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Archive for the tag “leadership”

Do We Understand Our Economy?

Here is a great post by Orrin Woodward that is probably the best explanation of what is going on in our economy. I think the first thing we need to do is have accountability, then we can move forward to fix things.

This is as posted by Orrin:

Ludwig Von Mises Predicts Credit Crisis

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 18, 2012

The year 2007 humbled many Keynesian economist because they realized that the alleged answers to economic woes were actually part of the problem, not the solution. Only a few voices, mainly Ludwig Von Mises with a nod to Friedrich Von Hayek, predicted the cycle of inflationary spending as early as the 1920′s! Truth, in other words, was right under the global powers noses nearly 100 years ago, but it went against their desire for FREE money and increased Statist powers. I wrote about this in my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, because the whole credit-crisis is symptomatic of a bigger issue: the character-crisis.

Remember, when the Big Banks and Big Government first proposed taking over our nations money system, it was to eliminate the credit cycles; however, in fact, it didn’t eliminate the cycle, but only delayed the cycles, making the waves bigger and the destruction greater when it hits the economy. Thankfully for the modern power-pundits, the masses do not read enough history to be aware of this truth and awaken themselves to the money scam perpetrated against them.

Indeed, why doesn’t anyone stand for truth in today’s modern age? I believe a huge part of it is that few people believe in truth anymore, and of the few who do, few are willing to do the heavy mental work involved to learn it. The goal of the Mental Fitness Challenge is to awaken people to the need for personal development and developing a foundation in which to learn, apply, and change oneself. Here is a fantastic article on Mises by Mark Spitznagel.


Orrin Woodward

Ludwig von Mises was snubbed by economists world-wide as he warned of a credit crisis in the 1920s. We ignore the great Austrian at our peril today.

Mises’s ideas on business cycles were spelled out in his 1912 tome “Theorie des Geldes und der Umlaufsmittel” (“The Theory of Money and Credit”). Not surprisingly few people noticed, as it was published only in German and wasn’t exactly a beach read at that.

Taking his cue from David Hume and David Ricardo, Mises explained how the banking system was endowed with the singular ability to expand credit and with it the money supply, and how this was magnified by government intervention. Left alone, interest rates would adjust such that only the amount of credit would be used as is voluntarily supplied and demanded. But when credit is force-fed beyond that (call it a credit gavage), grotesque things start to happen.

Government-imposed expansion of bank credit distorts our “time preferences,” or our desire for saving versus consumption. Government-imposed interest rates artificially below rates demanded by savers leads to increased borrowing and capital investment beyond what savers will provide. This causes temporarily higher employment, wages and consumption.

Ordinarily, any random spikes in credit would be quickly absorbed by the system—the pricing errors corrected, the half-baked investments liquidated, like a supple tree yielding to the wind and then returning. But when the government holds rates artificially low in order to feed ever higher capital investment in otherwise unsound, unsustainable businesses, it creates the conditions for a crash. Everyone looks smart for a while, but eventually the whole monstrosity collapses under its own weight through a credit contraction or, worse, a banking collapse.

The system is dramatically susceptible to errors, both on the policy side and on the entrepreneurial side. Government expansion of credit takes a system otherwise capable of adjustment and resilience and transforms it into one with tremendous cyclical volatility.

“Theorie des Geldes” did not become the playbook for policy makers. The 1920s were marked by the brave new era of the Federal Reserve system promoting inflationary credit expansion and with it permanent prosperity. The nerve of this Doubting-Thomas, perma-bear, crazy Kraut! Sadly, poor Ludwig was very nearly alone in warning of the collapse to come from this credit expansion. In mid-1929, he stubbornly turned down a lucrative job offer from the Viennese bank Kreditanstalt, much to the annoyance of his fiancée, proclaiming “A great crash is coming, and I don’t want my name in any way connected with it.”

We all know what happened next. Pretty much right out of Mises’s script, overleveraged banks (including Kreditanstalt) collapsed, businesses collapsed, employment collapsed. The brittle tree snapped. Following Mises’s logic, was this a failure of capitalism, or a failure of hubris?

Mises’s solution follows logically from his warnings. You can’t fix what’s broken by breaking it yet again. Stop the credit gavage. Stop inflating. Don’t encourage consumption, but rather encourage saving and the repayment of debt. Let all the lame businesses fail—no bailouts. (You see where I’m going with this.) The distortions must be removed or else the precipice from which the system will inevitably fall will simply grow higher and higher.

Mises started getting some much-deserved respect once “Theorie des Geldes” was finally published in English in 1934. It is unfortunate that it required such a disaster for people to take heed of what was the one predictive, scholarly explanation of what was happening.

But then, just Mises’s bad luck, along came John Maynard Keynes’s tome “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” in 1936. Keynes was dapper, fresh and sophisticated. He even wrote in English! And the guy had chutzpah, fearlessly fighting the battle against unemployment by running the currency printing press and draining the government’s coffers.

He was the anti-Mises. So what if Keynes had lost his shirt in the stock-market crash. His book was peppered with fancy math (even Greek letters) and that meant rigor, modernity. To add insult to injury, Mises wasn’t even refuted by Keynes and his ilk. He was ignored.

Fast forward 70-some years, during which we saw Keynesianism’s repeated disappointments, the end of the gold standard, persistent inflation with intermittent inflationary recessions and banking crises, culminating in Alan Greenspan’s “Great Moderation” and a subsequent catastrophic collapse in housing and banking. Where do we find ourselves? At a point of profound insight gained through economic logic, trial and error, and objective empiricism? Or right back where we started?

With interest rates at zero, monetary engines humming as never before, and a self-proclaimed Keynesian government, we are back again embracing the brave new era of government-sponsored prosperity and debt. And, more than ever, the system is piling uncertainties on top of uncertainties, turning an otherwise resilient economy into a brittle one.

How curious it is that the guy who wrote the script depicting our never ending story of government-induced credit expansion, inflation and collapse has remained so persistently forgotten. Must we sit through yet another performance of this tragic tale?

Mr. Spitznagel is the founder and chief investment officer of the hedge fund Universa Investments LP, based in Santa Monica, Calif.


Is it an Economic problem or is it a Wisdom problem that plagues our country?

In economic times when most people are just struggling to keep their house and put food on the table, it looks like a group of leaders have figured out a solution. I’ve heard the analogy that if your row boat is sinking because of a hole in the bottom, you can bail all the water you want, It’s still sinking! You have to patch the hole!

Here is a group of men and women that have figured out how to patch the hole while bailing the water. Fix the wisdom issues while making money.

I personally feel we aren’t in an economic crisis, we are in a paradigm shift and getting the right information (wisdom) about that shift seams to be getting a lot of boats floating again.

LIFE  business is up 42% in 2 months! I think the TEAM got it figured out!! Here is a link to a blog from Orrin Woodward that explains.

LIFE Business: Keeping Score

Mental Fitness Challenge, week 4

A few years back, I was sitting with my wife Mary and my daughter Sammi. I announced I was going to run the Akron marathon, which was 5 months from that date. To a polished marathoner’s family that wouldn’t be a big deal, to my family, different story, with good reason. I was about 40 lbs. overweight, with bad eating habits and hadn’t worked out in a long time, let alone the fact that I never ran farther than 3 miles before in my life. Let’s just say that was the last thing anyone thought they would hear come out of my mouth.

You might be wondering what this has to do with the mental fitness challenge, (hang in there I’m getting to the point.) I got up the day after I told my family my intentions and went out to start my journey as a runner. (It was ugly!!) I couldn’t run a half mile, I had no idea how far 26.2 miles was and I had no idea how to train for it.

Along comes Buck, a friend from the gym who is an accomplished runner,( Buck is the kind of guy that if he had a couple extra hours before lunch, he will go run 20 miles.) Buck gave me training advice, a program and encouragement about my journey. He ran with me and kept my thinking right. Those first 3 weeks of training were really just figuring myself out. Look at it like getting out the cob webs, clearing the garbage out of my brain, making sure all my limbs still functioned properly. Starting week 4 was when I really started to see the big picture, much like I’m doing right now with the Mental Fitness Challenge.

These first 21 days of the Challenge have been all about creating the habits needed to make a positive change. I’m building the confidence needed and putting the habits in place for the journey I’m embarking on. We met at our Challenge group meeting on Tuesday, I got advice and support on the real life application of what this Fitness Challenge could do for me and my future. I felt like I did when Buck started helping me with my marathon training. Building habits and confidence, clearing the weeds out of my brain, (making sure everything is still wired right in there.)

Now that I have the starting point and a clean slate to work with I am even more excited about continuing my Mental Fitness Challenge, and developing more of the tools to live the life I’ve always wanted.

In case you are wondering, yes I ran the Akron marathon, my family and friends were waiting for me at the finish, I didn’t set any records, but I can say for the rest of my life that I did it.

The Life I’ve Always Wanted!!

The life I’ve always wanted!!
I don’t know if it’s like this for everyone or just me. (I think I’m a few degrees off most of the time.) But from the time I was a kid I always felt something inside tugging me. It felt like I knew I was meant to do something big, but I could never figure out what it was let alone how to do it.
I’m in the first month of The Mental Fitness Challenge, but already I can see things coming together. It’s not only the tools to figure out what my purpose should be, but a systematic way of breaking things down to bite size pieces that are not out of reach for me. It’s like I have a road map to a great life! I can finally wrap my head around doing great things in my future! It’s not just about money for me, (although money is way cool!!) It’s about being the husband that my wife can count on, it’s about being the strong dad my family needs, the grandfather that leaves a legacy for my grandkids, the friend that is there when someone calls, the son that puts a smile on an aging couples face. It may sound hokey or weird, but so be it. I feel like society has gotten diluted into thinking family values, character and integrity don’t matter any more. The mental Fitness Challenge has given me a new outlook on life, a way to measure myself and where I’m at now. (good or bad) and a road map to get to where I want to go. Who can ask for anything more than that? This is so cool!! I can’t wait for tomorrow!!

Here are some family pics so you know why I’m so excited about getting better, my family deserves me to strive for excellence.ImageImage

God Bless, NateImageImage

Bending the Map

My pastor Joe Coffey has written a few awesome books. A Cup of Inspiration, Red Like Blood and Smooth Stones. In his book A Cup of Inspiration pg. 12 is titled “Bending the Map” As I started reading this story I was reflecting back on struggles I’ve been through in my life. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a woe is me story, we all have struggles, it’s whether we learn from them that matters.) In his story Joe quotes a paragraph from a book called “Deep Survival”. Bear with me, I know, a quote of a quote out of a book. Anyways, here’s the quote:

“Psychologists have observed that one of the most basic human needs, beginning at birth, is to be gazed upon by another. Mothers throughout the world have been observed spending long periods staring into the eyes of their babies with a characteristic tilt of the head. To be seen is to be real, and without another to gaze upon us, we are nothing. Part of the terror of being lost stems from the idea of never being seen again.”

After this Joe goes on to say:

“The fear is so great that people who feel like they may be lost begin to do what experts call “bending the map.” A hiker has a map but the map no longer matches up with the environment they find themselves in. They are lost. But instead of admitting that to themselves they begin to question the map. They are trying to make the world (their environment) conform to them instead of them conforming to the world.”

As I read this I became fascinated and very interested in application to my life. I don’t know if you do this, but when I read something that may apply to my life, or I think I could learn from it I process it through my life experiences. Think of it kind of like there is a couple guys in my brain sitting in bean bag chairs eating Cheetos with a stack of manuals next to them. When I need them, the jump up, brush the orange powder off their laps and start thumbing through the manuals looking for answers. When they are satisfied they give me a “true of false” on what I just heard or read. After they processed this one I got 4 orange thumbs up. These manuals are like my map. Keep this in mind, it will come in handy later.

I like to game hunt, so as I thought back to tracking animals, I remember being in the mountains of Colorado, in the middle of nowhere tracking a Mule Deer I shot with an arrow earlier in the morning. As I focused on the tracks I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings. When I finally looked around I realized I had no clue where I was at. The excitement of harvesting an animal was overtaken by, “Uh Oh”. The forest all looks the same and when we get scared our brains even trick us. We will start to second guess whether we have seen things before. I had to calm myself down, look at my map and spend a little time figuring out where I was. I had to trust my map! So what Joe was saying was starting to make a lot of sense.

After these thoughts ran through my little pea brain, my buds in the bean bag chairs yelled down and said “Hey moron, compare this to your business results.”

In an earlier blog I already told you about a couple decades that I tried the success by the hard work alone method. It dawned on me that the whole time I was just bending my map to meet my environment. Instead of giving my friends with the bean bag chairs a desk and some new manuals, I just relied on the same old manuals I gave them in high school. There were pages missing, some whole manuals were gone. (I think that happened from some of the keggers in college. I always thought success was having a talent and using that talent to make money. If you were blessed to be really good at it then you made more money. That was my map I was using. I tried to leverage the map I had by doing more of the same and working harder until I met Steve and he showed me a paradigm shift in thinking. He started giving me better information. Showing me a better map. Rewriting the manuals and giving my friends a desk. He introduced my wife Mary and I to a number of couples that already had their better maps and were moving towards their goals and dreams. It felt like being lost in the woods kidding myself, using a map off the back of Captain Crunch, (no offense, you’re still my favorite snack Cap’n) and being handed an up to date GPS with tracking back to my truck. Books like Talent is Overrated by Geoff Covin and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson opened my eyes. Launching a Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady gave me the tools to set down, figure out a reference point of where I was at. That way I wasn’t fooling myself or “bending my map” anymore. I know, for myself, until I quit kidding myself that I knew it all and that I was accountable for where I was at in life, I wasn’t going to get any different results. In the recesses of my mind, I knew I was disoriented, but I couldn’t handle admitting to myself that I was lost until I trusted my new source of info for my manuals in my head. And resisting the temptation to bend my map is a constant battle. That’s why I meet with a mentor now. Someone I trust that once he asks me a couple perspective questions, he can tell me “Nate, you’ve been running around in circles for a week. stop and look that way!”

I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar, although it is something I’m trying to work on, but Joe listed a verse for reflection that I think also applies here: Isaiah 41:10

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

God Bless, Nate



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