reagan and Vice President Bush, and if I were old enough, I would have voted for 41. I was glad he won.

But four years later when I was in college, I almost voted for Bill Clinton. I went to one of his campaign rallies in Pueblo, Colorado, and I don’t recall what Clinton said but I remember the energy, the music, “I’m Walking on Sunshine,” and all that felt new and optimistic. It felt like hope . . . and, well, change (I later learned this is what all campaigns try to make you feel— no one runs on despair and the status quo). There was no substantive reason for supporting Clinton in my mind—it was more about wanting to feel reinvigorated, something new. Which, I learned later, can be very seductive.  And dangerous.

My first Presidential election vote was important to me. It was a big moment, and I thought my decision would determine something about my future (that if I voted for one party, I’d be wedded to that party forever— which is nonsense, but I was dramatic about it). So I started reading a bit more about the policy positions and took part in the debates about the two candidates in my political science class. It was a tough call, but in the end I voted for 41. I trusted him. I was disappointed when he lost.

My politics didn’t define me then, but because of my interests and what I do for a living, it somewhat does now. When I first left college and worked in the news business for a while, I hid my conservatism. I didn’t want to start fights with people who had visceral reactions against conservatives. I even wondered, “What is wrong with me?”

But after I read Peggy Noonan’s book, I found my ideological footing and increasingly gained confidence in my beliefs. Gradually, I shook off my fear of talking about it.

I’m a conservative because everything else seems easy by comparison. And when something is too easy, it’s too good to be true or it’s sure to fail and disappoint. I wasn’t impressed by the alternatives to conservatism—I gravitate to facts, logic, and reality, whereas to me, liberalism is based on theory, and feelings, and fantasy.

I respect tradition, learn from history, and adhere to a code of ethics that has helped me make sense of the world. By definition, then, I reject situational ethics. I have standards, and I stick to them. For instance, conservatism is where I can fully express my support in the individual rather than the state, and where my belief in self- governance and responsibility isn’t in conflict with policies I support.

Far from limiting what I can do or think, being a conservative gives me great freedom. I govern my thoughts by a set of principles. I will listen to arguments, even be persuaded by them—

I’m willing to be convinced, but you have to prove it to me. Sanctimony and cynicism don’t change my mind—proof does.

And while everyone’s principles differ, I find that most conservatives share my approach. In my experience, liberals have to check a lot of boxes to be included—“ do you believe this, that, and the other”— and there’s a rigidity that gives them very little room to win arguments. They are doctrinaire and rely on sanctimony while ignoring facts. I find that very unattractive. And when the facts on the ground don’t match up to reality, that’s when I’ve experienced liberals lashing out at conservatives for being “mean,” as if that’s going to solve anything. These are like arguments that children have with their parents— conservatives are mean because they deny a third scoop of ice cream. But feelings don’t change facts, and it is not “mean” to point them out. I want hard, practical truths— and then I apply my principles to them.

Conservative caricatures are everywhere in the media, but the descriptions of angry, cruel, old-fashioned conservatives just do not match my experience. I find most conservatives to be cheerful and clear- eyed, which really irritates a lot of liberals. Of course, almost everything irritates a lot of liberals, nothing more so than a happy conservative. Which is why I always smile and say hello when I’m proudly wearing my George W. Bush Institute jacket around New York City. I love it when people do a double take when they see it.

Being a conservative does not mean I reject compromise. My nature is to seek agreement, to bring people together, and to help them see that they have more in common than they think. I believe that’s a better way to win arguments. And I’ve always found much more “give” in this area among conservatives than among the Left.

Conservatism by its very nature is compassionate— that’s one of the things that drew me to President George W. Bush. Conservatives are charitable, forgiving, and are always— always— more willing to laugh at themselves (and yes, we have plenty to laugh at). I understand why some conservatives rejected his phrase of “Compassionate Conservative”— perhaps they found it redundant— but that spoke to me, and it opened the door for me to be more active in participating in the public arena.

Being a conservative has given me clarity. And it’s given me freedom— my mind is free; therefore, my heart is lighter. And that’s a gift from God that I believe we have an obligation to share with others around the world.

Besides, I love to be right. Just ask Peter.

The above was published by Fox News on May 17, 2016. I have not read this book but I intend to. 

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Evolution of This Blog

Old Town Helena 2016My first post was April 5, 2011 titled Hello Helena. The post was rather short and essentially announced the purpose of the blog- To talk about the business of Helena.

My second post was titled To Tax or Not To Tax and it got me in a bit of trouble.

I began to write about the Helena Business Association, Movies in the Park, Helena Market Days, Buck Creek Festival and other events. When little was going on in the business community I would either not post or I would mix in a few personal posts.

During that time I was serving on the Helena Business Association Board of Directors as the secretary and web master. The board decided we needed to update our archaic website on a new platform. I created that site based on the WordPress platform. This created a quandary for me. The new HBA website would become the place to write about the business of Helena including the events they either sponsored or significantly participated in and wrote a post titled Old Town Helena Blog Is Changing!

Beginning in 2014 I started writing posts that were both personal and included business tips. Later I tried book reviews (primarily to send people to my eBay book store). None of this resonated with me – I was still trying to find my voice – what made my blog different. Every time I changed the direction I changed the Tag Line of the blog.

A few days ago I went back and read all of my posts in 2016 and I had an epiphany – I knew my blog should be about the things in life that I am passionate about (excluding my family after all it is not about me,,,it’s about you). Here they are and why…

To InspireInspiration I have long believed you can be inspired by a great quote, a good book or movie, and a great speaker. I want to inspire you to be all you can be and plan to use quotes, books, movies and other media to inspire you. I also believe that motivation is internal – you can be inspired by a lot of things but only you can motivate yourself. The first major theme may allow me to inspire you.

Personal DevelopmentPersonal Development Another of my long held beliefs is if you do not continue to learn and grow you begin to die. I have and continue to be a life-long learner. Personal development comes in many area of life – spiritual, physical, mental, etc. This blog will focus on life and lifestyle development.

Primarily it is educational and mental inspiration to guide you in ways to become all you can be. Before you say you can’t do something or your too (fill in the blank) to learn and grow remember George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

Government is the problemPolitics This is a touchy subject and I may not always be politically correct but I will always give you my opinion. If you do not like diversity of opinions then you may not want to read my political posts.

I appreciate and am thankful to all my readers. I welcome your comments and encourage you to ofer suggestions that will inspire you, help with personal development and assit you in gaining insights to politics.

My 2 Cents. . .

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Are You Satisfied With Your Income?

Alabama Living WageSatisfaction with your income seems to be a hot topic these days. The Birmingham City Council recently gave themselves a raise to $50,000 annually beginning with the next election. To downplay the uproar they passed a law raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The state legislator overrode this increase.

The political candidates for president, primarily Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have repeatedly raised the issue of a $15 an hour minimum wage nationwide. Most people realize that increases in wages will result in a higher cost for goods and services.

Made in AmericaImagine my surprise when I read an Associated Press article – that was in the Friday, April 15 issue of the Birmingham News – titled Americans prefer low prices to Made in the USA Label.” In this article only 9% of the people said they only buy goods made in America.

Here a just a few examples of why manufacturing jobs have moved from the U.S. to China, Mexico and the Philippines. In the poll 67% of the people would buy something cheaper even if it came from outside the U.S.; closing factories are the result of moving manufacturing and jobs overseas; trade deficits are a direct result of manufacturing going overseas. If you have not read the article I encourage to click the link above and read it thoroughly.

Let me give you a closer-to-home example. Let’s say you work for Grocery Store A, yet you buy your groceries from Store B because they have lower prices. That is wrong in so many ways. Store A provides you with a job. If you want to keep that job and see your wages increase you should not be spending your money at store B. You should be doing everything you can to insure that Store A is successful and thrives. This analogy applies to everything you buy whether it is goods or services.

The truth is if you want higher wages and more jobs then start buying goods and services made/provided in the United States. If you don’t the U.S. will continue to lose businesses, jobs and income to foreign countries.

You cannot have it both ways if you continue to spend your money on goods and services from other countries then there will be fewer jobs and lower income.

My 2 Cents,

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If Money Were No Object and Other Rhetorical Statements

I recently read an article in Yellowhammer titled “If money were no object where would you locate your business?” This article reminded me that this question has been stated in many forms and I think it may be a fun exercise but in reality it is a meaningless question.

If Money Were No Object (fill in the blank) . . . where would you live? . . . what would you do? . . . where would you travel? etc. This cliché phrase was first used in a 1782 newspaper ad by someone seeking a job in reference to salary requirements. It began to be widely used in the mid-1800s as a rhetorical question about almost anyone’s life and career choices.

The reason this question is rhetorical is because most of the time money is a serious consideration. Unless you are willing to make significant changes and sacrifices in your life-style you almost always need money.

Then again according to Alan Watts I may be wrong

If I Can Do It Anybody Can. This is absolutely an absurd statement. What anyone can accomplish is based on individual skills, education, the influence of your parents, friends and general upbringing. Sometimes, but not always, you may be able to learn the skills necessary to emulate another person’s success in a given field. Quick example, I am 5’6″ tall and weigh about 140 lbs. I could never be a professional basketball or football player. I lack the size, speed, and athletic ability to be an elite athlete. It might be frustrating to attempt something you have absolutely no aptitude for.

We Are All Created Equal. Literally this is not true. Some people are born into wealth. Some people are smarter than others. Some are more gifted athletically. Some receive a better education. We are created equal in only one way that I know of. I wrote about this in a post titled What Would You Do With $86,400? Essentially we are equal only in the amount of time we are given. We have the power to choose how we use that time.

Having said all that we live in a country with the opportunity to succeed beyond most of the rest of the world. It may take hard work, passion, sacrifice, and perseverance to pursue our dreams. Never give up and never quit – you never know when the next step may help you reach success beyond your wildest dream!

My Two Cents,

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6 Steps to Change Your Life

Life ChangeIf you think it is too late to change your life you are wrong. George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

Colonel Sanders was born in 1890 but he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952 at the age of 62. Ray Kroc was born in 1902, joined McDonalds in 1954 and turned McDonald’s into the largest fast food chain in the world at the age of 52. There are hundreds more stories like these. So what does it take to change your life? I think there are six steps that are essential to changing your life.

Step 1: Change Your Thinking

This is the first step to changing your life because it leads to the second step. Many people are afraid of change. You are actually a product of what you think. If you think about something repeatedly and long enough soon it becomes your reality. Read books, find mentors – real or virtual – and you can change your thinking. When you change your thinking you change your beliefs.

Step 2: Change Your Beliefs

Too many people say and believe that “I can’t do that.” Change you thought to “I can’t do that – yet.” And soon you will believe it is possible to do what you thought you could not do. Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t – you are right.” Change your beliefs will lead to the next step – Change Your Expectations.

Step 3: Change Your Expectations

Nelson Boswell said, “The first and most important step toward success is the expectation that we can succeed.” You have changed your thinking and your beliefs about yourself – now you should begin to expect changes in your life. You should expect to succeed. This will lead to the next step – Change Your Attitude.

Step 4: Change Your Attitude

Your attitude is affected by your thinking, beliefs and your expectations. Just one simple change in your attitude on how you feel comes from Zig Ziglar who said, “When someone asks yow you feel tell them something positive because 80% don’t care and 20% hope you are miserable.” When your attitude changes so does our behavior.

Step 5: Change Your Behavior

Most people are comfortable with their life and resist change. Change is necessary to grow. As a kid we wanted to ride a bike. Yet the first few times we tried we fell, maybe got a cut or a bruise. In spite of that we got up and tried again, and again until we succeeded. We all have experienced change as we grew older and we changed in order to grow and become more successful. Changing our behavior leads to Changing Your Performance.

Step 6: Change Your Performance

When you change your performance you change your life. John Maxwell said, “It is easier to turn failure into success than an excuse into a possibility.” If you continue to make excuses why you failed then you limit your ability to grow and succeed. But, if you learn from your failure you have the potential for growth and success.

Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t like how things are change it . . . You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life—and it all begins with your very own power of choice.

Ghandi said, “The future depends on what you do today.” Are you ready to change your life? There is no better time to start than now!

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Are You Ready To Vote?

Ready to VoteYou probably know that Tuesday, March 1 is voting day. Are you ready to vote? I work the voting poll so I thought yes I am ready to vote.

This morning my friend Tom sent me a link to an interesting article published by Yellowhammer News (see link at the end of this post).

What surprised me was State Auditor Jim Zeigler’s explanation of Statewide Amendment 1. Based on the phrasing of the amendment I was prepared to vote No. Here is the amendment:

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the legislature to provide a retirement program for district attorneys and circuit clerks of the state who are first elected or appointed on or after November 8, 2016.

This sounds like a proposal to create a new tax payer funded retirement program. But according to Mr. Zeigler it is the exact opposite. “Zeigler says that, in reality, Amendment One would abolish a pension program the officials already have, to which they make no contributions from their pay. It would replace that “supernumerary” system with a retirement structure similar to other state employees by requiring them to make contributions from their paychecks.

In a press release, Zeigler said “the inaccurate wording is likely to get Amendment One defeated when it would actually save millions for Alabama taxpayers.” The auditor says his figures show Amendment One would save taxpayers $291,000 a year, starting immediately. That figure would grow to $8.4 million a year in 30 years.”

Based on this I now plan to vote Yes on Amendment 1. I have long believed that elected officials should not be given benefits that ordinary citizens cannot receive. I do not have the right to tell anyone how to vote but I suggest you vote Yes on Amendment 1.

This post is based on the Yellowhammer article titled  “How a ‘wording error’ on Alabama’s upcoming ballot could cost the state millions

There is a local amendment on the ballot that is somewhat controversial. The proposal is to allow Sunday alcohol sales in Shelby County after 12 noon on Sunday. This is not a moral issue but an economic issue. I plan to vote Yes and I encourage everyone to vote Yes. The county, local government and local businesses are losing money that could be used to support the infrastructure in Shelby County and Helena.

Shelby County leaders voicing support for Sunday alcohol sales

Businesses like The Coal Yard currently close on Sunday because they cannot sell alcohol. They also turn down wedding receptions and other events due to this restriction. With the ability to open on Sunday they may increase their business.

Jessica McKay, restaurant manager ot the Coal Yard said “the venue could open for business on Sundays if voters approve the referendum.” Read the full article.

Please vote Yes on Statewide Amendment 1.

’til Next Time

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I Love Quotes

InspirationI love quotes for a lot of reasons. They inspire me . . . they want me to accomplish something . . . they are simple concepts to grasp . . . they make me think . . . it does not take long to read them. Do you love quotes? If so, read on for some of my favorites.

“Quotes provide daily inspiration” –Zig Ziglar

“Time flies. It is up to you to be the navigator” –Robert Orben

“Learning is not compulsory…neither is survival” –W. Edwards Deming

“If you don’t think every day is important, just try missing one” –Cavett Robert

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” –Theodore Roosevelt

“It’s not where you start – it’s where you finish that counts” –ZIg Ziglar

“The doors of wisdom are never shut” –Ben Franklin

Our words reveal our thoughts; our manners mirror our self-esteem; our actions reflect our character; our habits predict our future” –William Arthur Ward

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it”
-Edith Wharton

“Regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it” –Zig Ziglar

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”
Martin Luther King

“You can have every thing in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want” –Zig Ziglar

“Decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made nothing happens.”
Wilfred A. Peterson

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals” –Zig Ziglar

“He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass” –Lord Herbert

“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment” –Zig Ziglar

I am a little like Zig Ziglar who said “When people say to me motivation (inspiration) doesn’t last, I say – neither does bathing that’s why I recommend it daily.”

“Inspiration is external; motivation is internal” –Henry Neff

’til next time

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Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year 2016It is December 31, 2015 and time to end 2015 as we look forward to 2016. What are your plans for today and 2016? What I do in a minute but first my New Year Wish for you . . .

Happy New Year may 2016 be your best year ever. May your dreams turn into reality and all your efforts into great achievements (OK I borrowed this part from the graphic but it does express part of my wish for you accurately). I hope 2016 brings you joy, happiness, good health and prosperity!

One of the best things about any new year is it allows you to put the previous year behind you. Be grateful for the good things and appreciate the lessons learned from the challenges.

I spend part of one day reflecting on what I did and what I accomplished in the previous year. I do not make New Years Resolutions. I learned a long time ago that I never keep them. Studies show that 25% of people that make resolutions don’t keep them past the first month and 70% don’t keep them longer than 6 months.

Instead of resolutions I set goals that are measurable. For example you cannot say I want to lose weight in 2016. Instead you might say, I will lose 40 pounds in 2016. Breaking it down that is less than 1 pound per week. Make a plan for how you will do it. You should state why you want to lose the weight – look better, feel better, improve your health – just be specific because the why is more important than the goal.

Tuesday I reviewed my Goal List to measure how I did. I achieved some of my goals but fell short on quite a few. I will up my efforts in 2016 in order to accomplish what I want in life.

George Elliot said it best, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

’til next time

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