Monday, February 22, 2016

The Practical Function of Self-Action Leadership Training

Great organizations are built one quality person at a time
Organizations, no matter how large or small, are nothing more than macro conglomerations of the micro individuals who work, manage, and lead within each community, company, school, home, et cetera.

If your people are incompetent, your organization will eventually fail.  If your ranks are rife with duplicity or one-upsmanship, you'll have a shifty company assembled atop a faulty foundation.  If your folks are fundamentally lazy or unmotivated, your group will underperform itself into expendability and oblivion.  If your entity lacks correct, principle-centered leadership at its helm, then the bow, bay, bilge, aft, and stern will never realize its greatest possibilities—no matter how great each person's individual potential may be.

It ALL begins with the ONE
On the other hand, if you have highly capable people, your organization will be productive and profitable.  If your rolls are ripe with integrity, your company will be built to last—because it has a firm foundation.  If disciplined hard work and determination carries the day, your group's status as elite warriors and champions of your industry is assured.  And if your entity is well led by leaders who exemplify and champion correct principles, your success is guaranteed.

The Practical Function of Self-Action Leadership Training is to TRANSFORM nations, communities, companies, schools, and homes into world-class performing organizations through the holistic DEVELOPMENT of the individuals that make them up as well as the LEADERS who guide them.  It all starts with the one—with you, and with me.  In the end, efficacious Self-Action Leadership and the correct principle centered Leadership it inspires are the indispensable ingredients to great organizations that are productive, prosperous, and built-to-last.

World-renown leadership expert James G.S. Clawson, Ph.D., of the Darden School of Business Administration (University of Virginia), underscored this point toward the end of a decorated academic career when he wrote:
"I have come to believe that one of the biggest leadership issues [throughout the World today] is the inability of people – even and especially managers and executives – to lead themselves." [1]
Note: Dr. James G.S. Clawson is a Professor Emeritus at the Darden Graduate School of Business at The University of Virginia.  Dr. Clawson's academic career includes authoring 17 manuscripts and the writing or supervision of over 300 cases.  He is the author of the famous classroom textbook, Level Three Leadership. 

And the good news is that Self-Action Leadership is not reserved only for leaders, managers, or top-tiers performers.  In the words of Dr. Charles C. Manz—the Father of self-leadership in the academe—and the esteemed Nirenberg Professor of Leadership at the University of Massachussetts:
"Effective self-leadership can be learned … [It] is not restricted to people we describe as “self-starters,” “self-directed,” “self-motivated,” etc.… Self-leadership approach[es] are relevant to managers and nonmanagers—that is, to anyone who works." [2]
Note: Dr. Charles C. Manz is an acclaimed author, speaker, and researcher who has published over 200 articles and scholarly papers and 20 books.  He has done consulting work for Zerox, GM, the Mayo Clinic, Motorola, 3M, American Express and others.  He is a recipient of the Harvard Business School's prestigious Marvin Bower Fellowship that is "awarded for outstanding achievement in research and productivity, influence, and leadership in business scholarship."

Self-Action Leadership  ~  The Book
SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP is the key catalyst for initiating transformational leadership that lasts in any organization.  The truth of the matter really is that simple; and the transformation of organizations through the holistic development of individuals really is that difficult—yet altogether possible for anyone willing to invest the time, effort, and sacrifice required to achieve authentic, transformational results.

Unlike any training program that has ever preceded it, Self-Action Leadership provides a single vehicle wherewith individual self-leaders can discover—and then act—upon the great truth that HOLISTIC personal development and growth spanning the mental, moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social elements of our individual natures is within the grasp of each one of us.

Perhaps Dr. Christopher P. Neck, an Associate Professor at Arizona State University said it best when he wrote:
"Dr. Jensen has accomplished a task that is very difficult for any author or scholar to achieve, and that is to produce a Theory and Model and write a book that is highly relevant to multiple audiences at the same time.   
"Because of the universal applicability of basic self-leadership principles, his message is germane to civic leaders, business professionals and workers of all kinds, educators, students, athletes, parents, and children—in short, to everyone.  Indeed, I do believe that everyone who participates in SAL Training or reads Dr. Jensen's book will be able to access a unique and vital set of tools that can potentially transform their personal and professional performance and life.  I am amazed at Jordan’s achievement in developing a single Theory and Model and authoring a single book that carries the potential to reach such a wide variety of people—and that is the beauty of it. 
"Dr. Jensen's book and the SAL training that accompanies it will do much more than just teach you about Self-Action Leadership.  It will cause you to think deeply about how you are currently living your own life and directing your own career.  It will illuminate ways that you could better lead yourself to achieve the results you most desire in the long-run. 
"More importantly, Jensen’s compelling story and courageous personal example, combined with his percipient ability to effectively teach the corresponding self-leadership principles, will inspire and motivate you to actually do something about what you will learn.  In the process, it might even touch emotions in your heart that will move you to joy and tears.  It takes a talented teacher and writer to do all of these things, so I know you’ll enjoy participating in SAL training and reading Dr. Jensen's book.  More importantly, I know you’ll come away a wiser person with an increased motivation to begin taking action to realize your own Self-Action Leadership potential, an opportunity we can all take full advantage of, if only we will." [3]
Note: Christopher P. Neck, Ph.D. is an illustrious academic who has published prolifically (scholarly articles, academic textbooks, books, book chapters, etc.).  He is also a highly esteemed and decorated instructor who has received numerous awards for classroom teaching.  His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Psychology Today, Fortune, and Fast Company.  He has also done professional training for GE/Toshiba, Prudential Life Insurance, Dillards, U.S. Airways, The U.S. Army, Crestar, American Family Insurance, and others.    

Upcoming blog articles are going to feature the SEVEN (7) different AUDIENCES that Self-Action Leadership training specifically targets.  We invite leaders and managers of these different audiences to tune in to their respective, upcoming article for more information about why SAL training is the most important message you could possibly provide to your managers, staffs, and employees.  These articles will be published in order, as follows...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016   ~  Business Professionals  (Leaders, Managers, & Workers)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016  ~  Educators  (Administrators, Teachers, and Support Staff)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016  ~  Students of All Ages

Wednesday, March 16, 2016  ~  Parents & Families

Wednesday, March 23, 2016  ~  Individuals  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016  ~  Elected Officials & other high profile Leaders & Role Models

Wednesday, April 6, 2016  ~  Persons dealing with mental illness

Back Cover of Self-Action Leadership, the Book
NoteFreedom Focused is a non-partisan, for-profit, educational corporation.  As such, we do not endorse or embrace political figures.  We do, however, comment from time-to-time on historical or political events that provide pedagogical backdrops to illuminating principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model.

Click HERE to learn more about the SAL Theory & Model.

To receive weekly articles from Freedom Focused & Dr. Jordan R. Jensen, sign up with your e-mail address in the white box on the right side of this page where it says "Follow by E-mail."

Click HERE to buy a copy of Dr. Jordan Jensen's new book, Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.

Click HERE to read more about Dr. Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership, and to review what experts in the leadership field are saying about this groundbreaking new personal development handbook.

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan R. Jensen.  Click HERE to visit the Freedom Focused website.


[1] Clawson, J. G. S. (2008). Leadership As Managing Energy. International Journal of Organizational Analysis. Volume 16, Issue 3. p. 174-181. DOI:10.1108/19348830810937943. Page 175.
[2] Manz, C. C. (1983). Improving Performance Through Self-Seadership. National Productivity Review (pre-1986). Volume 2, Issue 3. p. 288-297. Page 289. 
[3] Paraphrased quote of Dr. Neck from his foreword to Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.  J.Jensen (2015). Bloomington, IN: authorHouse Publishing.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Our Vision & Mission at Freedom Focused

Sir Winston Churchill
Two-time Prime Minister of Great Britain

Winston Churchill Inspires a Young Man, Who, in-turn, Motivates a Mere Boy

At the tail end of his long life, Winston Churchill gave a speech in England.  In his address, he told his listeners how he had always been motivated by a compelling desire to make a difference in the world.

Sitting in Churchill's audience that day was a young American missionary in his early twenties named Hyrum W. Smith.

Deeply touched by the aging Churchill's words, Smith realized he felt the same burning desire to "make a difference."

Nearly 20 years later, Smith served as one of the key originators of the world famous Franklin Day Planning system.  Ten years after that, Smith's company, FranklinQuest, went public on the New York Stock Exchange.  In 1997, FranklinQuest acquired the Covey Leadership Center to form the world famous training company, FranklinCovey.    

Hyrum W. Smith
Co-Founder of FranklinCovey
While in England, Hyrum Smith met my Dad, who was also in Britain doing missionary work.  Later, after both had returned to the U.S. to attend college, Hyrum introduced my Dad to his little sister.  Romance blossomed, and in 1966, Rex Jensen married Pauline Smith.  Thirteen years later, I was born.

Just a few short years later, in 1983, Uncle Hyrum started the Franklin Institute.  Age age eight, I attended my first Franklin Day Planning seminar -- taught by Hyrum himself.

At ages 12 and 14, I worked as a manual laborer on Hyrum's Southwestern desert ranch.  From this obscure vantage point, I observed my uncle summit a significant pinnacle of success as one of the greatest time management and personal development gurus in the world.

Concurrently, I began to recognize with increased clarity that I possessed the same deep desire that had driven both Sir Winston and Hyrum.  This desire was further enflamed by a relatively unremarkable incident that occurred one day at Hyrum's ranch home in 1992 -- the same year FranklinQuest went public on the NYSE.    

One Sunday afternoon at the ranch, we ranch hands were eating Sunday dinner with the Smith family.  Hyrum was home for the weekend.  At the conclusion of a delicious taco dinner (the Smith's Sunday tradition), Hyrum elevated his powerful orator's voice several decibels to make an announcement everyone could hear, whereby he proclaimed: "All right everybody, I'm offering five dollars to anyone who will do the dishes."

Without blinking or thinking twice about the work involved or whether the amount was worth the time investment, I quickly volunteered before anyone else, to which Hyrum approvingly replied, "Jordan, you are an entrepreneur; you will be a wealthy man someday."  I was only 12 years old, but this experience left a lasting impression on me.  

Dr. Jordan R. Jensen
Founder & CEO of Freedom Focused
I doubt Hyrum remembers this exchange, or that he even thought much about it five seconds after he said it.  Nevertheless, that simple statement has deeply resonated within my being throughout intervening years.  I suppose that in a sense, it became something akin to Hyrum's own "Churchill" moment, where one great man unknowingly passes a torch to a young boy who has plenty of potential and ample "fire in the belly."

Becoming wealthy for wealth's sake is not a primary motivator for me.  Making a difference, however, and leaving a positive legacy emblazoned in what I believe is the noblest career ambition of all (education), has been an incessant -- even an obsessive -- driving force in my life the past two-and-a-half decades.  As such, it was my potential to make a difference, not merely to become wealthy, that really burned in my bosom that day at the Ranch when Hyrum spoke out loud about my possibilities.

Despite this and other powerful life influences along the way, it took me several more years to gain clarity about specifically how I intended to "make a difference" in the world.  But by the year 2003, I had a pretty clear vision of my how.  Ever since that time, I have been on a MISSION to actualize that VISION.

Today's blog post shares the vision and mission of Freedom Focused, both of which are anchored firmly in the principles set forth in the Self-Action Leadership Theory & Model.

I invite anyone who believes in the importance of Leadership, Character, and Life-Skill Education to seriously read this article, and then share it with your personal and professional networks.   

Our Vision at Freedom Focused

What is a vision?  Simply stated, it is a clear picture of what the future looks like.  What does the future look like to us at Freedom Focused?

Let's begin with a story...

The widely read M. Scott Peck, M.D., (of The Road Less Traveled fame) once wrote about his relationship with his Grandfather.  His memories of this relationship consisted mostly of a monthly visit to his grandparent's home in New York that included three double-feature shows at the movie-house.  While going to-and-from these cinematic excursions, Peck's Granddad would often garnish their conversations by sprinkling in some of the wise old proverbs.  For example: "'Don't cross your bridges until you've come to them,'" or, "'Don't put all your eggs in one basket.'" 

In Peck's own words, his Grandfather "was not a particularly smart man, and his speech was seldom more than a series of cliches."  Despite this, it was evident to Peck that his Grandpa loved him by virtue of all the time he was willing to spend with him, and in time, the old fellow's words ended up making a real difference in his life.  As Peck explains:
"It was on the walks with my grandfather, back and forth to the double features, that I was able not only to hear but to digest and absorb his proverbs, and their wisdom has stood me in very good stead over these years."  
As he reflected over the simple wisdom he gleaned from these very basic lessons learned from his grandfather, Peck lamented the loss of the old proverbs in today's educational processes (especially public education).  He further opines:
"I've often thought that it would be saving if we could develop some program of mental health education in our public schools ... [and] I hope someone will start instituting such a program [and] I hope it will be done soon.  For as my grandfather would have said, "'A stitch in time saves nine.'" (italics added) [1]
Years ago, I was in Eastern Canada on a small little plane flying to teach a seminar somewhere in New Brunswick.  It was during my flight that I first read these words.  As I did so, my heart was filled with a deep impression that I was that someone that Peck was talking about, or at very least, I was one of them.  Since then, I have been even more invigorated in my efforts to realize this hope held by Peck--and countless others throughout the last three generations.

The troubled period of time in America that began in the 1960s, and has been labeled historically as the "Postmodern Period," has been marked by dramatic departures from traditional educational approaches that focused as much effort on teaching and modeling principles of leadership, character, and life-skills as they do on 'reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic (and technological science).

Click HERE to learn more about postmodernists and the postmodern period.

Click HERE to learn more about the AGE of AUTHENTICISM that has begun to eclipse postmodernism in the 21st century.    


The Quality of the Individual Citizen is Supreme

In 1910, shortly after leaving office, President Theodore Roosevelt delivered a famous address at a University in Paris, France (The Sorbonne).  In this speech, Roosevelt proclaimed that, "The quality of the individual citizen is supreme" when it comes to building strong, self-reliant, and collectively prosperous republics.  In this address, Roosevelt taught that:
"Under other forms of government, under the rule of one man or very few men, the quality of the leaders is all-important. ... But with ... us [as Americans] the case is different.  With ... us .. in the long run, success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average woman, does his or her duty, first in the ordinary, every-day affairs of life, and next in those great occasional cries which call for heroic virtues.  The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed.  The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation.  Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high; and the average cannot be kept high unless the standard of the leaders is very much higher."

Roosevelt went on to identify how to develop the kind of "quality citizens" of which he spoke.  His answer?  Education!  Again, in his own words:
"Let those who have, keep, [and] let those who have not, strive to attain, a high standard of cultivation and scholarship (education).  Yet let us remember that these stand second to certain other things.  There is need of a sound body, and even more of a sound mind.  But above mind and above body stands character -- the sum of those qualities which we mean when we speak of a man's force and courage, of his good faith and sense of honor.  ... Education must contain much besides book-learning in order to be really good.  We must ever remember that no keenness and subtleness of intellect, no polish, no cleverness, in any way make up for the lack of the great solid qualities.  Self-restraint, self mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution -- these are the qualities which mark a masterful people.  Without them no people can control itself, or save itself from being controlled from the outside. ... I pay all homage to intellect and to elaborate and specialized training of the intellect; and yet I know ... that more important still are the commonplace, every-day qualities and virtues."
At Freedom Focused, we share President Roosevelt's vision of a robust educational culture that embraces a concrete commitment to skillfully teaching and effectively modeling the weightier matters of leadership, character, and life-skill education in conjunction with typical core curricula.

As such, our vision of the future is that of a nation where many, if not most schools, explicitly offer -- and even require -- students to take courses in subjects such as: 

* Self-leadership, self-reliance, & self-control
* Emotional intelligence
* Interpersonal relationship management
* Personal financial management
* Mental health
* Character development 
* Leadership
* Life skills
* Positive Mental Attitude
* Persistence and Determination
* Endurance

You know exactly what I am talking about -- all of the things students really need to learn and develop if they are going to be authentically successful over the long run -- in conjunction with core academic competencies that are already taught.  

When I published my first book in 2005 (a personal leadership guide for high school and college students), an esteemed leadership guru named John H. "Jack" Zenger was kind enough to provide the following endorsement quote for my work:
"The old paradigm of separating core academic curriculum from leadership, character, and life-skill education in America's schools is gradually beginning to shift.  The time is coming when classes in leadership will be equally as important as those in mathematics, biology, or English; and from a career standpoint, possibly more important."
At Freedom Focused, our vision of the future is a society where the "shift" spoken of by Dr. Zenger has become a reality, with cultural mores and educational paradigms widely embracing explicit instruction in leadership, character, and life-skill education.

Click HERE to view Dr. Jordan Jensen's groundbreaking speech entitled, A Twenty-First Century Vision of Education in America.  

The Mission Behind the Vision

At Freedom Focused, we comprehend the reality that this vision will be as difficult to realize as it is easy to conceptualize.  As such, where does one begin to tackle a task so monumental and daunting?

I have been asking myself this very question in great earnest since 2003.  In the intervening 12 years, I have spent literally tens of thousands of hours immersed in reading, pondering, studying, researching, collaborating, and writing (including doctoral level work), to develop "A CONCRETE PLAN" that can serve as a fundamental starting point for anyone and everyone interested and willing to engage processes that get us closer to realizing the grand vision of a character and leadership-based educational curriculum and culture.

This plan is outlined in the Self-Action Leadership Theory & Model, both of which serve as universal constructs aimed at providing a firm foundation for any and all character-centric or leadership-based educational initiatives of any kind in any organization.   

What does the SAL Theory & Model offer to YOU?  In short, it means that whether you are a Civil Leader, Business Owner or Manager, Educational Administrator, Teacher, or Coach, Parent, or Individual seeking a curriculum or textbook offering a holistic range of fundamentals, it is now available.

In the words of Dr. Christopher P. Neck, an esteemed Associate Professor of Management at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University:
"Jensen has accomplished a task that is very difficult for any author to achieve, and that is to produce a single text that is highly relevant to multiple audiences at the same time. Because of the universal applicability of basic self-leadership principles, his message is germane ... to civic leaders, business professionals and workers of all kinds, educators, students, athletes, parents, and children—in short, to everyone. Indeed, I do believe that virtually anyone who reads this book will be able to take something away from it that will improve his or her life in a significant way. As an author myself, I am amazed at Jordan’s achievement in writing one book that carries the potential to reach such a wide variety of people—and that is the beauty of it."
Click HERE to read Dr. Neck's entire Foreword to Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom  

The Self-Action Leadership (SAL) Theory

The Self-Action Leadership Theory, or just "SAL Theory," for short, is rooted in an atmospheric and astronomical metaphor that compares an individual to a rocket ship seeking to travel throughout the dangerous and challenging levels of Earth's atmosphere into Outer Space and beyond.  The SAL Theory draws distinct and concrete analogues from the different layers of the atmosphere to the various "Stages" of personal growth we all must face and endure throughout our life's journey if we are to successfully realize our fullest potential both personally and professionally.  

The SAL Theory explains why other people often say and do things to make your journey more difficult, and what you can do to rise above the negative pressure exerted from these "Existential Crabs."  Furthermore, it prepares you mentally for difficulties that inevitably lie ahead of you as you traverse future adversity.  Perhaps most importantly, it awakens your awareness of the full extent of your personal and professional potential, opening up vistas of possibility you never dreamed existed.  

The 9 Levels (Layers) of Earth's Atmosphere.

The 9 Levels (Stages) of the SAL Theory

The Self-Action Leadership (SAL) Model

With the philosophical strength that comes with an understanding of the SAL Theory in tow, you are prepared to begin the incredibly exciting and engaging journey of designing and then constructing your own life and career as a self-action leader.

Rooted explicitly in a construction metaphor, the SAL Model shows you how to be the architect, builder, inspector, trouble-shooter, and fine-tuner of the metaphorical structure that is your own life and career.  

The Four Stages and 21 Sub-Steps in the Construction Process

The 4 Stages and 21 Sub-Steps in Building a Successful Life & Career

The excitement of the possibilities held in the SAL Model are perhaps best captured by the poet, George Washington Doane, who once eloquently penned:

Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy
With his marble block before him,
And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,
As an angel-dream passed o’er him.

He carved the dream on that shapeless stone,
With many a sharp incision;
With heaven’s own light the sculpture shone,—
He’d caught that angel-vision.

Children of life are we, as we stand
With our lives uncarved before us,
Waiting the hour when, at God’s command,
Our life-dream shall pass o’er us.

If we carve it then on the yielding stone,
With many a sharp incision,
Its heavenly beauty shall be our own,—
Our lives, that angel-vision. [2]

What are YOU going to do with the "Marble Block" of your own Existence?

My enthusiasm for creating something magnificent out of the "Marble Block" of my own life began in part while attending my Uncle Hyrum's time management seminar at age eight.  It grew steadily from that point on.  It was further bolstered when, as a freshman in college, I drafted a "Personal Leadership Statement" in a leadership course I was taking at Brigham Young University.

Utilizing the Genius of the Founding Fathers to
Realize Personal & Professional Success in YOUR Own Life
Unlike most assignments or projects you do in school and then quickly throw away and forget about, I kept working on my Personal Leadership Statement.

Over time, this statement of personal vision, mission, values, goals, etc., evolved into my "Self-Constitution," and "Self-Declaration of Independence," two vital documents that a self-action leader drafts during one's study of the SAL Model, and which have become key cornerstones of my present confidence and success.

Click HERE to watch Dr. Jensen teach the principle of writing a Self-Declaration of Independence and Self-Constitution.  

The idea that I could become an "architect of [my own] fate" (Longfellow) has always intrigued me deeply.  It has motivated me to write down careful "blueprints" for my life in the form of a Self-Declaration of Independence and Self-Constitution.  More importantly, these documents have served as a concrete impetus for successfully carrying out my plans.  Even though my life's journey remains imperfect, having carefully laid out plans (mission) complete with a clear and compelling goal (vision), has dramatically empowered my capacity to realize both.

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

Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom

The SAL Theory and Model are both outlined in great detail in my new book, Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.  

Lee Ellis, Founder & President of Leadership Freedom is a former Colonel in the United States Air Force.  Colonel Ellis spent five years as a prisoner of war in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War.  Ellis provides the following endorsement of this comprehensive work on self-leadership:
"In Self Action Leadership, Jordan Jensen has assembled a leadership masterpiece anchored steadfastly in true principles of philosophy and human behavior. In wonderfully written prose, Jordan reminds us of who we are and what it takes to live and lead with honor. Moreover, he challenges us to live up to the high calling of being human beings with a special mission on this Earth. To accomplish our mission, we must do two major things: grow in our sense of personal responsibility, and in turn, care for others and help them to do the same. I grappled with these two areas in a primal way during more than five years as a POW in Vietnam. Now I’m thrilled to see how Jordan has laid out SAL by using the vehicle of story to illuminate his own, unique journey of transcending adversity. In so doing, he has inspired us all to become who we are capable of becoming. Bravo!”
Colonel Lee Ellis (retired)
U.S. Air Force, Vietnam POW Survivor (Hanoi Hilton), author of Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, and President & Founder of Leadership Freedom LLC and FreedomStar Media

The express PURPOSE of this book is to serve as either a primary or supplementary textbook in any educational setting where leaders and teachers intend to teach any subjects related to leadership, character, and life-skill education.

In other words, all of you who share our vision, but feel frustrated because there don't seem to be any textbooks to serve your desired purposes, can now rest easy.  The textbook has been written!  All that is needed now are leaders and teachers to read it, become trained on it, and then use it to teach their own students/employees/constituents.

What will this book do for you and those you teach?  in the words of Dr. Christopher P. Neck:
"This book will do much more than just teach you about Self-Action Leadership. It will cause you to think deeply about how you are currently living your own life, and how you could better lead yourself to achieve the results you most desire in the long-run. More importantly, Jensen’s compelling story and courageous personal example, combined with his percipient ability to effectively teach the corresponding self-leadership principles, will inspire and motivate you to actually do something about what you will learn. In the process, it might even touch emotions in your heart that will move you to joy and tears. It takes a talented writer to do all of these things, so I know you’ll enjoy reading this book. More importantly, I know you’ll come away a wiser person with an increased motivation to begin taking action to realize your own Self-Action Leadership potential, an opportunity we can all take full advantage of, if only we will."

Click HERE to read what other experts are saying about Jordan Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership.

If you are a leader or teacher reading this article right now, you may be asking yourself, "How exactly do I use it?"  That is a good question, and  I will answer it in the next section.

How to Use the Self-Action Leadership Textbook

There are three basic steps to using the Self-Action Leadership Textbook for a given audience.  Depending on who you are and what your situation entails, you may choose to take one or more of the following steps, depending on your group or organization's individual needs.


There is great danger in lazily judging a book by its cover, or by a blogpost--even if that blogpost seems really comprehensive (as I hope this one does).

There are over 700 pages in the SAL book.  If you don't actually take the time to read it for yourself, you will know very little about what is actually contained therein.  You will remain "in the dark" with regards to the mountains of golden educational nuggets you could be sharing with your audience and teaching to your employees/students.

We also encourage you to complete the SAL Master Challenge contained inside the book.  The SAL Master Challenge consists of 25 specific assignments that accompany your study of the material.

Experienced teachers and administrators may have already completed personal development homework analogous to the SAL Master Challenge.  If so, you may choose to focus your efforts on immediately challenging your employees or students to undertake the challenge and then supporting them as they work through this work-intensive and time-consuming, but wildly rewarding process.

Click HERE to download the SAL Master Challenge Requirements

Click HERE to download the 25 SAL Master Challenge Assignments/Exercises

STEP TWO: Get professionally trained on the SAL Theory & Model

While you will surely mine many wonderful nuggets of insight from reading and studying the book yourself, you will derive much additional benefit from being professionally trained on the SAL Theory and Model from Dr. Jordan Jensen himself.  Doing so allows you to both learn from and tap into the mind and heart of the educator who painstakingly developed the material himself--over the course of more than a decade of reading, researching, pondering, collaborating, and writing.

Click HERE to view the Self-Action Leadership Training Overview and Consider Seminar Options

STEP THREE: Imbed SAL concepts into your organizational culture through rote learning and continual training over time.    

Once you have read the book and been professionally trained, we strongly encourage you to continue to teach and reiterate the principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model to ALL of your employees and students (IN-HOUSE) in an effort to create an organizational culture over time that both understands and embraces the concepts contained in the SAL Theory & Model -- including the all-important concept of EXISTENTIAL GROWTH (holistic personal growth spanning the spiritual, mental, moral, physical, emotional, and social realms of each of our natures).

One of the most vital "Old Proverbs" to use Dr. Peck's terminology, is: "You get out of something what you put into it."  I have invested 12 years of my life to ensure the veracity and efficacy of the SAL Theory & Model, as well as to guarantee the quality of the corresponding training material.  Likewise, the return that YOU and your students/employees get out of the material will be commensurate to the time and effort you invest therein.

To maximize the value of the material, you must be willing to commit to interweaving the concepts into everything your organization does.  For those so willing, the results will be astronomically astounding.  I know because I have tested it out in the laboratory of my own life, career, and relationships, and the results have exceeded even my very high expectations.  As a result, my personal, professional, and relational lives are all in a highly desirable position -- with the best yet to come.  And the cool thing is that there is nothing inherently special about me or anyone else at Freedom Focused; but everything is special about SAL Principles.  As such, you and your colleagues, employees, and/or students will likewise reap growth and a myriad of other benefits commensurate to your desire and willingness to work hard to learn and apply the same principles.

To buy Jordan's Book, Self-Action Leadership, Click HERE.

To bring a SAL Seminar Training to your organization or school today, call 832-618-5451.   

To learn more about Freedom Focused and our Vision and Mission, visit:

Click HERE to view Dr. Jordan Jensen's Complete 1-hour Self-Action Leadership Seminar for FREE

Click HERE to view Dr. Jordan Jensen's groundbreaking speech entitled, A Twenty-First Century Vision of Education in America.

NoteFreedom Focused is a non-partisan, for-profit, educational corporation.  As such, we do not endorse or embrace political figures.  We do, however, comment from time-to-time on historical or political events that provide pedagogical backdrops to illuminating principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model.

Click HERE to learn more about the SAL Theory & Model.

To receive weekly articles from Freedom Focused & Dr. Jordan R. Jensen, sign up with your e-mail address in the white box on the right side of this page where it says "Follow by E-mail."

Click HERE to buy a copy of Dr. Jordan Jensen's new book, Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.

Click HERE to read more about Dr. Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership, and to review what experts in the leadership field are saying about this groundbreaking new personal development handbook.

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan R. Jensen.


[1] Peck, M.S. (1993). Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey Toward Spiritual Growth. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Pages 141-144.
[2] Doane, G.W. (1920). Life Sculpture. In R.J. Cook, Ed., One-Hundred and one Famous Poems: With a Prose Supplement. (Google Books version). Chicago, IL: The Cable Company. Page 136.
[3] Longfellow, H.W. The Day is Done, reprinted from The Poetical Works of Longfellow (1912). Henry Frowde, Oxford University    Press. Page 186.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Paradox of War & How to Prepare for Coming Conflicts

Is war a bad thing?

On the surface, and fundamentally speaking, the answer to this question is an absolute and unequivocal YES!  Simply stated, war is hell.  It wreaks utter destruction upon virtually everything it touches, including, most prominently, human life itself.  In a perfect world, war would not exist, and that is as it should be.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world.  War has therefore been a part of the human experience throughout the history of this world.

Despite the awful realities of war--especially upon the individual--many benefits are often derived from the perpetual onslaught of humanity's worst state of collective being.  Indeed, there are always two sides to every event in human history.

Please don't misunderstand: Such benefits should NEVER be the impetus for going to war.  It is worthwhile, however, to recognize when and identify how positive developments can arise from negative, even fatal, events in life -- including war.  By so doing, we can better make sense of disasters that arise, as well as better prepare for or prevent future calamities from occurring.

The specific purposes of this essay are threefold:

FIRST, to better educate readers on the holistic nature of war by illuminating benefits and ironies concomitant to the calamities of war.

SECOND, to call out the very real existence of evil in this world -- always the true author of war.

THIRD, to make a case for the likelihood of a pending conflict in coming years on par with previous world wars and to communicate how we can best prepare for coming conflicts.

Let's begin by discussing the calamity, as well as some of the benefits and ironies of war.

From War Cometh Calamity: War kills all living beings in its way and destroys all non-living things in its path.

If you'd like to brush up on the sheer statistical menaces brought on by war, author Chris Hedges' "What Every Person Should Know About War" (2003, Free Press) is a fine source to consult. To read an excerpt from his book, published in the New York Times on July 6, 2003, click HERE.

Just a few statistics that Hedges' shares in his book include the following:

* Over the course of the past 3,400 years, only 268 of them (8%) have been marked by world peace.

* Over 100 million people were killed by war in the 20th Century alone.

* Perhaps as many as 1 billion people have been killed in war throughout human history.

* World War II cost Americans 3 trillion dollars to fight (an average of $20,388 per person).

Source: Hedges, C. (2003). What Every Person Should Know About War (First Chapter). The New York Times. Published on July 6, 2003. URL:

After reviewing such gruesome statistics, the notion that any real benefits result from war seem to belie all credulity.  But the fact remains that many positive things are spurred on by the onset and carrying out of war.

Benefit #1: War, especially big wars, lead to enormous progress in the fields of science, technology, medicine, etc.

There are many reasons why humankind made such unprecedented progress in the 20th century in the fields of science, technology, medicine, etc., but two of the most prominent reasons are World War I and World War II.

History suggests that few (if any) things engage the creative capacity or work ethic of a populace more than one of two things: 1) Bloodlust and the appetite for conquest by an invader, or 2) The mechanisms of self-preservation and patriotism that impel one to defend one's home, family, and nation from an invader.  

Benefit #2: War can be a powerful antidote to economic depression.

While I would NEVER encourage or suggest anyone go to war to for the sake of economic gain, let's face the facts: World War II did more to bring the United States out of the Great Depression and put our nation on the road to unprecedented prosperity than the Roosevelt Administration and his New Deal did, or could have ever dreamed of doing.  The call to war was, quite simply, a call to work for millions of Americans who had been out of work for months or even years.

Benefit #3: War Breeds Anathema for Itself

World War I was famously dubbed "The War to End All Wars" for one simple reason: It was assumed by many that the most hellish single conflict in human history had sufficiently blotted out all future bloodlust from the human race.

I am currently watching one of the most fascinating documentaries I've ever viewed (and I've seen a few).  It is about World War I, and is called 14 -- Diaries of the Great War.

No previous war can fully compete with the hellish horrors of this colossal conflict.  A modern war fought with old-fashioned paradigms and tactics proved an inimitable recipe for unprecedented butchery and wide-scale atrocities.  

It is not surprising, then, that most of its participants desired to never return to a state of individual or collective being as horrendous as that experienced by tens of millions of soldiers and civilians between August 1914 and November 1918.

It is also not surprising that many years and/or decades often pass by between one war and the next for most nations.  Sadly, it is often this very hesitancy which inhibits a nation from taking the difficult and disciplined measures required to prevent future wars through proper preparation.  And thus we have our first great irony of war...

Irony #1:  The greatest war irony in human history is found in the tragic fact that the inexplicably terrible conflict of World War I planted and effectively fertilized all the right seeds for a second, even greater conflict less than two generations later.  Indeed, historical hindsight has verified time-and-again that the so-called "War to End All Wars" and the troubled treaties that "ended it" actually did the exact opposite, leading directly to the rise of the fiends who would perpetrate World War II -- and the laziness, cowardice, and fear that would handcuff those nations who could have potentially prevented it during the 1920s and 30s.

Irony #2: Bad Guys fight and survive on the Right Side of every conflict, and Good Guys fight and die on the Wrong Side of every war.

The more I study the history of warfare, the more I discover the reality that there are honorable, virtuous troops and dishonest, debauched soldiers in the trenches on both sides of just about any conflict, regardless how "right/good" or "wrong/evil" one's commanding officers and civil leaders may be.

And tragically, good guys on the bad side are sometimes killed while bad guys on the good side sometimes live.  On the other hand, some bad guys on both sides seem to meet their just fate while some good guys on both sides seem to be miraculously preserved.  To some, such occurrences appear utterly arbitrary.  Others are convinced that good luck, Karma, or even God is involved in a selection process devoid of caprice.  To illustrate, consider the following three examples.

U.S. Grant vs. Stonewall Jackson

Ulysses S. Grant is widely considered to be one of the greatest Generals in U.S. history.  Before Grant took charge, Lincoln's Army of the Potomac had been embarrassed for three straight years by a superior-led Confederate force one-third its overall size and strength.  After Grant took charge, the Union was finally able to mobilize its superior numbers and resources into a winning strategy.  Before this remarkable military success, Grant was a drunkard who failed at nearly everything he ever tried.  Horsemanship, mathematics, and soldiering were a few exceptions.  Despite his character issues and history of failure, Grant's overriding military successes propelled him into the White House -- a post he was poorly prepared or dispositioned to effectively hold.  Indeed, his scandal laden Presidency emblazoned for him an ignominious legacy that consistently positions him among our nation's top-five WORST Commanders-in-Chief.

Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was one of the South's top Generals.  He was killed midway through the Civil War on May 10, 1863 due to complications following an incident of "Friendly Fire"during the period of the Chancellorsville Campaign.  Jackson passed away less than two months before the Battle of Gettysburg, which would prove to be a turning point in the war for the North.  Upon hearing of his death, General Robert E. Lee remarked, "I have lost my right arm ... [and am] bleeding at the heart."

Source: Hall, K.E. (2005). Stonewall Jackson and Religious Faith in Military Command. McFarland & Company: Jefferson, NC. Page 184 (as written in the autobiography of the Reverend William Mack Lee, General Lee's wartime cook). 

The South enjoyed almost uninterrupted success with Jackson in the saddle.  They were never the same after he was taken.

A careful study of Jackson's life both before and during the Civil War reveal a very different man than Grant.  Aside from being a devout Christian, Jackson did not smoke, drink, or even play cards.  Without any question, Jackson was more virtuous, refined, God-fearing/worshipping, and honest than Grant.

Endless throngs will forever praise Grant's name for leading the winning charge against The Lost Cause -- a cause that, however you spin it, was ultimately rooted in the evils of slavery.  Even I, while I don't respect much about Grant's character, admire his military leadership, and am grateful to him for successfully securing that vital Union victory.

There is no question that Jackson was fighting on the wrong side of history, but if you had to do business with, or set your daughter up with Thomas or Hiram (Ulysses), whom would you choose?

An Alabama Infantryman Inexplicably Spares Colonel Chamberlain's Life

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Colonel of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment, cemented his hero's status while defending Little Round Top and preserving the extreme left flank of the Union line during the pivotal second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  During his and his regiment's legendary heroics that day, Chamberlain was lucky enough to live to fight another day, other battles, rise in the ranks to Brevet Major General, receive the singular honor of accepting the Confederate flag of surrender at Appomattox Courthouse two years later, serve four terms as Governor of Maine, 12 years as President of Bowdoin College, raise a family, etc.  Death, brought on by lingering symptoms from wartime wounds, would not finally claim this courageous and intelligent man until 1914.

Chamberlain is, by virtually anyone's estimation, one of the finest soldiers who ever donned a uniform.  His character was circumspect, his courage was undaunted, and his patriotism was unquestioned.  One of my favorite stories about him tells of his attempt to sign up to fight in the Spanish American War -- at age 70!  The U.S. Army's declination of his request, due to his advancing years, was an event that Chamberlain called "one of the great disappointments of my life."

Was Chamberlain merely lucky to survive his famous heroics on Little Round Top and the hellish combat he encountered throughout the rest of the war?  Or was there perhaps something else at play.  I reprint the following story from Chamberlain's memoir -- Bayonets Forward! My Civil War Reminiscence -- after which you can make up your own mind on the matter.


          "[During the Battle of Gettysburg], so far I had escaped.  How close an escape I had had I did not know till afterwards.  I think I may mention here, as a psychological incident, that some years after the war, I received a letter written in a homely but manly style by one subscribing himself "a member of the Fifteenth Alabama," in these words: 
          "Dear Sir: I want to tell you of a little passage in the battle of Round Top, Gettysburg, concerning you and me, which I am now glad of.  Twice in that fight I had your life in my hands.  I got a safe place between two rocks, and drew bead fair and square on you.  You were standing in the open behind the center of your line, full exposed.  I knew your rank by your uniform and your actions, and I thought it a mighty good thing to put you out of the way.  I rested my gun on the rock and took steady aim.  I started to pull the trigger, but some queer notion stopped me.  Then I got ashamed of my weakness and went through the same motions again.  I had you, perfectly certain.  But that same queer something shut right down on me.  I couldn't pull the trigger, and, gave it up--that is, your life.  I am glad of it now, and hope you are.  Yours Truly."
Source: Chamberlain, J.L. (1994). Bayonet! Forward: My Civil War Reminiscences. Stan Clark Military Books: Gettysburg, PA. Page 31.

School-Boy Pedophiles Cut Down on the Western Front

Years ago, I listened to an academic history about the life of the Christian author, C.S. Lewis (1899-1963), who spent time in combat and was wounded while fighting for the British Army on the Western Front.  The most memorable thing I took away from this learning experience was the following...

When Lewis was a young teenager away at boarding school, an extraordinarily sordid and licentious means of hazing was applied by some of the upperclassmen.  Their abuse involved the homosexual bullying of some of the "cuter underclassmen" who were referred to by their abusers as "Tarts."  In his retelling of this reprehensible memory, Lewis concluded the story by reporting that most of the perpetrators of these foul deeds were later killed by German machine gun fire at The Battle of the Somme -- The bloodiest battle in British military history -- a battle that would eventually claim a million and a half combined casualties.

Benefit 4:  War builds a generation well-prepared for future successes.

Prior to World War II, the United States was a growing world power.  However, when Hitler was wreaking havoc across Poland as well as Western and Northern Europe in 1939, the U.S. Military remained relatively small, and public opinion was firmly entrenched against the idea of becoming involved in another European-based war.  

Over time, American sympathy grew for the plight facing Britain, France, Russia, and other countries under Nazi siege.  These sympathies bolstered U.S. contributions of money, resources, and armaments to the Allied Powers.  However, it was not until the bombing of Pearl Harbor that America became fully committed to the conflict.

What happened next was -- and still is -- an unprecedented rise of an international military superpower.  In less than four years time, the United States went from having a military force of a few hundred thousand to the most powerful force the world had ever seen (and may ever see), with over 14 million men and women in uniform (10% of the population).  This combined force, along with its allies, had beaten back, neutralized, and ultimately defeated two of the most powerful military forces in world history, liberating nearly a dozen countries in the process.  It was an unprecedented achievement requiring the collective discipline, devotion, and dedication of an entire nation of 140 million people and her allies.

By August 1945, The United States of America was unquestionably a World Superpower.  And that was just the beginning of her remarkable rise.  The following two decades saw this remarkable fighting force return home and go to work, utilizing the same discipline, devotion, and dedication they had applied to the war effort to their endeavors to build a prosperous new life for themselves, their families, and their community.  With this kind of moral and practical capacity in tow, "The Greatest Generation," as Tom Brokaw famously dubbed them, paved the way for an unprecedented period of prosperity during the 1950s and 1960s.  In nearly every regard, America became the envy of the world and the moral leader during a time of rife suspicion and fear of nuclear holocaust with the world's other Superpower at that time--the Soviet Union.

Irony #3: The so-called "Greatest Generation" gives birth to the Baby Boom Generation

Ned Adams Jensen
My paternal grandfather was a member of the "Greatest Generation."  An Army radioman in the 118th Signal Radio Intelligence Company, 3rd U.S. Army, Ned Adams Jensen landed on Utah Beach during the initial Allied landings on Normandy.  He served in England, France, Luxembourg, and Germany before being honorably discharged from the Army on October 22, 1945.  Soon after, he returned to Monticello, Utah, where he met his first child and son (my Dad) for the first time.  Born October 20, 1943, my Dad was already two years old when he first met his dad.

Rex Buckley Jensen with his Dad, Ned
As soon as my grandpa arrived home, Ned went to work in his father's grocery store.  A decade later, he built his own store -- Jensen's Food Town -- which he successfully ran until selling the store and retiring in 1982.  If you ask my own father the greatest single lesson he learned from his dad, he will tell you without hesitation: "He taught me how to work hard."  Most of his life, beginning as a child and continuing into his later 30s before Grandpa retired, my Dad worked in, and later, largely ran, Jensen's Food Town.  It became a cornerstone of his education and development.  It taught him worthwhile lessons he would successfully apply to other professional endeavors later in life.

Jensen's Food Town; Monticello, Utah.
Despite the remarkable war and post-war contributions made by "The Greatest Generation," and despite the remarkable legacy they passed on to their children, one of the great ironies of this generation is that they gave birth to the Baby Boomers.

Why is this ironic?  Because collectively speaking, the progeny of this so-called Greatest Generation chose to embrace many things widely considered anathema to their parents.  From illicit drug use and open sexual permissiveness to a widespread cultural questioning of the fundamental goodness of their country, Baby Boomers were, collectively speaking, eager to rebel against the very virtues that allowed their parents' generation to achieve legendary status after defeating the greatest forces of evil the world had ever seen, and then returning home to quietly build the greatest nation the world had ever known.

In their defense, the Baby Boomers did much to build upon the successes of their forbearers and perpetuate the freedoms and prosperity of collective Americana.  Their generation also produced important leaders, especially in the fields of technology and medicine (e.g., Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ben Carson, etc.).

Our three most recent U.S. Presidents (Clinton, Bush, & Obama), who all served two terms, are also Baby Boomers (Obama may qualify as an older Generation X-er, depending on where you slice the dates), although plenty of questions remain regarding the overall efficacy or greatness of said leaders when measured against their 42 predecessors.

In the end, and unlike their parents' generation, which is almost universally venerated, the jury remains out on whether the Baby Boom Generation has collectively helped or hurt American society (despite the millions of individual Baby Boomers who have been fine, upstanding, honest, and hard working citizens).  All things considered, have the Baby-Boomer's collectively embraced mantra of "Sex, Drugs, and Rock'n'Roll" been good for America and the World?  I purposely choose not to try and answer this question and instead leave it open for further discussion.  Note: My mother is a Baby Boomer.  My father is also a Boomer, or a very young member of the Silent Generation (depending where you slice the dates).

The Very Real Existence of Evil

Freedom Focused holds that "Good" and "Evil" are not terms to be relegated to the figurative language of literature.  They are, in fact, very real forces that operate in the minds and hearts of real human beings, including, to varying degrees, you and me.  Because real evil exists, and always will in this world under its historical and present circumstances, insidious violence and unjust warfare will always exist--period.

John Adams famously remarked that "facts are stubborn things."  Postmodernists are perfidiously stubborn in their attempts to ignore the compelling fact that real evil exists in the world.  As such, they are hesitant, if not downright unwilling, to even utilize the term "Evil," since usage suggests existence, and their desire is to wish it away.  They believe themselves sophisticated and smart enough to figure out the "why" behind every human event, and to a postmodernist, evil in any real sense is almost always disqualified from being a legitimate variable in forming any kind of equation regarding "why."  They also believe themselves morally justified in deconstructing any evil doing on their own part, which has the benefits of opiating those inconvenient and churlish pulses of human conscience.

Click HERE to learn more about postmodernists and the postmodern period.

Click HERE to learn more about the AGE of AUTHENTICISM that has begun to eclipse postmodernism in the twenty-first century.    

This is just one of many reasons why postmodern political leaders will downplay the need for a strong, robust military.  After all, war is beginning to come to an end, because progressivism is enlightening collective humanity to the point that we are becoming too enlightened, sophisticated, and mature to engage in war -- at least not on a wide scale.  While history proved that the Great War was a far cry from "The War to End All Wars," postmodernists may argue that World War II sealed the deal.  They will further point to the military castration and other postmodern, progressive policies of much of Europe (the paragon of so-called sophisticated populaces) as evidence to support their theory.

I am not so sure.

In fact, I believe it is very possible that a third, major, world conflict -- on par with the two world wars of the past century -- is not only highly likely to occur in our lifetimes, but may even break within the next decade.

A primary premise for my belief that such a terrible conflict is not only in our future, but in the NEAR future is the research of generational scholars William Strauss and Neil Howe.  Famous for their scholarship on generations (past, present, and future), Strauss and Howe have conducted substantial research on what many others have already observed about the past: namely, that history is predictably cyclical such that you can, with some precision, begin to make reasonable projections about the future.

"There is a mysterious cycle in human events.  To some generations much is given.  Of other generations much is expected.  This generation has a rendezvous with destiny." 
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1936

According to their research, the Millennial Generation is cyclically positioned in the same role as the later-depression/World War II era generation.  Since the cycles of history suggest that a major crisis breaks every 80 years or so, they are likely to face a national or world crisis/calamity on par with the crisis which faced "The Greatest Generation" in their youth (i.e. World War II).

When will this crisis/calamity break?  No one knows exactly, but Strauss and Howe put it right around the year 2020, give or take a few years.

Dubbed the "Crisis of 2020" these scholars project a prolonged period of trial and suffering that may last for up to a decade, beginning as early as 2013 and ending as late as 2029.  Based strictly on the historical evidence undergirding their premise for predictions, they suggest this period of turmoil will parallel the difficulties faced by Americans during The Civil War as well as the Great Depression and World War II.  In their own words:
"The Crisis of 2020 will be a major turning point in American history and an adrenaline-filled moment of trial.  At its climax, America will feel that the fate of posterity--for generations to come--hangs in the balance. ... This crisis will be a pivotal moment in the lifecycles of all generations alive at the time." 
Thankfully, Strauss and Howe are optimistic about our resolve to successfully combat the trials we will face in this period of dire refinement:
"The sense of community will be omnipresent.  Moral order will be unquestioned with 'rights' and 'wrongs' crisply defined and obeyed.  Sacrifices will be asked, and given.  America will be implacably resolved to do what needs doing, and fix what needs fixing."
Source: Strauss, W. & Howe, N. (1991). Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584-2069.   Quill: New York, NY. Page 382. (p. 382).

Where will the conflict come from?  We don't know, and Strauss and Howe wisely avoid getting overly specific.  However, clues are already abounding around us.  First, there is ISIS and other Radical Islamic Extremist Terrorist groups that have succeeded in spreading their bone-chilling brand of terror to many corners of the Globe.  Next there is the rise of Russia and China as co-sub superpowers beneath the United States -- all while NATO countries (including the U.S.) throughout the West continue along a pathway of seemingly intentional military and economic decline.  If that weren't enough, there remains the perennial threat of insanity coming out of North Korea as well as the nuclear rise of Iran.  While a specific "Axis of Evil" may not be congealing as clearly as it did in the 1930s, let us remember that "hindsight is 20/20," meaning historians will always be a LOT smarter than present policy-makers.

William Strauss and Neil Howe could be wrong.  One of the most important things I have learned about studying history is this: a clear understanding of history does not make you a clairvoyant caller of the future.  I personally do not claim to be a prophet, nor do I wish for untold calamities to rain down on my family, friends, neighbors, or myself.  As such, in some ways, I hope that Strauss and Howe are wrong.

In other ways, however, I cannot help but reflect on the potential positive developments that can arise from the ashes of terrible conflicts.  War is always horrendously hellish to each individual, home, community, and nation it scars.  There is no wishing away that fact.  Yet for some individuals, and certainly for some collective populaces, the trials by fire that come from war can also engender some of the richest relationships, the most cherished memories, and the most important personal growth and character development of their lives, thus providing the ashes from whence future growth springs forth, allowing the phoenix to rise again to achieve even greater heights in the future.  Holding onto such moments of crises can even be a means of holding on period for some.  In the words of M. Scott Peck:
"Community develops naturally only in response to crisis.  So it is that strangers in the waiting room of an intensive care unit will rapidly come to share with each other their deepest fears and joys ... Or within hours of an earthquake ... normally self-centered wealthy adolescents will be working hand in hand with poor laborers in around-the-clock sacrificial love. ... 
"The only problem is that as soon as the crisis passes, so does the community.  As a result, there are millions of people who are mourning their lost crises.  I can guarantee you that this Saturday night, if not this Thursday night, there will be tens of thousands of old men in VFW and American Legion clubs drinking themselves silly, mourning the days of World War II.  They remember those days with such fondness because even though they were cold and wet and in danger, they experienced a depth of community and meaning in their lives that they have never quite been able to recapture since." 
Source: Peck, M.S. (1993). Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey Toward Spiritual Growth. Simon & Schuster: New York.  P. 145-146.

Perhaps one of the moral prerequisites of ridding our world of war is learning to create authentic communities that successfully operate and maintain their full vitality in times of peace as well as crisis.  Until then, maybe we need, if not war, at least other menacing crises and perplexing crucibles that can spur our growth and polish and refine our capacities.  I do not want to fight a war.  I would much rather spend my time and effort building something than tearing it down--even if I am compelled to participate in necessary means of destruction in the pursuit of justifiable self- and national defense.

What I do know for a fact is that evil -- real evil -- exists in the world today just as certainly as it did at any other point throughout human history.  As a result, war, on one level or another, will continue indefinitely into the future until the fundamental makeup of humanity and its fatally flawed collective leadership receives a holistic moral transplantation.  Unfortunately, I have no confidence that any mortal being could possibly engender such a welcomed coup.

Christian believers hold out hope for the second coming of Jesus Christ to remedy this seeming catch 22.  Atheists and progressives, two terms that have become increasingly synonymous, hold out hope for the ultimate evolution of the human mind and heart into a species advanced enough to reject war moving forward.  For non-believing scientists, the former option is a fairy tale.  To thoughtful historians and astute scholars of the past, the latter option is a first-class ticket to fantasyland.  Other camps hold other views on the subject.

Whichever camp you choose to anchor your tent, we would all be wise to heed the wisdom of Jesus (at least as philosopher), who taught that preparation is an antidote to fear.  President Roosevelt claimed that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  I'm not so sure.  I think that the evil impulses inside of us all -- and the untold collateral damage resulting from yielding thereto -- are both real things we ought to fear badly enough to motivate our waging war against them until they become extinct.  We must wage this internal war continually, not only for the sake of self-preservation, but also for the sake of collective continuation, authentic community, and progress.  Moreover, we should also fear external evil sufficiently to motivate prudential preparation to defend our lives, liberty, families, communities, states, nation, and world at any cost--even if that cost demands the sacrifice of our own lives.

How do we Prepare?

Strauss & Howe provide some excellent counsel about what you as an individual -- as well as what We the People -- can do to prepare for the epic upcoming trial and crisis they predict is coming.  Here are the points they make, which we at Freedom Focused believe are worth reiterating:

Recommendations for the Preparation of We the People

* Prepare values: Forge the consensus and uplift the culture, but don't expect near-term results.

* Prepare institutions: Clear the debris and find out what works, but don't try building anything big.

* Prepare politics: Define challenges bluntly and stress duties over rights, but don't attempt reforms that can't be accomplished now.

* Prepare society: Require community teamwork to solve local problems, but don't try this on a national scale.

* Prepare youth: Treat children as the nation's highest priority, but don't do their work for them.

* Prepare elders: Tell future elders they will need to be more self-sufficient, but don't attempt deep cuts in benefit to current elders.

* Prepare the economy: Correct fundamentals, but don't try to fine tune current performance.

* Prepare the defense: Expect the worst and prepare to mobilize, but don't precommit to any one response.

Collective preparation always begins with Individuals.

Recommendations for the Preparation of You and I as Individuals

* Return to the classic virtues.

* Build personal relationships of all kinds.

* Prepare yourself (and your children) for teamwork.

* Look to your family for support.

* Gird for the weakening or collapse of public support mechanisms.

* Diversify everything you do.

Source: Strauss, W. & Howe, N. (1997). The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny. New York: Broadway Books. Chapter 11, pages 312-321.

Freedom Focused exists on the premise that individual preparation and success is prerequisite to collective preparation and success, not to mention wide-scale mobilization required to successfully meet the challenges of daily life and meet crises of all sizes that inevitably crop up along the way.  Our entire focus is the development of capable, confident, and self-reliant human beings who develop circumspect character and lead their lives according to principles of holistic integrity.

Our objective is to empower individuals to wage war on the "enemy within," which, in the long-run, is a fiend far more fearsome than any external foe we might face on the battlefields of life (real or figurative).

For more information about how you can prepare yourself for personal, professional, and global challenges you are sure to face in the future, as well as do your bit to assist your families, neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, and nations in preparing for crucibles to come, we invite you to buy and read Dr. Jordan Jensen's new book: Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.    

NoteFreedom Focused is a non-partisan, for-profit, educational corporation.  As such, we do not endorse or embrace political figures.  We do, however, comment from time-to-time on historical or political events that provide pedagogical backdrops to illuminating principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model.

Click HERE to learn more about the SAL Theory & Model.

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Click HERE to read more about Dr. Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership, and to review what experts in the leadership field are saying about this groundbreaking new personal development handbook.

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