PurposeParts of our Organization Philosophy were derived from Toastmasters International. Other parts of our Organization Philosophy were derived from the BB&T Philosophy Web Page, which was in turn derived from the philosophy advanced in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged.
Sec. 1. VISION
Our Organization empowers people to achieve their full potential and realize their dreams. Through our Organization, people throughout central Florida can improve their thinking, communication and leadership skills and find the courage to change and grow.
Sec. 2. MISSION
The mission of this organization is to promote within our Culture Ayn Rand’s monumental philosophy of Objectivism—Reality, Reason, Rational Egoism, Laissez-Faire Capitalism, and Romantic Realism. This helps Members achieve success in thought, word and deed; Creates a place where Members can learn, grow and be fulfilled in their lives; Makes our Culture a better place to be; and thereby: Optimizes the long-term wellness of all Members.
Sec. 3. VALUES AND VIRTUES
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. --Aristotle
The great Greek philosophers saw values as guides to excellence in thinking and action. In this context, values are standards which we strive to achieve. Values are practical states of mind that enable us as individuals to live, be successful and achieve happiness. Our values enable us to achieve our mission and vision.
To be useful, values must be consciously held and be consistent (non-contradictory). Many people have conflicting values which prevent them from acting with clarity and self-confidence.
There are three cardinal VALUES and six corresponding cardinal Virtues in our Organization. Achievement of the VALUES requires aligning your behavior with the Virtues. These VALUES are consistent with one another and are integrated. To fully act in accordance with one of these Virtues, you must also act consistently with the other Virtues. Our focus on achieving VALUES through practice of the Virtues grows from our belief that ideas matter and that an individual’s character is of critical significance.
VALUES and Virtues are important for members of our Organization!
Our ultimate purpose is to create superior long-term life rewards for our Members.
This purpose is defined by the free market and is as it should be. Our Members provide the human capital that is necessary to make our Organization possible. They take the risk if the Organization is unsuccessful. They have the right to receive life rewards for the risk which they have undertaken.
However, our purpose, to create superior long-term life rewards for our Members, can only be accomplished by providing excellent service to our Members, as our Members are our source of revenues and activism.
To have excellent Member relations, we must have outstanding Leaders to serve our Members. To attract and retain outstanding Leaders, we must reward them intellectually and emotionally and create an environment where they can learn and grow.
Our self-growth results are significantly impacted by the benevolence of our Culture. The Culture's "quality of life" impacts its ability to attract new Members for growth.
Therefore, we manage our Organization in a long-term context, as an integrated whole, with the ultimate objective of rewarding the Members for their investment, while realizing that the cause of this result is quality Member service. Excellent service will be delivered by motivated Leaders working as an integrated team. These results will be impacted by our capacity to contribute to the growth and well-being of the Culture in which we live.
We are committed to being producers of intellectual wealth and well-being by taking the actions necessary to accomplish our mission. The tangible evidence of our productivity is that we have rationally allocated intellectual capital through our discussion process, and that we have provided needed services to our members in an efficient manner resulting in superior intellectual profitability.
Profitability is a measure of the differences in the economic value of the products/services we produce and the cost of producing these products/services. In a long-term context and in a free market, the bigger the profit, the better. This is true not only from our members’ perspective (which would be enough justification), but also in terms of the impact of our work on society as a whole. Healthy profits represent productive work. In our Organization, we are looking for people who want to create, to produce, and who are thereby committed to turning their thoughts into actions that improve intellectual well-being.
While independent thought and strong personal goals are critically important, our work is often accomplished within teams. Each of us must consistently act to achieve the agreed-upon objectives of the team, with respect for our fellow members, while acting in a mutually supportive manner.
Our work at this Organization can at times be so complex that it requires an integrated effort among many people to accomplish important tasks. While we are looking for self-motivated and independent thinking individuals, these individuals must recognize that some things at our Organization cannot be accomplished without the help of their team members. One of the responsibilities of leadership in our organization is to ensure that each individual is rewarded based on their contribution to the success of the total team. We need outstanding individuals working together to create an outstanding team.
To facilitate this teamwork requires the synergizing Virtue of Benevolence, which consists of three component Virtues:
Civility: We offer each other mutual respect and supportiveness.
Sensitivity: We strive to understand each other's context.
Generosity: We give each other the benefit of the doubt within the bounds of reason.
We expect our members to earn positive self-esteem from doing their work well. We expect and want our members to act in their rational, long-term self-interest. We want members who have strong personal goals and who expect to be able to accomplish their goals within the context of our mission.
A necessary attribute for self-esteem is self-motivation. We have a strong work ethic. We believe that you receive from your work in proportion to how much you contribute. If you do not want to work hard, work somewhere else.
While there are many trade-offs in the content of life, you need to be clear that our Organization is the best place, all things considered, for you to accomplish your long-term goals. When you know this, you can be more productive and happy.
Pride is the psychological reward we earn from living by our values, i.e., from being just, honest, having integrity, being an independent thinker, being productive and rational.
Aristotle believed that "earned" pride (not arrogance) was the highest of virtues, because it presupposed all the others. Striving for earned pride simply reinforces the importance of having high moral values.
Each of us must perform our work in a manner as to be able to be justly proud of what we have accomplished. Our Organization must be the kind of organization with which each member can be proud to be associated.
We help each member to master the six pillars of self-esteem to experience earned pride:
- Living Consciously: Each member learns to remain fully aware of the present moment.
- Living Purposefully: Each members seeks to reach his highest potential in a balanced fashion.
- Maintaining Integrity: Each member knows his principles and lives by them consistently.
- Self-Acceptance: Each members plants his feet firmly on the ground where he is while accepting that he has new places he desires to go.
- Self-Assertiveness: Each member honors himself and his values in thought, word and deed.
- Self-Responsibility: Only the individual member can take responsibility for his own destiny.
What is, is. If we want to be better, we must act within the context of reality (the facts). Businesses and individuals often make serious mistakes by making decisions based on what they "wish was so," or based on theories which are disconnected from reality. The foundation for quality decision making is a careful understanding of the facts.
There is a fundamental difference between the laws of nature (reality), which are immutable, and the man made. The law of gravity is the law of gravity. The existence of the law of gravity does not mean man can not create an airplane. However, an airplane must be created within the context of the law of gravity. In our Organization, we believe in being "reality grounded."
Mankind has a specific means of survival, which is his ability to think, i.e., his capacity to reason logically from the facts of reality as presented to his five senses. A lion has claws to hunt. A deer has swiftness to avoid the hunter. Man has his ability to think. There is only one "natural resource" — the human mind.
Clear thinking is not automatic. It requires intellectual discipline and begins with sound premises based on observed facts. You must be able to draw general conclusions in a rational manner from specific examples (induction) and be able to apply general principles to the solution of specific problems (deduction). You must be able to think in an integrated way, thereby avoiding logical contradictions.
We cannot all be geniuses, but each of us can develop the mental habits which ensure that when making decisions we carefully examine the facts and think logically without contradiction in deriving a conclusion. We must learn to think in terms of what is essential, i.e., about what is important. Our goal is to objectively make the best decision to accomplish our purpose.
Rational thinking is a learned skill which requires mental focus and a fundamental commitment to consistently improving the clarity of our mental processes. In our Organization, we are looking for people who are committed to constantly improving their ability to reason through their commitment to the Virtue of Rationality, which consists of four component Virtues:
All Members are challenged to use their individual minds to their optimum to make rational decisions. In this context, each of us is responsible for what we do and who we are. In addition, creativity is strongly encouraged and only possible with independent thought.
We learn a great deal from each other. Teamwork is important in our Organization (as we discussed earlier). However, each of us thinks alone. Our minds are not physically connected. In this regard, each of us must be willing to make an independent judgment of the facts based on our capacity to think logically. Just because the "crowd" says it is so, does not make it so.
In this context, each of us is responsible for our own actions. Each of us is responsible for our personal success or failure, i.e., it is not the Organization's fault if someone does not achieve his objectives.
All human progress by definition is based on creativity, because creativity is the source of positive change. Creativity is only possible to an independent thinker. Creativity is not about just doing something different. It is about doing something better. To be better, the new method/process must be judged by its impact on the whole organization, and as to whether it contributes to the accomplishment of our mission.
There is an infinite opportunity for each of us to do whatever we do better. A significant aspect of the self-fulfillment which work can provide comes from creative thought and action.
Because we have developed our principles logically, based on reality, we will always act consistently with our principles. Regardless of the short-term benefits, acting inconsistently with our principles is to our long-term detriment. We do not, therefore, believe in compromising our principles in any situation.
Principles provide carefully thought-out concepts which will lead to our long-term success and happiness. Violating our principles will always lead to failure. Our Organization is an organization of the highest integrity.
Being honest is simply being consistent with reality. To be dishonest is to be in conflict with reality, which is therefore self-defeating. A primary reason that individuals fail is because they become disconnected from reality, pretending that facts are other than they are.
To be honest does not require that we know everything. Knowledge is always contextual and man is not omniscient. However, we must be responsible for saying what we mean and meaning what we say.
Individuals should be evaluated and rewarded objectively (for better or worse) based on their contributions toward accomplishing our mission and adherence to our values. Those who contribute the most should receive the most.
The single most significant way in which members evaluate their peers is in determining whether the peer is just. Members become extremely unhappy (and rightly so) when they perceive that a person who is not contributing is over-rewarded or a strong contributor is under-rewarded.
If we do not reward those who contribute the most, they will leave and our organization will be less successful. Even more important, if there is no reward for superior performance, the average person will not be motivated to maximize his productivity.
We must evaluate whether the food we eat is healthy, the clothes we wear attractive, the car we drive functional, etc., and we must also evaluate whether relationships with other people are good for us or not.
In evaluating other people, it is critical that we judge based on essentials. In our Organization, we do not discriminate based on nonessentials such as race, sex, nationality, etc. We do discriminate based on competency, performance and character. We consciously reject egalitarianism and collectivism. Individuals must be judged individually based on their personal merits, not their membership in any group.
The Role of Emotions
Often people believe that making logical decisions means that we should be unemotional and that emotions are thereby unimportant. In fact, emotions are important. However, the real issue is how rational are our emotions. Emotions are mental habits which are often developed as children. Emotions give us automatic responses to people and events; these responses can either be very useful or destructive indicators. Emotions as such are not means of decision or of knowledge; the issue is: How were your emotions formed? The real question is: Are we happy when we should be happy, and unhappy when we should be unhappy, or are we unhappy when we should be happy?
Emotions are learned behaviors. The goal is to "train up" our emotions so that our emotions objectively reinforce the best decisions and behaviors toward our long-term success and happiness. Just because someone is unemotional does not mean that they are logical.