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So far Dave Marr has created 176 blog entries.

Taking it to the Next Level

Here we are yet again. You’ve evaluated 2016 and have seen yourself in action. You’ve set annual, monthly, weekly, and daily objectives and now know better how you perform. For me, I have high energy in the morning and it diminishes as the day progresses. So my eating goals fall apart after dinner. I need to change my thinking. At work, I have come upon roadblocks that now will require more of me than I first thought. I must adjust. The weight of past challenges have diminished, so I feel buoyant to get after new objectives.

What will make 2017 a Happy New Year? More disciplined health? A more intimate female relationship? More success at work? Stronger faith?

You have the power at this exact moment to affect your 2017. Declare your intent. If in prayer you were to ask God for his favor and He were to respond to you “Well, what do you want?”, then you’d need to declare your desires, your intent, your willingness to take the next step even in faith. Take the step. Act in faith. Ask more of yourself. And I think God will respond positively.

I ask for God’s favor. I adjust to my past naive self understanding. I resolve to keep my motivation high so as to develop stronger disciplines. I show up every day and do my best.

What else is there?

Take this weekend and design who you will become in the coming year.

Many Blessings.

Dave Marr

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By | December 30th, 2016|Personal|0 Comments


Subtle distinctions make all the difference in your world.

My youngest son Kevin, as many of you know, has graduated college. After 22 years of preparatory school, he has now entered “the real world”. Congrats to him. See if you can relate to this next part – so he gets a job where he must…pass licensing tests. He’ll be working for a financial company where he must pass a Series 6, 7, and 63 within the prescribed time in order to get a raise and retain employment. Do you see the difference between his formal education and now this first chapter in his adult life? Prior, Kevin needed to get through each level of school in order to move on to the next stage in his education. But here, he must get from his study materials in order to move on to the next stage of his career. Through…From….a subtle but incredibly meaningful distinction.

Jim Rohn exclaims, “Don’t get THROUGH the day – Get FROM the day.” His classic message in “The Art of Exceptional Living” is one of those daily inputs that is not only enjoyable to listen to and energizing, but lifelong in its practical wisdom that you can cheerlead your family with. Still, you may ask, where’s the subtlety? Through vs. From is certainly meaningful, but kinda straightforward, right?

No, actually it’s not. Here’s the challenge we have, you and me. I am often afraid of making a point that I feel is profound only to have a friend say “Oh yeah, I learned about that in 6th grade.” Sometimes I think I make a good point, but nothing outstanding, and I get quite a bit of positive feedback. The profundity of today’s message is this: Getting FROM the day and not just THROUGH the day is a truth for those that want abundance in life. All truths have depth. All depth has layers and facets and nuances.

Let me give you an example. I am using words to convey a message to you to the best of my ability. Shakespeare did the same with his writing. No doubt you might notice he and I are on slightly different planes. Because I aspire to be a better communicator, I listen to a Dartmouth professor cover Shakespeare’s plays in this 30 hour podcast I’ve been listening to…for 2 years! I’ve listened to the same 1 ½ hour recording on Othello for 3 months. Over and over again I listen to it, think about it, memorize it, let it inspire me, change me, lift me. I did the same for Hamlet and King Lear, etc. where I have paid with my mental “pound of flesh”. Shakespeare is as rich a writer as the English language has ever produced and I want to get as much as I can FROM him. (This is why men of great intellect read the Bible again and again because in it there is Truth, depth, subtlety, wisdom.) Shakespeare writes about the human condition; it is truth. And truth takes time to unpack to understanding.

Here’s the nuance: Kevin has not really been in a situation where he needed to study for life-long retention. Certainly, once he passes the test at work, he might not be tested every day on the material, so he won’t really know upfront what material is important and what’s forgettable. As he’s studying, he must read with intention. The word “Intentionality” is often overused, but here means mindful focus with the intent to truly understand. Now, there’s another word, understand, that could use some definition. To understand is to stand under, like standing under a waterfall, where the awareness of all the perspectives and information showers you from head to toe till you’re drenched. That’s what it means to understand. A full immersion in knowledge. Studying material with the full intent of getting it all, leaving nothing behind, gaining full understanding is what you get when you read “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer Adler. It’s the same approach to reading what I’ve been doing with Shakespeare. And it’s what Kevin would be wise to pursue – an immersion.

So what is this Letter about? 2017 is here. In the coming year, I challenge you to move away from just getting through ephemeral data as it streams by your conscious mind. Don’t check the box on small to medium accomplishments, but instead go for the big dive. Decide in the waning days of 2016 that you’re going to go deep on the main elements of your life – work, health, relationships, and God. As you finish up your goals for 2017, which are no doubt neatly typed up and taped to your bathroom mirror, underline in red the goals that will require total immersion, complete understanding, absolute dominance. When the notion of expert arises, people will look to you. What topics are you going to dedicate FROM which you will get everything it has to offer? Here’s a suggestion – Get the Rohn CD, get the Alder book, start an Ironmen group and commit to standing under till you are drenched.

2017 is here. How will you be different?

To your drenching wet life,
Dave Marr

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By | December 23rd, 2016|Personal|0 Comments

My Wilberforce Thesis

I hope you’ve seen the movie Amazing Grace about William Wilberforce. Through his life-long persistence, he was able to abolish slavery within the British Empire. As unlikely and impractical as his desires were, he was able to overcome a hundred and fifty years of national economic interests to wake up his countrymen to this moral imperative. His personal mode in which he identified an issue that inflamed him with purpose, thereby envisioning a world on a higher plane, where he steeled himself to that cause as the defining aspect of his life is my Wilberforce Thesis. My Wilberforce purpose is to reduce the divorce rate by 10% in Colorado. And though my success won’t result in any Parliamentary Act, it will be measured nonetheless in the countless lives over many generations. It would reduce drug use, crime, abortions, poverty, and result in a spiritual revival within families and communities. You no doubt see how quixotic this goal is just like Wilberforce’s contemporaries thought he was delusional as he embarked on his 36-year journey to end slavery.

I could use your help.

The divorce rate is a statistic that numbs the senses. To go from wedding to divorce is a journey from hope to pain. That journey is so well worn that somehow society has come to accept that the very foundation of an orderly society – family formation – cannot be improved upon and we must take the bad with the good. The collateral damage to our heritage is significant. Children grow up in a world where their emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual development are secondary to the drama unfolding before them. This drama is the norm for them and may be papered over in subsequent mental constructions, but remains a psychological safety issue throughout. This does not have to be.

Now, because this is so complex with macro and micro forces at play, it is easy to conclude that the divorce rate is insoluble. It’s not. It just requires a Wilberforce effort. Think about your life. What could have happened in your childhood that would have dramatically made your life…worse? A divorce? Parallel universe evaluations are difficult to imagine, but lives do turn on specific events. I can look back on the lives of my children and can pinpoint the event that dramatically impacted their lives. Lis and I took a parenting course and came to realize we weren’t on the same page in the least. In this course we were given communication perspectives, parenting philosophy, spiritual structure, practical advice, and a path to be a team. We were hooked and our children were the beneficiaries of a greatly enhanced marriage.

In the many years that we taught the class, we’ve seen scores of marriages be born anew with hope as the clouds of marital frustration dissipated when the sun shone on their misunderstandings. The result for so many families was marital harmony, which allowed their children to thrive. Couples came to the class to get better at parenting and left with better marriages. What would happen to society if this could be scaled? What would happen if all marriages improved just a little?

So that’s what we’re doing. We are taking OneFamily and Ironmen to society through our 501(c)3 non-profit HeadwatersLife. The idea is to develop a network of churches to offer the suite of parenting classes (Baby Wise, Toddler Transition, Parenting from the Tree of Life, Middle Years, and Reaching the Heart of your Teen) to families in the community. So often parents want to take a class, but any given church doesn’t offer what they need, when they need it, so they pass on the idea. A network of churches allows OneFamily to minister to the community in a way that individual churches alone cannot.

To this effort, we have hired the perfect couple to lead this generational cause – Rich and Shelly Howard. They have been leading the parenting program at Cherry Hills Community Church for over 10 years, know the material inside and out, and believe heart and soul in this cause. In addition to the above, we have translated the material into Spanish in order to affect that population as well.

Now to how I could use your help – Any undertaking of this magnitude requires converts. With Rich quitting his “real” job and going into this ministry full time, we have burnt the ships. It would be a real boost to have you introduce me to companies, foundations, or large donors that might help me shoulder the economic load. I can come talk with them about OneFamily. Donations from you work too and would be greatly appreciated. Further, if you belong to a church and think a parenting program would be welcome, I would appreciate the assist in getting introduced. If you have a small group and want to look into having the program in your home, can do. Lastly, society needs you to succeed in marriage and life. In doing that you create room for Amazing Grace in the lives of generations to come.

To your life of family success,

Dave Marr
Founder HeadwatersLife

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By | December 17th, 2016|Parenting, Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

Nothing Stands Alone

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” was last week’s opening aphorism by Benjamin Franklin. Why would that be? Why would going to bed early have any effect on wealth and wisdom? My experience is that there is a high correlation to this being true. I know many wealthy guys and they are early risers. I know many men whom I consider to be wise and they greet the dawn. It should be good enough to just accept this as true, change our ways accordingly, and reap the results. But somehow it’s not good enough. Probably because of confusion on the understanding – causality versus correlation. Are the men healthy, wealthy, and wise just because they get up early or are they in the process of becoming healthy, wealthy and wise and getting up early is a condition of that?

Are you in the process of becoming healthy, wealthy and wise? What character traits emerge from a wise man versus a fool? A fool spends his youth whereas a wise man invests his time. Spending consumes whereas investing builds. If you extrapolate your current trajectory, would you say you are investing your time or spending your time? Clearly, the mindset is different.

To that mindset: We are at year end. This month should be about reflecting on how you behaved this year with a discerning eye. It is commonplace for young men to think one thing about their behavior and misunderstand what’s really going on. Intentions and actions might not be aligned. So as you look back on your behavior did you set goals last year that had no chance of accomplishment like I did for so many years? Fooling yourself for a year or two can mean you’re naive to how life works. Continuing to fool yourself about your own behavior for many years can mean you are being foolish, i.e. a fool. Not a good thing. So look back on the year and evaluate how you performed relative to your expectations. Pull out your goal sheet and compare reality – did you spend your time or did you invest it?

This is not about condemnation, but evaluation. If you underperformed to your desires, is it because of a weak understanding on how new habits must overcome the momentum of old habits and also why the old habits formed in the first place? You are navigating you and are finding out that you and life are a bit more complex than what you previously thought. And yet, also not so complex. Early to bed and early to rise is a pretty straightforward formula. If you got up at 5 a.m. every day, what would you do with that extra hour+ of each and every day? You’d be trading an hour+ of nighttime for an hour+ of morning. What would you do 7 days a week with that time? How would you invest it? Health: Would you work out? Wealth: Would you plan your day? Wisdom: Would you read? But first you’d have to resolve the reason why you’re staying up the extra hour+ at night. You need a strategy to make the shift, because without a strategy the momentum of your old habits will not be overcome by the new effort.

Your life is emerging in front of your eyes. Your behavior of the past year is culminating into the future. Looking back and evaluating the good, the bad, and the ugly is wise. Adjusting from last year’s performance for the coming year is what men of substance do. They don’t just throw down new goals and promise to try harder next year. The idea of New Year’s resolutions is laughable. For example, the goal of working out in the new year when you didn’t do so consistently in the past doesn’t result in any change unless your approach resolves the reasons you didn’t work out. For me, I need to commit to another person or I just wouldn’t do it. Therefore, I pay my trainer, TJ, so I am more consistent with my health goals because I flounder otherwise. Now I get up at 4:30 7 days a week so I can get my workouts in and still have the day in front of me. In my early years, I figured this out about myself. Without a TJ in my life, I just don’t workout hard enough or consistently enough or with enough specificity to my goals.

Nothing stands alone. Every element of your life is function of your behavior pattern. Your behaviors manifest your life in front of your eyes. If you are a future man of wisdom, your behaviors invest in that lifestyle so that wisdom emerges. If you are in the early stages of being wealthy, you invest in the behaviors that manifest wealth. Neither wealth nor wisdom are by accident but a result of consistent wealthy and wise behaviors which is no different than health being a consequence of healthy behaviors.

Now is the time to catch yourself in the act. Look back on the year and discern those behaviors that show promise, invest in those behaviors, and enjoy watching health, wealth, and wisdom emerge.

To a wise goal setting process,

Dave Marr

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By | December 9th, 2016|Getting Started, Personal|0 Comments

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

Abundance is the fruit of specific habits. Nothing stands alone.

An insightful quote by Frank Outlaw says it better:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

My contention is that the 3rd line is the key to an abundant life. Your thoughts, of course, are invaluable and training your mind to positive production is without a doubt a critical skill. But without action our intentions can become muddled. Unless you can create habits that move you forward, you won’t develop the character that will define your positive destiny.

Abundance habits are everything. Certainly you are developing habits now regardless of your intentions, but are they the ones that when you look 5-10 years down the road will result in you becoming the man you wish to be? Your family needs you to be? God offers you to be?

Nothing stands alone. Our mind and habits will manifest a life of abundance or a life of penury or one of the infinite lukewarm variations in between. Abundance habits at home affect your habits at work. Disciplined workout habits affect habits at home and at work. Discipline begets discipline. Energy radiates energy. Positive engenders positive. Wherever you are, you are there.

If you, like me, desire to be in a fantastic marriage, then it’s not all that difficult to figure out what to do to make that happen. Good marriage habits of expressing love and appreciation in their love language isn’t all that hard. However, it’s easy not to do.

If you, like me, desire to have robust health, then it’s not confusing in any way what needs to happen every day. This God given tool must be cared for in order to fulfill the upper ends of your desires. Good health habits of drinking water, moving your body, stretching regularly, and having a health action plan is not rocket science, but it’s easy not to do.

If you, like me, desire to have material abundance that gives you a sense of accomplishment and power over your economic life, then the path is fairly well worn. I hear about guys focusing their youth on money and career before they’ll consider a wife and kids, which I think is short sighted. Good work habits of being on time and prepared isn’t all that hard. Show up, stay focused, be a team player, and it’ll work out in your favor. But being 5 minutes late and under prepared is easy to do.

If you are like me and desire a stronger relationship with God, a deeper understanding of Truth, an increased capacity for gratitude, compassion, and wisdom, then habits that dynamically engage your heart and mind must be consistently pursued. It takes time to accumulate meaning, to distinguish nuance, to resolve questions. Daily habits allows Truth to ferment.  It is all too easy to be distracted and not build those positive habits.

Of course Stephen Covey’s Book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a must read to get the full flavor. But for today #2 stands out. The New Year beckons. What habits will you develop that will drive all areas of your life?

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Let me propose 2 habits:

  1. Get up between 5:00 – 5:30 a.m. every day. You have 100% control over this. Fill your morning with a daily routine that allows you to consistently move toward your End in Mind.
  2. Meet once per week with 2 other men to hold yourself accountable to your End in Mind. (Congratulations Chad with your new group!)

“But I don’t have time.” “I don’t have the guys.” “We can’t coordinate.” “I stay up too late.”

Your destiny awaits.
To your abundant destiny,

Dave Marr

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By | December 2nd, 2016|Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

Window of Opportunity

Good morning. I trust you Americans enjoyed your share of over indulgence, football, and gratitude. I sure did (though I am writing this prospectively and not retrospectively. Gives you an idea of my intent). This year I’ve talked about material abundance. In my writings, I don’t consider material wealth to be “he who dies with the most toys – wins!” That thought is beyond shallow. But material wealth IS something. To us guys it’s a big deal because it’s a scorecard. Material wealth does provide a sense of accomplishment. In other words, it demonstrates to our fellow man that we have done something of value. Today’s message is a fulcrum message – Archimedes said “Give me a lever and I can move the world”. I want to you to move your world with today’s message.

The modern world presents you with some unique challenges, challenges that I didn’t have to face when I was your age. Certainly, I faced the difficulties of my era, but the one’s here today are particularly insidious. If you want to achieve success to a reasonable degree of your potential, you must identify these obstacles, figure out a strategy to overcome them, muster the willpower to develop the habits for consistent action, and feedback the results of your (in)actions into your strategy, habits, and willpower to bring your potential to the market and your life. And you must do this before you sink into the soup of your past behaviors that slow your ability to develop winning strategies and habits. You have a window of time to do that.

I’ve been talking with a guy who appears to have quite a bit of potential. Very likable guy. Knowledgeable. Good communicator. But the weight of his past behaviors on the other side of the lever has built up and now and it’s very, very difficult for him to arrange new habits to get momentum in his life. One habit he has carried for a while is being undisciplined with his punctuality which has undermined his credibility at home and at work. He has let others dictate whether he would keep his word. If he told his wife he’d be home at 5:30 and some appointment is late, then he breaks his word with his wife. He gets home late, she’s pissed, and he feels guilty. Ok, if it happens once, not that big of a deal. But if he’s characterized by it, then their marriage falls on hard times which in fact has happened. If his relationship with his wife now needs extra attention and his lack of discipline on his word continues and he is consistently late for important meetings, he risks his new job which loops back to his family as him being an untrustworthy provider. In this 5-cent psychoanalysis, he has not built up his character through self-disciplined forming habits in his 20’s and 30’s to avoid what is likely a crash here in his early 40’s.

Habits are everything. Once a habit is formed it is almost impossible to change it. Only extreme pain, loss of family, loss of health, can change some ingrained habits. That is why in your early years you must build winning habits: character, health, interpersonal, work, and importantly mental habits. I don’t know what other habits the above mentioned guy did or didn’t develop; regardless, he is not a victim to his own life. He has done this to himself. The window on easy change is closing fast.

And that brings me back to you. This modern world has so many distractions and entertainments, you don’t actually need introspection to have a modestly enjoyable life – if you don’t want anything big. You can play on-line games endlessly so you don’t need real life friends. You can jack off to on-line porn, so you don’t need a real life woman. You can live in an abundant world and get by with the minimum and be ok. And the day the window closes on your habits, what then? Now, I know this extreme characterization does not fit you, but it might to some degree. That’s why I say the modern world’s enjoyments are insidious, they sneak into your life as relaxation habits – A Trojan horse of sorts.

And so now to the fulcrum idea. There are leverage points in the year. Your birthday is one. Thanksgiving is another. And the New Year is a big one. It stands there as a mile marker to your life. You look back and assess how far you’ve come and you look forward to the acquisition of habits, skills, events, and accomplishments. The New Year is upon us. You should have a sense of urgency to your New Year’s plan, not as trite resolutions, but as a fulcrum to dislodge entrenched habits. What habits do you have that need to be improved upon? What habits do you need to acquire? What habits do you need to eliminate? How do you muster the willpower to make the changes that already have you stuck? What is your strategy?

The window of opportunity to create a life of abundance is now IF you take action. The New Year is fresh and clean with potential. You’ve got a month to think about how you’re going to leverage your time to maximum benefit and move your world.

To a life of abundance,
Dave Marr

(“Start an Ironmen Group”, said in a whisper)

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By | November 30th, 2016|Personal|0 Comments

The Last Nickel

I used to work out with this guy who was pretty successful. I say “was” because as far as I know, he’s not anymore. I saw him the other day and he looked pretty weathered. He’s fallen on hard times, of sort, I mean he’s not panhandling or anything, but he’s not riding high like he used to. Gone is the Porsche and Hummer. Gone is the big house. Gone is the swagger. I think I know why – The Last Nickel.

Back in the day, maybe 20 years ago, he and I lifted weights together in the mornings. We got to know each other well enough and I considered us friends. As you would expect, we shared stories of life and business. Over time, I came to know a bunch of guys that were in his industry and occasionally his name would come up and they all would get the same look on their face – “Oh, he’s tough. I wouldn’t do business with him for the most part” would be the general sense. At one point, he was buying a new home, so he asked me to do his loan. At the end of the deal, just as we were wrapping up, he called me to discuss my fee. We were friends. I just originated  his loan and knew exactly how much he made, what his net worth was, pretty much everything. He was killing it and I was not. He asked if I would reduce my fee. I might have mentioned that we were friends, so I said I would. I offered to cut it about 10%. Silence.

“What?” I asked.
“I was thinking you’d cut it in half. I mean, I brought you the deal, we’re friends, half is a good paycheck for such an easy deal. Half makes sense.”

In the end, I cut it another 10% and we moved on. But we didn’t move on; or rather, I didn’t. I don’t mind negotiating. People should negotiate and this guy was good at asking for more. If you don’t ask, you don’t get for sure. But this seemed different. The money wasn’t material, he was doing it for sport. I didn’t quite articulate it in my head at the time, but I wasn’t easy on how this went down. It felt like he wanted to look down on me as a lesser being.

A while later, he was telling me about a deal he put together buying a piece of land. It was at the end of his telling me this story I knew we couldn’t be friends. He had negotiated to buy the ground and said he got a good price. Then after due diligence, he went back and asked for a price reduction. He got it! He was thrilled. He laughed. Then, the story continued, as the contract date where his earnest money would become non refundable, he went to the Seller, this old guy as he described him, and told him he couldn’t close at the contract price. He needed another price reduction. He got it!!! Now the price was a crazy low price and ‘my friend’ was ecstatic. But then, the story went on, as closing approached, he went back one more time because he knew the Seller had purchased another property and needed this one to close. He asked for a huge discount in order to close on time.  He was laughing at how he bent this old guy over. And so you see how at the end of him telling me this, I was appalled. I knew we couldn’t be friends because of this man’s belief that all’s fair in business. His ethic was “If you can, you should.”

The entire history of mankind has stories like this where a shark eats a flounder. My ex-friend’s style wasn’t to just win, it was to capture trophies. He wanted the heads of animals that he killed mounted on his wall. When negotiating, if there was a nickel left on the table, he needed it. He wouldn’t close the deal without it. That kind of style leaves a residual as all styles do. The kind of feeling I had when our loan deal concluded was such that I couldn’t trust him to consider my interests if we were to ever do business together. And so we never did. And, as it turns out, one by one others fell out of his life till he became somewhat of a pariah. In the end, one guy got so pissed off he made it his mission to bring Last Nickel down by buying up his outstanding bank debt and forced this guy into bankruptcy.

Accumulate stories like this in a man’s life and what are the possible outcomes? His vibe was one of a shark’s. I have known many “Last Nickel” guys like that and one by one I’ve eliminated them from my life. They are not win/win or mutual benefit guys. They see the world as a killer sport or survival of the fittest where the only ethics are power plays. Last Nickel is now down to his last nickel and legally bankrupt, but I propose he was morally bankrupt long before that.

“No man is an island”, starts the poem by John Donne. It ends “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.”

To your building a residual of a win/win style,

Dave Marr

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By | November 18th, 2016|Personal, Relational|0 Comments

5 minutes

These Letters to you should take less than 5 minutes out of the 10,080 minutes you have in a week to read. If you’ve read all 187 Letters I’ve written through this medium, you’ve invested 935 minutes over the last 3 ½ years, .047% of your life. Not much. It takes me about 2 ½ hours to write them, not including the shower time, driving time, and minutes before I fall asleep time to come up with the topic. So at minimum you’re getting a 30 times your investment assuming you’re picking up what I’m throwing down. You’ve heard the meme that if you have enough monkeys typing away on computers for long enough, then through random combination one of the monkeys would type a Shakespearean sonnet? Well, my writing would be more like 10 monkeys for 10 minutes. The point is quality matters. You’re reading the summaries of what I think are the building blocks of perspective and action to create a life of quality. Are you in fact picking up what I’m throwing down?

If you’ve continued to read these Letters over the weeks, then for whatever reason you’ve decided it’s worth your 5 minutes. In other words, you’ve assessed that your 5 minutes a week is less valuable than the 5 minutes I’m offering you, and you therefore gain. The investment is rather small and the gain has the potential to be impactful if I happen upon some phrase or idea that puts a puzzle piece into place. (Hang with me because I actually have a point). But you won’t know if the trade was worth it unless you risk the time.

Last week I wrote about attitudes and how curiosity was the most powerful aspect of your intelligence. You would agree, I hope, that your intelligence, your mind, your perspectives, your philosophy, your filter on life is the main tool you use to build your life, right? And when I say that curiosity is the most powerful aspect of your intelligence, does that make you stop? Do you have the curiosity to stop and contemplate that concept? See the irony here? Because of the couple decades of experience that I have over you and the 2 ½ hours of investment I have made to pack full this Letter to you, I’m saying the most powerful aspect of your intelligence, the thing you value most, is your ability to be curious.

Now if you’re like me, i.e. human, it’s easy to breeze on by varying degrees of quality without stopping to be curious. Can you imagine if everything that was more valuable to consume with your time, a 30x return, you stopped and extracted the max value out of it. You’d never get out of the house. So I get the overall tendency to say “Cool” or “hmm, interesting”, grab what you can and move along. But, don’t miss my big point here, it’s unwise to do that to everything. If you never stopped to be curious, you would dull your curiosity edge, your mental sharpness.

There are two aspects to curiosity I think you should contemplate: present-mindedness and strategery (ha, spell check accepted that word!). Present-mindedness is this inside/outside awareness quality that takes time to develop. It’s a kind of glib word thrown out there to say “pay attention!!”, but it’s a bit more complex than that. Present-mindedness does require you be aware of your surroundings, sure, but also aware at the same time of what’s important. Some guy that is just in the moment without a thought running through his head isn’t present-minded. He’s missing the -minded part. Conversely, a guy that is only in his head because his thoughts are so valuable he doesn’t have time for life clearly isn’t present. So it’s a balance.

The strategic part of curiosity is also key. Being strategic, by its very quality, is to be contemplative about higher level things. What are the things that are important to me? What are the big things that matter rather than just the tactics of life? So when you combine being strategic with curiosity, you are taking time to say “What are the big things I want to really investigate when they come along?” You see, you’re preparing yourself to look for things that are important to you and when you see them, you’re going to stop and investigate them. Curiosity is a desire to know, to fill in the blanks. So being strategic has you pre-determine that when something of value floats by your view, you are going to stop and investigate. Being present-minded has you on the lookout for what is worth your investment. It’s why you stop and buy a book, watch a program, take a couple hours out of your week to meet with a couple guys to discuss important elements of life. It’s because you’re curious and have that desire to fill in the blanks that makes you stop the momentum of life and risk your time to get that greater return.

I hope your 5 minutes was well spent this morning,

Dave Marr

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By | November 11th, 2016|Personal|0 Comments

The Most Powerful Aspect of Attitude

We are talking about factors of economic success. I said that Attitude is the greatest factor that you have control over that leads to you having more ching in your pocket than not. Another factor that overlaps here with Attitude is Intelligence. But not just the raw horsepower kind, because you have been given through nature and nurture what you have today by way of processing power. No, that kind of intelligence isn’t an attitude. Where Intelligence is an attitude, where it’s a choice, is through a powerful tool in shaping your future – curiosity.

Curiosity is a choice and a powerful one. It says, “Hey, that’s interesting!”. “I’m going to focus on some thing, some topic, some idea for a while and in doing so, I’m going to gain.I’m going to change. I’m going to be bigger.” What is it to lack curiosity? Is it to be certain? Maybe to be arrogant? To be dull? I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound like a place where you grow much. To have curiosity, then, is to be open to new information, new ideas, evolving your mind, to show initiative in your life. Curiosity on any topic – sports, science, business, human nature, God, women, parenting, gardening – is to ask how life works.
Let me stop and highlight the underlined “to show initiative in your life”. When you’re curious, you stop, you mentally pause into present mindedness which is the most powerful mindset to have. You summarize the context of your life and say that right here and right now you want to focus the most important elements of your life, your mind and your time, on this particular thing. At this immortal moment of now, you are curious, investigating, gaining, learning. What can possibly be the outcome of that? Compound this moment into the next and the next, and what can be the end result of thousands of now moments of curiosity? You become more knowledgeable, skilled, intelligent, and interesting. Yes, interesting. To be interested is to be interesting.
A major point of these Letters is to arrest your momentum, to stop you from ‘blah, blah, blhad, aslfa,qeahghv…” going through a multitude of emails, articles, and data streaming where you can’t remember anything in particular just like you can barely remember what you ate 2 nights ago. But to stop and become present minded and therefore strategic – Who am I? Where am I going? What’s important to me? What do I want to invest my ‘now’ moments in when I’m not otherwise occupied with life? Curiosity in meaningful topics (meaningful to you) invests your energy in life-giving pursuits.
I have made some major mistakes in life and this is one of them. In my youth, I arrogantly believed that I was something special. Yes, I’m special in the eyes of God, but you know what I mean. I’m telling you now, I wasted soooo much of my youth on arrogance. I regret it immensely. That feeling of ‘having the answers’ manifested itself in my behavior as being decidedly un-curious. It wasn’t till my 40’s that I turned up the heat on present minded curiosity, basically to just be interested in the stuff of life. Become curious and you’ll never be bored a day in your life.
Here’s the thing: If you want to be successful in life, if you want rich rewards of economics, relationships, spiritual depth, and personal density you must become curious. It’s a muscle. If you haven’t started an Ironmen group, start one. Find guys that are curious and willing to invest some consistent time and get going. Be curious about what makes them tick. This Ironmen forum will hold up a mirror to your own inner workings – How does motivation work? How does discipline work? How do you build success habits? How can you sustain behavioral energy over a long period of time? Where do I have blind spots?
Aren’t you just a bit curious to the answers to these questions?

To a curious life,

Dave Marr

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By | November 5th, 2016|Getting Started, Personal, Relational|0 Comments

The Emperor’s New Clothes

I believe that all advances in the world have come from people who are contrarian by temperament. Think about it, if you agree with something, you’re not out to change it or improve it. Einstein completely understood classical physics, something that had existed as immutable “laws” since Isaac “Fig” Newton postulated them in the late 17th century. But Al was contrarian by not accepting what everyone else knew to be true. What resulted was a long mathematical formula that proved with certainty that a minute on a hotplate was longer than a minute with a pretty girl. So we got that…which is nice.

Do you think Steven Jobs was a guy that went along to get along? Though I haven’t read the book, I’ve heard enough to believe that Jobs didn’t go along whatsoever. How about Alexander Fleming? Anyone? Anyone? Fleming? No? Fleming pursued a solution that would help soldiers who had deep wounds that got infected during WWI where countless soldiers died from infection. His contrary nature believed the medical status quo was unacceptable. On Sept 28th,1928 he discovered penicillin.

How about William Wilberforce, the driver for getting Britain out of the slave trade. It took him 40 years of swimming upstream against economic and political currents to achieve the universal moral good of abolishing slave trade on British ships. Contrarian. Watch Amazing Grace, a terrific movie that captures his journey.

This Christmas a movie is coming out called “The Big Short”. The trailers look terrible because it’s the same trite story of the “little guy against the evil big bankers” played by the same old Hollywood PC posers. Gag. The story is about the mortgage meltdown of which I know a bit. The book by Michael Lewis is fantastic. He wrote Moneyball, The Blind Side, Liar’s Poker, and others. Very good writer. But The Big Short is about how contrarians made billions of dollars not accepting at face value what everyone else accepted. And that’s the point of this Letter – not accepting at face value what everyone else accepts.

This Letter is intended to be about business, that you should not completely go along to get along, that you shouldn’t swallow today’s “truths” as the way business is conducted, that you shouldn’t sit in your cubicle punching a clock in someone else’s game (tongue in cheek). The world isn’t done evolving yet. Mankind has a ways to go in becoming what it is capable of becoming. The company you work for is not perfect, and the role that you play can be bigger in ways that are hard to imagine. Imagine nonetheless.

In The Big Short, Lewis describes what I interpret as “Group Think”. Everyone in the industry thought someone else had thought this whole thing through. Everyone in the mortgage industry was just playing in a game that someone else had designed. No one person designs society’s games.  “Reality” is a collective consciousness. As such, no one person has “Smart Money” or the inside track on how things are (Which is why conspiracy theories are a bit whacked). So often youthful (and not so youthful) perspectives range from naive perspectives (there are responsible people in the know controlling this, or God has this all in control) to cynical perspectives (there are irresponsible people in the know controlling this, or there is no God). I believe the truth is none of those above (although the God in control one is a worthy conversation). We are all so busy with our own lives and internal monologues that we buy into group think because we don’t have enough information, time, or perspective to do otherwise. And so it will always be for everyone. Everyone.

 So what to do?

First, take comfort in the idea that you and everyone else are on the same playing field, all talking within your lonely cranium with limited data, limited time, and limited perspective. Second, believe that you are here to play an important role in something, that no one else has your particular vantage point. Third, understand that it is human nature to think as others do. It is comforting to be a part of a crowd. That’s ok. But have the ego, the strength, and commitment to be your own man. Eventually you will have lots of information to form an opinion of your own that isn’t just a summary of someone else’s. That takes time.  But, fourth,  in the meantime, have the ego to stand back from “the way things are” and evaluate what’s wrong (because there is plenty wrong). Group think is taking place within you and outside you and you can point out that the emperor has no clothes.

Is it possible to urge someone to be a contrarian? Who knows. But the worst case scenario here in this Letter is you work on becoming your own man.

To your continued success,

Dave Marr

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By | October 28th, 2016|Personal|0 Comments