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.
There are plenty of things in life that we have no control over. For example, the weather, the economy, genetics, and most every other person on the planet, just to name a few. However, there are a number of variables in life that we do have control over.
Of those variables, the lever of control we have is choice. We can choose our responses, our behavior, our outlook, the words we use, the course we chart for our life.
This knowledge should be a constant reminder to us to make wise choices. The choices we make today impacts the quality of our tomorrows.
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.
Last week was the first week since January 2013 that I haven’t made a blog post. I’d like to say it was because we were busy traveling last weekend, but I’ve traveled many times since 2013 and have still created a weekly blog post. The simple excuse is, I just forgot.
Beyond just forgetting, the real reason it didn’t get posted was because I didn’t write, “Post blog” on my list of To-Do items.
I find that when I have a lot of things going on, I need a list to help me keep track of the tasks I need to complete. Much like a grocery list, a task list helps me ensure that I don’t forget anything important I’m supposed to do. More importantly, a task list frees up my mental capacity from having to remember to do something. Once it’s on my list, I don’t have to spend any energy remembering to do it, because the list will remember for me.
I heard a quote once that said, “Our mind are great places for having ideas, but they’re a horrible place for storing them.” I totally agree! Whether paper or digital, lists are great places for remembering things like:
- Groceries to buy at the store
- Chores you need to complete
- Things you need to pack for a trip
- Books you want to read
- Destinations you like to visit
- People you need to contact
- Appointments and meetings you have during the day
The next time you have a number of things to remember, instead of keeping them in your head, consider making a list. Not only will a list help you remember what you need to do, it’s fun to cross completed items off the list!
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.
A couple of weeks ago in the adult Sunday school class I lead, I made a comment about a section of Scripture. To preface my comment I stated, “We all know this […]”. After some discussion, one of the newer people in the class spoke up and said, “You mentioned that ‘we all know this’, but I DON’T know this.” The comment got my attention.
It’s so easy to assume that just because we know something, everyone else must obviously know it as well. I was reminded that this is usually not the case. For me, it’s important to be aware of this reality, so that I don’t inadvertently exclude people from classroom discussions, dialog in a meeting, or even a simple conversation by assuming they know what is being discussed.
I like to include people versus excluding them. What I learned from the Sunday school class exchange is to stop assuming that folks know something and actually give space to check that assumption. If my assumption is correct, great! We can move forward. If, however, my assumption is incorrect, then that presents a great opportunity for discussion to help bring others along, and event to learn something new myself.
There’s enough division and exclusion going on in the world, that I don’t need to add to it in my conversations and interactions. How much better it is to test and assumption and gain clarification, than to move forward with the assumption, only to find out that it was incorrect.