The 4 Secrets of High-Income Individuals

 

You need an MBA!

You need a credit score above 800!

You need a resume full of experience!

You need a folio full of certificates, degrees, and credentials!

Nonsense.

There are four things that will get you into six-figure pay:

 

ONE. Curiosity

Without curiosity, you are never going to help move an organization forward. The non-curious are better suited for carrying out orders than giving them. Curiosity’s twin sibling is imagination.

Are you the kind of person who is always looking up what new things mean? Wanting to travel to see how other people shape their lives? Eager to try new foods, learn new languages, hear from opposing viewpoints, take things apart to see how they work, and always asking questions?

Richard Branson was on a documentary my wife and I were watching last month. A quote from him which surprised me: “I’m a dyslexic drop-out with a low IQ, but I’m curious about everything.” One of the most creative billionaires on the planet!

Branson has always loved the Virgin Islands. His plane hop over to one of them was cancelled when he was a young man. So he rented a plane with a dozen seats and made a sign: Virgin Airlines! I’m flying to the Islands. Seats for sale!….So he got there for free. And the rest is history.

 

TWO. Ability to Connect the Dots

This is where a broad (not necessarily formal) education comes in handy. An ability for expansive thinking sees all kinds of new market opportunities, and creative upgrades of goods and services.

Henry Ford: People weren’t looking for a Model T; they were looking for a faster horse. Are you constantly making up puns in your head (fun with connecting linguistic dots)? Extra credit if you crack multi-lingual puns. When people mention something, your first thought is, “That reminds me of…..”

Tinkering (mechanically) is a good indicator of this skill. The Wright brothers, Edison, Curie, Tesla, Jobs, Bezos, Musk, and Gates were all rejects or peripheral at best in relation to our education system. But they tinkered their brains out. Always looking for new connections no one else had made: Taking pictures with your phone. Software separate from computers, bookstores with no walls, using bicycle technology to build a flying machine.

 

THREE. Ability to Win Over the Hearts and Minds of Your Team.

Either through raw charisma (Jobs, Branson), earning respect (Gates), infectious energy (Musk), or just plain good social skills, big earners see the team as essential to their success, and they never, ever take them for granted.

This is the one skill that trips up big-idea people most often. And many of them learn from team meltdowns or even getting fired from the companies they started.

Most people have had a controlling, bad-tempered boss. Notice how they never rise above the lower-level boss world? There’s a reason for that…

Being able to ask for help is perhaps the most important skill in the quiver of great leaders. If you often think: If I want to do it right, I’ll have to do it myself, you have two choices:

  1. Give up on leadership, because you’ll never be good at it.
  2. Completely change your mind-set.

To accomplish big things, you need a team, and those who do everything themselves will always be limited in what they can accomplish. If you can’t ask for help, you can’t lead.

And you can’t ask for help unless you have a team around you that has been won over to “the cause.”

 

FOUR. Grit

The ability to maintain a good temperament in challenging times will be necessary, because if you can do all four of these things, people won’t know what to do with you. You won’t fit into a neat little roles of an organization; you may not even bother reading (all of) your job description. You will likely get fired more than once.

Security and stability are often the first ballast to go for high-impact individuals. Most of the ones I know have gone broke once or twice. But unlike most people, they can bounce back to their previous level of abundance in just a matter of weeks.

If you are one of these folks, you may be tempted to take your creativity OUT of the work world and just have fun and quirky hobbies. What a waste!

Persistence and grit are required for every human, but especially for those who want to add big and inventive value to the world. They may have to muscle and elbow their way into the marketplace; to come back quickly from setbacks and failures.

 

On which of the four do you need to work?
If you have read this far, you likely have the potential to work at the highest levels in our economy.

These came out of a conversation last week with a friend of mine, Jay Gromek of Brooklyn, NY. Not sure where he got them. I’ve modified them somewhat for the sake of clarity.

 

How Long do Big-Name Pastors Preach? (Average Sermon Length)

 

Great article by Justin Trapp on his blog.

Full article: http://justintrapp.com/the-average-sermon-length-of-these-10-well-known-pastors/

How long are sermons at your church?

Most people think “shorter is better.”

Some very effective pastors would beg to differ:

For the record, my sermons at Robinwood Church in Huntington Beach, CA, average 36 to 41 minutes over the last half year.

You can listen to all of them on SoundFaith: https://soundfaith.com/profile/robinwood-church

Or just look us up on iTunes under “Podcast Robinwood Church.”

The Vocation Revolution. Martin Luther and 500 Year Reformation Anniversary

 

2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther is more or less the “Hamilton” of Germany this year–with a strange crossover merging pop culture and history.

What follows are my notes from a lecture at Acton University 2017 by Jordan Ballor (PhD Zürich); including some of my insights and comments. 

What is your vocation?

Before Martin Luther, the medieval view distributed the population into somewhat static “roles” (the military and clergy always being the exceptions; avenues of flexible upward mobility). One did one’s duty within the expectations of one’s place, and was rewarded with being worthy of approval.

There were mundane professions, on the one hand, and the way of perfection on the other.

Many look at the 1517 Reformation in economic terms, but the focus on vocational revolution was stronger.

Luther, personally, walked through a vocational transformation at the same time he was transforming Europe. This had theological, social, economic, and political implications. The “rood screen” between the “robed ones” in the choir and clergy and the unwashed laity sitting on the floor (religious and mundane), was removed, shuffling the ordered deck of medieval “role” cards.

Luther expounded the Bible texts “QVIA HODIE” (for today). He opposed the popular and libertine wings of the Reformation, asking rather “What is the faithful Christian to do…today?”

He appealed to the Christian nobility, and to Charles the emperor, in vocational terms. He called Charles to his vocational duty as emperor to call a great council (as Constantine had done), basically saying, “You can reform the oikumene.”

Martin Luther’s vocation: faithful exposition of scripture. 1520: temporal authority needs to act. But he knew Charles might fail to do so, and felt it correct, in this case, for local authorities and universities to do so in response to the emperor’s vocational failure.

What started as a theological dispute became a project for reforming all of life.

Luther held a pre-modern, pre-enlightenment worldview. He saw there being two kingdoms (sacred and secular); each consisting of three estates:

  • Household/oikonomia
  • State/polis
  • Church/ekklesia

Max Weber, in his study of the “Protestant work ethic,” was “off” in many ways. Capitalism existed long before the Reformation. But why only in the West was there thorough organization of labor and rational bookkeeping?

Weber explored the motivations behind Protestants. Why would they work so hard and in this way?

Weber traced some of it back to Luther, who equalized all vocations in the eyes of God. In doing so, he brought dignity to everyday work. Our “jobs” acquired a spiritual aspect, whether or not our vocations had anything to do with religious work.

Luther introduced the idea that all Christians have an equal vocation of following Christ, and thus their various forms daily work (some glamorous–some not) was of parallel value.

Luther never fully worked it out–this was left to the Reformed tradition, including Kuyper, and others.

But the wheels were set in motion and the train had left the station…

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Please go back to the main page and scroll down to see all the Acton University lectures I attended.

Why hate the Koch brothers?

The Koch brothers are the devil incarnate to many progressives.

But do you actually know their positions on immigration, prison reform, drug legalization, police violence, war in the Mideast, and urban education?

These two podcasts are from the Freakonomics Radio Show. Live interviews with Charles Koch.

I guarantee they will surprise you….

The Most Influential Man About Whom You Have Never Heard. #AbrahamKuyper

The Social Vision of Abraham Kuyper

Insights from a lecture given by Vincent Bacote of Wheaton College at Acton University 2017.

Abraham Kuyper (b. 1837 in Holland) is one of the most influential practical theologians of all time.

A parish pastor who ran for congress (Tweede Kamer), transformed Dutch society, and ended up prime minister, Kuyper (pronounced, BTW, COW-puhr, not KY-phur) enlisted almost superhuman dynamic energy to create space for Christians and others to thrive alongside one another.

He’s really only well-known in the Netherlands and in circles worldwide made up of enthusiastic Reformed/Gereformeerde/Hervormde theologians.

He was a progressive, “modern” theologian and pastor as a young man, who underwent twin conversions:

  1. Ethical. Became more humble and teachable.
  2. Confessional. Kuyper started attending prayer meetings of church members who were staying away from his “revisionist” sermons and discovered something of true substance there. He ended up aligning himself with the “kleine luyden” (the marginalized, less-socially-important people, many of whom could not vote). He ended up seeing himself as their leader and champion.

He eventually stepped away from vocational church life to run for congress, finding himself in the “Anti-revolutionary Party.” They were fighting against the secularist/laicist aftermath of the French Revolution (100 years prior).

You might say: “Why fight against something that happened 100 years ago?” Well, a Chinese historian was asked recently what he thought of the French Revolution. His answer (in 2015): It’s too early to tell (!).

Kuyper landed a seat in the Tweede Kamer (lower house), and began re-making the country. His writing output was beyond prodigious. He wrote daily and weekly columns for De Standaard and De Heraut. Much like Martin Luther, he used waterfalls of the printed word to bathe his nation in new ways of thinking. It led to several nervous breakdowns.

A parishioner, early on in his career, asked Kuyper: “Why can’t I send my child to a school with the bible?” This “School met de Bijbel” idea never left him; subconsciously, he turned it into brick and mortar, opening the Free University of Amsterdam (Conservative Christian) in 1880, and fighting for radical school choice for all (not just the rich) throughout his life, culminating in the 1917 educational pluralism law in the Netherlands, which has produced thriving primary schools of all ideologies to this day, all on an equal playing field, and at a cost of about half per student of what American taxpayers pay.

SPHERE SOVEREIGNTY

This will be the topic of another post, but AK developed sophisticated thinking around what he called sphere sovereignty. At the risk of over-simplifying, family, government, and church should stay out of each other’s business. The rules vary from sphere to sphere and one sphere doesn’t tell the other sphere what to do–thus it is fundamentally anti-totalitarian. Kuyper’s concepts around this idea had a huge effect on the large “Christian Democrat” political parties in Europe, and in a way, led to the welfare state which developed after WW2.

There are two kinds of Kuyper fans, in the 21st Century, and yes, they sometimes wear Kuyper T-shirts:

  1. Common Grace fans.
  2. Antithesis fans.
COMMON GRACE

A major theme in AK’s thinking, common grace is available to everyone. Dutch: gratie (rhymes with “Yahtzee”). Because God rules over all creation and all humankind, he gives them grace to live in his world and carry out their calling. God shows all men favor by holding their sin in check so that they are able to live together in society and so that His church can live and grow in the world (a quote from Charles Terpstra).

AK had practical reasons for creating the common grace canvas on which to paint his public engagement in politics. It gave him backing for working with all kinds of groups, Christian and secular, since everyone has access to gratie. He needed allies in order to form a coalition government and get some of his ideas passed into law.

Kuyper’s famous quote, “There is not one square centimeter of creation where God does not say: That’s mine!” reflects his understanding of common grace.

ANTITHESIS

Regenerated Christians, on the other hand, are recipients of special saving grace. Kuyper: genade. This sets them apart from all the rest of the human race. All facts can only be seen from two perspectives: regenerated and secular. This antithesis means, that although we share common grace, the regenerated Christian acts differently in the world than a secular person.

As Bacote summed it up: Go ahead and get out in the world, but remember who you are (a child of God) when you get there. We Christians will come to different conclusions about everything.

CONCLUSION

Kuyper never wanted a theocracy, because regenerated Christians will always be in the minority. But we are not to separate out into monasteries. Like Jesus and Paul, we are to engage the culture.

Special grace (genade) creates regenerated Christians who engage the culture with a different worldview, and engage others with our common grace to move God’s will forward in the world.

Also, AK was down on slavery, pro-women, had a huge effect on Dutch education, and set Dutch verzuiling (sovereignty n one’s own circle) in motion. He said some very racist things, was a workaholic, never groomed a successor, and wasn’t fully aware of how overbearing he was.

But he also is among the most creative Christian leaders of all time in describing how best to be “in the world but not of the world,” and far from being an ivory tower theologian, he walked his talk and set out to transform his nation.

 

 

My Seven Secrets Book Made the Top 500

Was surprised to see my fourth book, The Seven Secrets of a Meaningful Life, on the top 500 list for self-help books.

Kinda like making the Fortune 500 in this field.

I will be doing a book signing at Hosanna! Lutheran Church in Lakeville, Minnesota, on Father’s Day weekend in just a few weeks (June 17-18 after each service) as long as supplies last.

You can find the church at: http://hosannalc.org

The website for my book is: http://sevensecretsbooks.com

You can see the whole list of 500 self help books at: https://websitefinder.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/500-motivational-and-self-improvement-books/

 

God Is Calling Us To Grow Up

Endure Hardship Well
Learning to stay relational and continue to act like the person God made me to be during times of struggle and suffering. We examine the five levels of maturity, why most adults are stuck at infant or child maturity, and what God can do about it.

Last in a series using biblical principles and brain science based on “Rare Leadership,” by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder.

Return To Joy: Key To Positive Emotional Health

What is the strongest indicator of emotional health? Our ability to quiet ourselves quickly during emotional upset or…Return to joy

This is the third in a four part series on what it means to be a RARE leader. We are combining biblical principles with the latest brain science, based on the book Rare Leadership, by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder.
When we develop four uncommon habits to increase our emotional maturity (EQ) we increase trust, joy, and engagement with the people we live with. The people we work with.

10 Richest Pastors in the World #0715

News just breaks that Mark Driscoll may be getting severance of $650,000 for his first year away from Mars Hill Church.

For all of you pastors working hard, with people thinking you are overpaid with modest 5-figure salaries….

Guess who the richest pastor in the world is….

Click here for the top ten list:

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You have to scroll thru the numbers that look like this:

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Interesting:

  • Lots of Nigerians.
  • I suspect there are many other American pastors of high net worth because of family money. That would be hard to track.
  • I would be interested in a compensation list, not just a net worth list.

What do you think?

A book on humble productivity:

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Thom Rainer’s observations on pastors’ salaries:

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