On Thursday I had in interesting conversation with someone I know pretty well. As we were talking, they shared with me how they were struggling mentally during a stressful time in their life. I was grateful they felt comfortable enough to share their experience with me.
I’m always amazed how freely people share what’s going on in their lives when given a safe place to do so. My encounter on Thursday also reminded me how important it is to actually listen. We’ve all got so much going on that it can be easy to rush through our interactions without really listening to what others are telling us. While this may be true, it’s no excuse for half-hearted listening when people are opening up and sharing their story with us.
Let’s make an effort to increase the legitimacy of our listening in the conversations we have with people. Wouldn’t we appreciate it if others did the same for us?
“Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy.” ~James Clear
While I was listening James Clear’s book Atomic Habits last week, I heard him mention the quote above about time magnifying whatever you feed it. We all know this is true, but this quote really resonated with me with the realization that those habit we continuously do over time, no matter how small, will have an impact.
Think of things like saving a percentage of every paycheck for retirement, smoking a pack of cigarettes every day, or exercising 30 minutes a day. While theses habits may seem small and inconsequential in the moment, the compounding effect they have over time can be significant. And based on what the habit is, those effects can be positive or negative.
I’ve been thinking about the habits I have lately, and those I’d like to start, and where they can take me. Some of the habits I have are intentional, and I’m excited about the impact they’ve had on my life. If I’m being honest, I have other habits that are unintentional, meaning I didn’t set out to put them in place, but rather I’ve just allowed them to develop. Most of these habits are borne out of mental laziness and don’t really yield the type of results I’d like to get.
Being aware of our habits (the good as well as the not so good) is a great way to make sure what we do over a large arch of time is actually leading us somewhere we want to go. Whether we’re aware or not, as James Clear stated, time will multiply whatever we feed it. Let’s make sure we’re making time our ally.
My sister and I were texting earlier this week about the nice sunny weather we were having. I suggested we get together for a nice walk one of these upcoming sunny mornings. She agreed. Not only that, her following text showed me her level of commitment, “Let’s just pick a day, or it won’t happen!!”
I couldn’t have agreed more.
When there is something we want to do, the best way to ensure that it actually happens is to just pick a day and get it on the calendar. It’s not difficult. Once you decided you’re committed to making it happen, open up the calendar and select a date and time that works. It really is that simple. A specific date and time equals commitment. “Someday” does not.
I’m looking forward to our scheduled walk with my sister this Saturday morning! We just picked a day.
Last Sunday one of our friends from church passed away as a result of COVID and other underlying conditions. While it’s sad that she’s gone, everyone is grateful that she is now in heaven and is no longer suffering.
Her final weeks were spent in a hospital, with last week being in the ICU, where her condition began to slowly decline. Fortunately, she had completed an advanced directive long before she became so ill. This was a real blessing, because there was no guessing what she wanted to have done at the end of her life. She had taken the time to consider, and make, these choices well before they needed to be made, and thus not burdening someone else with such weighty decisions.
Everyone involved was grateful that she had made her wishes obvious. May we be as thoughtful to others, by making our final wishes obvious as well.