Favorite Axioms

From the book axiom by Bill Hybels:

  1. –Find Owners not Hirelings.
  2. –Build a Boiler Fund.
  3. –Vision Leaks.
  4. –There are Dangers in Incrementalism.
  5. –Institutionalize Key Values.
  6. –Get the Right People around the Table.
  7. –Know Who is Driving.
  8. –Speed of the Leader, Speed of the Team.
  9. –Deliver the Bad News First.
  10. –Leaders Call Fouls.
  11. –A Bias towards Action.
  12. –Sweat the Small Stuff
  13. –Find the Critic’s Kernel of Truth.
  14. –Always Debrief.
  15. –Find Mentors, make Mentors (Obi-Wan Kenobi Isn’t for Hire)
  16. –What Life are You Waiting for?
  17. –Read All You Can.
  18. –Lead Something.
  19. –Admit Mistakes, and Your Stock Goes Up.
  20. –Finish Well.

I probably need to make a small comment about each of these. Doing so will help me “flesh them out” for myself and clarify them for myself. Especially considering my view of these leadership ideas are not the same as Mr. Hybels.  Hopefully I will add to this post later.

End of an Era

Pat Buchanan has an article titled “The Party’s Over” on Human Events. It is the best summary of the current financial crisis, its root cause, and its long term consequences. I am re-posting it here in its entirety for reference sake.

The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of dollars of our people’s wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929, likely to mark the end of one era and the onset of another.

The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America. The “Omnipower” and “Indispensable Nation” we heard about in all the hubris and braggadocio following our Cold War victory is history.

Seizing on the crisis, the left says we are witnessing the failure of market economics, a failure of conservatism.

This is nonsense. What we are witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko (“Greed Is Good!”) capitalism. What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal nation that ignores history, and forgets and abandons the philosophy and principles that made it great.

A true conservative cherishes prudence and believes in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and a self-reliant republic. He believes in saving for retirement and a rainy day, in deferred gratification, in not buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living within your means.

Is that really what got Wall Street and us into this mess — that we followed too religiously the gospel of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk?

“Government must save us!” cries the left, as ever. Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government — the Fed with its easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy?

For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned. We save nothing. Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt — all are at record levels. And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of that debt will never be repaid.

Our standard of living is inevitably going to fall. For foreigners will not forever buy our bonds or lend us more money if they rightly fear that they will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper dollars.

We are going to have to learn to live again without our means.

The party’s over

Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain politically independent.

But this generation decided that was yesterday’s bromide and we must march bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one another. American companies morphed into “global companies” and moved plants and factories to Mexico, Asia, China and India, and we began buying more cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes, cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers.

As the trade deficits began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we began vast borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad.

At home, propelled by tax cuts, war in Iraq and an explosion in social spending, surpluses vanished and deficits reappeared and began to rise. The dollar began to sink, and gold began to soar.

Yet, still, the promises of the politicians come. Barack Obama will give us national health insurance and tax cuts for all but that 2 percent of the nation that already carries 50 percent of the federal income tax load.

John McCain is going to cut taxes, expand the military, move NATO into Georgia and Ukraine, confront Russia and force Iran to stop enriching uranium or “bomb, bomb, bomb,” with Joe Lieberman as wartime consigliere.

Who are we kidding?

What we are witnessing today is how empires end.

The Last Superpower is unable to defend its borders, protect its currency, win its wars or balance its budget. Medicare and Social Security are headed for the cliff with unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars.

What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a Katrina-like failure of government, of our political class, and of democracy itself, casting a cloud over the viability and longevity of the system.

Notice who is managing the crisis. Not our elected leaders. Nancy Pelosi says she had nothing to do with it. Congress is paralyzed and heading home. President Bush is nowhere to be seen.

Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under. They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U.S. government behind $5 trillion in mortgages. They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance giant sink beneath the waves.

An unelected financial elite is now entrusted with the assignment of getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected financial elite plunged the nation. We are just spectators.

What the Greatest Generation handed down to us — the richest, most powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest standard of living any nation had ever achieved — the baby boomers, oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered away.

Notes from Ted

If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never stand for or against. Struggle between “for” and “against” is the minds worst disease.


Some quick notes from Jonathan Haidt’s talk to Ted on the “The real difference between liberals and conservatives“.

Liberals are high on the personality trait of “openness to experience” whereby they crave novelty, verity, and diversity. Those who are low in the trait like things that are familiar, safe, and dependable. There is a juxtaposition here because being “open” primarily focuses on new experience but can often be hostile to the familiar.

Foundations of morality:

  1. Harm/Care
  2. Fairness/Reciprocity
  3. In-group/Loyalty
  4. Authority/Respect
  5. Purity/Sanctity

Liberals, in general, have a two channel morality and reject in-group, authority, and purity as foundations of morality.  Social entropy, order starts to decay, can be steamed with some kind of punishment (religion may act as such a anti-entropy.)  Additionally advanced social organization, such as creating the great piramids or going to the moon, require the use of all give moral channels.

  • Liberals speak for the weak and oppressed; want change and justice, even at the expense of chaos.
  • Conservatives speak for institutions and traditions; want order even at cost to those at the bottom.

In summary it would seem our minds were designed to 1) build us into teams, 2) separate us from other teams, and 3) blind us to the truth (of our/others teams.)

Running on Empty

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

–George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Yesterday I completed the GEICO Race for Freedom 10K at Lake Hefner Park.   My goal was to finish without stopping at whatever was a comfortable pace. I completed the run without a problem although I had some concerns leading up to the race.  I evidently brused a tendon on my foot and was having trouble running on it around week 5 of the schedule.

To keep pressure off the foot I switched to biking both at home and at the gym.  Basically I took my running schedule, did the workout on my bike, but tripled the distance.  If I worked at a pace that kept my heart rate around the same as my jogging heart rate; the bike work would take about the same time as if I had run it.

For the 5K to 10K race I switched to a 7 week schedule.  I figured I had already gotten to mile 4 by the end of my 5K workout and 7 weeks seemed like plenty of time to 6.2 miles.  Additionally I included a couple hill workouts on my longer runs.  This helped improve my performance but ultimately didn’t matter much for the 10K which was a flat course.

Here is my training schedule for the 10K:

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Run 3 Miles Run 2 Miles Run 3 Miles Run 3.5 Miles
Week 2 Run 3 Miles Run 2 Miles Run 3 Miles Run 4 Miles
Week 3 Run 3 Miles Run 3 Miles Run 3.5 Miles Run 5 Miles
Week 4 Run 4 Miles Run 3 Miles Run 3.5 Miles Run 6 Miles
Week 5 Run 4 Miles Run 3 Miles Run 4 Miles Run 6 Miles
Week 6 Run 5 Miles Run 3 Miles Run 4 Miles Run 7 Miles
Week 7 Run 2 Miles Run 2 Miles Run/Walk 2 Miles Run 10K

The last two events have gone so well that I am thinking about doing a half marathon in about 10 weeks. It would be a much faster progression that I have attempted so far; but my thinking is that I am better off challenging myself.  The other option is spending 4-5 weeks working towards a 15K that I can probably do already.

What is more problematic is that the biking has gotten me thinking about a triathlon.