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6 Life Lessons From Fast and Furious 6

fast 6 2This past Friday, my father-in-law came into town and we decided to have a fellas afternoon out. It consisted of lunch and a matinee viewing of Fast and Furious 6. This movie won’t disappoint moviegoers as it’s fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline rushing, with a great plot and some moments that will make you jump along the way.

Fast and Furious 6 has a stronger moral message than its predecessors. Don’t get me wrong this movie is no G-Rated production; however it does hold true to it’s PG-13 rating some language, bikinis and violence. Outside of some unrealistic moments, which are to be expected Fast and Furious 6 was a great movie with some great lessons. Below are 6 Life Lessons From Fast and Furious 6.

6 Life Lessons From Fast and Furious 6

  • 1. You Don’t Turn Your Back On Family – This was an early quote from Torreto that really set the tone for the entire movie. Good, Bad or Ugly… family is family, don’t turn your back on them. Remember: Some friends are as much family as your biological family 
  • 2. If You Want To Hunt Wolves You Must Have Wolves – This may not be a direct and accurate quote from Torreto; however it was something to that affect. The bottom line is sometimes you have to have the rough and tough to catch the rough and tough, a killer instinct to catch a killer instinct, a former lost person to reach the lost, someone who has been there and done that to help someone that is there and is doing that.
  • 3. We All Have A Weak Spot – This quote from Shaw illustrates that we all have a weak spot, no matter how good we are, how tough we are, how great we are… we all have a weak spot and we all have room for improvement.
  • 4. There Is Never “Nothing,” there is always “Something” – This quote from Luke Hobbs (aka The Rock) illustrates that there is always something happening. Sometimes we can’t see it, smell it, hear it or even feel it happening, but something is happening. In the quietest of moments something is happening. When you think nothing is going on, remember something is going on. When you think that nothing is working, remember something is working. When you think nothing is going your way, remember something is about to breakthrough.
  • 5. No One Makes Me Do Anything, I Do What I Want To Do – This quote by “Letty” has a powerful and truthful message. There is power in embracing that you are responsible for your own actions and decisions. Often times people try to put the blame on everyone else instead of looking in the mirror. You will often hear comments like “The devil or so and so made me do it.” Stop giving the devil and “so and so” so much credit and take responsibility. No one makes you do anything; you do what you want to.
  • 6. Thank God For Family – This was a really nice moment was at the end of the movie when the crew was gathered together at a modest old house in Los Angeles sitting around the table holding hands and about to say grace before their meal. One of the first words out of Roman’s mouth was Thank God For Family. He went on to say thanks for fast cars. This moment is a great reminder that no matter how much we thank God; we still have not thanked Him enough.

Just as in life if you want to find some great lessons from Fast and Furious 6, all you have to do is look, they are right there on the big screen. The movie is a fast and furious ride on the streets of life. The journey gives us some insight as to the importance of family, the virtue of loyalty, the value of life, the ideal of putting others before yourself and the understanding that fighting for something greater than yourself is awesome.

What life lessons did you learn from Fast and Furious 6? Do any of these 6 lessons resonate with you?

Why You’re Held Hostage To Envy


Hostage – Envy from Nick Jones on Vimeo.

Currently, I’m working on a project that deals with the correctional system. This takes me back to my old days as a Prison Warden and reminded of this video that I shot in one of the facilities that I previously operated.

Are you held hostage to envy?

Stop Trying So Hard!

I learned very early on as a leader the importance of simplicity and the importance of not trying so hard.  When I was a Prison Warden over 10 years ago, I remember having regular meetings with my key staff to discuss what could be done to simplify their job and to encourage them to stop trying so hard.  Many times the answers to the simplicity question would be things such as: minimizing paperwork, reducing bureaucratic log jams, streamlining of central office vs. prison facility processes…

On the other hand it seemed to take more time for them to understand the concept of “not trying so hard.” Often times they felt as though the inmates would respond better if they were “over the top” or their supervisors would notice them if they tried really hard.  They had to learn the difference between being a hard working, get er’ done, follow the rules and do what’s right type of employee and an employee that simply tried way too hard.  The reality was the employees that tried way too hard were the ones that caused most of the problems in our prison facility.

I’ve always valued cultures of simplicity and not trying so hard.  I also value cultures of high performance and although people may think the two are mutually exclusive, high performance and lack of the over the top “trying so hard” go hand in hand.  High performance and doing what’s right, the right way will begin to come natural.  Just think how natural it feels when the Chick-fil-A employees greet you with a smile and a “My Pleasure.”

When the leader falls into the “Trying Too Hard” category, it creates problems for everyone.  Relax, chill and Stop Trying So Hard!  The people that you are trying to impress can see right through that mess. Focus on creating a culture of Simplicity & Not Trying So Hard.

Some examples of ways to create a culture of simplicity and not trying so hard can include:

  • Stop trying so hard and making everything a”Big Deal.”
  • Help “over-the-top” employees find an appropriate balance.
  • Avoiding knee jerk reactions.
  • Embracing the “5 Minute 5 Phone Calls” concept.
  • Allowing your team to have some space, allowing your team to do their job. (Avoid Micromanagement)
  • Reducing the amount of paperwork, steps, hoops, processes…
  • Creating a culture of healthy conflict and the minimization of drama.

Share your thoughts, experiences, opinions on the importance of Simplicity and Trying Too Hard.  How have you seen either side of this coin play out positive or negative?

Why Most Leadership Stress Is Self-Induced

As a leader it’s important to set the tone for your team or organization, especially as it relates to handling difficult or crisis situations.  If the leader wigs out, stresses out, worries or has a heart attack during high stress or crisis situations; there will always be undertones of that stress transferred to the rest of the team.

As you can imagine running a prison presents the daily opportunity for high stress, crisis and potentially life & death situations.  During my tenure as a young prison Warden, I realized that Most Leadership Stress Was Self-Induced.  I had the personal choice of whether or not I allowed events or people to stress me out.  I would watch the previous Warden get stressed out by the most trivial things.  Realizing that it was up to me, I developed philosophy and mindset to handle these potentially high stress or crisis situations.

The philosophy was simply this,  “There is nothing that we can’t begin to fix in 5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls.”    I trained my Chief of Security and my Officers to not sweat the small stuff and embrace the fact that crisis situations will happen… it’s not about the situation it’s about how you handle the situation.

If there was a full-blown prison riot the process within the first 5 Minutes would be to make the following 5 Phone Calls:

  • Call Local Law Enforcement
  • Call Me “The Warden”
  • Call The Department of Corrections Liaison
  • Call Vice President of Operations
  • Call Media/PR Representative

This mindset puts all situations, including crisis situation into perspective.   The bottom line is that we will face problems and potentially stressful situations on a regular basis.  It doesn’t matter if the problem that we face is work related or personal, what matters is there is the beginning to a solution around the corner.  Stop Wiggin’ Out, Tell Your Boss To Stop Wiggin’ Out and embrace the fact that every situation, including Life & Death one’s can begin the “fixing process” in 5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls.

Once a leader comes to the realization that Most Leadership Stress Is Self-Induced, they can embody Albert Einstein’s version of 5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls. Einstein says it this way, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

It’s not that serious, STOP STRESSING!

What do you think?  Share your thoughts on “5 Minutes & 5 Phone Calls” and your personal experiences with how leaders handle stressful situations.

Creating A Culture Of Simplicity

I learned very early on as a leader the importance of simplicity.  When I was a Warden in the Prison system, I would periodically have meetings with my key staff to discuss what could be done to simplify their job.  Many times the answers to the simplicity question would be things such as: minimizing paperwork, reducing bureaucratic log jams, freedom (not inmate freedom, but freedom from their immediate supervisor), streamlining of central office vs. prison facility processes etc.

I’ve always valued simplicity and have embraced the gravity of creating a culture of simplicity; both at home and at work.  A culture of simplicity can include but is not limited to:

  • Stop trying so hard and making everything a “Big Deal.”
  • Avoiding knee jerk reactions.
  • Embracing the “5 Minute 5 Phone Calls” concept.
  • Outline clear expectations and expect things do be executed. (Follow-up, Don’t follow around. See Next Bullet point)
  • Allowing your team to have some space, allowing your team to do their job. (Avoid Micromanagement)
  • Reducing the amount of paperwork, steps, hoops, processes…
  • Realize that “Meetings Don’t Make You Better.”
  • Creating a culture of healthy conflict and the minimization of drama.

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)…  Stop trying so hard and embrace “Simplicity.”

Simple People+Simple Culture+Great Leadership=Colossal Results!  BigIsTheNewSmall

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. Leonardo da Vinci

Share your thoughts, experiences, opinions on the importance of Simplicity or the lack of.  What are you doing or what have you seen done to create a culture of Simplicity?

The Stress Of Leadership Is Self-Induced

As a leader it’s important to set the tone for your team or organization, especially as it relates to handling difficult or crisis situations.  If the leader wigs out, stresses out, worries or has a heart attack during high stress or crisis situations; there will always be undertones of that stress transferred to the rest of the team.

As you can imagine running a prison presents the daily opportunity for high stress, crisis and potentially life & death situations.  During my tenure as a young prison Warden, I realized that The Stress Of Leadership Is Self-Induced.  I had the personal choice of whether or not I allowed events or people to stress me out.  I would watch the previous Warden get stressed out by the most trivial things.  Realizing that it was up to me, I developed philosophy and mindset to handle these potentially high stress or crisis situations.

The philosophy was simply this,  “There is nothing that we can’t begin to fix in 5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls.”    I trained my Chief of Security and my Officers to not sweat the small stuff and embrace the fact that crisis situations will happen… it’s not about the situation it’s about how you handle the situation.

If there was a full-blown prison riot the process within the first 5 Minutes would be to make the following 5 Phone Calls:

  • Call Local Law Enforcement
  • Call Me “The Warden”
  • Call The Department of Corrections Liaison
  • Call Vice President of Operations
  • Call Media/PR Representative

This mindset puts all situations, including crisis situation into perspective.   The bottom line is that we will face problems and potentially stressful situations on a regular basis.  It doesn’t matter if the problem that we face is work related or personal, what matters is there is the beginning to a solution around the corner.  Stop Wiggin’ Out, Tell Your Boss To Stop Wiggin’ Out and embrace the fact that every situation, including Life & Death one’s can begin the “fixing process” in 5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls.

Once a leader comes to the realization that The Stress Of Leadership Is Self-Induced, they can embody Albert Einstein’s version of 5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls. Einstein says it this way, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

What do you think?  Share your thoughts and experiences of how leaders handle stressful situations.

Perception Is Not Always Reality!

perception-is-realityLESSON I LEARNED IN PRISON: “PERCEPTION IS NOT ALWAYS REALITY”

Another lesson that I learned during my tenure as a Prison Warden.

Many times people will use the phrase “Perception is Reality” or “Perception Becomes Reality” which is true in some cases; however “Perception Is Not Always Reality.”  One of the most common perceptions about prison is the old “Soap on a Rope” or “Big Bubba or Ben Dover” is going to get you. In other words, many people think that if you go to prison that you are going to get raped.

I am here to tell you that perception is not always reality.  There are definitely situations in prison where inmates are raped and even murdered; however that is the exception and not the rule.  Similar to the economy of scale applied to outside of the prison walls; you can be raped and murdered in the “Free World.”  There are plenty of willing participants behind the walls, that inmates generally don’t have to force themselves. Here are a few more prison perceptions that are not always reality:

  • Murderers are always the “Mean & Scary guys” (Many times, not the case.)
  • If someone is behind bars they can’t continue to commit crimes (There are networks of criminal behavior behind the prison walls, just as there are in the free world.  You give an idle mind and Satan a bunch of free time… Watch Out!)
  • “They are just claiming God because they are in prison.”  (Many times we have to find ourselves like Jonah, before we get it… remember these guys/gals are no different than many of us, they just happened to get caught.)

What are some perceptions that are not always reality that we face: I’m not good enough, I can’t do this because I’m a female, We will never get out of debt,  I’m to young, I will always be single, I couldn’t be a pastor, My business won’t be successful, You can’t shake that addiction, I will always be single, My marriage can’t be restored… the list goes on and on.  How many times have your perceptions been wrong about others and other’s perception been wrong about you?  Too Many Times!

Don’t settle for perceptions, because the reality is Perception Is Not Always Reality.  “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.” ~Albert Einstein

What are some other perceptions that you have about prison?  What are some perceptions that you have overcome as not being reality?  Share your thoughts on Perception vs. Reality!

Put Some Water On It!

toiletI spent a number of years in the prison system and the majority of those years were spent as serving as a warden.  During my tenure working with inmates, families and correctional officers, I learned many great life lessons.  One lesson that I learned was “Put Some Water On It.”  This was a commonly used phrase in prison and the short and skinny of what “Put Some Water On It” means is as follows: When an individual is using the bathroom; specifically the Number 2 other inmates will yell or politely say “Put Some Water On It.” 

Generally inmates share a toilet in a small 8×10 cell, or the bathroom is located in a common area and “Putting Some Water On It” refers to flushing the toilet during a bile movement.  Not only flushing but specifically flushing after each plop.  I know that’s (TMI) too much information and (TG) too graphic; however I want you to get the picture.  Putting some water on it will ensure that the number 2 doesn’t stink up an entire area; in other words inmates don’t want to smell others’ stinky poop if they can avoid it. 

Many times we have to smell others stinky poop: Bitterness, Jealousy, Gossiping, Envy, Addictions, Pride, Insecurities, Anger, Lying… and it would be great If we could politely yell “Put Some Water On It!”  It gets old having to deal with other’s stinky poop; especially when all they have to do is flush.  Stop gossiping, stop lying, confess your addictions, humble yourself, get some accountability for your porn problem, get over your insecurities, stop wanting what other people have, get control of your debt… and “Put Some Water On It.”

I am all about helping people with their problem areas; because we all have them.  Sometimes people (me, you, and others) need to just “Put Some Water On It,” flush the stinky poop and stop letting it just sit in the toilet. 

Do you find yourself facing people and their situations and want to say “Put Some Water On It.”   Are there areas of your life in which you need to “Put Some Water On It?”  Honestly, do you just get sick and tired of stinky poop lingering in the toilet? 

Perception Is Not Always Reality

perception-is-realityLESSONS I LEARNED IN PRISON #3 “PERCEPTION IS NOT ALWAYS REALITY” 

Many times people will use the phrase “Perception is Reality” or “Perception becomes Reality” which is true in some cases; however “Perception Is Not Always Reality.”  One of the most common perceptions about prison is the old “Soap on a Rope” or “Big Bubba” is going to get you.  In other words, many people think that if you go to prison that you are going to get raped.   

I am here to tell you that perception is not always reality.  There are definitely situations in prison where inmates are raped and even murdered; however that is the exception and not the rule.  The same economy of scale applies to outside of the prison walls; you can be raped and murdered in the “Free World.”  There are plenty of willing participants behind the walls, that inmates generally don’t have to force themselves. Here are a few more prison perceptions that are not always reality:

  • Murderers are always the “Mean & Scary guys” (Many times, not the case.)

  • If someone is behind bars they can’t continue to commit crimes (There are networks of criminal behavior behind the prison walls, just as there are in the free world.  You give an idle mind and Satan a bunch of free time… Watch Out!)

  • “They are just claiming God because they are in prison.”  (Many times we have to find ourselves like Jonah, before we get it… remember these guys are no different than many of us, they just happened to get caught.)

What are some perceptions that are not always reality that we face: I’m not good enough, I can’t do this because I’m a female, we will never get out of debt,  I’m to young, I will always be single, I couldn’t be a pastor, my business won’t be successful, you can’t shake that addiction, my marriage can’t be restored….. 

PERCEPTION IS NOT ALAWYS REALITY! 

What are some other perceptions that you have about prison?  What are some perceptions that you have overcome as not being reality?  Do you have any other thoughts on Perception & Reality?

Put Some Water On It!

toilet-waterLESSONS I LEARNED IN PRISON #2 “PUT SOME WATER ON IT” 

A commonly used phrase in prison is “Put Some Water On It.”  Okay here is the short and skinny of what “Put Some Water On It” really means.  When an individual is using the bathroom; specifically the Number 2 other inmates will yell or politely say “Put Some Water On It.” 

Generally inmates share a toilet in a small 8×10 cell, or the bathroom is located in a common area and “Putting Some Water On It” refers to flushing the toilet during a bile movement.  Not only flushing but specifically flushing after each plop.  I know that’s (TMI) too much information; however I want you to get the picture.  Putting some water on it will ensure that the number 2 doesn’t stink up the rest of the area; in other words inmates don’t want to smell others’ stinky poop if they can avoid it. 

Many times we have to smell others stinky poop: Bitterness, Jealousy, Gossiping, Envy, Addictions, Pride, Insecurities, Anger, Lying… and just want to yell or politely say “Put Some Water On It!”  In other words people get sick of always having to deal with others stinky poop; especially when all they have to do is flush.  Stop gossiping, stop lying, confess your addictions, humble yourself, get some accountability for your porn problem, get over your insecurities, stop wanting what other people have, get control of your debt… and “Put Some Water On It.”

I am all about helping people with their problem areas; because we all have them.  Sometimes people (me, you, and others) need to just “Put Some Water On It,” flush the stinky poop and stop letting it just sit in the toilet. 

Do you find yourself facing people and their situations and want to say “Put Some Water On It.”   Are there areas of your life in which you need to “Put Some Water On It?”  Honestly, do you just get sick and tired of stinky poop lingering in the toilet? 

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