As I was sitting down to write my weekly blog post, I got a text asking if I’d like to come over to someone’s house for dinner. Initially, I thought about all the stuff that I wanted to get done that night, and that I should say, “No”. However, I then pondered just how important, really, were the things I’d be doing if I said, “No” to the invitation. I replied to the text with, “I’ll be there!”
Sometimes when we get opportunities to do things, we think about reasons that would keep us from saying, “Yes”. I’m going to challenge that line of thinking and start looking for reasons to accept. This is just another reminder for me to be intentional with my choices versus defaulting to getting stuff done.
Sorry for the short post this week, but I’ve got a dinner engagement to get to!
“Fear rules us only if we let it.” ~Brendon Burchard
I read this quote in Brendon’s book, “The Motivation Manifesto”. It’s one of those statements that we would all say we know, but one that we also can be susceptible to if we aren’t paying attention.
The kind of fear Brendon is talking about is the type that keeps us from contributing at a higher level or being the person (or more of the person) we want to be. Usually, this fear comes from the thought of failing, being rejected, looking foolish, or a host of other possibilities. Nobody is interested in those things. I certainly don’t wake up every day looking for experiences like that.
However, if we allow those fears to rule our lives, we pay an unexpected, and very high price. That price comes in the form of unrealized potential, impact, contribution, and happiness. That seems like a steep price to pay all for the alleged security of not looking foolish or failing. It seems like there’s a higher price to be paid for letting fear rule.
To be clear, we should be listening to fear when our personal safety is at risk. But the fear we should be on the look out for is the fear that keeps us from our goals and potential.
There is an abundant life waiting. Don’t let needless fear stand in the way.
On Wednesday, my wife informed me that the place we board our cats when we travel will be closing down. This is a bummer for us, because we really enjoyed this place. Whenever we dropped our cats off, we never worried about them because they received excellent care, and were always in great shape when we returned. We will miss this place.
Again, I’m reminded of the importance of appreciating those things (and people) we enjoy while we have them, because so often things change, and they’re gone.
Be on the look out for those things you currently enjoy and look upon them with gratitude and thanksgiving, while you still have them. And remember, while change can be sad or frustrating, it is also the vehicle by which exciting new things come into our lives.
I’m currently listening to the audio book “Music is History” by Questlove. One thing I’m really enjoying about this book so far is the introductions Questlove has indirectly given me to artists and songs I might not have encountered on my own. I’m just a few chapters in, and already, I’ve been listening to a handful of new songs and “favorited” a couple of artists in Spotify. I’m grateful he took the time to write this book and share some of his favorites with the rest of us.
Be on the lookout for these indirect introductions throughout your day. They could be recommendations from friends, suggestions of things to do this weekend from the evening news, or suggestion on a website. It’s a great way to experience something new, and maybe even discover a new favorite.
We’re getting ready to do a bathroom remodel, and as part of any home improvement project, I like to get people that will be doing the work lined up and scheduled early. For this project, I’ve had a hard time doing that because we’re waiting to know when fixtures will arrive, because the work can’t start until they do. I was telling my wife that I feel like I’m not getting anything done or moving the project forward. Her response was simple and accurate. “We can’t line people up until we have all the fixtures, so right now, our job is to wait.”
She’s right. Worrying or trying to “do” stuff won’t make things arrive any quicker. Our next step can’t be taken until everything arrives. Therefore, since we’ve picked out and ordered what we want, our job is done for now.
Once I thought about her comment, I felt much better. I can’t cause something to happen that is beyond my control. We’ll be able to move ahead when everything arrives. In the meantime, we just have to be patient and wait.
Here’s a quick reminder that we tend to find more of what we’re looking for.
If we feel like the world is going crazy, we’ll notice things that reinforce that thought. If we think all <insert people group> are jerks, we’ll notice evidence that supports that too. We’ll find all the negativity we want, when we have our radar up for it.
Likewise, we’ll also notice the good in the world when our radar is looking for it. When we’re looking for acts of kindness, generosity, and inspiring human behavior, we’ll find it.
So what are you looking for?
It’s been a wild couple of weeks on the geo-political scene. There have been so many horrific and heart-breaking images coming out of Ukraine and so much coverage of the events that it can feel overwhelming. And while it’s good to be informed of what’s going on in the world, I don’t think it’s good for us to be over-saturated with information. There needs to be some boundaries on how much information we’re consuming on a devastating topic.
It’s natural to want to know the latest with regard to a major world event, but I think it’s also important to make sure we’re allowing some positive content into our minds as well. I like specifically like the encouragement we get from Philippians 4:8 where we’re told to think about things that are:
This is such a good and timely reminder to make sure that, in addition to news, we’re also filling our mind with content that will encourage and lift us up. If all we’re consuming is the daily news, we’re going to be left feeling anxious, afraid, depressed, and exhausted, and who wants to go around feeling like that all day?
Be mindful in the days ahead (every day, actually) to fill your mind with encouraging and uplifting content that evokes inspiration, gratitude, and joy. It’s out there, we just have to make sure we’re noticing.
“There is no shortcut. There is no hack. There’s only one way, so get after it.”
~ Jocko Willink – “Discipline Equals Freedom”
Within the context of our goals, there is a gap between where we are currently and where we want to go. And usually, the bigger the outcome we’re striving for, the bigger the gap that exists. While there is no shortcut to bridging that gap, there is a simple remedy to get us to the other side. That is to take the first step today.
We’d never sit in our car on one side of a bridge with the transmission in park, hoping that we could somehow make it to the other side. In order to cross the bridge, we put the car in gear, step on the accelerator and start moving across the bridge to the other side.
It’s no different with our goals. Sure, we can sit on our current side of the gap we need to cross and talk about how much we want to be on the other side, but unless we take steps to move toward our goal, we’ll never make progress at bridging the gap and reaching the other side. At some point we have to take the actions that will cause us to bridge that gap.
Is there anything you’d like to achieve that you’ve been hesitating on starting, or have even just been lazy about starting? If so, determine what that first step you need to take is and do it today. Then tomorrow, repeat the process and take the next step. Repeat this process daily, until you find yourself on the other side of the gap.
Although the steps might not be easy, the process is, and it involves taking the first step and doing the work.
It’s time to go! The other side awaits.
Disciplined behavior in the moment can be challenging when we’re trying to achieve a goal. Whether it’s fitness, good health, financial, relational, or any other long-term goal, it’s easy to get knocked off track in the moment. What I’ve found helpful for staying disciplined toward the pursuit of a goal is to play the long game.
By that, I mean to look way into the future to what achieving this goal looks like. For example, I want to live a healthy life. That goal is way too vague to withstand the temptations (like ice cream!) that that present themselves on a daily basis that are perpendicular to my goal. Instead, I frame my goal with a bent toward that future. Rather than having a goal to “live a healthy lifestyle”, I have a goal to be an active, engaged, curious, ninety-year-old who is in excellent physical condition.
I’m playing the long game by focusing on the person I want to become when I turn 90. This focus helps me consider my choice on a daily, monthly, weekly, and yearly basis. The question I present myself with is, “are the choices I’m making (in relation to diet, finances, relationships, intellectual development, and spiritual growth) or have been making, leading me closer to or further from the person I want to be in my 90s”? If the answer is, “Yes”, I move keep making those choices. If my answer is “No”, then I consider modifying my behavior.
Playing the long game helps give my life daily direction. I know where I want to go, so all I need to do now is make sure my choices are taking there.
There are 2 things I especially enjoy about the month of January. I love the fact that January means that Spring is only a couple of months away! January is also a great time to look back on your life and take stock of how you’ve been doing, and to also look ahead and make adjustments. I love that process! This year especially, because I’ve identified a few old habits that I’d like to make a more-regular part of my life in 2022 and in the years ahead.
First, I’d like to get back into the habit of consuming personal development material. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of books and listening to podcasts about biographies and historic events, which have been very interesting and enjoyable. However, this month I started listening to personal development podcasts and reading books on the same topic. I have been reminded what a boost this kind of content is to my attitude and outlook. This is something I want more of.
I’ve also started exploring options for regional travel. I live in the Pacific Northwest and there are all sorts of cool places to get out and see and explore. A lot of our travel over the past few years (not counting COVID years) has been out of the region. While we still want to do plenty of other travel, we’re also focusing on seeing what’s to us in the PNW. I’m finding there’s plenty of adventure out there just waiting for us to discover it.
Finally, I’ve started journaling again. This is one habit that I’ve had a hard time sticking to long term. I seem to have seasons where I’m journaling more, but I’d really like to make this a regular daily habit. The reason is because I’m just better personally when I’m journaling regularly. My thinking feels clearer, I feel more observant and engaged in life, and I like the ability to go review what I’ve read in years past. It chronicles my own personal growth journey.
What habits to you have (or have had) that you’d like to make a more regular part of your life? Give it some thought, and when you come up with something, put systems in place to ensure the behavior does, indeed, become a habit. Your future self is rooting for you!