Or, said differently: Everyone has a grand plan, yet, no one appears to truly understand the root cause. This alone all but ensures the failure of any plan. However, that seems to never be an issue of thought for those proposing one.
This is the rallying cry of the “Well we’ve got to do something, anything is better than nothing!” crowd. I’m sorry to inform the masses, but that’s precisely the problem for most cases.
In other words: doing something, anything, is more often times far worse than doing nothing till you fully understand what needs to be done.
I would advise if the overwhelming sense to do something, anything, overpowers one - is to follow the Hippocratic Oath of “First do no harm.”
Many in practice (not theory) are doing nothing more than administering different versions of blood-letting to supposedly “save the patient” known either as their Lodge or the fraternity as a whole. The more the “patient” seems not to respond to treatment - the more plentiful and deeper the cuts are made.
If this form of “help” continues it will conclude for the fraternity the same way it did for our founding father George Washington. i.e., this is the actual practice and procedure that resulted in his death. (Did you know he was also a Freemason? Sorry, I digress.)
Currently, the fraternity is facing difficulties that not only need to be addressed, rather, they must be addressed promptly and adequately; or this entire, currently as constructed, experiment residing in the U.S. will be defunct in approximate short order. Period, full stop.
You’ll notice regarding the above I did not say Freemasonry will pass into darkness, nor did I include our global relations. What I’m directing the focus of my argument is the system and structure currently constructed here in the U.S. and its relationship to its members, Lodges, communities, and more.
It cannot and will not survive under current circumstances if there is not a change in attitudes, strategy and tactics to address its concerns both up and down the entire structure. This entails from those in plain white aprons progressing all the way to gold bullion’d and everything in-between.
What should alarm those reading this far more than the ire they're feeling in regards to just who the heck am I to be saying such, is this...
The odds are increasing by the day - you’ll be around to see it. Hence the fitting term - It’ll happen, on your watch. That’s how close we currently are.
Let that very real proposition sink in for a moment. Truly grasp what I’m discussing here. I’m not trying to be hyperbolic as a way to garner attention. I mean it. However, like very few others: I also have the resume and background to back my analysis up as I’ll illustrate later on.
If you think the above is just a bunch of flame-throwing hogwash, then I’ll wager dollars to donuts you’re not even as up-to-speed on the situation as the currently antiquated and outdated membership roles already warn.
Personally, I’m starting to believe the reason why no one has been able to assemble legitimate numbers on membership in years is because - no one dares put them to paper. For once they do - the dire reality of the current situation would be undeniable, let alone untenable.
But deny is all we are doing in varying forms and manifestations. And we’ve become far too good at it.
We reason away why using misplaced analogies, mantras, constructs, examples, this, that, or another pulled from some “business management” book rather than look at the true root cause of our current state. Hint: You’ll find it in any mirror of choice.
Now before I go on, I want to make something perfectly clear: There are currently exceptional members both up and down the chain doing exemplary work trying to ensure our success going forward.
However, not only are they the exception to the rule but more often than not, they are constantly being ignored, overruled, thwarted, badgered, and more. In many cases what I and others consider far worse and absolutely deplorable is when they are openly mocked for daring to try.
It has to stop and stop now.
This represents the true cancer affecting the fraternity. And to once again be clear: The genesis for it can be found in any mirror of choice. And if you think that’s off base or a step too far, all I’ll ask you to do to prove me wrong is the following...
Stand in front of one and honestly ask: What are you doing to the best of your ability for the betterment of the fraternity - not you?
Then start trying to list them out as you look into your own eyes for as long as you see fit. If you’re truly being honest with yourself, you’ll have your own true, honest answer, as it always should be. But that’s just the beginning...
Now comes the truly hard part, which is: What you do about it from here, is all that matters. To reiterate with emphasis: All.
What you’ve done prior or just yesterday is gone. Now is all that matters. Now is where actions become fortified. Now is where mistakes are corrected. Now is where bad decisions get jettisoned. Now. Now. Now. That’s all that matters.
This is the mindset the fraternity needs to get back at its core because it was this attitude that allowed 200+ years hence to begin and flourish.
Don’t believe me? Fair enough, so let me ask another question and see just how you might answer it as you think it through. Ready?
Does anyone think for a moment that a few hundred years ago a few men got together and mused...
“Let’s just sit around and wait until a few others come along and create some phenomenal experiment based on principles the majority of people believe are irrelevant (e.g., Freemasonry) and it’ll change the world for hundreds of years hence. Think about it, won’t it be great? I sure hope someone has the guts, because that’s when I’ll go all in!”It’s OK...I’ll wait.
As I discussed in the opening, my correspondence with Bro. Johnson (oftentimes resembling a rant) has bounced around in varying forms to which, one day, I offhandedly said something to the effect of...
“It’s too bad I can’t just say things the way I say them in the profane world to argue my points. But no one would dare let “me be me” on a Masonic forum talking pointed issues about the fraternity. Even if I have the background and resume to back it up. They’d be throwing ashlars and working tools at me, never-mind tomatoes screaming ‘How many lectures do you know?’ ‘How’s your ritual, huh, huh?!’ I get it, but it’s a bit sad in reality.”That’s when the email came back and read (paraphrasing): “I will. Put a series together you feel is fitting and I’ll review them, then run them.”
So, here we are.
This is the first of that installment. How many more there will be I’m not quite sure, but the topics and subject matter will change in relationship to things I derive, based on my business acumen, that needs addressing in a manner of both perspective, as well as pragmatics, that few others may prescribe.
I would also like to take this moment as to commend both him and his co- editors for taking such a chance. They truly deserve kudos.
I’ll finish this all off with what I presume is the biting question: Who the heck am I to be saying any of this? And, what is this “resume and background” I declare as worthy for it? Great question, here it is...
My name is Mark, I’ve been at the center of some of the biggest business and financial news stories over the past decade. My writings have been quoted and/or posted in their entirety on some of the largest media outlets around the globe, bar none.
My work has run alongside some names you may know from different disciplines like Seth Godin, Nassim Taleb, David Stockman, Steven Roach, and many, many others.
Another example is when one of the biggest corporate news stories to break a few years back concerning the largest company and its acquisitions (Apple) and the media’s coverage of it (MarketWatch and others) quoting Warren Buffett’s thoughts of it all. The person they quoted for thoughts to counterpoint it - was me. And, just for detail, I was the one proven correct in the end.
I’m not a “finance guy.” I’m a businessman that’s played at the top of the game in many ways. Although I have made quite a stir in the business/financial media over the years.
I’ve been asked to speak at events where those in attendance yearly sales were in the hundreds of $Billions (yes, that’s a B). I also happened to make those in attendance aghast when I dared argue from the platform that all their arguments for why they were at that time “killing it” would result in possible ruin if they did not fully understand what was causing all this sudden “success.”
I was told as I left the stage that they needed to make sure all the cutlery from the dinner prior was removed before my speech ended, otherwise, they could be held responsible for the resulting aftermath.
Yeah, I’m that kinda guy.
Just six weeks later three of the five largest companies in attendance that day would be on the verge of bankruptcy with $Billions upon $Billions of market share and market capitalization losses.
I only say this because I know there are many right now thinking: The fraternity in toto is far larger than anything this guy could understand in both size to members, regions, money, and other things.
That would be a mistake, for in actuality - I’ve worked with much, much larger and in varying markets.
Currently, I host a private subscriber (aka paying) based broadcast that reaches a global audience daily on the subject and concerns of business, success, motivation, and much, much more. They (subscribers) range from the global C-Suite to solo-practitioner. To hire me to speak (based on the keynote model) starts at more than some make in a year. e.g., $45,000 and up. Again, and there’s far more.
I do not state any of the above to try and impress you, because I could care less about that. I have the resume, I have the prizes, I’ve done all the stuff people read about ( I retired at 45, 16 years ago for just one).
I, personally, am free and no longer need “approval” from anyone in regards to business or other “advice-giving” styled forums. This freedom allows me to address concerns in ways others dare not for fear of reprisal or ridicule. I also do not suffer from the “imposter syndrome.”
There is another thing I am known as which is a “Turnaround Specialist.” This is a coveted title in regards to the world of business and doing it at not only the top of one’s market but to do it more than once is extremely rare. I fall into the latter.
Yet, what I am not, is either a braggart or pompous fool. If I wanted to display those characteristics through an “Official resume” it would take another few hours.
What I am trying to address with the above are a few points on why you might want to actually hear, read or listen to what I’m discussing, rather, than try to do what is far too common today. i.e., give yourself unfounded reasons as to not.
And if you think I’m being a bit coy, here’s what usually takes place when I’m asked how I would like to be introduced before hitting a stage or other platform. To wit:
“Please introduce me using the following: Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Mark Saint Sear.”
When I’m questioned in a “Wait, that’s it?!” Here’s what is basically said, from my rider...
“It’s written phonetically, and that’s all you need say. There’s no need to regurgitate what I’ve done since kindergarten to try and influence the audience as to whether they should listen, rather, than be looking for the exits. For if a speaker has actual value to give to the attendees, no introduction will be needed to work as a reminder of who was speaking. They’ll already understand and know.”
Hope to see you in the next installment.
~Mark St. Cyr - Freemason.