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The Long Look Past

Look past your own injuries to the greater battle. A soldier may lose a leg, but if he quits, his loss could be for nothing. We can't always move, we can't always help. Sometimes the best way to help is to not ask for it.

Look at your own situation, then take a good, long look past it. One of the most important decisions is whether to ask for help. Sometimes it's better to ask sooner rather than to make more work for friends later. But, if you can suck it up long enough to help someone else, do so.

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Self-Sacrifice Trumps

Sometimes the only way to get needed attention is to make drastic cuts against your own stuff. Steve Jobs sold the museum to help propel Apple into the future. Cortes burned his ships. It wasn't easy for them and it won't be easy for you.

You have your own painful self-cuts you must make, sooner or later. We need don't cut back on our stuff every day, that's not necessary. But, when the time comes, we always find an excuse—or five—to say, "Not today."

No, we all must make painful cuts at times. Once we do, we grow.

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Battle Flow

Battles never appear as are. Outcomes flow and weave in and out. Currents of war and conflict are so complex—and organic—that no one can know which way events will turn next. All we can do is know the behavior of a river based on history. But, which way what piece of debris will flow this time around—we can't know.

The unpredictable nature of war should serve as both a caution and an encouragement.  Take no small victory to rationalize overconfidence—though aggressors do anyway. Free people defending home and country find hope knowing storms always precede calm.

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When Enuff Equals Itself

Deliberation is an important start, never a destination. Discussion must come before a conclusion, but it cannot be the conclusion in and of itself. We need to negotiate so we can move on to what is next. Once deciding factors have been explained and understood, it's time to move on to whatever that next thing is.

Moving on to the next phase doesn't involve what we often suppose. Yes, it's usually unpopular. Yes, it's usually political and partisan. But above all, moving into the phase of decision is about resources. Diligence, work, wits, strength, practice, study, smarts—these enforce decisions.

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Numbers in Smallness

Small, routine, good deeds of ordinary folk going about their daily lives—that is the great power that stays back evil and injustice. Like drops in a rain storm washing away the drought, no single part seems too significant in itself, but things so small can't possibly operate alone. No rain drop is ever alone because rain only falls in large numbers from a looming cloud.

Evil and injustice only have chance to spread when people believe that they don't matter merely because they are small. Small things always come in numbers, so they always matter for better or worse.

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Empowered Governance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMzNuuj1_BQ

A society can only be as lawful as its laws are suitable. Laws can only be as suitable as the lawmakers are both lawful and in touch with the society they govern.

Law is like a custom suit. Every measurement must be taken, cut and sewn, then it must be tried and tested. Governance is an ongoing work and it can't succeed without constant learning and asking.

Even with information and suitability, governance also requires awareness of "source" or "spark". Society is not guaranteed to grow and progress indefinitely. We need charge, recharge, and lift to empower what is governed.

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Drain Your Neighbor’s Swamp

We all need friends. We don't need "yesmen" or people to tell us that we're always doing great even when we're not. While we do need cheerleaders about half the time, once in a while we need help draining the swamps that seem too big to drain.

Rain is good, but too much overflows and garbage clogs the drain. When life makes a swamp in your neighbor's back yard, be a good neighbor, yank the plug, and save the neighborhood from the stench. If the swamp swells in your own back yard, be thankful for good neighbors when they knock.

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Calm as You Can

Hang in there with people who need to do better. Explain it to them. Be nice as you be firm. Things don't need to get ugly every single time we disagree. The feeling that conflict must always end uglily is an addiction to ugliness; it's not a negotiation philosophy. Don't let addiction to ugly endings direct your conflict management strategy.

As a general rule, if you know how to be calm in a way that calms others, if you can put away the dagger and convince others to put away theirs, then do just that as long as you can.

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Stake Your Loss

In the early stages of your "thing", customers and clients will flock to you, but half of them might have nothing to do with your vision or your identity. The core strategy is to find the "one thousand" core customer base—your supporters, your audience who loves what you do and wants to pay you to do it.

They're your visionary compass.

As you grow from fifty to one thousand, you will produce more material in line with your core vision, and you will lose those initial fans who liked what you had early, but not your true vision.

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Beat Carpet

Holding the floor requires first taking the floor. Hope needs to get attention—to be heard. Few things draw attention like well-drawn art.

Have beauty and skill in whatever you think is important. If your message will help people, get them to read it by drawing them in with the artwork you use to present it.

Practicing art strokes with your paintbrush or calligraphy pen may pave the way to tell the world about your cure for cancer. Captivate your captive audience with artistic diligence. They may not care to hear your words, but people just can't ignore good art.

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Competence Wins Wars

We say that courage wins victories. It does, at some level. Overcoming fear with a desire for something more important, determination and willpower, resolve—these things are quite formidable. But, they won't win if they wait until the last minute.

Competence comes from diligence. Skill and know-how need practice and experience—they need time. One can't sluff off, reject counsel, not learn, then expect to win at the last minute by sheer will. The one whose courage and resolve lead to daily practice and improved skill is the one who will win. That's why well-earned competence triumphs over last-minute courage.

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Standing Cheek-Turn

Turn the other cheek and don't back down. That's the idea Jesus gave us. Standing your ground includes opening yourself to unfair violence. If violent, cruel, uncaring people take advantage of your intentional weakness, it may be the last thing they do.

The public doesn't like bullies, no matter what their politics, usually.

Next time a friend doesn't act like one, keep your ideas and opinions. Say what you normally say, maybe more. Just make sure you include that old wisdom of returning good for the evil dealt you by others. If you give goodness, you must be good yourself.

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Forced Voices

Sometimes, people just don't listen. Maybe that should be rephrased—sometimes, people listen. Better yet, people rarely listen.

When we talk nice, we get ignored. For some reason, people only listen to loud voices. Forget all about the fact that the person talking started talking quietly. Forget all about the rudeness of ignoring someone or continuing to do something one shouldn't be doing in the first place. Once the person talking talks loud enough to get overdue attention, the "ignorers" complain about the loud voice.

It's their choice. Voices ignored become voices raised. It's a forced hand—or forced voice.

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Stay Human

Talent and technology enhance each other, but they can't replace each other. Skill and hard work can improve technology and technology, in turn, can empower our skills and diligence so that we can make better and better stuff, more by the day.

The temptation is to rely on technology to replace our skill. Good stories don't result from algorithms or automated production processes. Machines can't invent wit or charm—only well-timed playbacks of real human wit at best.

Don't let tech become your crutch. Put away your GPS and learn the lay of your land. That's how trend-setters get found.

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