Plan B – Part II

Freedom takes the strangest forms

Earlier this year on January 17th, with no warning whatsoever and with no reason given, I was fired from the job I’d been at for over 6 years. I can’t say I was surprised, however, as I swung the axe myself.

The two Bobs. Time for Plan B.

The idea was born as I sat on my deck, appreciating all that my wife and I have worked for, and the thought struck me: what if I lost my job tomorrow? What would we do?

Plan B – Part I

If you don’t have an alternate route planned out, the universe chooses one for you

As we walked back to the car after eating at our favorite local Tex-Mex restaurant, the entire family came to a dead stop and stared at an SUV parked close to ours.

This guy needs a new Plan B

My oldest son spoke first.

“Dad, I think this guy needs a new Plan B.”

The Man In the Arena

Teddy Roosevelt's Magnum Opus

One hundred and seven years ago yesterday, barely one year removed from his second term as President of the United States and less than a decade before his untimely death from a blood clot at age 60, Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech to a crowd of thousands at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. The title of the hour-long speech was “Citizenship in a Republic,” but it’s a brief segment of that talk that is still remembered today. For a man who put across more than his fair share of memorable speeches, the short segment now referred to as “The Man in the Arena” may be Teddy’s best-remembered words.

Teddy Roosevelt's The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

These words struck a major chord with me the first time I read them and that chord continues to reverberate throughout my life. It’s the only speech I’ve ever ordered a framed copy of, and I fight the temptation to allude to it in everything I write. But on the anniversary of the originating speech I thought it fitting to honor the man and his words.

Thank you, Teddy. Thank you for being a man who lived the strenuous life, a man unafraid to be marred with dust and sweat and blood, a man unafraid to stumble, a man who dared greatly, and for being a man who boldly marched into every arena you sought to conquer.

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MWD’s Bestowed Book-O-the-Month

Announcing a monthly book giveaway on MichaelDevers.com

There’s only one thing better than reading a great book for the first time; reading a great book for the first time for free.

For the Bestowed Book-O-the-Month, I’m giving away a book to one lucky winner randomly drawn from subscribers of my email newsletter. This giveaway will be a new copy of something I’ve read within the last 24 months so I can make sure I’m passing along a title I would recommend people spend their own hard-earned money on. I’ll also include a page (or two or three – depending on the book) of notes I took while reading the book.

Story Behind the Story: Top 10 Reasons People Never Get Started

How the sausage gets made around here

I’ve been reading (and listening to) a fair amount of Derek Sivers recently, and he gave me permission to launch a new blog post series I’ve been contemplating. I’m starting the series for my own purposes, as beyond me it will probably have all the appeal of a snow cone stand in Siberia.

Making the sausage

I thought it would be fun – even if it’s only fun for me – to give a behind-the-scenes view on the creation of some of the things I write. I won’t do it for every post, but there are a few where I enjoy reliving the journey from concept to final product. This particular one follows the actual post directly (or fairly close), but moving forward I’ll probably reach back a few posts or more to tell the story. Due to the nature of this series, the writing will be a lot more casual and “stream of consciousness” than my normal posts. (This is where the savvy reader thinks and that’s different how, exactly?)

Maybe

A rush to judgement is a race you never win

Too often and too quickly we rush to judge, decide, and label an event as soon as it happens. Of the four religions/philosophies I have spent time studying, all of them caution against this rush to judgement. I was guilty of it myself this week, and it reminded me of one of my favorite Buddhist/Taoist fables.

Maybe, the farmer replied

5 Years Distilled Down to 5 Minutes

A personal development stove-top reduction

Inspired in part by Derek Sivers, and in part by Michael Pollan (“Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”), here is everything I will be writing about over the next five years distilled down into a few simple statements.

Establish goals and work backwards.

Take action. Start now.

Create a no exceptions policy around the “engine” driving you towards your goals.

That’s it. I’ll be expanding upon those three points and ideas related to those three points for the next five years. I won’t run out of things to say. I currently have a backlog of 44 writing topics lined up for my next 44 posts. And generally for every one post I finish, I add two more topics to the list. But you don’t need to read any of them. Just follow the three directives above and you’ll be able to accomplish practically anything you set your mind to.

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Top 10 Reasons People Never Get Started

Trip hazards before you even make it to the starting line

What stops someone from taking action? Why invest so much time in what they are going to do only to never start? How can they plan a journey of a thousand miles and never take the first step?

Traffic Light

Establish Goals. Take Action. No Exceptions. These are the three core concepts to my method of accomplishing the biggest goals and dreams any individual or organization may have. Of the three, the one that seems the simplest and without need for explanation – Take Action – is actually the one concept where I see most projects and goals stumble, fall, and collapse. An average plan haphazardly followed will beat a perfect plan that remains locked in a drawer every single time.