Between What Should Be and What Is

What are you doing to close the gap?

The word “should” can be powerful. It can be a tool to help solve problems, it can identify a hurdle that you have to overcome, or it can be a point of stagnation – it comes down to actions surrounding the word.

Should expresses an expectation. In some ways it is used as a hypothesis as in:

“If I do this then that should happen”.

In other ways it is used to express an opinion or a projection of what is “right”:

“This should be the way the world works”.

When a specific set of actions is laid out ahead of “should”, as is the case in the first example, you can call that a proactive approach to expectations. It communicates an expected outcome based on the steps leading up to the result. This is the idea behind the scientific method and it lends itself to learning and growing. It is part of an analytical process and provides feedback on how well you understand a specific scenario. It is also iterative in that it gives you information to use the next time you are faced with a similar situation.

When should is a reaction, as is the case in the second example, this is projecting an idea onto something else. It can be thought of as virtue signalling, in a way, in that it is an expression of an opinion. Depending upon the actions taken following such statements, this can either be the starting point of motion or a place of stagnation – we will look at this more below.

The Proactive Approach

The proactive side of the argument – where “should” is used to express a hypothesis – holds a lot of benefit to an individual. Like was mentioned before, this method of guessing the result based on actions taken is a great way to learn, iterate, and improve.

Using this method to solve any problem helps to take the subjective influence out of learning and helps us to stay objective when analyzing a situation. This is helpful when dealing with humans, as we are emotional creatures by nature. 

By thinking through and predicting how a course of action will end up, you will give yourself a data point to check in with – you will have context for how a situation unfolds. After the dust settles, you will be able to analyze the situation and find things that didn’t go as planned or that you can do better. You will also identify those things that you did well and keep those for next time. 

When things go totally sideways and the train jumps the track, you can then go back to the drawing board and think up a new solution and try the whole deal over again. Thinking in this more objective manner helps to keep you out of the subjective headspace where feelings and emotions cloud judgement.

The Reactive Approach

The more interesting side of “should” is the reactive side. This side of the discussion forks one of two ways – one initiates action to take place, the other is stagnation; again, it depends on what else happens around “should”. 

The reactive side of “should” sounds like the following:

“It shouldn’t be this hard” 

“This should just take care of itself”

Well, reality is that the situation is exactly that hard and that thing is likely not going to just take care of itself. The question that needs answered here is, what are you going to do to overcome these challenges?

There are two ways to go from here – the Initiated way and the weak way.

The Weak Way

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this section, but it is important to discuss. The weak path is chosen by those who want to continue to stay in this world of “should”. They don’t want to change their routines, they don’t want to step up and take action, they want to continue to stay stagnant and find comfort in their great ideas of what “should be”. 

These people may seek validation from others for their great and groundbreaking ideas of what should be and they will be proud of themselves for having standards higher than the situation they find themselves in.

These people are draining to be around. Nothing is ever good enough for them.

The Initiated Way

The stronger path, the Initiated path, is to pick up the ball and run with it. When you begin to feel that something is not right or doesn’t align with your expectations, you seek to change. 

In this case, “should” is the starting point for action. It sets off a lightbulb that tells you you may need to hit the drawing boards to figure out a solution. This is the path chosen by people that accept the challenge and decide to do something differently.

There are two variables that need to be considered in these situations by an individual who is deciding they will not be bested and that they will come out on top.

  1. What actions are you willing to do?
  2. What are the limitations of the situation you are in?

The first point is important to break down a bit further. It refers to what actions you are willing to do, not what you’re able to do. This is an important distinction.

Part of self-reliance is having the awareness and discipline to set boundaries. Not every situation that you come across will be worth dying on the hill for – some things are just not that critical; and these things should be recognized early so that you can approach them accordingly. 

Once you understand what you are willing to do, then you can start to put a plan together for what you will do – what actions are you going to take to overcome this situation and close the gap between what “should be” and what “is”. 

The second point is to understand the limitations of the situation you are in. Again, this is tied to awareness, but there will be some situations where there are limitations in what you are able to accomplish. You are not going to overhaul an organization’s operations, for example, so if what “should be” cannot exist within the rules of an organization, you’re limited in what you will be able to do to close the gap while remaining in that arena.

There is no value in being the martyr for causes that are not that important. There is greater value in taking action to find a way out of your problem that works for you.

After mulling over these two considerations, you will be able to decide on a path forward but it will result in either:

  1. Closing the gap between what is and what should be – making changes to positively impact the situation you find yourself in.
  2. Cutting ties with whatever the situation is and moving on – by first deciding whether you achieve your goals with the limitations at hand, you can then decide whether cutting ties with the situation and moving on is the better choice. No reason to stick around if you cannot succeed in what you want to do where you are at.

Again, I must reiterate, self-reliance is about having the awareness to be able to take a step back and see what the situation is to decide to act accordingly. 

Further, remember that this is all driven toward taking action in some way. The point is that “should” doesn’t accomplish anything on its own. Closing the gap requires you to take decisive action. Either stay and make changes or leave and solve your problems another way; whichever path gives you the best chance of success.

Finally, allow me to clarify that there is a difference between cutting ties with a situation and running away from problems. I am not suggesting that you run away from anything; I am saying something different. I am saying that if, when you take a look at the situation and challenges you are up against, you see that the limitations are too great, you have a choice to make.

  1. Either the problem is not that important and therefore does not need to be pursued further in which case I am suggesting you put your efforts toward more pressing matters.
  2. Or, if the limitations are too great to overcome how you initially planned, it is on you to find another route to get where you want to go. This may involve cutting ties with your immediate situation and coming at the problem from another angle.

Wrap Up

Whenever you hear the word “should” your ears should perk up. Look at how it’s being used, who is using it, and what they are talking about. 

It should be an indication that there is action to be taken. It shouldn’t be an excuse to complain about a situation taking place and it shouldn’t be used to seek validation for an idea.

Instead of using “should”, use more concrete language. Form an opinion, state that opinion confidently, and take action. Passing off great ideas of what “should be” are worth little unless you’re going to follow that up with actions to close the gap.

Yours in strength,

-Chris

There is a lot going on at thebeardreport. these days.

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Strategies For Setting Better Goals

Understand these ideas if you want to set better goals and increase your win-rate.

Setting goals is one of those things that is often talked about but rarely executed well. We are told to set goals at work, in our personal lives, and for anything that we want to achieve. Some people dislike setting goals or have difficulty doing so. Some just don’t see the value in the exercise.

I am a fan of setting goals, and you should be, too. It is one of the few pieces of commonly shared advice that I agree with. There are some models for setting successful goals out there and they cover some of the big improvements that can be made when setting goals. One such model for goal setting is setting SMART goals. 

SMART is an acronym for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

The SMART model is a great model for the mechanics of setting goals; however, it falls short in application because it doesn’t cover some of the more fundamentals needed to make the best and most successful goals you can make.

A lot of what was discussed in the last few blog posts apply here in terms of having your goals be a part of your Values and Philosophy if you really want to achieve them. Your goals must align with your Philosophy and your vision for yourself; else, pursuing those goals is going to pull you off course.

Beyond that, there are some other core ideas that will benefit you as you set out to make goals for yourself. These are a few steps deeper than the common pieces of advice thrown around. 

Additive and Iterative Goals

We should first consider the types of goals that we create as they come in two flavors – additive and iterative.

When you start a new pursuit or want to change directions in life, you are going to create additive goals. These are goals that require you to develop new behaviors and to carve time out of your schedule to work on them. These are goals built around those activities that you are not currently doing and need to have their place in your Strategy.

Your iterative goals are those goals created to continue to lead you along your current path. When you have your Philosophy and Strategies working to achieve goals, you have a direction to move in. Your iterative goals are your smaller goals that you will set for yourself to create milestones along the way. Iterative goals continue to grow as you grow so that once you achieve one, you modify it; growing to the next step along your path.

It is important to understand the types of goals you are setting because you have a limited number of resources at your disposal – there is a finite amount of time and energy you have in a day to accomplish different things. If you have too many goals and exceed what you are able to put out, you are setting yourself up for failure. This becomes a problem more so with additive goals rather than iterative goals. The important take-away here is that you need to have a plan for accomplishing your goal before you set it. If you cannot determine where you are going to spend time pursuing an additive goal, you don’t get to set it as a goal. This is how you maintain consistent action without feeling overwhelmed.

Iterative goals are less of a concern in this way because, as defined, they grow with you. As you achieve one, it changes to something bigger. The number of iterative goals you have will remain close to the same number, they just change periodically.

A quick aside – what happens when you have a goal to stop doing something – a subtractive goal? These types of goals need to be framed as an additive goal to maximize their success. If you only focus on stopping something, this is called avoidance, and is only a short term solution to the problem. Avoidance of a problem is prone to failure because you are having to actively keep yourself from doing something – you need to spend time thinking about that thing you want to stop. It takes willpower to prevent yourself from falling into old habits and is not sustainable. 

Instead, you should create additive goals in these instances to replace your old habit with a new one. So, instead of your goal being to stop drinking soda, for example, you would set a goal to drink more water. You are taking something subtractive (stop drinking soda) and creating an additive goal (drink more water). This will help you to be more successful because you are focusing on accomplishing something rather than refraining from something.

Timing and Understanding

Many goals that are not accomplished are doomed from the get-go. When you have a poor understanding of what accomplishing a goal actually requires, you enter into setting and pursuing goals with unrealistic expectations. Not meeting these expectations leads to frustration and disappointment and will ultimately result in you walking away from that goal.

To prevent this from happening to you, don’t set goals too early. Anything worth doing is worth doing right and is likely to take some time and effort to do. Spending some time up front to learn about what you are going after is time well spent.

At the beginning, just learn. Watch videos, read articles, play in sandbox a little bit. Figure out how this new activity feels, figure out how and where you are going to fit it into your life. Get a feel for how long it will take and what type of costs are involved. These are all things best learned by getting involved; immersing yourself in the arena and just feeling it out.

Once you have at least a basic understanding of what you’re looking to do, then start to define your goal and some iterative goals to go along with it, as required. 

You don’t want only one goal that is going to take years to accomplish because it makes it difficult to track. You need intermediate, iterative goals along the way to give you an idea of how you’re tracking.

Understand Your Direct Impact

Another important concept to make sure you consider is that you must understand how and to what level you are able to directly impact your way toward a successful end. Too often, especially in the corporate world, people make goals that are largely out of their hands. For example, a goal of “I want to be promoted by next year” is not a good goal to set for a few reasons:

  1. There are a lot of factors outside of your control that will determine whether you get that promotion.
    1. Is there a job opening?
    2. Who else are you competing against?
    3. What are the criteria to be considered for a promotion?
    4. Who is going to take your position if you get the job?
  2. You will be relying on someone else to create that opportunity for you.
  3. Whether you get promoted is not your decision.

Now, since you are Initiated, you are already thinking of ways you are going to get that promotion – you’ll work harder, take on more responsibility, etc. You are going to show everyone why you deserve that promotion – and that is exactly what you should do. However, in the context of setting goals, “I want to be promoted” is not the goal you should set.

Instead, you should set goals that you have more control over. Construct goals around what responsibilities you are going to take over and which tasks you are going to seize ownership of. Determine what training you are going to complete to make yourself more qualified. These are all better goals than a promotion because you have far more impact over your achievement of these things. Ultimately, your goal is to prove you deserve a promotion, but these other goals are better in terms of ensuring achievement and will also give you the best chances of achieving what you really want.

Also important to consider is that this alternate approach is providing you a contingency plan. Never leave yourself in a position where you are relying on others for your ultimate success. 

Here’s what I mean:

Staying with this example of a job promotion – if you have gone forward and done everything you could do to prove you are the man (or woman) for the job and you still get passed over for the promotion – you always have the option to leave. Should it come down to that, you have all of these qualifications to put on your resume to show the next employer why you deserve the job that you want rather than the job you already have. This is the Initiated way to handle a situation. This is self-reliance. Elevate yourself to be able to play at the next level and then go find the opportunity you need to get there. Rinse and repeat until you get to where you want to be.

On Achievement

It was touched on before but each of your additive goals should turn into iterative goals down the road. If you create goals that align with your Philosophy and your Values, you should always have another iterative goal to go after. 

Even if you have a lofty goal that is going to take you years to achieve, that’s great. As you start to close in on that big goal you should start looking for how you are going to roll that achievement into the next large goal – iterating your achievements and carrying that momentum into the next pursuit. 

Said differently, if you are setting good goals in alignment with your Philosophy and where you ultimately want to go, it will be easy to carry that momentum from one goal into another because it is all connected – your Integrity is strong. There should be an obvious next step for you so that you continue down the path you have laid out for yourself.

Perhaps one of the worst things a person can do is set a dead ended goal – a goal that once achieved, doesn’t leave them anywhere else to go. Upon achievement of these goals, they hit a wall and all of that momentum is lost. The achievement of a goal should be short lived and followed quickly with the next action. 

In these instances it is worth considering what the real value of achieving that goal was. Was it integrated into a person’s path? Was that pursuit strengthening their Integrity? In the case of hitting a dead end with nowhere to go next, it may be the case that this was an offshoot of their path and now that they have reached the end they need to bushwack their way back. The efforts to achieve that goal may not have been as fruitful as it could have been.

Wrap Up

These tactics for setting goals will ensure that you are setting the right goals for the right reasons. Considering these criteria when setting goals will leave you with the best chances of achieving your goals because they will be created in alignment with your Values and your Philosophy rather than being disconnected from them. 

Create strong goals for yourself that have a high probability of success and go work your ass off until you make them happen.

Yours in strength,

-Chris

There is a lot going on at thebeardreport. these days.

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Relying on Accountability to Drive Change – A Weak Approach

Accountability is not designed to drive change.

It seems we hear “accountability” everywhere these days. Whether people are saying that they need to be held accountable, they are going to hold you accountable, or whether they will hold themselves accountable, it is a common idea in the self-development space when people want to make changes in their life. 

Also see:

“I want to do that, I just struggle to hold myself accountable.”

And

“I would do better if someone held me accountable.”

Here’s the truth – these two sentences don’t mean what they appear to mean. Both of these sentences communicate:

“I don’t really want to do that but I think that I should. I think that it would benefit me, but if it were up to me, I wouldn’t change a thing”

This is because accountability is addressing the surface level of why people don’t make changes and they don’t have something deeper driving them to change. The better question to investigate, though, is why don’t people have the drive to do things they say they want to do? Why do most new-year’s resolutions fail before April? Why is accountability such a popular idea with it being fragile as it is?

Outliers

We first need to cover what types of activities accountability aims to achieve, which is the outliers. The outliers are those activities that lay outside of one’s Philosophy. They are the changes that people say they want to make but are not a Value that they hold; instead, they are held as a “want” or a “nice to have”. These are the things that people like to talk about but don’t like to take action on. It takes time and work to accomplish meaningful things in meaningful ways. It takes commitment. 

These outliers, though, sit just outside of a person’s Values. They are not tied to their Philosophy, there isn’t a strategy associated with them, they don’t have their place in a person’s life. They are the out-of-town relatives that you see during the holidays rather than the family that lives in your house. You visit these outliers when it’s convenient, but they will be lower priorities to you than those things that are part of your Philosophy. 

Think about this for a second – do you need to think twice about doing those things that are part of your identity or do they just happen naturally? 

Does a smoker need to be reminded to smoke?

Does the Netflix binger need to be reminded to watch TV?

These things are not outliers to these people – they are a part of their identity, their Philosophy, and they do these things automatically. 

Until you move things from being outliers to coming into your life as a Value, you will continue to rely on these “feel-good” ideas of accountability and motivation to drive change. The changes you are trying to make are not a part of your identity yet, so you need to be pushed to do them by something external to you. As they are not a Value to you, they remain a “want” rather than a “need”. 

When the going gets tough, or when you start to hit challenges along the road, that idealization of that “want” fades. As you learn about what it really takes to get to the level of achievement you want, you start to think that maybe you don’t want it that bad or that maybe it isn’t really important to you, and you begin to regress back to your old habits and abandon that pursuit.

Accountability Is A Few Levels Too High

I said earlier that accountability addresses the surface level issues that prevent people from making change. It is a surface level solution, too, meaning that staying up at the level that accountability operates at will prevent you from diving deeper. 

The deeper dive is where you find Values, Philosophy, and Identity – the real drivers of habits. You need to get down to these levels if you want to make real and lasting changes in your life. 

Accountability will always rely on someone or something holding you accountable – even if you are a believer in holding yourself accountable. Accountability will always be a two party system; it is fundamental to how the idea works. 

Further, accountability is built upon a system of avoiding punishment for failing rather than realizing fulfillment as when you hold Values and work to live in alignment with them.

Unpacking that statement further, accountability relies on the truth that there must be some consequence for not performing. Some of accountabilities methods for doing this are:

  1. Pride – if you don’t do what you are supposed to do, you need to admit to someone that you failed to meet expectations and it is a hit to your pride. 
  2. Monetary – if you are paying for a service and not using it, you are punished by having to pay the fees you agreed to pay without getting the value that you intended to get. 

Lacking Integrity

A result of relying on accountability to drive changes in life is the lack of Integrity that comes along with it. 

Accountability drives action for discrete activities like going to the gym. When an aspiring gym-goer hires a coach, accountability to actually go to the gym is often one of the services they are paying for.

There are a few issues with this.

  1. A fitness coach can only hold someone accountable for a limited number of things.
  2. Hiring a coach to help you in the gym is a discrete activity that is often an outlier to people that feel they want to get in shape – they cannot help integrate this within the larger picture of your Philosophy.

Both of these issues point to lacking Integrity in the larger plan of one’s life. The power of living with strong Integrity is that everything you do is tied to everything else, but most importantly it is tied to your core beliefs. 

Seeking accountability to drive action often leaves you with a fragmented set of priorities and you have different people holding you accountable to each of them.

If you were to take a step back and build a cohesive set of Values that included everything that you wanted to accomplish, you wouldn’t need to be held accountable as you would begin doing these things out of necessity. They would be a part of your identity and your purpose. To not do these things would be a betrayal to yourself. 

Make the changes you want to make Values. Go deeper than accountability and motivation. Drive action for yourself because you need to be doing the different things you are doing, not because you think you want them.

Yours in strength

-Chris

There is a lot going on at thebeardreport. these days.

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When You Stand on Crumbling Ground

Weak foundations fail when they are put to the test.

Last week covered the grounding effect of a strong Philosophy and how you are able to ground yourself to something, have context to understand new ideas, and how all of that allows you to best use the strengths that you have. By standing on a strong foundation, you are able to stay your course and without something coming along and knocking you off your path.

This is not reality for some, though. Some do not know what a strong Philosophy is nor do they realize their foundation is weak. As humans trend more toward finding comforts and outwardly blaming others for their shortcomings, they are not reflecting on themselves and their own Philosophies.

Any foundation, even the weakest ones, only fail when they are stressed. That is to say, even the weakest foundations will remain intact if they are not stressed to their failure point.

In calm times, weak foundations work just fine. They have supported the structure above up to this point and they have proven they are strong enough to do that; however, the storms are out there. Life is not stress-free. There are people with different ideas of what is “right”, there is disagreement, conflict; there are any number of things that can stress someone’s foundation. 

There are common characteristics of people with weak Philosophies and it is useful to be able to recognize these things to both better understand these people when you encounter them and to be able to identify weaknesses in your own Philosophies when you need to take a look at yourself.

The Feeling of Weakness

The feeling of a weak Philosophy or a weak foundation can be characterized from uneasiness to fear. You can imagine standing in place and feeling the ground below you beginning to give under the stress you are trying to handle. You are being loaded with the stresses of the world, but your foundation is giving way. It would almost be like standing in quicksand.

Or it can feel like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff. You have no ground behind you to be able to take a step back. As the problems of the world start to come at you, you have nothing to do but stand there and hope that you can take the blow. If you can’t, you’re going to get pushed off the edge of the cliff. Neither are comfortable feelings. 

A strong Philosophy will place you in an area with ample space around you to maneuver, absorb the blow if needed, or take a step back to buy some more time. A weak Philosophy does not give you many options. Each opposition feels like a high-stress situation and you feel trapped. You can’t see any path around the challenge because you are only able to worry about what this challenge is going to do to you and your fragile foundation. 

It is uncomfortable and scary.

Rather than take action, people in this position must resort to reactions as they do not have the luxury of time and space to create a better plan. Reactions are less likely to be the best course of action because they are decisions made under pressure. 

There are a few common reactions in these situations.

Arguing – going on the offensive to protect a weak Philosophy

When someone with weak Values and beliefs is confronted with opposing views, their reaction can surface in the form of an argument. When someone is perched on the edge of the cliff and they are confronted with opposing ideas, they cannot afford to take the blow or step back and take an objective look at things; else they risk losing whatever small bit of safe ground they had behind them. 

Their only option is to go on the offensive; to argue. They need to protect themselves by trying to gain more ground in the face of conflict. They need to find validation for their ideas so that they can remain where they are.

If people understood how weak their foundation was or how closely they were standing to the edge, they would want to put in the work to move off of the edge during the quiet times; however, like I said earlier, few can see how close they really are to the edge until they feel the pressure. So, when pressure comes, they must fight. They will argue until the problem goes away and they live to see another day. 

You would think this would be an eye-opener for these people; that after that brush with danger that they would see how close to the edge they really are standing. 

This isn’t the case.

More often than not these people see arguing as an effective method to manage this type of situation. Now that they already have that one success story, they gain confidence that they will be able to argue away all types of issues that crop up down the road. Because they are comfortable with where they are currently at and they feel they have a method to ensure their safety, they have little drive to put in the work to strengthen their Philosophy and take some steps away from the edge of the cliff.

These people will instead continue to argue more often. Because they are not strengthening their Philosophy, it continues to grow weaker. It takes less to make them feel the threat of losing their footing. They rely on the tactics they have developed. 

These people are often on the offensive and look at how they can blame others for their situation. They deflect issues, refuse ownership, and will remain in that same position dancing right on the edge of falling.

Sources – dismissing those thoughts that don’t come from “reputable” sources

There are another group of people, a subset of the argumentative people, that require sources for all of the information they hear. These people build their Philosophies and their foundation through compiling ideas from other people. Lacking their own critical thought, they listen to others that are believed to be authorities on any number of topics, and then cherry pick the excerpts that best support whatever their position may be.

Because this group of people don’t take the time to do much critical thinking themselves, they don’t see that others can, and do, come up with their own ideas. In disagreements, these people want sources because they want to attempt to understand who is really behind the arguments being presented because this is how they think.

This approach to a Philosophy is weak for a few reasons:

  1. By compiling the thoughts of others, these people will have gaps in their logic and Philosophy. Segmenting a Philosophy into excerpts of others makes it difficult to have strong Integrity as the pieces likely don’t link together in a meaningful way. These Philosophies end up being a compilation of facts without the logic ties that make them into one, cohesive system. 
  2. It lacks depth of understanding. When a person decides to adopt ideas from other sources, they often do not understand all of the underlying reasoning and support that went into the original statements, nor do they understand the depth of these ideas as they apply to themselves. Neither of these scenarios make for a strong, integrated set of ideas.
Influence – following a new set of ideas because they sound good

Lastly, a person with a weak or lacking Philosophy can be easier to influence than those with a strong Philosophy. As they are not tied down to a strong foundation, these people can float with the direction of the winds and follow whichever crowd they decide has the best answers. 

These are the people that have frequent revelations or have a new set of ideas and Values each time you see them. Without doing the homework to define a Philosophy for themselves, they often believe they have “found the answers” and adopt these new ideas.

This, too, leaves a person feeling uneasy; though, in a different way. When this person first finds a new set of beliefs, they are in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. Everything this new set of ideas and Values does is great and it has the answers that they have been looking for forever – they finally found it. 

Eventually, though, they may begin to feel that this set of Values isn’t checking all their boxes. They are not headed in the direction that they want to go and they begin to see these adopted Values aren’t going to take them there. 

The influenced feel trapped until they catch wind that another group has different ideas and they go along and follow that group for a while, and the cycle repeats itself.

Being easily influenced makes it difficult to lead oneself in a specific direction. When you get caught up in crosswinds, you can’t stay on the road – you are floating along at the mercy of the wind. 

These people will feel like they are staying in one spot because they keep getting put on these paths that don’t progress them forward, just sideways.

Reaching Out for Something

The common thread woven through each of these profiles is that they are all reaching for something. Whether they call it meaning, understanding, safety, optimization, whatever, they are reaching outward for ideas, logic, or Values that will tie them down to the ground and resolve whatever feelings of uneasiness they are experiencing.

The arguers reach out looking for logic that proves them right while deflecting the responsibility and ownership off of them and onto someone else – anything that keeps them safe from stepping backward off of the cliff.

Those looking for sources are reaching for validation of ideas. Rather than validate thoughts and ideas for themselves, they look to “authorities” for validation. These people, too, are trying to tie themselves down to a solid foundation in their own way.

Those easily influenced are reaching for found answers rather than creating their own answers. By flowing with the direction of the wind they find someone that is saying something attractive and hitch their wagons up to that horse thinking they finally found the answers.

None of these groups are doing the work for themselves or providing their own answers; instead, they are looking for someone else to provide answers to them. 

Their Philosophies would be stronger and more complete, with stronger Integrity, if they would put the work in themselves, but they either don’t want to face the questions required to do so or they cannot see that they have this kind of work to do – they lack the vision to look at themselves this way.

Rather than reaching outward, these groups of people would benefit more from looking within and challenging themselves to answer their own questions. They can get custom-tailored solutions rather than buying off the rack.

It is beneficial to you to understand what a weak Philosophy looks like so that you can use this understanding to strengthen yourself. It is also beneficial to be able to understand others that exhibit some of the common behaviors you see so that you can better contextualize people that you interact with in the world.

Understand that reading this and understanding these concepts puts you in a small group of individuals who are ready to take in this information. Because of this, you are going to encounter people from one of the other three groups above far more often than you will encounter those who think like you and me. It is important to understand the world around you so that you can find how you navigate through it. 

These people with weak Philosophies are not bad people, they are simply on their own journey and some will figure this out sooner or later and make the necessary changes. There are others that will be stuck in the same rut forever. It is our job to do our best and be an example for others.

Yours in strength,

-Chris

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