Monday, December 29, 2014

So, You Want to Become a Millionaire? Let Us Count the Ways!

"Deprive yourself of nothing necessary to your comfort, but live in an honorable simplicity."

We are literally within 48 hours of a brand new year. I know, I know -you are not just returning unwanted/undesired gifts, but you are also tallying up your wishes for the Year 2015. 

I am not a betting man -unless you start a business of some risky enterprise. No, I do not gamble, but if I were a gambler I'd wager the words "I want to become a millionaire" is on your Year 2015 Bucket List. 

Don't be ashamed. You are not alone. 

I was paging through the December, 1867 edition of a Honolulu-based newspaper called The Friend. Its publisher was Rev. Samuel Chenery Damon, a Christian missionary and chaplain in Honolulu associated with the American Seaman's Friend Society. Editions of this 19th century news source contains an incredible variety of stories and information. Some of it is timeless advice, the kind we still get today. 

In this edition, Damon featured the story of a New Orleans millionaire named John McDonough. He died roughly two-hundred years ago. McDonough left something quite remarkable behind. 

On his tombstone are a "series of maxims he had prescribed as the rule for his guidance through life, and to which his success in business is mainly attributed." 

Without further delay we share them here as Rev. Damon did in December, 1867:

Rules for the Guidance of My Life, 1804:
Remember always that labor is one of the conditions of our existence.
Time is gold; throw not one minute away, but place each one to account.
Do unto all men as you would be done by.
Never put off till tomorrow what can be done today.
Never bid another to do what you can do yourself.
Never covet what is not your own.
Never think of any matter so trifling as not to deserve notice.
Never give that which does not first come in.
Never spend but to produce.
Let the greatest order regulate the transactions of your life.
Study in the course of life to do the greatest amount of good.
Deprive yourself of nothing necessary to your comfort, but live in an honorable simplicity.
Labor, then, to the last moment of your existence.

Pursue strictly the above rules and the Divine blessing and riches of every kind will flow upon you to your heart’s content, but first of all remember that the chief and great duty of your life should be to tend, by all means in your power, to the honor and glory of our Divine Creator.
The conclusion to which I have arrived is, that without temperance there is no health, without virtue no order, without religion no happiness, and that the aim of our being is to live wisely, soberly and righteously. JNO. McDONOUGH.

Rev. Damon offers this historical perspective as to what happened to McDonough's hard-earned assets after his departure: 

Mr. McDonough might have known how to make a million, but he did not know how to dispose of it when made. His large property was left to poor relatives, public charities and city corporations, and for twenty years has been the source of legal prosecutions. When will rich men learn to become the executors of their own charities? They will screw, turn, pinch and worry to make money, and their heirs and executors will screw, turn, pinch and worry to spend it. 

It's an imperfect world. 

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the president of 
The Pacific Learning Consortium, Inc. 

Profiles: Rev. Gloria Imamura, Minister of Care at Central Union Church, Honolulu

Rev. Gloria Imamura of Central Union Church, Honolulu, meeting with visiting students from Nakamura International Hotel School, Japan, in 2011. 

Meet Rev. Gloria Imamura. A charter member of the Pacific Learning Consortium, Gloria initially pursued a career in the insurance industry for many years. 

But the best was yet to come.

First, this midwestern native married a local man in Hawaii, Al Imamura, in 1987. Gloria is the stepmother to two sons who both live and work in Honolulu, and a grandmother, too!

Al Imamura (left), Pacific Learning Consortium President Jeffrey Bingham Mead (center) and Rev. Gloria Imamura (right) at the annual meeting of the Albert Palmer Society in Honolulu, 2011. 

We hear from time to time about those among us in midlife who come to understand that new callings were meant to be answered. Imamura opened a new and fulfilling chapter in her life by directing an after school care program at Manoa Valley Church on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. 

After two years Imamura found yet another calling. This one took her to pursue undergraduate studies at Trinity Lutheran College in Washington State. That was followed by Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California where she earned a Master of Divinity Degree (MDiv). 

She became Reverend Gloria Imamura when she was ordained and installed as Associate Minister of Children and Their Families on October 16, 2011 at Central Union Church, a congregational church associated with the Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ. This year she was designated as the new Minister of Care. 

Click this link to an online sermon she delivered at Central Union Church, From Bareness to Abundance. 

Rev. Gloria Imamura, Central Union Church, Honolulu, Hawaii USA

Rev. Imamura's interests include Hawaiian quilting, walking her dog named Jade, and traveling to visit family and friends on the U.S. mainland. 

You'll find Rev. Gloria Imamura at Central Union Church most Sundays. Click this link to the church web site for a schedule of Sunday services and happenings. Stop by and introduce yourself! 

Final Monday! New Year Resolutions from 100 Years Ago

Rise and shine! It's the final Monday of 2014! Here are some New Year's resolutions from 100 years ago:

1915 New Year's Resolutions:
• Don't turn over a new leaf until you straighten out the old one first; then glance back and compare notes from time to time.
• Don't imagine it's all going to be smooth sailing but keep a weather eye out for squalls.
• Don't say to your conscience, "I thought so," but make it a certainty.
• Don't walk a chalk line for one day and backslide the other 364.
• Don't be a fool, that's too easy; try something harder.
• And above all, don't stop praying for peace and the betterment of Man.

Friday, December 26, 2014

One Final TGIF of 2014!

Yes, TGIF to everyone! It's a working and learning day for us here at The Pacific Learning Consortium. 

If you have to work today don't feel bad. We're heading down the home stretch of this calendar year while we eagerly anticipate a fresh start with 2015. 

We wish all of you a terrific final TGIF of the year, and an enjoyable weekend ahead!

Splendid Spreads and Snacks Class with Hawaii's Blonde Vegetarian, Rebecca Woodland!

You are invited for one final culinary class with Rebecca Woodland, Hawaii's own Blonde Vegetarian!

Hello dear foodie friends!

Next Tuesday's culinary class, Splendid Spreads & Snacks, features the often-requested Nut "Tuna" and a variety of other original savory appetizers. Learn to create all kinds of easy, beautiful, deliciously satisfying finger foods and healthy yummies ~ perfect for a New Year's Eve party or New Year's Day brunch. A great way to usher in the New Year! Spread the word...

Where: Manoa School of Art & Music.
When:  Tuesday, December 30, 9:30am-12:30pm
Cost is $50, including lunch. 
How: email to register. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Motivator: Good Cheer and the Holidays

I awakened this early morning to the sound of pounding rain on the roof. It's definitely winter here in Hawaii! 

No matter what I was pledged to getting out of bed and driving to the downtown business district. I have a special group of friends who I meet with at Starbucks on Bishop Street in the heart of the downtown business district. 

We've been doing this for years usually starting at 5:45 a.m. on working weekdays. Some people tease us, likening our early morning gatherings to true cast of the hit TV show 'Cheers' that was set in Boston. I certainly do not mind at all being associated with a hit like that one.

We all felt it was especially important that we gather. Needless to say that Christmas is rapidly approaching. The end of a calendar year brings good cheer in various forms. 

But for others that is not the case. A close friend in Singapore just lost his grandmother -truly heartbreaking for him and his family. Others I have encountered have also experienced disruptions in their lives due to loss of employment or just plain given up on the search for paychecks. 

The future can look very dim, so being cheerful can be very challenging.

None of us is perfect. I think it is important to be realistic about our expectations whether they center around accomplishments or coping with loss. We will run into people who seem to have it all! 

In this season of giving and expectation give yourself permission to be realistic about what you want. 

Do your best to steer clear of embracing expectations of perfection this holiday season. 

Take the initiative to schedule time with people -that is, the ones who have better things to do than label you. 

True friends will take you and accept you as you are. 

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the founder and president of The Pacific Learning Consortium. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

OO-La-La-Lasagna Culinary Class with Hawaii's Blonde Vegetarian!

Can you say Oo-La-La-Lasagna? Of course you can! And we think you should!

Back by popular demand, Rebecca Woodland -Hawaii's one and only Blonde Vegetarian- is hosting a delightfully delicious pete-Christmas culinary class this coming Tuesday morning, December 23. 

Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: Manoa School of Art and Music. 2745 Woodlawn Drive, Unit 7-103, Honolulu HI. 
Cost: US$50, including lunch!

Enjoy a morning of culinary creativity and deliciousness in this hands-on, gluten-free, vegan culinary class featuring Rebecca's original recipes of Italian-inspired dishes. 

Email to register. Advance registration required.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Monday Motivator: The 'Work-Out Process' and Winning

Good Monday morning! Rise and shine! Each new work week presents itself as a new opportunity. I admit that I might be a bit of a nonconformist when I say that I look forward to Mondays. 

Besides taking on a couple of good gardening projects this past weekend, I started to re-read Jack and Suzy Welch's book, Winning: The Ultimate Business How-To Book. 

I unapologetically give it five-stars. I recommend it.

One chapter that caught my attention was the one titled 'Voice and Dignity.' Welch had previously presented his thoughts about such things as mission and values, candor and differentiation. 

One of his core beliefs is one that I share: "every person in the world wants voice and dignity, and every person deserves them." 

I can't argue with that. Can you? It's a great concept. 

The words sound wonderful, inspiring, and a common sensical thing to embrace. 

As a educator and business professional I take particular satisfaction in surrounding myself with people who speak their minds, express opinions, deserve to be heard and respected. That's  regardless of national origins, gender, age and culture. Providing an atmosphere where dignity and respect prevails is not some catch phrase; it's a matter of duty and obligation. 

Yet found all too often that there are those with the "I'm the big cheese around here, and you will do as I say." The notion that "I'm the boss and that's all that matters" is silly. I see it too often in both traditional and non-traditional academia. I get annoyed and frustrated by the repression of "voice and dignity," as Jack Welch specifies. 

Too many people feel today -and this is nothing new- that they cannot speak up lest they be the objects of ridicule and even retribution. 

Welch presents a fantastic idea. He refers to it as the "Work-Out Process." In summary, these 2-3 day events are patterned after traditional Town Meetings in the New England region of the USA, which is where my family have called home for almost 400 years. 

Gatherings of 30-100 people would come together with an outside, objective facilitator. The idea was to create an environment where associates could openly debate and discuss solutions to problems and how to streamline the process of achieving resolution. 

The boss, director or supervisor would be on-hand to lay out the rationale for the gathering. He or she would later commit to "yes" or "no" responses to 75% of the recommendations from the Work-Out sessions, and to resolve the other 25% within one month's time. The boss or supervisor would disappear so as not to stifle discussion and debate. 

Thousands of such sessions were held at General Electric. It quickly became part of the corporate culture. Welch reported that the "boss-knows-all" culture disappeared. Morale improved.

I am aware that we live in a very imperfect world. Some of you reading this will read this and see it as a bit utopian. I can understand that. I know that not all viewpoints or recommendations can be implemented. 

Believe it or not, I've done this with college students for over fifteen years. Embracing facilitation means being non-dictatorial, that your students come with their own sets of experiences -both good and bad- that have meaning and value. My goal was and still is to serve them by providing the best possible learning experience as possible. And by creating an atmosphere of candor and accessibility and "sparing them the rod" of punishment and retribution the enjoyment of learning and the great things students produced went sky-high. 

Give this a chance! You can come out a winner.

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the founder and president of The Pacific Learning Consortium. 

Personal and Public Speaking for English as a Second Language Students

coming soon.

The Pacific Learning Consortium: Why?

Coming soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Festive Flavors Cooking Class with The Blonde Vegetarian on December 16

Festive Flavors cooking class with 
The Blonde Vegetarian
Merry Christmas! Please join Rebecca Woodland, Hawaii's very own Blonde Vegetarian, at her next cooking class, Festive Flavors, on Tuesday, December 16. 

This original menu includes Butternut-Ginger Bisque, Jeweled Tabbouleh, Mulled Apple Cider, a Yule Log (dessert), and other seasonal delights to tantalize all your senses. 

When:   Tuesday morning, December 16, 9:30am-12:30pm
Where:  Manoa School of Art & Music in Manoa Marketplace (directly behind farmers' market)
What:   A mostly hands-on vegan cooking class & tasty lunch
Cost:    $50, includes lunch
How:    email or text (808)295-3027 to register. 
Advance registration REQUIRED.

She will be holding classes every Tuesday morning, even during the holidays, with a different menu and theme for each class.

Also, Rebecca is available for in-home cooking parties. Same concept, same price, loads of fun, and a great way to celebrate the holidays, a bridal shower, birthday, ladies' night, or whatever. 

Minimum 4 persons; maximum number depends on the size and layout of your kitchen.

Happy Holidays,

Rebecca Woodland

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Back in the Day: "Make Your Point with Electronic Newsletters (December, 2000)

"Whether an electronic-based newsletter is in simple-text format, formatted and delivered as an email attachment, or based on the World Wide Web, your business, organization, or denomination stands to benefit in ways that will surprise you."

Fourteen years ago this month those words were penned by me and published in Small Business News, the then-print-only monthly newsletter of Small Business Hawaii. My digital publishing company, Wordtronic, specialized in providing communication solutions for Hawaii-based small businesses and non-profit organizations. I dissolved the company in 2007.

You might be amazed to learn that there were quite a few people who thought that I was crazy. 

E-newsletters? Was I serious? 

"But newsletters have always come in my mailbox, always on printed paper!" 

I correctly predicted at that time that newsletters would change over to digital format. That's something we in 2014 take as commonplace. I knew my skeptics would be wrong -and they were. 

Below is the full text of that article, published as a guest commentary in the December, 2000 edition of Small Business News. 

Make Your Point with Electronic Newsletters
by Jeffrey Bingham Mead,
Small Business News. December, 2000. 

Ruthie Chong is one of Hawaii's best known graphicanalysts. "I've been promising an electronic-based newsletter to my clients and prospects for a long time. I realized it was time to stop procrastinating."

Electronic-based newsletters make good business sense. Many businesses, organizations, even religious denominations have embraced this as a 21st-century venue for advertising as well as product and service promotion. "I used to go crazy," says Mrs. Chong. "My direct mail drops that I used to send out periodically cost me a fortune. It was cumbersome, frustrating, and wasteful."

Having an electronic-based newsletter has turned out to be a multifaceted boon. Companies, large and small, report enhanced traffic to their web sites, which in turn promotes loyalty and a forum for instantaneous feedback.

"I sincerely think that my goals in providing a published newsletter we're just the same as a retail store would have in advertising," added Ruthie Chong. 

Her published news letter, The Right Facts: Dialogue with Ruthie Chong. Maximizing the Power of Graphoanalysis in your Personal and Professional Life, has been received very positively by her clientele.

The inescapable cornerstone of an electronic newsletter is interesting and conversational content. 

"Most people today are sophisticated enough to tell the difference between bland copy and interesting, lively, and conversational copy," said Delilah Chang, a contributing editor for AtomicWord Hawaii, published by "Let's face facts; if it's not going to be interesting, your clients and prospects will view you as a junk mailer. That's a recipe for lost business and credibility."

"My clients are very keen on content-quality electronic newsletters," says Angela Mara, marketing director for Boston-based Cohasset Financial Management. "We have found that we have a better probability of getting clients and prospective customers to our site this way."

Her firm generates much of the content internally, and it taps business partners, industry sources, and feedback from customers for free content. Her firm contracts out to to organize the information, and gives it lively content and style. Electronic publishers like offer research time and services as part of its package, especially for those whose time and resources are limited. 

"For us it was a no-brainer. Since we've immersed since were immersed in our work going this route was appropriate and profitable."

Whether an electronic-based newsletter is in simple-text format, formatted and delivered as an email attachment, or based on the World Wide Web, your business, organization, or denomination stands to benefit in ways that will surprise you.

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the founder and president of The Pacific Learning Consortium

Tuesday Testimonials: Give Yourself the Green-light to Learning with Confidence

That's me experiencing my first Kickapoo moment off Orchard Road, Singapore. It was cause for celebration!

There is no reason why learning should not be a positive, enterprising and spirited experience. There is a growing body of research and discussion that has concluded that once we as individuals recognize the hidden negativity that prevents us from achieving our goals and dreams that doors open and new horizons we denied ourselves suddenly come within grasp.

In my years as an educator I've been genuinely shocked at times by the sad stories I've heard from students of all ages. Some here in Hawaii spoke plainly that they were raised to believe that because of where they lived, where they went to high school, and yes, even where their ancestors originated from that life-long learning was not theirs. 


When I taught personal and public speaking classes at an international school in Honolulu I asked my students about there past experiences with speech teachers. Almost all admitted that they had been humiliated by previous instructors, much to my horror.

 They quickly learned that they would not be shamed in my classroom. No way. 

In these instances and many others my students learned that it was up to them. That is, part of there job in transiting to being self-directed, excited and passionate lifelong learners was to have an honest talk with themselves. 

Before they (and you) can eliminate those sub-conscious walls that impede your progress you need to recognize what they are and how they got there.

I love to travel, learn new things, get out of my comfort zone, read new books -and old ones, too! I deduced a long time ago that unless I was going to get a second -go-around (i.e., reincarnation) this was the only life I was going to get. 

So, if I want to experience a life that is interesting I'd better learn that I was not going to let anything -or anyone- stand in my way. 

So, what does this have to do with you? Good question.

Auto-suggestion is one method you can use. This technique gives you the ammunition to toss out outdated and harmful attitudes and substitute them with new, affirming ones. It is a seed that is part of the initial process of self-accepting a new, positive self-image. Over time you can reconstruct and transfigure your attitudes and expectations. 

A student that used this quite successfuly referred to auto-suggestion as her mental and emotional spring cleaning. She likened the experience to one she was tasked to do in an earlier chapter in her life working in the retain sales sector: taking inventory. So, if you have stale attitudes and notions holding you back put those on the "clearance rack," and move forward!

Here are a series of self-confidence building suggestions. You can do these anywhere and at your leisure:

- When I learn I am excited!
- When I feel excited I want to learn more.
- I understand what I am learning. If I do not I am not afraid to ask questions. 
- Learning and remembering are easier for me.
- Learning keeps me active and alert. 
- There is so much to learn! I am thrilled by the diversity of it all!
- Each day and everyday is filled with opportunities to learn to grow and apply it all to my life. 

Remember, American poet and author Robert Frost once said, "Something we were withholding made us weak until we found it was ourselves." 

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the founder and president of The Pacific Learning Consortium. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Motivator: Enliven, Animate and Galvanize

At Raffles City, Singapore. March 2014. 

When I was growing up in my ancestral state of Connecticut I lived on a farm, or estate. It was lot of hard work keeping up with duties and chores of all kinds -and in all kinds of weather! 

Rain, snow, sleet, rain or burning sunshine it all had to be done. 

Don't get me wrong -I'm not complaining. In retrospect what I recall most was that I found an abundance of sagacious attraction, empirical experiences that I found therapeutic. In other words, the activities I engaged in also caused me to come up with some of my best ideas in business, writing, teaching, and so much more.

I've been in Hawaii for the past two weeks housesitting for semi-retired friends who are away for the holidays. They have a gorgeous property in the eastern side of Oahu known as Hawaii Kai. Over the weekend -and for the remaining time that I am here- I have rediscovered the joys of gardening. There is something soothing and the act of gardening. Aside from some aching muscles I acquired this past weekend I've rediscovered that the natural world influences us and our health -both physical and mental. 

When I am in traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms or here in the online corner of the universe, the students and clients I teach or facilitate to are like a garden in some respects. It is a fascinating, fulfilling experience working with diverse learners, for it gives me the opportunity to both observe and participate with those represent a microcosm of our global society. 

As the leader/facilitator of the learning experience a vital part of the job is to inspire others. 

Last week I mentioned one of America's Founders, John Adams of Massachusetts. In one his diary entries dated March 15, 1756 Adams inferred his responsibility as a teacher to enliven and animate his students. He also had a responsibility to model the very kinds of behavior he expected and demanded. Fair enough. 

If you are in a leadership position your behavior must be unrelenting, inspiring and influential. Whether in rains, snow, sleet or burning sunshine your job is to objectively and rigorously model the very values and ideas you seek to galvanize. Be quick with your feedback, kind with your guidance, generous with your rewards and patient with your corrections. Your enterprise will progress forward when all feel a sense of belonging and accomplishment. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy Aloha Friday! Managing Your Expectations

Sure, it's been a long, hectic week. But I am still smiling! Aren't you? 

This week has flown by, hasn't it? Fridays bring an opportunity to reflect on how blessed I feel. Working at the things one feels passionate about brings me as much joy as connecting with all the new and interesting people I meet along the way.

I've been reflecting on life's expectations, that is, what so many want from life and where they want that to take them. Whether this is in the real of our professional or personal lives one item in the path to fulfillment and happiness remains clear.

Your expectations are based in large part on your choices.

There are those who say, "No expectations? No disappointments." Forgive me for saying so but on this I tend to be a contrarian.

Sure, I know that we live in a very imperfect world, Business, politics, it's all very human. We often see things that cause our heads to spin. We feel that we are not in control of our circumstances. While to some extent that is true, there are always options. It's our choice as to whether we recognize them or not.

But I am a believer in standards. There are those who have said to me that life would be better if I just reduced my standards. Nonsense. I see those standards as my way of filtering out those who do not act in conjunction with my best interests or my goals.

I housesit for a couple here in Hawaii when they travel. Before their latest departure, my friend's husband related to me a lesson he learned about trust and expectations from over 30 years ago.

Arriving in California from Malaysia, Al found a job working for an employer who required a certain type of uniform to be worn. Fair enough -and delighted to have landed his first job in America- he purchased his uniform and returned to work three days later as instructed.

When Al arrived a different supervisor was on duty. So, when Al introduced himself to this other supervisor he shook his head and said, "I never hired you. The other guy is not in charge. I am."

That left its mark on Al. He never forgot that lesson. Can you blame him?

I've had more than my share of those who came into my path, gave glowing accounts of how they'd like to help build my own projects to fruition -only to reveal that their interests were far removed from mine, and their standards far, far below. Those souls do not stay around long at all.

As we head into the weekend it's wise to reflect on our choices, to accept the fact and no matter how well-intentioned you are not everyone wants to reciprocate your good will or buy into your vision. As All did years ago, I learned to take responsibility for both my choices and my expectations of others. People have flaws. Some know this, many do not, many prefer not to.

If you are being shortchanged or feel taken advantage of do not be afraid to sever your ties. The choice is always yours. If righteous anger is the result on your end let me be the first to remind you that you may have every right to be so.

Make the choice to realistically surround yourself with those who share your vision and your values. Make the choice to sever your ties to those who do not measure up. Your expectations are exactly that -yours. Never forget that.

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the founder and president of The Pacific Learning Consortium. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Festive Flavors Cooking Class with The Blonde Vegetarian on December 9

Festive Flavors Cooking Class 
The Blonde Vegetarian

Merry Christmas! Please join Rebecca Woodland at her next cooking class, Festive Flavors, on Tuesday, December 9

This original menu includes Butternut-Ginger Bisque, Jeweled Tabbouleh, Mulled Apple Cider, a Yule Log (dessert), and other seasonal delights to tantalize all your senses. 

When:   Tuesday morning, December 9, 9:30am-12:30pm
Where:  Manoa School of Art & Music in Manoa Marketplace (directly behind farmers' market)
What:   A mostly hands-on vegan cooking class & tasty lunch
Cost: $50, includes lunch
How: email or text (808)295-3027 to register. 
Advance registration REQUIRED.

"I'll be holding classes every Tuesday morning, even during the holidays, with a different menu and theme each class.

"Also, I'm available for in-home cooking parties. Same concept, same price, loads of fun, and a great way to celebrate the holidays, a bridal shower, birthday, girl's night, or whatever. Minimum 4 persons; maximum number depends on the size and layout of your kitchen.

If you would like to purchase the gadgets used in class - or my books - please visit
Live deliciously! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Virtue? Riches? Oh, the Choices!

The man who lived here 170 years ago was unapologetic about voicing his opinions. 
I met Shubal Brush 25 years ago in an archival library. It was not a personal meeting; hardly so. He died generations ago and lies buried in a country cemetery near his Connecticut home (pictured above). He was a tanner by profession, meaning that in the 19th century his vocation was to turn animal hides into shoes and other products. Brush was the last man in town to practice this trade. 

It might surprise you that a man like Shubal Brush was way ahead of his time 170 years ago. Not one to exactly be shy about his opinions, Mr. Brush had a thing or two to say about the issues of the day. 

Like a stalwart Connecticut Yankee and small business owner, it probably never occurred to him that any one might be offended. And if they were, well, that was not his concern. 

We have a tradition in my ancestral homeland that is often misunderstood. We do not argue; we debate. 

One of his recorded written opinions involved prioritizing “riches” and “virtue.” Without further adieu here’s what Shubal Brush had to say:

"Seek virtue rather than riches. You may be sure to acquire the first but cannot promise for the latter. No one can rob you of the first without your consent. 

You may be deprived of the latter a hundred ways; the first will gain you the esteem of all good and wise beings, and the latter will get you flatterers enough but not one real friend. 

The first will abide by you forever; the latter will have you at death to shift as you can at eternity." 

Those words could easily have been penned in the early 21st century, wouldn't you agree?

What is virtue? One definition I found points to virtue as being "a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good, and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.

I was recently reminded that we live in a very imperfect world where those who prioritize the acquisition of riches outweigh those who embrace ethical, virtuous paths. A professional I knew years ago worked for an internationally-based school for over 27 years. It was a place she dedicated herself to, earning the respect and admiration of her peers. Then, one day in 2009, she received the news that she was being terminated. Like many across America who were being laid off, the process was clearcut, short and painful. Over coffee one morning -and close to tears at times- she related what happened. 

She had been virtuous; a rival who wanted her ousted pursued riches and won. And the story seemed to end there. 

We live in a world that is not always fair. Disappointment and loss sometimes appear to reign supreme. Favoritism and nepotism seem to be dominant traits in various sectors, especially academia.  There are many who see the world as a zero-sum game; "in order for me to win someone must lose." 

Oh really?

Re-read Mr. Brush's remarks. Those were penned and articulated in 1845 -that's 170 years ago. Does your gut tell you that those eternal truths still hold sway as we close out Year 2014? You betcha!

Each of you has a story, a life story that is all your own. That path you choose is yours freely to decide. Taking the virtuous, ethical path "will gain you the esteem of all good and wise beings." 

Bear in mind that those good and wise beings are not simply going to show up at your doorstep by some magical power. Nothing is automatic. It takes some kind of initiative to set things in motion, right? 

It begins with you. Who we surround ourselves with is a choice whether we readily recognize it or not.  Pursuing riches and power "will get you flatterers enough but not one real friend." You do not have to allow those who mock your ethics or prove themselves to be fair-weather friends to dictate your story. Take ownership of that and avoid seeking validation from those who mean you harm. 

Make your life an extraordinary one, a virtuous one. Make your story an exceptional one. It's your choice. 

Who knows? I've wondered what Shubal Brush would think if he knew 170 years ago that some of his words would be shared instantaneously with a global audience. 

Someone might be quoting you in Year 2185! You never know...

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the founder and president of The Pacific Learning Consortium. 

Eloquence Achieved the Henry Clay Way

It's time to get seriously eloquent. 

I have a secret! Ready? For most of my adult life I have been reading newspapers published centuries ago. While I've done this professionally as part of doing research work, I've been fascinated by how some news simply does not change. I've also learned that we have much in common with our antecedents.

Eloquence is often defined as the "practice or art of using language with fluency and aptness." Fair enough. Long before I started to teach personal and public speaking or the existence of Toastmasters people were very preoccupied with how they were perceived based on their ability to speak eloquently.

One afternoon I was paging through a 19th century newspaper published in Honolulu titled The Polynesian. It was the official news source of the Hawaiian Kingdom in those years. The Secret of Eloquence was a story published on August 6, 1859 caught my eye since at that time I was teaching speaking skills to Asian students at Hawaii Tokai International College.

The entire piece consisted of a quote from Henry Clay (1777-1852), an American lawyer, politician and skilled orator from Kentucky. He had served in both the Senate and the House of Representatives before going on to Speaker of the House and Secretary of State. So, you can imagine that the art or practice of eloquence would be vital to Mr. Clay's success.

"I owe my success in life to one single fact, viz., that at the age of twenty-seven, I commenced a continued process of daily reading and speaking upon the contents of some historical and scientific books. 

Never underestimate the multiple, clever uses of your neighborhood barn. 

Where did he practice and hone his speaking skills?

"These off-hand efforts were made sometimes in a corn field, at others in the forest, and not infrequently in some distant barn, with the horse and ox as my auditors. It is to this early practice in the great art that I am indebted for the primary leading impulses that stimulated me forward, and shaped and moulded my entire subsequent destiny. 

"...with the horse and ox as my auditors." Tough audiences have their value.

Clay's advice?

"Improve then, young gentlemen, [nothing personal, ladies] the superior advantages you here enjoy. Let not a day pass without exercising your power of speech. There is no power like that of oratory. 

He cited this example from ancient Roman history:

"Caesar controlled men by exciting their fears; Cicero by captivating their affections and swaying their passions. The influence of the one perished with its author -that of the other continues to this day."

If you sift through the 19th century verbiage you quickly recognize that Clay was on to something. Leaders of all types then, now and forever will need to be good public speakers and orators. And as you know anyone -including you- can arise to leadership status. Whether its delivering a birthday toast, reporting at a meeting of peers or pitching a brand in a marketing campaign.

Don't be shy; take the initiative. True, you may not have ready access to a barn, horses and oxen like Henry Clay had over 150 years ago. It's that first step that will get you started towards refining and re-defining how others perceive you through eloquence, giving you that extra edge in a successful future.

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the founder and president of The Pacific Learning Consortium. 

Profiles: Green Rose Design Studio, Hawaii

Inspiring, well-designed web sites can fuel both passion -and profits.

As such, a serious yet breathtaking web image takes you around the world, and we can think of none better than Heather Wimberly of Green Rose Design.

As the designer of our own web site and a member of the Consortium, Green Rose Design is a boutique studio located in Manoa Valley, Hawaii that specializes in digital graphics, sharp layouts and leading-edge web architecture that accentuates the best in internet production, presentation and delivery.

"I work pretty much alone," says Wimberly. "My daughter Bethany sometimes collaborates with me on projects, as well as other designers and content creators." 

"We also devise, invent and develop customized images, icons and diagrams using bitmap and vector formats."  You can visit her Shutterstock gallery at this link, too.

Some of her clients include us, Aerial Photography Hawaii,  the Hawaii Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, PlanPacific Hawaii, Scenic Hawaii, and others on the studio's Web Design page.

We're recommending Green Rose Design for your web site solutions no matter where you are. Contact Heather Wimberly at this email link today.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Motivator: The Matter of Complacency

Welcome to the first “Monday Motivators,” brought to you by The Pacific Learning Consortium

It’s especially true that after a long holiday weekend such as Thanksgiving in the USA we need a little encouragement to get us in gear as the work week commences. 

Over the holiday weekend I was paging through Alan Axelrod’s tome, ‘Revolutionary Management: John Adams on Leadership.Adams, the second President of the United States of America, has furnished many modern leadership coaches with relevant lessons applicable to our professional and personal lives.

Writing under the pseudonym ‘Novanglus’ in 1774-1775, Adams opines that the majority of people are not well-versed in “the affairs of state,” that those same people put themselves and their fate “in the hands where accident has placed them.”

Axelrod points out that Adams regarded his worst enemy as not the British Crown or even Parliament, but rather the matter of complacency. Yet we know that we cannot be complacent or wait for some invisible force to come along and point us in the direction of some abstract promised land.

Not only is it necessary to persuade others that the status quo is unhealthy and destructive, but we have to be genuinely and authentically honest with ourselves about what is not working. Change comes about when we have convinced others that progression is necessary to avoid a status quo that condemns us to mediocrity.

While it is easier said than done, if you are feeling “stuck in the mud” in your career and your personal relationships, it’s up to you to step up to the plate and have that honest inner-conversation with yourself. Once you make that choice other doors will open for you.

Take the risk. Understand, too, that if you stub your toe that it’s not fatal. You learn, and you live for another day!

Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the founder and president of The Pacific Learning Consortium.