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Abraham Lincoln Failures

Failure is NOT Fatal, Just Ask Abraham Lincoln

Failure can be difficult to swallow.

In the moment, it can often seem as if the world is crashing around you. This viewpoint is only enhanced by a short-term view on life. This viewpoint can infiltrate itself into every aspect of your being if you let it. Your business, your marriage, your friendships, everything!

Although this viewpoint is common, there are many in history who looked beyond their short-term failure. Instead of doting in the moment, these great examples focused on their long-term success.

One such giant in which I stand on the shoulders of is Abraham Lincoln.

Many may see Abraham Lincoln as a man with a straight shot to the top. That nothing and no one stood in the way of his perennial rise.

This notion I’m sure would have been flattering as his journey to success was anything but dominant.

Let’s take a look at his victories and more importantly his defeats:

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.27.21 AM

Now, why do I say, “more IMPORTANTLY his defeats.”

Well, first off, you can see based upon the red versus the green that there’s a lot more defeats/tragedies than there are triumphs.

BUT, the reason is really quite simple:

Learn from Others Mistakes, So You Don’t Have To Learn From Your Own

This also tales into another important aspect of failures:

Everyone Has Them. Nobody Likes to Talk About Them.

One key principle I’ve found in talking to people deemed “successful” is they love to talk  about themselves. This is for many reasons, however one such reason is to impart the lessons learned on the next generation who is eager to learn. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, there’s few who are truly interested in learning.

Sometimes it takes digging, but there is gold to be found in the mind of a successful man willing to share his failures.

Learn from others failures. Learn from your own failures. And most importantly, persist, persist, persist.

A smart man learns from his failures, a wise man learns from others’. – Unknown

Yours in Ambition,

Cooper Mitchell

Your Morning is Ruining Your Day

Your Morning is Ruining Your Day

When you woke up this morning, what did you do?

Did it involve hitting the snooze alarm multiple times? Possibly running to the shower, changing, and heading out the door? Or maybe you even made enough time to grab a granola bar on the way out the door.

If your mornings are defined by any of these situations or consist of any similar iteration then you’re doing it wrong.

I like to think of the morning as a foundation to the start of your day.

If you start your morning in a rush to get going, you’re going to go through the day in a rush. And this my friends is what the majority of America does.

The majority of America sleeps until there is absolutely no more time available for sleep, and then rushes to get to their workplace.

If you can wake up early to get to something that you have to do, like go to work, then you can certainly muster up the gusto to wake up for something you want to do.

Like IMPROVE your life.

If you start the day with personal development, then I can guarantee you that your life will improve dramatically.

This goes back to one of my favorite quotes by Charlie Munger:

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

What are you doing to develop yourself, not for the sake of your employer, but for YOU?!

While you’re reading this, you’re probably saying, “but I’m so busy, there’s not enough time in a day.” Then make time! You make time for the things you want to accomplish.

If I told you, that you could accomplish at least 75% of the the goals you set for yourself if you dedicated an hour of your day to personal improvement, would you do it?

I guarantee you would. And that’s exactly what can happen if you dedicate yourself to it.

And when’s the best time to do it.

The morning!

I recently read a book by “Yo Pal” Hal Elrod (great name to have people remember you) called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life… (Before 8AM).

I typically shy away from books with this overly enthusiastic title, but I saw some good reviews from people I respect so I decided to give it a shot. Besides, nobody has ever gone broke buying books to read.

Although much of the book is simply words to fill pages, there were some great tips I picked up.

The first one is to have a strategy when you wake up. Don’t just fall asleep without a plan on how you’re going to attack your morning.

This is how I go about mine:

  • 5:30 AM: Wake Up (I am slowly waking up earlier and earlier till I reach 4:00 AM which is my goal for waking up.)
  • Immediately put on workout clothes and drink a glass of water.
  • Spend 10 minutes praying. This can be replaced with meditating for some.
  • Spend 10-20 minutes reading the bible.
  • Spend 10-20 minutes reading a book of my choice, most often non-fiction, or reading Bloomberg Businessweek or WSJ.
  • Spend 20-30 minutes walking/running ‘Famous Amos’ (dog) or stretching/breaking a sweat.
  • Once all of that is done, I make my breakfast, drink my coffee and then begin getting ready for the upcoming day.

Notice how I don’t even begin thinking about the upcoming day until after I’ve done all the things I WANT to do.

By picking a morning schedule and sticking to it, you are winning the morning. Although it may seem small, these small wins compound themselves over time. This is an idea I recently picked up from the book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

The second idea I picked up from The Miracle Morning is to spend time in silence. This is talked about by many of the guests on the Tim Ferriss Podcast (my personal favorite) but simply being able to sit in silence in a world that is constantly in motion is a skill few will master.

This small portion of your day simply being content with nothing will radically change your life.

As will starting your morning on your terms.

So, stop being a victim of your situation. Stop allowing the morning to ruin your day. Rebel against the way everybody else is living.

Make the morning a victory, and watch as your days become victories.

Stay Strong, Live Long,

Cooper Mitchell

Future Internet Specialization

Future Internet Specialization

Today’s topic is not of the norm for me, but is something I see beginning to occur and will only increase with time.

Once upon a time when people marketed on the internet or wrote to a certain crowd, they would write for the masses. I.e the crowd they were trying to reach was the ENTIRE WORLD.

This was something that often worked.

Put yourself and your ideas into this new virtual world and with time, your audience will grow. It’s an idea that is heavily spoken on in a book I recently read by Austin Kleon called “Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered.

I greatly agree with this advice and it’s something I’m doing right now as I write this.

However, I believe there will soon be a shift, and one that will begin to become very noticeable.

First, why a shift?

Reaching the entire world with your content was at one time very possible. In fact, it’s still possible today, but is becoming more and more difficult as time goes on.

The reason is due to the amount of information being uploaded on the internet at an increasing pace, AND the amount of information that’s been on the webiverse for years.

I recently read a statistic that was confirmed by a Google Spokesperson that 300 hours of video is uploaded to Google (wait for it…) every MINUTE!

Every minute! Can you believe that?

And that’s just video, which doesn’t include all of the social media posts, blog entries, music, or anything else share for the world to see.

With the ever increasing amount of information sharing, you must believe it is only becoming harder to be seen.

So, what can be done?

This is the real point of this article.

Now that it’s becoming more difficult than ever to get noticed on the interwebs, what can be done?

Simple, specialization.

However, specialization is not enough. Specialization and niche markets plague the internet, so something else must be done.

LOCALIZATION.

Yes, I believe the future of the internet including marketing and visibility will begin to become much more geographically based.

To reach target audiences, I see it becoming very important to focus efforts on your local market. Which is something I’ve begun to do, and is even easily seen in a recent article I wrote called, “Springfield MO Financial Advisor.”

It doesn’t get much more locally focused then that.

This is far from a new idea in the large spectrum of things. Companies have done this for centuries, however, it’s typically been done in the reverse.

Companies attempt to grab a foothold in the local market, and then expand outward.

In my opinion, visibility in the internet age is the opposite.

Begin globally, and narrow down to being seen locally.

What’s your opinion?

Boldly Yours,

Cooper Mitchell

discipline equals freedom

Discipline = Freedom

Rinnnnnnnnnnnnggggg, Rinnnnnnnnnnnnggggg.

The sound of your alarm goes off.

Although this appears as a very simple yes or no answer, get up or stay in bed, it is much more important than we give it credit.

You see, should you decide to remain in slumber underneath your warm covers, you are saying you’d rather sleep than get whatever it is you would do with extra hours in the day.

However, should you decide to spring out of your welcoming bed and attack the day with vigor, you are setting a foundation for the rest of your day.

By choosing to wake up at the time you’ve set for yourself, hopefully a time that is early and challenging for you, then your first decision for the day is a win. Essentially, by making that first decision a victory for yourself, you’re preparing the rest of your day to reflect the same.

And, as I’ve written on many times before, a solid foundation is an essential part to every endeavor you plan to uphold. Many people do not have a strong foundation and thus, when the wind and the waves of life come, they are unable to weather the storm.

So, this brings me to my point of discipline ultimately equating to freedom. Discipline = Freedom.

Because you decide to discipline yourself, others will not have to. This gives you the freedom to make choices that you want to choose versus being forced to choose them.

Discipline yourself and others won’t need to – John Wooden

For more discussion on this topic, check out Tim Ferriss podcast with Navy Seal Jocko Willink.

– Cooper Mitchell

Daniels Fast

My Experience on the Daniel’s Fast

“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.”  Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”  So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days.  At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food.  So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.” – Daniel 1:8-16

My life is easy.

So easy in fact that I initially thought the idea of fasting from meat (I’m practically a carnivore), alcohol, dairy, caffeine (yes, no coffee), and sugar was something I didn’t need to partake in.

I had the option of either joining in with my church, James River Church, and seeking God in my life by fasting from culinary luxuries afforded to the majority of Americans, or pretending it wasn’t something I needed to do.

Looking back on my thought process on whether I should join in on my first Daniel’s Fast actually embarrasses me somewhat.

I wasn’t willing to give up things that many in other countries would only dream of having available every hour of everyday, and for only a measly 3 weeks.

Daniel was giving up food fit for kings! We have this food all around us, and for a very low cost.

If I don’t have it “good,” I don’t know who does.

And this brings up a good point…

Why are we trying to squeak by?

God didn’t make us to be 9-5er’s, shuttling to our cubicles and avoiding anything that would put us out of our element.

GOD MADE US TO BE WARRIORS.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. – Psalm 144:1-2

So, rather than trying to be as comfortable in our lives as possible, let’s pray to face adversity.

Let’s pray that God would make our lives tough, not toughness for it’s own sake, but so that through us, others would see a shining example of a warrior for Christ.

To me, that’s what the Daniel’s Fast is about.

Putting a stop to the excess of this world, and turning the green light on to experiencing what life in Christ is like, outside of the king’s lifestyle many of us live.

So, how did I do on the fast?

Much better than I would have thought.

I remember joking with my wife that I didn’t ever remember eating a meal that didn’t involve some sort of meat. Seriously. I couldn’t think of one.

It’s just the way my life has been, and I never stopped to think that never experiencing discomfort regarding food was a bad thing.

I’m well aware of the idea that discomfort today, could mean experiencing something great in the future. But, this idea applied to food never popped in my head outside of simply eating healthy.

One thing I noticed was the amount of thought that is taken by deciding what and where to eat throughout the day. Rather than thinking at the various eating intervals what I was going to slam down my gullet, I instead thought of the reason I was fasting.

Thus, leading me to pray.

This was the single greatest takeaway from my experience on the Daniel’s Fast. I don’t pray near enough.

In fact, I don’t think many of us do.

Speaking on myself for a moment, I get so wrapped up in the things of this world that I forget to speak with God. I am admittedly hard headed and will try to do things on my own.

I find that the more I try to do on my own, the less progress I make. It’s as if I’m in quicksand and no matter how hard I try to push forward, I’m still stuck or worse off than I was.

However, when I accept that I can’t do things on my own, and ask for God’s intervention, life becomes easier. Often times due to the lack of worry that is associated with everything being on my shoulders.

So, the lesson learned from the Daniel’s Fast was pray fervently!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18

In Summary

In summary, the Daniels Fast was a great experience and one that makes you realize just how good you have it.

In addition, you will learn to pray, because every time you think about food, you should be reminded the reason you are abstaining from it.

Also, the food you will eat after you have completed your Daniel’s Fast is unlike any other.

To see rewards, we must sacrifice. Without the feeling of pain, how are we to know the sweet taste of victory?

Andys with Friends after Daniels Fast

 

Our victory after the fast included custard from Andy’s. Yum!

– Cooper Mitchell

fish and tree

Why Do We Compare?

If you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid – Albert Einstein

In today’s day and age it is so easy to compare ourselves to others.

We scroll through any number of the dopamine inducing social media sites and realize our inadequacies.

However, what we often don’t see is the struggle. The struggle that everybody inevitably faces, but nobody wants to talk about. Why would somebody want people to know they’re going through a tough time when they can simply post all of the good things for everyone to see and comment on?

Life is not all sunshine and rainbows forever. It’s not like that for anyone, no matter how hard they try to make it look like it is.

Another thing we must realize is our individuality.

I am not made to follow the plan you are, and the same goes the other way. I am my own person, somebody who has his own goals, dreams, and struggles. They are different than anybody else’s.

So, if we all struggle.

And, we all are individuals.

Then my question is…

Why do we compare?

– Cooper Mitchell

what separates Elon Musk

What Separates Elon Musk?

I’m in the middle of reading Ashlee Vance’s Biography on Elon Musk.

So far it is an incredibly insightful and exciting read.

Just to give you a little background on Elon, he was once a co-founder of Zip 2 and Paypal. He is currently the CEO of Tesla Motors, Space X, and a Chairman of Solar City.

How is it that Elon can be equally competent in building cars as he is in building rockets? How can a guy go from co-founding PayPal to exploring Space?

What separates Elon Musk from the rest?

C.U.R.I.O.S.I.T.Y

Curiosity is an underlying principle between nearly every great titan of industry. You see everyday people going about their mundane lives, never striving for anything greater than what’s within their cubicle? The reason they never go outside their comfort zone is because they’re never curious enough to know what lies ahead.

People are longing for something more than what they currently experience, but never take action to change.

Elon pushes the boundaries on what’s possible. If he’s interested in something, he seeks to learn about it.

This brings up another principle that separates Elon and others like him.

The constant pursuit of knowledge.

In today’s age, it’s possible to know a little about everything. But, it’s also possible to know a lot about little.

There’s many today that have a little bit of knowledge over a large spectrum. But just knowing something small about a lot will never get you far enough in any one thing.

What Elon has done is completely immersed himself in a few areas. He’s taken advantage of the opportunities for learning that are available today. But he hasn’t just skimmed the hot points.

Elon Musk is drowning in information trying to see if he can stay afloat.

This has allowed him to develop rockets for less than ever before, create an automobile company that sells fully electric cars out of shopping malls, and made solar power no longer just a thing of the future, but a reality of today.

Elon Musk is a true renaissance man. AND, if he can keep it up, will truly be somebody talked about for centuries to come.

-Cooper Mitchell

 

New Mercies Everyday

New Mercies Every Day

Don’t wake up with regrets from the past.

Don’t worry about what you’re going to do, or be sad of things you’ve done.

There are new mercies awaiting you everyday. The only choice you need to make is whether to accept them or not.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

-Cooper Mitchell

Live and Die By Your Own Decisions

Be You, Including Your Mistakes

There’s this idea today that you have to fit a certain mold. That to reach a certain level of success, you have to be like the person who has that success. This is a notion that I completely reject.

Why do I reject it?

People want to do business with real people.

Not this robotic version of a man, but a person who has made mistakes, has fallen and then gotten up and learned from those falls. Success does not look like a straight line, it is not a perfect ladder, but a zigzag from failure to failure that is always moving forward.

How many times have you heard a great success story in which there were no failures along the way. Take Elon Musk for example, he’s been on the verge of bankruptcy multiple times but believed enough in himself and his ideas that he’s completely changing multiple industries.

Never trust somebody who hasn’t fallen and gotten up multiple times.

Crush this Week,

Cooper Mitchell

In defense of Mark Driscoll

In Defense of Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll. Just the name alone brings about an array of emotions, emotions that vary among Christians on a similar scale as who they vote for in elections.

He’s polarizing, he’s brash, he’s doing God’s work.

How I Was Introduced to Mark Driscoll

When I began developing my own relationship with Christ, Mark was a man who I looked to for guidance. You see, like many who grow up in the church, there’s a point in time that I like to call the critical moment, where the child either chooses to follow the world, or develop their own relationship with the Father.

There’s many sermons available for viewing anytime of any day with the explosion of the internet. However, not all Christian speakers are men I align with. In fact many I find will have a great biblical knowledge, however, aren’t somebody I see as being similar to myself. Thus, making it more difficult to truly engage in listening to what they have to say. By saying this, I am in no way meaning I disagree with what they present, but rather view their personality and attitudes towards things different than mine. We vary by degree, not by kind.

That being said, there was somebody who I began watching online in 2008 that I could look at and say, “yeah, that’s me.” And here’s why:

A MAN of God

This man was Mark Driscoll. In the Christian world that I grew up in, it was refreshing to see somebody who wouldn’t perfectly describe the word “milk toast.”

Mark would present the Bible as it was; there was no sugar coating, dumbing down, or apologies for how biblical heroes acted. He presented the faults of those in the bible as lessons to learn from, and didn’t apologize for Jesus’ actions, such as the flipping of tables and benches of the money changers in the temple. (If you haven’t you can read the story here)

Transparency

Another aspect of Mark’s ministry that inspired me was his transparency. In a move that many churches have since copied, Mark would hold church services in which attendee’s could text their questions, and Mark would answer them on stage. Putting yourself on the spot and allowing the holy spirit to speak through you in such a situation as that is not only brave, but surely a declaration of dependence upon God.

Mark would also admit to faults publicly, whether that be with his family, friends, or the outside world. How many people do you see publicly admit to faults like Mark has. He showed humility and was a great role model for living a strong life for God, but also being soft and humble when needed.

A great example of Mark’s humility

A Businessman for the Kingdom

Finally, Mark was a good businessman. Business and the Church have often drawn negative connotations from people, however, a church must be viewed as a business in order to survive.

By business, I mean the Church must be able to market itself and the Word of God, use accounting principles to prevent fraud from within, and yes, be able to sell Christianity. All of these things will be increased by a church that is alive, growing, and filled with the Spirit, however as you can read in my post here, you should be content, but not complacent. Meaning, love what God has given you, but don’t just sit around waiting for God to do something. Do things to give him the opportunity to open doors and allow you to grow.

All Men Fall, Great Men Rise Again

Being a type-A, competitive man I understand how Mark is. He has made mistakes, been over zealous in speaking his thoughts, but who hasn’t? He speaks on Christian men today being weak and not living as Christ would. Allowing the world’s views to dictate their own and rather than being opposed to things the Bible opposes, becoming accepting of everything the world presents. However, as I’m sure Mark would agree, disagreeing with somebody’s choices and lifestyle, does NOT mean you do not love them. And I believe throughout Mark’s ministry he has shown love and kindness towards those the Bible deems as sinful. Because just as they sin and need forgiveness, so do we.

Mark is at a time in his ministry where even his own brother’s are turning on him. Those who championed him at one time, are removing him from speaking engagements and things that just years ago they would have loved him to be a part of.

He has since resigned from Mars Hill Church, a church based in Seattle, a city that at one time had some of the fewest Christians per-capita than anywhere else in the US. Seattle is now home to many strong and growing churches including the one led by Judah Smith. Mars Hill is also the church that Mark spent 18 years growing into one of the most recognized churches in the entire US.

Religious States

In this time of hardship, Mark does not need more condemnation, but rather encouragement to fulfill what God has for his life.

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. – Acts 13:38

Why Write This Now?

The reason I write this is because this past Sunday my church, James River Church, one that is pastored by a great man of God in John Lindell who I have had the opportunity to learn from my entire life, welcomed Mark to speak.

The Sermon was so fittingly on Paul, one of the Bible’s greatest heroes. In the sermon Mark showed how Paul, then Saul had made many mistakes, turned to God and then lived a life that was far from easy including being stoned, imprisoned, and shipwrecked. Many of these due to his belief in the one true King.

For those reading this, I urge you to stand along side Mark. Forgive him as Jesus forgave you. Uplift this brother in Christ and allow him to continue winning the hearts of men and women to be filled with Jesus and walk a life for him, as he has done so many times before.

To Mark, don’t give up the good fight brother. Continue presenting Jesus as the Savior for the world and the one true hope.

You can find more about Mark Driscoll at his blog: MarkDriscoll.org

– Cooper Mitchell