A Matter of Honour

 

Duty and honour have a close relationship. In my last Toughen Up post, I mentioned the linguistic roots of these two words, and today I’m going to tell you a little more. When it comes to succeeding in your life’s purpose, it’s necessary to understand these two concepts and how they’re connected. After all, you hardly ever see one without the other.

From the Oxford English Dictionary (OED):

Duty: “something one has to do because it is morally right or legally necessary.”

Honour: “great respect”, “a clear sense of what is morally right”, “something that is a privilege or a pleasure.”

I find these definitions really interesting. The second definition of “honour” is almost identical to “duty”, which is notable in itself. But the first and last definitions of “honour” are the most striking to me: honour is used to pay “great respect” to the people who have earned it, and it’s “a privilege or a pleasure” to do it.

The biggest difference between duty and honour is even more interesting to me because it’s also one of the things that tightly bind the two concepts together. That difference? Enthusiasm.

I’ll elaborate. In addition to the definitions above, the OED defines duty as something that’s “done because of a feeling of obligation rather than enthusiasm.” But honour is all about enthusiasm. After all, when we have honour, we do the right things because we feel passionate about doing them—it’s a “privilege or a pleasure”. We don’t do them because we feel we should. We do them because we genuinely want to, and we genuinely care.

But when we’re doing the right thing, we’re doing our duty. An attitude of honour gives us the motivation to do it enthusiastically, without complaint. And that’s where the connection lies.

When I first started building my business, Lana and I spent a lot of time talking to and learning from Orrin and Laurie Woodward, and a number of others. These people unselfishly gave us their time and their experience, helping us to build a successful future for our family.

As we began to experience success, we felt an overwhelming sense of respect and honour towards these people—not only because they helped when we needed them, but also because they were a big factor in our success. We’re grateful to them.

In the military, we placed great importance on honouring the people who earned our respect. The people who paved the road ahead of us with hard work, bravery, and loyalty. The people who cared so much about doing their duty that they were willing to give their lives for their cause. We spend time learning about these men and women, and we honour them as much as we can.

Unfortunately, this kind of honour is often missing in business and family, even when it is well deserved. I’ll never forget the sacrifices that Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady made so that I could be successful. And whenever I can, I make an effort to show them how grateful I am. That’s honour.

Honourable Mentions

 

A few months ago I outlined eight strengths that will change your life. Those strengths were attitude, courage, character, duty, honour, relationships, passion, and tenacity. Each one of these strengths is critical to your success, and each one is linked in some way to all of the others. Without courage, you don’t have character. A bad attitude could mean you’re neglecting your duty. And without honour, all of these strengths could be in jeopardy. Today, I’m going to start writing about honour, and what it truly means.

Duty and honour are especially closely linked. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the modern English word duty originally came from the Latin word debutus, which means “to owe”. The word honour came from the Latin word honerum, which means “dignity, reputation, chastity, virtue, courtesy, and distinction”.

But let’s step away from the linguistics and look at how various people showed and talked about honour throughout history:

Christopher Columbus: Columbus is one of my personal heroes. Not only did he travel across the ocean to discover a new land, he did it without a map, on simple faith that eventually, he would reach safety. It’s hard to take risks—it’s scary and it’s a lot of work—but Columbus knew there was something that needed to be found, and despite the challenges, he went out and found it.

Mortimer Adler: This man was an American philosopher, educator, and author. Besides writing a long list of works on everything from education and capitalism to ethics and the arts, he also co-founded the Center for the Study of Great Ideas, which aims to encourage everyday people to realize the importance of philosophy. He explained the difference between duty and honour by putting it this way: “Duty usually involves obligations to others, but a man’s sense of honor may lead him to act in a certain way though the good of no other is involved. To maintain self-respect, he must respect a standard of conduct which he has set for himself.” And based on his body of work, I suspect Adler held himself to a very strict code of conduct.

Lester Pearson: The Prime Minister who brought in Canada’s universal healthcare, the Canada Pension Plan, and the 40-hour workweek was no stranger to honour and duty. In Canada’s centennial year, he wrote some profound words that expressed the sense of honour that he wanted the country to uphold: “Our national condition is still flexible enough that we can make almost anything we wish with our nation. No other country is in a better position than Canada to go ahead with the evolution of a national purpose devoted to all that is good and noble and excellent in the human spirit.”

These are just a few examples of the people I admire for their sense of honour. But I want to hear from you. Who is the most honourable person you know. Why? 

How to Do Your Duty

If you’ve been following my blog, then you’ve spent plenty of time reading about duty. I’ve written a lot about the theory and history of duty, and my last post explained why it’s critical for you to find your life’s purpose and do your duty. But none of that will do you any good unless you know how to do your duty. Today’s post will point you in the right direction.

Step One: Build strength

When it comes to doing your duty, you can’t be hesitant. You need to act with confidence and precision. But before you can do that, you need to know what your purpose is. Otherwise, you’ll feel indecisive and weak—exactly what you don’t want when you’re trying to make an impact in the world. So spend time getting to know yourself better. Once you understand what you were put on this earth to do, it will be easier to focus on the task at hand. Abraham Lincoln once said: “Let us have the faith that might makes right; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” 

Step Two: Build your confidence

Once you’ve found your purpose, you need to learn as much as you can about it. Whether it’s a business idea or a desire to build a family, start by talking to other likeminded people, reading books, listening to audios, and taking courses. Immerse yourself in it. Because the more you understand your goal and everything about it, the more confidence you’ll have when it’s time to do your duty. And that’s important—because confidence drives action.

Seems simple, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. But it doesn’t mean it will be easy. As I wrote in Toughen Up, “We have to strive for it, work for it, and settle for nothing less than real excellence. Never let convenience or any other distractions get in the way. That’s toughness. And it’s our duty.”

Step Three: Build your plan

Imagine that you’re building a new home. But your contractor tells you that since they have the materials and the skills, they don’t need a blueprint. They’ll just design your house as they go. You probably wouldn’t have a lot of confidence in them, would you? After all, building a house without a plan just doesn’t make sense.

It’s the same when it comes to doing your duty. You may have confidence and strength, but without a plan, it’s easy to get confused and make poor choices. Plus, putting a plan on paper makes your life’s purpose real. It will bring you clarity and it will make it easier to gather people who will work with you to achieve your duty.

Why not sit down and write your plan today?

Your Duty Matters

 

On my blog, I write a lot about the concept of duty. I’ve written about why we should do it, I’ve looked at how it’s changed throughout history, and I’ve discussed convenience and excellence—the two major internal cultures that every individual has to choose between. But today, I want to tell you what duty means to me.

When I toughen up, I’m doing my duty. When I choose excellence over convenience, I’m doing my duty. When I’m doing my very best, living my life’s purpose, and achieving my potential, I’m doing my duty. Why? Because we’re all connected, and we all have our jobs to do. Each one of us has something very specific that no one else in the world can do in quite the same way. If we don’t do that task to the best of our ability, if we decide to make excuses when the going gets tough, we let everyone down. As author and pastor Mark Batterson once said, “Uniqueness isn’t a virtue, it’s a responsibility.”

When I was still working as a military diver, it was my buddies’ responsibility to look out for me. And I did the same for them. In the military, the way you do your duty could mean the difference between life and death. Thankfully, they did their duty, and as a result, I’m writing this blog post today.

The story of Paul Kariya’s winning goal in the 2003 Stanley Cup finals is one of my favourite examples of a man who’s done his duty. According to the Calgary Herald, he took a major blow to the head at the hands of Scott Stevens. He was taken off to the dressing room for first aid, and everyone assumed he was out for the game. To the crowd’s astonishment, he came back out onto the ice and scored the winning goal. He did his duty at a time when everyone would have completely understood if he’d decided to bow out.

Now think about your life’s purpose. Are you working towards it? Have you chosen a culture of excellence? Because if you aren’t, the world is missing out on whatever it is you do best. It may not be a matter of life and death (although it’s possible that it is), but it will still make a difference to someone. As I wrote in Toughen Up, “We’re all worse off because some people choose convenience over excellence in their lives. And we’re all better off because some people have chosen to do their best, to live their life purpose to its fullest.” American president Theodore Roosevelt put it like this: “The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, safety first instead of duty first, and love of soft living…”

It’s probably not your life’s duty to score the winning goal in the Stanley Cup finals. But maybe it is. Or maybe it’s your duty to be a patient parent, even when you’re exhausted. Or to build a business that helps others. Whatever your duty is, will you tough it out when you’re on your last legs? I hope so. After all, everyone else is counting on you.

Enjoy your weekend!

Claude

LIFE on LIFE teams up with Literacy Nova Scotia

Hi everyone!

I hope your new year is off to a great start. I know mine is!

CYSnxlvWYAAcjnQ

ME WITH JAYNE HUNTER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT LITERACY NOVA SCOTIA

On Saturday, January 9, the LIFE on LIFE Initiative teamed up with Literacy Nova Scotia to host the inaugural book packing and delivery event. Over 2,000 books were donated by First Book Canada, a nonprofit organization. Through LIFE on LIFE donations and volunteer work, we were able to cover the shipping and delivery costs. Members of both the local and LIFE community came out to help prepare the books for delivery. Books were each labeled with a LNS sticker, and LNS bookmarks and activity books were added to each delivery box. Afterward, fifteen drivers delivered the books to locations across Nova Scotia—from Yarmouth to Cape Breton and everywhere in between! Literacy Nova Scotia shared an awesome video that highlights some key aspects of the event.

12400573_10207458284631283_3357544748502880394_n

DARREN FISHER, MATT WHITMAN, BILL HORN, DARRELL SAMSON

Journalists and news crews from Global and CBC also showed up. It’s so great to see the public support for such an important cause as it helps to shine a light on the value of family literacy.

Some local politicians attended the event as well: HRM Deputy Mayor Matt Whitman, Councillor in HRM District 13; Darrell Samson, MP Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook; and Darren Fisher, MP Dartmouth-Cole Harbour all made an appearance. Bill Horne, MLA Waverly-Fall River-Beaverbank, attended as well, representing the province on behalf of the premier;

In addition to the book delivery, over fifty event attendees registered to be members of Literacy Nova Scotia, many of whom also included donations with their membership fees. If you want to become a LNS member, you can sign up here for just five dollars!

I’m so grateful to all who participated in the event, especially the drivers. It couldn’t have happened without your support. I’m so passionate about literacy, and I really believe it begins at home, so I couldn’t be more thrilled with how well Saturday went. This event is just the beginning, and I’m looking forward to a long relationship with Literacy Nova Scotia. Together we can bring change!

Family Literacy Day is January 27, and I can’t wait to celebrate with my boys and some of our favorite books. What do you have planned for Family Literacy Day?

Claude

New Year’s Wisdom From a Six-Year-Old

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a great Christmas with your family and friends. Another year has already come and gone, and what a great year it was!

Recently my friend Phil Wall shared a video on his Facebook page of his six-year-old daughter, Manaia, talking about how successful babies are! I was so impressed by Manaia’s speech that I’ve shared the video on my YouTube channel for you to watch below.

Manaia is exactly right—adults need to pick themselves up just the way babies do. When they fall—or fail—they need to get right back up, and they, too, can be just as successful. Life, and time, brings with it many changes and bumps along the road, but it’s important we never give up. We all have to embrace our “inner baby” and just keep picking ourselves back up.

It’s amazing how kids pick up on what they see, hear, and are exposed to in the household. Manaia’s evidently been listening to the LIFE Leadership audio CDs!

As we say goodbye to 2015 this week, we should all go into the New Year with Manaia’s attitude, and may 2016 be our most successful yet!

Claude

Supporting Literacy Nova Scotia

Hey everyone!

Recently I shared the amazing news that LIFE Leadership’s LIFE on LIFE initiative is teaming up with Literacy Nova Scotia. This is exciting because it not only allows me to pursue my personal passion for education and literacy, but it is also helping my provincial community, which is incredibly important.

claude 2

Presenting Jayne Hunter and Marie David with a cheque for $11,000.

The LIFE on LIFE Initiative takes a portion of the profit from each LIFE subscription. The first organization supported by this initiative, Triangle Literacy, is in North Carolina, where our head office is also located. Since the start, we’ve known we want to branch out our funding, so I’m incredibly excited to announce this partnership with Literacy Nova Scotia. Last week I presented Jayne Hunter and Marie David of Literacy NS with a cheque for $11,000. This money will help provide brand new Disney books to families all across Nova Scotia, just in time for Family Literacy Day on January 27.

CTDwTThUkAA8d8b

Why is supporting literacy important to you?

It’s been great to see everyone’s support across social media thus far. The first week of November marked Literacy Action Week, and my newsfeed was filled with your selfies telling me why literacy matters to you. I compiled all the #LAW2015 photos and shared them on Flickr, so if you missed the posts, be sure to check it out!

As time goes on, there will be more ways to get involved with Literacy Nova Scotia, including donation and volunteer opportunities. In the meantime, you can follow Literacy NS on Twitter and like their account on Facebook for updates. You can also become a Literacy NS member for just five dollars! Members are able to vote at the Literacy NS Annual General Meeting, and your voice adds to the advancement of all levels of adult literacy in NS.

I’ll continue to share updates on my Facebook and Twitter as this partnership continues!

Share in the comments below why literacy matters to you!

Have a great week!

Claude Hamilton

LIFE on LIFE supports Literacy Nova Scotia

Hi everyone!
On Monday, the LIFE Leadership blog shared an exciting post announcing the recent donation we made to Literacy Nova Scotia. On November 23, I was able to present Jayne Hunter and Marie David of Literacy NS with a cheque for $11,000! It was such a great feeling to know that the money from the LIFE on LIFE Initiative is being put toward such a great cause. Literacy NS is a powerful organization and I’m confident the money we have donated, and continue to donate, will be used to have a positive impact on our local community.
You can read the original post below.
Thanks!
Claude

Life Leadership Makes Large Contribution to Literacy Nova Scotia

BY

“Literacy is one of the greatest gifts a person can receive.” – Jen Selinsky

Life Leadership‘s Life on Life Initiative has inspired thousands of people to give back to organizations that support underprivileged and disenfranchised members of society. Life Leadership Members have been getting involved in unique and creative ways, some through community service outreach programs and others by organizing events that provide necessities such as food, clothing and hygiene items. As part of Life Leadership’s corporate Life on Life Initiative, CEO Chris Brady announced that the company would be contributing funds on a monthly basis to qualifying literacy centers in the company’s various markets at the rate of $1 donated for each Life Leadership subscription.

In August of 2015, Chris Brady and COO Rob Hallstrand presented the first check totaling over $11,000 to the Triangle Literacy Council in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since then, several other literacy programs have benefited financially from these corporate contributions. In fact, this literacy initiative even inspired Life Leadership co-founder, Claude Hamilton, to get involved.

Life Leadership Corporate

Hamilton stated recently that he is so passionate about literacy that he has decided to personally contribute time, money and influence to support the cause. That’s when he sought out Literacy Nova Scotia – a non-profit charitable organization that provides services to ensure that all Nova Scotians have equal access to quality literacy, essential skills and lifelong learning opportunities.

During the first week of November, Hamilton and several of his teammates participated in Literacy Action Week in order to help raise awareness on the importance of literacy.

In working closely with Literacy Nova Scotia, Hamilton realized how much good they were doing to support and promote literacy that on November 23rd, 2015, he presented the first check to the organization – totaling $11,000. This donation was just a portion of the funds provided by Life Leadership as part of the company’s corporate Life on Life Initiative.

“Life Leadership is delighted to be able to provide funding to the very important fight to improve literacy in Canada. We are honored to be able to contribute and hope this is only the beginning of a huge difference we can make together!” – Chris Brady

Life Leadership Corporate

Claude Hamilton presenting the first donation to Marie David and Jayne Hunter of Literacy Nova Scotia

Check out this highlight video of the partnership between Life Leadership and Literacy Nova Scotia:

Life Leadership has already poured tens of thousands of dollars into various literacy programs for its Life on Life Initiative; however, what’s even more exciting is the ripple effect that is already being felt all over North America. We are so thankful for the leadership of co-founder, Claude Hamilton, for actively carrying the torch to improve literacy in Nova Scotia in order to make an even bigger difference for those who need help functioning in society.

Why is literacy important to you? Please be sure to leave a comment below!

“Robbed” – Claude Hamilton

Hey everyone,

We recently held a few LIFE leadership conventions across the country. When I was speaking in Springfield, MA., I read the poem “Robbed.” I’ve had quite a few requests to share the poem online, so I’ve decided to post it on my blog for those of you who may have missed the convention, and for those who just want another look.

The poem has such an important message about how dangerous nay-sayers can be. It’s not the physical threats that pose a risk to us, but instead those who threaten our emotional well-being and our drive to work toward a better future.

Do you relate to this poem? Don’t forget to leave your comments below.

Remember, it can be done.

Claude Hamilton

c7bcebc8-2fe1-43cd-bdc5-78fb34a438fc

“Robbed” – Author Unknown

 

Supporting Literacy with LIFE on LIFE

Hi everyone!

Many of you have heard of the LIFE on LIFE initiative we have launched at the LIFE corp. I’m very excited about this and wanted to give you some insight on how I’m working it into my life. In 2007, when I became business partners with Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady I learned they had a charitable foundation called All Grace Outreach.

All Grace Outreach is a Christian charitable organization committed to helping those in need. Its main focus is spreading the gospel throughout the world, and helping abused, abandoned, and distressed children and widows.

When I first began donating, I did it in small amounts. At first, I just gave on Sunday mornings at the denominational services we have at our Leadership Conventions. As time went on, I became increasingly interested in giving and serving more. As I learned more about Orrin and Chris, I continued to believe in who they were and what they believed.

A few years ago, I was asked to sit on the board at AGO and take some responsibility for dispersing funds. I take this obligation seriously and am diligent about who I give money to. Recently the AGO board members realized that the AGO could do more and serve more if it had someone to drive it forward. At the time we were coming to this realization, Chris Swanson popped up. I will do another blog post just on Chris in the next few days, but in short, he is amazing and will do amazing things for AGO. I feel great being apart of the AGO and hope to continue to be allowed to serve on its board.

Over the years, I have given money to many different causes, with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes the right person asked, and other times my heart was feeling generous, whether it was sponsoring local hockey teams or slipping some cash to a teenage couple that was surprised with the news they were pregnant. Sometimes it was faith-based, like local churches or mission trips and sometimes it wasn’t faith based at all, like kids showing up at my door to be sponsored or to sell apples or cookies. I have a rule of thumb, if a kid knocks at my door, I buy everything they are selling!

As I sit here and write this, I’m actually remembering all the places people or causes I have given money to, and in a selfish prideful moment, I’m feeling kind of proud of it. I have never actually sat down and made a list or tried to remember them all, but as I sit here now and make a mental list, I am mildly impressed with myself. That said, I wasn’t very organized in how I gave—I just gave.

I also really developed a preference for giving anonymously. I don’t know why I took a fondness to it so much. It just feels great giving and not expecting any glory or anything in return. The second best is giving and only you and the people you’re giving to know. I like the feeling I get when I give and very few people know. It’s almost like its proof that I’m doing it for the right reasons. I’m in no way trying to highlight my charitable history, but instead am trying to outline how I’ve given in the past—with no real direction.

Every year, my wife, Lana, likes to participate in an Angel Tree program. The Angel Tree program is run across the globe, with many different local sponsors. Its aim is to supply gifts and food bank supplies to children and adults during the holiday season. When you select an “angel,” you are given the age and gender of the child or adult you have chosen to shop for, so you can try to make the gift as personal as possible. The Enfield Angel Tree Food Bank runs an Angel Tree program, if you’re in the Nova Scotia area in looking to find out more. 

Lana’s contribution to the Angel Tree program started when we were incredibly broke. We didn’t buy gifts for each other for many years, but she would take a couple of the Angel Tree angels and buy gifts for a few kids. It started with one, then a few, and I think this year she will do over one hundred children. She makes it a lot of fun and takes some of our friends along with her. They’re all so excited to buy gifts for children that they will never meet.

I envied the simplicity and impact of her effort, and I tried to do a few things like it. I wanted to buy turkeys and give them to families in need during the holidays, but you wouldn’t believe the red tape involved in that. Next, I decided I would roam the supermarkets the weeks before Christmas and buy groceries for people when they approached the till. (I was asked to leave a few stores.) Last year, while I was driving with Wyatt to buy gifts for his Mom, I saw people on the sidewalks asking for spare change. I looked at Wyatt and started pulling up beside anyone I saw begging and gave them each a 50-dollar bill. It was a rush, but I saw many leave their corner almost immediately. Hopefully they went for a meal or warmer clothing, but I suspect some of them went to buy drugs or alcohol.

Essentially, I haven’t been that organized when giving money away. I thought about starting my own charitable organization like my friend Tim Marks did in Haiti, but it seemed like a lot of work that someone could de better and more efficiently then I could. Plus, though Tim handles his charity with class and no ego and its his personal passion, I saw many other people who were seeking glory more for themselves than to really make a difference; I didn’t want that accusation ever leveled at me.

With AGO, I feel like I am doing the Lord’s work. That said, I feel as I’ve been blessed so much that I still have more privilege to give. My sons are two and four, and they will grow up with a blessed life, but I want to teach them to work, not to earn, but to work to learn and to work to serve.

By setting this as an example, and by serving others, it teaches the principles I want them to learn. The only problem was, though I knew I wanted to serve and contribute, I didn’t yet have a cause that stirred my soul.

I sit in my office, surrounded by all the books I have read. I don’t like putting books on my shelf I haven’t read. So if you see it on my shelf, I have read that book. I humbly acknowledge the impact that associating myself with all these magnificent authors has had on me. I know that I get to live the lifestyle I have today, and provide for my family the way I can because of what I have learned reading over the years.

I always believed that a man who can read and doesn’t is as disadvantaged as the man who cannot read. With that thought, my heart began to stir and I realized I had found a cause I could pour my heart and soul (and effort and money) into.

I quickly called Chris and Orrin and began asking them questions about how to go about chasing this new dream. To my surprise, the same thoughts had been brewing in their minds. LIFE helps a small hard working group of focused people create financial freedom. We help the majority of people get debt free and lead better lives, but we were missing the disenfranchised and disadvantaged. After discussing this, the founders decided the literacy cause lined up with our core values and also was in line with what we do at LIFE. We want to give back in the markets we operate in, not just with AGO, but also in a way that helped anyone from any belief system, race, ethnic group, etc.

We started taking a portion of the profit from each LIFE subscription and putting it towards supporting LIFE on LIFE. The first organization we supported was in North Carolina where our head office is located. Now we are ready to branch out.

I am excited to support this as a LIFE founder, of course. I’m ready to collaborate with organizations and utilize LIFE resources to serve and make the biggest impact possible. I am also excited to personally contribute my time, money, and influence to support this cause.

In the Nova Scotia area, we are thrilled to announce that we’ll be contributing and supporting Literacy Nova Scotia.

The goal of Literacy Nova Scotia is to “work to ensure that all Nova Scotians have equal access to quality literacy, essential skills, and lifelong learning opportunities.”

Literacy Nova Scotia has a respect for all its members of learning communities. They are actively moving forward to help these learners reach their goals and fulfill their potential. They’re ready to help all learners, and they respect individuality, culture, and diversity.

They’re responsible with their funds, and I feel confident that by donating to Literacy Nova Scotia, we can help to make a difference in our local area.

This week, November 1-7, is Literacy Action Week. During this week, there are information sessions and other activities held across NS. In addition, literacy-related meetings are held with government officials. The goal of this week is to share information and support adult literacy across our province and local communities.

CTDwTThUkAA8d8bYou can find out more information about Literacy Action Week on Literacy Nova Scotia’s website.

In addition, you can contribute to Literacy Action Week’s social media awareness by posting a selfie with the Literacy Action Week poster.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #LIFEonLIFE, #LiteracyChangesLives, and #LAW2015 so that we can see your pictures! You can tag me on Twitter and Facebook, and be sure to tag and follow Literacy Nova Scotia, as well.

I’ll be posting another blog in the coming days, which will give you more information on Literacy Nova Scotia and the awesome impact they’ve had in NS.

Claude