Imagine a scenario where you’re gathering information and doing research regarding:
- Taking a vacation
- Going back to school
- Losing weight
- Getting out of debt
- Quitting a bad habit
- Starting a good habit
- Or any number of other activities you’d like to undertake
Now here’s a question to consider: How would you know when you’ve gathered enough information and done enough research? The answer would be, when you know what action you should now be taking.
Gathering information and doing research is an important step in any planning process. However, once our research has made clear what steps we should be taking, it’s time to stop researching and start executing on what we know we need to do. Continuing to research at this point provides little more than a barrier to progress. It can be a comfortable way to procrastinate.
As you’re gathering information for your next big undertaking, be sure to frequently ask yourself, “Do I have enough information to take action?” If not, then continue to gather information. But if you know what action you should take, stop researching and take action. Because the sooner you take action the sooner you’ll see results.
A couple of months ago I started playing the bass guitar on my church’s worship band. It’s been a lot of fun, and I always learn a lot each time I play, which is good because I need it!
One aspect I’m eagerly trying to get better at is bringing my own creativity to the songs we play. For each song we play, I have chord chart that shows what chord (note) to play at a specific point in the song. The cool part is that there are a lot of places on the chart that don’t have any chords referenced. These are the places where a musician can apply their skills and offer their own creativity to the song and the audience as well. This is the part I find most enjoyable.
I think it’s a lot like that in life. We’re certainly not given a chord chart for life. Sure, there are times when we need to “hit a note” at a certain point, but I also think that there are far more times when what we do is up to our own creativity in how we apply our skills and talents.
Let’s make sure that we’re offering up our creativity as we navigate through life. Your mix of talents, skills, and experience put you in a position every day to offer uniquely creative solutions. Let’s not hold back.
This week in Salem Oregon there were some warnings about the city’s water supply. Basically, there is some algae bloom going on at the source and people 6 and under, as well as pets, should not drink the water. This is an extremely rare occurrence and reminds me how fortunate we are to regularly have clean drinking water accessible in our homes. This blows me away!
It also reminds me of all the other things that “magically happen” like electricity, internet service, heating and air conditioning, garbage pickup, and a host of other services we rely on every day. I’m thankful for these blessings because I am aware that for many people in the world these things are not a part of everyday life.
While these services can easily be taken for granted, Salem’s water supply issue reminds me just how much we rely on them, and how different life would be if they were suddenly gone.
Is there anything you’re currently taking for granted? If so, spend a moment or two in reflective gratitude. And if it’s a person you’re taking for granted, let them know that you appreciate them and ensure that your actions, moving forward, reflect that appreciation.
Here are 2 encounters I had this week:
One was with a colleague at work, related to a problem we were trying to solve. During our conversation, she mentioned that she may have to leave early that day because her grandpa was in hospice. I asked about her grandpa and how she was handling the situation. She spent several minutes telling me about him and how she’s dealing with his last days.
The other encounter was with my wife. We went to a local coffee shop after dinner with the intention of my wife studying and me writing this week’s blog post. As we sat down to begin working, my wife started telling me about something she is currently working on. The next thing we knew, we had been talking for over an hour and it was time for us to go.
On both occasions, I started out with a task that needed to be completed when, unexpectedly, a deeper conversation emerged. As I look back on both of these encounters, I’m thankful that I opted to engage in the conversations and connect with these 2 people, instead dismissing them in order to complete the task at hand. Some things are more important than the next item on our to-do list.
Pay attention to your interactions this week. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with someone because you’re singularly focused on the task at hand. Your attention shows others you are interested in what’s going on with them. Your attention to others shows them that you care.
Let’s be attentive to people that would benefit from knowing we care.
PS: You’ll be happy to know that my work problem got solved and this blog post, obviously got posted.
Have you ever witnessed someone leading a class, giving a presentation, creating a piece of art, or using a talent of theirs and thought to yourself, “I can do better than that.”? If you have, my question is, “So why don’t you?”
Whatever our gifts and talents happen to be, the best way we can show gratitude for them is to put them into practice in service to others.
The next time you find yourself thinking, “I can do a better than that”, I encourage you to do so. Because no one benefits when we sit on our gifts.
So I’ve been playing the electric bass for about 16 months now, and I have noticed some real improvement from where I was when I first started. (I should hope so, as I didn’t know anything when I started!) I am most amazed at how progress has come through almost unnoticeable improvements made day after day.
Big undertakings can seem overwhelming when we first start. Heck, they can still seem overwhelming even after we’ve been at it for a while! But the cool part is that our compounded progress can yield significant results. We simply need to faithful put in the effort required to move us in the direction we want to go. It is a matter of cause and effect. We put in the required effort and the desired outcome will follow.
Are you frustrated with what feels like a lack of progress in a current endeavor? Look back at where you started and where you are now and take note of the progress you’ve made. Then commit to doing the work required to get the outcome you want, and know that the results will follow.
Of all the truths I’ve learned in my lifetime, I think this nugget is toward the top of the list with regard to importance… not everyone thinks about things the same way I do.
This is most evident whenever I have a differing opinion with someone about how a task should be handled, the interpretation of an event, assigning priorities, or just about any other scenario two or more people can disagree. And while differing opinions can cause frustration, exposure to them is a great way to stretch and grow our own thinking.
If we’re willing to listen to and consider thoughts that are different from our own, we have the potential for our own thoughts to be shaped and improved. While we don’t have to agree with every differing thought we encounter, we should be willing to allow our thinking to be influenced by good and differing thoughts from others.
Pay attention the next time you’re frustrated by someone else’s differing thoughts. Instead of just allowing yourself to be frustrated, consider if there’s anything to be learned by this different opinion. If the answer is “No”, then nothing lost! But, you may find that these differing thoughts can impact your own thinking for the better.