The Financial Matrix

The Financial Matrix, like the fictitious Matrix in the film, is a system of governmental money control designed to keep people in bondage to debt (control the flow of capital & you control the masses & a culture of borrowing).

This seven minute video peels back a few layers of the onion and, more importantly, offers real-time solutions.

The Financial Matrix 2


The Financial Matrix

Red or Blue

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LLR Corporate Subscription overview

LLR Corporate Development

The LLR Corporate Development Program (overview)

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This is Why You’re Not Happy

#WinFromWithin | #MakeItCount

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Become the Creative you’ve Always Wanted to be by Embracing these Seven Habits

by Louis Chew

The most commonly held belief about creativity is that it’s elusive, esoteric and unique only to the anointed few.

The ancient Greeks believed that creativity was a divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons. They called these spirits daemons. The Romans had a similar idea as well, but called the spirit a genius.

Centuries later, not much has changed. The only difference is that we no longer attribute creativity to divine spirits, but to special individuals. We think that it’s only Beethoven, Picasso and Mozart who have creative genius.

Except that’s not true.

Today, we deconstruct and analyze even the most elusive of processes. We come to understand that there are specific behaviors and mindsets which anyone can use to Creativityreach a desired result.

Here are the seven behaviors of highly creative people.

  1. Steal like an artist

There is a truth that the aspiring creative must first recognize. We need only turn to Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist, to learn this:

“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”

One must realize that the idea and inspiration for a piece of work comes from many sources at once. Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of previous ideas. It’s why, quoting Jonathan Lethem, Kleon writes that “when people call something ‘original,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.”

The good artist emulates the style of another as closely as he can. The great artist selects elements from others’ work and incorporates them into his own mix of influences. He does so tastefully, knowing that the right fusion will create something that is uniquely his, although not completely original.

So learn to steal like an artist—the entire world is up for grabs.

  1. Always be researching

To find something worth stealing, one must look in the right places.

Input facilitates output. There’s no getting around that. The quality of the information one consumes determines the quality of work one will produce. In a world where noise often drowns out the signal, finding the best ideas can often be difficult.

There are two ways to get around this. The first is what Kleon calls branching, which is useful for exploring variations of an idea.

“Chew on one thinker. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go.”

That’s not the only method of sieving out valuable ideas. Originality stems from creating something that has never been seen before. Which is why bestselling author Ryan Holiday turns to the classics whenever he is in doubt.

Classic pieces are ‘classic’ for a reason. They’ve survived the test of time. The philosophy of Stoicism goes back to the ancient Greeks, but Holiday showed how those ideas are relevant today in his books Ego Is The Enemy and The Obstacle Is The Way. He didn’t come up with those ideas; he applied them.

It’s not enough to just observe your surroundings. The creative actively seek out the best ideas from all places. They’re always researching.

  1. Enter new domains

As we gain more experience and expertise in our work, we become more entrenched in a particular way of viewing the world. It makes us more efficient as we eliminate part of the thinking process, but the downside is that we become less receptive to new ideas and less responsive to changes.

It’s as Abraham Maslow observed: He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.

That’s a death sentence for any creative who hopes to do good work. It’s also the surest way for a company to go out of business within the next few years.

Consider the ubiquity of Google today. Search engines had existed long before Google came along, but were limited in use. Google changed that when it adopted a new approach for returning results, choosing to focus on quality rather than popularity.

The inspiration for this change? Academic publishing.

In the academic world, one can easily determine the quality and relevance of a paper by how often it is cited. The best research papers rise to the top, while the more limited ones fade into obscurity. It was an elegant idea which Larry Page was only too happy to introduce into Google’s search algorithm. It’s now known in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) as back-links.

Original and creative solutions don’t always come from reinventing the wheel. Rather, it comes from developing innovative applications, not imagine completely new concepts.

You can start by finding two completely different ideas and combining them.

  1. Be more prolific

Thomas Edison was famous for being relentless in experimenting. The sheer quantity of his experiments would eventually result in him holding the record for having the most patents—over 1090 in his name. Picasso painted over 20,000 works. Bach composed at least one work a week.

Most of these works never amounted to much. They were creations which the average man on the street would never have taken a second look at. It turns out that none of us can accurately predict which ideas will hit and which will miss.

The solution? Produce so much work that one piece will inevitably stick. If only one idea for every ten that you come up with is good, all it means is that you should be working on a hundred ideas to come up with ten good ones. The same goes for writing, composing, or painting.

It’s widely assumed that there’s a trade-off between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false. Quantity breeds quality. The act of creating something, no matter how lousy, is practice for creating a better one.

And that’s why Steve Jobs rightly said, “real artists ship.”

  1. Give yourself permission to suck

Creating more work sounds like a good idea in theory, but it’s difficult in application. The single and most important reason is that we don’t give ourselves permission to suck.

Stephen Pressfield knows this too. In The War of Art, he names the fear that all creatives have—he calls it the Resistance.

“The amateur, on the other hand, over-identifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a playwright. Resistance loves this. Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and over-terrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyzes him.”

The problem is that we’ve been trained to tie our self-worth to our accomplishments. If that’s the case, who then, would willingly create a piece of work that would be used to judge him?

For this reason, Pressfield says that we must turn from amateur to professional. Only then can we produce truly creative work.

“Resistance wants us to stake our self-worth, our identity, our reason-for-being, on the response of others to our work. Resistance knows we can’t take this. No one can. The professional blows critics off. He doesn’t even hear them. Critics, he reminds himself, are the unwitting mouthpieces of Resistance.”

The way to creativity is to create a lot, and the way to create a lot is to give ourselves permission to suck. People will forget the mistakes and garbage we make but will remember our best works.

  1. Embrace constraints

There are many barriers that can prevent us from creating a good piece of work. But the essence of creativity is making do with what we have. In fact, Austin Kleon suggests that it is necessary:

“Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of infinite possibilities. The best way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself.”

He goes on to explain how having less helps us:

“One, getting really good at creative work requires a lot of time and attention, and that means cutting a lot of fluff out of your life so that you have that extra time and attention. And two, creativity in our work is often a matter of what we choose to leave out, rather than leave in—what is unspoken versus spoken, what isn’t shown versus what is, etc.”

Constraints are not the enemy. Many creatives understood that and went on to produce masterpieces because of constraints, not despite them.

Dr Seuss was challenged to write a children’s book with only 50 words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham, which went on to sell over 200 million copies. Having constraints was so vital to fueling creativity that Dr Seuss would set his own limits to work with for his other books. For example, The Cat In The Hat was written using only a first-grade vocabulary list.

But perhaps the most famous example is Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story. Nobody is likely to forget For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn anytime soon.

  1. Develop your ritual

Creativity doesn’t come easily.

The process is frustrating. There’s hardly a good barometer with which we can use to measure our progress. It’s elusive. It’s why we give ourselves a pass whenever we can’t come up with good ideas or do any creative work.

But what does the architect, the lawyer, or the doctor do when they aren’t inspired? They still get down to work.

It’s essential then that we create a routine or ritual which we can rely on. Systems work, and prevent us from falling victim to our mood. The painter, Chuck Close was unequivocal on this point:

“Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will—through work—bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great art [idea]. […]If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.”

Creativity is a process. There’s a system that one can apply methodically to generate good ideas. It’s not an esoteric field that is the sole domain of the genius. But one must do the work, no matter how difficult.

Just remember—if you hang in there, you will get somewhere.

This post was originally published on Constant Renewal.

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8 Surprising Strategies for Unstoppable Focus

Beat distraction for good.
from Entrepreneur Magazine | The Oracles  a brain trust of high-level entrepreneurs

In today’s microwave society—where more data is created in one year than the last 5,000 years—it’s a herculean task to stay focused. Getting distracted may seem innocuous, but the consequences are disastrous over time: lost productivity, falling revenues, and a gnawing ever-present sense of missed opportunities.

These overachievers and members of The Oracles share their strategies to sharpen your focus, prolong your concentration, and beat distractions once and for all. Focus 3

  1. Think about urgency and regret.

You never know when your last day will be, so live from a place of urgency to usher your ideas and dreams into reality. Don’t wait for it to be your last day and regret that you didn’t create something meaningful.

Get clear on precisely what you want, then move past any doubts or fears through massive, urgent action. Doing this is a mental game for me: I keep score on how well I’ve done each day.
Lewis Howes, former pro athlete, lifestyle entrepreneur and NYT-bestselling author; subscribe to Lewis’s global top-100 podcast phenomenon, The School of Greatness on iTunes!

  1. Bunker down in a secret location.

As a business leader, the demands on my time in the office are immense. No matter my determination to do deep, focused work, I ultimately get interrupted or find myself eagerly solving the problem.

Organizations tend to defer decisions to the leader who’s in the vicinity and “on the clock.” So, my number one tactic for radical focus is spending one to two days a week out of the office, in a “secret location.” There, I get important thinking, writing, and other creative work done with zero distractions.

To maximize productivity, I mentally prepare for deep work with a focusing ritual that includes deep breathing and visualizing my desired end state. I chunk my work into 45-minute blocks and do some movement and yoga between those deep work sets.

Concentration and focus must be trained. By designating special time and space to do focused work, you’ll train your brain to do it better.
Mark Divine, retired U.S. Navy SEAL commander, NYT/WSJ bestselling author, founder of SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind; follow SEALFIT on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram

  1. Ask if it’s a ‘heck-yes’ opportunity.

Here’s the trap: The more successful you become, the more shiny opportunities offer themselves to you. These opportunities may be great, but not great for you right now. A great opportunity at the wrong time is just a distraction.

Always ask yourself, “Is this a heck-yes opportunity—right now?” Otherwise, default it automatically to “no.” This question keeps you out of the “grey area” where good opportunities become stressful commitments.

If you don’t have the willpower to say “no” to shiny distractions, form an “advisory board” consisting of two to three friends who know you well, understand your goals, and have a good business mind. Run every opportunity through them for input. This tactic also makes saying “no” easier—you just blame the decision on your “advisory board.” —Chris Harder, philanthropist, coach, founder, and CEO of For the Love of Money; follow Chris on Instagram

  1. Resist ‘doing it all.’

Remove everything from your life that’s unnecessary or simply a diversion. You’ll be left with a bunch of worthwhile things to accomplish. Now, here’s where most entrepreneurs mess up: They attack everything at once. Soon, they’re overwhelmed from juggling too many things and feel guilty for not giving adequate focus to anything.

The simple cure? Have a top-priority item. (I use the Todoist app and keep a running list of my highest priority targets.) Pick only one thing, the most important thing to accomplish—even if it’s difficult or daunting. Stay focused until you check it off. Then move to the next.
Kenny Rueter, co-founder of Kajabi

  1. Find something to obsess about.

When you find something you love, focus comes naturally. When I started as a civil litigation lawyer, I excelled but hated it. Meanwhile, when friends of friends got into trouble with the law, they insisted I represent them—even though I had no criminal defense experience. I did a great job on each case because I was obsessed with the outcome and cared about my client’s life.

However, my partner at the time didn’t want me to pursue criminal defense, so I begrudgingly stayed in the civil field. Fortunately, I had another obsession: writing. I wrote kids’ yoga books and about my experiences with cars and racing. I simply wrote because I was obsessed with it, which compensated for my professional discontent.

Finally, when I started criminal defense full time in 2014, it became difficult to not focus on my cases. Colleagues and mentors said I cared too much about my clients and their cases. Then I came across the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, which advocates this approach. My career has been a beautiful obsession since.
—Nafisé Nina Hodjat, founder and managing attorney of The SLS Firm

  1. Create a five-step customized strategy. 

Every entrepreneur’s methods for staying laser-focused is unique. I’ve incorporated these strategies for optimal performance.

First, make stress your friend. Stress is not your enemy; it’s a valuable tool if you harness its force. Your mental faculties are heightened when you’re pushed against a tough problem or deadline.

Second, develop a morning routine. Make it a habit to get up an hour earlier. Start your day with breathing exercises and meditation. Don’t allow the digital world to control the first hour of your day.

Third, break your work into 90-minute blocks. Forget the standard 9-to-5 mentality. Learn your body’s natural ultradian rhythms, and then schedule your most important and productive work in time blocks. Take 25-minute breaks at the end of each block.

Four, create recharging rituals for your body, emotions, and mind. A body ritual might be a brisk walk. An emotional ritual might be gratitude. A mental ritual might be turning off your phone.

Lastly, optimize your sleep. Sleep isn’t a necessary evil or distraction from work; it’s a vital, natural way to recharge. The standard “eight hours per night” is more of a guideline; I sleep six hours per day with a siesta power nap. This biphasic sleep pattern (six hours plus 25 minutes) is my ideal sweet spot.
Nik Halik, angel investor, entrepreneur, astronaut, extreme adventurer, CEO of 5 Day Weekend; follow Nik on social media

  1. Don’t chase two rabbits.

“The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” — Chinese Proverb

Whatever you’re working on, be fully there. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself at home thinking about work, and at work thinking about home. You’ll work on the company’s vision, then feel like you’re neglecting the daily operations. You’ll be entrenched in the operations, then feel like you’re missing out on the newest “flavor of the month” to scale your business.

It’s not that you can’t multitask or that these tasks are mutually exclusive. You can excel in many things—just not simultaneously. The best way I focus is scheduling my areas of focus directly on my calendar. I schedule the time to work out, be with family, think, read, answer emails, and just be free. This may seem rigid. Ironically, this kind of structure actually creates greater freedom.
Tom Shieh, CEO of Crimcheck; connect with Tom on Facebook

  1. Create a fierce focus culture.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” — Mark Twain

In a world that follows the pack, if you want to build something special, fierce focus is not just what you do—it’s how your entire organization must think. This is the only way to avoid the trap of caving into the norm and losing the essence of your core difference.

Fierce focus is only achieved across an organization when each person understands their purpose in the organization and then sets clearly defined, measurable goals to achieve that purpose.

Every new idea or opportunity must be forced through that intense “focus filter.” If the project doesn’t contribute to your purpose, you simply shouldn’t do it. Peter Hernandez, president of The Western Region at Douglas Elliman; founder and president of Teles Properties

Want to share your insights like those above in a future column? If you’re an experienced entrepreneur, please get in touch here.

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You Who Are Spiritual

from | May 31, 2018

In recent months there has been an unusually large number of high-profile leaders who have been accused of—or confessed to—immorality. These incidences are, unfortunately, not unprecedented in Christian circles. Nevertheless, the rate at which people are falling and the caliber of those who do is alarming. People have suggested that the Southern Baptist Convention is having its “Me Too” accounting. Maybe so. No denomination or church is immune to ungodly attitudes or behavior. Clearly the SBC ought to have zero tolerance for immorality, chauvinism, or any form of abuse. Christian leaders should Mountain Climber Helpersmaintain the highest standards. If these recent events drive Southern Baptists and others to a higher code of conduct, people will ultimately be better for the pain they are currently experiencing.

The apostle Paul had some important things to say on this subject. He counseled,

Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Let each person examine his own work, and then he can take pride in himself alone, and not compare himself with someone else. For each person will have to carry his own load.”
Galatians 6:1-5

Paul’s words are extremely helpful to us in these perilous days.
First, Paul refers to his readers as “brothers and sisters.” We ought not to overlook the significance of this address. Paul indicated that the people who fell were family. When they suffer, we suffer. Our first response to news of someone’s failure ought to be heartache.

Second, Paul says, “if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing.” This language does not abrogate the people from guilt. I am certain, however, that not one of those who fell intended to commit sexual sin or was ignorant of the catastrophic consequences of such behavior. Those who fall are often good people who love the Lord and who served Him faithfully and effectively. Many people will spend eternity in heaven because of how God used them. Some were ardent evangelists, Bible scholars, and beloved pastors. Yet they, too, were overtaken. Such a truth makes me keenly aware that the same dark evil that overtook them is eager to overtake you and me as well.

Third, Paul says, “you who are spiritual.” This phrase is troublesome. Do you see yourself as “spiritual”? Apparently, many social media users do. In fact, they perceive themselves as more spiritual than most. Baptists have a reputation for fighting theological battles. At times, these battles have clearly been necessary. But at other times we are deceived into thinking that having pristine theology means we are “spiritual” and pleasing to God. Sadly, sometimes people who pride themselves on their superior theology display disturbingly ungodly attitudes and behavior. It is possible to be theologically orthodox and arrogant, chauvinistic, or morally compromised at the same time. To be spiritual is to be filled and led by the Spirit. Paul is saying that if you are fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s leading in every area of your life, you are qualified to reach out to your fallen brothers and sisters.

Fourth, Paul says, “restore such a person.” Restoration is our God-given goal. But how do we achieve it? First, we are to do something. We shouldn’t refuse to get involved or hesitate to call sin a sin. When someone is overtaken by sin, the person’s intimate walk with God is severed. The joy of the Lord is replaced with anguish and guilt. To restore someone into a vibrant relationship with God takes time. It does not happen after one tearful confession. A person’s relationships are severely, sometimes irreparably damaged. Few experiences are more agonizing than facing your family after you failed morally. In the aftermath of a moral failure, jobs are lost, financial security is jeopardized, reputations are destroyed, and opportunities evaporate. The future becomes bleak. What should our goal be? We must begin by helping people restore their relationship with God. Their sin reveals that their walk with God was not where it should have been. Fallen ministers often focus on returning to ministry too soon. But many aspects of a fallen leader’s life must be fully restored before any future service should be considered.

Fifth, Paul adds, “with a gentle spirit.” Restoring those who were overtaken in wrongdoing is a sacred calling. It ought to be undertaken humbly, lovingly, and reverently. This qualifier eliminates many from this calling.

Sixth, Paul warns, “watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted.” Every minister who fell likely spoke against immorality at one point or another. Some may have even cast judgment on others who had fallen. Paul cautions us about judging others. When you condemn others, you do not reflect God’s heart. And when you are disoriented to God’s heart, you are in danger of committing sin yourself. It is an irony of the human condition that the sins we denounce most vociferously in others are often the very ones we are vulnerable to ourselves.

In verse three, Paul adds, “For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (3).Sitting in the judgment seat is dangerous, for we may presume far more about ourselves than we ought. Some may loudly condemn those who have fallen and yet have no idea how close they are to their own demise. Paul exhorts, therefore, “Let each person examine his own work” (4). Before we cast stones at the fallen, let us examine our personal attitudes and conduct. Is our walk with God growing, vibrant, and glorifying to Him? Is our marriage strong, loving, growing, and edifying? Do we always treat people of the opposite sex in a respectful, godly manner?

If we as a people are going to emerge from this time stronger and godlier than ever, we would do well to heed the apostle’s advice.

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In a Slump? Well . . .

Well – God’s not through with you yet . . . & neither should you be.
Do the next right thing, then the next & leverage up from there.



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4 Ways Leaders can Construct their Lives for the Long Haul

April 10, 2018 By Eric Geiger | Original

The headline of The Ringer article successfully grabbed my attention: “LeBron James’s Life Is Constructed to Keep Him on the Court.” And the details in the article from the podcast are fascinating, such as the statement that LeBron invests 1.5M a year in his body. He has replicated the team gym at his home, has multiple trainers, multiple chefs, masseuses, and understands the science on how to sleep. “Everything he does in his lifeConquer Self is constructed to have him play basketball and to stay on the court and to be as healthy as possible.” And the results are staggering. He is playing some of his best, if not the best basketball of his career as a thirteen-year veteran.

What does LeBron’s 1.5M-a-year fitness regime have to do with leaders? A lot, actually. Because he loves the game so much and is committed to playing at a high level, he is committed to investing in himself. He is committed to putting his body through grueling workouts instead of simply celebrating what he has already accomplished. Like LeBron, leaders must value their health more than their comfort. No, you likely don’t have 1.5 million you can invest in yourself, but you still must invest in yourself. Leaders must construct their lives for the long haul. Here are four ways to do so. (None of this is original or new … but it is important.)

  1. Invest in yourself physically

You don’t have to be a health nut and gym rat to be a leader, but you should invest in yourself physically if you want to lead for the long haul. Exercise, eating healthy, and healthy sleep patterns are proven to give you more energy and mental clarity. It costs money to invest in yourself physically. New running shoes, a gym membership, and eating healthy are not cheap. But they are cheaper than the cost of not taking care of yourself physically.

  1. Invest in yourself mentally

Whether taking classes, attending conferences, or reading books, investing in yourself mentally is an investment. It costs. And even if the resources are free, time is required. But if you stop learning, you will eventually stop leading.

  1. Invest in yourself emotionally

The pressure on leaders will take a toll. If leaders don’t rest, the pressure compounds and leaders can become numb to others or lash out in anger. You must rest. You must find something that helps you recover emotionally.

  1. Invest in yourself spiritually

The apostle Paul told Timothy, the younger pastor he invested in: “Train yourself in godliness. For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8). In other words, much more important than physical training is training yourself in godliness, in pursuing Christlikeness through the spiritual disciplines of the faith. We waste immense amounts of time in our lives, but prayer, reading the Scripture, fasting, gathering with other believers, and solitude and stillness are never a waste of time.

Plato said, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” While leading self is the hardest person to lead, the better we are at leading ourselves, the better we will be at leading others. If we don’t invest in ourselves, we are not constructing our lives for the long run.

Eric Geiger serves as a Senior Vice President at  LifeWay Christian Resources , leading the Resources Division.  Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from  Southern Seminary . Eric has authored or co-authored several books including Creature of the Word and the bestselling church leadership book, Simple Church. His latest releases are Designed to Lead and How to Ruin Your Life

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But What About the People who Don’t Care?

by Seth Godin

How do we work with someone who doesn’t seem to care?

I have a hard time believing that people can’t care. I think tI Dont Carehat they often don’t see. They don’t see what we see, or interpret it differently.  Or if they see, they see something you don’t see. But if they saw what you saw, and it was related to how they saw themselves, they’d act differently.

The gap is usually in the difficulty of getting the non-owner to see a path to happiness that comes as a result of acting like an owner. Most people are taught to avoid that feeling. Because it always comes with another feeling–

— the dread of responsibility.

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