Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

The Resolved Life

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 6, 2011

What separates those who achieve greatness in life from those who seem to just get by? More pointedly, what separates those who just get by from those who blame others for their sorry existence? The answer to both questions relates to the level of commitment made to live by one’s resolutions. I am excited to announce the release of RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE on November 1, 2011. It is a perfect match to go with the launch of LIFE. Get ready for an exciting future. Here is a portion of the introduction from the new book. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

In the early eighteenth century, three young colonial Americans resolved to build lives of virtue through the study and application of daily resolutions. Each made his life count, creating a legacy of selfless thoughts, words, and deeds. The first, through tireless sacrificial leadership, against indescribable odds, defeated the mighty British Empire with his ragtag group of colonial volunteers. The second, through his growing international fame, sterling character and endless tact, became America’s leading diplomat, forming international alliances that secured war funding, without which, the colonial’s cause was doomed. The third, by his overwhelming intellectual and spiritual gifts, became colonial America’s greatest minister, who by his preaching and writing, fanned the flames of the Great Awakening; a spiritual renewal in colonial America, that led to further political and economic freedoms after the American Revolution. These men, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Jonathan Edwards, transformed themselves through the diligent study and application of their resolutions, creating an enduring legacy, not just through what they did, but more importantly through who they were. George Washington developed into a man of character whose love of principles surpassed his love for power; Ben Franklin developed into a man of tact whose desire for influence surpassed his need for recognition; and Jonathan Edwards developed into a spiritual giant whose humility surpassed his need for human advancement. All three developed wisdom by overcoming self. Through developing, studying, and consistently applying their resolutions, these men changed not only themselves, but also the world.

But if three of the greatest Americans utilized resolutions to develop wisdom and virtue, why isn’t this practice taught in every family, school and church around the world? Stephen Covey suggests an answer, “As my study took me back through 200 years of writing about success, I noticed a startling pattern emerging in the content of literature. . . I began to feel more and more that much of the success literature of the past 50 years was superficial. It was filled with social image consciousness, techniques and quick fixes – with social band-aids and aspirin that addressed acute problems and sometimes appeared to solve them temporarily, but left the underlying chronic problems untouched to fester and resurface time and again.” Society it seems, values image over integrity, commercialism over character, and fame over foundations, but what a high price has been paid for these errors. Jose Ortega y Gassett, in his book, Revolt of the Masses, describes the dichotomy, “The most radical division that is possible to make of humanity is that which splits it into two classes of creatures: those who make great demands on themselves, piling up difficulties and duties; and those who demand nothing special of themselves, but for whom to live is to be every moment what they already are, without imposing upon themselves any effort towards perfection; mere buoys that float on the waves.”

Washington, Franklin, and Edwards achieved lasting greatness then, not as floating buoys, but by swimming against the current. Resolving to be different, they nurtured themselves on principles not personalities, seeking the true greatness of character, not the false friendship of fame. Author Jim Black wrote, “For most of our history, Americans placed greater stock in a man’s character than in his possessions. The American Dream held that, by hard work and self-discipline we could achieve success. And success was not measured in material possessions alone…The common wisdom of the day taught that greed, luxury, and self-indulgence were the passions of weak character. And the frugal nature of the pioneers taught that the treasures to be valued most were the virtues of honesty, good character, and moral strength.” Covey describes America’s founding success literature similarly, writing, “The first 150 years or so focused on what could be called the Character Ethic as the foundation of success – things like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule.” Without character, in other words, one can never be truly successful because the foundation of all long-term success isn’t what a person owns, but who a person is. Regretfully, society seems to have forgotten this commonsense principle, probably because commonsense isn’t so common today.

12 Responses to “The Resolved Life”

  1. Wouldn’t our world be different if we all were taught this! More importantly it is time to make a concerted effort to live by these principals so as to pass them on to my children.

  2. Edward Fancon said

    sounds like another gem, Orrin! Can’t wait!!!!!

  3. First we need to make enough leaders to teach it. Lets lead by example by living the principles in our own lives. Then our children will have a path to follow.

  4. Gene Turner said

    Get the reading light out and coffee going. Can’t wait to read.

  5. Kevin Hamm said


    The recent cd you released on this material was awesome as well. It really contributed well to a message I gave at church. Truly great stuff. It caused me to go back to my “Purpose in Scripture” statement and add “I will” in a number of places to make it much more “resolute.” That personal statement of mine, combined with your 13 resolutions and perhaps a couple of Jonathon Edwards’ resolutions that I particularly liked will become consistent readings in my life. Thank you for the inspirations.

    Kevin Hamm

    P.S. FYI, when I subscribed to your new blog, it began inundating my email with “new post” notices from your entire archive dating back to 2008. I actually read and even responded to some as if they were new until I saw the posted date. I was impressed with your enthusiasm until it got over 20 “new posts” in one day and I thought, something must be up. You might have I.T. look into that.

  6. Robby Palmer said

    I don’t know how to express my gratitude for your courage Orrin! “back to life…back to reality.” the song lyrics keep coming back through my head. (not sure why? I never listen to music anymore) I will blaze down your trail behind you Orrin, always striving to improve. I’m sure I won’t make your pace, of making a difference.

  7. D Dubois said

    I’m a buoy. I’ve always been a buoy. Sometimes I’ve lifted anchor and drifted in a different direction toward something on the horizon that seemed more favorable. A lot of fascinating stuff can be ingested by the senses as the current floats things by. Once in a short while (maybe once a month on a saturday) something with a motor approaches. They have direction. They have promise. They make me think I could choose to see new things that I decide to see when I feel like seeing them. They tell their stories. They look happy. They talk about their engines and their gas.
    But I’m a buoy. I can’t snatch their motors from them. Their line doesn’t find a place to hook on. Their motor is barely enough to push them on their course.
    We all know that engines never just float by on the current. So I lift anchor and drift to find a motor, a sail or maybe a paddle. It’s discouraging but there’s hope and lots of interesting stuff floats by as I bob along.

  8. […] with incredible leaders like Dan Hawkins and Orrin Woodward (look for Orrin’s new book titled RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE).  I was finally filtering my inputs and, oddly enough, my disillusionment and frustration of being […]

  9. […] enough for leaders just to say they are going to do these things, leaders worth following must be Resolved to live this way. This is what I love about Courageous. It calls fathers (or anyone for that […]

  10. […] other day, I was reading a blog article called The Resolved Life written by Top 30 leadership expert Orrin Woodward.  In the article, Mr Woodward references 3 […]

  11. […] information I have been learning through Orrin Woodward, Claude Hamilton and the LIFE materials is creating a huge call to action and a sense of duty is […]

  12. […] his book RESOLVED – 13 Resolutions for LIFE, Orrin Woodward quoted Hyrum Smith from his book The Ten Natural Laws.  Orrin relates the […]

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