Summary for Week 10

It’s been a unique week this week, one where I’ve had the opportunity to put into action in my life the lessons of the week. An Acton guide, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, reiterated the vision the Acton Institute promulgates: to view our lives as a heroic journey.

This is a point of view, an idea that we have to develop within ourselves, a paradigm from which to view our actions and to derive our motivation. They’ve modeled their book that we’ve been reading, the Hero’s Journey, along the line of this philosophy.

This week, I’ve had an opportunity to see some of my actions in this light, and it has helped me to persevere in work and take, if not pride, at least a sense of value and purpose in what I had to do.

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Summary for Week 10

Summary for Week 9

I learned a couple of things this week, both from the same article, “The Heart of Entrepreneurship” (Howard H. Stevenson and David E. Gumpert, Harvard Business Review, March 1985). This article dove into a description of entrepreneurship, and – in particular – what distinguishes entrepreneurial managers from administrative managers.

For me, the revelation was that I am more of an entrepreneur than I thought. True, there are still aspects that I need to develop, but in general, I lean toward the entrepreneurial end of the spectrum they describe in the article.

If I were to sum up their definition of an entrepreneur, it is someone who does not allow uncertainty and minimum resources to keep them from making a go at something. Unlike the administrator, who needs to ensure success is a foregone conclusion by ensuring all the Ts are crossed and the Is dotted and that a full contingent of resources is at hand, an entrepreneur will make do with the minimum needed to start and with confidence in his or her ability to succeed.

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Summary for Week 9

Summary for Week 8

I’ve struggled a bit with enthusiasm this week. I think it’s just one of those weeks that sometimes arises in the middle of a semester, when you’ve gone on for awhile and look ahead and see still a ways to go; it’s one of those plateaus of learning that we read about recently.

That said, I kept moving ahead. This week’s material seemed to focus on getting started, finding that initial energy to say, “yes!” It was coincidentally timed for me because I had several opportunities at work this week to accept work that I might otherwise have turned down or redirected. Thanks, Class! Now I’ve got several new projects at work.

But that’s kind of the point. Opportunities don’t arise if you turn everything down or plan everything to death. You’ve got to step up when the chance arises and then do your best. We read the Acton Guide, A Message to Garcia, and that was the lesson that stuck out to me. I appreciated the approach the guide taught for turning “Yes, I will do it,” into productive action, and I started applying it with some success at work.

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Summary for Week 8

Summary of Week 7

This week’s reading and videos focused on trials and obstacles and how we overcome them. I was particularly struck by a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland at BYU in 1983. His talk, as are all of his talks, was very powerful, but it was the story that he shared about the building of the Salt Lake Temple that was most instructive to me.

I won’t recount the entire story, but I gleaned from it the following principles to succeed against difficult times and troubles:

  1. Have a grand vision
  2. Do what is needful
  3. Mind the details
  4. Deal with obstacles when they arise
  5. Be patient
  6. Have faith in God
  7. Rejoice in gratitude at success

The key to motivating ourselves in times of difficulty is the first point: have a grand vision. In his talk, Elder Holland shared the stirring words of Winston Churchill early in WWII:

You ask, What is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be.

-Winston Churchill

That vision of victory – of the prize won, and the glory to be had at the end of it all – is a powerful drive when the odds are stacked against us and the nights are dark and cold.

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Summary of Week 7