Purpose, Parenthood, Proper Order, and Legacy | Jordan Nicholas & Bill Larson | EP 1

A WikiCast post in Above The Chaos

Release Date: 2023.09.01

Duration: 01:40:23

Host: Jordan Nicholas Sukut
Guest(s): Bill Larson - Attorney & Strategic Advisor

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Episode Summary:

For our pilot episode we reversed the roles. Bill Larson is interviewing our podcast host Jordan Nicholas. Bill Larson is an attorney and a friend of Jordans.


  • 00:00 The first profound question
  • 01:44 Soft launch
  • 07:24 What kind of a world you want to leave behind?
  • 14:17 Sharp edges of life
  • 24:29 Don’t set goals if you’d rather solve problems
  • 37:58 Character development
  • 40:00 Mondragon co-operation
  • 01:01:08 True Legacy
  • 01:14:38 Just tuned in
  • 01:20:25 Extended discussion

Key Concepts and Ideas:

  • Legacy
  • Profound Questions
  • Sharp Edges
  • Vision
  • Character
  • Mondragon
  • Social Justice
  • Economic Justice

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Rough Transcript - Auto Generated

Bill Larson: The first profound question, what kind of a world would you like to leave your daughter's generation?

Jordan Nicholas: That's a beautiful question. It seems like the, like you said, that's the kind of question we should all write down and think about for the next month and get back to each other with an answer. I've worked, I've worked hard to, try to, develop that vision. that's, it's interesting to have a, vision of a world that's different than the one that we live in.

And, for me, that question, that profound question can be answered both in the affirmative and the negative, right? I think simply the, closer I get into this, and the more I try to feel it, the more I realize that there's only one vision, and it's the same vision that's been spoken for millennia through the prophetic voices.

Just this morning I was reading an Isaiah and you read the, prophetic archetypical voice bringing forth the heart of God about what the world should be like. And it all speaks towards that day when you know all the different things happen. And, so the kind of world that. I would like to leave behind for future generations is a world that's as close to heaven on earth as could possibly be as close to the world to come as could possibly be as close to a fully renewed and regenerated healthy, flourishing, diverse, abundant world.

Jordan Nicholas: Hello everybody. Welcome to our, first test run and soft launch of the Above the Chaos podcast for our soft launch here. I'm with my dear friend and brother, bill Larsson, who's gonna be doing a little bit of a reverse interview today.

So I'm gonna just go ahead and pass the baton right over to Bill and, bill, looking forward to our dialogue. Thanks for being here today.

Bill Larson: Hi Jordan. I'm going to be a mystery man today. We won't talk much about. me. I'll just mention one thing just so people get a little context in how we met. I happened to be an attorney among other things, and you called me on a referral and wanted a creative attorney. Tell me what led to our first discussion, and then I'm going to ask you some questions.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. Beautiful. I met Bill, on a quest to solve a very interesting legal challenge that stumped the first maybe two dozen or three dozen advisors and financial advisors and attorneys and CPAs we reached out to. and the, question at hand that was, stumping everybody was twofold. this was maybe about five or six years ago we started working on this, and I've been under the impression that during.

Our lifetime, we would wind up in a epic historic battle for the future of life and society. And about five or seven years ago, I started, growing. Increasingly convinced that maybe that time was getting closer and things were coming to a head. So I started trying to gather the wisest advisors and different people I could, that could think at the level of work site Earth as a whole.

I'm a builder, so I think of everything in builder job site terms. And we started talking about the, issues facing earth and where we're at and what might be coming over the next 10 or 15 years, what we might need to do in response. And our, Prediction, our understanding was that there might be a need for a historic citizen led joint venture to aggregate, as much resources and capacity and goodwill and skill and talent as we could to, sort out a set of problems and challenges facing society.

So from my, background in joint ventures and, large scale infrastructure construction projects, we thought that the first thing that we might need to do that might take the longest was to deal with legal and government governance. 'cause as soon as we started aggregating people and wanting to move together, we would have to actually be able to write checks to somewhere and have bank accounts and have the pragmatic ability to move funds and we'd have to make decisions together.

And so we thought that the longest part of the critical path would actually run through sorting out legal and governance. so that was the first challenge was a, was setting up a. Legal and governance structure robust enough to be able to deal with capital flows and resource flows and volunteer flows and time flows and energy flows from around the world and be able to coordinate that.

So, that was no small endeavor. the second part was that, As soon as you start dealing with corporations and bank accounts, you have to answer a very simple question, which is who owns it. And so with a large endeavor like that, question of who owns it seemed like it obviously had to be answered in the form of no one.

It had to be a citizen owned citizen led of the people by the people for the people, structured that existed on the basis of governance rather than, Then strict legal ownership by a group of individuals, as we often think of that that coupled with a, with a second goal that I had, which was, I had a couple construction companies at the time, and my goal was to give those away into a multi-generational stewardship structure that would be, stewarded by the employees and stakeholders and various people engaged with those companies so that they could run it, benefit from the operations and pass the baton to future generations.

So those two aspirations came together in the form of, okay, if we started getting large groups of people together to try to sort out the problems at hand, we would both be needing to deal with different kinds of capital flows in the non-profit world, for-profit, loans or investment flows, potentially political flows.

And we would probably have companies that we were bringing to the table that we would want to hold and trust and steward for future generations. So those questions, led me to reach out to, five or 10 advisors I was working with who reached out to their networks of advisors. We came up empty handed and then finally somebody said, there's a really, creative guy, strategist, creator named Bill Larsson and you should call him.

And that's what led me to Bill. So glad we met.

Bill Larson: I am too, Jordan. It, was an adventure and it started with breakfast. We met for breakfast and, hit it off right away. And to fast forward, I, I started getting involved with you as on a kind of a moderate level. And, that involvement increased, eventually jumping over some activities and some work.

We ended up, I ended up working with your companies and we went to, a place called Mongan in Spain.

Jordan Nicholas: Mm-hmm.

Bill Larson: And I'm going to come back to that because that was a, it is very much a fulcrum of a lot of our attention. But before we go there, I want to ask you a couple, what I consider profound questions. Profound questions are questions that can't be answered with a yes or no, and the like Bob Beal says, the human mind cannot tolerate the unanswered profound question.

And, you and I have asked a lot of questions over these past five years, and we've come to the conviction that I think people need to ask profound questions of themselves

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,

Bill Larson: and not demand of others as much as start there. let's start here. You have one daughter. How old is she now?

Jordan Nicholas: I have one 14 year old daughter,


it's an amazing age for her to reach because that is the age at which I fell in love with her mother. and that I think, my wife was 15 when I told her mother that I was gonna marry her. So it's amazing now to have a beautiful, young daughter, Emma, that's, now growing into a beautiful young woman at that age.

Bill Larson: And anyone who has, had a teenage daughter knows what a very dynamic, tying that is in life. Teaching somebody to have boundaries and to the self-respect, to look someone in the eye and challenge them respectfully. It's a hard balance and a lot of people look at, the challenges of a teenager as rebellion.

And in reality, they're learning how to be adult and we need to help them on that. So here's the question. The first profound question, what kind of a world would you like to leave your daughter's generation?

Jordan Nicholas: That's a beautiful question. It seems like the, like you said, that's the kind of question we should all write down and think about for the next month and get back to each other with an answer. I've worked, I've worked hard to, try to, develop that vision. that's, it's interesting to have a, vision of a world that's different than the one that we live in.

And, for me, that question, that profound question can be answered both in the affirmative and the negative, right? I think simply the, closer I get into this, and the more I try to feel it, the more I realize that there's only one vision, and it's the same vision that's been spoken for millennia through the prophetic voices.

Just this morning I was reading an Isaiah and you read the, prophetic archetypical voice bringing forth the heart of God about what the world should be like. And it all speaks towards that day when you know all the different things happen. And, so the kind of world that. I would like to leave behind for future generations is a world that's as close to heaven on earth as could possibly be as close to the world to come as could possibly be as close to a fully renewed and regenerated healthy, flourishing, diverse, abundant world.

And so what does that look like? What does it feel like? What does it smell like? What does it taste like? during the, during, so let's, just envision together, it's like, what, would the water look like? The water would be flowing and it would be clean and it would be clear. And what would it not look like?

It, breaks my soul when I go for a walk with my daughter and we come across a polluted stream that we can't drink from, right? And the animals can't drink from it. So the water would be clean and clear. I. What does it not look like? I was devastated this last year to learn that there was a study that went around the world and took rainwater samples from some of the most remote places on earth.

In the cities in the country, and, even in the top of the Himalayas and out in Antarctica. And, what they discovered was essentially every sample of pure rainwater coming from the sky on earth was contaminated by toxic chemicals at 10 times the level, the US. Regulatory agencies allow in the drinking water of its citizens and, every pure drop flowing from the sky now is contaminated.

So the kind of world that, I would want to leave behind is one that's been regenerated and cleaned up and renewed. One where the soil is, healthy and abundant and flourishing with food. One where we've re forested, rewelded where humans are living in. Regenerative harmony with nature and helping nature thrive for subsequent generations and not exploiting it.

I'd love for her to live in a world where we were one under God. It right now. Our world is totally fractured and divided, and we know that if our minds as individuals are fractured and divided, that we're, were insane. We know that as a society, if a house is divided against itself, it can't stand. So we see our, world at war with conflicts all over.

I would like to see her living in a world that wasn't the aftermath of the World War iii. We seem to be marching towards and, back to Isaiah, that's the imagery of, people streaming to the mountain of God and learning the ways of God, and then beating their weapons into. Tools of life, beating their swords and de plowshares.

I would like Emma to live in a world where people were kind to one another and loved one another. I would learn like her to live in a world of wisdom and truth where, we were genuinely with the fullness of our being oriented towards and navigating towards discerning wisdom and truth in a community the best that we possibly could, and where we had liberated ourselves from all these corrupt religious and political and ideological fallacies that are gripping and tearing our society apart.

it, it's. in short, there's a word in scripture called shalom that speaks to, I think you sent me a text on this week. It, basically speaks to the perfect fullness, wholeness, fulfillment, right relationship, the, total renewal, regeneration, fulfillment, development, flourishing of all things and right relationship with each other in God.

And something like that is, I think, the kind of place that we, all long to exist in ourselves and leave for our children and grandchildren.

Bill Larson: Five days after my oldest child, my daughter was born, 37 years ago now. I was driving on a freeway. LA was still filled with pollution. It was hot, it was August. It was right around this time of year. And all I saw was sharp edges, impatient people, angry people, tired people, sharp edges, trucks, metal billboards.

And I just thought to myself, who's gonna explain the sharp edges of life to this innocent little life that is now in my responsibility? And then as quick as I asked the question, it came back to me. bill, that's your job. So Jordan, how do you explain the sharp edges of life to your daughter?

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. That's been a, our, the world we thought we were living in was completely shattered by those sharp edges. And so my daughter has had, has had to go through, the amazing. Yeah, right at the most pivotal point of her life, like 12 years old, our life collided with abject corruption and what I would call malevolence. And, she got to lose her neighborhood and her home and her school and, friends and relationships and, all the struggle.

So it's been amazing to watch her navigate and to try to help her navigate in a healthy way through that. and I think it, it,

requires, the only way we've been able to navigate it is spiritually, like by, by folding as deep into our spiritual understanding of. The reality that we're in, who we are, our true identity, our family's mission, why we're doing this, and why we're willing to sacrifice repeatedly to advance even in the face of that, causing our family a lot of difficulty.

and it also requires explaining, almost whatever you wanna call it, your philosophy or theory of both the rough edges that result from incompetence and things just not being handled well. And then the rough edges that result from sheer malevolence and the conscious infliction of suffering on other people by corrupt self-interested structures.

And so I think it's forced her, it's forced us really to deeply grapple with our. Relationship with God, with our understanding and philosophy and theories of good and evil with the reality of where our life and society is at, and then what our moral obligation and responsibility is in the face of that, in order to keep advancing, even in the face of suffering and have that be okay, to have that not be a negative thing, but have it be part of the mission and calling.

And yeah, I think it's, it's basically, to me it's a spiritual question that has to be spiritually understood and resolved through the, life's mission and the family mission that, that even a 12 year old can understand, why, we're on this path and why we're willing to suffer for what we believe in most.

Bill Larson: You used the word mission and That's a, big word. It's the idea of, I, I have this big thing to accomplish and it, captivates my attention and I may go somewhere on at a distance to do it. I'm on a mission, on a quest that is my mission in life. It's a big word. It implies, a level of deferred gratification, doesn't it?

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,

Bill Larson: So what do you think about the angry insistence of people in the world today that others conform to their view of what the world ought to be, and how does that relate to deferred gratification and working together and being patient? Because you're talking about a process, and yet do you see people wanting to engage in a sustainable process together?

Jordan Nicholas: yeah. Amazing. Let me think just for a second about where to go with that. There's an idea in, I'm gonna pick up on your word process. So I, one of the most amazing things that I learned from my, M B A at U C L A, was in an operations class I took, and it wasn't one of the textbooks, but they introduced us to a book, written by a Israeli professor.

And the title of the book is The Goal, and it's one of the most profound books. And it's a book about operations, but it's also a book about philosophy and spirituality and the ultimate reconciliation and unification of everything. So the idea of the goal is that, whether whatever you're producing, that the goal is a allegorical story basically set in a factory.

And in the beginning of that story, I'm gonna answer your question by telling the story of the goal in the beginning of the story of the goal, a plant is failing, it's about to go outta business. And, I believe the story goes that the employees are gonna take it over and try to save it. And so somebody sent, one of the employees takes over and they have to figure out how to sort out this plan.

And so along the way they, have the help and advice of this Israeli professor. And the question at hand, as always, what's the goal? And so when the guy steps into the plant, what he notices is you have, 15 different departments or stations, and each one is optimizing for itself and trying to get all the resources so that it can fulfill its own little, mission.

And the whole point of the story is that if a bunch of self-optimizing. Little units try to take all the resources from around them to produce what they're trying to produce. The factory in the business fails. And so the idea is that in any system, you have to subordinate all the individual parts to the overarching and uniting goal of why that thing exists.

And so that's true in a factory. We've, discovered that through, through Lean and Toyota production system and, those Israeli research parts. It's also true in our own lives where we have to take all these, different elements or our different sub personalities and drives, let's say, and integrate those into an overarching and uniting higher order functional personality that can go out and relate and go on a mission or a quest to become what it's supposed to be carrying with it.

All these. Sub personalities, right? And where we often see things go wrong is if one of the sub personalities grabs the, grabs the controls of the mainframe of somebody. it takes 'em way off course from their destiny. And so it seems like what you're talking about as far as delayed gratification, if we think about our own bodies, we, let's say we have all these sub drives where we have a drive towards hunger and we have a drive towards thirst and we have a drive, a sexual drive and we have a equin economic and acquisitional drive, and we have a drive towards learning.

And if any one of those, grabs the mainframe and we're just fully focused on eating, or fully focused on sex or fully fo focused on, economic acquisition, then it takes us way off course. So the whole game, the whole game I guess of life seems to be how do you take all the sub drives?

Integrate them into a functional personality that can exist in a functional family, that can exist in a functional community, that can exist in a functional society and world. And so in terms of the delayed gratification, each of those subpoints, each of those sub entities that stacks up and aligns to a functional society integrated with a flourishing environment has to delay its own gratification in order so that the whole can flourish.

And so that seems to be basically one of the, that is what one of the main things that's currently causing our society to be an abject corruption and failure mode is you have all these self-interested little factions and clicks and ideologies and political parties, and they're all vying for their, attention and their own good.

At the expense of society as a whole. So it's exactly the, what's happening right now in our society with a bunch of little ideologies and parties and factions vying for control and power is exactly what causes any personality or community or society to fail. And it's the opposite of, I think, what you're speaking to, which is, which is how we, humbly and wisely serve and sacrifice and integrate ourselves into a, body, a community, a family that can function and move towards the goal. yeah, that's,

Bill Larson: I like your use of the word goal. Bob Beal, who is a management consultant, leadership development person, has written many books and he was a student of Peter Drucker whose work is widely studied. Bob wrote a book called Don't Set Goals if you'd Rather Solve Problems. And he talks about how there are people who are, their orientation is towards problem solving.

And then there are people whose orientation is towards goal setting. And then there are people who are opportunity oriented. I could ask you this question and what's the short answer to this first question? Which of those three do you look at yourself to be?

Jordan Nicholas: I, tend to be more visionary and goal oriented than most.

Bill Larson: Yeah, I might even go so far as to, psychoanalyze you here and say you, you are very much opportunity oriented. Very, that's the visionary. But, I, in working in construction, if you aren't, in disciplined towards goal setting, you can't stay on the critical path. You can't coordinate anything with the critical path.

So I know your, disciplines appreciate all of these areas, but, I've, Bob made the observation that people who are problem solvers are often very threatened by the opportunity oriented people.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.

Bill Larson: But if they can work together and the opportunity oriented person can submit, A question say, saying, I need your help.

I think there are problems with this big vision. How would you identify and solve the problems there? And likewise, with goal oriented people, it speaks to community and working together in a mutually submissive way.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.

Bill Larson: the opportunity oriented people are looked at as the dominating forces in society, and they can be tempted to leave us, leave the little people beside, behind falsely considering them to be subordinate.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,

Bill Larson: So how do you think that these three perspectives can work best together? And what would be the, is there a word that would describe that process?

Jordan Nicholas: you keep using the word process, which I love. and I think that's exactly it. I see god's profound, wisdom in f flinging my personality into 20 years of training in heavy civil infrastructure, which is a very tough execution oriented. Environment. And so there's an amazing, I learned amazing, things, by being held accountable for 20 years every day for, series of teams.

And what those teams are ultimately doing is bringing shared intention into reality. So if we think about, if we think about that, what we just talked about, the goal on a work site is the architect's intent. It's, not exactly what's written in the plans and specifications. It's what the architect intends to come into reality.

And so that is the most phenomenal. Uniting principle. It's, every one of us as workers on this work site is here to play our unique specialized role to bring the designer's intent into reality. And, that sets up transformation. it's it's almost spiritual in nature, but it's let's analyze as carefully as we can the existing conditions, let's grasp as fully as we can, the designer's intent, and let's come up with the wisest plans of action strategy and plans of action we possibly can to bring the, to go from where we are to what's intended in a defined period of time in a structured and measurable way.

And, so exactly what happens is what you just said, right? There's certain personalities that, that primarily look at the existing conditions and the problems, and there's certain personalities that primarily. Are able to exist and feel the end state. And so what you have to do on a work site is get that all working together.

And over thousands of years of building, we've actually learned how to do that. There's, very specific process processes that run in order to get massive groups of people with very different interests. Align working to create throughput of a goal. So I'll give you, I'll answer your question. So I, think we could design and build a better world.

It, might not be adequate. We might have to do something better, but I've been trying to advocate for the last few years we should at least level up to the basic processes we use to bring intention into reality on a work site. We should at least run those basic processes to bring God's intention into reality for work site Earth, let's say.

And so you mentioned, you mentioned, problem oriented people and being able to surface concerns, problem or challenge oriented people being able to surface and log concerns and then watch their resolution. So what we use on what we use on construction projects is called an issue log.

Issue Logs are like one of the first things that I look at on any site. If I walk onto it and want to know if it's on track, you can pull up the issue log. And what an issue log is basically is you have diverse groups of dozens of people working on a work site. It's if anybody sees anything wrong or that has the potential to become a problem in the future or is not known or resolved, put it on the issue log, even if we're not gonna do anything about it, just make it number 297 of the things that we're worried about that might blow this project up.

And so it's amazing because once you have a place where everybody's problems and concerns can be logged, you can do something magical, which is you can start to. Rank order and prioritize them, assign dates by when they need to be resolved. Connect them to different activities on the critical path.

And so that, so somebody knows, okay, we're, not, the whole team is not focused on resolving my concern number 297 today, but I see that it's logged. I see it's tied to the appropriate item on the critical path, and it will be resolved when it needs to be. And so my experience is that some of those basic tools, it's like we're all here focused on one shared intention and goal.

That's what everybody's here to do. We're gonna, we're gonna understand that intention as thoroughly as we can understand the existing problems and conditions as thoroughly as, we can come up with the best strategy and plan for transformation as we can. We're gonna understand that strategy and plan, our best laid strategy and plan will not survive the first week of contact with reality.

So it's all gonna change. But that's okay. So, basically you have this system that's built to change and, measure and monitor that process of bringing intention into reality. And then you have the, structural logs and processes that nest together. So all those per different personality types can work together.


Bill Larson: It sounds to me like, a pretty big complex thing. I've met people who say, don't tell me how to make the clock. Just tell me what time it is. Or that's too big, how we ever solve that problem. kids who are learning how to tackle big problems in their education and their practical lives sometimes say, oh, how can I ever do that?

It's so hard. But when they learn, they can break it into bits and accomplish them. they can do that. they, can make progress. So it sounds to me like you need to be able to work with people who don't necessarily understand or even want to understand, but they need to have trust that somebody has the gift and calling to understand it and can help them to integrate their skill into the process.

Was that, would that be a safe statement?

Jordan Nicholas: a hundred percent. I as another quick, story to, to match that I think in informs and, validates what you just said, is I also learned a lot teaching martial arts for, whatever the last seven or 10 years or whatever it's been, and. when you teach martial arts, you're doing something funny, right?

It's like you're, teaching someone to be an ultimate warrior, right? An archetypical warrior. You're, conforming people towards the ideal of the, competent warrior. And then sometimes you're in a kid's class, and what do you see the kids doing? They're like jumping around, playing games or hitting each other with, pool noodles or like trying to learn how to sit still for more than three seconds or whatever the little, routines are.

And those things are building competence and, coordination and discipline and strength and, all the different things that are required. So there's a funny question you could ask is are they learning martial arts or are they hitting each other with pool noodles? And the answer is both.

And so I think this is the same, it's the same kind of thing where, like you said, there's gonna be very, few people that want to go through. Through the full discipline and pain and suffering to become masters in different areas. And so that's where I think you mentioned the word trust. We, need, we are designed to operate, we are designed to co-operate as a body.

And a body has a bunch of differentiated organ systems. And, those stack up and align. And so there's so many areas it's, that was one of the things that, That my grandfather told me over and over again, he, my grandfather was a successful entrepreneur that started, started the largest earth moving company on the west coast of the United States here, and taught me a lot.

But, one of the things that he always said is he said, I discovered very early on I could always find somebody to do anything that needed to be done better than I could do it. And so that humility to go, okay, there's these things that need to be done, and, each of them is complicated. We don't, it's complicated to build things.

It's complicated to market things. It's complicated to sell things. It's complicated to administer things. It's complicated to account for things. It's complicated to, hold human beings together for long enough so that they could possibly do something meaningful. It's hard to convene. It's hard to facilitate.

All those things are hard and I think that trust or cohesion of a body, to say, okay, here's the small part I can play. Here's my unique skill, gift, or calling. And I, recognize and trust that there's others resonant with this spirit and moving in the same direction who have spent the last 20 years, in their unique skill, gift, and calling.

And what makes everything possible is if we can come up with the trust and cohesion to start to cooperate as one body that theme, that the goal one, one body, one nation under God, one citizenship under God. I. Each playing our unique, diverse, roles and responsibilities and honoring and respecting those differences.

And in our last couple years of convening, you mentioned the different personality types and, we've seen over and over again those kind of collide and repel each other. You'll have, top down thinkers and bottom up thinkers and visionary opportunity oriented people and problem solvers. And you try to bring them into the same room.

And, very often they can't hang in long enough to build the trust and mutual respect and honor to, to do something together. 'cause they, the, problem solvers go, you guys are just, your head's in the clouds. I'm outta here to go work on my problem that I'm trying to solve. And while they're trying to solve that little problem, the visionaries are going, look, we're, never gonna get anywhere if we don't have the big picture. in the, other side of those prophetic words, there's always the great reconciliation and return of, the fathers to the sons, of the mothers, to the daughters of the opportunity oriented and problem solvers.

That's not actually in prophecy, but it's one of those things, right? It's like all those polar forces need to come back together, and when the generations come back together, when the polar forces come together, when the masculine and feminine comes back together, and when all those things are, mutually honoring and rightly ordered and related, then the defined symphony can sound,

Bill Larson: It seems to me like you're, describing more than job function, but you're describing character development because without that, We can't work together. it's, it reminded me of, something my, it takes so many forms, right? Teaching a child to be patient is a process. My daughter has taught her three sons who are 10, eight, and five, that instead of complaining that you don't like something when someone offers it to you and saying, oh, yuck.

And she's done this very gently, continually, no, we don't complain. We say, no thank you. It's not my favorite thing.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.

Bill Larson: And at, three years old, it's very hard. It that's a lesson. That's a tough one. But by the time they all do that now, we, but they were over at our place and Rose said to some one of them, would you like some whatever, along with your whatever.

we were having a, meal and he said, that's not my favorite thing. And it was,

Jordan Nicholas: my,

Bill Larson: but


Jordan Nicholas: daughter, my daughters was no thank you much, but No, thank you much o often with fear.

Bill Larson: But we think of these as the small things, but if we can't learn little character qualities, like listening to one another, giving someone a chance to explain themselves, speaking politely, it seems like this, it breaks down. So this brings us to, to, back around to, Mongan when, I've been working with you for some time and you, said we're gonna, four of us are gonna go to MadRag Gone.

And you invited me to come along and we joined that group from, university of San Diego, I think it was.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,

Bill Larson: there are masters and PhD programs combined to send a group over to Monon. let's talk about Monon and what, where they came from briefly. 'cause you've been there twice. You had already been there once when we, went over. tell us why Madre Gun started in, brief terms. And then let's get in. I have a couple questions regarding what you encountered and what we all encountered over there.

Jordan Nicholas: yeah, The story of Rogan's Worth telling. So as I started, pondering more just as I came to the conclusion that the. Way that we were structuring our economic system and issues of ownership and stewardship in these different things were inherently unjust. as I grew increasingly uncomfortable being the sole owner of a company with whatever, 150 people working harder than I was.

And as I watched over time, laborers and mechanics and operators being exploited and getting a very inappropriate share of the spoils, let's say, inside of these, these companies around the world that I was wor I was working, started deeply pondering what is a more just what does a more just economy look like?

What is economic justice? What is socioeconomic justice? What do those things like? If we were to understand the heart of God as best we could, And God's wisdom and deep desire for justice and apply that to economy, what might it look like and what it doesn't look like? I think a lot of us feel is it probably doesn't look like poor workers slaving away tirelessly while the CEOs make 350 times as much money as them.

So I started learning about this, experiment called Mangon, and, it's one of the first things that most people come across as they start to really start to look into different experiments and more just economic systems. And I ended up, taking two trips over to Spain, over to the Bos region of Spain with the, one of the leading professors in the United States.

And he's led, groups of graduate students over there for the last, I think, 20 or 30 years. David and Sherry Herrera. I love you guys and, thank you so much for being, part of my educational journey. but so I, I took, two trips over there with, Professor Herrera and groups of grad Stu students.

And then on my second one took Bill and a couple other executives over to, to study the model gon started, after World War II in the Bos region of Spain. And, it was a mess. It was a mess. Socially, it was a mess. Economically, it was a mess Religiously, it was a mess in, every sense of the word Trust was shattered.

the people of the Bosque region felt that they were sold out. They didn't trust, the government. They didn't trust the church. They didn't entrust the unjust collusion between church and state. they were fragmented and divided and struggling. And so there was a Catholic, there was a Catholic priest, Jose Ari, Mindy Arieta that was in the area, and he spent.

As I understand it, 10 or 15 years talking about a vision for a mo adjust economic system and what could be done. And so he traveled around and he spoke and everybody would say, yeah, let's do it. And nothing happened. And nothing happened and so every week he would, he would keep talking about it.

They have a, weather condition in, the Bosque region of Spain, they call Zuri Murray, and, what the locals describe. I, was lucky enough to be able to communicate and maintain relationship with a couple of the wisdom keepers from, that tradition. But they said it was like Zuri Murray is like a light.

Like a light, mis, or rain that you walk in and it's not really rain, but it gets you wet. And so they described Ari's Mindy's constant messages and exhortations over 10 or 15 years like that mist. And eventually they all got wet in it and eventually a few people got wet enough that they quit their job working for the unjust corporate structure.

That wouldn't give them, that wouldn't educate them, wouldn't help them, wouldn't. Help take care of their health needs, et cetera. Five guys decided they were gonna start a cooperative and they started making, I think their first one was making parts for a appliance, parts for ovens or something like that.

And what happened over the next period of time is that experiment grew out into what is now, a, federation of worker-owned cooperatives with I believe over a hundred thousand worker owners in it right now, maybe 13 or 14, billion dollars a year of revenue. it's a, very major operation and, a major success story and major challenges as they've tried to, spread it around the world and, empower other workers around the world to come together into these cooperative structures.

They've had all sorts of roadblocks that we've been doing our best to study together. so anyway, gon is a powerful example. If, you have not heard of it, we will hopefully drop a link in the show notes and, be happy to study that together a little bit.

Bill Larson: what surprised you the most about what you saw at Monon?

Jordan Nicholas: What surprised me the most was probably just getting to live and be for a week in a society completely permeated by a different socioeconomic idea. So it's amazing what's happened over time because kids, so the basic idea is there is a cooperative. And, worker ownership. But what the amazing thing that happened is they discovered they needed to teach these things from youth.

So they have cooperatively run preschools and cooperatively run kindergartens and cooperatively run elementary schools. And by the time kids are in elementary school and they're doing flexible project-based learning in peer groups where they have to cooperate together and solve problems. And the teachers are there not as overlords filling them with industrial knowledge, but as guides to help that project-based learning process.

there's a great book that is difficult to find, but it's called the Pedagogy of Trust. We talked about that word a little bit, but the whole point of that book is to look at children not as empty vessels, to be filled with the industrialized knowledge that they need to function as a cog in the machine we've set up, but to look at them as unique.

Beings, filled with the spirit of God who are on earth to make a difference in whatever their unique way is. And so the teachers, basically the teachers who don't call themselves teachers, the. The guides that are there to facilitate the learning and development process of children view their responsibility as basically to support and help each of those children develop into the fullness of their unique potential while learning to work cooperatively in groups to tackle the, challenges at hand.

So it's amazing. you, we go to the schools that are cooperatively run. You go to the university that's cooperatively run. You go to different businesses that are cooperatively, run banks that are cooperatively, run healthcare systems that are cooperatively, run in the evenings. the director was kind enough to invite us to his dinner club, a, gastronomic club that's cooperatively run in one of the buildings in town.

And so everything, morning, noon, night, education, sports teams, everything centers around this basic action of we are the, co-owners of our community. We are the co-owners of our businesses. We're the co-owners of our families. We're the co-owners of our sports teams, we're the co-owners of our restaurants.

And everything's just like that, decades. And so it's a vision and an experience of something completely different that could be, and it is, it is very surprising to witness and beautiful.

Bill Larson: I have to say I was, quite impressed by the enthusiasm, the order and the efficiency of that. And I've heard people say, isn't that cooperative thing all just a bunch of communism? I sure isn't. It's private ownership, but it's, truly. How would you describe the difference between what some people think is communism and socialism and a cooperative?

And by the way, there are like 10,000 cooperatives in the United States, in the agriculture realm and in, and there are cooperatives elsewhere. So people aren't very well educated about how a cooperative function unless you are actually involved in one. So what do you think about that?

Jordan Nicholas: in a different, podcast. maybe we should have a round table talking about the false dichotomy and brainwashing around capitalism and socialism. we, I, think that it's not incompetence, I think it is malevolence the way that we as a society have been brainwashed into this or that left or right, Republican or democrat capitalist or socialist.

and it's it, what it leaves is this very distorted elementary simplified and malevolently tainted understanding of a false dichotomy that doesn't exist. And so the, for people wondering about this, has been, I have frequently been called a communist and socialist that I've talked about how you could organize more just economic systems.

So communism and socialism speak to ownership and control by government. And communism being, let's say, the most complete form of absolute ownership and control, not just by government, but by centralized government, totally separate from, and then let's say that on, so let's say that at the Polar forces, you have completely unregulated, self-interested drive towards individual acquisition.

And on the far other side, and, that's no regulation, it's, no government support, it's no bailouts, it's no nothing pure free market. And then on the other side, you have absolute control by a centralized government who's gonna try to decide and calculate what needs to be done for a society. And both of those are, stupid and wrong and have killed millions of people.

And so what we have is neither one of those, even in the United States today, we don't have a capitalist society or we wouldn't have the type of collusive. F federal government involvement in the economy and constant bailouts and government interventions and subsidies and economic wars and use of our military to back corporate, like none of that is free market.

So what cooperatives are, basically just the idea that we, the people co-own the means of production, let's say, or our shared, our shared economic structures. And so I, I mentioned earlier that, that we went on a multi-year journey. It took years really to try to articulate these issues and understand legally how you'd instantiate more just economic systems given the legal context that already exists.

It's an amazingly profound question. And so what, As we, we were deeply pondering the, first principles and core values. It seems like from our spiritual traditions, the, governing value relative to economy or material things is something like stewardship. It's something like the understanding that everything belongs to God and future generations, so to speak.

We are here on earth as individuals and communities for a very short time. We are temporarily entrusted with things that don't belong to us and we don't control, but we are something like a steward or a custodian or a guardian of that which is entrusted to us for future generations. And you can find a thousand biblical stories or parables that would bring that forward.

and, obviously that's the understanding of indigenous tribes and traditions as well in many cases around the world. So what a cooperative is, basically a form of. It local economic self-governance where we're not working for a distant, corrupt owner exploiting us. We, the people are the owner of our companies. What's amazing about Mongan and where it necessarily goes beyond limited forms of employer ownership or, other things, is once you decide that we, the people are no longer gonna work for the elite overlords exploiting us, and we are going to take back control of our own lives and localities and means of production and companies, and we are gonna steward them in common and make decisions together and, steward these for future generations, train people, and pass the baton in a multi-generational system.

Once you decide that and you decide, not only are Bill and I and our a hundred friends gonna do this, but you all wanna do that too. We all want that same self-determination and agency and co-ownership and cooperation. I. it is very foolish for each of us to try to do that in isolation and reinvent the wheels.

And so what you end up having is, the desire, the natural desire for higher order functional unity coordination, service support among a federation of locally governed and control worker-owned cooperatives. And so that's what, Mangon brings to life is what that might look like. If you think of individual cooperatives like cities, they then organize 'em into second degree cooperatives that are like counties that are then organized by theme around things that, that matter by domain, let's say that's like a state.

And then at the top they have a very, small, like an extraordinarily small. Quote unquote federal function that handles the bare minimum things that are required to keep that whole body functioning. So I guess that's how I would describe cooperatives. It's individual and local economic stewardship and self-determination.

So in that sense, it's the opposite of communism and socialism. It's, fully of the people, by the people, governed by the people owned by the people. economy. That's, I think, closer to where we're headed as a society.

Bill Larson: I was profoundly, touched by the sense of community over there and also how Mongan inspired the development of. About a thousand, 1,200 other cooperatives in the Bosque region that are not affiliated with Mod Gun at all, but they're patterned after Mod Gun. It just worked. And I didn't see any homelessness.

I didn't see any poverty over there. It's this second richest, independent autonomous region of Spain after Catalonia. and it came from such, devastation. Hitler practiced the Blitzkrieg by, with Franco's consent in the Bosque region and the world. it, Hemmingway got upset about that and that's why he went to Spain and he wrote from there and he fought in there in the, Spanish Civil War.

You can ponder how this would affect you to be. just bombed into oblivion by your own government's, hiring, you which was Hitler. But it's hard to understand how it would affect people's minds unless you go somewhere where it's actually affected their minds. and I appreciated seeing that.

So one of the things that, was interesting was the governance structure. They had a governance structure that allowed for the continuity, and one element of that governance structure was that they, put right within their constitution this idea that the highest paid would never be paid more than seven times the lowest full-time membership,

Jordan Nicholas: yeah,

Bill Larson: salary.

What do you think about that?

Jordan Nicholas: It's a vision of a far more just. way of being. there's a, there's amazing, when, we were doing our early economics experiments, we, patterned it around that and it worked just fine. we, could, we discovered that it was completely possible to hire and recruit and train world class talent who not only accepted, but celebrated the opportunity to be in a more just structure like that.

So they have stories where they describe, their, let's say one of their executives from one of the large grocery cooperatives as going to a European conference of grocers. And so the president of the, one of the mangan, cooperative Grocers is going and he's making, let's, just pretend that in that cooperative, the lowest paid member makes 30,000 euros a year.

And so he might be making 200,000 euros a year and. There's such a deep structure of care around education and how our kids are all being taken and healthcare and how we're all taking care of each other and what happens if, we lose our job or our company for a period of time, and how will we be taken care of and what about our retirement and what about the integrity of our community and what about all the things we need to provide for.

And when there's such a healthy, deep ecosystem of all these cooperatively run elements of society conspiring to help every family flourish, I. You de govern that at 200 grand a year, you have everything you need. you can be on vacation for six weeks a year, and your kids can go to university and get world-class education and jobs and you can retire comfortably and you have everything you need.

And so they actually, they don't accept as a culture, some citizens having to, walk miles in uncomfortable conditions to slave away at work while other citizens roll through in their Rolls Royce phantoms to the front, of the line. It's just not tolerated.

And if there was anybody who acted in that way, they would be, kindly, excommunicated from the society or put in their place. And so it's just a culture of mutual, care. But they describe the experiences of those executives who go to those conferences, not as one of envy, like I could. W why am I stuck slaving away in this more just economic model? I could just leave and go serve the empire and make 10 times as much. It's no, there's this deep sense of pride and commitment where you feel sorry for the executives making five times as much as you slaving away for their corporate overlords in a totally unjust and failing system.

So, it's, it like becomes the, all these little nodes become like the cities on a hill. They become like the little bastions of light and proper order where people then are deeply incentivized to, to attempt to carry them on.

Bill Larson: Jordan. You know that recently we had a discussion about, legacy, and I told you I've been kinda rethinking my own view of my own legacy. What do you feel, should describe a person's or can describe a person's true legacy? How would you find true legacy in the world?

Jordan Nicholas: Legacy feels something like the. What's left when we are no longer left. It's what parts of us live on when we're gone, what aspects of our existence? So we're, thrown into the earth in a time and place and we, exist for a very short window and then we, dissolve back into the earth and our souls are reunited to God.

And so what remains in reality as a result of that brief window of existence? what parts does anybody know or care about that are still lingering behind? And, what I'm gonna give one example of where I think legacy is not working as an illustration. when I started my first construction company, hu Humans have been building for.

Thousands and thousands of years, maybe that's one of the oldest professions, is how we build, how we shelter ourself, right from the most primitive ways to the most magical things that have ever been constructed over the course of multi-generational projects, which we should revive by the way, this, notion that multiple generations are engaged in building a cathedral that we will never get to experience, but we're building it together over the next 500 years because it matters and we're gonna take the time to make it beautiful so that people are enjoying it 2000 years from now.

but, when I started that first company, it's okay, day one, no laptop, no contractor's license, nothing. me and a friend sitting in a living room, it's like, Okay, let's, go. maybe we should get a couple computers. Good. That's day one. we should apply for a contractor's license that day two.

And you, and then you get going and then, okay, we're gonna set up our systems. so we need accounting systems for construction and, whatever. And then by the time we, we started winning tens of millions of dollars worth of work and we're, needing to upscale those infrastructure, it's like, all right, we're ready.

We're going to, we're gonna invest, a half million dollars in a, beautiful piece of technology. I was shocked at the level of reinventing the wheel we were doing. It's like the questions of how should we structure our chart of accounts? Like how should we set up these different workflows? How should we set up the processes?

All these different things. And we talked to the leading companies in each of these areas. And it was like we were having the conversation for the first time. It's haven't. 10 million construction companies already started, and shouldn't this be just natural and out of the box and like ready to go?

Haven't 27 generations of contractors feel like figured out how to do this? And if we want as a society are builders to be building meaningful things, like we should just be empowering them and passing the baton. And so I think this idea of passing the baton in continuity is if, generations go from generation to generation, it's like we can build, for ourself and then our work dies and the next generation starts over, right?

So you, have these, it's maybe still trending upward, but it's, choppy. If we, I think in a proper functioning society where we were stewarding what we had for the benefit of future generations and training and passing the baton, what you would end up with is a system designed. For every aspect of flourishing that we need and every generation that's coming is improving what the previous generation did, training the next generation, passing the baton and remaining meaningfully engaged in mentorship and community like throughout the end of their life.

And, as opposed to that, what we see happening is I can't tell you, being in, Vistage and different c e o peer groups and, being surrounded by executives for the last decade, I can't tell you how many people I watched build over a lifetime, decades, these valuable companies, or maybe it's a third generation company and now there's no one to pass the baton to, so they sell it to private equity. All their most trusted friends, allies, and coworkers built over the decades are, ruthlessly laid off one at a time. The companies are stripped apart, they're repackaged, and they're sold 18 months later. And, the entire incentive is to get rid of every 50 or a hundred thousand or $300,000 person you possibly can.

'cause every person you fire is a 10 x multiple on the sale. 'cause you're stripping out all the costs. So then what you end up with is these individuals who have built companies, hooray. We sold it for $50 million and now we have no platform, no meaningful mentoring, no meaningful community. And we're sitting alone in a country club watching our lives work being strategically dismantled by economic sharks.

It's like the wrong, it's the wrong thing. It's like people, it's so valuable. It's so hard to build. You can, it takes decades to build all those things. It could be a legacy, but instead we like vaporize 'em. We exchange it for money and vaporize it. So one of the things that Bill and I have, worked on the most over the last four years is, we are at a moment in history where, a generation of builders has built all the foundations, all the companies, all the processes, all the technologies, everything that's needed for the future. And we don't know how to pass that baton. And I, and, we know we don't know how to pass the baton. we've studied all the different ways to do this, and it turns out that if you just give all the equity to your kids who didn't build that themself and they become the corporate overloads and owners, it, turns out that usually within two or three generations, that tears the family apart and destroys the company.

It turns out when you try to do something noble and turn it over to five or 10 of the guys that are, working for you as a, as an ESOP or an employee-owned company, and then they try to pass the baton one or two times, usually within a couple turns it, it's back to another unjust system and it dissolves and it tears the company apart, makes a few people rich, but turn tears the company apart.

so how, the fathers and the sons get together and decide how we're gonna transition. Trillions of dollars of real property equity and business equity in a way that sets a new foundation and paves the way for the future Flourishing of society, I think is one of the most absolutely critical issues facing our society.

And it's, I think it's, everything you're saying about legacy. It's like, how are we gonna take everything that a generation has built and responsibly pass the baton? So it, doesn't just dissolve, but it endures and it matters. Yeah. It's, anyway.

Bill Larson: Yeah, we talked a lot about how when a person has built a large company, and I'm, when I say large, I, really mean even lower middle market, if you have 50, 60 employees, you're gonna be looking at, 40, 50 million a year, perhaps, maybe a little less than that, maybe more depending on your, industry.

And let's say you make $4 million a year in profits and you get a five x multiplier. You sell the company for $20 million and you have all that money, you pay capital gains and they don't have anything to do. So you get involved in charity and it, goes on up from there. The, a lot of people sell their company for a hundred, 200 million more up into the billions and.

They donate money to charities that are solving problems that could have been solved by higher wages and better employment practices and better life development and community development all along the way.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.

Bill Larson: So it seems to me that legacy has to include two things. It has to include some kind of a systematology systema systemideologically going the word there.

some kind of system for protecting, the equity for the future generations if, possible. And it also has to address life issues. I'm always impressed with how much I realize I'm not gonna see in my grandson's lives as fully mature leader adults. I will be gone by then. But I have a faith in what I contribute into their lives right now.

And I can see, I can project it into the future that, that, fan, that interest in life, that, that, learning, that, that humble, honest learning, that enthusiasm, if I can just adjust their trajectory a little bit, I'm affecting the future in a way that I, have to take by faith. But it's not hard to see.

And how many of us miss that in life? We end up with what we think is a legacy and a hospital wing named after us. And that's it.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. That makes me think of your, statement on that. Earlier we were talking about deferred gratification or sacrifice it, everything about, it's, almost like everything about properly being. And doing everything we can to steward what's entrusted to us, including the, people around us and the young people we can in influence and then pass the baton all requires the joyful, exuberant sacrifice of the time and the attention and the effort and the resources that it takes to, help the rising generation flourish.

And, it's like that, that is, it is absolutely unbelievable. a year ago or whenever it was that, I might be, forgive me if I'm wrong on this, but whenever it was that we crossed over and a combination of self-inflicted death from substance abuse became the leading cause of death of young people in our nation, it's like, Something is really, profoundly wrong and that can only be fixed.

There is no healthcare program that can fix it. Like the, those issues of hopelessness and despair and generate like desperation, lack of meaning, lack of meaningful engagement, lack of meaningful work, lack of meaningful relationships, lack of meaningful existence, lack of understanding of why we're here and where we're going and what matters so much that we're gonna get outta bed and work together and sacrifice for it till we die, while passing the baton every day.

It's like that, that deep sustaining driving, meaning that propels us out of bed at 4:00 AM every morning to go meet God and then get in community and get to work like, there's such a deeper thing there that has to be corrected.

Bill Larson: Jordan, it looks like we've, We've touched on enough areas that each merit a deep dive,

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,

Bill Larson: and, we're in a hallway lined with doors, and those doors each have great name plates on them. Um, we've only just begun here.

Jordan Nicholas: yeah.

Bill Larson: What's the, what would you, if, somebody just tuned in accidentally and heard this little first, incident, talk here with us, what would you encourage them to do as a next step if they want to tune their sense of legacy in their life and what, should they start contemplating? What should they, ponder?

Jordan Nicholas: Give a individual answer and a structural answer. The individual thing that I would say or encourage is that I. For reasons we may or may not get into today. I believe with all my being to the point of willingness to sacrifice everything, that we are at an absolute decision point as a human species on planet earth, about who we are going to become and what we're here to do, and how we're going to exist in right relationship to one another, across the borders that have separated us in the past and in harmony and right relationship with the environment that has to sustain generations and generations to come and in right relationship to the source and sustainer that's guiding those transformations of life and society through the generations.

And so sorting out individual right relationship with God and self and family and community, and the world around you. It has to be the starting point that each of us are most deeply engaged in. so every, we're, on the edge of determining how generations and generations to come may exist in this world.

And the, massive awakening and revival of heart and spirit that has to occur, to impel each and every one of us to get ourselves in order and get our families in order, and get our communities in order. Take responsibility back, get things healthy, get things flourishing, clean up those, sharp edges that Bill was talking about, and, figure out how we're gonna, how we're gonna set things in order in this decade.

that's that. secondly, is that, I believe with all my heart that none of us can do any of that effectively alone. we are each being created and sustained moment by moment, by the creator of the universe, and we are destined and called to become a body. And so I would, I desperately long to connect with everyone who resonates in any way with, what we're talking about.

And if you can't understand what we're talking about, maybe you can feel it in the resonance of voice and spirit. And so if you resonate at all with these topics and themes and ideas and visions of, how the world could be and the ways that we could work together to, bring that creator's intent into reality, I.

The best thing you could do would be to go to, my website and sign up just so that we're structurally connected and not subject to the whims of other powers that be about, whether we see each other's messages, et cetera. So you can go to, www.jordannicholas.org and on the homepage you'll find a link to join the movement.

And if you just click that and, sign up and contribute, that will enable this work to continue. It'll mean we're structurally connected. It will mean you'll get a weekly update, from me that will catch you up on any posts or communications or podcasts that happen that week. And it'll give us a way to get moving together.

And then we have all sorts of next steps that people can take if they want to get more engaged. on the website right now, that is a donation form and so that is intentional for now. We will probably build an email list too, but we want to separate out people that care. A penny worth or a dollar worth or a hundred dollars worth from people who are just wanting to fall along.

And so we're trying to basically build a movement of resonance and commitment and we have set up a, a very robust structure to transparently, steward the resources that come in for, to advance our shared mission and cause. So again, go to www.jordannicholas.org and just click join the Movement and that will structurally connect us.

Bill Larson: Thank you, Jordan. It's been an absolute pleasure today, as it has been over the past five years, and there's a lot left to, ponder, isn't there?

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah, there is, yeah. It's been, It's been exceptional. Bill, I deeply, sorry we just got a little echo there, but it's been, exceptional getting to know you. I deeply appreciate your, friendship and partnership and wisdom and guidance and support. So yeah, thanks for being here today. Thanks for interviewing and, we'll see you soon.

All right, everybody. Talk to you soon. We'll see you next time.

Bill Larson: Take care.

Jordan Nicholas: It was interesting when we were with, I really enjoyed our, time with Rupert. but there's, such deep, I. Beneath everything. There's such deep unity of spirit. but I just love the way that, even in our time together, walking through the day, as so, many of us, in our western society have been hurt and abused by religion and in, the Native American culture is so much more, profoundly and painfully and it's so amazing though that beneath, beneath those differences that day, just to walk with Rupert and see his constant prayerful interaction with the creator.

just constant prayer, prayer before every meal, prayer before every move, prayer before anything. And it's just such a, deep connected sacred. Way to be moment through moment. And in the, in the, Western scriptures, in the, Bible, there's this concept of praying without ceasing.

but it's that, beneath all the forms, there's just the existence and right relationship with, the spirit of God, with the, so it's, yeah, it's, really profound and encouraging to, to be with people that have been walking in those ways and unbroken traditions for, millennia.

Jordan Nicholas: small things, big teachings. That makes me think though, that first part of, our conversation where it's man, that sounds, complex. how do we make it really simple? And it's, these cultures that have persisted for thousands of years have found ways to, to build, those understandings into each of the small things that are done, and repeated we've we're missing so much of that.

What does that make you think, bill?

Bill Larson: It's, I was, I think I mentioned this to you, how I was talking with Francis and Rico. Francis is my son. he has a software business in Boston. I was raised in Minnesota and was familiar with some of the, there are a lot of Indian American Indian tribes in that region. The Chippewa in my area in Minneapolis and northern Minnesota.

And then down in southwest Minnesota, the Lakota, and all the way up into the Dakotas there was a town, called Pipestone, Minnesota, and that's where they mine. Stone that when you first get it out of the ground and it's not been oxidized, it's very soft and you can carve it. But as soon as it's oxidized, it becomes a very hard stone.

And that's what they made their pipes out of. But I was talking to Francis, not too long ago, and I was contemplating how he and I had this culture between the two of us where, I taught him that my word is only strong and valuable if it is true. And I, answer to God. I don't, he doesn't answer to me.

Francis didn't answer to me except where I had mature wisdom and could help him. But I always taught him, look, we're both accountable to the truth and it doesn't matter who's right. What matters is are we growing together and learning together? And He developed a tremendous confidence and he developed a confidence in the ability to admit he might not be right about something, but also his confidence to really pursue something and focus and embrace it.

So I was talking about that saying we have this ability to talk at great depths as two adult peers now, but it's always been a developing process. And I said, how would you describe that, our relationship? And he said, dad, we are able to have strong views lightly held, and that I think is critical. I can accept that I have a strong view, but I can't hold onto it tightly and I can accept that someone else has a strong view.

Working with Jordan has been a lot like working with my son, a lot of wrestling with ideas, but respecting that. Not getting angry that someone has a strong view and disagrees with me, but hanging in there, we, I'm gonna hold my view lightly and you're gonna hold yours lightly, but they are strong views.

And when you're confronting a system around you, you have to be willing to stand strong in the midst of opposition as you ponder the truthfulness of what you're contemplating. I might be wrong. I've learned a lot. I continue to learn a lot and if I can convey to my grandsons and to anyone else, I have a lot of people that I mentor in various ways, just informally.

I don't even keep track of it. But if I can convey to somebody that the love of the journey and the humility of teachable is the biggest and most important thing, then I can have strong views, but they're adaptable. I might, I'm willing to learn. I'm able, I hold them all lightly. And I have to say that I consider that to be such a treasure that I have that relationship with my son, that I can, I don't have to be right, but I'm dedicated to seek truth with him.

And we don't have to agree, but we love each other and can wrestle with an idea. And there's such deep mutual respect. But it started young. You, don't just jump into that as a, father of a 25 year old and say, now let's be peers. It doesn't work that way.

Jordan Nicholas: bill, I'm thinking about abstracting that a little bit. It feels like there's a deep societal, so so what you're modeling there. So, let's say that the worst of, let's say that in the worst excesses of the traditionally masculine expression, you can end up in a totalitarian family where children don't have a voice.

They're, fearfully, conforming their opinions to the abusive and tyrannical father. And, in doing so, they feel alienated and like they're betraying their soul. 'cause they're conforming themself to a tyrannical and untrue environment based on their father's limitations and corrupt blindness.

So maybe that's the, that's like the, worst of it. What you're describing is a masculine expression of strength, subordinated to God that encompasses. The both strength and weak. This, the, this individual strength and relative weakness of a child under your care. so you're describing a different way of saying, okay, it's, not about a separated structure of authority on earth, so to speak.

I, as the potential tyrannical ruler of this household am also subordinated to God. And your accountability as a child is actually ultimately to God, not me. And so if I'm ever wrong, you need to stand up for yourself and break my rules in order to do what's right before God and out of, out of pure conscious and guidance.

And, it feels like there's a parallel like that to social governance where our, potentially tyrannical structures of governance, if they get corrupt off track and disconnected from God. Can end up then exerting dominance and control over individuals and localities who can never no longer do what they think is right.

And, that's like such a deep principle because the only thing that can set that back in proper order is if everybody's accountable to the same overarching and uniting spirit. And it's like it, if we all hold ourselves accountable to that overarching and uniting spirit, then it doesn't matter whether we're a child or a father, a city or a state, and a locality or a acting federal government.

We are all accountable to this highest uniting principle. And we all know if any of us ever deviates from it. And we all are holding ourselves accountable to that highest standard. And we're all conforming ourself to that image. And so therefore, the closer we get to that, the closer we get to unity with each other.

And that's like the whole. That's the whole recipe for the reconciliation and atonement and reintegration of our families and our societies and our marriages and every aspect of that, that expression.

Bill Larson: you, there's, There are a couple aspects of this that follow along. One is the, truth that there are little tyranny springing up. Whether one person doesn't feel they get what they want and they're, worried about it and they're anxious, and you have that in homeowners associations where you have one do-gooder who just is angry at everybody for not parking their car in the right way, or not painting their, garage door, the right color or whatever, all the way up to national tyrannies.

And so it's a character issue and a governance issue.

Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.

Bill Larson: But it also has to do, and this is another twist on it's very much connected to what the authority figure needs and perceives to need if it's very dangerous for a father or a mother. To need the approval of their children. That puts a burden on the children to be the psychological source of strength in the family.

Oh, why don't you love mommy or daddy anymore? Oh, come on, gimme a hug. And just, you're imposing constantly on the child to affirm you, you feel sorry for yourself if the child doesn't. And I ran into this, in a very strange way once I, my Uncle Lee is great guy, and he's the youngest of all the siblings on my mother's side.

He and one aunt are left. He's the youngest and I was the oldest of all the grandchildren, and he and I were actually quite close over all the years. And after my father died, I went up to Minnesota. No, it was before that. It was at my grandmother's 100th birthday. I went back up to Minnesota. I spent time with Lee, and he told me a story of one time when he was in his, he was like 20 years old, and he was attending the University of Minnesota and he was living at home and he was standing on the back porch.

Now my grandfather was a Norwegian immigrant. He had been in slavery, involuntary servitude to a, to a blacksmith in 1910 when he was just 10 years old. And he escaped and ran away on the, to the sea and never went back to Norway. He had adventurous as a little kid on ships, and he learned to be a cook, eventually came to the us.

Very adventuresome guy, but very, stoic, very strong in the Norwegian sense. My grandmother was Swedish, so she had that slightly more gen teal firm of stoicism that the Swedes have more like the French influence on the Swedes. So one time Lee was home from school, he was now standing on the back porch of the house and grandpa was standing there and Lee said that he was just overcome by this feeling that he wanted to give Grandpa a hug.

Now, Norwegians aren't hugging people and I would be a little bit surprised if the Estonians didn't understand this because I, Estonians are, I think culturally connected to Finland, right? That's also a semi stoic culture. So you would understand what I'm talking about. So grandpa didn't, he didn't express his affection very much verbally.

He might, he was a very funny guy, but Lee gave him a big hug and said, dad, I love you. And grandpa, he said, didn't know what to do. He stood there with his arms down and was very uncomfortable. And then Lee let go and grandpa said, and this struck me like a lightning bolt. He said, you don't know how long I've been waiting for you to do that.

Jordan Nicholas: Mm-hmm.

Bill Larson: He had been waiting for affirmation from his son. That burden should never be placed on a child.

Jordan Nicholas: Hmm.

Bill Larson: Sure. You can say, oh, I love, it's, I'm, I'm so happy for you. I love when you gimme a hug. That's, different. He couldn't initiate any affection towards his son. He didn't have that within him. And if we want people to know they're loved, we can't just sit around saying, you, you get your act together and then show us, express that to me.

We have to be the strong ones. We have to be the one that initiate humility and love and affection and kindness and give them the hugs. Sorry, I'm getting overworked and my microphone knocked my, so anyways, that was, if we wanna really be a leader, we have to lead in the area of expressing love. And that brings us note to another question.

Does anybody owe me anything? No, nobody owes me anything. There's a verse in the, in James or one of Paul's statements. Oh, nothing to any, oh, nothing to anyone except to love one another. So in other words, no one owes me anything, but I owe to love them. And what is love? I'm thinking seriously about what is their highest wellbeing.

And it includes affection. I didn't think my father liked me ever. He was that stern person, but he was living out the culture that he was raised with. His father was also of Norwegian descent, and his mother was a tough German farmer from Wisconsin and they, he, had a tough life and eight brothers and sisters and they, it was a hard, for him to find affection, so he didn't know how to express affection.

To me, that's a little bit of a tangent, but I think these things are so connected,

Jordan Nicholas: so connected. those are basically the two things. It's like you, those are the two, those are the two fundamental recipes, right? It's put, The creator or God at the center and base everything on love. And, with those two orienting forces, all things are helping one another.

Like all things are, willing to sacrifice and defer gratification and, pour themselves out to help the things around them rise towards the fullness of their potential and flourish. And that's, it's such a simple recipe. It's such a simple recipe that we are so far from as a society and it's the opposite of, the dysfunctional self-interested trying to get love without being able to express it.

It's, like if, everybody goes first in love, you know that, that's where the amazing idea, that's where someone like Jesus, shatters, the shatters the standard by going. everybody loves their friends and family around them, right? the true test is, can you love your enemies?

And those who are actively and malevolently persecuting you and maybe crucifying you like, then you're approaching God's love that falls on both the evil and the good, right? It's like God's permeating perfect love that is just crying out to be manifest. It's like, how many people can we get quickly enough to reorient their lives around that which is guiding the subsequent transformations generation by generation over time, and embody that spirit of love, which is somehow inherently connected to what you were saying, bill, about the pursuit of truth, like the pursuit of that absolute standard that we're all accountable to.

It's, it's so simple, truth and love, and aiming at the highest thing.

Bill Larson: it gets very practical as you form an organization that has to treat people in a one way or another. And like Jesus said, if let He who would be great among you, be the servant of all. And that goes along with, and probably is underneath Jim Collins thinking in his book, good To Great the Level five Leader's.

Main concern is to see that everybody finds their place where their gifts and talents are functioning and they're contributing to the, work of the whole. And they're happy doing that. that's what I want for my kids. That's what we should want for our fellow, workers and team members each other.

Jordan Nicholas: let's start to model it right here together.

Bill Larson: Yes.

Jordan Nicholas: thank you. Thank you for the, extended discussion.

Jordan Nicholas: Hello again everybody. Thank you again so much for your time and attention today. We know it's valuable and you have many places you can spend it. We appreciate you being with us here today. Again, if you resonate with the spirit and would like to see this work advance, please let us know by going to www.jordannicholas.org and clicking join the movement that'll connect you up and and ensure we have a direct structural connection to each other so we can advance together into the future.

Please also take the time to click subscribe on YouTube and your favorite podcasting platform. We'll be back in the next couple days with the next part two episode with Bill Larsson when we'll dive into some of our battles with corruption and injustice and talk a little bit about what we've learned from that and what's next for the mission.

Look forward to seeing you soon. Take care. God bless.**