Season the Experience

Last weekend was so much fun!  Here are the activities that made it so great:

  • My wife took me on a mystery date for the day on Friday. (A mystery date is where one of us plans a date and the other doesn’t know what we’re doing until we get there.)
  • Saturday we went with some friends to see Hamilton. And yes… it lived up to the hype!
  • On Sunday I played bass with our worship team at church for the first time and then had an awesome Sunday school class after church.

These events were fun, but what made them special were the people I experienced them with.  While all of the events would have still been fun had I done them by myself, they were made even sweeter by experiencing them with my wife, special family members, and good friends.

It was great to share the experiences and make memories with them.  Sharing experiences with others is like adding seasoning to food. It takes something good and makes it even better.

Think about some events or activities you will be doing or would like to do.  Then think about some people you could invite to join you to season the event.

Now make it happen!

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You’re Not Perfect… but Jump In Anyhow

Have you ever had a skill you’re learning that you eagerly desire to put into practice, but you haven’t because you’re waiting until you get just a little bit better?

Yeah, me too!

I’ve been learning to play the electric bass for the past year, and I’m at a point where I’d be at least serviceable playing with a band. However, I keep thinking that I’ll be better prepared when I learn just a little more.  The problem is this will always be the case!  I’ll always be better prepared if I learn a little more.  If I follow that logic, I’d be constantly consumed with getting a little better and never take the next step and experience the joy of playing with other musicians.

I think our desire to keep learning more before we take the next step likely comes from a fear of failure. Perhaps that a topic for another blog.

Yes, we’ll always need to learn more in whatever we choose to pursue, but why not learn while we’re taking that next step? We don’t need to be perfect before we put our skills to use.  We can start with the skills we have and learn from the experience and mistakes we are certain to make.

Is there something you’re competent enough to begin doing with others that you’ve been putting off until you learn just a little more? I encourage you to jump in, knowing that you’re going to be less than perfect and make mistakes.  But also know that the experience, as well as the mistakes, will help you learn far more than you would if you held back.

It’s OK To Be Lazy

I’m going to go against conventional thinking and declare that it’s ok to be lazy. No, I’m not just talking about being lazy for an afternoon or a weekend, I’m talking about being lazy as a way of life.  We are not required to be productive or responsible. There’s no law that states we must set goals or seek to improve ourselves.  In fact, we can choose to be lazy and do as little as possible, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s perfectly ok to be lazy!

However, if do we choose to be lazy, we must adjust our expectations accordingly.

Being lazy in our focus and efforts doesn’t lead us anywhere significant. Great accomplishments s aren’t achieved, goals aren’t realized, and fulfilling lives aren’t lived on the back of laziness.

This reality presents a problem only if we have high expectations for our life. Heck, even if our expectations in life are modest or average, they still require initiative, which is the complete opposite of laziness.  It is only when we do not have any expectations from life that laziness becomes a viable option.

Where we get into trouble is when our expectations are coupled with laziness. We can’t be both lazy and successful at the same time (unless our desire is to be successful at being lazy) because these two things don’t travel in the same circles.  Ambition and laziness don’t know each other, and achievement and laziness are total strangers!

When our ambitions collide with laziness, we have a decision to make: Do we lower our expectations or bid laziness adieu?

I vote that we choose the latter.

On the Calendar

“If you don’t put it on the calendar, it won’t happen.”  ~ People who know how to make things happen.

We all have things we’d like to do, learn, or experience. In fact, think of something you’d like to do, a place you really want to visit, or something you’d really like to learn.  Now answer this question:  Is it on your calendar?

The answer to that question will be the greatest indicator as to whether or not that desire will be achieved.

Now go check your calendar. Is it lacking some of the achievements and experiences you’d like to accomplish this year?  If so, make a commitment those items by putting them on your calendar.

The days on our calendar will come and go this year. When I get to the end of the year, I’ll be asking myself if I spent enough of those days perusing the goals and desires I had at the beginning of the year.  I’m expecting to answer with, “I sure did!”

I hope you are too!

Think of Some Good Reasons

For the last several years I’ve been in the habit of exercising first thing every morning.  This is a much easier habit in the summer when it’s already light out when I wake up.  In the winter, however, the mornings are dark and rainy, which causes my mind to think of all sorts of reasons to skip the gym and stay in bed.

I never realized how good I am at presenting a compelling argument when I’m half asleep!

Fortunately, I’m even better at looking at all the good reasons to get out of bed and hit the gym, regardless of the conditions outside or how I may be feeling on the inside.

Isn’t it easy to come up with all sorts of seemingly good reasons (let’s call them excuses) to avoid doing what we know would be good for us to do?  It’s almost automatic.  The excuses leap from our minds with little effort.  And, if we listen too closely to them, we find ourselves likewise giving little to no effort toward those activities that could yield significant positive impacts in our lives.

So what can we do to combat the rapidly accumulating list of excuses that we use to hold ourselves back?  There must be a better way, right?  Fortunately, for us, the answer is, “Yes”!

Here’s how I fight excuses, but be warned, it takes work.

When the excuses tart flowing in your mind, realize the excuses for what they are, take control of your thinking, and come up with some good reasons to engage in the activity.

Here are some examples:

Activity that’s good for you that you’d like to do… Excuse not to… Good reason to engage…
Exercise daily It’s too dark, cold, and rainy. If I skip working out today I won’t feel as energetic as I will if I go to the gym.
Reading I’m too tired and I’d rather just watch TV. If I spend 30 minutes a day reading that’s 3.5 hours of reading per week!  I can get a lot of books read by doing that.
Eating healthy I’m too tired to cook.  I’ll just wing by <insert name of fast food restaurant>. If I eat healthy I likely won’t be so tired.  Plus I’ll be improving my health in the weeks, months years ahead!

 

The trajectory of our life and our personal development all starts with our thinking.  So what will you fuel your thinking with: excuses to hold back or good reasons to engage?