This is the story of how one man was able to overcome his prior conditioning to become a successful leader, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt, that leaders are made, not born. He was the “fair-haired boy” whose habitual alcohol use was ruining his life. After losing the “love-of-his-life” and, eventually, his self esteem and confidence, he suffered through a “Blue Funk” depression, wondering if he was indeed, “Born to Lose”.
A War Baby(born in ’42), who started a ‘Bucket List’ in his late twenties and now, forty years later, in his seventies, is developing plans for the second half of his life with a Halftime Party,celebrating his 75th birthday (Dec 27, 2016) .
I am that boomer. My name is Darrell “Duke”Runyan and I’m taking a half-time break to write my long-awaited (i.e. procrastinated) book: “Leadership 3.0 – Transformational Leadership Development Model for the Future: 300 Million Presidents-in-Development
Did I always want to be a writer, you ask? Not really; when I was a kid, the Damon Runyon Theater was very popular on television and everyone kidded me by calling me ‘Damon’ and I guess that put the idea of being a writer in my head, but not with any definiteness-of-purpose. And, I didn’t really like to write and, I didn’t really think I was very good and, especially, not creative. So I never really gave it much thought.
It was not until much later that I actually set a goal to become a writer. It was around 1970 and I was already a college graduate, had served in the Marines, had taught school and had been an Insurance Executive with a major company. I left that secure job with a bright future, to start my own company. (The mantra in B-School was “three years with a major and out on your own”).
The proposed new company actually never got off the ground. I abandoned the project when a busted romance put me into a ‘Blue-Funk Depression of Hopelessness’ such that I wasn’t interested in ANYTHING, let alone business.
After this latest in a series of screw-ups and failures (that would stagger a mule), I was starting to think of myself as, possibly, not normal or even ‘born to lose’ (not knowing at the time that there is no such thing as a ‘born loser’). But, as it turned out, this was a blessing in disguise.
A close friend of mine, a former stock broker, knew about my situation and recommended that I talk to a guy who had been trying to sell him a personal leadership program. “Personal leadership? What is personal leadership?”, I wondered. I had had some excellent leadership training in Marine Corps OCS, but that was all about command-and-control techniques, using mostly fear and intimidation as motivators.
Personal Leadership, I discovered, is about leading yourself. It is about getting what you want out of life, being successful, making a contribution to society (if that’s important to you), achieving excellence at something, or just maximizing your potential and achieving Maslow’s self-actualization model, which states that in humans, after all the lower needs are filled (physical, security, social, spiritual, family, career etc.), the ultimate need manifests itself: the desire to help and benefit mankind.
In any event,one must certainly learn self-leadership before expecting to lead others.
I enrolled in the Program, and within three weeks, I was out of the depression FOREVER. Two years later, I was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Georgia (I lost). Just making the race was, at the very least, evidence of a rather dramatic mental turnaround, don’t you think?
The Leadership Development Program consists of a personality profile of the “Overly-Successful Individual”, i.e. having the attitude,or mind set, of a winner; the Profile Information is installed by inculcating, or hard-wiring, the brain through “spaced repetition”, just as we learn the words to a song from the radio, without even trying. We also learn the alphabet and babies learn to talk through repetition. The advertising industry is based on it. More about that later.
This book will chronicle how my life was changed, even saved, by this training program. I say saved because at that time I had some real bad habits which, had I not been able to modify them with this Program, would have certainly killed me (one way or another), long before now.
It is the story of how I made a ‘Dream List’ of over 100 items which became the blueprint for my life over the last 40 odd years. It is an adventure story of making and losing money, meeting famous people, chasing dreams, jousting windmills, and just having one of the most fun-filled, happy lives I could imagine. Because everything I did imagine, I did; because I BELIEVED I could.
Once you learn the art and skill of goal setting, you do get better-and-better, just like any skill. Of course, these days, almost everyone has heard of a ‘Bucket List’ (for those of you who have been living in caves: a list of everything you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’), but when I started in the personal development field we made what we called a Dream List with no-limits thinking. No-limits thinking was somehow easier to attain because these were dreams, and not goals(yet). You simply wrote down anything that popped into your mind which seemed like a fun and interesting thing to do. It was easier because there was no commitment to consider. No judging or deciding if you could do it, or really wanted to do it, or should you make that decision? You simply wrote down a dream if you thought it. Later, you had to make judgements and assign priorities and deadlines in order to turn them into a goal.
Over the years, I would take out my Dream List every year and dust it off to see which dreams I might like to turn into goals that year. If a one-year goal made satisfactory progress, I might turn it into a two-year goal, or 5-year, or a lifetime goal.
It’s amazing how much you can improve a skill, for example, if you regularly practice it for fifteen minutes a day…for 30 or 40 years. I have done that with chess, pool, and golf, much to my own surprise.
In 2007, for example, I played over 1,000 games of chess online, with people all over the world, maintaining a winning percentage of almost 60%. At one time I was playing over 100 games at one time. It was great fun and anybody could do it. But I did it.
The highly-repetitious process of going through the Leadership Development Program is tantamount to having a success-seeking personality implanted or hard-wired into the brain: the personality profile of the “Super-Successful’ person.
The information, once processed by the brain, over time, allows all historical baggage to be dealt with and put to rest, filed under Mistakes ‘N Failures (Wisdom builders).
Once a person understands that in life, failure must come before wisdom (and not just in the alphabet); and that failure is a necessary ingredient of success; and, that the one who fails the most, learns the most. Then, the attitude tends to become one of: ‘Bring It On’, let’s get the disagreeable stuff behind us. This attitude is much like having a ‘perma-shield’ installed in the brain to protect against, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, fear, doubt and worry: all the de-motivators in life.
Thus, a fearless risk-taker is born. It’s called an attitude adjustment but it’s really a total attitude makeover. A winning attitude is learned by studying winners. But Psychologists have historically “made their bones” by studying people who are messed up (i.e. losers). How in the world can you expect to be able to help people learn to be winners by studying people who are losers? The self help industry was founded on the principle of:
‘”Find success and copy it; do it bigger and better”.
First came Napoleon Hill who studied 500 of the most successful people of Western Civilization over 25 years. Hill’s mentor, Andrew Carnegie, the steel Tycoon, arranged personal interviews with these top achievers, former Presidents, Inventors, Industrialists, Scientists, and so on. Hill’s quest was to find the secrets of their success to determine if there was a pattern that could be identified and ultimately, emulated, successfully.
Hill published his findings in a report entitled, “Think and Grow Rich”, now the forth leading all-time best-selling book (behind “The Holy Bible” and “The Joy of Cooking” and “Harry Potter”). Think and Grow Rich is probably responsible for more millionaires that any other book ever written. It actually spawned the self-help industry.
Years later, an insurance agent named Paul J Meyer read Hill’s book and trained 800 Million Dollar Roundtable members using its principles. He became a millionaire in the process and, in 1960, founded Success Motivation Institute, Inc(SMI) Now known as Leadership Management International,Inc(LMI), whose mission is simply to… ‘Motivate people to their full potential’. It was this company that produced the program that changed my life forever.
The leadership development program that saved my life was entitled “The Dynamics of Personal Leadership(DPL).” I’ll never forget how confidence-inspiring the simple name of the company, Success Motivation Institute, Inc., sounded to my depression-filled life of hopelessness at the time.
As one progresses through the DPL, after the third week, people invariably report attaining a mental plateau, in my case, not unlike a religious epiphany. It is widely recognized that it takes 21 days to change a habit. And since an attitude is a habit… of thought… It stands to reason that is should also change in 21 days.
Suddenly, at the end of the third week, I realized, without a doubt, that I was not born to fail, I was o.k. after all. And I knew that I could do anything I wanted. Suddenly my self image was sky high and unlimited. I can remember driving down the Expressway in Atlanta, listening to that tape, singing at the top of my lungs because I was so happy that I was o.k.
Going through the program in the prescribed manner produces a result not unlike taking a magnet and “adjusting”a hard-disk with it. It’s not artificial or forced. It is just a matter of the individual going from hoping or wishing for success and happiness, to believing or knowing, without a doubt, that success is a certainty (eventually, at least, since persistence is the most important characteristic of the overly-successful personality).
NOW, the client must re-visit and review every decision, possibility and option of your entire life, putting them all back on the table to be re-assessed. One of them for me was being a writer. Once all my mental blocks, fears and so forth were out of the way, and I actually possessed a no-limits attitude, I developed many interests and curiosities, one of which was politics. I could see many uses for writing in this arena.
At that time, the Viet Nam war was still raging, long after I had seamlessly transitioned back into civilian life. All along, I had been getting reports about my Marine buddies coming home in body bags. The life expectancy of a 2/Lt in the Marines on the ground at that time (1967) was 30 days. About half the guys in my training command eventually “bought the farm”.
Since I had gotten an “early out” and had not been sent to VietNam, I felt responsible to speak up for those guys who could not speak for themselves. I became angrier and angrier, because Nixon had gotten elected on a platform of ending the war, and he didn’t. So I started to get the urge to write, in order to try to right some wrongs and vent some frustrations. It’s good that the Founding Fathers gave us a peaceful revolution every four years or we’d surely have a real one.
So, I ran for public office. In 1972 I was on the ballot for U.S. Senate in Georgia. I lost…badly. It didn’t change anything. But at least I, felt better about it. That was the beginning of my political education. It continues to this day.
My goal is to share what I have learned so far in life, at the ‘half-way point’, especially the multitude of lessons learned over a lifetime of venturing out, going out on limbs, and frequently having the limb cut off. Or, more probably, cutting it off myself. But then you learn. And you make fewer mistakes. And you know it’s ok to fail, just don’t keep making the same mistake, over and over. That’s a red flag. It’s called a rut. A rut is a grave with the ends kicked out. And so, lessons accumulate and become experience; experience accumulates and becomes wisdom. If you live long enough,you get some. No exceptions.It’s a rule.
The book will have something for everyone, from Economics and Business to Politics and Future-Tripping. It will be an attempt to anticipate future trends and make plans to deal with the vision, personally and, as a nation. It will be somewhat autobiographical, using parts of my story, such as:(http://www.myspace.com/therunyanreport/blog/438161632 ) to illustrate certain principles of business & life success (or failure). It will be a blueprint for the future and a wake up call for citizens. All Citizens should consider themselves as “Presidents-In-Training”, and should conduct themselves as such.
It is especially written for, and dedicated to, all Military Veterans, the backbone of the country.
Mostly, the book is written for Baby Boomers, kindred spirits in the ‘Getting-Old-Ain’t-For-Sissies Club’. We are the generation that is going to have to pick up the flag and run with it during the coming ‘hard times’. The Greatest Generation won’t have a thing on us by the time we’re through. There is an ancient Chinese curse that says: “May you live in interesting times”. Remember, that is a CURSE, not a proverb. And, we certainly do ‘live in interesting times’!
The book will serve as a handbook for success in business and in life, as well as a key to understanding our complex world. It will be especially useful and a cut-to-the-chase tool for the younger generation, who may not have an extra forty years or so to do the research on their own. (However, I will say that the youngsters these days actually seem to have a better handle on things than we did at their age ; probably thanks to the internet.)
My hope is that the work will prove to be an information trove of motivational and inspirational material which will make a significant contribution to the emerging science of human motivation. It is helpful in understanding any idea , to hear and see many different variations of explanations, drawings, plans, visualizations, etc. in order to ‘get one’s mind around’ a difficult concept (such as explaining how to concentrate effectively, for example, or how to brain-storm). Viewing the concept from one more angle could be that piece of the puzzle that causes the student to have that ‘Eureka Moment’, an epiphany, such as I described having experienced.
Finally, my modest wish for the book is for it to be an ‘International Handbook for World Peace, Freedom and Prosperity’ containing a workable Trans-Generational Plan(TGP) to be implemented by the people of the world asserting their new-found empowerment. Hopefully, the process of writing the book will foster the development of this plan. If we do not set a goal to achieve world peace, we will surely not have it; for goals never happen by accident, always on purpose (especially in politics).