John W Benninghofen US Family Patriarch

Benninghofen Legacy

Many of us enjoy pursuing our family histories

Many of us enjoy pursuing our family histories

Let’s travel back in time and look at some of my history by exploring John W Benninghofen US family Patriarch. In this case it’s history about his family as in was in 1848. The history connects me to my family, at least at one level because of my strong interest in business. It also reminds me of our humble beginnings which had begun in eastern Europe.

It Started Long Ago…

Elderly Photograph of John W Benninghofen

The Benninghofen Legacy began in 1400’s in Europe. Our great uncle Paul Benninghofen commissioned a family history research project in the 1920’s where a diagram was created which showed the family beginnings, in color and German. The mailer tube which contained the diagram, still has the stamps used to ship the diagram from Germany, circa 1920.

(Special Note) I had one of my high-school best friend’s mother interpret the diagram because she was a German teacher. And also, in 2000, our cousin in Joan Zellner and my older brother Chris Benninghofen organized a family reunion in Hamilton, Ohio. They copied the historical diagram and provided these to about 100 descendent’s across three different Benninghofen families distributing the materials at a family luncheon.

It was the last time the 5 remaining Benninghofen men from our parents would be together: Mark Benninghofen deceased, Jack Benninghofen deceased, Bill Benninghofen, Chris and me. In addition, we were given a copy of the local Hamilton telephone book: the front cover contained a photograph of our great Uncle Paul’s home where we used to attend an annual Christmas Eve gathering , family dinner and presents opening. I actually was allowed to play Santa Claus in my senior year of high school.

But, let’s pick-up with the US family patriarch in John W Benninghofen who brought his family to America in 1848 traveling from Wuelfrath, Prussia.

He entered the country via the southern route into New Orleans, traveling first to Cincinnati, then finally landing in Hamilton, Ohio.

Why might this be important to anyone?

History is Important For Many Reasons

In this very personal context, history is important because answering questions about our family’s journey can help with our own journey. Also, I have learned that defining a purposeful destination for oneself (i.e. this came from doing this with customers and clients) can help in making sure that our compass is leading us correctly – some call this moving toward our north star (i.e. thank you Caitlin Miller for helping me understand this).

It does help us to know:

  1. Where we came from,
  2. What we are made of,
  3. The people in our past, and
  4. This sometimes helps to guide us in where we are going, especially when the road gets lumpy and bumpy.

Entrepreneurial Leadership

As time goes forward, I will write more about my exposure to leadership ideas and foundation principles gained from our family, both men and women.

  • So, I invite you to stay tuned because I will likely publish the personal experiences at our learning how to be different site (i.e. this link connects to a piece on being believable with your word).

I was interested in connecting my own current business experiences and interests to my family history because we have a deep business background. On the way toward understanding my past, I have included some specific references to our family businesses along with those companies that the family invested; accompanying links to their recorded memories are present where available too

Here is a short list of the companies …

  1. The First National Bank of Ohio – original investors & leadership participants
  2. Ohio Casualty Life Insurance Company – original investors – my god-father was the CEO, then the Chairman of the board before his retirement.
  3. Shuler and Benninghofen (SAB) – manufactured felts for paper-making and woolen blankets. My great uncle had been the CEO, but my uncle took the reigns during my childhood.
  4. Krauth and Benninghofen (KAB)- manufactured  musical instrument stands. A family member from my great uncle’s daughter was the CEO.
  5. The Hamilton Autographic Register (THAR) – printer manufacturer of retail sales register machines and receipt forms: typical handwritten receipts which were given to the buyer. This business was established by John W. Benninghofen in 1887, later to be run by his sons Christian Benninghofen, president and Peter Benninghofen, secretary. Fast forward to the 1900’s when our father Robert Powell Benninghofen was the president/CEO until it’s sale to Acme Datagraphic Business Systems in New Jersey in 1969.
  6. C. Benninghofen & Sons (CBS) – provided machinery design, implementation and repairs top all manufacturing equipment across the Benninghofen businesses.

(Special Notation) The Shuler & Benninghofen (SAB) mill and The Hamilton Autographic Register (THAR) buildings were constructed in the late 1800’s. SAB celebrated a hundredth anniversary in the 1958 before closing their doors in 1967. The “Wollen Mill” of SAB took an entire block and still stands today.

Trek into the Past with a Building Tour

Our older brother Chris Benninghofen arranged a tour of THAR building in 2004 with the current owner, John Smith, one of the founders of J & J Tire, my middle brother Bill and me. John purchased the property and had become a history buff on all the particulars of the complex and its uses: a very gracious man.

  • We had taken photographs of this walk-though tour, but we are still in the process of recovering them from a crashed 250GB external backup drive: someday when we get to it…

What we found during the tour was amazing:

  • timbers in the basement craved with the date of 1860 something;
  • a view at our great uncle Paul’s executive office, private-bathroom, a cot for afternoon naps, secretary office, et al;
  • a still-working elevator of more than 100 years old – amazing engineering;
  • a sub-office-floor individual subway roller car to address below floor cables and wiring (created pre-1940’s – more amazing stuff from CBS);
  • three safe-vaults, which still contained records, reports and really meticulously prepared employee time-cards from the 1860’s – civil war stuff: clear-as-a-bell script!!!;
  • boilers which provided hot water for the facility – you could literally climb into for cleaning;
  • a bell ringing system which called for the fork-lift operator to delivery new paper rolls to the printing presses: like Pavlov’s dog I began to salivate when I heard this – it was one of my summer jobs for me;
  • the composing-room where rubber printing press plates were created/inspected  for the continuous printing applications. I worked in this Ohio summer high-heat-humidity with baking ovens that brought the temperature over 100 degrees here too. This job of course was immediately after I crashed a five-high-paper-roll-stack in the warehouse, where i had used my new found fork-lifting-bending-crashing skills on my way to a major inventory-loss-write-off. Siberia might have been better but I doubt it – consequences – oh boy.

Historical Landmark

Our great aunt Pauline Benninghofen, daughter of our great uncle Paul Benninghofen, donated her home in 1947, now referred to as the Benninghofen House, to The Butler County Historical Society (BCHS).  The Benninghofen House has been registered on the National Registry of Historical Places.

(Sidebar) As a grade school student with Fairfield Elementary School, I can still recall when our class visited my ancestors home: I was able to walk in front of our classmates with the docent and our teacher: that moment in time was somehow unusually embarrassing for me. But fairly enlightening about the times – man did they have stuff – all manually oriented …

A New Company Culture Model

A New Company Culture Model

These days company cultures come in all sizes and shapes, most often attempting to define what a company stands for and what is does. Good ideas can come packed in all kinds of ways, yet, let us share with you how we believe a new company culture model should be built.

Click to learn more...

Company Culture Components

Based Upon Beliefs

When we implement a company culture containing the 7 components shown in the image above, we use our Beliefs and Choices Methodology (BCM) to establish the foundation beliefs, practices, language, behaviors and disciplines that make up the way a company wants to participate and contribute. We help identify and create the stories that will engage stakeholders and perpetuate these beliefs throughout the culture, In addition, we will help identify and create the artifacts which make up the virtues the company wants to promote. Most often the foundation virtue is striving to achieve excellence while producing products and services that provide both high value and effectiveness for their clients.

Absolute Must Have’s

The important point to remember about implementing any company culture is to have a commitment from the executive leadership team to promote the usage of all 7 components inside and outside the company. The executive leadership team becomes the first level champions of the new culture and as such have complete responsibility to ensure that everyone is enrolled, committed and is contributing and participating to perpetuate the culture.

Since the culture components are designed to engage people, the leadership team must themselves demonstrate their belief through their own superior and virtuous behaviors and practices. The old adage of “you can not give away something you don’t have” will operate supreme from the beginning. All eyes, including those both inside and outside your company will be constantly upon everyone with an expectation that each and everyone will act accordingly to this new established culture.

In addition, the language used in the definition of each belief will be unequivocal and pristine in allowing complete understanding of the meaning intended. The overall effect of the language usage will be a lifting of awareness and understanding will prevail. This language must be over articulated and each culture component will be presented in visuals formats throughout the organization to ensure clarity and constant education.

Beliefs-Based Choosing vs. Historical Deciding

We argue that Beliefs-Based Choosing vs. Historical Deciding is easy to understand because most people make decisions instead of making choices. While this may seem absurd to you, it is anything but. We further this argument by defining decisions as based in the past, while choices are based in the present.

Choosing can be Complex - It Doesn't have to be

Choosing can be Complex – It Doesn’t have to be

We wish to have people make choices instead of decisions, believing wholeheartedly this interesting distinction as a concrete way to impact the lives of everyone.

We believe that our lives are made up of all the selections we have made to-date. The life that you lead is consistent with all the decisions you have made: all that you are, all that you have and all that exists inside your world occurred because of your selections. You have made tens to hundreds of thousands of them. Your life as you know it may be great or not so pretty either, but it is just what you decided was important.

Since we are defining decision as based in the past, we will give you some ideas to support this contention. We firmly believe that decisions are a result of accepting some experiences as true or real – they may or may not be, but our perception tells us so. Either the decision characteristics were taken on from someone we trusted, some thing that we experienced ourselves and also thought that the experiences would guide us in the right direction.

A simple example of a decision could be using the criteria of fear, least cost, best value, most effective, pro and con based, family tested, or you can pull from your historical trove of such ideas to broaden these examples. Typically, these decisions are made from experience but usually are based in repetition, which have become rote and probably have served us pretty well. Unfortunately we make selections in this manner most often and they don’t always prove effective.  Just look at your current career, job, city in which you live, your partner, etc. as evidence of the success of your decisions. Yes, No, Maybe?

We say that choices are based in the present but with one significant difference: the choices must be connected to a belief to be effective. The distinction is that once a belief is defined it must also have a related outcome or result associated to the belief: the outcome must always be measurable in some way. Each belief can have multiple choices but the choices have associated actions to produce the outcome. These choices are paired with specific actions to get the result desired.

We call these evidence-based beliefs/choices and when the outcome is achieved, the belief results in manifested faith.

Foundation Beliefs
All of us were raised with some foundation beliefs, mostly given by our families, friends, church and from others we respected. We operate from these beliefs, but we have a hard time telling whether we are making decisions or choices: most of us don’t make the distinction. This occurs because we don’t usually measure a belief’s outcome, even though they exist for us. Most of the time we don’t realize the belief has an associated outcome. Take as an example, your favorite sports figure – we suggest the person has reached that pinnacle of success because they had great discipline through practicing, worked hard to get where the are, and believed in themselves and those traditional ideas (i.e.beliefs). Maybe they even set outcomes in their practice to hit a thousand balls in two days, or shoot five hundred free throws daily. Do you see the connection between belief, choice and measure?

For most of us, we don’t make the connection.

A Choice Movement
This is why we created Choice Awareness Management: to teach people how to do this for themselves and then pass it along to everyone. While we perceive Choice Awareness Management as a brand, we also perceive this as an educational movement where people can live their lives inside their beliefs and gain what they aspire.

Becoming Aware is Analogous to Motion

Becoming Aware is Analogous to Motion

Why pair Choice and Awareness?

The most important reason that we can think of relates to gaining deeper and broader perspective of how you make choices. We believe that once you start down this pathway, you will ride a wave of understanding that you otherwise would not have perceived.

The delivery of awareness comes in a couple of ways: 1) by measuring the outcome you gain insights about your choices and paired actions; and 2) manifested faith comes present when your outcomes exceed a 9.0 on a 0 to 10 scale. This awareness allows you to focus attention on the choices and paired actions you defined for our belief. Actually, you may also have defined the belief in such a way that the outcome is not possible. These circumstances will have you inspect what works and what doesn’t.

An Explanation

An Explanation

We’re not talking about the belief that the world is flat or round: it was proved a long time ago. We are speaking of beliefs that you use to guide your life.

An Example
Let’s assume that we have defined a belief of motivation and further set an outcome of inspiration. We also say that motivation is working for us when we measure inspiration at 9.0 or better. In this example, motivation will be driven by the attainment of inspiration – see our blog which goes into a deeper description of this belief.

An Idea Worthy of Consideration
This particular article is intended to have one ponder why beliefs play such an important role in our lives. It is a starting point for you to begin thinking about your current beliefs and how they serve your or not. We believe that you can do better…


Motivation as Inspiration

Motivation is A Belief

This article will discuss motivation as a belief with inspiration as the outcome and why it only works for an individual or group when it is clearly defined as a belief. By including a link to Wikipedia, we have directed you toward an exhaustive explanation of motivation for a worldview and background perspective of the past and current thinking behind it. We don’t disagree with these explanations, since science likes to expand one’s thinking about subjects, however, we suggest a much less complex way of looking at motivation.

Motivation can be the key to inspiration...

Motivation can be the key to inspiration…

In fact, we suggest you do a few things first before reading much further, by investigating some guiding principles (i.e. beliefs) to help set you in a positive frame of mind.

Now that you have read some background material, you are in a position to begin learning something new. Let’s begin with the idea that all beliefs have a specific outcome or result and the outcome is always measurable.

Purposeful Concentration

For instance in our main example in this article, the belief “motivation” has as an outcome inspiration. One can measure inspiration by using our calibration tool we call “CAM Awareness Scale”. We suggest too, that if properly defined, inspiration should consistently measure about 8.0 on the awareness scale. (Note) While this may strike some as more a subjective than objective methodology, over time we and our clients have seen very good and consistent results with this type of measurement.

Real and Enduring Motivation

Also, motivation (i.e. the What) has as one of its main objectives,  to fuel inspiration (i.e. the Why) for both individuals and groups. This is not an outside activity, influenced by the motivational industry which provides scores of materials from quotes to motivational stories (e.g. see Wisdom Sidebar below), but a set of inside choices and paired actions. See an example of paired choices and actions. These can be publicly displayed or internally private, however the definer chooses. Moreover, motivation here is intended to be a constant source of fuel to keep people on track and heart influenced. Touching one’s heart and soul can produce incredible inspiration. Check out top performers and achievers in any field as examples of how effectively this operates (i.e. see high achievers).

Motivation can be paired with other defined beliefs such as integrity, excellence and accountability, to name a few. See example of the belief of integrity below. And, when coupled with these powerful beliefs, can consistently fuel inspiration internally in your thinking and actions, most often resulting in positive behaviors and results.

A Virtuous Belief Example

A Virtuous Belief Example of Integrity

(Wisdom Sidebar)

We have made a rather negative reference to the motivational industry because in our own experience, we find these motivational ideas to be short-term spirited ideas  which produce spurts of inspiration, but when compared to sustaining long-lasting beliefs, there appears to be no tangible comparison (e.g. short-term fades while long-term sustains). This can be  likened to the concept of shelf-life/shelf-ware – again no long lasting or sustainable duration other than perhaps a 30 to 60 day period. As an example, reading motivational books (i.e. Chicken Soup for the Soul – great stories), then attempt to put into the ideas read/gained into practice in one’s life: they seem to lose momentum and stoppages typically occur after a short time frame. Another example of this characteristic is the subscriptions to health/fitness facilities which traditionally spike in January but fall off substantially by March’s end. The correlate here in these examples is that the short duration occurs because there usually isn’t a relationship to any real internal belief. It must be connected to a tangible belief, placed into behaviors and over-articulated in language, participation and  process to endure and sustain. See Take A Stand for an understanding of language precision.

A Plausible Explanation

We suggest you consider this belief’s argument seriously for a few moments or days. Remember what has been your own sources of inspiration throughout your life. Connect your own beliefs to those who have provided inspiration for you. Delve into your own stories of these inspirations and see what is revealed to you. Have these worked for you and if so what are the reasons they worked? We suspect that you took on the belief of motivation with an outcome of inspiration.

Please provide us your feedback at Contact Us or add comments below.


Why is Character important?

This article will show why character is important, what qualities are consistent with character development and how it can serve you toward living an On-Purpose Life. It really doesn’t matter what age you develop your character, whether in youth or any decade of your life.  In fact, we encourage you to consider the following ideas:

  • Character takes time to develop, especially the experience of it to us:
  • Character can be deepened and enriched;
  • Character requires sacrifice and motivation;
  • Character can be embedded in your beliefs, choices, actions and outcomes.

For a Lincoln perspective on character, please prime yourself with some consistent ideas before reading further into our unique thoughts about character.

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(Wisdom Sidebar Table Description) This table is used to describe reasons why reading about the Lincoln character based insider ideas provide foundational understanding of how others perceive character.
NoteWisdom Sidebar Explanations
01We don't necessarily agree with all the points made in the primer reading assignment, but we want you to be guided with a world view about this perspective, because you will become exposed to others effective and ineffective beliefs about it first hand as reference points of consideration.
02Can you pick out the character ideas in which you don't connect? We suggest listing at least 3 to 5 items, then delve into your reasons for disconnecting - you may find they reveal something about your own beliefs: key point here!!!
Promise holds expectations for us - see the what and why of it...

Click to learn about the promise of it and it what that promise can mean to you…

It is the promise of character which sometimes holds the keys for some of us these days. Let’s explore why this may be the case…

First Promise Idea

Here’s a metaphor to consider: glue is a primary ingredient, while somewhat mushy and sticky, purposefully to help hold things together. We suggest the promise of character is the glue that holds our attention. As we advance in our understanding of character, awareness comes present for us.

We invite your to look at the stories you tell of your life and how those stories contain hints to your own beliefs about character: the language you use and the ideas supporting your stories. We say that the stories we tell about ourselves reveal our beliefs which are embedded in our experiences of our lives: our intimate awareness from the fruit of inspection will gel, as we analyze the impact of our stories and what it means to and for us.

The real meat of evidence-based manifested belief and the resultant associated faith is clearly understanding the meaning that you have given your stories: the language you use to describe your life – this is where you live and your basis for sharing your life with all your different relationships and your participating communities.

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(Wisdom Sidebar Table Description) This table is used to describe the character based insider ideas which will help you concentrate your efforts at understanding the language you use inside the stories of your life.
NoteWisdom Sidebar Explanations
01Locked inside your language are beliefs that will fight against your discovery and persuade you are moving along the wrong track - this is clear evidence you are on the right track and you will come to awareness with certainty greater than 8.0 on the Click to learn more about how our CAM Awareness Scale can help you...CAM Awareness Scale as you advance your analysis and comprehension of the meaning you have given your selection of language in your stories.
02The meaning we give to our stories is where belief is built, usually each belief has an outcome/result associated with the belief.

It is the grist of your life. Our promise is that you can figure this out for yourself with very little assistance, once you are taught how to go about analyzing your language and deciphering what it really means to you.

Second Promise Idea

A sifter is the second tool to help you in determining what is real and what’s not…The not part of it comes from the unreality we give something: our interpretation of it to us. We have come to understand that some of the foundational beliefs systems we hold about ourselves and have placed in our lives, are based upon a childhood interpretation of an event that didn’t actually occur in the way we perceived it. We will teach you how to use the sifter to filter out these misunderstandings – not in this article but in future blogs.

As a starter set of tools, we borrow three spiritual principles and their related steps from the Alcoholics Anonymous program, which when understood, will serve the purpose of granting value to the concept of character development.

Spiritual Principle One

Honesty is the first spiritual principle and it holds that one who strives to remain in honesty are willing to face a problem and understand it.  It requires that one accept the problem as their own. In the words of step one of AA, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable”. You can exchange the word alcohol for your particular challenge. While it is hard for many to accept our problems and take responsibility for them, there is no truer way than this first step. Without honesty, only distrust can prevail and distrust typically breeds contempt among our fellow humans.

Spiritual Principle Two

Hope is the spiritual principle of step two which grants the following “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves would restore us to sanity”. This step gets us out of ourselves and has us believe in something greater than ourselves: that we will eventually be restored to sanity around our challenge. It could be your deity, or anything that you define outside of yourself but generally possessing extraordinary gifts which you do not possess – unconditional love usually accompanies a primary characteristic our power has for us.

Spiritual Principle Three

Faith is the spiritual principle of step 3 which grants “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him”. Assuming that we have a spiritual connection, we let our own will be lost and look for our spiritual connection to give us direction. This is the most difficult of the spiritual steps to undertake because it places our connection above us and helps build our faith in the unseen and unknowable. If need be, you can replace  the word God in the step with higher power or your deity of choice to fit your needs.

Putting them into Action

We suggest that you can have these principles become active for yourself by implementing them as part of your foundational beliefs and choices architectural system. It will help you to ask yourself questions for each one of them: begin by taking the first principle and asking if you need to take responsibly for a problem? You will know the answer almost immediately.

In any case, you will find that by using the principles in your beliefs, there usage will make you a stronger more resilient person as long as you keep asking yourself how and why character matters to you. Keep yourself in a constant inquiry especially when it requires you to have integrity in a world which sometimes doesn’t value it.

(Community Sharing) For those of you that follow our development process, you’ll note that we release our blogs in portions as we develop our ideas: purposefully so that you can see our thinking process – we call it live-time writing.

Backsliding Language – What Does it Sound Like?

This blog discusses ineffective and effective language and the impact of each usage. By this we mean that the language show-ups in the words we choose to use in everyday conversation, which sometimes takes the low road and sometimes the high road: we prefer you take the high road :-)).

We’ll begin with effective language because we suggest that individuals are living an On-Purpose Life, when there is demonstrated aspiration to excellence: this language can be articulate with precision designed to produce unambiguous meaning and consequential understanding. Usually this means that the individual has defined their purpose, tracks and monitors their choices, actions and results with high marks on the CAM Awareness Scale: usually above a 9.5.

A Baseline Perspective

Being On-Purpose involves using specifically designed language, behaviors and processes, where we consistently monitor the results of our created manifested beliefs to determine how well they are working for us. 

Fluid movement forward…

Natural Flow of Beliefs and Choices Methodology (BCM) Implementation

When we live inside of this created language, our behaviors take on real evidence-based meaning directly associated to our new definitions of the created set(s) of our beliefs and choices.

We assert that after the application of our Beliefs and Choices Methodology (BCM), your language, behaviors and processes will exhibit the characteristics depicted in the image of flying arrows close by.

BCA Adjustment Period

Notice too in the image, a natural rising and lowering on the left side of this flow, then on the right side an abrupt upward rising tendency. Our awareness occurs after some time, when we have gained experiential confidence in our designs which is why the flow rises and lowers. Upon reviewing the subsequent evidence of our monitoring/measuring, our tracking reveals the specific results delivered to us. In addition, we observe in the flying arrows that a significant dip happens before the final rise. This dip and lifting represents a natural implementation occurrence, as we become adjusted to our new language usage, associated behaviors and processes.

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(Wisdom Sidebar Table Description) The Theories of Meaning are complex and have great historical context. We argue that our Beliefs and Choices Methodology produces evidence-based meaning and faith from our designed belief. This sidebar describes some of those ideas further.

Note Wisdom Sidebar Explanations
01There is much historical ideas posited and promulgated over the past century in philosophy and other disciplines about the meaning of language and our interpretation of it. We invite you to explore cataloged information at Sanford University by Jeff Speaks, "Theories of Meaning", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

Clicking this link will allow you to review detailed insights into the theories of meaning
02We have read and observed much usage of the concept of our minds being "Meaning Making Machines" which we reference here for a perspective of the complexities of language and its usage: we use this unique terminology ourselves in our writing and speaking.
03In our definition, the language we choose in our creations of Beliefs and Choices Methodology are designed specifically to produce evidence-based results: for you this means verifiable by your monitoring the efficacy of your own designs.

Ineffective Language

We purposefully combine language usage with a key point of the lack of direction in one’s life. We perceive this as a situational state which appears to be present in some people.  We believe this is changeable at any point one defines a clear purpose in life.

To carry on this point, we also suggest that many individuals currently live their lives without much thought to where they are headed. Their life seems to take them on a pathway or flow where they have little control or say about what occurs: the analogy of “being the can kicked down the street”.

Continuing this line of reasoning and also from our many observations, there seems to be a combined and consistent use of language words “Can’t” and “Won’t” sometimes coupled with the idea or belief of “Unworthiness” – we see this prevailing with consistency. Sometimes too along this line of speaking and thinking is the related excuse based expressions of “Should Have”, “Would Have” and “Could Have”: they also tend to persist.

Some other examples include some very ineffective words of “impossible”, “overwhelming”, “useless”, “uncreative”, “bored”, “no way out”, and “the same old stuff”. You can add to this list with your own top ineffective words. The list can be expanded for a hundred or so items, especially if you want to spot the usage for yourself or your team. The top frequently used words have already been identified here as a starting point for your understanding.

We say that these types of language expressions are actually “beliefs” which many subscribe, usually without knowing or understanding their affect or consistency of occurrence. We consider this negative or backsliding language, which will forever keep people locked in idleness, stoppage and/or negative beliefs that can crush motivation, confidence and esteem.

Understanding the Impact

We invite you to pause for a moment to ponder your own usage of these words and determine if you have spoken of them, especially with your stories: these help you deepen and support your belief. For example, one of the most common language usage is “Can’t” with the associated heavy and deeply felt story that we can’t do something because:

  1. We don’t possess the right training, education, skills, talent, etc.
  2. We are handicapped or held-back by our lack of: experience, strength, intellect, social standing, lack of funds, no time available, low importance to us, etc.
  3. We don’t have the connections, influence, heritage, youth, ethnicity, etc.
  4. Please feel free to enlarge this list with you or your teams ideas.

What Have You Learned?

Have you noticed something about these examples? Do they hit home squarely with your own stories? They do for us. We invite you again to consider that this is a learning experience to make you aware of what may be occurring with you or those around you.

The common thread here is that these are made-up or based upon past experiences which don’t necessarily track to current reality (i.e. maybe they actually never did). But, one of the important ideas is that many of these past experiences were given meaning based upon false assumptions, most often from childhood interpretations, which could have been perceived from a highly emotional episode, fraught with fear or anger – so we may have created a story which we heightened with false interpretation to cope with the situation(s).

Until you/we give these experiences meaning to make them real for you, your stories will hold little sense to you/us. False or true, our stories will strengthen and harden the beliefs. If you continue to give the ineffective and harmful words meaning with your stories, they will stay alive inside your beliefs, working diligently in your life to stop and hold you back from what is possible for you.

That is our main point and focus of this important article. We suggest that since we give all kinds of meaning to things which are not real or haven’t happened yet, we assert that you should define your own beliefs and give them real tangible and measurable meaning. Define choices and actions to take in support of those beliefs you create for yourself, so they do become true ( i.e. not harmful) and fulfilling. Strive consistently to determine what works and what doesn’t, so that you receive the results you defined.

This is what Beliefs and Choices Methodology is all about. Imagine too, that the cost of implementing this in your life is your time and effort to make it happen. If things stay the same, you’ll end up with the same results. If you truly believe that change is possible, then invest some of your time in exploring the architecture we have described. This effort and time investment is in yourself and your future – possibility can truly show-up for you.

With the right motivation to keep all of these ideas moving you forward, you’ll attain what you want. Your motivation will come from your clear understanding of your main purpose in your life. If this important item tracks with an 9.0 or better on the CAM Awareness Scale – you are on the right path toward losing the ineffective language because it will drop to the wayside as your On-Purpose life emerges.

Please provide us your feedback at Contact Us or add comments below.

Slow to Understand Your Beliefs?

Have you been slow to understand your beliefs? If you are an above-average person, you probably don’t think much about your beliefs – why would you? Your life is busy enough now, without you having to explore something new and potentially perplexing. Unless of course, you are curious like an aspirant.

Beliefs Produce Certainty for the Believer or not…

Beliefs Produce Certainty for the Believer…or not

We suggest that you should spend time understanding the impact of your beliefs to gain awareness of some of the aspects about what’s going on in your life. It’s not a challenge we offer, but an opportunity for a bit of fun and perhaps enlightenment.

We encourage you to inspect one or two of your current beliefs, but no more. Our focus is on designing new beliefs.  Yet, before you might accept our processes, we want you to evaluate a few of your beliefs at a high-level by way of our suggestions in this article, so that you can understand a little bit of how they work in your life.

We promise not to push the needle to far to the right with this examination: just enough to give you an initial awareness and an appreciation for what’s possible. We invite you to read a little further because we think you just might find this article worthy of your consideration and time investment.

Beliefs Become Clearer

Thanks for staying with us, so let’s explore a few fundamental ideas.  First as the number one point, your beliefs can be found by looking at the choices you make. While this may seem counter intuitive right now, after a few simple evaluations, you’ll gain an appreciation for the exercise and your beliefs will be easier to understand. The same will be true for the following.

As a second point, your choices can be better understood by looking at the actions you take. Then third and finally, the results you get are determined by measuring them to your original manifested belief, which BTW should have been defined with an end result in mind.

All beliefs do have an end result, whether realized or not. We also say that once you have defined the result in a measurable way and you begin receiving those attainments, the result  will produce faith.

You may consider this a claim, but we have the experience of it in our own lives through years of practice. One must manage the belief’s end result by determining whether or not it matched or exceeded your defined measures: of all the things that our beliefs and choices architecture deliver, the management portion is critically important to your receiving an effective result.

Your results will represent reality and ensure that your beliefs are truthful having delivered verifiable results culminating in faith. The accuracy of your results will set your experience of it as being real and trustworthy with irrefutable measurable evidence. This is why we call our methodologies and related processes evidence-based.

Upon Further Investigation

The ideas just expressed so far takes form in the image below. We invite you to look closely at the connection and relationship with and between the numbers. BTW this model repeats after 5 by starting with 1 over and again, until the results meet the measures defined for the belief (i.e. if the belief no longer works it should be is discarded).CAM Choices Pyramid in Tootsie Roll Format

Most importantly, you should notice that for Results, actions are the source of it. For Actions, choices are the source to it and so on.

Our Experiences are the source of our beliefs.

The most significant point to gain about this is the results produce faith for us: trust and confidence arrive in the doing and receiving of it. We say when you define all these components, you will have designed manifested belief and received manifested faith through the process.

We think that the old wisdom-based saying “it’s not the destination but the journey that matters” should be revised to read “When the journey and destination are understood, your on-purpose life is delivered to you”. This is what we teach at Choice Awareness.

Evaluating a Common Belief

Many people believe that Hope produces something valuable: we agree. This may seem akin to faith in God, which is not easily seen but is usually felt in some fashion or perceived intuitively in some ways also not easily understood, yet known by people of faith.  We concur with this concept of faith in God and will show you our perceptions of what can actually be delivered from the belief of Hope in one simple example that follows.

Preamble to Evaluating Beliefs

The declarative about “Do not attempt this at home alone” does not apply here, in fact we encourage you to practice, practice, practice anywhere you wish. We are going to define a simple belief with all the components to show you how it works. Then you can use the completed example as a model for evaluating one of your own beliefs. You will be able to understand  the connection and interaction between each component by determining how each one of yours currently operates for you.

We recommend you write your component examinations down during this exercise because it can make your beliefs come alive for you (see our comments about writing as a personal discipline for guidance).

Definition of Hope

Let’s begin by defining  one belief called Hope-In-The-Future, which will produce an end result of a  Personal Positive Attitude on the CAM Awareness Scale of at least 8.0. One must realize that the opposing forces of hope are despair and its related fear-based emotions. To counteract this negative circumstance which occurs in all of us at times, we define two choices:

  1. Being Positive – if despair, fear or other negative ideas/thoughts occurs; and
  2. What The Future Holds – as a reminder for what’s possible.

Definition of the Related Actions 

The action definitions are related to each choice we have defined and hence declared as valid choices for the belief: they are interrelated and connected. So that when you select a choice, you execute the actions you have defined for each. For the above example we selected, we created one set of actions for each choice (i.e. there is no limit to the number of choices you make create for your belief).

For this simple Hope example, they are as follows:

We define Being Positive Actions containing 8 items, which you perform one after another until completed with a measure of at least 8.0 on the Awareness Scale as a final measure for the action as follows:

  1. I will allow at least 30 minutes to do these actions.
  2. I realize that despair, fear or otherwise is occurring because depression has appeared in my feelings, my language, my body, my attitude, my mood and/or my behaviors.
  3. I will measure my despair on the Awareness Scale to determine the intensity.
  4. I acknowledge that this is occurring, so I decide to stop what I am doing, lay down comfortably somewhere quiet, rest with my eyes closed and body relaxed while breathing deeply for at least 10 to 15 minutes. (Note: some of you may need to ensure that you have taken your prescribed medications).
  5. I visualize that these are real sensing’s in me and that these feelings can and will pass from me.
  6. I can ask my higher-power for help in letting go of what is occurring: I will also ask for acceptance of my current circumstances and a complete and full release from the despair.
  7. I begin to visualize my most relaxed state (that bliss state which I have previously defined for myself) and feel the tension leaving me and a new sense beginning to take over, I continue this for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. I measure my current moods, energy, and positive attitude and state of relaxation using the Awareness Scale while fully determined to gain at least an 8.0 or better. If I have not, I will go back to number 4 and repeat until the measures have been attained.

And also, the definitions for What The Future Holds Actions contain 7 actions.

  1. I allow myself at least 10 to 15 minutes to do these actions.
  2. I believe that my future is filled with possibility and opportunity for me: my belief is based upon my own definitions of possibility and opportunity that I have previously defined.
  3. I will read these belief definitions right now slowly, reviewing all of the choices that I have defined.
  4. I will lay down comfortably somewhere quite, resting with my eyes closed and body relaxed while breathing deeply for one minute or more and ponder what I have just read.
  5. I will ask my higher-power for help in allowing me to use all my skills and talents toward making my choices and actions true while delivering the results I have designed.
  6. I begin to visualize my future filled with these possibilities and opportunities for a minute or two.
  7. I will measure my attitude about the future using the CAM Awareness Scale while fully determined to gain at least an 8.0 or better. If I have not, I will go back to number 3 and repeat until the measures have been attained.

The resultant belief of hope will look like the data in the image below. It contains the outcomes associated with each component of the belief and choices architecture.

An Simple Example of a Belief Defined as Hope-For-The-Future

An Simple Example of a Belief Defined as Hope-For-The-Future

Now that you have an example of how you can build a belief, you can also use this as a model for how to construct more of your own beliefs.

In addition, you can use the model as a way to deconstruct one or two of your own current beliefs – pick ones that you have a sense about already but only one or two.

This will take some thought and action on your part to perform the first one, but give yourself the time to experiment with this process.

We recommend that you consider taking our webinar for Getting On-Purpose because this will be covered in more depth.

If you have any questions, please feel free to communicate with us at Contact-Us.

Remember that living an On-Purpose life begins with you defining beliefs to help you experience the life you want and deserve.

What Does Daily Disciplines Produce for You?

This is about starting the day – purposefully

When we wake up in the morning, we begin our day with a series of prayer, meditation, devotional study, and writing. It wasn’t always like this because I would literally leap out of bed and dash into the day as quickly as possible to get things going!!! And, fifteen years ago if someone had told me that I would be doing these things, I would have laughed, been compelled to say a few harmful words and probably dismissed the ideas as heresy. Does anyone connect with this contempt?

Daily Disciplines - Writing & Capturing Ideas

Daily Disciplines – Writing & Capturing Ideas

My wife Janet was responsible for slowing my leaping-process down considerable by demonstrating a different way to start: yes, I learned this in my marriage and what a gift!!!

The main difference in her way was the slowness and metered patience in the beginning of it, in a calm manner conducive to entering the day gradually: the old school concept of easing-into-it.

I didn’t seem to ease into anything…it was more about ceasing/grasping at the day; the let’s squeeze-everything-possible out of it starting with the rush into it. I know better now…

Credit Where it Belongs

There is a joyful acknowledgement for my change with a few select comments combining love and gratitude for the impact of my partner, best friend and bride, that I can now clearly perceive the differences. It actually may not have anything to do with me or efforts on my part, but coupled with my wife’s guidance and my highest-power’s active love and consistent delivery of awareness and understanding in my life, these things are responsible for my changed view point: more likely this is the case and the truth of it – not Bob-centered discovery!!!

Historical Behavioral Perspective

Yet now, for a few reasons (e.g. there are probably many), I can see today with much more clarity that my past decades frenetic day-beginnings approach was at best harmful, impatient, unconnected to any spiritual calmness, completely task oriented and not at all on-purpose: I was a major list-maker and list-checker-offer. But, that strategy of task orientation wasn’t necessarily connected to the bigger picture or north-star pointed for me. (Caitlin MIller introduced the north-star concept to me in her coaching course when I participated a few years ago).

My remembrance of this past morning-fast-jump method was that each day was more of an intellectual activity, disconnected from my heart and the soulfulness meant for me. However, don’t despair because regardless of your connections, whether unspiritual or otherwise situated, we can still gain from this delving into understanding about disciplines and the value-promise of it…

(Wisdom Sidebar) I now surmise that one must go-through these past experiences (e.g. for me, I was looking back in hindsight) with openness and willingness about them before you can expect to gain any real awareness and/or growth. We suggest making a short inspection/review of the past, as long as you concentrate upon the focal point of what occurred (i.e. in our example the morning-start) and the meaning of it for you: if someone in your community was there too, they can validate your remembrances.

(Caution) However, we become suspect of this past inspection practice without some guided assistance, because the stories and beliefs may actually be false and therefore misleading. We can suggest some people who might be able to help in this area…

I believe overall now that my highest-power within/without produced these experiences as a unique way of my learning peacefulness . After much pondering, I choose to believe so today…

So What’s Different Now?

The impact of one water droplet affects things

The impact of one water droplet affects things

There is a feeling of deliverance from the past frenzied morning practices because I have become much more disciplined in entering the day with surrender and acceptance, words which had escaped me for decades.

For this period in my life now, I sense a deep personal relationship to my On-Purpose life because I have been using methods which center and focus my attention on the important things in life, all the underlying beliefs and areas I wish to concentrate.

The morning daily disciplines lift me from isolation and disconnectedness into an alignment with my higher-power, my partner, usually stilling my mind and consistently allowing me to be in gratitude and humbleness: more weighty beliefs, which also tended to elude me, but which are present most days now.

Summary of Differences

Here is a short list of the differences that I am experiencing today from my past, as both very soulful and inspiring:

  1. Gradual and peaceful entry into a new day: hope based expectation about the day,
  2. Thankfulness and gratitude for connection with a higher-power and my partner: a real sense of belonging and interrelatedness,
  3. Request for a patterned approach of love and humbleness in my relationships: destined to experience connection at deep levels,
  4. Participation and active focus upon the components of my On-Purpose life; understanding, accepting and living in my true purpose,
  5. Surrender and acceptance for what occurs during my day: anything can come present as an opportunity to experience and appreciate my life,
  6. Request for possibility and opportunity to show-up during the day and my recognition of it: a strong calibration for the connectedness of the universe, my higher-power/God and my fellow man,
  7. Writing about what occurred yesterday, the insight and revelations delivered from the writing and the understanding of it: awareness of my identity, but more so about what the universe/higher-power/God has been delivering to me during the day,
  8. Willingness to explore and experience new things: compelled to heighten my discovery, participation with high levels of vitality and energy,
  9. Acknowledgment that my humanity is similar to others; feeling varying and different range of emotions and feelings, which can/will guide me through the day toward healthy learnings,
  10.  Inspection and review come present with pondering and considering what is occurring in my life: am I working on purpose, fulfilling my destiny and contributing at high levels?

All these items put forth for your review are intended to have you come present with you and your connections, whether in your current community, family, colleagues or other universal relationships. In addition, the study, meditation, prayer and writing are designed to build your beliefs system and your character.

If any of this sounds difficult, it is not at all:  this requires your personal commitment and perseverance. These are fundamental beliefs which will assist in your growth and development.

We invite you to tour our website and please provide us your feedback below or on our Contact-Us page.

Moral Exemplars – Why are Their Stands Significant?

Morality - Delving into the Morass of Ideas

Morality – Delving into the Morass of Ideas

When we aspirants consider how to make choices based upon morality, we need to have foundational beliefs in place which serve us well. This sounds very good but is this simple and easy to do?

We say “Yes” and it will help you to understand Moral Exemplars, their stands with some research first, before going too far down the road of this morality discussion.

We believe that stands are equivalent to beliefs: just another name for them. We also believe that opinion, preferences, ideas, concepts, you name it, are all beliefs: there exists in this world a preponderance of beliefs – some easily acknowledged, others not at all.

We tend to come from the school of experiences and conditioning. However, we realize a complexity exists (e.g. literally new industries and domains are being created) from and with the scientific mapping in Genome research and DNA timeline with their frequent releases and publications, where all kinds of new discoveries about who we are, why we do things, etc. are proliferating: it seems never ending…and

Current Ideas About Moral Exemplars

We strongly suggest reading some of this material to gain an awareness of the thinking, theory and exploration of this fascinating topic about moral exemplars:

  1. Mortal Exemplars in theory and practice – scholar ideas,
  2. Moral Examples – wikipedia historical view point
  3. Who is a Moral Exemplar – Philosophical analysis of human nature
  4. Moral Saints and Moral Exemplars – concept of an ideal person
  5. The Character of Moral Exemplars – 2002 White House Conference on Moral Character and Community

Out of these few examples, we tend to agree with the Virtue Theory from Item 4 and the complexity that Lawrence Walker describes in his scholarly paper in item 5. But, we will offer some ideas that might make it  easier to comprehend and apply in your life (i.e. developing a few fundamental beliefs as primary stands).

Moral Stands

We believe that many of the moral stands could begin with the Judeo-Christian religious traditions of the 10 commandments and others like the Declaration of Independence and our US Constitution.  We have published “Universal Principles” taken from many different sources, which also provide effective moral stands.

In compiling a list of moral exemplars, we will turn to various domains with both past and present people including selected examples from history, science, entertainment, etc. : a few come to mind right now – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, Jimmy Stewart, Billy Graham, Pope Francis, etc.

The thing that we know about our humanness is that moral exemplars have triumph and tragedy, just like you and me (e.g. take Mother Teresa for instance – she struggled with prayer all the time). The difference for our morals exemplars  is that they remain in constant contact with something outside of themselves for guidance, like a higher power and they strive for doing the next right thing based upon their fundamental beliefs – mostly their stands exists inside the universal principles and the other documents we have already mentioned above.

But, now is your chance to define some of your moral exemplars, what they mean to you and how do they make a difference in your life today?  Please compile your list of your stands and who are the examples you use to help guide you daily and then share it with us.

We invite you to our our website and please provide us your feedback below or on our Contact-Us page.

Contrarian: Practicing an Opposing Perspective


Understanding the Contrarian Position

We have a great mentor and friend in a wise man named Hugo these past 22 years because he constantly suggests we remain in an inquiry focusing upon the solution not the problem.

He also usually demands that we look at the contrarian point of view. While we used to rail at this suggestion to the point of complete opposition (e.g. no pun intended), we now recognize the value in being a contrarian because it helps brings new perspective present – most often with perfect timing: when we need a different view, either to balance or counter-balance us.

Recent Articles – Print Examples

Yesterday, we spent some time reading opposing and supporting views that helped enlighten us on a few subjects:

  1. WSJ – Scott Adams: Dilbert creator about passion and diligence
  2. Hillsdale College, Imprimis – John Miller: Football and The American Character about continued contact violence and changes that saved football.

Our first read and reaction was not too favorable. But, after pondering and re-reading the pieces a second time, we gained laughter, a rye sense of the possible and certainly new perspectives. What came present for us was the needed reminder about taking the contrarian position: if you can’t think of anything to oppose an idea, support it or vice versa.


This requires rigor to exercise your support or opposition for any subject: research helps a lot with reading, studying and of course pondering with wonderment – you pick:  take both sides – Ha!

Frustrated for any Reason?

Frustrated for any Reason?

You may shy away from this exercise because of the time required and feeling frustrated about the idea, but don’t – we say schedule the time and go ahead and engage in the exploration of it.

What is the worse thing that can happen? You may get stuck trying to define your contrarian arguments and you will be the better person for the learning.

At the very least, you may break your “YES” habit of going along with the majority.

At the very best, you will understand the other’s position much better and it may just change some of your fixed and solid positions. What would occur if that happened? The world will not end and you will gain new ideas about the subject.

(Wisdom Sidebar) However, stay with this research and study because we have been told that you should be able to think of a least ten things about a particular subject : a past mentor encouraged this with us – see Lew Hewitt. We know this to be true because we have been practicing this suggestion for about 10 years. Sometimes we make lists of things for the top 50 or 100 ideas which come to mind – you can experience this too!

The old school positioning states that you must place yourself in the others’ shoes to understand. There is plenty of goodness awaiting you – start exploring.

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