Listen To Yourself

I’m writing this week’s post while sitting in the waiting room of my dermatologist’s office.  I’ve got a small bump on my face that I’d like to have the doctor look at.  Not my favorite thing in the world, but I’ve been putting it off, even though I think it’s better to get things checked out sooner when it comes to your health versus waiting until it possibly becomes something worse.

I find I can be pretty good at putting off things that aren’t urgent, but could be potentially important.  The excuses I can come up with are endless.  However, putting of important actions comes with a price.  For me, that price is the uneasiness I feel when the recurring thought in my head tells me, “You REALLY need to do something about that!”

And the thought doesn’t go away when I don’t take action.  In fact, the thought seems to occur more often the longer I put it off.  Every time my mind tells me I need to take action, it’s as if I’m again paying the price of uneasiness for my own excuses, lack of follow through, or inactivity.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being nagged.  I especially dislike it when I’m being nagged by my own thoughts that are trying to get me to do what I already know I should be doing!  When this occurs, my best choice is to listen to what I’m telling myself and take the action I know I need to take.

How about you?  Have your thoughts been nagging you to take an action you already know you need to take?  If so, you know what you need to do.  So go do it!

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Help Others Celebrate

Several years ago my wife threw me a surprise party after I had completed my masters degree.  It was a fun party, made even better by the friends that were in attendance.

This week I go an invitation to a friend’s party celebrating the completion of his PhD.  After I read the invite I thought about the fun memories I have with friends during my party and replied to the invite with, “We’ll be there!”

Whenever you have an opportunity to celebrate a significant event with a friend, take advantage of it.  They’ll appreciate your support and you will likely create some great memories.

Guardrails

This week in the US there was a news story about a college admissions scandal where parents were paying large sums of money to have their kids admitted to prestigious colleges and universities.  I’m left scratching my head at the decision making process of the adults involved.  My guess is that none of them had a guardrail in their life to keep them from making their bad decision.

A guardrail in your life, just like one you see on the highway, is something that protects you from going too far in the wrong direction.  For example, a guardrail can be as simple as a question you might ask yourself before making a big decision.  A good guardrail question for the adults in the college scandal might have been, “How would what I’m about to do come across if it were broadcast on the evening news?”

A person’s faith can also serve as an excellent guardrail.  When you’re considering a decision, take a moment to see if your potential decision squares up with the teaching of your faith.  If it doesn’t, you should seriously reconsider whether your decision is worth pursuing further.

It’s easy to judge the adults involved, but let’s also remember that without some kind of guardrails in our own lives, we are all capable of personally destructive acts.

Now is a great time to look at your life and see what kind of guardrails you have in place to keep you from getting off course.  And keep this in mind:  guardrails will only help you if they are in place before you need them.

Test the Perception

“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him”  ~Proverbs 18:17 ESV

I recently got back from a trip to Houston to visit an aunt and uncle that I have not spent much time with in the past. There was, and apparently still is, a rift between them and one of my parents (the 3 of them are siblings). As a result, I didn’t see this aunt or uncle much growing up. Once, maybe twice, but that’s it. One thing I learned from this trip is that you can’t make an informed judgement about people based solely on the first perception you receive.

Growing up I’d only heard of this aunt and uncle through the lens of how my parent saw them. During the trip to Houston I realized that he perception I’d been given wasn’t entirely accurate. I had so much fun spending time with them! They were enjoyable to be around and were genuinely nice, kind people. I’m thankful that in this case I didn’t default to letting someone else’s perception of them become my own. If I did, I would have missed out on the opportunity to connect and build relationships with 2 kind-hearted members of my own family.

Is there an area in our own life where you are blindly accepting the first perception you hear? If so, I urge you to test that perception. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that the initial perception you’d been given isn’t 100% accurate.

Confront It

Whatever you’re trying to avoid won’t go away until you confront it.”  ~Unknown

This quote really resonates with me.  There are things that I’d rather not deal with, but hoping that they just go away is a bad plan for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, it’s a waste of brain power.  Just because I decide not to take action doesn’t mean my brain isn’t still thinking about it.  Whenever I put off action I know I should be taking, my mind seems to double down on the mental reminders.  I’ll use more brain power reminding myself of the fact that I’m not taking action than I would if I actually took action.

Also, just hoping that something you’re avoiding magically goes away accomplishes nothing more than sowing the seeds of worry and stress.  The more you avoid taking action, the more stress and worry you experience.  This seems like a waste of not only your brain power, but your time as well.

I’m working to get better at doing those things I tend to avoid, versus putting them off.  I don’t need to clutter my thoughts with worry or waste my time reminding myself for the nth time that I need to take action.  Instead, I choose to confront avoidance with decisive action.

So what have you been avoiding?  What have you been putting off with the hopes that it would just go away?  An appointment you need to schedule?  A conversation you need to have?  A decision you need to make?  Whatever it is, I encourage you to confront it and take the action you likely already know you need to take.  It’s time to free up our brain power to focus on other topics.