Wednesday, August 10, 2022

CONSTITUTION Article VII: Core Paradigms

A PARADIGM is a belief or way of looking at something
This week's post continues the publication of the Freedom Focused Corporate Constitution by sharing ARTICLE VII: Core Paradigms.   

Freedom Focused is guided by, and operates under the auspices of, the following CORE PARADIGMS:

  • The most authentic kind of leadership is LEADERSHIP by EXAMPLE.
  • Comprehending and consistently adhering to TRUE PRINCIPLES is the only pathway to authentic change and long-term success, freedom, and Existential Growth.  
  • REPETITION is the key to the reception, acquisition, and retention of all knowledge and skills.
  • The Quality of the Individual Corporate Citizen is Supreme (1). Organizational results are a mathematically precise, qualitative extension of the collective synergy engendered by the individual self-leadership and self-management decisions of each agent within the organization.  
  • Human Capital, or The People, are an
    organization's most valuable asset.
    HUMAN CAPITAL
     is, and always will be, our most valuable asset at Freedom Focused.
  • Extra-organizational CULTURAL LITERACY and interpersonal APTITUDE is as intra-organizational knowledge, proficiency, and functionality.  
  • Corporate success (or failure) is an outgrowth of the success (or failure) of individuals, groups, teams, departments, divisions, organizations, and companies to become high-functioning Self-Directed and Self-Managed Work Teams. Such work teams require:
    • A high degree of Self-Action Leadership exercised by each individual.
    • Respect of authority of subordinates.
    • Respect, recognition, affirmation, fair treatment, and effective utilization by superiors of the education, skills, personality, and worthy ideas of subordinates.  
    • A primal understanding and visceral conception that human beings are, in the long-run, fa more influenced by example, kindness, empathy, and compassion than they are by criticism, nagging, or punishment.  
  • At Freedom Focused, merit is King.
    Freedom Focused is a corporate MERITOCRACY; it embraces and operates on the following meritocratic principles:
    • Upon being hired, each Agent receives superior remuneration to one's previous employ as a reward for outstanding merit demonstrated in one's previous positions of entrepreneurialism, employ, education, etc. (See Article X, Section 10.8.2, 10.8.2.1, & 10.8.2.2.). 
    • Salary raises over time are based primarily on merit-based accomplishment.
    • Hierarchical promotions are made primarily on the past achievement and performance merits (both quantitative and qualitative) of an agent under promotional consideration, and only secondarily on issues of seniority (e.g. time at job, accredited degrees held, certification status, etc.).
    • Extended positions of formal "tenure" do not, nor will they ever, exist at Freedom Focused. All positions within the organization, from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on down to the newest hire, are subject to periodic, merit-based renewal, probation, or termination procedures (See Article X, Sections 2 and 3 for more information about hiring and term renewal procedures).  


Our presentation of the Freedom Focused Corporate Constitution will continue NEXT week with ARTICLE eight (8): Agent Code of Conduct.

  1. Vision and Mission
  2. Rules
  3. Oaths of Office
  4. Pledges of Allegiance and Corporate Anthem, Flag, and Salute
  5. Organizational Pillars
  6. Values and Standards
  7. Core Paradigms
  8. Agent Code of Conduct
  9. Statues of Authority, Chains of Command, and Organizational Structure
  10. Corporate By-Laws and Operating Procedures
  11. Long-term Goals
  12. Projected Growth Trajectories and Intended Revenue Streams
  13. Dr. JJ's 13 Rules for Living


Dr. JJ

August 10, 2022
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Author's Note: This is the 278th Blog Post Published by Freedom Focused LLC since November 2013 and the 107th consecutive weekly blog published since August 31, 2020.   

Click HERE for a compete listing of the other 277 FF Blog Articles.  

.........................

Tune in NEXT Wednesday for another article on a Self-Action Leadership related topic.  

And if you liked this blog post, please share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and students—and encourage them to sign up to receive future articles for FREE every Wednesday.

To sign up, please email freedomfocused@gmail.com and say SUBSCRIBE, or just YES, and we will ensure you receive a link to each new blog article every Wednesday.  

Click HERE to learn more about Freedom Focused

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan Jensen

Click HERE to buy the SAL Textbooks

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

CONSTITUTION Article VI: Corporate VALUES & STANDARDS

At Freedom Focused, our VALUES & STANDARDS are divided into internal and external categories. In other words, we have standards and values that are organizational-centric and we have values and standards that are customer- and citizen-centric.

INTERNAL Values & Standards
(Organizational-centric)

Freedom Focused values the acquisition, development, and retention of highly intelligent, well-educated, culturally literate, and unusually capable, creative, and proactive SELF-ACTION LEADERS who know right from wrong and are committed to consistently choosing the right; whose dispositions and personalities fit well with their various teams and functions; whose integrity is beyond reproach; and whose continual commitment to abide by and perpetually personify the standards, tenets, principles, and practices of the SAL Theory and Model and Freedom Focused Corporate Declaration of Independence and Constitution is unquestioned.

At Freedom Focused, the GOLD Standard is the only standard.
That is, unless you want to strive for platinum or diamond.
To accomplish this lofty, all-encompassing objective, Freedom Focused herein establishes the HIGHEST STANDARDS—even our GOLDEN STANDARDS—of conduct, decorum, integrity, effort, performance, and results throughout ALL areas and corners of the organization. Freedom Focused exists to attract world-class professionals in every function and position who have previously demonstrated high levels of proficiency, dependability, character, and integrity who seek after further growth, freedom, leadership opportunities, and the chance to perform superior work born of outstanding education, genius, talent, creativity, and hard work. It also exists to train up new and fresh self-action leaders who are just beginning their careers and who authentically desire to serve others and make a meaningful difference in the world through their life's work. We accomplish this by striving diligently and conscientiously to establish a corporate culture that exemplifies and accomplishes the following:
  • A continual quest to develop world-class Agents (i.e. leaders, managers, trainers, and builders) who produce high-functioning and synergistic Self-Directed Work Teams (SDWT). 
  • High levels of intra-organizational knowledge of—and respect and appreciation for—the SAL Theory & Model and the Freedom Focused Declaration of Independence and Constitution in conjunction with related concepts, structures, functions, and processes.
  • High levels of extra-organizational cultural literacy among Agents.
  • World-class excellence of individuals, teams, departments, and the organization-at-large.
  • The highest levels of honesty, integrity, transparency, and communication.
  • Acquisition and retention of top-tier leaders, managers, trainers, and employees through stringent hiring policies, ongoing internal training and development initiatives, exemplary mentoring and role modeling, and conscientious accountability procedures. 
  • Production and distribution of ample and regular rewards and recognition for authentic achievement.
  • Construction and consistent maintenance of superior facilities, grounds, tools, technology, processes, troubleshooting, R&D, etc.  

EXTERNAL Values & Standards
(Customer- and Citizen-centric)

Freedom Focused exists to meet the SAL-related educational and training needs of its customer and clients in superior fashion borne of an undeviating commitment to the Freedom Focused Corporate Declaration of Independence and Constitution. We accomplish this by diligently and conscientiously establishing a corporate culture that exemplifies and/or accomplishes the following:

  • World-class Agent character, education, personality, skills, and results
  • World-class pedagogical content
  • World-class instructional facilitation
  • World-class products and services
  • World-class customer satisfaction
  • All-inclusive outreach to a United States (primary), Western (secondary), and global (tertiary) clientele based on a first-come, first-serve, customer-demand basis.  
  • Holistic professionalism among all Agents and across all organizational Units
  • Nonpareil global image and reputation


Our presentation of the Freedom Focused Corporate Constitution will continue NEXT week with ARTICLE seven (7): Core Paradigms.

  1. Vision and Mission
  2. Rules
  3. Oaths of Office
  4. Pledges of Allegiance and Corporate Anthem, Flag, and Salute
  5. Organizational Pillars
  6. Values and Standards
  7. Core Paradigms
  8. Code of Conduct
  9. Statues of Authority, Chains of Command, and Organizational Structure
  10. Corporate By-Laws and Operating Procedures
  11. Long-term Goals
  12. Projected Growth Trajectories and Intended Revenue Streams
  13. Dr. JJ's 13 Rules for Living


Dr. JJ

August 3, 2022
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Author's Note: This is the 277th Blog Post Published by Freedom Focused LLC since November 2013 and the 106th consecutive weekly blog published since August 31, 2020.   

Click HERE for a compete listing of the other 276 FF Blog Articles.  

.........................

Tune in NEXT Wednesday for another article on a Self-Action Leadership related topic.  

And if you liked this blog post, please share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and students—and encourage them to sign up to receive future articles for FREE every Wednesday.

To sign up, please email freedomfocused@gmail.com and say SUBSCRIBE, or just YES, and we will ensure you receive a link to each new blog article every Wednesday.  

Click HERE to learn more about Freedom Focused

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan Jensen

Click HERE to buy the SAL Textbooks

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Team USA Shines at World Track Championships

HAYWARD FIELD

As a former middle-distance track athlete and forever Track & Field enthusiast and fan, I took great pleasure and joy in watching some of the globe's finest athletes compete at the recent World Track Championships held in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

World Championships in Athletics (Track & Field) are usually held every two years on odd-numbered years that precede and succeed Olympic Years, which, like Presidential elections, come around only once every four years on an even-numbered year.

But like everything else in our world, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted traditional schedules around a bit. Since the 2020 Olympics in Japan were actually held in 2021, the 2021 World Track and Field Championships were pushed back a year as well—to 2022—this summer. And for the first time in their 46-year history, the Championships were held in the United States—at historic Hayward Field, which also hosted the NCAA Division-1 Championships and the U.S. Track & Field Championships earlier this year. 

Suffice it to say, Hayward Field has been very busy this track & field season! 

Hayward Field has a classic, red-colored, Benyon Sports
BSS 2000
all-weather track surface.
For those unfamiliar with track and field, Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon—the home track of the University of Oregon Ducks—is the most famous track and field venue in not only the United States, but the entire Western Hemisphere.

Known as "Track Mecca" in the West, few other venues in the world possess the kind of athletic history, sporting lore, and haunting mystique that emanates from Hayward Field. Named after Bill Hayward, one of the early track coaches at the University of Oregon, Hayward Field has earned its prestige over many decades as historic athletes and coaches such as Bill Dellinger and Bill Bowerman, Steve Prefontaine, Ashton Eaton, Galen Rupp, Jenna Prandini, and countless others coached and competed in historic races and other events throughout the twentieth century and beyond.

Click HERE to see PICTURES of historic HAYWARD FIELD

As a former high school and collegiate middle-distance runner and an enthusiastic track and field fan, I understand the glory and mystique of Hayward Field. Although I never had the opportunity to compete there myself, I did have a chance to visit the track complex back in 2010 and saunter a ceremonial lap (a tradition of mine at track venues around the country) around its hallowed grounds at night when its stands were empty and quiet. That was nearly a decade before its $270 million renovation began in 2018. What was once just a storied collegiate track stadium is now a state-of-the-art, world-class, all-purpose track and field complex capable of hosting up to 25,000 fans at full occupancy.

As track stadiums in the United States go, that's huge! And the world took notice, rewarding Hayward Field and the United States' its first ever bid in 2022 to host the World Track & Field Championships.    

Anyone who knows about professional track and field knows that like cricket, rugby, soccer, or tennis, track & field is more popular in Europe and other countries around the world than it is in the United States. Let's face it: in America, football, basketball, baseball, combat sports and car racing simply suck up most of the oxygen in the proverbial "arena," leaving other sports to fend for themselves on the margins of popularity and revenue. Outside of an Olympics' year, track and field is often just an "also-ran" sport in the U.S. (no pun intended).  

Despite this fact, the U.S. has consistently performed at or near the very top of the track and field world ever since the first modern olympics was held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. This global competitiveness stems in-part from a robust track and field culture that is deeply imbedded in America's public and private high schools and colleges. After all, have you ever been to a high school in the United States that didn't have a track circling its football field, or a college or university without an outdoor and/or an indoor track somewhere on its campus?

In addition to this perennial prep school and collegiate boost, other organizations and private clubs, such as the New Jersey New York Track Club in the Northeast, the Santa Monica Track Club and Oregon Track Club on the West Coast, and the successful (albeit controversial, disgraced, and now defunct) Nike Oregon Project, have played prominent roles in helping track and field athletes from the United States to become and remain among the very best in the world in virtually every track and field event. 

This long-term prowess was on full display this month from July 15-24 as the United States men's and women's team won an all-time record 33 medals (13 gold, 9 silver, and 11 bronze)—more than the second, third, and fourth place nations combined.

They also swept the medals (gold, silver, and bronze) in both the men's 100 meter and 200 meter dashes—a feat that no country had achieved since the 1904 Olympics—118 years ago! To say that U.S. men's sprinting is back (after some disappointing years and decades in the shadows of the lustrous legacies of Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, and the Jamaican Supermen led by Usain Bolt) would be an understatement. 

U.S. Men's Sprinting is definitely back!

And U.S. Women's sprinting has plenty to brag about as well, despite the continued dominance of Jamaica in women's sprints.

And like the men's sprinters, U.S. shot putters also swept the medal stand, with world record holder and Olympic Champion, Ryan Crouser, winning gold and his American teammates, Joe Kovacs and Josh Awotunde, claiming the silver and the bronze.   

Sydney McLaughlin has broken the world record four times
in an event—the 400 hurdles—that some consider
the most difficult in all of track and field.
The most notable personal achievement for the United States came from 400 meter hurdler Sydney McLaughlin, who broke her own world record in her premier race and became the first woman in history to clock under 51 seconds in the event.

Some consider the 400 meter hurdles to be the most difficult event in all of track and field. In this incredibly challenging race, Sydney McLaughlin has now broken the world record an astounding FOUR (4) times in the past 13 months. In the process, she has lowered the world record time by nearly a second-and-a-half, which is more improvement than the previous seven world record holders made over a period of 35 years! (1). 

McLaughlin later anchored Team USA's 4x400 meter relay team to gold with a blistering sub-48 second lap split. Is it any wonder that pundits are starting to consider handing her the title of: "Greatest Female Track and Field Athlete of All-Time" as rumors swirl she might soon be taking her talents to the open 400 meters—and beyond!    




The next most notable achievement for Team USA was delivered by sprinting phenom Noah Lyles in the 200 meters when he broke Michael Johnson's 26-year old American Record to win gold.

Click HERE to watch Noah Lyles win gold and break Michael Johnson's American Record in the 200 meters.

As an avid track fan and proud American, it was thrilling to watch my countrymen and women perform so solidly and successfully in a sport that receives relatively little attention in comparison to other, higher-profile American sports. And to have them perform so well at home, on American soil—where the World Track & Field Championships had never been held before—in front of so many enthusiastic fans from around the world, was a genuine joy to behold. What made me even prouder than the athlete's sporting achievements was the effort, enthusiasm, sportsmanship, grace, and class that they demonstrated throughout the 10-day meet.

At Freedom Focused, we believe in something called the PATRIOTISM PRINCIPLE.  This principle promotes the idea that individual self-action leaders have a duty to be energetic, enthusiastic, earnest, supportive, and participative members of whatever groups in which they choose to play a part. In other words, you should be patriots of more than just your country. You should also be patriots of your family, club, school, team/department/organization, church, neighborhood, community, state, nation, and world, etc. Doing so promotes the welfare of each group in which you play a part—as well as the welfare of individuals involved in each group.  

In exercising this brand of positive patriotism, self-action leaders should eschew attitudes of condescension or superiority towards other teams, groups, or nations, especially in the face of victory. While it is both desirable and fun to excel—and to win—and while there is nothing wrong with feeling a sense of pride in excellence and victory, such events should never lead us to harbor attitudes or actions that suggest we are existentially superior to our competitors, because we are not! In short, self-action leaders should always strive to do and be their very best without diminishing the absolute worth of all other human beings.  

Click HERE to learn more about the PATRIOTISM PRINCIPLE

One of the things I love about the Olympics and World Championship events is the eclectic patriotism I get to see on display from all over the world during the course of these celebrations. At such events, Americans are proud to be Americans and cheer enthusiastically for their nation's athletes. And similar excitement is demonstrated by fans, coaches, families, and athletes from other nations.

At the world championships, Americans are proud to be Americans; Jamaicans are proud to be Jamaicans; Kenyans are proud to be Kenyans, and Brits are proud to be Brits... and so on.

And that is precisely as it should be! 

Despite my unabashed and unapologetic pride in my American citizenship and my fellow American athletes, I also vicariously take pride and joy in the incredible achievements of athletes from other nations who surpass the performances of my countrymen. In such moments, I try to put myself in the shoes and singlets of fans from other countries and allow myself to vicariously experience the pride they must feel in their own nation's achievements. 

The Union Jack was draped proudly over the 
shoulders of GOLD medalist Jake Wightman
following his surprise victory in the 1500 meters.
For example, two of my favorite events are the 1500 and 5000 meter runs. I love these events in part because I used to compete in them myself in college. I also love them because they are so exciting to watch! It is also an unusually exciting time in history for both events because elite athletes from around the world have either broken (or come close to breaking) world records in both events in recent years.

The winner of the 1500 meters—a young man from Great Britain named Jake Wightman—was a huge come-from-behind surprise victory that few outside of his immediate family saw coming. Adding to the drama of his exciting surprise victory was the fact that his Dad just happened to be the stadium announcer for his race that day. What a day it was for the Wightman family! And what a day of renaissance for British middle distance running. Anyone familiar with the history of middle distance running is aware that the United Kingdom has a rich history in the sport, with bragging rights borne of names like Sebastian Coe and the two Steves (Ovett and Cram). One of my personal track heroes of yesteryear, Sebastian Coe, is a former holder of multiple world records in middle distance events. More recently, he served as the Chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Organizing Committee and is a former member of the British Parliament's House of Lords. Coe currently serves as the President of World Athletics, the governing body for international track and field. His present role afforded him the privilege of handing out many of the medals at the World Championships.  

I was so happy for the Wightman family, Seb Coe, and British citizens everywhere when Wightman pulled a rabbit out of his singlet and shocked the world with his surprise win in the 1500!

Click HERE to watch Jake Wightman's epic upset of Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the 1500 meter finals

Jakob Ingebrigtsen made his countrymen and
women very proud when he won gold in the
5000 meters in a winning time of 13:09.24.
Then, in the 5000 meters, a young man from Norway named Jakob Ingebrigtsen—who is the reigning Olympic Champion in the 1500 (and was the favorite to win the 1500 meters before being upset by Jake Wightman in his primary race)—ran a perfect race in the 5000 meters to win his first World Title in his second-best event and smoke a field of extraordinary talent from all over the world. What an exciting day for Norway!

I was so happy for the Jakob Ingebrigtsen and the Norwegians!

Click HERE to watch Jakob Ingebrigtsen win Gold in the men's 5000 meter finals

Sweden's Mondo
Duplantis won gold
in Pole Vault.
And then there was the Swedish-American superstar pole vaulter, Mondo Duplantis, who, like Sydney McLaughlin in the 400 meter hurdles, broke his own world record when he vaulted 20 feet, four-and-one-half inches to finish off the 10-day meet and win GOLD for Sweden. Imagine launching yourself over six meters into the air by a flexible pole made of fiberglass and carbon fibre.

That's what Mondo Duplantis did for Sweden!

Click HERE to watch his Epic Vault for yourself.  

One of my favorite things about Olympic and World Championship events in track and field is the medal ceremony held after each event is over. This is the ultimate opportunity for athletes from all over the world to demonstrate PATRIOTISM for their homeland as their nation's flag rises upward into the sky as the gold medal-winning athlete's national anthem fills the stadium air.  

I was just a wee lad of eight or nine years old—around the time of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea—when I first began dreaming dreams of someday standing atop the winner's podium with my hand over my heart—a GOLD medal draped around my neck and chest—reverently singing my nation's national anthem: The Star Spangled Banner.

Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on how I look at it—my own athletic ability never rose to the level to make such an experience possible for me in this lifetime. The closest I ever got to that pinnacle of sport was running in a 1500 meter final in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Track Championships at South Plains Community College in Leveland, Texas, in May 2003. 

Click on any of the maroon links below to watch
one of the Medal Ceremonies from this year
World Track & Field Championships
Nevertheless, I will always take great pleasure and joy in watching others realize their long-held hopes and dreams—the result of countless hours of mental, physical, emotional, social, and intellectual preparation—as they stand atop the champion's podium for the rest of us who will never have the chance.  

And my heart will always throb with patriotism (either literally or vicariously) as they do so!

Click BELOW to watch some of the inspirational and moving Medal Ceremonies at the recent 2022 World Track and Field Championships...  

Men's 100 Meter Dash   (USA)

Men's 200 Meter Dash   (USA)

Women's 100 Meter Dash    (Jamaica)

Women's 4x400 Meter Relay   (USA)

Women's 100 Meter Hurdles   (Nigeria)

Men's Shot Put   (USA)


Dr. JJ

July 27, 2022
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Author's Note: This is the 276th Blog Post Published by Freedom Focused LLC since November 2013 and the 105th consecutive weekly blog published since August 31, 2020.  

Click HERE for a compete listing of the other 274 FF Blog Articles.  

.........................

Tune in NEXT Wednesday for another article on a Self-Action Leadership related topic.  

And if you liked this blog post, please share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and students—and encourage them to sign up to receive future articles for FREE every Wednesday.

To sign up, please email freedomfocused@gmail.com and say SUBSCRIBE, or just YES, and we will ensure you receive a link to each new blog article every Wednesday.  

Click HERE to learn more about Freedom Focused

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan Jensen

Click HERE to buy the SAL Textbooks

Notes:

1.  Click HERE for source citing Sydney McLaughlin 400 meter hurdle stats.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Dr. JJ Sings the Freedom Focused Corporate Anthem

Joseph F. Smith
(1899-1964)
Professor of Speech & Drama
Prolific Actor, Director, and Oral Reader

& my maternal grandfather
In today's post, I'm gonna go out on a limb a little.

I'm gonna share a video of me singing the Freedom Focused CORPORATE ANTHEM.

In light of the fact that I am not a professional soloist, what in the world gives me the audacity and presumption to do such a thing? 

I'm glad you asked!

There is a back story worth sharing, and it hearkens back to my formal education. I have two accredited academic degrees. One is a bachelors in English. The other is a doctorate in education. Considering I have dedicated my career to writing, speaking, and teaching, it makes sense that I would have pursued an education in English and education.  

However, back in the year 2001, when I was just a lad perched at the outset of my college career, I thought for a time that I might pursue a degree in DRAMA and/or THEATER.

Why?

          Good Question!

My maternal grandfather (center) plays Prince Sirki (aka "Death")
in La Morte de Vacanza (Death Takes a Holiday) by Alberto Casella
Adapted by Robert Ferris in 1929 for English on Broadway.

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend an extensive and eclectic array of live, professional theatrical productions. I've also had the chance to perform in (or otherwise support) a number of live, amateur, theatrical roles over the years.

And I enjoyed all of it!

My interests and talents in this arena were both genetically and mimetically influenced.

First and foremost, there was a definite genetic influence. My mother had been involved in theater as a young woman in high school and college, and her father (my grandfather)—a professor of speech and drama back in the 1920s-1960s—had directed 150 stage plays in his career; he had also performed in many of them as an actor.

And he was good at it.

My Grandfather, Joseph F. Smith (1899-1964)
in a play costume for the role of "Death"
in "Death Takes a Holiday."

So good, in fact, that his peers were not shy in heaping lavish praise upon his impressive and wide range of theatrical talents. 

For example, one of his academic colleagues heralded him as: "one of the half-dozen top-flight [oral interpretive] readers in all of America."  And he didn't stop there, but continued, saying: "A few may equal him, but none surpass him. In the highest and finest sense of the term, he is an artist" (1).

Some of the drama and theatrical opportunities I enjoyed growing up were church-, school-, or community-related. For example, I sang in a bunch of different church choirs throughout my teen, young adult, and adult years. I also played in my high school's concert band for three years—rising to the rank of percussion section leader my third year. And then there was the odd production at my local church, school, or community that would arise, drawing me into the performance arts even further.  

Other opportunities arose as simply a creative outgrowth of my native personality, which has always possessed a bit of a flair for the dramatic. This was apparently what led my high school basketball team to nickname me "The Jensen Show" when I was in 9th grade. Or perhaps it is why an academic colleague in my doctoral program once suggested (to my surprise) that I might just have the stuff required to be a successful stand-up comic.

Thus it was that spontaneous silliness, monologuing, cracking funnies in casual conversations, creatively contorting my face and body, enthusiastic (not-to-be-confused with skilled) dancing, and/or efforts to impersonate my favorite actor, Jerry Lewis (or somebody else either real or created), were not uncommon actions on my part as a teenager and young adult.  

More notably, in fifth grade I was cast in a leading role in an original school play production that my fellow fifth-graders had collectively written with the help of a local professional writer named Wendy White-Ring.

An ad promoting an original play
I wrote and co-directed in 1998. 
Later, I had opportunities to be an extra in a couple of small-budget films in my home state of Utah. Then, after graduating from high school and before I served my church mission, I wrote and co-directed an original play for fifth and sixth graders at the local elementary school in my hometown.

I entitled the play: Chivalry Isn't Dead.

This undertaking was, you might say, an early effort at promoting Self-Action Leadership (SAL)—albeit with a fictional historic and romantic twist that was age appropriate for preteens.   

When I enrolled in college after my mission, I signed up for six (6) different thespian-related courses in support of my evolving and ultimately ambivalent theatrical ambitions. These courses included: 

  • DRAMA
  • THEATER
  • VOICE and DICTION
  • MOVEMENT for ACTORS
  • PUBLIC SPEAKING
  • VOCAL PERFORMANCE (musical soloing) 

To play Hamlet, or to hone my writing skills
like the author thereof: that was a key
question in my mind during my college years.
At the conclusion of this Tour de Performance Art dans le Université, I ultimately decided against pursuing a degree in drama or theater and signed up to major in English instead. This was a solid long-term career-based decision because of the immense practical benefits to my writing, organizing, and critical thinking (analytical) abilities. Such skills would prove indispensable to developing the SAL Theory and Model, organizing and composing the SAL Textbooks, and otherwise building Freedom Focused from the ground up.   

Nevertheless, the formal training I received in theater, drama, and music greatly enriched my overall education, career, and life. And it often comes in handy in my pedagogical stage roles of public speaker and teacher. It also further engaged my interest in culture, history, art, and CULTURAL LITERACY, which, as you may remember, was the subject of last week's post.

In addition to enrolling in those six performance-related courses in college, I also played several small parts in my college's production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Among the various roles I played was a speaking part: Curtis the Cook (Petruchio's servant) who has a comical tête-à-tête with Grumio in Act four, Scene one. Participating in that production was a marvelous experience and proved to be one of the highlights of my entire undergraduate education. In the famous words of Mark Twain: "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."

Mark Twain
1835-1910

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education
."

Mark Twain

Now that you are familiar with my background in music and theatre, you will perhaps be less surprised that I am going to SING FOR YOU today. 

As you may remember, a few weeks ago I introduced the official Freedom Focused Corporate ANTHEM. All great nations and organizations have some kind of representative patriotic song; so why shouldn't Freedom Focused?  

Joseph Martin Kraus
aka: the "Swedish Mozart"
The music to our Corporate Anthem was composed by Joseph Martin Kraus, who is sometimes referred to as the "Swedish Mozart." This nickname was derived from his musical talents and the fact that his life paralleled Mozart's almost precisely from a chronological standpoint (both were born in 1756 and died in their mid-30s in the early 1790s).

The lyrics to our corporate ANTHEM were written by Dr. JJ.

Click HERE to review the Lyrics to the Freedom Focused Corporate Anthem.  

After publishing the words to our anthem a few blog posts back, a friend of mine and an avid reader of the FF Blog emailed me and, I assume somewhat jokingly, mentioned that I had failed to include a video of me singing the anthem. 

My friend was right!

Never one to back down from a worthy challenge—or otherwise cower from putting myself out there or going out on a limb in the name of wise and calculated risk-taking (or the education and entertainment of others)—and considering I've been in many choirs and even performed a few public solos in my day, I couldn't come up with a good reason for not adding such a video.

Dr. JJ sings the FF Corporate ANTHEM

So... for my good friend, ANDY, and the rest of my readers, I am including this week what I omitted from my previous post.

Before I do so, I really should issue an aural caveat for the sake of your ears...

I harbor no illusions about my singing voice. I am NOT a great vocal soloist.

I am okay—a decent—vocalist who, on his best days, rises to the range of the "high-side of average." In other words, I recognize that I sound better in a choir than I do in a solo performance.

For example, remember that dynamite comedy duo from the 1950s—Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis? Dean Martin was a truly great crooner. Jerry Lewis's voice was okay, but there's a reason he sang a lot less on screen than Dean. 

Spoiler alert...  I am a lot more like Jerry Lewis than Dean Martin... in more ways than one!

Nevertheless, just as Jerry would, on occasion, break forth into song in one of he and Dean's films, I am going to pull a little something out of my top hat for you today. I am going to sing the Freedom Focused Corporate ANTHEM for YOU!  


Click HERE to watch Dr. JJ SING THE ANTHEM  


FREEDOM  FOCUSED  CORPORATE  ANTHEM

Verse 1


I'm Freedom Focused,
I love liberty!
I'm free from tyrants, terror,
Pride and jealousy!
I'm free from myself and the devil within:
A fiend far more fearsome
Than the author of sin!


Verse 2

Freedom in all
Of it's glorious
Pure, sweet, majestic, and
Liberating bliss—
Will be mine forever as I recall this:
I'm sovereign and serendipity
Takes care of all the rest!


Verse 3

I'll never give up;
I'll fight to the end;
I'll finish my mission,
Then be born again!
And all along my way I'll lift others high,
Empowering them to soar into the sky!


Verse 4

There's no greater cause
Than FREEDOM and GROWTH!
To live for this purpose
Is my solemn oath!
I'll ever prepare myself and e'er be one
Who honors and reflects the pure light of the Sun!  


Click HERE to watch Dr. JJ SING THE ANTHEM himself.  


Dr. JJ

July 20, 2022
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Author's Note: This is the 275th Blog Post Published by Freedom Focused LLC since November 2013 and the 104th consecutive weekly blog published since August 31, 2020.  

Click HERE for a compete listing of the other 274 FF Blog Articles.  

.........................

Tune in NEXT Wednesday for another article on a Self-Action Leadership related topic.  

And if you liked this blog post, please share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and students—and encourage them to sign up to receive future articles for FREE every Wednesday.

To sign up, please email freedomfocused@gmail.com and say SUBSCRIBE, or just YES, and we will ensure you receive a link to each new blog article every Wednesday.  

Click HERE to learn more about Freedom Focused

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan Jensen

Click HERE to buy the SAL Textbooks

Notes:  

1. According to Andrew T. Weaver, former Head of the Speech Department at the University of Wisconsin, "Joseph F. Smith ... [is] one of the outstanding leaders of our profession. He is an inspiring lecturer and a powerful interpreter of literature."  W. Norwood Brigance, former Head of Speech at Wabash College wrote the following of Smith: "Joseph F. Smith is one of the half dozen top-flight readers in all of America. A few may equal him, but none surpass him. In the highest and finest sense of the term, he is an artist."  


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Beautiful Art from a Box Office Bomb

With my family in downtown Salt Lake City
during our 16-day trip to the Beehive State.
My family and I recently spent 16 days vacationing in Utah, the state where I was born and mostly raised. The primary purpose of our trip was to visit family and friends—nearly 100 of them—some of whom we had not seen for three years (or more) because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

During the course of our trip we traversed a significant chunk of the Beehive State (over 2,000 miles in our rental car)—from my hometown of Monticello in the southeast to the original State Capitol of Fillmore in the center of the state, and then on up to Utah, Salt Lake, Davis, and Weber Counties in the north.  

Because of the distance and gas prices involved, we decided to fly instead of drive to Salt Lake from South Florida. This gave us all an opportunity to do something extra fun: watch movies on the airplane!

On our flights to Utah, I enjoyed watching a couple of classic movies (Funny Face and Roman Holiday) starring my 1950s-60s Hollywood crush, Audrey Hepburn. As expected, she was elegant and lovely in both films. Her romantic interests in these movies included dancing legend Fred Astaire (Funny Face) and the ever-dapper and handsome Gregory Peck (Roman Holiday). My mother raised me on the old musicals and movie classics from her own youth in the 1950s and 60s. For this and other reasons, I enjoy—to this day—watching cinema that was produced before I was born.  

On our trip home, I watched a modern cinematic take on a late nineteenth century classic stage play: Cyrano de Bergerac: an 1897 theatrical script written by the French playwright, Edmond Rostand (1868-1918). The 2021 movie, entitled just "Cyrano," featured Hollywood A-lister Peter Dinklage starring in the titular role.

What a marvelous work of art! 

This particular cinematic production was also something of a family affair, as it featured Director Joe Wright's wife (Haley Bennett) playing the lead female role of Roxanne, Dinklage's wife (Erica Schmidt) creatively doctoring Rostand's original play script to author the original screenplay, and identical twin brothers—Aaron and Bryce Dessner—composing the original music for what turned out to be a clever quasi-musical.

I am not an overtly emotional person, and I rarely cry. Despite this fact, I openly confess squeezing a crocodile tear or two out of both my eyes during the closing scene of this tender and raw feast of emotions. All-in-all, I found the storyline gripping; the music moving; and the pathos powerful.

In short—I highly recommend you see it!  

What surprised me, however, was when I learned its earnings at the box-office. After watching the show, I looked up this bit of information—convinced it must have been rather successful. To my surprise, it was a BOX OFFICE BOMB! Working on a production budget of $30 million US dollars, it only managed to haul in about $6.5 million from show-goers.

How could this be?  

Cultural Literacy involves a broad, general knowledge
and understanding of the key components of both the
past and present of one's culture. 
I think a major reason for this is a growing lack of "Cultural Literacy" among rising generations. Too many young people today know a lot about modern gizmos, tech gadgets, fashion, and social media, but very little about history, literature, philosophy, and art.

Truth be told, one of the biggest problems with Cyrano's lack of success at the box office is the simple fact that not enough people recognize at a glance what "CYRANO" actually means. Anyone who does comprehend the meaning and depth behind this one word in Western Culture would likely have taken at least a marginal interest in a new cinematic take on an old theatrical and film classic.

Click HERE to buy THIS BOOK.
At Freedom Focused, we place a premium on the value of "Cultural Literacy." In fact, it is so important to us that one of the opening chapters (chapter 4) of the SAL Textbook, Volume I, is dedicated to cultural literacy and its importance to our Agents as well as all truly educated people. In the SAL Textbook, Volume I, we define Cultural Literacy as follows: 

"Being educated, literate, and conversant in key knowledge points spanning a variety of relevant topics within a given culture (e.g., language, literature, history, philosophy, theology, and religion, math, science, figurative language, entertainment, popular culture, etc.)" (p. 40). 

Cultural Literacy is a term made famous by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil.  Click HERE to buy their landmark book on the subject, The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy.

As I reflected further on this box office dilemma, it dawned on me that this was not the first masterpiece I had seen just this year that had flopped with popular audiences.  

Another recent movie that impressed me as much (if not more so) than Cyrano was Steven Spielberg's 2021 recreation of the classic musical, West Side Story. Operating on a much bigger budget ($100 million) Spielberg's newest take on the 1957 Broadway hit was absolutely masterful in just about every way possible. In short, it was theatrical art at its very best. 

Yet, like Cyrano, it also failed to recoup its operating budget, clearing only 76 million at the box office. 

In both cases, I felt sad that so many people failed to see these marvelously moving films, and chalked it up to our culture's increasing tendency to overlook experiences and other things of great value for the simple reason that they are not easy or popular.

One of the long-term goals I have for Freedom Focused is to influence a greater embrace of the kind of quality art and pedagogy on display in these two magnificent films. Whether it comes in the form of cinema, dance, education, literature, music, painting, sculpture, theater, or something else entirely, we at FREEDOM FOCUSED greatly value anything that is, to quote the Good Book: virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy. In other words, we enthusiastically value, actively advocate for, and proactively support anything that enriches the mind, gladdens the heart, and uplifts the spirit.  

Whatever their imperfections, Cyrano and West Side Story are worth watching—not only for the immense quality of the art displayed therein, but even more importantly, for the LIFE LESSONS they teach and allow audience members to reflect upon.  

So...

     What are you waiting for?  

Whose prepared to watch a Double Feature TONIGHT?

   

Dr. JJ

July 13, 2022
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Author's Note: This is the 274th Blog Post Published by Freedom Focused LLC since November 2013 and the 103rd consecutive weekly blog published since August 31, 2020.  

Click HERE for a compete listing of the other 273 FF Blog Articles.  

.........................

Tune in NEXT Wednesday for another article on a Self-Action Leadership related topic.  

And if you liked this blog post, please share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and students—and encourage them to sign up to receive future articles for FREE every Wednesday.

To sign up, please email freedomfocused@gmail.com and say SUBSCRIBE, or just YES, and we will ensure you receive a link to each new blog article every Wednesday.  

Click HERE to learn more about Freedom Focused

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan Jensen

Click HERE to buy the SAL Textbooks

CONSTITUTION Article VII: Core Paradigms

A PARADIGM is a belief or way of looking at something This week's post continues the publication of the Freedom Focused Corporate Consti...