God can create a masterpiece with a broken pencil.

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God can create a masterpiece with a broken pencil.

“Army of one” is a movie that reminds us of this fact in a very entertaining way.

Gary Faulkner (Nicolas Cage), an ex-con, unemployed handyman, receives a vision from God (Russell Brand) telling him to capture Osama bin Laden….Something that God would magically appear and tell any of us to do…So….armed with only a single sword sharp enough to cut fruit up, Gary travels to Pakistan to complete his mission.
While on his quest, Gary encounters old friends back home in Colorado, new friends he makes in Pakistan and makes enemies at the CIA 
 
Here is the trailer:
This is based on a true story and I think the movie very funny. Sad in someways, very funny in other ways …but a real reminder that God works in mysterious ways.
Gary has kidney problems and when he does not get the right treatment he hallucinates.
Gary does not catch Osama …as we all know ….but he does capture our hearts. Gary reminded me to; trust God  – to smile in the face of fear and never to forget that with God, anything is possible.
Too often we feel one person cannot make a difference in the world  – but Gary did – not in the way he expected, but he really did.
I bought it on Itunes …so go get it there!

Wisdom from my daughter

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This sounds alot like Tony Robbins – but Trinity has very heard him speak or read any of his books – she is only 9….so I guess this wisdom of living in the moment and in “The Word” is universal.

Heads & Tails……. not…… Heads or Tails

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Heads and Tails is the right way to say this common statement.
Why?
Heads and Tails…………….not Heads or tails.
Why?
Choose both sides of the coin – accept both sides of the coin…. keep both sides rolling around in your head.
I was reading a great article on Inc.com Magazine by Kevin Daum entitled Elon Musk’s 4 insights on Achieving true Greatness. Two of Elon’s quotes got me thinking.
(Elon Musk – Pretoria born billionaire entrepreneur  – He is the founder of Tesla motors – the electric car company – Paypay founder and tons of other interesting stuff.)
The article is great – I’ve saved it in Evernote and Pocket – (2 storage apps we have spoken about before) – I enjoy rereading the quotes from time to time.
Two of Elon’s quotes struck me….
There are two sides to a coin:
  1. “Being an Entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring in the the abyss of death”
 
  1. “I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary”
These are two opposing mindsets:
One very positive –
One very negative  –
I agree with both statements. I think it healthy to allow two opposite mindsets to simultaneously roll around in your head.
It is interesting to note that they are said by the same guy.
I think he is right.
Keep flipping the coin. Keep moving forward – always considering the worst and looking for the best.
Recently one of Elon’s rockets exploded – he has reached out to everyone to learn and find out more.
He reached out on Twitter –  asking critics, competitors, and friends for any constructive criticism and feedback.
A one sided coin has no value.

This means WAR!!!!!

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“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”   Matthew 10:34
This verse has always worried me.
And yet my favourite game is chess  – a game of war – a game of strategy.
A sword is a piece of technology that is made for war.
I also just recently noticed that the first thing that Adam and Eve create after eating the apple were clothes.  – a shout out to the Fashion industry ….maybe
As God banished them from the garden of Eden he posted cherubs and the “flame of a Flashing Sword, to guard the way to the tree of life”
War  –  this has always worried me.
I am not a macho kind of guy  – but I am very competitive in chess and business.
So Matthew 10:34 and Genesis 3:24 inspired me to learn a little more about war
I recently read a book called “The 33 strategies of war” by Robert Greene
You can find the book at Exclusives, Amazon Kindle and on Audible as an Audiobook.
I really recommend reading this book.
If we are the good guys in business or running a parish or nonprofit we need know how the bad guys think.
In chess, when I study an opening like the Ruy Lopez as white I always study the same opening from the perspective as black and how to best answer these attacks.
As a business or any good organisation, I think we can learn from studying war.

I’m 42 & I loved the new Disney movie!

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Zootopia is the new Disney animated film, in which Judy Hopps, a young female rabbit becomes the first rabbit to join the police force.

Check out the trailer here:

It is a great movie to watch for all ages, which has proven to be massively successful.

From a 150 million dollar budget, the film went on to bring in a Billion dollars at the box office.

I just love it when Judy’s parents give her the following advice : (please God may I never give my children this kind of advice)

“If you don’t try anything new you’ll never fail.”

“It’s great to have dreams just as long as you don’t believe in them too much”

And yet Judy perseveres and qualifies Valedictorian of her class, and is then sent off to Zootopia to join the prestigious Precinct 1 police force.

Judy expects to have a great career in the force but is ignored by her colleges and boss and ends up being assigned parking meter duty.  Instead of complaining about the raw deal, she knuckles down to be the best parking meter police the city has ever seen.

I don’t want to ruin the story but Judy goes on to solve a massive mystery and proves to the world she was exactly what she is capable of.

The title theme song “Try Everything” is a great theme song by Shakira is catchy and cool.

Business is hard, life is hard but if you are prepared to work hard nothing is impossible.

This does sound idealistic and maybe it is …but this is a very inspiring movie with tons of great humor.

I don’t care how old you are I know you are going to enjoy this movie.

Deadly Gama Rays & your Business Plan.

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The plan of War

After reading Popovic’s book “Blueprint for Revolution” – I had said I wanted to revolutionise Mariannhill Mission Press.

I wanted to make a better Mariannhill and this means going back to the business plan.

After 20 years of being in an industry or vocation it is very easy to think you know it all, and that you can just run through things in your head. This is not a good idea.

Over the past few weeks, I have been intensely relooking at our business plan.

(I note back to my first business plan at 22 years old which was reject three times before I got an investor – three times I rewrote the plan looking for “WHY” it was rejected.

I am a big tech geek and I love my planning apps and tools, but for me, nothing beats paper when planning.

Recently I was reminded how paper can help keep things real and honest.

My children and I played a game on Saturday night for an hour or more.

They called it “Wars”

This is how the game works:

You take a blank piece of paper and draw out an army with no more than 30 parts – weapons, personal, force fields.

Everything has to be clearly labelled.

Everything has to carefully positioned.

Then you play “Paper, Scissors, Rock” to see who gets first each round. (and here and only here can paper beaten – and only by scissors  – which is a whole other metaphor, because paper beats Rock)

You take turns attacking and defending yourselves.

The pictures, the labels keep the game honest.

A swarm of killer bees stays a swarm of killer bees.

You can’t suddenly magically make them into a robotic swarm of killer bees with a diamond force field.

You have to stick to your paper, and this makes you put more effort into the planning, makes you more creative in your positioning, more profound in your fire power.

Paper keeps the game honest in the moment.

That is what a good business plan does.

It forces creativity.

It forces commitment.

This is how every business plan should be treated:

Play through your business and test it and find the failings and flaws.

Refine it.

Play it through again.

Refine it.

Then once you have played it through a number of times more.

Test it against others

Then and only then are you ready to launch (or relaunch) the real thing. – maybe

Hopefully, you won’t run into Gama-Tech Ray soldiers, giant ladybugs, fairies with heavy firepower – but you should be better prepared should you not have taken the time to put pen to paper.

Take the time to play with ideas.

Take the time to plan and structure the ideas.

Take the time to write the ideas down.

Take the time to pull them apart and replay them.

Then act.

REVOLUTION

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I have just read a book by Srjda Popvic and Matthew Miller

static1.squarespace “Blueprint for Revolution – How to use Rice pudding, Lego men and other non-violent techniques to galvanise communities, overthrow dictators or simply change the world.”

Popovic was part of the movement that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic and helped establish democracy in Serbia.

 I am not planning a revolution.

Well ……actually I am…I am planning to revolutionise Mariannhill Mission Press.

I want a better Mariannhill in a “Hostile” business world.

I thought to look at how some individuals and organisations have dealt with violent dictators in a non-violent way.

I think it would be easier to adopt a policy of violence to fight back against violence so the fact that there are tips and techniques to consider that are non-violent interested me.

What I really liked was their out of the box thinking.

To do well in our business, our organisation, our parish, our school we could learn from out of the box thinking.

 “Dream Big, Start Small.” – is a chapter title

and I think this is a good place to start.

A Revolution is not just a change, it is a big change, a 180 degree change.

We don’t need to go that big in our organisation. Start Small. We might have a bog important worthy message – but start small. Get some small victories first.

Plan:

Analytic tools  – need to understand the environment

But don’t mix tools with Substance

Don’t make your “Mission” about a platform – or defined by a platform.

Unity:

Make sure your team understands and buys into what you are trying to achieve.

Discipline:

Make sure your team does what it is supposed to do.

In your “Revolution” you will be doing something very different from intuitive action – maintain discipline.

Be Creative – think outside the box – think as if there was no box

Humour is powerful.  Use this tool!

One time, Popvic and his team used toys. They bought some toys that recorded your voice and then played it back to you.  They then recorded anti-Milosevic messages, they set timers on these toys and then hide them in sewers and rubbish bins near a public rally that Milosevic appeared at. All of a sudden and a once these toy voice messages were heard all over the town and the international press got some great photos of police digging in rubbish bins to find the source of the messages.

So….how can you get a good message out there in a peaceful legal and safe way that no one else has thought of?

How are you going to get your message out there?  ….watch this space

NAVY SEAL Leadership lessons

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My last post was about leadership featuring Pope Francis in the Leadership Magazine, Andreas Widmer and his book “The Pope and the CEO” and then a book about Mother Teresa as a “CEO”. I thought I’d move far out of my comfort zone with regard to reading and my quest in learning about leadership. I want to be a better leader!

I bought “Extreme Ownership – How U.S Navy Seals LEAD and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

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I really did not think I was going enjoy it – it was more of an experiment so I bought the audio version, thinking I’d just listen to it on the way to work and back and then be ready to share my thoughts by my next Radio show. The audiobook is 8 hours 15 minutes long – Narrated by the two authors.

It turns out this is a great book – so good that I had to buy the Kindle version because there were just so many things I needed to underline and make note of. So I bought the Kindle version.

I listened to the entire book and then read through the Kindle version a number of times. Making tons of notes. The audiobook – available on Audible is fantastic! Being read by the authors themselves, the audiobook has great energy and focus on the key issues in the book.

Here are just three of the many many many highlights I made:
“…Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame”

“When it comes to standards as a leader, it’s not what you preach it’s what you tolerate”

“There are no bad teams anywhere…only bad leaders”

The book has a great structure: A brief description of an incident that they experienced as a Navy Seal in the field and then lessons are extracted and applied to business. But the thing I love about the most about this is that, this is a great “Business Book” that we can apply anywhere in our lives. This book should be a must-read for all religious, pastoral councils and school boards….everyone! And not just once.

I was so surprised at myself for loving and connecting with what I’d perceived to be a “macho man” type book, but it is not that kind of book. Yes, it’s written by two tough, intelligent and intense SEALS, but these men have a vision, a mission, and the willingness to act. These are men I can learn much from.

I then googled a bit about the Navy Seals: These guys are not just soldiers …they are the U.S. Navy’s primary special operations force and considered the BEST of the BEST. Thousands of young men apply to the SEALS and only about 200 graduate each year. Standards are insanely high… (But shouldn’t they ways be?…)

I tried to imagine their training and in action work but nothing registered for me, so I decided to look for a movie to help me visualise it all. iTunes had recommended “Lone Survivor” about four Navy seals, based on a true story. Mark Wahlberg plays the lead (he is a practicing Catholic) so I decided to buy the movie and try and see what the SEALS were really like – even if there was a bit of HollyWood magic.

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http://www.imdb.com gives the movie 7,6 /ten based on nearly 200 000 viewer reviews.

Lone Survivor certainly enriched my appreciation of “Extreme Ownership” My son’s Black Ops 3 simply does not cut it!

I massively totally passionately very very strongly recommend “Extreme Ownership”. Time to implement now…

Leadership – every minute of everyday.

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Leadership is a critical part of every part of our lives. We have political leadership, Church leadership, and Business Leadership. I have run my own businesses for more than 20 years now, and now I love leading Mariannhill Mission Press but I realise that leadership is needed every day at every minute.

I have never been formally trained to run businesses …. I don’t actually believe there is any qualification that “completely” prepares one for such a role. Yes, I’m sure there are great courses, but I have not been fortunate enough to attend one…that’s I why I read so much. Reading is the best value for money for learning I have found. (Reading and then ACTING, of course)

This Saturday while grocery shopping with my family I walked past the magazine stand, I was struck by a Magazine with a full-page front cover of Pope Francis, subtitled “Pope of peace and mercy. The Francis effect continues.” The magazine is called “Leadership” – Interviews, Insight, Intelligence. It is South Africa’s No 1, award-winning business magazine. The 2016 May issue is the one I am talking about.

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It has a great article about the leadership of Pope Francis and the need for good leadership in the world. I really recommend going out and buying it.

The writer Chris Waldburger does a great job. I was thrilled that he called in our own media giant, Gunther Simmermacher, the Editor of our Southern Africa Catholic Newspaper, The Southern Cross for comment and insight as well as Fr Peter-John Pearson. R29,95 for a great mag – with many other great articles it is well worth it. I guarantee you will look very cool in the queue to the till while holding it.

Talking about leadership I really recommend two other great leadership books that I have read a number of times: The Pope & the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard by Andreas Widmer.

Pope and CEO

Andreas is a massively successful business man who among many other things is director of entrepreneurship programs at the Busch School. In his book, he tells us of the leadership lessons he learnt while serving Pope John Paul II as a Swiss Guard. I was thrilled to attend a lecture he gave in the USA and was blown away by his wisdom and how well he communicates what he has learnt, and lived, in his business career. A perfect example of learnt leadership passed on!

Mother Teresa CEO

Another great book on leadership is: Mother Teresa, CEO: Unexpected Principles for Practical Leadership by Ruma Bose & Lou Faust

I was lucky enough as a kid to briefly see Mother Teresa which was super cool! Last night I watched the new movie about her “The Letters – The epic life story of Mother Teresa” starring Juliet Stevenson as Mother Teresa.

WE cannot live without good leadership and we are blessed to have some very good examples in our faith!