What Have You Got?

There’s something satisfying about finding an area of my life that I want to improve, identifying and taking steps to make it better, and seeing positive results.  It’s a life-long process that ensures I don’t just get older, but that I get better as well.

Legendary motivational speaker Zig Ziglar had a great teaching tool called the Wheel of Life that he used to illustrate areas of our life where we divide our attention and resources.  The areas in the Wheel include:

  • Career
  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Family
  • Social

I’ve noticed that, if I’m not mindful, I can focus on what’s not working well for me in a single area of life and not even acknowledge or appreciate other areas where things are going very well.  For example, I can get frustrated about Career not being where I’d like it to be and totally miss the progress I’m making in say Physical, Spiritual, or Social.

Left unchecked, I can very easily begin to view my whole life through the frustration or challenges I’m facing with Career.  This singular focus clouds my outlook and attitude toward life as a whole, when in fact I have other areas of my life that are going quite well.  Therefore, it is imperative that we are aware of the whole Wheel of our life and not allow frustration in one area to push out the good things happening in other areas.

I know this isn’t new or cutting edge thinking.  However, I do think that it is important to be reminded of on a regular basis.  This ensures we’re not overlooking the areas of our life where things are going well, while we’re also making efforts to improve in other areas.

As you take a look at the Wheel of your own life, find out where you are struggling and take steps to improve in those areas.  But equally important, identify the areas where you’re doing well and celebrate them and be grateful.  Your improved attitude and outlook will position you for a greater likelihood of success in areas you’re seeking to improve.

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Don’t Wait to be of Service

“If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”   ~Proverbs 3:28

This is one of my favorite proverbs, and one that often pops into my head at just the time I need it.

It’s easy to offer assistance, pay a debt, or fulfill a promise you made when it’s on our terms or fits into our schedule.  It’s quite another thing to do when we’re pressed for time or just don’t feel like it.  Regardless, the writer of this proverb tells us that we should not turn someone away to come back another day, when we can help them today.  If we can take action to assist in that moment, we should.

I think an important reason for doing this is that if we do indeed send them away to come back another day, we may miss the opportunity to have an impact in their life.  Sure, it may not be a life changing impact, but there may be an opportunity to connect with them and make an impact that day.  You never know where the next opportunity will come from.

So who can you help today, that you’d rather help tomorrow?  When you think of that person, be reminded of Proverbs 3:28, and take action today.

What Are You Allowing In

I’ve been thinking this week about how what we fill our minds with today influences our thoughts in the future.  I’m also surprised at how quickly our mind comes up with thoughts that are influenced by what we’re allowing into our minds.

This can be a great thing if we’re filling our minds with good content that reinforces good thinking.  The other side is that a lack of discernment over what content we allow into our minds can lead to a polluted thought life that will manifest itself in equally polluted speech, attitude and behavior.

Earl Nightingale gave a great illustration of this by comparing our minds to a plot of land for a garden.  If we plant corn seeds in this pot of land, the only crop that we can expect the land to produce is corn.  It will not produce carrots, peas, beets, or potatoes.  We’ve sown seeds of corn.  The only thing the land will produce in return is corn.

Our minds are like that plot of land, and the content we’re allowing into our mind today are the seeds of our future thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.  Like the plot of land, our minds will only return a harvest based on the seeds we sow in it.  If we’re filling our mind with the seeds of positive input, our thoughts will be positive.  Likewise, seeds of negativity will yield and equally negative harvest.

So what are these “seeds” that we plant in our mind?  What do they look like and where do we get them?

These seeds come in many forms, such as:

  • Books we read
  • People we interact with
  • Games we play
  • Movies we watch
  • Music we listen to
  • Media we consume
  • Environments we spend time in
  • Communities we are a part of

Since they have such a significant impact on our thinking, it is so important to be aware of the content we allow into our mind.  We would never intentionally put sand or water into the gas tank of our car, because that would have a damaging impact on the car’s engine.  Our minds should be treated likewise, because the wrong input, which leads to wrong thinking, can have an equally damaging impact.

There are 2 things we can do today to start having better, more positive thoughts:

  1. Be aware of the input we’re allowing into our minds. Pay attention to the content we’re taking in and the conversations we’re having.  If they’re negative, change them.
  1. Be aware of the thoughts you’re having. When you notice they’re negative, replace them with a positive thought.  Left unchecked, we will go where our thoughts take us.  I’d prefer to be taken somewhere positive.

Become aware of the content you’re allowing into your mind and begin sowing the seeds of good thoughts in your mind today.  A harvest of good thinking in the future awaits.

You Already Know

My wife has been traveling for work a lot lately, so she’s interesting in looking for tips to help her pack lighter or more efficient.  After she had looked up some tips on-line I asked her, “So what did you learn that you can start applying?”  Her response was, “Nothing I didn’t already know.”

That response got me thinking.  How many things do we already know we should be doing, that we aren’t?  My guess is that in the gap between where we are and where we want to be, we already know the steps we need to take to get there.  At a minimum, we usually know the specific step we should take right now.

The real question then becomes; what’s keeping us from doing what we already know we should be doing?  There are several potential reasons, such as:

  • Fear – of all sorts
  • Indecision
  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of focus
  • Laziness
  • Maybe we just don’t feel like putting forth the effort

So there we sit, where we’ve always been because we know what we need to do, but don’t do it.

Think about that.  When we already know what we need to be doing to achieve a desired outcome, and fail to act, the only thing standing between us and our goal… is us!

What do you already know you should be doing, that you currently aren’t?  Do you already know what you need to be doing in order to:

  • Improve a relationship
  • Get in better health/shape
  • Manage your finances better
  • Advance your career
  • Improve yourself intellectually or spiritually
  • Live the life you desire

If you answered, “Yes”, then starting today, get out of your own way and do what you already know you need to be doing.  You are not only the biggest obstacle to overcome in achieving your dreams; you are also the greatest force to bring them about.