Welcome to Volume 3 of The Great Ones Online.

Once in a great while, we have the pleasure of encountering that special person that embraces a penchant for enormous success along with a delightful demeanor that seems to simply fit.

Eric Becker began his entrepreneurial career selling seeds to his neighborhood friends while his Dad played Santa Claus at the mall. To say that he parlayed those humble beginnings into an empire would be an understatement—yet understated describes this soft spoken, fun-loving tycoon—a person who finds comfort on his boat on the bay, a place to re-charge (before buying another company or two!)

The definition of “The Perfect Day” alone makes this course well worth watching over and over. If only all days could be like that.

Here is a free preview of the interview. Paid members, scroll down this page to access the full hour-long interview, video commentary by Ridgely, PDF materials, exercises and the full explanation of Edict IV – Thou Shall Embrace Patience and Temperance.

Free preview of Volume 3 – The Perfect Day:

http://www.thegreatonesonline.com/blog/previews/eric.flv

Free sneak peek at this volume’s associated edict (from The Great Ones book):

EDICT IV – THOU SHALL EMBRACE PATIENCE AND TEMPERANCE

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

members only content

[private_003]

Welcome The Great Ones Online Members – This is YOUR SPECIAL SECTION!

Here is the full version of Volume 3 – The Perfect Day

http://www.thegreatonesonline.com/video/ridgely_m2m_vol3.flv

Eric is a wonderful, gentle, creative man that I learned a lot from. Watch this interview from me where I share my own take-aways from the interview.

http://www.thegreatonesonline.com/video/M2U00448.flv

Be sure to read these insights for Volume 3 – The Perfect Day:

Volume 3 – The Perfect Day

Also, do these exercises to reflect on what you’ve learned and how it applies in your life:

Volume 3 Exercises

EDICT IV – THOU SHALL EMBRACE PATIENCE AND TEMPERANCE

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Explanation of Edict IV

I’ll never forget that special day when I stood in front of my condominium on Johnson Beach on Perdido Key Island in Northwest Florida. Not a cloud graced the sky, a light breeze tickled the senses, and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico lapped against the shore in quiet whispers.

In sharp contrast, Ivan—a category five hurricane with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour and gusts close to 200—roared a few hundred miles away. My family and I had spent the last week glued to the Weather Channel, tracking the trajectory that saw this 500 mile wide monster pass South of Key West and take a hard right, gather even more force in the warm waters and now, loomed poised for a direct hit within 48 hours.

Under mandatory evacuation orders, we left.

Hours later, Ivan slammed ashore, blowing 135 miles an hour with a surge from the sea of 25 feet. In five short hours—and the worse natural disaster to ever hit Pensacola—the length of our barrier island, my condominium and the entire culture of artists, musicians and craftspeople who had populated this corner of the earth for decades, was completely obliterated. Their low-cost housing could never be re-built. What took decades to develop disappeared overnight.

Recently, I walked by the empty lot where the building had once stood. The only thing left was an odd chunk of asphalt buried in sand from the parking area where I once left my car. Years of effort—gone.

Establishing a successful business always takes longer than planned, requires infinitely more energy than expected, and costs more money than estimated. 50% of businesses started by new entrepreneurs fail in the first year, while 90% fail in the first three. Seldom do start-ups turn a profit before the fourth year of operation. Against these odds, a lack of understanding of the time required to succeed can mark the death of an enterprise; and signals the need for an unclouded grasp of patience.

“Patience” is defined as follows:

  1. “the will or ability to wait or endure without complaint;”
  2. “steadiness, endurance or perseverance in performing a task.”

Notice how earlier edicts from the Code form part of the definition—“The will” stands for the decision. “To endure” speaks to commitment. “Steadiness” implies responsibility. “Performing a task” comes from the conception and execution of the plan. “Patience” involves the natural process of persevering (also in the definition) for long enough to allow the accumulated actions set forth in the plan to take hold and bear fruit.

The Law of Accumulation states that if you take the correct actions enough times, you will accomplish whatever the goal. This begs the questions: what are the “correct actions”; and how many are “enough times?” Though the answer will always depend on the goal, from a perspective of patience—this does not matter. If we are determined to persist for however long it takes, we can take comfort in the fact that with every additional correct action, we will get closer and that the Law of Accumulation will build chits in our favor; like a success bank account that is steadily increasing. Particularly on tough days, this knowledge enables us to make one more call, draft one last proposal, stay an extra hour, and trust that these micro steps will lead to overall success.

Complimentary to tenacious action, a patient attitude enables us to step back and evaluate more objectively; and even to periodically take a needed break to re-charge, knowing that the Law of Accumulation will continue to work in our favor.

I remember a convention a while back, where toward the end of his speech, the head of an organization declared in jest: “and if you stick around long enough, any bonehead can figure out what not to do and get this right.”

While his commentary drew a big guffaw, there is much truth in it. When Thomas Edison was asked about failing 9,999 times on his way to inventing the light bulb, he quickly retorted: “I didn’t fail. I found out 9,999 times what didn’t work so that on the 10,000th round I could figure out what did.”

Indeed. As human beings, we make mistakes. In embarking on a new venture, we will make even more. Some will be the expected faux-pas associated with lack of experience; others will depend upon our own filters and backgrounds; still others may come out of left field. It doesn’t matter. With patience and an open mind, in due course, we will uncover what doesn’t work—and stop doing that in favor of something else. If that “something else” doesn’t serve either, we will figure that out and move on to the next act. Eventually, we can’t help but stumble onto a few of the “correct actions” that will move us toward success.

Side by side with patience—stands temperance, a trusted ally that jabs us in the ribs before an outburst and helps us keep unwieldy anger in check. Its presence is critical for our success.

Imagine a vertical line with emotion at the very top and rational thought at the very bottom. The middle represents that area of balance between desire, passion, drive, ambition—the high emotional states that drive us to action, and logic, reason, systems, processes—the low rational states that craft and monitor the plan. Every time we stray too far from the balanced middle, we lose our objectivity. If we soar too high, we can fly off the handle and act impulsively without considering the consequences. If we let ourselves stray too low, we become mired in analysis and don’t move to action. Both places represent danger.

However, the damage caused by paralysis happens slowly—which also means that if recognized, it can be promptly corrected. The damage that ensues from a temper outburst, a moment of blindness or an act of negligence that leads to the loss of ability to view a problem rationally can be permanent.

Consider the following story:

There was once a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence behind the house. On the first day, the boy drove 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of daily hammered nails gradually dwindled down. He discovered that it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that from then on, the boy pull out one nail for each day in which he held his temper. The days passed, and the young boy eventually told his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence, where he said:

“You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound will still be there.”

No one likes to be yelled at or berated and no one appreciates being put down. In the long term of a business, this approach never works. If you have a cancer in your operation or enterprise, then cut it out. Don’t expect that your verbal tongue lashing or cajoling will ever fix a problem for any longer than that day or that week. It won’t. You won’t close a contract by yelling through a negotiation; if you do, your reputation will quickly begin to precede you and send potential partners and clients elsewhere. People, much like plants, need nurturing and caring to grow. Conversely, they will wither in the heat of criticism.

To grow an empowered and self-motivated organization, discipline yourself to hold your ire. Ask yourself, as your blood level rises: “Will I be angry about this tomorrow?” If the answer is no, then zip it. By the next day, the lesson to be imparted will remain—without the emotional charge.

This same temperance applies to our relationship with ourselves. Acknowledging mistakes forms part of taking full responsibility. Whipping ourselves or wallowing in self-pity is an indulgent waste of time and energy; a lesson that the Old Man imparts several times to the Boy.

In jujutsu, if you become tense or uptight, you instantly lose 50% of your strength. In business, a balance must be struck between logic and reason on one side and creativity and passion on the other. The minute we err too far to either side, the equilibrium is lost, judgment goes out the window and the enterprise suffers. Paralysis by analysis takes a while. Flying off the handle takes a second.

Guard the mind that triggers the thoughts that open the mouth. Choose your words well, if needed at all. As the old saying states: “Better a word too few, than one too many.”

Patience and temperance mark the beginning of mastery over self. The Code exposes both the traits that weave themselves into the character of a Great One, as well as those that drive behavior. Patience and temperance speak more to what not to do; to an inner resolve of trust and restraint that forges through effort and experience. Success takes time. Those unwilling to discipline themselves to persist will never taste the holy grail. Those who prematurely rush the beachhead unfortunately get slaughtered.

[/private_003]

3 comments

  1. Alfred Bellezza

    Eric seems to be a very “centered” man. Really has his act together. A great symbol of success and control. So far I see many common threads running through these 3 men that have been interviewed. These are the real factors of success. I’m owning and cultivating them. Thanks, Alfred

  2. Janice Pullen

    Ridgely, I enjoyed watching and listening to Eric Becker. Thank you.

    He espouses many principles I used while in the military, which brought a smile to my face. However, I was not as organized. Anyway, I am going to practice on getting better at the things I haven’t done well. I do now and have done a lot of things in the past; yet, it has been hard to put those things into neat bundles. However, Eric does it well! I see great benefits in the guidelines he set forth in “A Perfect Day”. Also, I like his concepts for curtailing wasteful spending.

    Thanks again for your mentorship–Janice

Leave a Reply