A Quick Word On Moving Slow

When we start out on a new endeavor, we usually want quick results.  Whether it’s getting in shape, learning a new skill, investing, or building solid relationships, we like to have positive results come quickly.  Who wouldn’t?  It’s fun and encouraging to see results!

In most cases however, results don’t happen quickly.  They usually arrive slowly.

Therefore, we must put in the effort day after day, month after month, or even year after year before results begin to appear.  The time between starting and results showing up is an easy point to lose heart and give up.  Yet this is also the time when it’s also most crucial to look beyond the present, to that day when the results will have shown up.  When the results are slow, we must be quick to remind ourselves why we want these results and also to remain committed to the process that will ultimately bring us the results we’re working toward.

If you’re currently pursuing something and you’re not seeing the results you want yet, take heart.  Know for certain that results follow actions.   Focus your attention knowing that your results will occur, they must occur, if you simply continue to take the actions required to get you there.

Younger Teachers

“The older I get, the younger my teachers become.”  ~Unknown

As a life-long learner, I’m grateful for the people who have been (and currently are) willing to teach me.  Whether they’ve written a book I’ve read, created a podcast, or sat down next to me to explain something, their willingness to teach me has enriched my live.  I’m especially grateful that these teachers are often younger than I am.

As someone who’s been around for over half a century, I couldn’t imagine how adversely impacted my learning would be if I only listened to people who were older than me.  If I carried the belief that there’s nothing I can learn from anyone who’s younger than me, I’d be willingly disconnecting myself from the wisdom and knowledge of a significant portion of the world population.  What an awful way to move through life!

If sense a negative attitude bubbling up when you have the opportunity to learn from someone younger, check yourself.  You may be on the cusp of throwing away a perfectly good learning experience.

How foolish it would be to miss an opportunity to learn something valuable, simply because pride and ego deafen your ears to voices younger than your own.

Being Intentional

On New Year’s Day, my wife and I spent some time discussing the events and activities we’d like to do in 2020.  At one point as we were listing off places we wanted to go and things we wanted to do, my wife said, “We need to get these on the calendar.”  She was exactly right!  So that’s what we did.

It’s amazing to me how much we can miss out on (exciting things that we actually want to do) simply because we are not intentional about getting them scheduled and making them happen.  Something changed when we wrote these things on the calendar.  This simple act affirmed our commitment to them.  By putting the event/activity on the calendar, we’ve said, “Yes, this is something we will do!”

So often our failure to commit the time to something is the major obstacle that keeps it from being realized.  What is it that you’d like to do in 2020?  Is there somewhere you’d like to go or something you’d like to accomplish?  If so, I’d encourage you to get it scheduled before your calendar fills up.

Commit time to those things that are important for you to achieve in 2020.  Otherwise you’ll get to December 31, 2020 and realize that your lack of being intentional has caused you to miss out on what otherwise might have been an spectacular year.

Extending Grace

It’s so easy to see or hear something about another person and quickly come the conclusion that “they’re a jerk!” or “inconsiderate”, or any number of unflattering things, when we really don’t know what they might be carrying in their own life.

Maybe they’re dealing with:

  • Loss
  • Loneliness
  • An illness
  • An ill loved one
  • A terminal diagnosis
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of affection or kind words from others

The point is, since we don’t really know what’s going on in the lives of those around us, the kind thing would be to extend grace to others instead of ill-informed snap judgments.  Because wouldn’t we all appreciate that from others?

Next Time

I like working to improve different areas of my life.  Whether it’s learning a skill, interacting with others, maintaining healthy habits, or following the teachings of Jesus, there are so many opportunities to get better every day.  I find that encouraging!

However, occasionally (actually, more often than I’d like to admit) I find myself acting in a way that is contrary to the improvements I’m trying to make.  To keep from feeling frustrated and defeated when this happens, I remind myself that although I missed the mark this time, I will do better next time.

I’m so grateful that missing the mark doesn’t condemn us to forever-failure status.  We have so many opportunities to do better, because there is always a “next time” right around the corner.

If you’re working to make improvements in your life, but find you’ve been missing the mark, that’s OK!  Simply think about what hitting the mark would look like, and commit to doing that the next time.

Make the Most of the Next 12 Months  

Several years ago I got a birthday card from my co-workers.  It was a nice card filled with kind words of birthday cheer.  Of all the notes written, there was one encouraging message that really stood out.  It simply read, “Make the most of the next 12 months, for you will never be this age again!”

I’d never thought of birthdays like that.  Sure, I know how the calendar works, but I‘d never really considered that we get the privilege of being a certain age for only 12 months.  This encouraging note reminded me that I get to decide how I want to spend the next 12 months of my lives.

It’s easy to think of birthdays as a reminder that we’re getting older, but my co-worker’s wise words continue to remind me that we have a role to play in what we do with the days between our birthdays.  We can choose to become “old” by complaining that we’re getting old, or we can choose to be grateful for the days we have and get about the business of living them well.  It’s absolutely up to us.

A Quick Though On Sharing Yours

Whenever you’re in a large or small group, professional or volunteer, and the opportunity arises to share your thoughts and opinions, do so!

When we silence our own voice by withholding our thoughts, we willingly hand over the ability to make or influence a decisions to those who do share their thoughts.  We trade in our role as leaders and resign ourselves to passengers on a course someone will chart for us.

You have thoughts, insights, and ideas that could benefit those around you.  However, they benefit no one, if they remain solely in your head.