Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Amazing Brazil

Brazil is an amazing country with so many great things to share with the world. Just returned from another trip  with many memories that will be treasured forever:

Wildlife and plants rich in diversity, colors and beauty


Friendly people that is impossible not to love

Rich variety of foods for every palate


Agriculture that is becoming the envy of the world
Countryside that takes the breath away

Expanding economy while most of the world is contracting


Friday, April 26, 2013

Happiness

How can a person be happy in a the present busy, lound, and complex world. Here are a few thoughts.

  1. Count your blessings and help others count their blessings.
  2. Reflect on your experiences and turn them into stories.
  3. Serve others by listening to the turning points of their lives.
  4. Use your imagination to create powerful moments that will live in your memory forever.
  5. Use the power of prayer to become who you were created to be.
  6. Use the power of pictures to create powerful experiences.
  7. Bebug and defrag then upgrate your mental computer with virus free software.
Be blessed then be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana

Monday, April 22, 2013

Inner and Outer Self

  1. Are you a shephard, a sheep, or a sheepdog?
  2. Would you lay your life down for your friend?
  3. Are you reading at least one spiritual book per month in a spiritual way to grow your spirituality?
  4. Are you spending as much to feed your mind, spirit, and soul as you do to feed your body?
  5. Are you living to satisfy your external wants or are you living to satisfy your inner needs to develop outer disciplines?
  6. Where, why, and what are you looking to safisfy the desires of your heart, mind, and soul?
  7. Are you welcoming the contradictions of life to bring you in touch with your inner being for a deeper fulfilment that only God can satisfy?
Inner growth is very important if we want to live a significant life!
Blessings,
Carlos Fontana

Friday, April 19, 2013

True Vacation

A true vacation is the one where one accomplishes very different things in the most fun way

  1. Helping to prepare and eat a grilled young goat where the tender low fat meat reminds one of childhood.
  2. Experience the catching of a beautiful 10 lbs peacock bass (to be eaten soon!)
  3. Experiencing the catching of a 8 lbs dourado fish and eating it grilled fresh (for lunch today)
  4. Helping to prepare a lamb stew seasoned with beer to be eaten in 20 minutes.
  5. Catching a 7 lbs tilapias and knowing the there is  plenty of fish for next week.
  6. Spending time with my brothers telling stories and reliving our happy childhood memories.
  7. Doing an inprompu talk at the local University to a packed audience of 180 students and professors on entrepreneurship and leadership. Being able to answer many questions of stuents hungry to learn.
  8. The bonus is to go several times a day to stand under the jaboticaba trees and enjoy the fruit fresh from the trees.
Life is really a blessing.
Be blessed then be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Go Fishing

Fishing is therapeutical!

  1. A bad day fishing is better than a good day at a job.
  2. Fishing, like golf, requires concentrated fun.
  3. Fishing allows one to release stress.
  4. Fishing reques skills than anyoone can learn.
  5. Fishing is a great way to build friendships.
  6. Fishing allows one to be in touch with nature.
  7. Fishing is adictive becasue the biggest fish always gets away
Be blessed then a blessing to others

Carlos Fontana

Sunday, April 14, 2013

7 DAILY NUGGETS FROM MINAS GERAIS - BRAZIL

  1. The way we communicate with people is directly proportional to the way people communicate back to us. You smile and people smile back to you.
  2. The biggest waste of energy and source of stress is to get upset onver things we can not control. Flight delays - sit back and say a prayer, it Works!
  3. It is amazing how well people treat you if you just look up to them, value what they do, respect who they are, and thank them for doing what they do.
  4. Mans greatest ability is the ability to connect with others by positively exchanging energy and emotions.
  5. Inside every individual there is a human being craving the need to be validaded for who they are.
  6. Every person has a story to tell. All it takes is asking the right questions. The incredible beauty of the human soul never cease to amaze me.
  7. Na engineer has fully recovered from being a recovering engineer when everyone thinks he is a psychologist.
Be blessed then be a blessings to others
Carlos Fontana

Friday, April 12, 2013

Freedom Isn't Free


Freedom is sacred, be it spiritual, political, or financial.

Freedom is not free either, especially financial freedom. There is always a price for freedom; it is called sacrifice. Today’s nuggets carry truth in them. The truth is sweet to the listening ear because living by the truth one can be liberated and ultimately free. Ignoring the truth is ignoring history. There are consequences for not knowing and living by the truth. Entitlement is a subtle form of slavery. The good, the bad, and the ugly parts of the entitlement era about to face some truth. Able citizens must be producers instead of exploiters.

Is it time for us Americans to take responsibility for the freedoms we have taken for granted for so long? Living on a borrowed standard of living is like living in a house with a time bomb in the basement. Americans are at the bottom of the world when it comes to knowing and applying personal finance lessons; yet the self-help financial industry scores billions of dollars selling books promising quick financial freedom. Knowing is not enough; we must apply what we know, the proven principles of finance. Hard lessons are coming for Americans, especially those that think getting something for nothing is their birthright. We will have a financial test before the end of 2017. Are you prepared to pass that test? When unaccountable, all controlling central government combines and aligns with an uninformed populous the result is financial ruin for a nation. This time the nation is ours. Imagine a government budget for $3.8 trillion. That is over one quarter of our whole Gross Domestic Product. One trillion should be more than enough for the government to do the things a government must do, internal and external security; that is it. History will not be kind to the current leaders. True leaders lead or get out of the way and let competent ones take the charge; unless their intention is to destroy our nation.

They good news for those that understand money is that they can benefit from the upcoming crisis. History shows that even in great depressions, one third suffer greatly, one third get by, and one third prosper during even the most depressed economic conditions. Inflation is coming to America. By 2017 the dollar will lose 75% of its 2007 value. Why? They money supply increased by a factor of 4 since 2007. Remember the QEs (Quantitative Easing one, two, three, ...) or more appropriately Queer Economics one, two, three, ... What happens to the value of a company’s share when the issue issues a 4 for 1 split? The value of the shares is divided by 4. 

In a high inflationary environment, wages never keep up with inflation. There will be revolt and strikes. Internal security will become a big issue. Why do you think the government wants gun control? Angry people with guns and ammunition are a threat to government. Elected officials are nervous, and rightly so. 

Money is not everything but in order of importance it comes just below oxygen. Try to live without it! How about taking responsibility for your personal finances? Here are a few nuggets for you to get started. Do it! And you will be glad you did.  

1.      Do you have a robust plan to be financially sound during the next downturn? How many sources of income do you have? Security no longer comes from having a job, unless you are the CEO or the CFO of successful company and have tucked away scores of millions.
2.      Are you taking money advice from people who are financially free? Do a fruit check and never take advice from those without fruit in their trees. The 55-year old investment broker that is still not financially free cannot help you. The finance college professor that is financially broke, and never built a business cannot help you either.
3.      What are you leveraging to become financially free? A tiny minority becomes financially free by earning income from a job. Are you leveraging or are you being leveraged? If your leverage factor is 1.0, you, it may be time to change your thinking about money.
4.      Are you putting money and a business system to create wealth for you? If not, why not? Do you own a system or are you part of someone else’s system. Those that do not invest time and money so they can have plenty of time and money later in life always end up regretting not taking the right actions early on.
5.      What percentage of your income are you investing in you? Wealthy people invest in themselves 3-10% of their income; they invest in their education so they can continuously adapt to changing conditions. Are you?
6.      Do you understand how money is created, how it flows, and how it grows; if not, why not? Understand the basics, the laws of money, and have working knowledge of income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements. Most people still think the house they live in is an asset. Start investing in assets instead of liabilities.
7.      How important is money to you? Most people that say that money is not important to them don’t have any money. The funny thing is that they are working for money, in a job they don’t like, to pay for things they bought with money they didn't have, to impress people they do not even like. Isn't that insanity?

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mental Fitness


Are you mentally fit for your journey to achieve your dreams? 


Do you have the discipline and self-management to live a significant life? 

Success comes to those that are and do a little more than the average person on a consistent basis. The compounding of good decisions gives the edge needed to win the game of life. Here are some questions for you to think and reflect upon:

1.      Are you living your purpose? Why not?
2.      Are you building your character by demonstrating integrity and courage? Are you who you say you are and do you do what you say you will do?
3.      Do you have a vision for where you are going in life? Are the pictures of your destination crystal clear?
4.      Do you have an uplifting attitude so no matter what happens you keep positive? Is attitude your choice or someone else’s choice?
5.      Do you have plans and a strategy to realize your vision? Are you diligently implementing your strategy?
6.      Do you have a robust scorecard with the right indicators? What is your dashboard telling you?
7.      Are your finances in order to allow you to live the life you always wanted to live as a kid?  Is money your master or your slave?

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Question Power


Only the examined life is worth living!


Why so many of us go through life listening to ourselves like a broken record instead of questioning ourselves? Knowing oneself is the first and most important step to creating a bright future. There is enormous power to be unlocked in self-awareness. Here are 7 questions you may never thought asking yourself. Take a shot at them and I assure you will be better for it!

1.      Why am I messing up my future by taking advice from my messed up past?
2.      Why do I keep running into people who have given up in life if I have not?
3.      Am I working and acting as a champion or a chump?
4.      Do I have the courage and the will to do what only I can do?
5.      Am I teaching myself how to think or just being told what to think?
6.      Why am not working harder to buy my time back so I can be free to become what I have been born to be?
7.      Am I learning and applying what I know in a systematic way or just going through the halfheartedness motions of my days?

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Crossroads


We know we must take the right road. Will we do it?  
The road less traveled is the right one. America and the world will go through a revolution. Will it be a peaceful leadershift revolution towards freedom or will it be a bloody and forceful revolution towards dictatorships and slavery? Let’s play our part to have a peaceful revolution.

1.      Most of us don’t lack abilities; we lack faith and commitment to a cause, a freedom cause.
2.      A culture that values pleasure and entertainment as the two most desirable outcomes is imploding itself. Are we there yet? Haven’t we learned from Rome?
3.      There is no such thing as unearned self-esteem and everyone knows it. Yes, we spoiled our children. Giving unearned things is like giving a winning a lottery ticket.
4.      Personal change is possible and it is essential for survival in a free society.
5.      The time has come for Americans to start demanding more of ourselves.
6.      We must enable ourselves to dream again, and dream really big. It takes courage to dream.
7.      It takes courage, faith, patience, and persistence to establish good lifelong habits and patters.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana,  President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Worldly Wisdom


What is the process to acquire worldly wisdom?


Here are some deep and profound thoughts. Anyone able to dig into the work required to be worldly wise can do it. The worldly wise can find meaning and lasting success in any endeavor.
Worldly wisdom is difficult to acquire; however, the rewards are FUN-tastic! 

These 7 nuggets will help you to have fun, create wealth, and make a difference by serving others.

1.      Breadth of education. Acquire and apply a large body of knowledge that incorporates multiples discipline like physics, biology, social studies, philosophy, psychology, literature, history, and mathematics.
2.      Develop the ability to see, create, and link mental models together. Traveling can speed up the process.
3.      Find relevant metaphors as a way to convey meaning using ordinary language. Metaphors are concise and memorable.
4.      Translate ideas into models that are easy to be understood and communicated.
5.      Demonstrate innovative thinking by intersecting two or three mental models and creating a whole new flow of ideas and products.
6.      Use multiple analyses to present concepts that use mental models.
7.      Study history to find patterns for the understanding of future trends.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wisdom


What are the ways to become wise? 

What are the habits of the wise? 

What are the paths of the wise? 

What is the compass of the wise? 

What are the role models of the wise?

When I was young one day I asked my dad why we prayed so much and what he prayed for. He said he prayed to God for wisdom to educate us, his 11 children. My dad never went to school; he sought to be self-educated. He learned how to read and got the equivalent of a 4th grade education in his forties. My dad found his wisdom in the Bible.

The founding fathers of America were also self-educated; they found the truth and applied it to create the greatest nation in the world. We have truly taken the power of self-education for granted and we can now see what is happening to America. Relying on big government and in institutions for our education and the education of our children is a dangerous path to take. No one can teach us anything, we have to want to be taught. Self-discovery is the key to education. There is a big difference between instruction/training and education. A true education is based on timeless principles that when applied allow us to make a life. The current institutional educations are training and instructing students to make a living, at best. The time has come for Americans to rediscover the power of self-education, if we want to reserve the current trend of mediocrity taking over our land. Relinquishing our responsibilities to government in exchange for entitlements is an ancient form of slavery. If we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past in a bigger scale. 

The wise find the truth, speak the truth, and above all live the truth. This is character. The wise have faith, faith in their Creator. Where do the wise find the source of their wisdom?
Proverbs, Proverbs 3:1-6 in particular, is a great place to start your own ways to wisdom. The ancient sage sure packed  much wisdom in few words. And we think we are the wise ones! Here is why; think and reflect upon.

1.      Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,
2.      For they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.
3.      Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
4.      Bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
5.      Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
6.      Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
7.      In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wondering Why?


Have you ever wondered why?


 We  all want to be surrounded with loving people why then we need to learn to love the unlovable first?

1.      A-students end up working for C-students?
2.      People who win the lottery regret winning just a few years later?
3.      Those who know HOW end up working for those who know WHY?
4.      Everyone can make a better hamburger than McDonalds yet we all go there?
5.      Intelligence is not an indicator of success?
6.      Most people live life by their obligations and not their priorities?
7.      Politicians create problems for us then spend the rest of their careers pretending they are solving those problems?

First we need to be, then we must do,  in order to earn what we have.

Be different so you can make a difference!

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Peace and Rest


The song All you need is love by the Beatles can make us think about what is that we all need. 
Is love all we really need? Isn’t peace and rest what we really want? We all grow up being indoctrinated to chase money first, and then free time in our golden years. When we have time and money we realize they are not the end game of life. Here are 7 nuggets for us to think about:


1.      Wealth does not grow on trees; it grows out of our character. Wealth is a reflection of our character; our integrity and courage.
2.      Our brains may get us to the top; it is our heart that keeps us there. We must love people.
3.      The uncommon man takes commonsense principles and makes them uncommonly practical to apply.
4.      Quick success in an illusion. Paradise Island has to be earned. The quick get rich thinking is an illusion. Learn to ask the right questions and apply the right answers to solve the problems you have accumulated of decades. We all get in messes over time so it is an illusion to think we will get out of them in a moment’s time.
5.      Our personal growth determines the grow rate of our enterprises. We might as well start our growth journey now.
6.      We all have dreams and I bet that all our ultimate dreams are about peace and rest. Life is all about learning how to build a bridge to go from this world to the next, the world of eternity. We become what we think so let’s think thoughts that matter.
7.      Peace and rest is the ultimate need we all yearn. The things of this world are ephemeral. Peace and rest is a lost art in our fast, noisy, peace less, and restless world. 

We can only make a difference by being different! Agreed?
Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

For Men Only!


Here are 7 powerful principles for all males choosing to be men. Everywhere we look, we can see a need for more strong men. Are you ready to step up to the plate and play the game of life as a great man?

1.      Build a rock solid future on a rock solid foundation. Why so many men quit even before they finish building their foundations? It is understandable if the ladder you are climbing is leaning against the wrong wall. Why so many men expect success before they have built the foundation? Success is an inside job first. And there, is where change occurs. Change is hard because it requires surrendering our egos, humility, patience, persistence, and long term vision.
2.      Have strong faith. Know where your blessings come from. Know what you believe in and why you believe in what you believe. Strong faith leads to commitment. Many men want the results but are only willing to put in partial commitment. Faith, belief, and commitment have to be 100%. 99% is 0%. Mental creation is a must before physical creation.
3.      Have your word be your bond. Let your life speak. Do what you say you will do. Learn the truth, speak the truth, live the truth.
4.      Learn continuously. Learn from success and failures alike. Let mentors speak truth into your life. Be a friend. A true friend helps a friend get better. Seize those teachable moments in life. Let your turning points propel you forward.
5.      Confront reality, your scorecard. Be true to self. Watch for the sneaky self-deception. Know your values and never compromise them for any sort of gain.
6.      Guard your sacredness from the world. Work to purify your spirit. Tend to the gardens of your heart, mind, and soul.
7.      Lead responsibly. Take responsibility for following, leading yourself, and then leading others. Lead by example and by duty.


Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Powerful Simplicity


Just do it! And do it! And keep on doing it!

We often look for complex or sophisticated things to do to achieve results in all that we do. No matter who you are or what you do here are 7 simple things you can do to make your world a better place. Don’t think too much, just do it! And keep doing it until it become a habit.

1.      Smile. Yes, simply smile as you go about your daily affairs.
2.      Compliment. Yes, be observant and pay a simple compliment to someone.
3.      Encourage. Yes, a simple positive word carries enormous power.
4.      Refrain. Yes, catch yourself before saying something you may regret later.
5.      Pray. Yes, say a simple prayer with someone for someone else.
6.      Serve. Yes, do something for someone close to you in appreciation for being a friend.
7.      Share. Yes, simply share something you have or learned with other around you.

Imagine if we all did these simple things once, than once a month, than once a week, then once a day, then as opportunities came along on a daily basis. Imagine what would happen to the quality of our lives. There is a lot of power in simplicity because we can all do it. Your circle of influence will grow, and with it your level of leadership. Leadership is simple influence in a vision driven and positive direction. Yes, you can do it. Just do it!

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Be a Pro


What separates a professional from an amateur?

Today’s nuggets come from an interview with a local professional. A great pro is the one who impresses us more by who she/he is than by what she/he does; the humility is greater than the amazing ability.


Here are the 7 nuggets we can learn from a professional:
1.      Have a mentor. Many pros start early in life discovering the value of a parent, a teacher or a coach. Remember that teacher or coach that encourage and believe in you more than you believed in yourself? They had faith in you. Becoming a pro can’t be by chance, it is always a choice.
2.      Surround and associate with people that help you to get better. Remember the buddy you had when you were playing a team sport? The one that could read your mind and you could read hers. A buddy or partner that values your strengths and complements your weaknesses has the power to propel you to new heights. As the old saying goes “iron sharpens iron”
3.      Know what you want to become. Know where you are going. Vision is powerful when associated with clear pictures from your destination. Pros has clear pictures for their whole self; their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual beings.
4.      Leverage the power of practice and repetition. Master the fundamentals of your profession. How many shots have Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan hit to become who they are? Analyze the results and be open to feedback. People that are different than you can provide insights to help you become what your vision calls you to be, where your target or aim is directing you. See yourself as others see you. Know the importance of small improvements over time. Learn from every failure and every victory. Make, remake, and refashion yourself continuously.
5.      Control your emotions or your emotions will get the best out of you. Be persistent and consistent. Tantrums have no place in the life of any professional. Keep self-esteem high by having results from serving others. As the medical pros say, mind those bedside manners or you will quickly get into trouble. 
6.      Know your customers, your clients; who you perform or serve. Make everything personal. Like the unlikables if you want to be surrounded by likables later in life. Be more and care more than your competition.
7.      Make the painful bearable. No pain no gain as far as you, not your customers, are concerned. Have that entrepreneurial mind and know that there are things that you don’t like to do that you still must do. Have that mental toughness that makes you cool and collected when under pressure.

A great professional is much greater than his/her profession. They always give back more than they receive. Pros value the intangibles more than the tangibles. True pros make their problems smaller because they are always bigger than any problem they encounter.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)