19. Death Cults

For some it may be hard to believe, but there are death cults just about everywhere. While this may seem shocking, when you detach from the things that make you to pay attention about what makes others, it becomes much clearer.

While there are certainly plenty of people who hang out at “death cult” clubs (online), or wear the “death cult” tshirt and stickers, usually death cult people look like everyone else.

What makes them part of a Death Cult, is their obsession with doom and gloom, and their diseased view about everything.

The world is always coming to an end. This thing or that thing is going to kill us, or is currently killing us always. There is nothing that anybody can do in life, but just accept the fate that “it’s all in the process of being over.”

That is what people who obsess about death want you to think.

Just because someone can analytically or categorically break down to show you its true, does it make it true.

  • Global Warming will kill us all!
  • No its actually climate change that’s killing us!
  • We’ll all be dead soon because the energy is going to dry up, and we’re dependent upon it.
  • A meteor is going to hit and there is nothing we can do about it.
  • The stock market is going to crash and the whole economy will be ruined forever.
  • Society has completely collapsed, just look at all of the bad things on the news!
  • They is too many people on earth!!
  • A disease is going to get us. See how many people its killed!!!!

And on and on it goes.

But life continues on. As it always will.

Human beings have never had it easier than they do today, this is why they worry so much. Becoming obsessed with imaginary, analytical and categorical bad, makes one forget about the simple reality that we have the ability to craft and mold our destiny.

Leadership is so compelling because of this.

People who are surrounded by “the sky is falling” really attach themselves to people with a purpose. With a plan. Something that they are striving towards. This is truly compelling.

Sure if you want to group everything into these abstract structures, and then want to be upset about them when they “are threatened” you can do that.

Or you can build relationships with people around you, to make something better.

Never forget, for those who really know, people are the greatest asset. Learn to empower, channel them, and release them from death cult obsessions.


15. Question What You Hear or Read

People are influenced by all sorts stimuli whether that is hearing and reading or seeing and smelling. These influences shape the way we think about the world and the way we approach what we do, daily, weekly and beyond.

My time spent in Marine Corps Intelligence and working intelligence at the FBI taught me well to question the sources of information that I ingest.


Information, is not the same thing as knowledge

Unless we remain vigilant, information that we see printed or heard unduly influences us to believe that something is true. Without having performed any work, we naturally want to take information and call it knowledge.

Yet, this is an assumption that has many layers of assumptions that work against you. Here is a small list of assumptions that can back fire:

  • The organization that provides the medium hasn’t modified or held back relevant information before making it available.
  • The writer or reporter does not have ulterior motives that benefit them by providing you with that information over others.
  • The writer or reporter actually has access to the information that they are providing.
  • The writer or reporter is consistent in keeping the facts straight.

The military is stringent about who’s information is trusted, should be too.

Trust forms the bed rock of our relationships. Military intelligence provides “source bylines” that, depending on your clearance, will provide you will insight into who or what is providing the information. In the world of human intelligence (humint), these source bylines are the life and blood of whether or not a source’s information is trusted.

These humint handlers, as they’re called, manage the source to make sure they are collecting what is needed for the people that need the information. It is their job, to provide accurate information about the source itself. These human intelligence professionals, even request the sources provide proof of access and information validity if they want to maintain their relationship. Here are a few questions they answer.

  • Has this person reported information before?
  • Does this person have first hand access to the information reported, or did they hear it?
  • Has the information this person provided been verified either now or in the past?
  • What are the reasons they are providing this information?

Intelligence goes to these great lengths because they know how bad information actually is.

Information, is just information. It doesn’t mean its true. It doesn’t mean its helpful. Just because its information doesn’t mean it helps you make decisions about how you ought to think of the world you actually occupy.

It’s just information.

Intelligence agencies guard certain information because the information is actually valuable, yet majority of information is not.

Upon arriving home from Afghanistan in late 2009 after spending nearly a year conducting intelligence (collection and analysis) on state and local government officials, tribal leaders, and local war lords it was a major wake up call to see how those back home accept the information they receive. Any information, is valuable information, and the information that caters to what is already believed, the more credible.

When information matters, this is a dangerous behavior.

A simple tip. Raise your standards of what you know, and value what you know over what you have read or heard.


13. People Value What They Do

If you ever want to know what a person values, just look at what they do. One doesn’t need to do a deep psycho-analysis to peer into their subconscious, just simple observations and making true statements.

Below are a few observational tips for discovering what a person values.

What Do They Actually Do?

If you’re trying to understand a person take a look at what the person physically do.

Do they talk often? (Ignore for a moment what they actually say) That probably means they enjoy talking.

Do they constantly clean and organize? They must value an organized living space.

Do they frequently make self deprecating statements? They must value high self-consciousness.

My Wife Christine Values Cooking and Lone Time

If you met my wife Christine very quickly you would find out that she values cooking. She cooks and prepares food every single day for breakfast, lunch and dinner for her family. If given a large list of activities that need to happen, if being in the kitchen is one of them, then that’s what she will choose.

The other is valuing her lone time. This kind of value, can be difficult to observe without getting to know the person. However, my wife is an introvert who is surrounded by a rambunctious family. As a result, she spends most of her day in the service of others and having to listen and respond to people. By the end of the day, once the children have been put to bed, you will find her huddled up on the couch reading a book. It turns out that’s what she would rather be doing than the many other activities in her life.

What Do They Say?

Trying to understand what a person values by what they say is a tricky endeavor. When people speak it is not uncommon for them to state what they want their public “persona” to be. When what they say does not match what they do, people often call this a “do say gap.” There is figuratively a gap between what they say and what they do.

However, that can even tell you much about them.

Even a say do gap will tell you what they believe you will value about them.

“That guy doesn’t know who he is missing with. If he would have said something back, I would have given it to him.”

This tough guy statement is made by many males to their friends. It isn’t to say that this is a say-do-gap but that this person values the idea of them being tough in a moment that they would need to be. This isn’t to say this person has courage, decisiveness, dependability or initiative (all valuable traits in the time of physical duress). It just says that this person values the idea of them being able to “handle it.”

Verbalized values, tend to be what we want others to believe about us.

It is rare that people will adopt beliefs about you based on what you say, versus what you do. However, it does give them insights into what we think we value about ourselves. If you value courageous people, saying so makes it plain to other people that you value courageous people. This in turn might make people a bit aware of times to be courageous. Whether or not they will be more of that, such as to “win your favor” is another story. The fastest way to get others to adopt values, is by exhibiting the behaviors of a person who much have those values.

Do you know the values of your friends, family and yourself?

Consider putting together a list of what everyone you know values. By calling conscious attention to this effort it will make you more effective with communicating with them. In the end, it will make you more able to earn and spend influence with them.


12. 5 Types of People You Can’t Help

Although this video has many christian themes and overtones, the content is worthwhile for those who intentionally earn and use influence.

Not everything can be explained, asked or provided to a person at all times, by all people. Working and therefore connecting with people is complicated business.

This video, among many good messages, helps people empathize with themselves during the times that they feel they have “failed” to reach out to someone. It also assists in understanding that when a person “denies” you speaking with them, or “getting it” not to take it personally, but rather accept the person is where they are, and that if they get “that message”, it’ll come in due time.


6. Drive Action

Somewhere around January of 2017 I co-founded the “Live Oak Permaculture Group” outside of New Orleans, LA. Partnering with a local community organizer we came together to create a group that would meet up, discuss permaculture, and help people implement and gain some insights how they could live a little more self reliance and lighter on the planet.

Through that process we held classes, taught tree grafting lessons, consulted on permaculture designs, hosted lunches and overall met similar company. We even organized about a dozen volunteers to install the apple and chestnut savannah on our farm in Louisiana, equipped with well over 80 varieties of southern apples. It was truly amazing to see what 12, motivated, volunteers could do.

I became both the leader and the “technical expert trainer”

I believed at the time that serving the group was by becoming the person out in front who would host classes and demonstrate what techniques for creating sustainability. Nearly every event, I found myself being the primary topic at least 80% of the time, with the occasional event held off site at another person’s home, or guest speaker.

As time went on I found it increasingly more difficult for others to try and take this baton, instead wishing that I would do the teaching, since I was more experienced.

Overtime the group lacked something…

While The Live Oak Permaculture Group was successful in teaching people at the events, it reached a plateau both in numbers but in energy. After about a year of hosting events, dozens of people would signup, but only about 15 people would show up. Our events, while improved in quality, started to feel a bit stale.

A core group had formed, who after a few years, mostly just wanted to hang out with like minded people and wish that the world was different.

Instead of action, there was only chitter chatter

This situation runs opposite to how I felt about the group. From the beginning I dreamed the group would be action oriented. A group that would go out and interacting with the community. The group would be able to utilize our internal knowledge and skillsets to make needed change.

But I rarely brought this action orientation up, instead continually griping about it in private that the group should be out there “doing.”

During those years, I wasn’t sure how to handle this juxtaposition. On one hand, I was the leader and could drive the members in a particular direction and on the other hand “it wasn’t happening.” Instead of sharing this with the group and being open, I kept them in and focused on the people that I was interacting with.

Some say that a leader’s job is to serve the people under their leadership. While this is true, the leader doesn’t serve the people, when the leader only focuses on their immediate desires and what they can express verbally now.

A leader really becomes a leader when the they help people serve the needs of others and act on their highest values.

The issue was there wasn’t an external vision

Because the group focused only on itself, it had no reason to grow. There was no compelling reasons to improve their skills, improve their confidence, and definitely small reason for people to join the group.

The group lived entirely in the “what can I get from this group” rather than “how can I help this group succeed?”

The members of the group became more disconnected with the people outside of it. The members of the group more and more wanted to sit back and have others do the work. The members more and more drifted away.

If, however, there was a vision that extended beyond the members group, and if the leader drove that vision instead of “giving the members what they want”, the group would have grown, as individuals and as a group.

All of the resources that were on the table, were locked by the lack of vision of the leader.

If you happen to be a leader of a similar group, or considering creating a group, consider this a lesson. The members of the group need a leader, not a technical expert. They gain confidence through action. To keep the group growing, alive, and productive there must be action that engages with outside entities.