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Benjamin Franklin’s Leadership Example

The name Benjamin Franklin is so familiar it is almost a cliché.  School children are introduced to him as the gray haired man flying a kite in a thunderstorm, or as the contemplative elder statesman sitting in the Pennsylvania State House and advising upon the drafting of the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution.  Franklin is one of the most famous founding fathers, and after more than two centuries, there are still those who have trouble understanding why.  As author Gordon S. Wood wrote of Franklin’s return to North America after the signing of the peace treaty ending the Revolutionary War, “When he arrived in 1785, his fellow Americans did not know what to make of him.  They knew he was an international hero, along with Washington the most celebrated American in the world, but they were not quite sure why.  He had not led the revolutionary movement like John Adams.  He had not written a great revolutionary document like Jefferson.  He had not led armies like Washington.” 

When writing about or discussing leadership, it is relatively easy for military and political figures to be examined as examples.  The reason for this is that their lives are lived very much in conflict and battle, and the principles of leadership that apply to “every day” life are seen in broader relief in the context of extreme and dangerous circumstances.  This is why so many leadership books, including our own, are filled with generals and statesman.  Examining Benjamin Franklin as an example of leadership principles is not so straight forward, however.  Seeing his genius in the leadership category requires a little deeper inspection.  But the reward for this extra effort is one of the richest and most motivating examples of leadership one can find.


The life of Benjamin Franklin can best be summarized by breaking it into three distinct phases.  In the first phase, Franklin was a businessman.  As most everybody knows, he rose from obscure and humble beginnings (a much larger barrier to advancement in those days than it is in ours) to become what we would today call a multi-millionaire.  He worked hard, had a great mentor and patron, and learned his trade (printing) well.  He became not just a wealthy printer but a sophisticated entrepreneur.  He was involved in the establishment of over eighteen paper mills, owned an extensive portfolio of rental properties, was a creditor to other business owners, and was involved in setting up other print shops on the model of his first one in Philadelphia.  He also became a famous writer during this same time.  He used his abilities and efforts to establish businesses that he could safely leave to the conduct of others, and by the age of forty seven he was free to pursue other things.  In the second phase of his life, Franklin was a philosopher and scientist.  Although he had been sent to England as the colony of Pennsylvania’s ambassador to the English throne, his passion was scientific thought and discovery.  He became an esteemed member of the Philosophical Society in London and was world famous for his real contribution to the understanding of electricity.  He also invented the Franklin stove, bifocals, an instrument for which Mozart created a musical score, and an almost endless list of contraptions.  During this time, of course, he continued to write. It was in this second phase of Franklin’s life that he was the most happy.  He was famous, well-respected among his peers, dined with Kings and Lords all over Europe, and was friends with most of Europe’s esteemed minds of the day.  He fully expected to live out the rest of his life in England, and couldn’t even be compelled to sail home for the marriage of his only son, the birth of his grandchild, or the waning health of his wife.  But circumstances and his own convictions thrust him into the third phase of his life; that of a patriot and American “founding father.”  He would sail home in 1775 and become one of the most passionate patriots in the Revolution. 

It is in the dramatic circumstances of Franklin’s transition from the second phase of his life into this third phase that most demonstrates his leadership ability.  What transpired would change his life, and the course of American history, forever.

Franklin was slow to comprehend the forces of change that were swirling in the North American colonies.  The violent reaction in North America to the 1765 Stamp Act shook caught him by surprise.  He had trouble understanding the feelings of repression brewing back home.  But an event took place that brought him into the revolutionary spirit with fervor. 

By this time he was not only the representative of Pennsylvania to the English government, but of several others as well, including Massachusetts.  Somehow a pack of private letters from the Massachusetts lieutenant governor Thomas Hutchinson got into Franklin’s hands.  In the letters, Hutchinson was imploring the British government to take more control of the colonies so that they would remain dependent on England.  Franklin sent these letters to officials in Massachusetts with the intent of demonstrating that the problems with the mother country were not official English policy, but the machinations of a few bad apples such as Hutchinson. In the words of Wood, “This was a gross miscalculation, for the letters he sent to Massachusetts only further inflamed the imperial crisis.  Contrary to much conventional wisdom, Franklin was not at all a shrewd politician or a discerning judge of popular passions, certainly not of the prerevolutionary passions of these years.”   The letters were printed in Boston newspapers.  Word soon got back to England about the Hutchinson letters and Franklin’s involvement in the affair finally became public once Franklin stepped forward and admitted to his involvement in order to stop a duel between others involved in accusations.  Franklin firmly defended himself by saying that the letters weren’t private, but from public officials about public matters.  As author H.W. Brands wrote,

“If any in England expected repentance [from Franklin] they certainly did not get it.  Franklin’s assertiveness condemned him the more in the eyes of those who considered Boston a nest of sedition and judged all who spoke for Boston abettors of rebellion.  Until now Franklin – the famous Franklin, scientist and philosopher feted throughout the civilized world – had been above effective reproach.  His admission of responsibility for transmitting the purloined letters afforded his foes the opening they had long sought.”

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts House had petitioned the government in England to remove Hutchinson from his position.  Franklin was called to the Privy Council hearing on the matter.  The opposing counsel was not just a lawyer, but a man named Alexander Wedderburn, the solicitor general.  Wedderburn was feared for his acidic and combative style and his lack of scruples when it came to his own political ambition.  Brands wrote, “Franklin had hoped to argue for Hutchinson’s dismissal on political grounds; the appearance of Wedderburn indicated that the government intended to mount a legal – and personal – counteroffensive.  Moreover, the target of the counteroffensive would not be Massachusetts but Franklin.”  Seeing this, Franklin asked for legal representation and was granted three weeks before the Privy Council would reconvene.  It is here where Franklin, normally the master of timing, became its victim.  Between the first and second Privy Council meetings, the Boston Tea Party took place.  This event shocked London and confirmed for most that the inhabitants of Boston were rebels, making Hutchinson look like a heroic defender of the British interests in a hostile environment. Furthermore, and bad news for Franklin, the Boston Tea Party had outraged officials in London, and Franklin was the on hand to feel the brunt of their wrath.

The second Privy Council meeting was a public spectacle, and very unlike normal, was overwhelmingly well attended.  The large hall, called the “Cock Pit,” was filled with dukes and viscounts and sirs and members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister.  Forgetting any pretense of the purpose of the original meeting, solicitor general Wedderburn launched into a tirade against Franklin that was so severe, so slanderous, that most of it was deemed unfit for print.  He attacked Franklin’s character, his intelligence, his loyalty, his reputation, and made statements such as, “I hope, my Lords, you will mark and brand the man . . . .  He has forfeited all the respect of societies and of men.”  As the diatribe continued, the audience laughed and jeered at Franklin’s expense.  Franklin sat motionless and silent, refusing to change even his facial expression.  Wedderburn continued by blaming the rebellious colonies on Franklin by saying, “these innocent, well-meaning farmers, which compose the bulk of the [Massachusetts] Assembly,” were not responsible for the rebellion.  Instead Franklin was the “first mover and prime conductor, the actor and secret spring, the inventor and first planner.”  This was quite a charge in itself, since Franklin hadn’t even been there in years! 

Franklin maintained his composure.   Wedderburn continued, feeding off the growing approval of the crowd, getting louder and more belligerent.  On and on he went.  Although his expression betrayed his feelings, Franklin grew hotter and hotter. He sat rigid and frozen, however.  Eye witness Edward Bancroft wrote, “The Doctor was dressed in a full dress suit of spotted Manchester velvet and stood conspicuously erect without the smallest movement of any part of his body.”  Wedderburn continued for over an hour, and when he had finally finished, Franklin refused to speak. 

Two weeks later Franklin was still fuming.  He was angrier for the public principles violated than for his own sake.  He wrote to a friend,

“When I see that all petitions and complaints of grievances are so odious to government that even the mere pipe which conveys them becomes obnoxious, I am at a loss to know how peace and union is to be maintained or restored between the parts of the empire.  Grievances cannot be redressed unless they are known; and they cannot be known but through complaints and petitions.  If these are deemed affronts, and the messengers punished as offenders, who will henceforth send petitions? And who will deliver them? Where complaining is a crime, hope becomes despair.”

Following the events in the Cock Pit, the government moved to remove Franklin from his long-held and prestigious position of deputy post master.  According to Brands, “Such action was discreditable in itself; it was even more pernicious in its prospect.  Appointments to the post office . . . were being held hostage to adherence to the policies of whatever ministry happened to hold power.”  In other words, disagree with those in power, and they would use their power to break you.  It was a classic case of “shoot the messenger.”  But the English government didn’t stop there.  It immediately passed the Boston Port Act, effectively closing Boston down to commercial trade.  This outrage was followed soon thereafter by the Massachusetts Government Act, the Administration of Justice Act, the Quartering Act, and the Quebec Act.  These acts would come to be called the “Intolerable Acts,” and would represent a point of no return in the conflict.  In the following weeks the colonies began sending delegates to an emergency continental convention. 

To Franklin’s credit, he hung around London for some time afterwards, and used all his skills and connections to get motions into Parliament attempting to reverse the path toward war with the colonies.  Two of these motions became official, and both were defeated.  Regarding the bullheaded charge of the officials in the English government down the path toward war, Edmund Burke said, “A great empire and little minds go ill together.”

Finally, having lost all hope of finding cooler heads to prevail, Franklin sailed for North America.  Wood wrote, “Franklin had had his deepest aspirations thwarted by the officials of the British government, and he had been personally humiliated by them as none of the other revolutionaries had been.”    The Franklin that stepped ashore in North America was a vastly different man that the one that had departed so many years before.  This Franklin was a man on a mission, with a clear view of how things really stood with mother England.  He had been there.  He had seen it for himself.  He had exhausted every bit of self control and diplomacy he could muster in the cause of maintaining harmony and justice between the two sides.  And he had suffered personally for his attempts.

In the decade to follow, Franklin would be as instrumental in the success of the War for Independence as anyone.  He would spend eight years in France as ambassador to King Louis XVI.  He would leverage his international fame to garner good will and connections.  He would hone his “folksy American” image to further his objectives.  He would befriend the high-born, the nobles, and the many courtiers of Louis’ court.  He would patiently and persistently build a bridge of trust between himself and the French government.  And finally, after years and years of painstaking effort, managing the squabbling ambassadors the colonies sent to help him, Franklin would accomplish his coup de grace.  He would forge an alliance with the mighty French government on behalf of the fledgling colonies.  The day he signed the former papers of alliance with England’s only worthy rival, Franklin showed up wearing the same exact suit he had worn that day years before in the Cock Pit.  He had not forgotten.  He had gotten the final laugh.  According to Wood, “[Franklin] was the greatest diplomat America ever had.  Not only did he bring the monarchy of Louis XVI into the war on behalf of the new Republic, but during the course of that long war he extracted loan after loan from an increasingly impoverished French government.  No other American could have done that.”  The money and munitions given by the French, followed by troops and finally ships, were irreplaceable in the colonial victory in the Revolutionary War.  Without such support, Washington and his battered troops and Congress and its empty coffers would never have made it.   

In the broad swoop of this story the leadership lessons to be learned from Benjamin Franklin are numerous.  First of all, he reversed his position on the rebellion growing in America when new information presented itself.  Next, he risked his reputation and world renown, and even a secure financial government post, by getting involved in the politics of the colonies’ unrest.  He handled himself with dignity under outrageous circumstances, and didn’t allow his personal pain prevent him from making further overtures of peace.  But once he saw the truth for what it was, he became a fervent champion of its cause.  As a true leader, he could not stand to leave the status quo the status quo.  Injustice was wrong, and no amount of personal prestige or comfort would be enough to make him “play it safe.”  Franklin was also patient, and never lost sight of the big picture, working steadily and methodically for years to accomplish his master stroke.   To use military terminology, Franklin kept his view at the high “campaign” level, rather than get distracted at the detailed “battle” level.  If leadership is influence, Franklin had droves of it: he found his way through a complicated French society and influenced a monarchy to support a rebellion attempting to overthrow another monarchy.  That’s influence.  If leadership is having vision, Franklin was a giant.  Arriving back in the colonies in 1775, most historians agree he was among the first to realize that it was independence or nothing.  While others clamored for middle ground and appeasement Franklin counseled whole hearted resistance.

In the end, Benjamin Franklin is noteworthy for so many things he is almost an intimidating figure peering through history at the rest of us as though we could and should do more.  But towering above his wide range of accomplishments is the legacy of freedom and independence he helped usher into existence.  His greatest achievement did not come from his scientific mind, or his inventive tendencies, or his philosophical wisdom.  Franklin’s greatest contribution came from his role as a leader.  Anyone studying leadership and aspiring to utilize God’s gifts to the fullest extent would be wise to study his example. 

This article was originally posted at

Financial Fitness for Teens

The following excerpt was taken from the book, Financial Fitness for Teens, from the Life Essentials Series. Foreward below written by Chris Brady

It’s funny when I think about how many times during my school years I had the thought, “When am I ever going to use this?” Usually this was in response to an obscure math problem or complicated chemical equation that some teacher was intent on teaching me to balance. Indeed, by the end of my college years, I could work mathematical equations with virtuoso skill. Given a few minutes, I could reduce any equation down to the much sought after “zero equals zero.” I remember manipulations of matrices, methods of integrations, and even friction cones as applied to robotic end effectors. And in my case, with the unpredictable path my life took from engineering to entrepreneurship and writing, I was correct in my suspicion that much of what I had been taught would go unused.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not regret my formal education, and I’ve even made peace with the fact that I spent so many hours of my youth in the bowels of mathematical dungeons. I am not upset by all the learning I did that didn’t end up being applicable in my life because, let’s face it, there is no way to know exactly what will be useful later and what will not. And it was nobody’s choice but my own to leave engineering for my true life’s calling of being a business owner. But what I do wonder about, quite frankly, is all the stuff I wasn’t taught along the way. At the top of that list is the topic of personal finance.

FF Teens 2

Why is it that we are taught the three Rs, “Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic,” but nothing about money? Why must we dissect a frog but never learn to balance a checkbook? And why are some of us even taught macroeconomics but never microeconomics, as in, our own economics?

The results of this oversight in education are predictable. The financial statistics for people in their twenties are dismal. Students graduate from high school and college, often laden with heavy student loan debt, and immediately get credit cards and car payments and frequently soon after, a mortgage. Just like that, they are buried under consumer debt. Unfortunately, this sets a pattern for life that is hard to break. And the load is difficult to bear. Interest on that debt compounds, and other forces like inflation work against them too. Add to this an overall ignorance about investing, and now our young people are not only having a hard time making ends meet, but what little is saved and stored someplace is done incorrectly. It all adds up to a life spent chasing after money to barely get by, when it didn’t really have to be that way at all. What so many young people are missing as they start out in life is a foundation of financial wisdom.

Understanding money doesn’t have to be hard. It isn’t some great mystery, and it’s certainly not boring. And for sure, nobody who ever learns the basics of good money management will ever have to ask themselves, “When will I ever use this?” Because the answer is obvious: Money is a topic, like it or not, that will be relevant in your life nearly every single day you are alive! It’s best to understand it well and early. And that’s the purpose of the book, Financial Fitness for Teens. Read on eagerly, and learn this stuff well. I promise you’ll be glad you did!

To purchase the Financial Fitness for Teens book, click here.

To purchase the Financial Fitness for Teens Audiobook, click here.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

Orrin Woodward Net Worth vs. Net Impact


Anyone who has spent any time around me at all will likely know that one of my favorite quotes (attributed to D.L. Moody) is:

Our greatest fear should not be that we will not succeed, but rather that we will succeed at something that doesn’t matter.”

It is easy to run for the wrong things in life.  We can fall prey to the world’s definition of success, going for glitter instead of gold.

So what really does matter in life? What is gold when it comes to achieving success?

I believe my friend and often co-author Orrin Woodward has expressed it well in a recent blog post (you can read it here).  His main point is that one can strive for Net Worth (in which money is stacked higher and higher) or Net Impact (in which people are served in the most important ways). I think we can all readily agree that striving after a success that serves people and changes lives is much more important than accumulating wealth.

Net Impact should trump Net Worth every time.

The particular cause Orrin uses to highlight this point is certainly worthy.  The evils of human trafficking, involving unspeakable injustices and crimes, should enrage us all.  I am thankful that people like Tim Ballard and organizations like his Operation Underground Railroad exist to fight those evils. That is why Terri and I are wholeheartedly supporting the Life on Life Initiative involving a partnering between All Grace Outreach and Operation Underground Railroad.  We are raising funds to help those who are in dire straights and cannot help themselves.

I’ll end with another famous quote (by Edmund Burke):

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Good men and women are not doing nothing, they are taking action! I am proud of the many people in Life who are working toward their Net Impact by raising funds and awareness for this important issue. Thank you all! May your Net Impact be huge!


Chris Brady

The Top 10 Mistakes People Make Building Life

Life’s purpose is to set people free across the full spectrum of the population:

• For the large percentage of people who struggle with debt and credit problems, Life offers debt freedom through its Financial Fitness products and services.

• For those who desire high achievement and lifestyle, Life offers a shot at financial freedom through its sales compensation plan.

• And for those who are underprivileged, disenfranchised, or victims of disaster, Life offers functional freedom through its Life on Life Initiative and charitable outreaches.

While all three segments of Life’s purpose are equally important, most people who are introduced to the company are attracted to the lucrative compensation plan offered through the Life business opportunity.

Life offers Members the opportunity to profit from the sale of Life’s materials through a competitive compensation plan. Life’s goal is to flow the money typically spent on marketing and advertising to the leaders who help build the customer base for Life materials. Further, the founders of Life are dedicated to serving in the field alongside Life Members—a unique situation that enables the compensation structure to maintain as its chief consideration the flowing of proceeds to the field instead of to corporate shareholders, investors, or other interested parties, as is true with most companies. What this means is the Life compensation plan can offer one of the highest margins in the industry, all while keeping prices competitively low.

dreaming quoteLife CEO, Chris Brady, has a unique position in the company in that he was once a Member who has achieved the highest level in Life’s compensation plan. Brady’s position and experience both as a former Life Member and current CEO has enabled him to transform the company from the inside out, knowing exactly what the Life Members need to grow and prosper.

Here is a list of what Brady believes to be the top 10 mistakes people make building their Life business. We hope that this list will help you avoid tripping points on your journey towards living the life you’ve always wanted!

The Top 10 Mistakes People Make Building Life – by Chris Brady

1) They don’t dream big enough, real enough, or long enough.

  • Don’t dream about some unrealistic fantasy; dream something real. Dream in a way that moves you towards action.
    • You have to visualize your dream. Picture what it’s like. Build it up in your mind.
    • You’ll never regret dreaming big, but you’ll always regret it if you don’t.
  • Make the you of tomorrow happy about the decisions that the you of today made.
  • You will have to get almost to the point of feeling silly about your dream in order to get wealthy. You have to hang yourself out there where the average people won’t go.

2) They don’t commit hard enough.

  • Don’t be “kind of on the fence” in your Life business. Be so committed that you’ll jump over the fence.

3) They don’t kill enough of their “95% thinking.”

  • You have to force yourself to have a positive attitude, even when you don’t feel positive.
  • Be careful not to fall back into old bad habits.
  • Be prepared to question everything you have learned up to this point. You have to almost think that large chunks of what you’ve learned growing up (about success, performance, excellence, the mindset of a champion, etc) is wrong.

4) They don’t hit the Life Training Marketing System hard enough.

  • “Hitting the system” hard enough would actually help with all three items listed in number 3.
  • Be consistent when listening to audios.
  • Don’t just hit the system hard with yourself, but hit it hard when dealing with your sales and support team.
  • Allow the system to work for you, instead of trying to do everything yourself.
  • The Marketing System breathes truth into people’s lives in order to change hearts and change lives.

5) They don’t share the idea with enough people.

  • If you show enough people consistently for long enough, the results in the business will blow your mind. But most people simply won’t do the work.

6) They don’t set clear, pressure inducing goals.

  • How do you know if it’s a good goal? Because it puts pressure on you to do more in the “here” and “now.”
  • You have to set goals that cause you to be a little uncomfortable.

7) They don’t drive enough “depth.”

  • Depth solves nearly every problem with building the Life business.

8) People don’t build their self- belief enough.

  • Put yourself in the picture for long enough so that your subconscious mind starts to believe it.

9) They don’t focus enough.

  • Too many people have too many distractions.
  • Don’t be so divided across so much territory that you lose all focus to become phenomenal at something.
  • Make short term sacrifices for long term results.

10) They don’t hang in there long enough.

  • You have to be like hair on a biscuit; you have to stick!
  • Have a long term outlook no matter what happens along the journey.

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(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

The Journey of a Good Idea: How to Be More Creative

In Chris Brady’s classic leadership talk, The Journey of a Good Idea: How to Be More Creative, he explains how good ideas (and the creativity to devise them) can become life altering solutions for the world.

Creativity has two parts:

1) Coming up with the idea

2) Getting the idea to come to life

“Creativity impacts everything that you do. Learning to be more creative can really improve your life!” – Chris Brady

First- How to Be More Creative

  1. Be a prodigious noticer.
  2. Expose yourself to widely differing disciplines so that you can make new combinations.
  3. Slow down (so you can be more observant)
    • Creative “types” sometimes need to haul off and do nothing because that gives them the chance to think up something.
    • Sometimes you need to go slow in order to go fast.
  4. Think!
  5. Go dark.
    • Shut off the phone, get away from your laptop, turn off the TV, don’t turn on the car radio, etc.
  6. Become a subject matter expert.
  7. Reduce things down to their essential core. Keep the main thing the main thing.
  8. Don’t waste your life on dumb stuff. Be regular and orderly in your life so that you can be violent and original in your work.
  9. Hang around the right people.
  10. Regularly break routine and expose yourself to something new as often as you can.
  11. Steal ideas from everywhere. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes. Emulate, steal, and copy until you get your own vibe going from all of the input.
  12. Be adventurous.
    • At a roadblock, ask yourself this question, “what would make the best story?”
  13. Involve your heart.
    • Creativity comes as much from your heart as it does from your head.
  14. Travel.
    • There isn’t a more productive activity you can do to rearrange your paradigm than through traveling.
  15. Create for the sheer joy of it and ignore your critics.


Second- Getting the Idea to Come to Life

  1. Realization: You see the problem to be fixed, clearly, and perhaps for the first time.
    • Make sure you have invested the thought time to clearly identify and classify the problem, truly understanding it as thoroughly as possible. Be sure to work toward the root cause and avoid being misled by the symptoms.
  2. Mechanization: The method by which you “think it up.”
    • Take steps to actively generate possible solutions. This may involve gathering with others, making sketches, having a brainstorming session, benchmarking the competition, or just playing around with things.
  3. Assimilation: The combining of previous ideas into a new one.
    • Realize that most new ideas are just combinations of previous ones, and ask questions such as, “What could we combine that has never been combined before?” and “What do we already have available or have already done that could be synthesized into something new here?”
  4. Inspiration: The catalystic spark or insight that puts it together for the first time, and the desire to change the status quo that pushes the process along.
    • Provide motivation to yourself and your team by visualizing and vision-casting success and a new, desired reality that will be brought about by the solving of this problem or the creation of a breakthrough idea.
  5. Germination: Most ideas are not hatched fully formed, instead, they need to grow and blossom under more thought and consideration (and even discussion).
    1. Provide healthy nurturing and incubation for your ideas, allowing them to be considered openly without having to survive the negative attacks of “It’ll never work” and “Not my idea.” Keep egos and reality tests away from your new ideas when they are young and give them time to morph into something real.
  6. Elation: The passion that arises when pursuing a real improvement or breakthrough.
    1. Enjoy the process and refuse to become frustrated, which often shuts down creative channels. Instead, foster the enthusiasm of a treasure hunter nearing the red X on a map.
  7. Confirmation: When you first begin to realize you’ve got it, and evidence suggests that it really will work.
    1. Carefully test your new ideas to verify their validity, and have an open process for analyzing how effective they might actually be in the real world.
  8. Dissemination: The act of forcing your good idea down other people’s throats!
    1. Have a process for sharing your idea outward into your organization (or the world)  that allows it to first be received by those who stand the most to gain by it, thereby gaining momentum and strength before it attracts critics and detractors.

You don’t always need to create the good idea, you just need to know how to spot one and carry it across the finish line. By following some of these simple steps, you will be able to create your way to the life you’ve always wanted!

(Italicized text was transcribed directly from Brady’s audio – Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

Developing Kids Who Love to Read

As I was packing up boxes and boxes of books for their move across town last year, a thought struck me several times, I don’t think I have ever met anyone with so many books!


Delilah on top of the book boxes

Literally thousands of books filled the bookshelves of their basement library, with boxes stacked from floor to ceiling. A week into the project, just when I thought the book packing was complete, I was told there was another library…upstairs. I couldn’t imagine! Hundreds more books overflowed on the shelves of the kids’ library; amazing!

My position as a 3rd party writer for this article is truly unique in that I have seen Chris Brady and Terri Brady live exactly what they teach. Not only are they fervent readers themselves, but all four of their children LOVE to read!

It seems appropriate then that one of the most popular Life parenting audios the Brady’s have recorded to date is about reading.

So, for those of you who have children (or plan to have children one day), Chris and Terri Brady offer some tips below that may be helpful to you on your own parenting journey of developing kids who love to read.

“It goes beyond just getting kids to read. The real goal is to help them fall in love with reading. Not just become kids who read, but become kids who LOVE to read.” – Chris Brady

Here are some of the things we did to help our children learn to love reading.

First, what we didn’t do:

  • We didn’t make TV or video games a first option for entertainment. We made books the #1 thing!
    • We had to make the decision to change our habits to ‘not have visual media’ vs. the habit to ‘have visual media.’
      • Once in a while visual media as a treat is okay, but not as a habit.
  • We didn’t let our children watch TV or play video games which then opened the door for them to entertain themselves with reading as their first option when they were looking for something to do.
    • Reading isn’t just part of their lives, but a BIG part of their lives – to the point that they want to grow and change with it.

Some of the things we did do:

  • We read to them even as babies. It created a habit where they just became used to the concept.
  • Regardless of whether they were even paying attention, we just READ (out loud)!
  • When they grew out of the nap time stage, we developed a ‘quiet time’ in their day.
    • cb-and-cmWe would read two books together and then leave the pile of books on the floor for them and walk out of the room.
    • The kids were then able to make the choice themselves- did they want to nap or read books? 
  • Once they grew out of quiet time stage, we created a habit of ‘reading time’ instead.  
  • We would take our kids to used book stores, and we still do even as they’ve gotten older. 
  • We ask questions about the books that they are reading. 
  • We set reading goals with our kids.

How YOU can personally impact your kid’s love for reading:

  • Be the example.
    • Instead of picking up your phone when you are waiting in the car, at a doctor’s appointment, or at halftime of the soccer game- pick up a book. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
  • Read a book out loud as a family.
    • In the car, by the fire, etc.
  • Don’t worry so much about how organized your bookshelves are. The books that get read are the books that are on the table.
  • Set a timer.
    • For example: 15 minutes of “mom’s choice” books and then the rest of the hour “your choice” books.
  • Take trips to the library.
    • There’s so much fruit in the library that you can harvest.
    • Set a timer here too, if necessary.
  • For road trips, instead of watching DVD’s in the car, buy your kid’s book lights so they can read at night.

“When I got rid of all my excuses I had for NOT reading and made them reasons TO read, I learned that it helped me influence my children to love reading.” – Terri Brady


A few more thoughts…

  1. Be sure to elevate reading as a great concept in and of itself and make reading the reward (and not the drudgery) that leads to a different reward.
  2. Our reading should be guided by our desire to grow as leaders fashioning us into becoming better people, and that should be the goal for our children as well.
  3. Helping your kid’s learn to fall in love with reading is one of the most important tools they will need to be successful.

Finally, by implementing a few of these behaviors, your kid’s will eventually discover on their own that reading is a joyous and rewarding activity. Once you lead the horse to water and you get him drinking, he will keep drinking, and that’s what we have seen with our own children.

Reading is important in the life of adults for sure, and if that’s true, then we should strive to cultivate reading in the lives of our children as well. We will then reap the blessing of watching the fruit grow as a result. Developing kids who love to read is a great stewardship, a great responsibility, and a great blessing and joy all by itself.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)


Life Leadership’s “You, Inc.” Financial Hierarchy or Pyramid

Proper Financial Fitness begins with mastering the Defense, Offense, and Playing Field of money.  For the many satisfied customers (click here and scroll down for textual, audio, and video testimonials) of Life’s Financial Fitness suite of products and services, this is exactly what they have discovered and put to good use.

But there IS more.

Just what do you do with the money once you stop being scammed as a victim of debt and start to instead enjoy the thrill ride of having extra money at the end of the month?  Where do you put it? How do you go about determining which investments might be right for you?

In this quick video shot several months ago in the hot Florida sun, I try to give a quick fly-by of how we present the answers to these questions in our new addition to the series: the Beyond Financial Fitness program.  It covers the concept of the “You, Inc. Hierarchy” or Pyramid of priority for your money.

I hope you enjoy the video, and more importantly, that you find the information useful!

God bless!

Chris Brady

The information presented on this blog and in any of its videos is for general educational purposes only, and provides information the authors believe to be accurate on the subject matter covered.  It is presented here with the understanding that neither the authors nor the publisher are providing advice for any particular portfolio or for any individual’s particular situation, or rendering investment advice or other professional services such as legal or accounting advice.  If expert advice in areas that include investment, legal, and accounting are needed, please seek a competent professional’s services.

This publication may make reference to performance data collected over various periods of time.  Remember that past results do not guarantee future performance.  Performance data, as well as laws and regulations, change over time, which could affect the applicability of the information presented on this blog and its videos.  Any data presented herein is used merely to illustrate the underlying principles.

This blog and its videos are not to serve as the basis for any financial decision or as a recommendation of any specific investment.

No warranty is made with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, and both the authors and the publisher specifically disclaim any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this blog and its videos.

Who Are They To Judge

Matt does a great job here summarizing my favorite points in the book. I LOVE the After Action Review! Read on!

Matt Mielke

I just finished reading a short book from the LIFE Leadership development system titled “Get Er Done – The Green Beret Guide To Productivity” by Michael Martel, a former Green Beret (as I would expect).get er done book

It is a short, easy-to-read book with a lot of good wisdom. One section in particular is titled “Who Are They To Judge.” I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was not a typical chapter on critics and how to deal with them, as I had originally assumed.

Have you ever attempted to do something and have been questioned by someone, probably negatively, why you would do that? Prior to your friend’s query, you probably spent time in thought and prayer, studied the potential reward and consequences, acquired special insight and information and, with all positive intentions, decided to move forward and then, WHAM!  You get hit with seemingly unwarranted criticism, rejection and negativity.

In sports…

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You’ve Always Been Different . . .

. . . done things your way; sought your own path; and chased your own dreams. In fact, deep down, you’ve always known you were made for something great.

Now you’ve got different information, too.

Get ready for different results.

LIFE Leadership




Life Business Approaches First Birthday

If it were a human, it would still be wearing diapers and maybe not even walking yet. If it were a dog, it might still be chewing the furniture.  But LIFE is a business and wasn’t forced to go through the awkward infant phases of existence. Instead, it’s first year is shaping up to be a very adult, mature one.

Here is what I mean:

1. The LIFE business launched on November 1, 2011 on an interesting premise: produce world-class information products that change peoples’ lives, and make those products available to anyone as a significant home-based business venture.

2. With it comes a compensation plan that returns in excess of 70% (with all incentives included) to those in the field who market the products (an industry high), and rewards performance, allows anyone to “pass” anyone else in accomplishment, and is excruciatingly fair. It can no longer be said that “life is unfair,” because “LIFE is fair!”

3. Also instituted right at the launch of the LIFE business was the 3 for Free customer program, allowing not only LIFE members, but also LIFE’s customers themselves to receive their product subscriptions for free once they acquired three equal or higher subscribing customers of their own!

 4. One Time Cash Awards (OTCA’s) were then rolled out for the start of the 2012 calendar year, giving thousands of additional dollars to performers throughout a wide range of business sizes.

5. Next, in April of 2012, Paid Incentive Trips were announced. Again, the shockingly low business level requirements to earn these trips is another industry first. Destinations include Disney World in Orlando Florida, Arenal Costa Rica, the Oasis of the Seas Bahamas Cruise, Sandals Resort in Negril, Jamaica, Maui Hawaii, Ocho Rios Jamaica, a Celebrity Cruise, and a Princess Cruise to Alaska!

6. Then, the LIFE business rolled out its flagship product, the Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC). Designed with complete life transformation in mind, the MFC encompasses many different media including books, audio, video, self-assessment testing, 360 degree feedback, accountability partners, goal setting, progress tracking, and more. The Mental Fitness Challenge is already receiving rave reviews!

7. Next came lower prices! The barrier to entry for starting a business out of one’s home was driven even lower by the founders of the LIFE business. One can now begin his or her own home based information marketing business for just $49.99!

All of this excitement has caused record growth in the LIFE business and is shaping up to be a first year to remember! As November 1, 2012 approaches, there may be only one little candle on the LIFE business’s birthday cake, but it represents a flame that can light the fires of many dreams as people have the courage to dream. May yours burn brightly!