Saturday, December 20, 2014

Transpicuous News Dec 19 2014: Tantrums and Financial Terrorism


Transpicuous News Dec 19 2014: Tantrums and Financial Terrorism
December 19, 2014
http://removingtheshackles.blogspot.com/2014/12/transpicuous-news-dec-19-2014-tantrums.html

Side note:  Sorry everyone, apparently the first 2 minutes of the video (of me ranting and having a tantrum) somehow got cut in the editing process. .... yet another thing for me to rant about, no doubt.  The missing section contains me ranting about the ridiculousness of everything in the past 72 hours or so, and that I felt I needed to bring this information out today.... the remaining video contains the entire news footage, so I guess you don't get to see D have a tantrum.... this time.


Well my friends, I'm back again, even though I said I wouldn't be recording any updates till after Christmas.

In the past 72 hours, the world seemingly went to hell in a hand basket and I threw a few tantrums and did a lot of ranting.  There are several major pieces of news that are coming out right now that we need to take a much closer look at: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and of course Russia..... allllll big pieces to watch.


Severe language WARNING... just sayin'


... and if I'm not back again before then ..... I am wishing you all a bright and happy holiday season!!


D





http://the-one-network.org/transpicuous-news-ep-7-tantrums-and-financial-terrorism/


http://rt.com/business/215683-saudi-impossible-cut-oil/


side note: isn't it interesting that less than a month ago Saudi/OPEC were saying that they are going to cut back on oil production? ... to boost oil prices?





http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-18/oil-implosion-supply-or-demand-driven-here-very-simple-answer-thanks-saudi-arabia

http://rt.com/usa/215763-obama-russia-sanctions-sign/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/china-prepares-bailout-russia

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-18/russia-has-begun-selling-its-gold-according-socgen

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-19/russia-busts-gold-selling-rumors-reports-it-bought-another-600000-ounces-taking-gold

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/17/us-cuba-usa-gross-idUSKBN0JV1H520141217
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/world/asia/us-links-north-korea-to-sony-hacking.html?_r=0

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/evidence-of-north-korea-hack-is-thin/
http://www.cnbc.com/id/102284428#.

http://src-fla.us/index.php/news2e629/80-rant/412-sony-supposing

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/12/18/390790/deal-on-iran-nissue-very-close-putin/
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/12/19/390932/west-uses-resolution-as-political-tool/

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/12/19/390909/us-blocks-release-of-iran-coup-documents/

http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/214403-terrorism-business-money-jihad/

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/12/19/390887/imf-to-hold-back-cyprus-bailout-funds/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-18/berserk-rampathon-algo-just-bought-sp-2130

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/retirement/deal-reached-to-allow-pension-plans-to-cut-benefits/ar-BBgAimc

http://rt.com/business/215663-switzerland-negative-rate-currency/

http://rt.com/usa/216087-irs-tax-refund-delays/

http://www.fa-mag.com/news/u-s--budget-deal-stirs-pension-risk-fears-20225.html

New Banking Order: Single Overarching European banking authority set for launch

http://www.blacklistednews.com/New_Banking_Order%3A_Single_Overarching_European_banking_authority_set_for_launch/40058/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Story: A Journey to Discovering Purpose -- Part II



My Story -- A Journey to Discovering Purpose -- Part II
December 18, 2014

This post is not just about a business idea, it's about "Inspiring a Revolution of Change".... ~BK

In Part I, I told my personal journey of self discovery, which can be read here. On my mission to find purpose, here's a quick recap from the last article of the major lessons I learned along the way:
  1. BE HAPPY
  2. PROVIDE VALUE
  3. BE OF SERVICE
  4. HAVE FUN
  5. GIVE, GIVE, GIVE & then GIVE some MORE
  6. WE ARE ALL PART OF ONE HUMAN FAMILY
  7. NEVER WORK A JOB JUST FOR THE PAYCHECK
  8. NO MATTER WHAT, FOLLOW YOUR HEART
  9. MONEY IS JUST A TOOL, TREAT IT AS SUCH

Part II is all about finding passion through inspiration and taking action. In this blog post I continue to share all of the most profound realizations I have had along my journey to finding purpose. These concepts and formulas can be used and adopted by ANYONE aspiring to make their dream a reality. This is my Story...

Moral of the Story #10: ACTION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS

"when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking & GO." 





If you have an hour to spare, I go into a lot of detail in my interview with Hope Girl on the current project I'm working on now, how it came to be, what the objective is and how it all plays into my personal vision for the future. A few of the videos I share below are also very beautifully dubbed into this interview. For the sake of redundancy I label which ones those are:



As mentioned in the video with Hope, determining our "why" for this business concept was and continues to be our focus to this day. Answering this question has not only encouraged the biggest breakthrough, for this project specifically. It has also helped me to understand personally, what was missing from past business start-ups I was involved in, and quite possibly what made some of them fall short of reaching the level of success we had intended.


Based on my personal experience in business, I would imagine, when posed with the question, of 'why' most entrepreneurs are in business, these would likely be the most common responses:
"To make money."
"To provide for my family."
"Because I love it."
"Because I enjoy the freedom of working for myself."
"Because I make a great income that allows me to do the things in life I enjoy"
"To make people's lives easier/better by..."
Through everything I learned throughout part I of this story, the above reasons were no longer good enough standing on their own. There had to be a greater purpose than just money, security, stability or even attaining total happiness. The realization here is that securing happiness for just myself is no longer good enough. Although, it is the very crucial first step to sharing happiness with others.


Being an entrepreneur is about improving people's lives by offering a product that solves a problem, simplifies a process, or by offering a service that gives people more quality time to enjoy family, etc. And of course, loving what you do, having freedom and providing for family are all part of what make up the thrill of becoming an entrepreneur.

BUT, if business was designed to make people's lives better/easier or solve a problem, commerce as a whole seems to have missed the mark in a very major way. See for yourself:
  • Almost half the world -- over three billion people -- live on less than $2.50/day
  • At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10/day
  • 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they "die quietly in some of the poorest villages on Earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world"
  • Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names
  • Less than 1% of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn't happen
  • Every year there are 350 - 500 million cases of malaria (a curable disease), with 1 million fatalities
  • Water problems affect half of humanity: some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water & 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation
  • 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometer, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 liters of water/day. In the UK, the avg person uses more than 50 liters/day flushing toilets. The highest avg water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters/day
  • 1.6 billion people -- a quarter of humanity -- live without electricity
  • For every $1 in aid a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment
  • In 1820 the distance between the richest and poorest countries was 3 to 1,in 1992 it was 72 to 1
The stats above barely scratch the surface of the issues facing humanity today. More found here at this link.

Are your eyes opened yet? What do you see in this picture?


$11 billion on ice cream in Europe!? Can you imagine how much opportunity around the world could be created with $11 billion, let alone $780 billion on military spending. I had to wipe my eyes and do a double take when I saw that one.

Here's our main tenet at 9 Gifts of Gaia: All human beings are born with unlimited potential, unlimited capacity and unlimited creativity. No exceptions.


Every year we see multiple global summits that give the illusion that key issues are being addressed and steps have been put in place to solve them. This illusion of change has taken the power out of our hands, and into those who don’t seem to care or do anything about it.

Nobody is going to change the world for us, and if we continue living our lives and being so into our own lives while ignoring what is happening to planet Earth, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the outcome won’t be sunshine and roses. 

If we've learned one thing it's that the solutions to the world's problems will NOT come from any so-called government or political leaders. They will come from people. People just like YOU. People just like me and millions of other creative minds from all around the world. This is why I believe deep down everyone is an entrepreneur. Everyone is a creator.

Moral of the Story #11: WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SOLVE A PROBLEM, PEOPLE ARE SO INCREDIBLY CREATIVE



I have seen it for myself so many times in my life. As a businessman and as a person in general. Look around you, there's creative people and projects just about everywhere you look. Just imagine what happens when our creative juices are focused on a collective intent for a peaceful, sustainable, poverty free world...

"Why hide your talent in the closet of complacency, when you have greatness within you." 

Moral of the Story #12: KNOW YOUR "WHY" 

"What's your why? When you know why you do what you do even the toughest days become easier." 




The why doesn't start and finish just with business. It can apply to literally everything we do in life. "What's my why?" is just about the best filter we can use to determine the value of whether or not to DO one thing or the other, no matter what IT is. And like the quote above says, when our why is big enough, we will always find our how.

Many of the videos and info that follow are all a result of researching "daring to be different in business." I had no interest in going back into business the old way it was done. My search for purpose was quite literally a combination of going within to see what resonates, as well as digging on the internet :)

Moral of the Story #13: SOMETIMES INSPIRATION NEEDS TO BE SEARCHED FOR

"Don't waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin and inspiration will find you." 

Here are a few videos, also dubbed into the interview with Hope, that provided much needed guidance and inspiration on my own personal Journey to Why. Hard not to tear up watching this one in particular.




I gotta hand it to Sevenly for what they have accomplished. Dale Partridge and his undeniable success as CEO of Sevenly has been a HUGE inspiration for me and my partners. To raise over $4,000,000 in $7 increments, while helping over 1.3 million people in the process is not only inspiring, it's a miracle. 

What does this prove? One person with a great idea can make a HUGE impact...

You better believe Dale & Sevenly know exactly what their Why is. 

"There's nothing more powerful than a great idea, whose time has come"

Here is the email I sent to Dale to thank him for the inspiration:
Dale,

I'll keep this brief because I know you are a very busy guy. I too am an entrepreneur and interestingly enough, used to own and operate a business in Costa Mesa. Now in the process of launching a new business, I found Sevenly in doing research on "daring to be different in business." I felt strongly the entire way we do business was in need of a major over haul. When I found Sevenly and watched your "how it works" video I was blown away. Tears of inspiration flowed down my face...not afraid to admit it :)
 
What you have created is nothing short of amazing. I know part of your mission was to inspire other businesses to be less profit and more people focused. Consider me a success story. 9 Gifts of Gaia will launch soon, donating $9 from every purchase toward helping to alleviate poverty, followed by what will be a series of other causes and paradigm shifting projects. So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU. You are a bright shining beacon of light this world needs right now. Keep up the good work my friend. Blessings & Namaste.
His response:
Wow thank you man, that means a lot. :) 
Keep fighting the good fight,
Dale 
Moral of the Story #14: IF SOMEONE ELSE HAS AN IDEA THAT YOU CONNECT WITH & ITS WORKING: MIRROR IT

Actual advice shared with me by one of my mentors.

There is absolutely no shame in copying someone's idea and adding a few twists to make it your own. These are the basic components and building blocks of innovation. Most commonly, new innovations are a product of taking an existing idea and improving upon it to make it better, more efficient, etc.


Sevenly is an incredible business concept. Leveraging business to support a cause is not a new phenomenon. All they have done, is taken a for-profit business model and placed the cause, as opposed to the product up front and center. That was their twist, and ultimately the main ingredient that resulted in such incredible success.

"You are confined only by the walls you build yourself." 

When diving deeper, one of the only major issues I could find with the Sevenly business model was their charity focused approach. Instantly I had major recall of all the horror stories I've discovered about so many of the major charities.

Some of these stats are mentioned in the video with Hope, so no need to repeat again here. Although, if interested in exploring the deep levels of deception here is a great article.

Below is an excerpt from another article I found which helps to illustrate the fundamental issue between targeting symptoms as opposed to focusing on the actual cause:

(this is a really great article) http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/charity/against_1.shtml
Charities often target symptoms, not causes 
The accusation is that charity helps the recipient with their problem, but it doesn't do much to deal with the causes of that problem. 
Particular aspects of this are dealt with in the next two topics. 
It certainly is true that some charities do stopgap or 'band-aid' work, either exclusively or some of the time. 
But in fact, a lot of charity work is devoted to dealing with the fundamental causes of problems: for example trying to reduce global poverty, or doing research into diseases like cancer. 
These two examples highlight very different problems. 
Combating cancer is a relatively simple scientific problem, while global poverty requires more than a scientific operation, or finding a better way to manage world resources. 
Combating poverty involves slow processes of political, cultural and social change, with many stakeholders, significant opposition and serious issues of self-determination and coercion to be navigated. 
And long-term campaigns pose another ethical problem: should we spend to make a better world in 10 years' time if that means that people who we could have fed starve to death tomorrow? 
The famous story of the boy and the starfish shows why using charity to fix individual problems can be very valuable.

If I can just help one person, all of a sudden my life is filled with purpose...

"It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters." 

If so many non-profits and charitable organizations lack transparency, and only target symptoms, not causes, then how can we circumvent the charity and get directly to the individual? 

The answer? (at least one of many. Vid also in presentation)


Truth be told, this whole concept of microfinance didn't sit right when I first discovered it. As an ex-finance guy, I walked away from the business with a very sour taste in my mouth. I felt that all loans were a scam and enslaved honest and hard working people to fictitious, userous debt. I didn't lie to my clients about the types of loans they were receiving, like many in the business did, but at the end of the day it was companies just like mine that played a major role in the housing collapse of 2008. As a result, I put the word "loan" in the same category of all the other 4 letter words that shouldn't be spoken.

Challenging to grasp, especially knowing what I know now, after years of research into how debt, money and credit really work. So, I needed to dive into it a bit to fully understand the mechanics.

The figures and videos shared below helped me to see the light...very quickly.




These statistics are mind blowing. Why more people don't know about this? A basic lack of awareness. Well, it's time for that to change...

Synchronistically, I found this Ted Talk with Dr. Muhammad Yunus who won the Nobel Prize in 2006 for creating microcredit. Microcredit loans to date have pulled close to 100 million people out of poverty by focusing on the cause, not the symptom. These next two videos tell the story of how it all began. Worth watching if you have the time. Or bookmark and come back later. 


After watching this video, I purchased Dr. Yunus' book, Banker to the Poor, on Kindle and read through it in just a few days.

Jessica Jackley, co-founded Kiva after watching Dr. Yunus' video above. More proof one person with an inspired idea can change the world.


"The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a place where he/she no longer needs our gift." 

These videos led me to some very profound realizations. For the first time in my life, I started to really understand that quote, "you're either part of the problem, OR part of the solution." The fire was lit. My commitment to becoming a part of the solution has never been filled with such extreme levels of passion and determination. Every fiber of my being is telling me, it's time to take a stand.

Moral of the Story #15: GENEROSITY IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL FORCES IN ALL OF CREATION

"Generosity isn't just about what you do. It’s about who you are. Before it’s a matter of giving or of doing, it’s a matter of being."

Here are a few quotes from Dr. Yunus' book that opened my eyes to not only the reality of poverty, but also the gross misunderstanding around it, as well as our absolute ability to render it a part of our past:
“Once poverty is gone, we'll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They'll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society - how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.”  
“When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity. Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only perpetuates poverty by taking the initiative away from the poor. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences.” 
“If you go out into the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor not because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot retain the returns of their labor. They have no control over capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty.” 
“People.. were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base.”  
“Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.” 
“I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people. It has been created and sustained by the economic and social systems that we have designed for ourselves; the institutions and concepts that make up that system; the policies that we pursue.” 
Here's the clincher...


“The needs of people around the world are real and urgent, and how we respond to them will help to determine the future of the human race." 

Why such a strong focus on poverty? Because I believe when one person suffers, we all suffer and poverty results in more suffering than all the various other noble causes combined. I feel very strongly that until we can conquer this issue on a social scale we will be limited in our collective ability to evolve as a species. As I said before, people have within them infinite wells of potential and creativity. However, poverty stunts creativity in a very major way. Pull people out of poverty and what happens is creativity multiplies exponentially.

So, it begs the question, if we carry within us the power to end world poverty, then HOW are we going to do it? This picture illustrates my prediction:


In my many countless hours of research over the last couple of months, I've uncovered so many incredible opportunities. One of the biggest realizations (something I already knew but hadn't yet created a contextual understanding for), is that for every single challenge facing humanity today, a solution (if not many) already exist to turn it around.

One of the most profound discoveries was this whole concept of social business, or generosity based business. I had no idea how big this movement really was. At the end of reading "Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus, there were a few quotes in particular he shared about the promising future of social business, which represented the ultimate landslide of inspiration I was very consciously seeking.

There are quite a few passages here, but as far as I'm concerned, this information represents the major breakthrough needed to flip the script on causeless consumerism. These ideas are more than capable of shifting the entire framework of our collective connection to the web of global commerce:

"A completely new world can be created by making space for the social entrepreneurs and the social investors in the business world. This is a very important agenda for all of us. Eliminating poverty will become so much easier if social entrepreneurs can take up the challenge of ending poverty and if social investors can use their investment money to support the work of social entrepreneurs." 

"To me, a world without poverty means a world in which every person can take care of his or her basic life needs. In such a world, nobody would die of hunger or suffer from malnutrition. This is a goal world leaders have been calling for decades, but they have never set out any way of achieving it." (That's because they need it to keep humanity under control) 

"Today, when we think of business we think of enterprises that are dedicated to making money - to profit maximization. To me, that's too narrow a definition of people as economic participants. Human beings are much more complex than just being instruments for making money. So I began to imagine another dimension - a dimension where human beings want to be of help to other people, to create a new kind of world through economic activity. This requires a new kind of business - one that I call a social business."

"A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend enterprise, created with the intention to do good to people, to bring positive changes to the world, without any short-term expectation of making money out of it. That is the subject of my new book, Creating a World Without Poverty. It describes how social business can change the world and end poverty on this planet." 

"To free-market fundamentalists, social business might seem blasphemous. The idea of a business with objectives other than profits has no place in their existing theology of capitalism. Yet surely no harm will be done to the free market if not all businesses are profit maximizing businesses (PMB's). Surely capitalism is amenable to improvements. And sure the stakes are too high to go on the way we have been going. By insisting that all businesses, by definition, must necessarily be PMB's and by treating this as some kind of axiomatic truth, we have created a world that ignores the multi-dimensional nature of human beings. As a result, businesses remain incapable of addressing many of our most pressing social problems." 

"We need businesses that are not purely seeking profit, but dedicated to solving social and environmental problems." 

"In its organizational structure, this new business is basically the same as the existing PMB. But it differs in its objectives. Like other businesses, it employs workers, creates goods or services, and provides these to customers for a price consistent with its objectives. But its underlying objective - and the criterion by which it should be evaluated - is to create social benefits for those whose lives it touches. The company itself may earn a profit, but the investors who support it do not take any profits out of the company, except recouping an amount equivalent to their original investment, over a period of time. A social business is a company that is cause driven rather than profit-driven, with the potential to act as a change agent for the world." 

"A social business is not a charity. It is a business in every sense. It has to recover its full costs while achieving its social objective. When you are running a business, you think differently and work differently than when you are running a charity. And this makes all the difference in defining social business and its impact on society. "


"There are many organizations in the world today that concentrate on creating social benefit. Most do not recover their total costs. Nonprofit organizations and nongovernmental organizations rely on charitable donations, foundation grants, or government support to implement their programs. Most of their leaders are dedicated people doing commendable work, but since they do not recover their costs from their operations, they are forced to devote part of their time and energy, sometimes a significant part, to raising money."

"How can the products or services sold by a social business provide a social benefit? There are countless ways. For example, imagine: A social business that manufactures and sells high-quality, nutritious food products at very low prices to a targeted market of poor and underfed children. These products can be cheaper because they do not compete in the luxury market and therefore don't require costly packaging or advertising, besides not being under compulsion to maximize profit." 


"The achievement of full cost recovery as a social business is a moment worth celebrating. Once a social objective driven project overcomes the gravitational force of financial dependence, it is ready for space flight. Such a project is self-sustaining and enjoys the potential for almost unlimited growth and expansion. And as the social business grows, so do the benefits it provides to society." 

"Thus, a social business is designed and operated as a business enterprise, with products, services, customers, markets, expenses, and revenues -- but with the profit maximization principle replaced by the social benefit principle. Rather than seeking to amass the highest possible level of financial profit to be enjoyed by the investors, the social business seeks to achieve a social objective." 

Do you see where this is headed yet?...

Let these stats I found illustrate just how big the generosity movement has become.



"47% of consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause.”


"75 % of young people donated money to causes in 2012, and 63 percent volunteered time."

As far as I'm concerned, what these statistics equate to is: bona fide & unparalleled opportunity for a total over haul in the way we do business.

For anyone who has ever had the desire to create a business & is simultaneously passionate about world change, NOW is the time to step up. Whether you're in business or aspring to start one, anyone brave enough to take the leap of faith and break the cycle, has a huge advantage over all the other businesses out there who haven't gotten the memo that it's time for change.

I predict that in the very near future all businesses will be "to businesses". What's a "to business" you ask? It goes something like this...

What do you do for a living?

I sell shirts online "to" alleviate poverty
I create health and wellness products "to" support environmental & sustainability projects
I offer inspirational art "to" support new projects and innovations to heal the world
I make custom jewelry "to" build a new paradigm school in Indonesia

Why?

Because I want to change the world and inspire others to do the same...

THIS ^^ is my why. 

All of the above are not just creative examples I pulled together to illustrate a point. It's the "to business" plan, mission and intention of 9 Gifts of Gaia. Poverty isn't the only cause we'll be focusing on, it's the first of many. As of this now moment our cause focus consists of four major categories. I call it our PEIS model (pronounced peace):

Poverty -- "If one person suffers, we all suffer."
Education -- "Education is not a privilege, it's a basic human right."
Innovation -- "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."
Sustainability -- "We do not inherent the Earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children."

And with the blink of an eye and a little hard work, the vision manifests into reality...

But that will have to wait until Part III...most likely later today :) I'll also be talking about strategies I've found to find and build a team of passionate change makers. 2015 will be the year of the Tribal business. More to come on that concept, as well.

Want to be a part of the Revolution for Change? Email me at 9giftsofgaia@gmail.com

Also, for a sneak peak into 9 Gifts of Gaia, please visit our FB page www.facebook.com/9giftsofgaia and make sure to leave us a "like!" We'll be doing a raffle and giving away lots of cool stuff very soon :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Story: A Journey to Discovering Purpose -- Part I



My Story: A Journey to Discovering Purpose -- Part I
December 9, 2014

Believe it or not, this is a short version of a very long story. It tells in two parts, which ultimately build up to the main inspiration of what I, and many others like me all around the world, are now focusing our energy on. If nothing else, I hope that this story inspires all those to read it to play a more active role in creating tangible and lasting world change. Just remember, the real work always starts and finishes within you. ~BK

"The riskiest thing we can do is maintain the status quo." 

For as long as I can remember, I've had a deep inner sense that something was a bit off in the world. Feeling inadequate and not worthy are common symptoms of adolescence, learning more about ourselves through our experiences, and going toe to toe with our own egos. This is normal (as much as I detest that word). I'm more referring to the feeling of life on Earth being out of balance. Incredible confusion because so much of what I saw just didn't seem to make sense.

I remember standing in the welfare line with my dad waiting for our ration of food, milk, cheese, or whatever was offered on any given day. Having no understanding of what "financial hardship" was at the time, it was just hanging out with dad. There was always food when I was hungry, water when thirsty, a soft bed to sleep in, bath to bathe and a roof over my head every night of my life. There was also no shortage of love in our family and for that I am eternally grateful.

As I grew a bit older and began to become more aware, I started to see the injustice in how the poor slept in the street, clothes torn and tattered, with an outstretched hand begging for just a few cents to buy a meal. I remember feeling helpless. The urge to want to help, but not knowing how it was possible to help so many was discouraging. Even then, it hurt. I could feel their suffering. I could feel the pain. The hopelessness. The sense of feeling lost in a world that doesn't care. Looking back on it now, that's where this story really begins...



Fast forward to the ladder part of my college years. Excited but nervous to get out into the world to shake things up. It all started with reading Robert Kiyosaki's book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." After years of not knowing what I wanted to "DO" in my life or which "career" I would choose, I suddenly became very passionate about making money and becoming "successful." Even better was, I was starting to see all the possible ways of doing it. I began to learn concepts like, "wealth is a mindset," and "assets over liabilities," becoming fascinated by the idea of financial independence. Fueled by the motivation of not wanting to evolve into my adult life struggling financially, as my parents had, there was no shortage of determination. My goal: make lots of money and retire by the age of 30.


Within six months of graduation I moved to Los Angeles and was recruited by First Security Lending, a high profile mortgage brokerage in Hollywood. After my first six months there, I had passed all the exams to become a licensed Real Estate Broker in the states of California, Washington & Oregon. Traded in my Honda Civic for a $60,000 E-class Mercedes (that was delivered to me at my office) and had my first of many months making over $10,000.

"There is enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed." 

The world was my oyster. Everything I needed was at my finger tips. My boss turned business partner set me up with my own office in Orange County. At one point, I had four other loan officers and ten telemarketers cranking away to bring in new business. Within weeks of signing papers at the new office, I had my first $20,000 month & financed my first condo for 590k. I had only been in business a little over a year and a half and I already found myself on the fast track to success. Everything was perfect...



(Las Vegas 2008 - this is what my life had become)

In the summer of 2007, less than one year after purchasing my condo, I was on a week long vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with my then girlfriend and another couple. Spending lots of money lavishly and not giving an ounce of thought to the possibility everything was about to change. After dropping close to $5,000 in just one week of partying in Cabo, it was time to head home. 

Tired and hungover, I expected to be greeted by smiling faces and a new round of funded loans to replenish what I had spent on my trip. Instead, it was more like an energetic bomb had exploded. Everyone looked shell shocked. While I was gone, New Century Bank, our main sub-prime lender with whom we did the majority of our business, had gone belly up. Within a week a series of other lenders followed suit. The whole market began to crash. The most sobering part? I didn't save ANY money.

Fast forward six months. It's a very humbling experience to have to pour out a cup of change from a grown up piggy bank (a 5 gallon water jug filled half way mostly with quarters), to take to Coin Star, and cash in for bills, just to buy a cheese burger at Jack In the Box for dinner. To not have gas money to fill the tank in my $60k car I could no longer afford while also now four months past due on my mortgage. A random knock on the door to be greeted by a process server letting us know we were being sued by our Homeowner's Association for not paying our dues. All this while trying to continue to pay out employees, leaving absolutely nothing left over for our own sustenance. What the hell was happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? 

"Greed does not rest until it is satisfied and it is never satisfied." 

The climax of this whole downward spiral experience was cooking pancakes by candle light in our cold shell of a home. Our electricity was cut off for excessive non payment. The gas was still on fortunately, and I have to admit, pancakes for dinner never tasted so good! It was in that moment I had the realization that would change my life.  

I wasn't going to die. 

Yes, things were difficult. Yes, in this moment my reality appeared to suck beyond measure. But, was it really that bad? I started thinking about all the people around the planet who, even despite my current circumstances, still had it WAY worse off than me. My problems, in that moment, became laughable. I actually laughed out loud. In all honesty, I think it was more like a half cry/half laugh, but whatever IT was, it was a release. It was confirmation that my situation wasn't that "bad."

I quickly found myself grateful to be alive.

Grateful to have friends and family who cared about me and who would be there if I ever needed a meal, a place to stay, a hug, or reassurance that everything was going to be ok. It was around this time my mom gave me a book to read called "The Power of Intention," by Dr. Wayne Dyer. This marked the beginning stages of my awakening. What followed was "ah hah" moment after "ah hah" moment. Remembering's of Universal Truths that lay dormant inside of my own consciousness, waiting to be triggered out by by pre-designed events, carefully orchestrated to assist in the process of becoming more aware to who I AM and "what" I'm doing here. Answers to the burning questions I held within me dating back to my youth started flushing in. What happened next, you ask?

Liberation.

I quickly realized it wasn't money I was after. It was happiness.

Moral of the Story #1: BE HAPPY


"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness." 

Now armed with this new level of awareness, a clear head and an open heart, my work continued. Only this time I opted to implement the NATO approach  -- Not Attached to Outcome. Along with Law of Attraction, one of the many new ideologies I began to adopt early in my awakening process. 

Over the next few years, I received a Master's level education in what many call The School of Hard Knocks. Basically, hands on, high speed, high impact, high risk business training. Only this time, it wasn't only focused on the money. It was at this point I really started to grasp and better understand the concept and importance of "value." Success in business would be a direct reflection of how much value we could bring to our customers, strategic partners, employees, investors, et al. In retrospect, I still had much to learn but this was at the very least, a good start.

Moral of the Story #2: PROVIDE VALUE

"Strive not to be a success, strive instead to be of value." 

Once again, in 2009 I was back on the upswing. I was the President & CEO of an advertising and marketing startup, called SkyTek Digital Media. For a $30,000 investment we licensed and became sole distributors of a proprietary digital signage technology that was crushing the market in South Korea. 

Now, I was learning how to draft PPM's (Private Placement Memorandums), write business plans, assemble teams, hire and train sales teams and virtually everything in between. In the winter of 2009, I got word of an event called CEO Space, which I raised funds for and received a Certification in Entrepreneurship. What a valuable experience this was for my own self development In one week, I received MBA level training in: Marketing, Branding, Sequencing, Strategic Planning & Execution, Sales Training, Intellectual Property, Raising Capital, Public Relations, Advanced Team Building, Systems Development, Social Networking, & Internet Marketing. I know it doesn't sound feasible to learn that much in seven days, but when it's laser pointed and focused for 10 hours a day straight, it's surprising how much can be accomplished. 

I got to hang out with hugely inspiring and powerful speakers and trainers, the likes of Les Brown, Lisa Nichols, John Assaraf and the founder Berny Dohrmann. It was at this event, we were trained to greet everyone we met with, "what's your WOW, how can I serve you?" This mentality of shifting the focus from self to others was invaluable. 

Our business as a result, became all about empowering businesses through the virtue of cooperation over competition. All designed around the fundamental objective of maximum service to the customer. 

Moral of the Story #3: BE OF SERVICE

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." 

Shortly after, I attended an event in Atlanta, Georgia, called Gathering of the Angels, where I stood up, knees trembling and scared out of my mind, in front of a room full of angel investors to pitch the concept of Skytek. All in all, after everything was said and done we raised nearly $500k in seed capital. Everything seemed to be on the up and up. I even won some marketing awards for the unique plan I had developed. 


http://thenationalnetworker.blogspot.com/2010/06/blue-thing-6-featured-deal-of-week_26.html\
Brian Kelly and SkyTek WIN Big with two Awards in Marketing
Brian Kelly, CEO and president of SkyTek Digital Media in Costa Mesa, a new advertising company specializing in digital signage, announced the company was awarded Best New Product/Service at the San Diego Chapter’s 2010 American Marketing Association’s American Marketer of the Year Award ceremony. The “AMYs” are awarded to those who succeed connecting businesses with their customers and are judged according to effectiveness, quality, style, and execution. 
SkyTek was also named a Finalist at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards for the category of Most Innovative Marketing Plan!
Unfortunately, a year later just as we were building momentum, the whole thing fell apart due to a greedy business partner and a corporate attorney who got busted stealing from some elderly clients at his church. A perfect combination of crazy and shocking. Like I said before, this was all part of my "school of hard knocks." At least things could only go in one direction from here! At least, that's what I hoped :)

After SkyTek went down I was then recruited by a guy to help him launch a concept to bring back drive in movie theaters....accept with a major twist :) Here's a quick vid of me at a red carpet event talking about it (only 2 min):



While working with LiTEBOX I had another major breakthrough. 

Moral of the Story #4: HAVE FUN

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." 

My philosophy now: if it's not fun, it's not worth it. I got to attend all sorts of awesome events, watch Incubus (one of my then favorite bands ) play from backstage, meet the band Bush and lots of other cool perks. But unfortunately once again, startup challenges reared their ugly head. My boss ran out of money, couldn't pay me or his bills and the whole thing fell apart. Shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within a year. Fortunately, I was able to reconcile my anger toward him before he passed. A lesson in itself. 

Going without pay for four months wasn't without it's share of consequences. How I pulled through it though would present what I now consider one of the major defining moments of my life. Here is that story. 


(this video is also embedded in the interview with Hope Girl below)

Moral of the Story #5: GIVE, GIVE, GIVE & then GIVE some MORE

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."

"There is no such thing as a small act of kindness." 


This was right around the time I had just gotten back from a humanitarian trip/mission with my High School Health teacher, Lynne Moquete (Ms. Moquete). Every year she arranges for a group of her students to go to the Dominican Republic to help build homes for the homeless, put down cement in homes that have dirt floors, or whatever other projects need development to better serve the community, in a little village called, La Descubierta. The idea is to help students gain a sense for what life is like out of the "American bubble." It goes without saying, this trip changed my life in so many ways.

The group is called Una Vida. They also have an amazing women's cooperative program that makes authentic Dominican jewelry to enhance and empower the lives of the woman villagers there in the DR. Thank you Lynne for everything you have taught me about living a life of Service.

A few take aways from my experience. First of all, the majority of the town lives way below the poverty line. But what shocked me the most was how inherently happy everyone appeared. These are people who have struggled their entire lives to make ends meet. But on the flip side, were so incredibly grateful for what they did have. The community was more like a family than anything else. Children wandered the streets with no supervision and if strayed too far away from home would be returned by the neighbors. Never any worry about crime or kidnapping.

Lynne calls them a "front yard society," as opposed to "the backyard culture" we have grown so accustomed to in "developed nations." People hang out in the front and everyone knows each other and helps one another.



No running water in the homes. Electricity that only ran for random parts of the day (less than 8 hrs/day) and baths were taken in the local water hole. Despite all of these "supposed hardships" these people were as happy as could be. Talk about putting things into perspective. During those two weeks I lived with a host family in a tiny little shack barely able to speak a word to any of them. I got by with my broken high school Spanish but it wasn't much. They spoke NOT A WORD of English. It didn't matter. By the end of the two weeks that was my family. Mom and dad and brothers and sisters. All this without the use of language to communicate. Helped me to understand the gross limitations of language.

This family would give you the last shirt on their back if needed. MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH. My walls came crashing down.

Moral of the Story #6: WE ARE ALL PART OF ONE HUMAN FAMILY

"Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living." 

The job that I refer to in the giving video was with a company called ADT Security, where I was hired as a Sales Manager for their home security division. After five grueling interviews they finally offered me the job and despite my better judgment of taking on a gig in corporate America, I accepted and got to work.

Major financial struggles resulted in me disregarding my moral #3 (have fun).



This was my first time getting a taste of true Corporate America. It was also my first time since working in finance where I wasn't running the show or at least part of the core leadership team. It paid good money and I was able to offer a lot of value, but there was a few things I didn't resonate with. First, we were trained to sell "peace of mind." But, it didn't take me long to realize we were actually pushing fear. "Did you know one in five homes in the next five years will either have a break in or a fire?"

Secondly, I don't do corporate hierarchies well. I had three bosses at that job. Challenging? Completely. 

Moral of the Story #7: NEVER WORK A JOB JUST FOR THE PAYCHECK

"Choose a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life." 

It was around this time that the Universe guided me to cross paths with a young, inspiring up and comer, Jake Ducey, at my yoga studio. This 20 year old kid quit his full ride basketball scholarship to travel around the world, on only $8,000, in search for life's purpose. He then came home to write a book about his journey called "Into the Wind" to inspire today's youth to follow their hearts and do what they love. On a flight to Sedona, Arizona for the weekend, I was only able to make it to about page 30 in, before I realized I had to quit my job.

Here is a short video with Jake's message:


Jake is now getting ready to launch his second book published by Penguin, foreword written by his mentor, Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. If you want to see more of Jake, I highly recommend watching his Ted Talk. Click here for the link. 

Shortly after meeting Jake I bought three of his books to support his mission to build a school in Indonesia. I figured I would give them away as gifts to anyone who could use the inspiration carried within his message. I decided to put in my two week notice on the first day of getting back from Sedona. The challenge; I had two "main" bosses, so I would need to give the "I'm moving on" speech twice. Also, unless there was some sort of regional event, they were never under the same roof at the same time. There I was sitting in my office on that next Monday morning, sweating bullets of the hard talk I was about to have with my direct boss. Then, lo and behold out my window, I see Dorian (my other boss) driving up and parking his car. What!? The one day I need to quit and coincidentally (I don't believe in coincidences) both my bosses are under the same room. I call this Divine Intervention :)

Then, I looked next to my desk and realized I had both extra copies of Jake's book sitting next to my desk. A flash of inspiration flushed over me. In that moment I realized why I was guided to buy the two extra books. As Dorian walked into the side door of the main office, I had a flash back of our interview; he asked me to look directly into his eyes and guarantee him that I was his man for the long haul. I was hired to help turn around sales in the San Diego office. I did so reluctantly even though in the back of my mind I knew this would not be a long term gig for me. Not having any money or sustenance does crazy things to people, I've learned.

Here's how that conversation went:

DJ (his nickname): Hey BK, how was your trip!? 
Me: It was great boss, thanks. I'm glad you're here, I really need to talk to you.
DJ: What's wrong, are you ok? 
Me: Yeah, I'm great. (after he sat down, this was when I passed him the book across my desk) 
DJ: What's this
Me: This is a book I'm giving you, authored by my friend Jake Ducey. It's about his journey of traveling the world in search for life's purpose. (I offered a few more inspiring details from the story). I'm hoping that when you read it, you will understand why I have to put in my two week notice today. (GULP)
DJ: You're leaving man? 
Me: Unfortunately yes. I feel I have a mission in this world to help people and I don't feel like I can do that to my fullest potential here.
DJ: ............... (long pause that must have lasted 30 seconds at least, which is a long time if you really think about it) He looked down at his feet.
(This is the moment he blew me away) Looking at me straight in the eyes,..
DJ: BK, I can't tell you how fucking proud of you I am. I had a funny feeling this wasn't the gig for you. I could see you were meant to do great things, and if you're following your heart, how could I be mad at you for that? Then he went on to say this..
"As much as I want to tell you if whatever you end up doing doesn't work out you can always come back, I'm not going to. Because I don't want you to have a safety net. If you're going to do this go out and do it right!"

This comment rendered me speechless. I was quite literally shocked. Even more shocking, I got the exact same supportive response from my other boss (slightly less animated) five minutes later. This was the validation from the Universe I needed for me to know I was doing the right thing." The next day I realized that the day I gave my two week notice was on the one year anniversary of the date I was hired. Coincidence? I think not ;)

Moral of the Story #8: NO MATTER WHAT, FOLLOW YOUR HEART




"Follow your heart. Life is too short to be side tracked by the things everyone else wants you to do." 

I knew leaving ADT was a major risk. After all, I had no backup job lined up, didn't know what I wanted to do next and the future was less than certain, at best. Was this going to stop me? Absolutely not. Taking risks is what life is all about. The biggest risks in life are usually coupled with the greatest possibilities of reward. 

"In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take."

On January 6, 2013 I moved to Morocco. People always wonder how I've survived the last two years without a "job." Basically, between a bit of Google ad revenue here and there for my blog, offering Reiki distance healing sessions via Skype and most recently renting out a few apartments here in Morocco, these combined have allowed me to keep my head above water.

I often tell people losing everything was the best thing that ever happened to me. It taught me to never "worry" about money. Whenever I've truly "needed" it somehow it always shows up. Whether it be a surprise donation to the blog (which is rare), a care package with a few bucks from my mom, or an unexpected opportunity to make a few bucks doing something totally random, it always shows up. I've learned to trust that, deeply.

"When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose." 

Now is where I have a really great opportunity to be completely transparent t and lay it all out on the table. With all of my experiences in business, both good and bad, combined with growing up in a society plagued by greed and corruption, I became very turned off by money and even the idea of getting back into traditional business, on any level.

I honestly thought that with the coming inevitable collapse of the banking system, we wouldn't need it anymore and we could all transition happily into a cash less, resource based economy, where no human Soul would ever have to worry again about having their basic needs met, ever again. While I truly believe this kind of system is coming and I will see it manifest into reality in my lifetime, it's naive to keep thinking it's going to happen "tomorrow."

As it stands now, money (or more accurately currency) is still relevant to survival for the majority of people on the planet. Yes, it's true there are plenty of people living off the grid, growing their own gardens, building their own homes, tapping into their own untreated water supply (all of these things take some startup funds to actualize). However, the majority of humanity still depend on the purchasing of food, clothes, water, shelter, for our basic survival. To curse it, is to shut out an endless sea of incredible opportunities to use money as a tool for good.

Moral of the Story #9: MONEY IS JUST A TOOL. TREAT IT AS SUCH 

"Money is a tool. Used properly it makes something beautiful. Used wrong it makes a mess." 


Here is Part II (also a separate blog post)




My Story -- A Journey to Discovering Purpose -- Part II
December 18, 2014

This post is not just about a business idea, it's about "Inspiring a Revolution of Change".... ~BK

In Part I, I told my personal journey of self discovery, which can be read here. On my mission to find purpose, here's a quick recap from the last article of the major lessons I learned along the way:
  1. BE HAPPY
  2. PROVIDE VALUE
  3. BE OF SERVICE
  4. HAVE FUN
  5. GIVE, GIVE, GIVE & then GIVE some MORE
  6. WE ARE ALL PART OF ONE HUMAN FAMILY
  7. NEVER WORK A JOB JUST FOR THE PAYCHECK
  8. NO MATTER WHAT, FOLLOW YOUR HEART
  9. MONEY IS JUST A TOOL, TREAT IT AS SUCH

Part II is all about finding passion through inspiration and taking action. In this blog post I continue to share all of the most profound realizations I have had along my journey to finding purpose. These concepts and formulas can be used and adopted by ANYONE aspiring to make their dream a reality. This is my Story...

Moral of the Story #10: ACTION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS

"when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking & GO." 





If you have an hour to spare, I go into a lot of detail in my interview with Hope Girl on the current project I'm working on now, how it came to be, what the objective is and how it all plays into my personal vision for the future. A few of the videos I share below are also very beautifully dubbed into this interview. For the sake of redundancy I label which ones those are:



As mentioned in the video with Hope, determining our "why" for this business concept was and continues to be our focus to this day. Answering this question has not only encouraged the biggest breakthrough, for this project specifically. It has also helped me to understand personally, what was missing from past business start-ups I was involved in, and quite possibly what made some of them fall short of reaching the level of success we had intended.


Based on my personal experience in business, I would imagine, when posed with the question, of 'why' most entrepreneurs are in business, these would likely be the most common responses:
"To make money."
"To provide for my family."
"Because I love it."
"Because I enjoy the freedom of working for myself."
"Because I make a great income that allows me to do the things in life I enjoy"
"To make people's lives easier/better by..."
Through everything I learned throughout part I of this story, the above reasons were no longer good enough standing on their own. There had to be a greater purpose than just money, security, stability or even attaining total happiness. The realization here is that securing happiness for just myself is no longer good enough. Although, it is the very crucial first step to sharing happiness with others.


Being an entrepreneur is about improving people's lives by offering a product that solves a problem, simplifies a process, or by offering a service that gives people more quality time to enjoy family, etc. And of course, loving what you do, having freedom and providing for family are all part of what make up the thrill of becoming an entrepreneur.

BUT, if business was designed to make people's lives better/easier or solve a problem, commerce as a whole seems to have missed the mark in a very major way. See for yourself:
  • Almost half the world -- over three billion people -- live on less than $2.50/day
  • At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10/day
  • 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they "die quietly in some of the poorest villages on Earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world"
  • Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names
  • Less than 1% of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn't happen
  • Every year there are 350 - 500 million cases of malaria (a curable disease), with 1 million fatalities
  • Water problems affect half of humanity: some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water & 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation
  • 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometer, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 liters of water/day. In the UK, the avg person uses more than 50 liters/day flushing toilets. The highest avg water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters/day
  • 1.6 billion people -- a quarter of humanity -- live without electricity
  • For every $1 in aid a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment
  • In 1820 the distance between the richest and poorest countries was 3 to 1,in 1992 it was 72 to 1
The stats above barely scratch the surface of the issues facing humanity today. More found here at this link.

Are your eyes opened yet? What do you see in this picture?


$11 billion on ice cream in Europe!? Can you imagine how much opportunity around the world could be created with $11 billion, let alone $780 billion on military spending. I had to wipe my eyes and do a double take when I saw that one.

Here's our main tenet at 9 Gifts of Gaia: All human beings are born with unlimited potential, unlimited capacity and unlimited creativity. No exceptions.


Every year we see multiple global summits that give the illusion that key issues are being addressed and steps have been put in place to solve them. This illusion of change has taken the power out of our hands, and into those who don’t seem to care or do anything about it.

Nobody is going to change the world for us, and if we continue living our lives and being so into our own lives while ignoring what is happening to planet Earth, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the outcome won’t be sunshine and roses. 

If we've learned one thing it's that the solutions to the world's problems will NOT come from any so-called government or political leaders. They will come from people. People just like YOU. People just like me and millions of other creative minds from all around the world. This is why I believe deep down everyone is an entrepreneur. Everyone is a creator.

Moral of the Story #11: WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SOLVE A PROBLEM, PEOPLE ARE SO INCREDIBLY CREATIVE



I have seen it for myself so many times in my life. As a businessman and as a person in general. Look around you, there's creative people and projects just about everywhere you look. Just imagine what happens when our creative juices are focused on a collective intent for a peaceful, sustainable, poverty free world...

"Why hide your talent in the closet of complacency, when you have greatness within you." 

Moral of the Story #12: KNOW YOUR "WHY" 

"What's your why? When you know why you do what you do even the toughest days become easier." 




The why doesn't start and finish just with business. It can apply to literally everything we do in life. "What's my why?" is just about the best filter we can use to determine the value of whether or not to DO one thing or the other, no matter what IT is. And like the quote above says, when our why is big enough, we will always find our how.

Many of the videos and info that follow are all a result of researching "daring to be different in business." I had no interest in going back into business the old way it was done. My search for purpose was quite literally a combination of going within to see what resonates, as well as digging on the internet :)

Moral of the Story #13: SOMETIMES INSPIRATION NEEDS TO BE SEARCHED FOR

"Don't waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin and inspiration will find you." 

Here are a few videos, also dubbed into the interview with Hope, that provided much needed guidance and inspiration on my own personal Journey to Why. Hard not to tear up watching this one in particular.




I gotta hand it to Sevenly for what they have accomplished. Dale Partridge and his undeniable success as CEO of Sevenly has been a HUGE inspiration for me and my partners. To raise over $4,000,000 in $7 increments, while helping over 1.3 million people in the process is not only inspiring, it's a miracle. 

What does this prove? One person with a great idea can make a HUGE impact...

You better believe Dale & Sevenly know exactly what their Why is. 

"There's nothing more powerful than a great idea, whose time has come"

Here is the email I sent to Dale to thank him for the inspiration:
Dale,

I'll keep this brief because I know you are a very busy guy. I too am an entrepreneur and interestingly enough, used to own and operate a business in Costa Mesa. Now in the process of launching a new business, I found Sevenly in doing research on "daring to be different in business." I felt strongly the entire way we do business was in need of a major over haul. When I found Sevenly and watched your "how it works" video I was blown away. Tears of inspiration flowed down my face...not afraid to admit it :)
 
What you have created is nothing short of amazing. I know part of your mission was to inspire other businesses to be less profit and more people focused. Consider me a success story. 9 Gifts of Gaia will launch soon, donating $9 from every purchase toward helping to alleviate poverty, followed by what will be a series of other causes and paradigm shifting projects. So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU. You are a bright shining beacon of light this world needs right now. Keep up the good work my friend. Blessings & Namaste.
His response:
Wow thank you man, that means a lot. :) 
Keep fighting the good fight,
Dale 
Moral of the Story #14: IF SOMEONE ELSE HAS AN IDEA THAT YOU CONNECT WITH & ITS WORKING: MIRROR IT

Actual advice shared with me by one of my mentors.

There is absolutely no shame in copying someone's idea and adding a few twists to make it your own. These are the basic components and building blocks of innovation. Most commonly, new innovations are a product of taking an existing idea and improving upon it to make it better, more efficient, etc.


Sevenly is an incredible business concept. Leveraging business to support a cause is not a new phenomenon. All they have done, is taken a for-profit business model and placed the cause, as opposed to the product up front and center. That was their twist, and ultimately the main ingredient that resulted in such incredible success.

"You are confined only by the walls you build yourself." 

When diving deeper, one of the only major issues I could find with the Sevenly business model was their charity focused approach. Instantly I had major recall of all the horror stories I've discovered about so many of the major charities.

Some of these stats are mentioned in the video with Hope, so no need to repeat again here. Although, if interested in exploring the deep levels of deception here is a great article.

Below is an excerpt from another article I found which helps to illustrate the fundamental issue between targeting symptoms as opposed to focusing on the actual cause:

(this is a really great article) http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/charity/against_1.shtml
Charities often target symptoms, not causes 
The accusation is that charity helps the recipient with their problem, but it doesn't do much to deal with the causes of that problem. 
Particular aspects of this are dealt with in the next two topics. 
It certainly is true that some charities do stopgap or 'band-aid' work, either exclusively or some of the time. 
But in fact, a lot of charity work is devoted to dealing with the fundamental causes of problems: for example trying to reduce global poverty, or doing research into diseases like cancer. 
These two examples highlight very different problems. 
Combating cancer is a relatively simple scientific problem, while global poverty requires more than a scientific operation, or finding a better way to manage world resources. 
Combating poverty involves slow processes of political, cultural and social change, with many stakeholders, significant opposition and serious issues of self-determination and coercion to be navigated. 
And long-term campaigns pose another ethical problem: should we spend to make a better world in 10 years' time if that means that people who we could have fed starve to death tomorrow? 
The famous story of the boy and the starfish shows why using charity to fix individual problems can be very valuable.

If I can just help one person, all of a sudden my life is filled with purpose...

"It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters." 

If so many non-profits and charitable organizations lack transparency, and only target symptoms, not causes, then how can we circumvent the charity and get directly to the individual? 

The answer? (at least one of many. Vid also in presentation)


Truth be told, this whole concept of microfinance didn't sit right when I first discovered it. As an ex-finance guy, I walked away from the business with a very sour taste in my mouth. I felt that all loans were a scam and enslaved honest and hard working people to fictitious, userous debt. I didn't lie to my clients about the types of loans they were receiving, like many in the business did, but at the end of the day it was companies just like mine that played a major role in the housing collapse of 2008. As a result, I put the word "loan" in the same category of all the other 4 letter words that shouldn't be spoken.

Challenging to grasp, especially knowing what I know now, after years of research into how debt, money and credit really work. So, I needed to dive into it a bit to fully understand the mechanics.

The figures and videos shared below helped me to see the light...very quickly.




These statistics are mind blowing. Why more people don't know about this? A basic lack of awareness. Well, it's time for that to change...

Synchronistically, I found this Ted Talk with Dr. Muhammad Yunus who won the Nobel Prize in 2006 for creating microcredit. Microcredit loans to date have pulled close to 100 million people out of poverty by focusing on the cause, not the symptom. These next two videos tell the story of how it all began. Worth watching if you have the time. Or bookmark and come back later. 


After watching this video, I purchased Dr. Yunus' book, Banker to the Poor, on Kindle and read through it in just a few days.

Jessica Jackley, co-founded Kiva after watching Dr. Yunus' video above. More proof one person with an inspired idea can change the world.


"The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a place where he/she no longer needs our gift." 

These videos led me to some very profound realizations. For the first time in my life, I started to really understand that quote, "you're either part of the problem, OR part of the solution." The fire was lit. My commitment to becoming a part of the solution has never been filled with such extreme levels of passion and determination. Every fiber of my being is telling me, it's time to take a stand.

Moral of the Story #15: GENEROSITY IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL FORCES IN ALL OF CREATION

"Generosity isn't just about what you do. It’s about who you are. Before it’s a matter of giving or of doing, it’s a matter of being."

Here are a few quotes from Dr. Yunus' book that opened my eyes to not only the reality of poverty, but also the gross misunderstanding around it, as well as our absolute ability to render it a part of our past:
“Once poverty is gone, we'll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They'll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society - how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.”  
“When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity. Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only perpetuates poverty by taking the initiative away from the poor. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences.” 
“If you go out into the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor not because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot retain the returns of their labor. They have no control over capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty.” 
“People.. were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base.”  
“Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.” 
“I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people. It has been created and sustained by the economic and social systems that we have designed for ourselves; the institutions and concepts that make up that system; the policies that we pursue.” 
Here's the clincher...


“The needs of people around the world are real and urgent, and how we respond to them will help to determine the future of the human race." 

Why such a strong focus on poverty? Because I believe when one person suffers, we all suffer and poverty results in more suffering than all the various other noble causes combined. I feel very strongly that until we can conquer this issue on a social scale we will be limited in our collective ability to evolve as a species. As I said before, people have within them infinite wells of potential and creativity. However, poverty stunts creativity in a very major way. Pull people out of poverty and what happens is creativity multiplies exponentially.

So, it begs the question, if we carry within us the power to end world poverty, then HOW are we going to do it? This picture illustrates my prediction:


In my many countless hours of research over the last couple of months, I've uncovered so many incredible opportunities. One of the biggest realizations (something I already knew but hadn't yet created a contextual understanding for), is that for every single challenge facing humanity today, a solution (if not many) already exist to turn it around.

One of the most profound discoveries was this whole concept of social business, or generosity based business. I had no idea how big this movement really was. At the end of reading "Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus, there were a few quotes in particular he shared about the promising future of social business, which represented the ultimate landslide of inspiration I was very consciously seeking.

There are quite a few passages here, but as far as I'm concerned, this information represents the major breakthrough needed to flip the script on causeless consumerism. These ideas are more than capable of shifting the entire framework of our collective connection to the web of global commerce:

"A completely new world can be created by making space for the social entrepreneurs and the social investors in the business world. This is a very important agenda for all of us. Eliminating poverty will become so much easier if social entrepreneurs can take up the challenge of ending poverty and if social investors can use their investment money to support the work of social entrepreneurs." 

"To me, a world without poverty means a world in which every person can take care of his or her basic life needs. In such a world, nobody would die of hunger or suffer from malnutrition. This is a goal world leaders have been calling for decades, but they have never set out any way of achieving it." (That's because they need it to keep humanity under control) 

"Today, when we think of business we think of enterprises that are dedicated to making money - to profit maximization. To me, that's too narrow a definition of people as economic participants. Human beings are much more complex than just being instruments for making money. So I began to imagine another dimension - a dimension where human beings want to be of help to other people, to create a new kind of world through economic activity. This requires a new kind of business - one that I call a social business."

"A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend enterprise, created with the intention to do good to people, to bring positive changes to the world, without any short-term expectation of making money out of it. That is the subject of my new book, Creating a World Without Poverty. It describes how social business can change the world and end poverty on this planet." 

"To free-market fundamentalists, social business might seem blasphemous. The idea of a business with objectives other than profits has no place in their existing theology of capitalism. Yet surely no harm will be done to the free market if not all businesses are profit maximizing businesses (PMB's). Surely capitalism is amenable to improvements. And sure the stakes are too high to go on the way we have been going. By insisting that all businesses, by definition, must necessarily be PMB's and by treating this as some kind of axiomatic truth, we have created a world that ignores the multi-dimensional nature of human beings. As a result, businesses remain incapable of addressing many of our most pressing social problems." 

"We need businesses that are not purely seeking profit, but dedicated to solving social and environmental problems." 

"In its organizational structure, this new business is basically the same as the existing PMB. But it differs in its objectives. Like other businesses, it employs workers, creates goods or services, and provides these to customers for a price consistent with its objectives. But its underlying objective - and the criterion by which it should be evaluated - is to create social benefits for those whose lives it touches. The company itself may earn a profit, but the investors who support it do not take any profits out of the company, except recouping an amount equivalent to their original investment, over a period of time. A social business is a company that is cause driven rather than profit-driven, with the potential to act as a change agent for the world." 

"A social business is not a charity. It is a business in every sense. It has to recover its full costs while achieving its social objective. When you are running a business, you think differently and work differently than when you are running a charity. And this makes all the difference in defining social business and its impact on society. "


"There are many organizations in the world today that concentrate on creating social benefit. Most do not recover their total costs. Nonprofit organizations and nongovernmental organizations rely on charitable donations, foundation grants, or government support to implement their programs. Most of their leaders are dedicated people doing commendable work, but since they do not recover their costs from their operations, they are forced to devote part of their time and energy, sometimes a significant part, to raising money."

"How can the products or services sold by a social business provide a social benefit? There are countless ways. For example, imagine: A social business that manufactures and sells high-quality, nutritious food products at very low prices to a targeted market of poor and underfed children. These products can be cheaper because they do not compete in the luxury market and therefore don't require costly packaging or advertising, besides not being under compulsion to maximize profit." 


"The achievement of full cost recovery as a social business is a moment worth celebrating. Once a social objective driven project overcomes the gravitational force of financial dependence, it is ready for space flight. Such a project is self-sustaining and enjoys the potential for almost unlimited growth and expansion. And as the social business grows, so do the benefits it provides to society." 

"Thus, a social business is designed and operated as a business enterprise, with products, services, customers, markets, expenses, and revenues -- but with the profit maximization principle replaced by the social benefit principle. Rather than seeking to amass the highest possible level of financial profit to be enjoyed by the investors, the social business seeks to achieve a social objective." 

Do you see where this is headed yet?...

Let these stats I found illustrate just how big the generosity movement has become.



"47% of consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause.”


"75 % of young people donated money to causes in 2012, and 63 percent volunteered time."

As far as I'm concerned, what these statistics equate to is: bona fide & unparalleled opportunity for a total over haul in the way we do business.

For anyone who has ever had the desire to create a business & is simultaneously passionate about world change, NOW is the time to step up. Whether you're in business or aspring to start one, anyone brave enough to take the leap of faith and break the cycle, has a huge advantage over all the other businesses out there who haven't gotten the memo that it's time for change.

I predict that in the very near future all businesses will be "to businesses". What's a "to business" you ask? It goes something like this...

What do you do for a living?

I sell shirts online "to" alleviate poverty
I create health and wellness products "to" support environmental & sustainability projects
I offer inspirational art "to" support new projects and innovations to heal the world
I make custom jewelry "to" build a new paradigm school in Indonesia

Why?

Because I want to change the world and inspire others to do the same...

THIS ^^ is my why. 

All of the above are not just creative examples I pulled together to illustrate a point. It's the "to business" plan, mission and intention of 9 Gifts of Gaia. Poverty isn't the only cause we'll be focusing on, it's the first of many. As of this now moment our cause focus consists of four major categories. I call it our PEIS model (pronounced peace):

Poverty -- "If one person suffers, we all suffer."
Education -- "Education is not a privilege, it's a basic human right."
Innovation -- "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."
Sustainability -- "We do not inherent the Earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children."

And with the blink of an eye and a little hard work, the vision manifests into reality...

But that will have to wait until Part III...most likely later today :) I'll also be talking about strategies I've found to find and build a team of passionate change makers. 2015 will be the year of the Tribal economy. More to come on that concept, as well.

Want to be a part of the Revolution for Change? Email me at 9giftsofgaia@gmail.com

Also, for a sneak peak into 9 Gifts of Gaia, please visit our FB page www.facebook.com/9giftsofgaia and make sure to leave us a "like!" We'll be doing a raffle and giving away lots of cool stuff very soon :)
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