Spiritual

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Adventure Mindedness

I do not want to die having not lived. I don’t want to look back on my life having never mattered to the full extent of my potential. I want to take this life God has seen fit to provide me – my strengths and weaknesses, my insights and ignorances, my loves and my doubts – and do what I can to make the world a better place all the while having fun in the process. Is that too much to ask?

When I think of adventure, I think of travel to locations you’d see in a magazine. A bucket list kind of thing – running with the bulls in Pamplona, learning Spanish in Costa Rica, skydiving in Sydney, scuba diving in Cozumel, dove hunting in Argentina, sailing around Martha’s Vineyard and drinking beers in any number of cool, beautiful, faraway places. Yet none of the above would matter squat to the world if I were to check all those boxes and shuffle off this mortal coil because they’re all just personal pleasures. There’s more to the adventure-minded vision. But those things that I did do and many more besides have been hallmarks of a mindset of adventure.  And that mindset has not existed in a vacuum.

Where can I make the most impact and have the most fun? At home. As a current or future husband and father it is your job to set the tone of how you are going to lead your family. In taking your family on a trip you are the one who frames how everyone should embrace the experience. Wide open expectations and minds should greet each new day. The family culture will largely be defined by you – let it be one of adventure. But I don’t mean just exotic travel. Adventure mindedness is being open to experiences, foods, people, disciplines, and ideas. You must be a salesman at home from the very beginning by encouraging and inspiring your wife and children to look out of amazed eyes at the richness and beauty of God’s creation. You must cheerlead your family that it’s the best thing in the world to be alive RIGHT NOW and be a part of THIS family! When do you start doing that? Long before you have kids.

You start today. You allow yourself to get excited about the possibilities in front of you and the things you’re going to emphasize in life. Decide how YOU are going to live your life because apples don’t grow from a juniper bush. You need to become the thing you intend to harvest from. For me, I always thought I’d have money. I didn’t start with any, but I figured it’d work out that way. I also just assumed I’d have a family. I never really thought about taking kids on trips, but as I matured and my work life started to pay dividends, that’s what we did. We took our kids on trips instead of buying things. We were not ‘thing-oriented’, we were ‘experience-oriented’. Each place we went required an eager expectation and a willingness to suffer the slings and arrows of missing luggage, close quarters, and long waits. Those things create family unity – as long as the mindset sets the correct perspective. Don’t be a passenger in your family life by letting your wife and kids set the tone of how things will go. Drive. Lead. Set expectations. Adjust attitudes. Call time out and provide expectations and then monitor how it’s going.

For example, my family was on this incredible vacation in Italy. We’re staying at this renovated 15th century monastery in the Venice sound where we had to take a water taxi to and from St. Mark’s square. While we’re waiting to be picked up, my 13-year-old gets in a nasty funk. I take his picture and he looks like he couldn’t be more bored. So I call time out, ask for a re-do, get him to laugh at himself, and take a new picture of him smiling. Two almost identical pictures except for his attitude. These pictures are classics in illustrating choosing mindset. It will be your adventure-minded attitude compounded over the next 20+ years that will set the tone for generations to come and will define your family character.

Your current and future family needs you to fulfill your maximum potential in life, starting today, in capturing a passionate mindset of adventure. Tomorrow is fast approaching. Take the next month to write down what you’re going to do, exactly how you’re going to do it, and who you’re going to become as a result.  Get after it.  Life is short.  Rest when you’re dead.

To your adventurous life,

Dave Marr

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By | October 14th, 2017|Personal, Relational, Spiritual|0 Comments

“Never give in, never give in…” – Part 2

I’m hoping from last week’s letter that you gathered a little insight that might encourage more personal resolve in your life. In life you will encounter difficulty and ‘right-mindedness’ is essential to growing through that experience. I want to expand on each takeaway so that it becomes a little more real and less a bumper sticker slogan.

Takeaway 1: Keep your eyes on the horizon. Life gets increasingly complex the older you get because you increasingly buy into things that matter and thereby take on more ownership of your life. Therefore the idea that something is difficult arises because you care – you care about your marriage, you care about your children, you care about your lifestyle, you care about your reputation, lots of things. Difficulties arise because the vision you have of your life and the reality end up being different. That tight-chested feeling of frustration occurs when reality is significantly different than your expectations. This is God’s normal process of maturing you, weaning you from naivete, toughening up your resolve, helping you gain a critically important understanding of His world-view of loving your neighbor as yourself. None of this happens without the blessing of trials. So staying focused on the long-term horizon and accepting difficulty as a natural consequence of caring about life keeps a balanced perspective which thereby provides important context to your current decision-making.

Takeaway 2: Keep moving forward. Once difficulties do arise – economic problems from a job loss, marital problems from alignment issues, parental problems regarding health, children problems from that endless bag of worries – you are confronted with a spiritual question of how to respond. The more spiritually aware and mature you are the more you “respond” than “react”. Your character, that mental/spiritual/emotional structure you’ve been developing since day 1, will come into play. Adherence to principles, integrity, perseverance, resolving to understand and see it through, patience, humility and grace are all qualities of character that will be revealed and tested during times of difficulty. The desire to escape, to quit, to have a drink, to have an affair, to flip the bird at God is not unheard of. Therefore, looking at the horizon past your difficulties acknowledges that they are short term. But the key is to keep moving forward until answers begin to materialize. Know that these challenges will end and you’ll be stronger as a result.

Takeaway 3: Be optimistic. When facing difficulty, there is a difference between suffering in stoic silence which can increase your isolation in a sort of masochistic selfishness versus being resolved and keeping your own counsel so as to not invite high school drama about superficial challenges. Take a moment to be clear on my meaning there. The difference is in the internal debate between optimism and pessimism as worn on your countenance, your face. For example, projecting your energy as a Debbie Downer intends to invite sympathy and pity. Coming home from work after a long difficult day and shifting your projected energy to one of ‘woe is me’ so that you can justify consuming your wife’s positive energy is a character issue. The internal debate is how much positive energy do you have in your tank? Do you have a little more? And a little more? The idea here is to create new and positive patterns in your life, so being aware of the internal debate between producing energy and consuming energy is vital. To respond is to remain in charge of your psycho/spiritual/mental/emotional self and not devolve into selfish reactions. This is a character issue. Keep your eye long term, keep moving forward, and control the positive internal monologue.

Takeaway 4: Produce goodness. Everyone faces takeaways 1-3. Not everyone is equipped with the understanding about life’s difficulties, the presence of mind to respond versus react, and the awareness of the incomprehensible blessing of God’s Providence. Life’s journey is largely a journey from self-care to other-care. For whatever reason, most people are hand-to-mouth in spiritual energy and consume as much goodwill as is available. Conflict and high school drama is their life. Fear, shame, helplessness, excessive ego and competition are hallmarks of this consumption. However, there is abundance available. You should fear not, worry not. Ego can be shelved because you are not in a fight or flight situation. There is a better way. In a zero sum game when there is a finite pie to split amongst the contestants, then quick competition gains more. But life is not a zero sum game. Expand the pie. Create abundance. Lift others. Zig’s “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want” applies. Love your neighbor as you love yourself is the essence of spiritual maturity. Your capacity to grow through difficulty expands your ability to produce goodness because you see mankind for what it is – in need of your positive energy.

To your spiritual abundance,

Dave Marr

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By | September 22nd, 2017|Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

“Never give in, never give in…”

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Winston Churchill, 1941.

On a plaque in my office I have the pith of that quote – “Never, Never, Never, Give In”.  It has served me well these 25 years of self employment. I didn’t understand that philosophy in my twenties back when the smell of my freshly minted undergraduate diploma still tingeing the air. I began my career with little experience and less idea of the road ahead, only the certainty of the blue sky of greatness. And for a dozen sun-kissed years, my life was filled with blessings.

But into every life rain must fall. My personal bias is to believe completely that the path to joy and happiness is, as James describes it, through difficulty. I’ve referenced that belief here in these letters many times. Because that belief is foundational to life. Dr. M. Scott Peck’s opening line in The Road Less Traveled is “Life is difficult.” It goes on,  “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” 

My difficulties have been extremely small compared to many. They have been questions of business survival, nothing more. The marriage difficulties resulting from personal immaturity, role definition, languages of love, time balancing, and leadership were resolved in our late 30’s, so that extra energy could be more wisely used elsewhere. Raising children takes energy. Fortunately, we had only blessings there. In other words, a blessed life with only normal issues arising.

Because I have had my share of business difficulties, as a result I have a few takeaways that have served me well. Churchill captured perfectly in the same speech as above a mature principle that life teaches, “But we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough”. There will be times when the Nazi’s are bombing London, Hurricane Irma winds are blowing, cancer is attacking a loved one, or the government machine is mindlessly grinding your way. But mostly life is a long pursuit of navigating circumstances, challenges interspersed with happiness and joy. Takeaway 1: Stay focused on the horizon.

That realization leads to the second takeaway, difficulty doesn’t define your character, it reveals it. A young man may not know what to do with his life. That is not uncommon. But it is to his character that he pursues movement rather than listless ennui. Direction and purpose will eventually come because the skill of navigation is easier to achieve than the engine of movement. Takeaway 2: Difficulty develops a God-blessed character of a man revealed in times that are long and tough – keep moving forward.

Takeaway 3 is about when life provides you the blessings of difficulty – smile. Not just on the outside, but on the inside. Be optimistic that in your custom-made difficulties you are blessed. Yes, this seems trite and like superficial advice, but it’s not. Everyone will be challenged. And real pain isn’t fun. Making the most of your time here on earth takes effort, so showing the world a smile keeps a positive perspective. And this leads to the last takeaway.

Mankind is divided into a spiritual spectrum of producers and consumers. The vast majority of people consume energy. They are filled with want, need, helplessness, conflict, fear, shame, negative competition, self satisfying ego, all varying degrees of consuming energy. Therefore, be a producer of well-being, maturity, grace, acceptance, help, positive cooperation/competition, and love. Difficulties are designed for you to distinguish in the pit of your resolve who you are in the act of becoming. Produce goodness, which starts in your maturing heart. This is part of the great commission in life.

If you are persevering now through some God-blessed difficulties – press on.

Dave Marr

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By | September 15th, 2017|Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

The Baton

Sunday the 10th marks the 11th quick long year since my dad’s death. I wrote this Letter in honor of him and my father-in-law Steig. I love them and miss them both. Life is short gents, so please don’t let small things get in the way. Do you have someone you could honor while they’re still here? And as a father, be honorable.

To my Dad:

The sweat dripped from his brow as he scaled the hill. His muscles were fit but lean from the years of training. No longer carried by the meaty limbs of his youth that bounded with certainty among the rocky terrain, he picked his way with crafty precision with a mind toward efficiency sparing his remaining strength. The hill was a long one and the injuries of past events could be felt with every step. The many scrapes and scars stood out against his sinews as he pumped up the hill.

His breath was strong despite the slope, though his pace slowed a touch as his strength faded, the crest fast approaching. The race continued after his part was done; his job was nearing completion. The baton weighed more now than a short while ago, but he remembered when it weighed nothing at all. When the race started so long ago, the baton seemingly weighed nothing in actuality compared to what he thought it might. How he imagined the weight would cramp him and cause him to stumble. But in the end, he carried it well like so many before.

Looking up he could see the next runner waiting at the milestone, running in place with fresh legs, the sun anointing him with a golden glow around his head. Squinting, he couldn’t see the next runner’s expression backlit against the sun. However, as he neared, an eager smile appeared. He firmed his pace down the stretch so the handoff would be on his terms; where he could look into the next runner’s eyes as an equal, not as one who had spent his last to gain the final yard. He would carry the baton at a solid pace running along side for but a short while. Then with an easy manner pass the baton to the next runner wanting so much to encourage him, to explain the course, to describe what meaning can be derived from the race itself. But in the end, after a few paces where the untested energy of the new contestant begged to be released, he handed off the baton.

He kept pace for a couple of strides and caught the eyes for but a glance.  And what a glance. Optimistic and full of light, the new runner smiled with a wide grin and unknowing but heartfelt appreciation. With a slight wave of his hand that held the baton, the young runner eased his stride respectfully, but certainly. He moved smoothly away. The older runner, without baton, running no longer had meaning. But after such a long race, stopping didn’t seem right either. He carried on for a bit till the baton runner melted into the sun. At that point, when he could see the other runner wasn’t going to fall or drop the baton or need anything whatsoever, he slowed his pace to a walk. The race continued, but not for him. He had run to the best of his ability and now that he had passed the baton, it was time to rest. The baton ran ever towards the sun, but here, evening had already begun to set. It would be nighttime soon. Time to get off the hill and rest.

To grandpa and morfar with love.

To a successful passing of the baton,

Dave Marr

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By | September 8th, 2017|Personal, Relational, Spiritual|0 Comments

Business and Faith

I did not know what I wanted to do for a living when I was 24 or 25 or 26 or… when I was 35 when I started my company and only did so reluctantly. I couldn’t find another company that I agreed with in how they handled matters (compensation, integrity, my agenda*), so I was talked into starting my own company. The guy that talked me into it was going to be my 50/50 partner, but at the very end, he backed out. That scared me and I almost bagged on the whole thing. I had a wife, 3 children, a mortgage and all the responsibilities of life.  I wasn’t sure if I had it in me when it came to “go time”. I thought about it and decided that I could only fall so far.  But something else was manifesting in my life. For me, this is a subtle description and may sound strongly similar to a church message – I began to find faith.

My church experience with the use of the word “faith” has been in reference to one’s beliefs,  “I have my Faith” or the leap one takes when the outcome of an event is uncertain, “You gotta have faith” (i.e. believe it’s going to work out). Those two thoughts seem too passive to me. Those ideas have coincided with a slightly more victimizing idea “God will provide”. Maybe it’s my arrogance and ignorance (likely), but it seems to me that our purpose on this planet is neither to be independent of God’s influence nor solely dependent on it. Rather, I believe there is a dynamic element that requires our full and active participation, but also a realization that we can’t control (much of any) outcomes. Therefore, I began my company with the notion that I would put forth as much effort as I could to win the economic day, but I wouldn’t worry too much about the outcome. I would then assume that good or bad, the outcome was valuable for my development. Keep the end in mind.

So what has happened over the following 25 years to support or detract from that theory? In ‘98 the State of Colorado investigated a complaint that I was paying salespeople as independent contractors (1099). I was. They sued. I won. In ‘99, the IRS audited me due to a referral from the State of Colorado on the 1099 issue. I faced certain bankruptcy. My partners wanted to switch to W-2. This was an pressure-filled time. The outcome was seriously in doubt. The fork in the road to switch or not was fraught with painfully poor choices. But in the end, I decided that my wife loved me, my kids were healthy and loved me, I wasn’t facing a life or death choice just a future decision about car quality (in other words, it was a purely economic problem). And most importantly, I gave the outcome up to God (that sounds very churchy, but that’s all I had left in my bag). I was engaged, certainly, but focused more on my actions in the moment rather than worrying that reality was going to crush me. In other words, I remained light on worry.

Regarding the God prayer thing, I did engage every night in that quandary. Should my prayers be “Your Will be done” or “Hey Lord, please bless my desired outcome”?  In the end, I settled on “Um… God?  If you are taking into account my desires, I don’t want to be unclear here. I choose that my company succeed in this issue…Just so you know where I stand on this.  Amen.” Not super spiritual, but true nonetheless.

I told my partners (since I was majority shareholder) that we would live or die with the business model we had. Much to their immediate chagrin, we pressed on. They were much older than me, so they wouldn’t have time to recover if we lost. But, thank God, and I do, we won.  In fact, when we were sued on the same issue by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) a couple years later, we had the IRS victory to bolster us in yet another win. So the IRS victory was huge – huh, no kidding.

Is there a difference between “having faith” when the outcome of a big event is uncertain and “acting in faith” as I’ve tried to describe? I don’t know. For me it’s been about ownership vs victimization. Every aspect of my messages in these Letters to you is about full engagement in one’s life, particularly your mental/spiritual life and learning about what God might be saying to you through circumstances. As you put forth your effort as a salaried employee, commissioned sales, or entrepreneur, you will always act to some degree in faith that your efforts will be rewarded. I believe that the more you engage God in the equation without foregoing your own responsibility in the input, you’ll see a positive result. Moreover, this belief is like a muscle, it gets stronger as you commit to it and exercise it.

To your actions in faith,

Dave Marr

* Agenda: When working for some other guy, it’s his prime objective to make money.  Maybe not solely make money, but it’s usually number one on the list.  However, it’s not uncommon for that employer to have an attitude that is not inclusive of my goals as an employee. It’s their agenda or nothing. All good as long as everyone is clear. However, I don’t think that employers should consume employees (time, passion, etc.) or abuse employees in the pursuit of their agenda as I have seen often.

Dave Marr

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By | August 25th, 2017|Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

What a Woman Needs part 3

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

This 3-part discussion, “What a Woman Needs”, is intended to provide you insights into the woman you have taken to become your suitable helper, the one you’ve empowered to speak into your life, and who you’ve promised to love, honor, and cherish till death do you part. Those words, * love * honor * cherish, generally are taken as feelings and perspectives – where you look upon your wife through loving eyes; you honor her with a gentle touch; you cherish every word brought to your ears, or some such thing. Yes, it’s wise to do those things.

But if that’s all you do, you could have difficulty. Those actions on your part to love her, honor, her and cherish her are vital, but they’re not enough if taken as passive. You must take careful steps to lead her in bringing forth the spiritual qualities listed as the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – and you can’t do that without fully engaging in them yourself.

Whoever said “Women are the weaker sex” lived in a cave. Women are strong. And even the strongest of them would prefer to be with a man who leads. Yes, a nod to the smallest portion of the populace who think men are a waste of space, but for the most part, women want men to lead. A strong woman would rather be a strong wing man than on point.

Ok, you’ve heard that before. So what’s new with this post that isn’t obvious?. As I said you must take careful steps, particularly with a strong-willed woman, to lead in bringing forth qualities in her. Careful steps because you’re not going to be just handed over leadership in the areas that need leading. Each of you must grow and therefore you must solve the question “Why can’t you accept me for who I am?”. Speaking of careful, I need to be delicate in my words here, directional but not condescending. So these examples are caricatures in answering that question.

Here’s one hypothetical: Let’s assume she engages in gossip, or saying negative things about other people; for example when she tells a story, the way she represents her side is all sunshine and light and the way she characterizes the other side is snide and bitchy. Does that trait serve you and your family to have a wife who does that? No, because it does not build up people or friendships. It forms cliques and is competitive. Her storytelling is an actual representation of the way she thinks. So you decide to “lead” her out of that catty trait. How should you do that?

Or she worries. She agonizes over the kids, money, health, relatives, friends. It’s not like there isn’t reason to have concern over the factors of life, but that’s life. The issue though here is she fixates beyond reason and is not fully able to release. Her nature is to nurture and that somehow justifies all worry. If she worries, she’s not at peace and her anxiety energy replaces her love energy. How do you lead her out of that trait?

These are spiritual qualities. Life is a spiritual endeavor. To lead is to create a vision of a better world and then work to bring that world about – A better environment, a better marriage, a better you, and a better her. And because you may not have a clear idea of what that might look like or how you do that, you should go somewhere where that is discussed and on display, maybe not perfectly, but available. The statistics are overwhelmingly one-sided on this. The divorce rate on average is about 51%. For those who go to church it drops to 31%. And for those who pray regularly it drops to the low teens.

Those stats are incredible!! My proposition is that the qualities of a good marriage are discussed at church and in the Bible. At church spiritual fruits are watered and nourished regularly. Divorce is lower among church attendees not because of societal pressure, that’s absurd; no, those who attend church regularly are given the opportunity to be self aware where the fruits of the spirit are traits of maturity. What is the answer to not accepting her the way she is? Her potential is so much greater to bring her love and nurturing to the world. Don’t get me wrong, church is not de facto spirituality, heavens no. But it’s directionally a clear way to create the environment and relationship for meaningful spiritual growth.

A woman wants to be wingman to a man who will pick a direction and go there and not get caught in his own bound up struggles. A woman can be trapped in character traits that diminish her capability to nurture and love and needs a partner who will lead in spiritual development and accept wingman feedback. This mutuality is at the heart of being a suitable helper. Loving, honoring, and cherishing the woman who she is capable of becoming is where you should be leading.

To an abundant harvest,

Dave Marr

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By | May 5th, 2017|Personal, Relational, Spiritual|0 Comments

Captain of my Soul

Resolve.

I recall being about 38 when I achieved relative independence from the enslaving qualities of youth – poverty, ignorance, arrogance, conflict, victimhood, and arrogance (yes, twice). Of course, you overthrow one master for the confines of another, but hopefully one more benign and a bit more cooperative. Ignorance and arrogance are as deadly a despot duo as can exist to which I can truly say I needed to overthrow that unruly team. That is the theme of today’s message: For you to become the man God has intended you to become, for you to fulfill and extend your potential, for you to achieve something that will bring you respect and satisfaction, you must have a revolution of the mind and spirit.

And how do you do that? A declaration of resolve. You have so much potential, but in today’s world of distraction it will take significant motivation and resolve for you to choose a book over a video game, a run versus a beer, a conversation instead of a text. If you were enslaved in oppression it might be easier to find that consistent resolve; however, in this day of easy living, it’s very difficult. How will you find the resolve to make something meaningful of your life and stick with it?

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Though I am not beaten

With rod held in scorn,

I too appreciate

The fact that I was born

In the mild waters of indifference

I jostle amidst the crowd

Head anointed with comforts thus

I emerge face up-turned and proud

Beyond this place where distractions play

The siren’s song of strife

I stand firm and resolved

To bring meaning to my life

It matters not the allure or static

Nor chance’s dice that roll,

I decide what goes inside

For I too am the captain of my soul

David Lawrence Marr

Gentlemen, let me say that lessons continue long into life, the mountain continues ever upward. I am 54 and continued to be humbled by my past arrogances. Just today, I had some feedback on perceptions of who I am that was disturbing. My personal goal in life is to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of everyone I meet. And here, today, I got feedback of just the opposite. Here’s the point: We are put on this planet for goodness sake. Feedback is designed for improvement, even if it isn’t positive. In fact, positive feedback doesn’t help as much as negative because it tells you you don’t need to improve versus you’ve got a ways to go. Listen, as Einstein said, “God doesn’t roll dice”, therefore, you being here isn’t some happenstance mistake. You are the Captain of your Soul. To where do you sail?

An Ironmen group of three men meeting weekly will provide you the forum to declare your resolve. It provides the accountability you need to your future self to make you the captain of your soul. You have set goals for the year which is now halfway gone. Have you kept your resolve to keep up with the discipline on your physical goals, your personal goals, your relational goals? Are you moving forward on your financial goals? What about your spiritual life?

To your continued success,

Dave

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By | January 27th, 2017|Personal, Spiritual|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

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

Attitude

You may remember the list below – Factors to your economic success. Of the list, which factor do you control that plays the largest role in your success? Softball, true, but I can’t move forward in this discussion without addressing the easy fundamentals, right? Of the items below, the one you have the most control over that you can turn on immediately and when compounded daily in your life plays the greatest role in the success and happiness of your life is, without a doubt, attitude. Sure, God could smite thee or politics could imprison you; you could be dumb as a dairy cow or have the ball bounce the other way on every attempt, but with a positive attitude, the game isn’t over regardless of short term difficulties.

  • Luck
  • Intelligence
  • Attitude
  • Politics
  • Spirit World
  • Character
  • Relationships
  • Wisdom
  • Expectations
  • God
  • Psyche
  •  Laws: Spiritual, Physical, Economic, Political
  • Beliefs
  • Faith

I have known several guys over the years whose demeanor was one of intense…judgment I suppose. They’d look out on the world with a sense of superiority and judgment leaving a wake of negativity and pessimism. Attractive, intelligent, often funny, competent, but at the end of the day, not enjoyable company. And looking at the path of their trajectory – divorced, unemployed, estranged from kids, few friends, one of them dead – not a path you’d want to emulate. If I were to guess, I’d say they overemphasized intelligence as a factor of success and under emphasized attitude.

Your attitude is such a big deal. The qualities of attitude that I admire are openness, growth orientation, an appropriate balance of humility with ego, optimism, personal direction, contribution, willingness to fail therefore willingness to try, perseverance, and a continuous state of learning. Now sum all that up in a word – attitude – and compound that day after day for years. What could possibly be the outcome?

Attitude is a muscle. The more open and optimistic you are, the more open and optimistic capacity you have. So to the question I posed – What could possibly be the outcome? The “Realist” might say optimism that hasn’t been worn down a bit by experience is just delusional. For example, the guys mentioned above would have been optimistic had their company not been sold and they not lost their jobs. If their dad hadn’t fertilized their soil with bitterness, alcoholism, and bad advice, then the obstacles to happiness wouldn’t be so insurmountable (I am thinking of specifics guys here). “If I hadn’t smoked so much pot as a kid I wouldn’t be so ADD today”. These are real guys with real issues. They think “Reality” formed and justified their attitudes.

Mmm, maybe. I contend otherwise.

You will have difficulty in your life. Of that, I’m sure. The question you should ask yourself when rain does fall is “Is this happening to me or for me?” Are challenging circumstances randomness (luck) or Providential (God-sent)? Your answer to this question is revealing. If ‘Attitude is a muscle’, then running down hill doesn’t get you as in shape as running up hill. It’s easier to have a good positive attitude when things are easy and going your way, but if times are tough, then what? Your attitude sucks? Are circumstances sent to you by God to have you develop resolve in your attitude? How does one become resilient without difficulties?

You interact dynamically with your environment. Wherever you are, however you are, the world reacts to you accordingly. A positive attitude creates a positive response over time. It takes energy to provide that open, optimistic, positive lift to others. The world notices and feels the vibe you send off and reacts accordingly. I contend that God/the universe will provide you with a like response to your attitude, positive or negative. That’s my reality.

To your positive reality,

Dave Marr

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By | October 21st, 2016|Financial, Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments