Hell: ‘Whatever you fear most…’ an oustanding Edwidge Danticat’s folk story!

I am reading Edwige Danticat. Her recent memoir “Brother, I’m dying” is amazing. She tells her family story in poignant way. She combines her story with the story of her dad, her uncle, her countries, her travels, her neighborhood, her grandmas.to free herself, and to free us as well to tell our own story, and to live the life we want.

She used the power of words to include  folktales, stories that she heard from her parents to make good learning lessons from life.

“Hell” is one of those stories told by Danticat’s Granmè Melina.

12501577_114057308995588_315286960_n(1)Here is the story. Enjoy… And share with friends, fans, and family.

A man, one day fell asleep and woke up in a foreign land where he knew no one and no one knew him. Finding himself on his back in the middle of a dirt road, filled with strangers, he looked up at the blurry faces around him, which were framed by a gloomy gray sky, and asked, “Where am I?”

“You’re where you are,” answered a booming voice.

“Where’s that?” he asked.

“Where you need to be,” replied the voice.

“I din’t ask to be here,” the man said, “wherever it is.”

“No matter how you ended up here,” said the voice, “here you are.”

Tired about the roundabout conversation, the man said, “I want you to tell me right now where I am. If you don’t, I’m going to be angry.”

“Who cares about your anger?” answered the voice. “No one is scared of you here.”

Truly upset now, the man said, “Tell me where I am right now!”

“You are in Hell,” replied the voice.

And since these were long time ago, the man didn’t know what hell was, even though he could already see that it was not a happy place.

“What is hell?” he asked.

“Hell”, replied the voice, “is whatever you fear most.”

A story told by Edwige Dandicat in “Brother, I’m dying.” Thanks again Edwige to share with us the power of words and storytelling.

Roosevelt Jean-Francois

Fulbright Scholar, Connector, Speaker




Leadership & the power of a few: Every body can. Only a few will.

Last Tuesday, I was speaking at a leadership meeting in Fort-Lauderdale, and I quoted best-selling author Malcom Gladwell, a New Yorker reporter, who published the book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.


I am a great fan of Gladwell. I read most of his work. And I encourage you to do your own work by digging dipper yourself in his literature. As a community builder, I am sharing with you some of the thoughts I picked from Gladwell‘s book which I used in my speaking engagement last Tuesday.

The Tipping Point describes How ideas, products, messages, and behaviors can spread as fast as viruses do.

The very same way we can have a flu, measles, or HIV contagion, we can also create a positive contagious effect with a small group of people.

Everything can change all at once. This is like an epidemic. Gladwell coined the concept of “contagiousness”. This is what is called in mathematics a geometric progression.

A virus doubles , and doubles, and creates a huge effect, a tipping point, a sudden change.

The Tipping Point, Gladwell said, is the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point of any endeavor.

3 rules of Epidemics

Epidemics are a function of the people who transmit infectious agents, the infectious agent itself, and the environment in which the infectious agent is operating. When something happens in 1, 2, or 3 of these ares, an epidemic tips, Gladwell acknowledged.

1.- The Law of the Few (People)

2.- The Stickiness Factor (Infectous Fator)

3.- The Power of Context (Environment)


Gladwell taught an American history lesson to illustrate his point on #1 The Power of the Few.He named John Hancock, and Samuel Adams as the two original men who stood up against the British soldiers in the colony of Massachusetts. Their actions were followed by Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, and 56 other men who organized the First Continental Congress which led to the Declaration of Independence.

He also wrote about the courage of Paul Revere who spread the message for the community to wake up and be ready to fight for freedom. Paul revere spread this message thru word of mouth: the most important form of communication.

Gladwell questioned: “Why some ideas and trends and messages tip and others don’t?”

“The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts,”  Gladwell said mentioning that these few people are around us. They are:

1.- Connectors. Those who develop the skill to know  lost of people. They have a natural gift to make social connections. They develop curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy. Connectors  are in the habit of making introductions.They are the equivalent of a computer network hub. They are people who “link us up with the world…people with a special gift for bringing the world together”. They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [… for] making friends and acquaintances”

2.- Mavens. Those who accumulate knowledge and want to tell you about what they know.They are avid readers, lecturers, teachers. They are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information”. They accumulate knowledge, and know how to share it with others. They  want to solve other people’s problems, generally by solving their own”. As Malcolm Gladwell states, “Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know”

3.- Salesmen. Those who master the art of communication and persuasion. Those who can spread an emotional contagion. They  are “persuaders”, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them.

As I told my audience last Tuesday, I am glad to be part of Life Leadership Compensated Community, a premier leadership media and education company aiming at setting people free to live the life they’ve always wanted.

We have a message worth spreading which gives us the #2 Stickiness Factor. People are addictive to TV likes zombies which entice them, and seduce them to live in debt, Life Leadership is creating a new media addiction, by providing content and association to escape what best selling author and leadership guru, Orrin Woodward called the Financial Matrix.

Life Leadership has #3 The Power of Context. Context matters. Life Leadership CEO and best-selling author Chris Brady delivered a recent talk he names THE Shift of a Life Time. The environment today is ready for a new message of hope and truth to set people free.


It was 1:00 am, today, I, with some other friends, were leaving the woods of Immokalee, South West Florida. Under the cover of darkness, thru word of mouth, we were spreading the message of self-directed leadership education, entrepreneurship, inviting some families to join us in the underground railroad to escape the matrix. We are the new conductors like abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad.

Here are some poignant quotes fro Harriet Tubman:

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.
I grew up like a neglected weed – ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it.
We  want to do the same thing. We want to free thousand of families from the matrix, which is a web of debt, and enslave people. We hope to bring them our Financial Matrix night pack of messages  which include information to read, to listen,  and to associate with like minded connectors, wavens, and salesmen. We want them to be aware, to have consciousness of their being a new modern slave of consumption, and to be part of a community of learners, earners, who dare to dream, to set their aim high, and to not wish to win the power ball, but to work as hard as they can to become Power Players, and to live the life they’ve always wanted.
This is not for every body. But every body can. Only a few will.
God bless,


A leadership platform for you in a crowded, noisy world!

“A leadership platform for you,” has been my tagline for this blog since its inception in 2011. I  wanted this blog to be a place where I connect with you on topics  that matter, above all about leadership and personal development. A place where you can follow me on what I read, what I listen, and with whom I associate.

rjf-1This is what I do: read, listen, and associate. I also speak, ask questions, and write.

I also represent Life Leadership, a premier global leadership company,   which just joined forces with Success Magazine to offer a leadership platform for you where you can have Total Access to writers, speakers, content creators on leadership, success; professional, and personal development.

Blogger Michael Hyatt  recently published a book called “Platform” in which he invites us to create our own stage to “get noticed in a noisy world.”

This is a must read content  which offers a step-by-step guide for you if you have something to say or to sell.

I just went over this book. And I like it. Very practical.


Hyatt quoted William  Shakespeare who, more than four centuries ago, considered  “All the world ‘s a stage”. Each and every one of us, If we have something to say, to sing, to write, to share, we are  on stage.

The stage today is new and crowded. More and more people want to attract audience, and bring the light on themselves. That brings more competition for minds control.

“If you want to achieve success in your field, you need a platform,” said Michael Hyatt, whose blog has close to a million visitors a month.

You platform is your stage. It’s built of people, contacts, connections, and followers.

Your platform is also the means you connect with your existing tribe via social media and live events.

Success today is more about who you know. It’s not enough to be good, or to have a good product, you need a significant platform to face the competition, and to attract people’s attention in a world with more and more medias.

Below are three main benefits to build and nurture a platform, according to Michael Hyatt:

1.- A platform provides visibility . As a stage, it elevated you above the crowd. It makes it possible for people to see you.

2.- A platform provides amplification. It projects your voice, and your reach further.

3.- A platform provides connection. It provides engagement, intimacy which leads to more connections to your fans, customers, and supporters.

As I wrote above, Life Leadership just added a leadership platform to its library of informational and educational contents in both physical and digital formats.

I invite you to take advantage of this service and have Total Access to this unique platform to live the life you’ve always wanted.



Leadership, acceptance, & appreciation: I accept you the way you are, and I appreciate you for who you become

I accept you the way you are, and I appreciate you for who you become. This is the title of a speech I will present today at VOICE Toastmasters club in Fort-Lauderdale, Florida. I have the pleasure to share with you the content of my upcoming speech. Enjoy.

Last Thursday, I went to the dentist. I entered the office, put my name on the waiting list. The secretary, with a nice smile, asked me for my insurance information and ID card. I pulled them from my wallet and handed them to her. She made copies, handed them back to me, and invited me to have a sit while waiting for my turn.

I shared the space with other 8 people.  Some were watching TV, others were skimming at magazine pictures. I prefer reading my own book.  I usually carry a book with me wherever I go.

I had Les Giblin’s book “How to have confidence and power in dealing with people¨. I discovered his triple-A formula for making and keeping friends. This is my pleasure to share with you this triple-A formula which is resumed as follow:

1.- Accept

2.- Approve

3.- Appreciate

Acceptance is lesson # 1 learned from Les Giblin. You are who are. I  accept you the way you are. I want you to continue to be yourself around me. I accept you as a human being with your mistakes, flaws, and your shortcomings.

Reading this reminds me a story reported by best selling author Orrin Woodward in his book “Resolved: 13 resolutions for LIFE” which displays the power of acceptance.

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pot had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot was only half-full. For a full two years, this went on daily with the bearer delivering  only one and a half pots of water to his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for what it was made to do. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection. It was miserable to accomplish only half of what it was made to do.

After two years of feeling a bitter failure, the poor cracked pot spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. Ï am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half of my load because this crack on my side causes water to leak as you walk the way back to your house. Because of my flaw, you have to do all this work, and you don’t get the full value of your efforts”, the pot said.

The bearer said to the pot , ” Did you notice there are only flowers on the side of your path, but not on the other side? That’s because I have always known your flaw. So, I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day, when we walk back, you water them.  for two years, I have been able to pick up these beautiful flowers, to decorate the table. Without you being, just the way you are , there will not be this beauty to grace the house¨.

Thinking about this story while I was reading Giblin’s book brought a bright smile in my face in the dentist room. My neighbor look at me wondering what am I wondering about.

I continued my self-directed education to lesson 2 which is approval. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval. I accept you the way you are doesn’t mean I approve everything you do. If acceptance is withholding criticisms, then approval is releasing compliments.  Approval moves beyond acceptance and extends to acclaim for your specific gifts, talents, abilities, and actions. I invest the time to look for your good qualities, your positive attributes, and I approve you by sharing what I admire about you.

Orrin Woodward said “regretfully , many times, these good words are spoken only at a deceased friend’s funeral, but why wait for the funeral to tell a friend what is admirable about him?”

“Approval is the shining of one’s light into another’s darkness; although the words cost little, their value to others is priceless¨, the leadership guru wrote.

Lesson # 3 is Appreciation. This triple-A formula is like a buffet. Acceptance is the appetizer, approval is the main dish, and appreciation is the dessert.

I accept you the way you are, I approve you for your special talents, and I appreciate you for who you can become. You are unique, not just another face in the crowd. I appreciate you. I value you.

When something depreciates, it loses value; but when something appreciates, it gains value. What gives value to you is your rarity, your uniqueness. My appreciation for you helps you gain value.

I learned to really appreciate you, I should share all the good I can find in you with others. I should help you to turn up your positive voice  while simultaneously reducing your negative voice. I want you to believe in yourself and live the life you’ve always wanted.

The secretary called my name. I got into the dentist room, laid on the dental chair, opened my mouth for the cleaning session, with this poem I just read on my mind:

“A friend is someone who knows you as you are, understand where you have been, accepts who you have become, and still gently invites you to grow”.










Leadership education through conversations

My most pleasurable moments  are when I have conversations with friends I just met. I enjoy asking questions, nodding to their answers, smiling to their jokes, sharing their successes, and empathizing with their challenges to discover and connect with the human being I have in front of me.

This is very rewarding. Having conversations is my continuing education, my lifelong learning experience. I learn from anyone, anywhere. And I also teach to anyone, anywhere. It’s a never ending process.

I also learn to grow myself and develop others from handling confrontations trough crucial conversations. Although, I have a tendency to avoid difficult conversations, I find them  very gratifying when they are well prepared emotionally.

I think private speaking is a lot more difficult and challenging than public speaking.

I will concentrate on serious conversations for this post. Let me share with you some general rules applied to serious, playful, and social conversations I pick from Mortimer J. Adler’s book “How to speak, how to listen”.

I understand from Adler’s teaching that conversations should be pleasure and profitable if we apply the following rules:

1- Pick the right place and occasion for a conversation. “There are times for small talks and times, so to speak, for big talk”, he said.

2.- Know in advance what kind of conversation you are trying to have.

3.- Select the right people with whom to have it.  He advised: “Never engage in the discussion of a problem with someone you know in advance has a closed mind on that subject”.

4.- A conversation is not an interrogation. Don’t ask one question after another without any connection between the questions asked in sequence.

5.- Don’t be rude by engaging in a side conversation while someone to whom you should be listening is talking.

6.- Don’t be too polite. If you think you have something to say, say it.

I also learn that a conversation should be organized with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning should set the stage for the conversation by focussing on the subject to be discussed. The middle should be devoted to the development of the theme being discussed. The end is the conclusion.

Roosevelt Jean-Francois


#Leadership, #friendship, and #relationships: Conversation with @orrrinwoodward, @tonycannuli,@chrismattis on #HBRN radio.

What is friendship? What’s the difference between friendship and acquaintances? Why friendship matters?

Orrin Woodward and Tony Cannuli host HBRN’s Leadership Factory with special guest Chris Mattis. The three leaders dive into the subject of friendship and how tight relationships are formed and kept. Anyone who works with people will benefit greatly from this Leadership Factory. Indeed, Chris Mattis is one of the greatest encouragers in the community building field and the viewers will see why.

Have fun watching, and listening this conversation.


LeaderShift: Orrin Woodward & Oliver DeMille

Apostle Paul told the Romans to ¨glory in tribulations knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character hope¨. Here’s is a blog post from leadership guru Orrin Woodward who has learned and taught to glory in tribulations, to persevere in adversity, and to spread hope and character based leadership  throughout the world.

Here’s his post. Have fun.


LeaderShift: Orrin Woodward & Oliver DeMille

Back in 2007, during a legal dispute over the freedoms of independent contractors, I began studying why freedom is so precious and yet so rare. My years of research led me to discoveries that, had I still been an engineer, I would have patented.:) Specifically, I developed the Five Laws of Decline (FLD) which is a systematic way of explaining the decline of countries, corporations, and communities. Thankfully, I learned to turn life’s lemons into lemonade and now reflect back and see God’s blessing through the challenges as I witnessed a company activate the Five Laws of Decline. In fact, I never would have studied this subject without the prodding of events in my life, nor would I have formed the LIFE Business to do something about it. Today, it appears, the dispute over freedom has spread across America as the FLD infect people’s thinking. In one direction is liberty and productivity and in the other is tyranny and plunder. Our choices today will determine our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

As the concepts developed, I imagined discussing the Five Laws of Decline with the Founding Fathers and determining how they would have designed the Constitution had they understood the inherent dangers within the laws. Accordingly, I wrote out a proposed government to check the FLD and separate government into clearly delineated local, state, and federal issues. In my opinion, the number one failure of the founder was not to place a specific limit on taxation and deficits. If government is not limited in their ability to tax then it simply isn’t a limited government. Likewise, if politicians are not held responsible for a budget, then they are not responsible at all. Moreover, relying on “the people” to maintain intricate knowledge of all the issues simply isn’t feasible and is statements like this are pollyanna at best and hypocrisy at worst.

The local government would be responsible for all local issues and receive a set percentage of local taxpayers income, the state would receive a percent of the the state taxpayer incomes, and the federal would receive a percent from every citizen in the country. With no deductions or special deals, just a straight flat tax to fund government and the rest is kept by the hardworking Americans who earned it. Imagine localities having town meetings where local leaders meet and discuss local issues. This principle is called “expect and inspect.” Leaders must expect the best from their people, but unless they inspect the results, they will be let down. This, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest issues in our government today. We have expected too much from our politicians, but centralized everything to Washington and few citizens have the time or understanding to inspect properly.

However, local issues and local town meetings would change this greatly. It’s time to get local leaders active in local issues again. The town meetings were the American way during our formative period. In reality, no person alive is capable of running a country and a budget the size of America. The Federal government ought to be responsible for the defense of our country from internal and external foes and adjudication of disputes between states, corporations, etc. The States can ensure Federal government doesn’t extend beyond its responsibilities and address state issues with localities while the localities handle all the remaining issues at the local level. With each level checking the level above it, which ensures the expecting and inspecting process is in working order, we can hold politicians responsible for the results. Indeed, since this is what each household must do (stay within a budget, pay it bills, and fulfill its duties), why can’t our politicians handle these leadership task? In other words, does anyone else find it peculiar that we have a lower bar for our political leaders than we do our family leaders when, in truth, we ought to hold the political leaders to a higher standard?

With these concepts in hand, I sat down with Oliver DeMille, my good friend and one of the best students of the American Founders in America today. Oliver, in short, is a polymathic genius and we spent a full day in discussion on this proposal and how to communicate it to the world. After comprehending the FLD and the proposal, Oliver improved upon it and started writing a fable that captured the key principles in an entertaining way. I was blown away by the storyline and drama contained in this short (under 150 pages) book and after several revisions we knew LeaderShift was something special. Excitedly, I sent it on to Rick Wolff, the General Editor for Business Plus, and he loved it as well. Rick, one of the best editors in the industry, has turbo-charged this book through the publishing process. In fact, from meeting with Oliver to the release date is less than one year – a practically unheard of feat in publishing profession! Moreover, Business Plus is one of the most respected names (with over 50 bestsellers) in the field, publishing books by Hank Paulson, Jack Welch, Coach K, and many more. Oliver and I are honored to be included in this elite group.

Shortly before his death, historian Thomas Macaulay wrote to a friend in America, “Your republic will be fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the fifth, with this difference: that the Huns and Vandals will have been engendered within your own country by your own institutions.” This can and must be halted in 2013 through a LeaderShift! Arnold Toynbee, the great historian, studied every historical civilization. He believed that in the final hours before every civilization’s collapse, that leaders would emerge with proposals, that, if heeded, could halt the decline and bring much needed revitalization. It is my humble opinion that LeaderShift is such a proposal and can turnaround our country if enough people are willing to lead at the local level! America’s turnaround can be a beacon of hope and light for the remnants of liberty remaining within Western Civilization.

On April 16th, LeaderShift will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and bookstores across North America. I have never been more excited for the start of a new year than I am for 2013. I believe a turning point in the history of freedom is upon us and I plan on playing my part. Will you do the same? Oliver and I will be traveling around North America on a book signing tour on the release of the book so stay tuned for dates and locations near you. Here is an interview discussing the book and acclamations from early reviewers.


Orrin Woodward


Acclaim for LeaderShift
“Woodward and DeMille have outdone themselves. This book might just be the lever that the smartest people in America use to shift America back on course. Spread the word—the revolution is coming.” — Daniel R. Castro, award-winning author of  Critical Choices that Change Lives

“Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille offer a third way out. The old ‘left-right’ arguments died with the Cold War. The spending that brought the Soviet Union to its knees is now about to sink the West. This book is a brilliant wake-up call.” — Doug Wead, former adviser to two American presidents, New York Times bestselling author

“This book rises high above partisanship with real suggestions that are deep, thought-provoking, and incredibly original. The Five Laws of Decline introduced in this book will make a significant contribution to the national discourse.” — Chris Brady, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Launching a Leadership Revolution

“This is probably one of the most important and powerful books written for the times we are in—as well as coming times. Orrin and Oliver have woven a story so compelling and so rich that it forces you to turn the next page. The underlying message with the Five Laws is so brilliantly crafted that (and I do not use this word often) this book is genius.” — Doug Firebaugh, co-founder of Home Business Radio Network

“Whether a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Libertarian, if you are saddened by our country’s declining abundance, real hope has arrived. It happens to be in the form of a story that just might be, to our time, what Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was to his.” — Bob Burg, coauthor of The Go-Giver

“Woodward and DeMille combine their knowledge of history, philosophy, science, systems thinking, economics, and government to explain the challenges facing America from the Five Laws of Decline. This non-political book explains how to fix the government gridlock and end the political ‘smoke and mirrors’ so prominent in our society today.” — Tim Marks, bestselling author of Voyage of a Viking

“How many of us feel an inborn desire and even a sense of calling to lead in the cause to spread freedom and prosperity and yet cannot shake a sense of overwhelm, that perhaps it is too late, or the problem is too big, the solution too impossible.  LeaderShift reveals that it can be done, that it should be done. And it is clear that Orrin and Oliver  are among those who believe it shall be done.” — Jim Hillyer, MP, Canadian House of Commons