The Great Depression

Coming into the 1930’s, America was dealing with the start of the greatest economic collapse in history.  The Great Depression lasted for most of the 1930’s and Americans, as well as the majority of the world’s economies were largely affected by this decade long event.

I find the Great Depression era as an interesting subject to be studied.  This was the last time that this country felt true suffering.  Although we probably felt it more than most countries due to, even at that time, being one of the strongest countries economically.

As Americans we have always had more than other countries and cultures.  We have been the innovators that lead in creating a better world.  From the invention of the cotton gin to the release of the Iphone, Americans always seem to continually produce products and processes that better the human life.  Many of the life saving drugs and vaccines that are shipped all over the world were invented in America.  We have grown so accustomed to creating a better world that it’s hard to imagine an America where the majority of the country struggled financially.

Although the Great Depression was only about 10 years or so long, the affects of this event lasted for decades.  There are still some alive as I write this that painfully remember the struggles and hardships.

I’m sure some of you have a great grandmother or grandfather that saved aluminum foil that was slightly used to use again later.  Or maybe a grandfather that would save old nails pulled from boards.  He probably made you, as a young kid, take those nails and straighten them with a hammer and put them in an old coffee can.  What do nails cost?  Why can’t we just buy new ones when we need them?  To this generation, they still remember the days when even the few pennies it cost to buy nails was a hardship on their household.

These are some of the things I want to research and learn more about.  What was that household like?  How did a family of six with only one family member working for minimum wage make a “household” and succeed… or did they just survive?

In today’s culture, the majority of us do not know true suffering or going without.  Sure we may not have had the greatest bicycle on our street, or the newest video game console.  Some less fortunate folks can remember having to wear hand me down clothing or sleep on the couch growing up, but very few of us had to watch our parents go without eating dinner night after night simply because there was not enough food for the whole family.

I want to study the grief and hardship associated with this decade in our history, but not to just see the pain and the struggle.  I want to drill down and find out the motivations that kept these people from giving up.  Sure, some people did give up and I’m sure suicide was on the rise during this time.  But what I want to see is what values and practices did these people use to overcome the situation.  What did they do on a daily basis to adjust their lives to the times?

Today as a culture, we can not imagine living without even the simplest things this generation went without… air conditioning, bottled water, transportation, and even radio.  If you take a moment to take stock of your life when you were in your twenties what will you find?  I say your twenties because that is the first time you were a true adult out on your own… and for most of us it is probably the poorest point in your life.  Whether you were in college, married with children and working, or single living in a one bedroom apartment with your first real job… you were just getting your life started at this time and probably didn’t have much that you actually owned out right.

Even as bad as your situation was at that time you will find that it was no where near as hard as it was during the great depression.  You most likely had a vehicle, air conditioning, a cell phone, never went without some kind of meal (hamburger helper is considered a meal), and if you were sick you just went to the doctor.

Many times today I find it funny to watch our culture complain about where we are economically.  This is the greatest country on the planet, even in our worst times.  We have more in this country than any country in the history of the world.  In this country, if you are below the poverty level and on welfare living in government housing you are still in the top 1% when it comes to income globally.

How would we fair as a culture if there was another Great Depression?  Would you know what to do?  How to provide for your family?  How to stay prepared and be independent?

These are the virtues and skills that I want to learn and bring to the forefront.  In the future, there will no longer be anyone alive who remembers the skills it took to survive an economic collapse.  I want to start the study so that we can be prepared and if there is ever another devastating economic development we can all survive and prosper like the Great Generation did.

Halfmen

There are imposters among us.  These imposters seem to be men.  They are anatomically and physiologically men, but lack the mental capacity of men.  These are called Halfmen.

These Halfmen can be found all throughout our culture despite race or religion.  They may be the young man bagging your groceries at the supermarket or your congressman.  Many of these Halfmen are not aware of their condition and for this they will never be cured.

There are varying degrees of these Halfmen and they are hard to identify so here are five characteristics to help with identifying them in nature.

Five Characteristics of the Halfman:

  • Entitlement Without Action
  • Suppression of Man Traits
  • Eagerness to Follow
  • No Control Over Circumstances
  • Wonder

Entitlement without Action

“If this country is ever demoralized, it will come from trying to live without work.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Fry cooks at McDonalds demanding $15/hour as their minimum wage, college graduates sitting on Wall Street during the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and the eight year old who throws his sucker in the dirt and cries because he doesn’t get what he wants in the store.

What are the differences among these three examples?  Nothing at all.  This is what we get when there are no winners or losers on a little league field.  This is what happens when teachers are made to stop using red ink to grade homework assignments in grade school because it causes stress for the student who didn’t do well.

The Halfman has grown up in a world of unnatural balance.  A world where everyone’s a star and no one is left out not matter how poor the performance.  He has no need for the focus and willpower that comes along with the fear of being the loser or the dumbest one in the class.

He is not burdened with the stress that comes with being judged by his teammates or coaches and for this… the minimum is sufficient.  Why try to be the best when there is no best?

The Halfman has spent his entire youth with the understanding that the world is fair and no matter the sacrifice he will be rewarded the same as all that participate.

As the Halfman is welcomed into the world he soon learns that the world is not as balanced as it was at the university that he spent the last 4-7 years.  Those years spent on the intense study to earn a degree in Art History seem to have been wasted when he is met with not being chosen for the position as CEO of a corporation in an industry he has zero experience in.

To the Halfman, this is unfair and completely inexcusable!  Something must be done!  And lucky for him, Halfmen from all over the country agree and they will ban together to make their statement and do the Halfmanly thing… throw their suckers in the dirt and cry until things change to give them what they deserve.

Suppression of Man Traits

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”
Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

The Halfman has been conditioned to suppress the core being of his manhood.  No longer in this society is there room for the man of our grandfathers’ generation.

No room for the man that prides himself on being just as well suited for the ballroom as well as under a shade tree changing the oil on his car.  The Halfman’s toolbox is more like a purse and his tools are more for connectivity to the world for his vanity than for being prepared for a breakdown.

The Halfman focuses on sensitivity to win the hearts of the women who only hope to further suppress any hint of manhood he may possess.  Without the personality traits of what a man use to be, he is free to focus on manicures and pedicures while researching the latest styles that are trending so that he may impress people he doesn’t like.

The competitive spirit that is within all men is lost on the Halfman.  Its there but was suppressed long before in his youth.  He is taught that being a winner, even a gracious respectful winner, only means that someone else lost… and that isn’t fair.  So go Halfman… go out there and be mediocre for that is only fair to those who can’t be.

Eagerness to Follow

“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”
John C. Maxwell

It is in the greatest depths of the Man to inspire those around him to be the best they can be and to unite that excellence for a common goal and to succeed with tenacity!  The Man desires naturally to left lift up the people around him to the level of success above him.  In doing this he will give himself the boost he needs to lift himself to that level as well.

The Halfman is not worried about this.  He is a follower and feels safety in that.  Being a follower has virtually no danger involved.  No danger of failure… no danger of success either.  But as a whole it is safer.

The Halfman can always blame his environment, circumstances or others for his current state.  He is not responsible for the lack of success in his life.  Following is easy and fair.  If we are all followers, then who is to blame?  Not the Halfman!

Goal of the Halfman is not to start the trend but to follow it.  Starting a trend or taking a leap of faith could mean failure.  And failure is something the Halfman has never had to deal with thanks to the caring parents and society that created the Halfman.

No Control Over Circumstances

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
Martha Washington

The Halfman was put here.  He was created by the circumstances around him.  The environment is responsible, not him.  He can not be blamed for the shortcomings of his situation and for that he cannot overcome them.

Things in life happen to all of us… man, woman, child or Halfman.  The difference between success and failure is not the happening, but the choice of how to handle it.  The Halfman chooses to take it blow by blow like a hardened boxer… the only difference is, that at the first oppurtunity he has to hit the mat he will stay down for the count.

The situations that happen in life are open ended.  Unless you die in that situation… then it’s a done deal!  But unless death is involved, the choice is still available as to how you handle the situation.  From the smallest inconvenience, to a tragic event with great loss… Halfmen accept it and use it for blame of other parts of their current state.

As a follower of other followers there is no leader to blame and the Halfmen as a group are left to blame the universe.  This is fair.  Blaming the universe means that no one else had to loose and the status is kept even throughout the population of Halfmen.  Everyone is even and content.

Wonder

“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down”
Charles Chaplin

The final character trait of the Halfman is Wonder.  He wonders why he isn’t further along in his career and doesn’t understand why, after a year and a half, he doesn’t have the corner office.  He wonders why at 26 years old he was turned down for a mortgage.

The Halfman wonders why no matter what he does he can’t get ahead.  The world is unfair and unbalanced, for this he wonders what it would be like if it was fair and how nice that would be.

The Halfman doesn’t see the grueling hours in the gym for years that the body builder puts in to get the biceps he has.  He doesn’t realize that while he is drooling in his pillow in the mornings, the next best selling author is up at 5 am while her family is asleep typing out another 500 words for her book.

As the Halfman rushes to get ready for work in the morning and is going to be late, the next promotion is going to the guy down the hall that beat the boss to work and will stay after work a little, after the Halfman heads home early.

With all this going on around him the Halfman wonders what he is doing wrong.  With all this time spent on wonder, the Halfman has no time to take the first step that will lead to the second, third and fourth.  He is far to busy wondering “why” to be able to decide the “what” that could get him a little closer.

The rabbit hole of wonder leads the Halfman further and further away from his goals.

Time Management and Productivity

I have spent the past ten years of my professional life owning and operating a small custom saddle shop in Bryan, TX.  Before that I spent five years pursuing my degree from Texas A&M University.  Over these 15 years I found that managing your time and increasing your productivity to accomplish goals is not the easiest thing to accomplish.  The last two to three years I have spent a great amount of time studying and researching the world of Time Management and Productivity.  I follow blogs, websites, podcasts and have read many books on the subject.  What have I learned from all this dedicated research?

That the field of Time Management and Productivity is more complicated and mystical than understanding women!

I have implemented systems and processes within my business and personal life that have helped and some that just wasted more time than anything else.  I do not make any claim here to be much more than a novice on this topic, but I continue my study and will review some of what I have learned here.

With the internet we can spend an unbelievable amount of time searching for answers to virtually any question we might have.  For me the question is, “How do I become a high producer not only in my business, but also in my personal life and relationships with the time that is available?”  All of us have the same 168 hours per week to do with it what we will.  Some will make small steps towards their five and ten year goals while making huge gains on their daily and weekly goals, but allow their personal relationships be sacrificed a bit.  While others will put in just the amount of energy needed to not get fired at work, while consuming all the time left with leisure and family time.  Is either one of these truly “better?”

Have you ever met a person that seems to have it all?  A person that seems to be a high producer within their business/career field and yet still has the time to cultivate quality relationships with both family and friends.  And at the end of their week they are still able to donate some of their hours to church, volunteer work, or just help a friend through mentorship.  What is different from this person and you?  The answer is nothing when we look at their environment.  They still are only given a set amount of time each week, month, year, lifetime… why can they do it and you and I can’t?

The answer is what my journey is about.  I suspect that I will not find any one system or process that propelled this person into productivity.  I don’t plan on finding out that this type of person has a savant mind when it comes to prioritizing and planning their next move.  My hypothesis is that as we drill down through this study I will find that it is more the simple “choice” to be or not to be that type of person.

I have learned that every choice we make has some effect on our productivity and success.  And sometimes the choice is made for us from our environment, but the choice is still ours as to how we “choose” to react to the situation.  I know the days that I am productive versus the days that get away from me can be traced back to a few minor choices that I made during the day that determined where I was at the end of the day.  Many losses or wins in a football or baseball game can be attributed to just a few small choices to swing the bat or not, pass the ball or hand it off.

I am excited to get started in this study and hope to interview high producers in both personal lives and business/career.  There are many great minds on this subject available today and I will reference many of them as well as unpack their views on this field of study.

Calipers-Staying within your bounds

When it comes to building anything, measuring is the key to success.  Whether your measuring for the next cut, measuring the size of the hole you need to drill, or measuring your progress… staying on course and to specs is crucial to the success of any project.

This article from Man Made DIY talks about the importance of calipers in your toolbox.  I believe this tool is mucho important for both your physical toolbox and your spiritual toolbox.

Much of our lives as men is graded upon our ability to meet standards, stay within certain criteria and follow instructions (even if we choose to not read them).  No matter if we are building a barn or assembling a jungle gym for our children, we judge ourselves personally on our ability to accomplish the goal and have it function when we are done.

Calipers are our tool for measuring these benchmarks.  And by no means are they only for use in the workshop.  Within our daily lives as men, we are judged by others and ourselves for our ability to stay within the boundaries set by our environment, community and personal values.

Without these benchmarks, a man has no measurement of success vs failure and instead lives a life of contentment for the lack of knowing where he stands.  Every man, good or bad, wants to know where he sits on the scale of accomplishment.

Use your calipers well… make them a part of your life.  Are you staying within the boundaries of your value system and what is right in your eyes and spirit?  A true man measures his progress and holds himself to the scrutiny of the calipers.

 

MAN-logosmall

What is M.A.N.?

This country and the freedom that we enjoy everyday is not something that came easy and is not something that can continue to prosper without the deliberate actions of men that possess the same determination and focus as the men that founded our country.  When our constitution was written our future was not guaranteed but the men that drafted the document and risked everything to defend it believed in success and fought for it.

Do we have men like that in this country today?  I consider myself an eternal optimist (being a pessimist is so depressing) and believe that the counterparts of Adams, Washington, Franklin and so on are living and walking among us and have no doubt that when times get hard they will stand and reveal themselves.  If you look hard you can see them peek out of the crowd in everyday life.  From the young man who stands up and offers his seat on a crowded bus for a lady, to the rookie fireman who rushes into a burning building to save anyone inside despite the harm that could await himself.

In everything from politics to day-to-day life, we tend to notice the less appetizing types of men that seem to undermine the integrity of God’s purpose for Man.   Men that get into politics only to advance their own political status and will stand up strong for the issue that will get him the most votes.  Men that call themselves reverend yet use their social status to spread hate and racism using their followers as gasoline to increase the flames to insure their careers.  Men like these have always plagued the planet and always will.

This is what I want to address with “M.A.N.”  M.A.N. stands for “Men America Needs”.  America has to have the men of quality and integrity that it was founded by in order to continue.  I believe these men exist and always will as long as we, as a society, work to cultivate these men through the quality family structure and education that made the great men of history.  In our society today, men are demonized and made to look insignificant which causes some that would be great to try to assimilate to the culture of weak get along men.

Anything that is worth having doesn’t come easy and men of strength, determination and integrity are needed to stand up and protect whats right for his family and country.  My hopes with this is to make it okay for a man to be the man he was created to be without doubt or ridicule from those that want to foundationally change the core values that we were created to defend and honor for our descendants.

Men need America in order to succeed and America needs free Men to insure her success.

New beginnings

As the new year draws closer, I use this time to think back on the year and see what I accomplished and what I dropped the ball on… the later is sometimes greater of the two.  New Years is by far my favorite time of the year because its like a new beginning and the opertunity to learn from mistakes and focus on strengths for the next year.

I am a bit of a nerd and I’m always on the look out for ways to better plan and execute the plans of my dreaming mind.  This helps me to focus on my goals and whats important.  I have made a little progress every year over the last 10 years in my career of letting go of the nonessential and focusing more on the important to me.  I have high hopes of making 2015 the year that I make a big push to finely tune my career so that I can advance there but also focus on the goals of my new little family and be the new father that I want to be.

This article has some very interesting ideas for getting all my poop in a group and preparing for attacking another great year!  Give it a read and see if it can help you as well.

5 Ways Dreamers Can Become Doers.