Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thanks for the Memory

I recently finished reading Richard Zoglin's biography of Bob Hope. I think Hope's life provides some useful lessons for all of us to consider as we travel our own path in life.

Practice- Many know Hope for his movies, NBC specials and USO tours but Hope honed his entertainment skills over many thousands of hours on vaudeville stages before he ever got his first break in a Broadway show. It was on those small stages in many small towns that he honed his comedic timing, acting, singing and dancing skills. He eventually made his way to New York and got a couple of Broadway shows that also brought him to the attention of radio. Hope did not get his first film role in Hollywood until he was age 35. However, he was fully prepared to make the most of it. Within several years he was one the biggest stars on radio and in films.

Hard Work- No one in Hollywood worked harder than Bob Hope. He did a weekly radio show beginning in 1937 that lasted into the 1950's. At the same time, at the height of his career he was making 2-3 movies a year and he sometimes did 150 personal stage appearances per year for charities or with his own road show. In addition, he did his famous USO Tours for troops around the world beginning in World War II and continuing in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Many of these tours were over the Christmas holidays. He later leveraged these shows into specials on NBC that were always among the highest rated shows of the year. He also hosted the Academy Awards 18 times including the first televised Oscar ceremony in 1953. No one else has hosted more than 8 times.

Keep It Relevant- One of the hallmarks of Hope's comedic success was the fact that he always strived to make his comedy routine relevant to his audience. Hope was the first comedian to build his routines around the "events of the day". Wherever he performed he would always sent an advance team of his writers out to the locale to get "local color" to build into his act. He did this even on his USO tours where he would build jokes about the local scene or the Commanding Officer. If he was on a university campus, and he did many college shows, he did the same. Hope knew that people laughed at what they were most familiar with and what was relevant to them.

Staying Active- I grew up watching those Bob Hope specials and he always seemed ageless to me. He was still going strong on TV well into his 80's with four NBC specials per year. He did his last USO show in the Persian Gulf at age 87 over the Christmas holidays. Staying active as long as he did he undoubtedly had something to do with the fact that Hope live to the ripe old age of 100.

Understanding the Brand- Hope was a very thoughtful man when considering his brand and his audience. He worked hard to respond to almost every note he got from a fan. He was one of the first entertainers to understand the power of cross-marketing across different medias. His radio show helped promote his personal appearances. He was a tough negotiator with NBC to insure that his specials were heavily promoted to insure good ratings. He kept several full time PR people on retainer to promote his brand and seek awards. For example, one of Hope's biggest awards was the Presidential Medal of Freedom that was bestowed on him in 1969. However, Hope had his people lobbying for this award for years before he finally received it. Hope knew that, first and foremost, he had to promote his brand. He could not rely on anyone else to be as focused on his success as he was.

Still Only a Human- Despite the giant of a man Hope was, he was still human. His hectic work schedule and frequent travel made him somewhat aloof from his family of four adopted children. As much as he was "on" when he got on stage he was usually withdrawn at home. He lacked work=life balance in his life. He also was a notorious womanizer who cheated consistently on his wife, Dolores, who he was married to for 69 years. Those PR people helped him in other ways during his career in keeping a lid on most of his dalliances over the years.

Bob Hope...a true American legend (although he was born in England and did not immigrate to the United States until he was 5 year of age). There are a lot of life lessons in looking at the life of Bob Hope.

Here is a link to Bob Hope and Shirley Ross singing "Thanks for the Memory" that became Hope's signature song. It is from his first feature film, "The Big Broadcast of 1938." The song, written by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1938.

Bob Hope...thanks for the memory (and memories).

Monday, May 30, 2016

Decorated and Remembered

Memorial Day began as a day of remembrance for those who perished in the Civil War.  Originally it was called "Decoration Day", a term I still remember my grandparents using to refer to the day. I became very aware of its origins and the divide that still existed between North and South when I attended law school in Atlanta in the early 1970's. Memorial Day was not even recognized as a holiday at the school and in much of Atlanta at that time.

It originally was celebrated on May 30 of each year which I also remember. The holiday was established as the last Monday in May by an Act of Congress in 1971. Despite that, my law school classes were still held as usual in 1973 on Memorial Day as if it was any other day. That was a little difficult for a Yankee like me to understand. I recall that it was not until the following year that Georgia fully joined the union in celebrating Memorial Day.

Lest we ever think about forgetting, these are the numbers of Americans who have laid their lives down for us per Wikipedia.

Civil War  625,000
WWII 405,399
WWI 116,516
Vietnam War 58,209
Korean War 36,516
Revolutionary War 25,000
War of 1812 20,000
Mexican-American War 13,283
War on Terror  6,717
Phillipine-American War  4,196

It is interesting to note that there were more American combat deaths on Iwo Jima (6,800) in the 36 days it took to capture that island in WWII than all the military deaths in almost 15 years in the War on Terror to date . Almost 22,000 Japanese were killed in the assault on the island.

I have featured Angela Pan's photography in BeeLine previously. Angela is based in Washington, D.C. and some of her best work features the the monuments and memorials in our capital city.

These images truly honor the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom through the years.

May they never be forgotten.

Credit: Angela Pan

Credit: Angela Pan

Credit: Angela Pan

Credit: Angela Pan

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Since Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee for President he also has seen an impressive surge in head-to-head polling versus Hillary Clinton.

Here is a graph showing the Real Clear Politics polling average since the beginning of the year.

Of course, you can attribute some of this effect to the fact that Trump now has an uncontested path to the nomination while Hillary is still dealing with pesky Bernie Sanders. At the same time, Trump is now also taking aim at "Crooked" Hillary on a daily basis. Look no further than the precipitous drop in Clinton's poll numbers over the last couple of weeks to see the toll that all of this has had on her polling numbers.

The fact still remains that a Clinton-Trump matchup presents many voters with a choice they would rather not have.

A Fox News Poll that was done last week shows that 56% of registered voters view Trump unfavorably. Hillary is viewed unfavorably by 61% of voters. There has never been a Presidential contest in my memory where both candidates were viewed so unfavorably.

In fact, there is a general rule in political polling that if a candidate's unfavorable rating is greater than 40% it is very difficult for that candidate to win. We now have both candidates above that threshold by large margins.

If this is the eventual matchup (and I still think there is a 50/50 chance that Hillary may not be the nominee) I believe it presents some very interesting challenges for pollsters.

How many voters will decide to just sit it out rather than make a choice?

Will the election be decided more by votes for or votes against a candidate?

Will the 18-29 age group turnout to vote and who will they support?

I think the last question is particularly critical when you look at the results of the last several elections.

67% of this age group supported Barack Obama in 2008 and he retained 60% of the Millennials in 2012 against Mitt Romney.

However, while they were motivated to vote for Obama in the Presidential election years, they did not show up to vote in the mid-term elections in 2010 and 2014. This was a significant reason that the GOP made such historic gains in those elections.

Here is a graph of the 18-29 age vote in the last four national elections. Young voters were motivated to come to the polls to support Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. However, they did little to support Democrats in the mid-term elections that followed.

You can see how big this effect is when you look at the actual vote totals from these elections. Compare the total votes cast by 18-29 year olds compared to voters who are 60+ over those four elections.

Voters aged 60+ have reliably showed up at the polls in each of the four national elections in consistent numbers. In fact, the number actually grew in 2014 as more Baby Boomer voters aged into this demographic. On the other hand, young voters have been hit or miss.

Why is this important?

Consider the fact that Mitt Romney won the age 65+ vote by 56%-44% in 2012 and still lost. He also won the 45-64 age group 51%-47%.

Or consider the fact that in the 2014 mid-term elections that the GOP dominated, 77% of the voters were age 45 or older.

Quite simply, Barack Obama would not be President without those younger voters. And the Democrats would never have lost control of Congress if those same young voters had voted in 2010 and 2014.

What will young voters do in 2016?

I cited a Fox News poll in March that outlined the significant problems that both Hillary and Trump have with young voters. In that poll, 67% of voters under age 35 had an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton. Trump was even worse---75% of younger voters viewed Trump unfavorably.

By comparison, 56% of these younger voters currently view Obama favorably! There are still some things that are simply inexplicable. For perspective read my blog post, "Will History Be Kind To Millennials".

In last week's Fox News poll, Clinton is favored over Trump by under age 35 voters 46%-35%. However, Trump is ahead overall 45%-42% largely due to a enormous 55%-36% margin with voters ages 35-54. Interestingly, Trump is losing the 65+ age group 46%-41% that Romney won.

What is it going to take for Trumpmentum to continue?

Right now he is showing impressive strength with middle age voters. However, he is weak with both younger and older voters.

My guess is that older voters see his act and antics beneath the dignity of the Office of President. These voters lean GOP so if he is going to win he needs these votes. Can he find a way to be both disruptive and diplomatic at the same time? This is the needle I think he needs to thread with these older voters.

On the other hand, Trump does not have to carry the 18-29 vote to win. He just needs to keep the margins closer than Romney did. He also needs to make sure he does not energize this voting bloc to come out to vote against him. It is probably too much for Trump to activate this group for support, his goal is simply for them to be apathetic and say, "Why vote when these are our choices"?

At this point I put the odds at 33% that Trump will win the Presidency. I believe that it is 50/50 for him in a head-to-head match with Hillary. However, as I stated above, I also believe that there is a 50/50 chance that she will not be on the ballot in November. Her legal troubles combined with her clear weakness as a candidate could combine for her to be pushed from the race. Wayne Allyn Root puts together a plausible scenario on how this might unfold.

Trump's odds probably drop to 25% against Sanders, Biden, Warren or another Democrat with much lower unfavorables than Donald.

Who would have thought a month ago that the Democrats would have all the remaining drama in this race?

And who would have also thought that I would even be writing a blog titled "Trumpmentum"?

Stay tuned. Who knows what lies ahead. All I really know for sure is that the next six months promise to be very, very interesting.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Has The Fourth Turning Brought Us Trump?

I have referenced the book "The Fourth Turning" by Neil Howe and William Strauss several times over the years in BeeLine.

The Fourth Turning refers to the cycles of history. There is a pattern to history. There are four turns much as there are four seasons.  A new era -or turn- occurs about every two decades or so.

At the start of each turning, people change how they feel about themselves, the culture, the nation, and the future. Turnings come in cycles of four.  Each full cycle spans the length of a long human life, roughly 80 years.

There is a Spring which is a High where institutions are strengthening and individualism is weakening and a new civic order is implanting. This was the period beginning right after WW II to the late 1960's

There is a Summer which is the Awakening.  This is an era of spiritual upheaval when the new civic order comes under attack from a new values regime. This period began in the late 1960's with the flower children and Vietnam War protests and lasted until the late 1980's.

There is a Fall which is the Unraveling.  This is a period of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions.  The old civic order decays and the new values regime firmly implants.  This began in the late 1980's and the authors predicted that it would run for about 20 years.

The Fourth Turning is the Crisis which is the Winter.  It is a decisive era of secular upheaval according to Strauss and Howe. In 1997 (when they wrote the book), they predicted that "sometime around the year 2005, perhaps a few years before or after, America will enter the Fourth Turning."

The last Fourth Turning began in 1929 with the stock market crash. It ran until 1946 encompassing both the Great Depression and WWII. Previous Fourth Turnings culminated in the American Revolution and the Civil War. We are talking about events that literally put the entire society at risk.

The authors of The Fourth Turning originally projected 2005 as the target date for the turn stating that it could be several years before or after that date. 9/11 and Katrina could be the turning point but most likely the 2008 financial meltdown marked the catalyst that thrust us into The Fourth Turning. We will not know for sure until we see it all play out. The point of maximum crisis is usually about 3/4 of the way through the FourthTurning. If they are right, we will likely experience it within the next 10 years.

One of the important points that Howe and Strauss make in The Fourth Turning is that history does not necessarily repeat, but it rhymes. Why is that? Because with each succeeding generation the learnings of the past are forgotten or never learned. As a result, there is a tendency to ignore the past lessons of history as previous generations were not there and did not "live it". The same mistakes are made again and again over time.

When I read this book in 1998 it seemed an audacious prediction that we would be entering a period of Crisis. America was riding high. The stock market was booming.  The federal budget was in surplus. The defense budget was being trimmed every year as there seemed to be no real threats to peace. All seemed right in America. It was hard to see what they were talking about. Yet the book gave me an uneasy feeling and increased my sensitivity to observing the changes that were going on around me.

There seems to be little doubt that we are now living in the middle of The Fourth Turning. In fact, the emergence and success of Donald Trump in the political realm confirms it.  The same can be said for the the success of Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary as well.

One of the key elements in a Fourth Turning is that a point is reached where the public realizes that their institutions are dysfunctional and they come to the conclusion that they are increasingly vulnerable with the current status quo. Such was the case as the colonists grew distrustful and frustrated with British rule, the deep divisions created within the country with slavery that led to the Civil War and the substantial financial hardships that everyone felt in the Great Depression.

A point is reached when the pubic coalesces or large blocs of voters support a strong leader to tear down the existing social, economic and social construct and replace it with something else. The result may be better, or far worse, but the public will nevertheless demand something different.

Barack Obama was perfectly positioned to be that leader as he entered office shortly after The Fourth Turning began. However, he squandered his opportunity. The people voted for hope and change and they got Obamacare and not much else.  He told the people what they wanted to hear. However, instead of being the uniter that people were looking for he just further divided what was already a divided nation.

You begin to see how important this is in political terms when you consider what Strauss and Howe said about where we are headed politically in The Fourth Turning.

"Soon after the catalyst, a national election will produce a sweeping political alignment, as one faction or coalition capitalizes on a new public demand for decisive action. Republicans, Democrats, or perhaps a new party will decisively win the long partisan tug-of-war, ending the era of split government that had lasted through four decades.  The winners will now have the power to pursue the more potent, less incrementalist agenda which their adversaries had darkly warned.  This new regime will enthrone itself for the duration of the Crisis.  Regardless of its ideology, that new leadership will assert public authority and demand private sacrifice. Where leaders had once been inclined to alleviate societal pressures, they will now aggravate them to command the nation's attention."

The big point here is that a point is reached where the public mood shifts from one that is less concerned with individual rights and more concerned with the collective good. People ultimately will seek this as a means for society to survive the Crisis. It has no other choice.

What will the winning trends from a political standpoint be according to Strauss and Howe as we move through the remainder of The Fourth Turning?

  • Calls to close the gap between rich and poor
  • Reverse the decline of the middle class
  • Expand children's programs relative to senior programs
  • Restore an ethic of personal responsibility
  • De-fund time-encrusted bureaucracies
  • Promote traditional values
  • America will become more isolationist than today in it unwillingness to coordinate with other countries 
  • America will be less globally dependent than it is today with smaller cross-border trade and capital flows
  • The economic role of government will shift toward far more spending on defense and public works than on elder care and debt service
I don't know about you, but a lot of this sounds a lot like Donald Trump. Or Bernie Sanders for that matter. It does not sound like Hillary Clinton.

Look at some of the words above and see if you don't agree that in some ways it seems as if Trump has a keen understanding of where we are and what people are looking for. It is as if he is looking ahead and the Republican establishment can only see what is behind them.

"Decisive action".  There is very little gray in Trump's outlook.

"Assert public authority."  Think about Trump's views on eminent domain.

"Aggravate rather than alleviate societal pressures." Trump's views and statements on immigration.

"Reverse the decline of the middle class."  His major voting target is forgotten working class voters.

"De-fund time-encrusted bureaucracies."  His call to consider the de-funding of NATO.

"Promote traditional values."  "Make America Great Again." 

"More isolationist."  Very consistent with his views of Middle East.

"Less globally dependent".  His attacks on NAFTA, China, Japan on trade.

"Defense and Infrastructure."  Two of Trump's favorite topics in every speech. 

If The Fourth Turning has brought us Trump, can he lead us out of the Crisis? We can only hope. There are no promises. History is not made by events but by the reaction of human beings to events. We are hurtling down the road for a rendezvous with history of our own making. The choices that have been made and those that remain to be made will have deep consequences. We can only trust that the American people will make the right choice.

"In recent years, many Americans have despaired that their nation no longer produces leaders who can galvanize and inspire. Yet it is the turning, not the nation, that elevates great people to the apex of power. Lincoln and FDR are both cases in point. Both had to wait for the Crisis to hit. An Unraveling (the Third Turning) is an era when most people of intelligence, vision and integrity do not seek (much less get elected to) high public offices.
 After the Fourth Turning arrives, however, a Lincoln-like leader will be more likely to seek office, and a Lincoln-like leader could be exactly what America needs, wants and gets."

Credit: History News Network

I know it is hard to imagine associating Donald Trump and Abraham Lincoln but that might be the bet we are making in 2016. We may need no less than a Lincoln with what lies ahead.

We are not only in The Fourth Turning we are also in the bottom of the ninth inning if you believe the predictions of where Strauss and Howe have us heading. We already have two outs and two strikes on us for putting Obama in the game. This is no time to swing and miss again. Trump's chatter has dumbfounded the chattering class. His chatter has put him one step away from The White House.  He better be able to hit one over the wall...and build a wall while he is doing it!

May God Bless America once again.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Unseen on Mother's Day

I have always believed that a fundamental difference between a Democrat and Republican is how they view the world. Democrats see the world in much more theoretical and idealistic terms. Republicans tend to be more practical and pragmatic in their outlook.

Democrats want policy solutions based on how they think the world should work in theory. Republicans favor policies based on how the world really works in practice.

Democrats also generally confine themselves solely to visible effects. They seem to consider only first-level effects and ignore everything else that might flow from that.  All of their focus is on what they see in front on them. They ignore the unseen issues. Republicans, on the other hand, are generally considering both the immediate effects and second-level effects. The seen and the unseen. Especially the unseen effects which should be foreseen.

Credit: TheWildProject.com

There is no issue that you can "see" this difference more than on the issue of abortion.

A woman who is pregnant is seen and known. An unborn baby is unseen and unknown.  At least, that is how many liberal Democrats see it. They only see the life of the mother that is affected today. All of the value is given to that life. The life of the baby's future is unseen. And since it is unseen it is easy to forget and ignore.

There is no more contentious and emotional issue today than abortion. It literally places two lives and sets of rights in the balance. Which right is to be given precedence? The right of a woman to choose or the right of the baby to live?

We see the woman. She is seen.

In fact, a 2008 study indicated that 30% of all women in the United States would have an abortion by the time they were age 45. Many argue that this number is now overstated due to the fact that abortions have been declining over the years. However, new estimates will not be available until 2017 to confirm this. To give you an idea of the general decline, a 1992 study estimated that 43% of women of reproductive age in that year would have an abortion by age 45!

If you want to understand why abortion is a contentious, emotional political issue, consider those numbers. Those women are seen at the voting booths.

In addition, there is nothing more difficult in dealing with human beings than to try to take something away from someone. People do not lightly give up "rights" that they have. It is no different with 2nd Amendment rights. "Rights" are not easily relinquished by anyone. It is next to impossible to turn back the clock. That is why it is such a tough issue for Republicans no matter the merits of the cause.

Although abortion remains "legal" the Right To Life movement in the United States has made impressive strides over the last three decades in educating the public about the development of the unborn child and the emotional trauma that abortion has on the mother. In 1981, there were 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women between ages 15-44. By 2011 that number had dropped to 16.9 per 1,000. There has been real progress in changing many minds on this issue over the years. However, I see no path to reverse Roe v. Wade any time soon considering the numbers cited in this post.

Over 1 in 5 pregnancies in the United States still end with an abortion today. The U.S. ranks 30th out of 101 countries in the percent of abortions. In Russia, 45% of all pregnancies end with abortions. That ranks second in the world next to Greenland where more than half of all pregnancies are aborted.  Compare that to some of the countries that see almost no abortions--India 2.6%, Venezuela .8%, Mexico .09%, Panama .02%.

What about the unseen? The unborn child.

Since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade there have been an estimated 58 million abortions in the United States. Almost 18 million of that total were African American babies.

58 million is a big number.  To put that in context, that is roughly the combined population of New York, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey.

What potential existed in those 58 million? What would they have become? What might they have accomplished? We will never know. It is unseen.

However, we can look at others in history that might have not been given the chance. What did they become? The mothers of these babies chose life for their child even though they were ill-prepared to bring up the child themselves when they might have made another choice.

The talents, works and accomplishments of these recognizable names would forever be unseen but for the choice their mothers made. They chose life. And in that choice will all were all given something in our own lives.

Steve Jobs

President Gerald Ford

President Barack Obama

Oprah Winfrey

Faith Hill

Jack Nicholson

Marilyn Monroe

Eartha Kitt

Reverend Jesse Jackson

LeBron James

It is worth thinking about these mothers (and many more) on Mother's Day who made the right choice.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Life Compounds

I have explained before that one of the principal reasons that I am a fiscal conservative is that I understand the power of compound interest. If it is working for you, it makes your life easy.  If it is working against you, it will ultimately bury you.

A wise friend of mine believes the power of compounding also applies to relationships. Developing friends, friendships and a network of relationships has tremendous compounding power. One friend leads to two. Two to four. Four to eight. Those relationships can add a lot to your life and your career. They can nourish and nurture you. They can inform, inspire and increase your sphere of influence. They can be a real force multiplier in your life.

As I have thought about it some more, the reality is that the power of compounding in life is even much bigger than that. Compounding effects actually explains a lot about success (or the lack of it) in life.

All things in our lives are subject to the effects of compounding. One thing most often leads to another---good or bad. And those compound effects add up as tremendous force multipliers over time in our lives.

I have written before of the Brookings Institution study that found if you simply finish high school, marry before having children and have a full time job, you only have a 2% chance of ending up in poverty in the United States. At the same time, your chances of living in the middle class are 74% if you do these three things. That is pretty compelling evidence of compounding effects.

If you drop out of high school you greatly limit your choice of jobs. You also are competing for those jobs with others who did graduate. Compounding effects. If you have a child out of wedlock your choices get even more limited. You may have to limit your job choices due to child care concerns. You may not be able to work full time or take a job that requires any overtime or travel. Compounding effects.

If you drop out of high school it also affects your friendships. Who are you most likely to hang with when most of your contemporaries are in school? It most likely will be with other drop-outs going nowhere. You end up at the same destination that they are heading to. Compounding effects.

And these effects compound over a lifetime. One bad thing leads to another and another and another. It is not easy to get out from under a series of poor decisions that compound. It is much like a debt load that gets too large. The interest on that debt will eventually bury you.

On the other hand, doing the right thing at the right time with the right people leads to success in life. Studying hard, working hard, hanging with friends who have purpose, values and goals will compound to great things. Compounding effects. Selecting the right spouse. Spending less than you earn. Saving for a rainy day and retirement. Staying away from drugs and the use of alcohol to excess. Compounding effects.

Several years ago I cited an American Enterprise Institute analysis that looked at the income characteristics of U.S. households based on various demographic factors such as education, married status, work status and age.

Looking at this data you can see the tremendous impact that demographic factors have on income.  I might add that most demographic factors are choices. You have no control over when you were born but choices are made about graduating from high school, going to college, marriage, children born out of wedlock and the like.  These choices are also not fixed over a lifetime and certainly are not fixed from generation to generation.  People have the opportunity in this country to change their situation.

The first thing you notice in looking at the chart is those that are in the highest fifth of U.S households have earned that status by working.  In fact, 2.03 is the mean numbers of earners per household in the top quintile. There are a lot of two earner households in that top quintile. The lowest quintile only has .44 earners per household. Compounding effects.

Only 2.9% of these well-off households have no earners.  The rich are not people clipping coupons, they are working and earning a living.  On the other hand, 61.7% of those in the lowest quintile had no one in the household with earnings.  No one is going to get rich on government programs. Compounding effects.

78.2% of the high income households are married compared to only 16.7% of the poor. Compounding effects.

It is no surprise that education stands out as a key demographic factor.  Only 1.8% of the highest earners failed to graduate from high school but 26.9% of the poor failed to get that basic educational attainment despite the fact that a free high school education is available to everyone in the country. On the other hand, 62.3% of the richest Americans have graduated from college. Compounding effects.

As you can see, in most of the selected characteristics there is a direct correlation that corresponds with moving up the income scale whether it is number of earners per household, marital status, work status or education. Compounding effects.

There is an old saying, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer." I think this really describes the compounding effects of life.

However, it is too often the case that people are led to believe that they are victims of their circumstances rather than masters of their fate.

A good example is Donald Trump and his brother Fred, eight years his senior. Fred also carried his father's name into life. Fred, Jr. should have been the heir apparent to their father's real estate business but a series of poor life decisions destroyed any advantages he had by birth. Fred smoke, partied and eventually drank himself to death at the relatively young age of 43.

Donald Trump learned by watching his brother and saw how the compounding effects of bad life decisions could bring even those with talent and advantage down. Seeing his brother's downward spiral was the main reason that Trump has never smoked or drank in his life.

On the other hand, Dr. Ben Carson overcame an impoverished childhood while being raised by a single mother who could not even read. He was heading in the wrong direction but his mother pulled him back on track. She turned off the television and told him to read. The young Ben Carson studied. He worked hard. He got into Yale and that led to medical school and a residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins where he eventually ended up as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery with a worldwide reputation.

Compound effects.

They explain a lot about life.

Make sure they are compounding the right way in your life,