Monday, August 3, 2015

Builders: The Self-Action Leadership Model

The Self-Action Leadership Model

Dedicated to:
The builders … past, present, and future

The Builders

Skyscraper construction site

I have always admired builders. My Dad was a builder. One of his and my favorite hobbies was to visit a new earthen dam that was being constructed, drive up as close to the action as possible, and just sit back and watch the builders do their wonderful work.

To this day, one of my hobbies is to visit construction sites and watch skilled experts busy at work building homes, buildings, bridges, and skyscrapers. I especially admire master masons and watch in awe as they mix and then maneuver mortar to their precise bidding in the beautiful outlay of brick or stone. To me, one of the most glorious things in the world is to watch someone who is really skilled build something that is both useful and attractive. 

Fortunately, I live in the greater Houston, Texas area—one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States—where there is no shortage of building projects to observe. And while it may seem strange to some to see a Doctor of Education and learned man of letters standing alongside a work site paying rapt attention to, and deeply venerating the skilled artistry of, an uneducated immigrant at his work, such is my wonder and regard for Existential Equality and skilled labor wherever I find it—and no matter how lowly such labor may be in the narrow eyes of some. Such work is marvelous in my eyes, in large part because I lack the knowledge and skills to replicate it on my own—as the crooked brick garden box I built in my own backyard will attest.

BOOK the THIRD is dedicated to “The Builders”: Builders of homes, buildings, bridges, offices, schools, skyscrapers, woodwork, machines, tools, needful products of all kinds, pedagogical texts and curriculums, governments, nations, states, organizations, communities, and most importantly, families, marriages, and individual lives. Anyone can be a critic or a cynic, and sadly, our world is full of both. It doesn’t require much creativity, education, talent, or planning to tear someone or something down. But it takes a real man or woman to build something up that possesses practical utility, works well, and is beautiful to look at.

This book has been written in hopes that YOU might become a builder of whatever it is your talents, skills, and education equip you to build. More importantly, it has been written to help you in the construction of the most important building project of all—YOUR OWN CHARACTER & LIFE.     

Become a Builder

The world has too many critics; it needs more creators;
The world has too many theorists; it needs more implementers;
The world has too much deconstruction; it needs more construction;
The world has too many planners; it needs more producers.

The world is full of good ideas, noble dreams, and worthy visions; it needs more men & women who make them real.
I therefore salute the builders;
And call upon every man, woman, and child in this world
Who is not yet a builder, to become one. 
Join me;
     And together
          We’ll make something
               Magnificent of your life
And in the process,
               And build
Things that will leave the world
     A better
          Place than
Making YOU one of the
          & venerated
               Crew known simply as…


The Builders [1]

By: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

ALL are architects of Fate,
   Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
   Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;
   Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
   Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
   Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
   Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
   Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
   Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art,
   Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
   For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
   Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
   Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
   Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
   Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
   With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
   Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain
   To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
   And one boundless reach of sky.

“Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, [and] doubters do not achieve.”

~ Bryan Hinckley



Delivered April 23, 1910 at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.

The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twister pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The role is easy; there is none easier, save only the role of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who “but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier.”

[1] Longfellow, H.W. The Day is Done, reprinted from The Poetical Works of Longfellow (1912). Henry Frowde, Oxford University    Press. Page 186.

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