Death

Death is always an exciting topic to make the emphasis of a blog post…
At a funeral, you read through the person’s obituary. You read about the highlights of their life, how they lived, and who they were on the earth. Go read through a couple on Google… Go ahead, leave the site, it will be here when you get back…..

Most of the obituary’s you find are quite generic… Who they married, who is still alive of their relatives, and a few unique things about that individual. “Steve enjoyed mechanics, watching the Cubs, and hunting in his spare time…”

It’s an interesting practice to write out your own obituary. Write out who you want to be in the end of it all. After all, we’re all going to die… Why not take the time to look at where we currently stand? Take the time out of your day to map out where you are in your life and where you need to go from here. What accomplishments do you want listed? What do you want to be known for? How much time do you have left to change what your obituary will say?

Be honest with yourself. If you’re a lazy sack of nothing don’t lie to yourself and say you’re doing okay. Recognize you’re a lazy sack of nothing. Good, now at least you’re an honest, lazy sack of nothing. Now go and do something about it. Get around some people who will elevate you. Read books, ask questions, and stay humble enough to change.
If you only need to make a few tweaks to your current lifestyle then that’s great! Write them down, and follow through with them.

Plan out your life and be intentional with it. Don’t let your life just happen to you. Figure out a path and follow it.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” -Annie Dillard

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The Shortcut

It’s funny, on late night TV you can still find infomercials telling you how their miracle product can make you lose weight, bring your hair back, and get rid of your acne. It’s funny because there’s no shortcut to getting into shape, and getting your hair back and acne fixed doesn’t fix your personality.

We know deep down that there isn’t a shortcut to what we want. We know that in order to go somewhere in life you have to work really hard for it… We just don’t want to. We want to sit around and watch netflix and hang out with our friends for a few more hours. It’s also funny when we’re hanging out with friends that we’ll talk about how lucky the celebrities are, how we know that we’re gonna make it one day…No you’re not. Because the time you’re spending hanging out with those people is the time you would need to spend on your product, your art, what matters. But instead you’re watching that event, playing that game, finding a way to “pass the time”….

Don’t pass the time. Own the time. Live in it. Make an investment in the present that you will see the benefits in the future.

“We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.”

Do what you know you have to do. There are no shortcuts. There is only the long road to what matters.

You’re probably pretty average…

One of the most underrated quotes in film history comes from the first “Incredibles” movie.
“Dash” is having a conversation with his mother in the car after he gets sent home from school for using his powers. After Dash reminds his mother that she told him that his powers made him special, she says to him, “Everyone’s special, Dash” Dash responds, “Which is another way of saying nobody is.” A great line- Everyone’s special, so really, nobody is special. We’re all too self-important to recognize the truth in his response…

Most people think they are above average… Which means that most people are wrong.
Be honest, on a scale of 1 to 10, you probably rank yourself at a 7 or 8 right?
Well, statistically, you’re probably wrong. You’re probably a 5.
We carry this illusion of superiority over the people around us, and it’s not based in reality.
We have built up this idea of self-esteem without doing anything to deserve it.

We’re great at evaluating people based on their actions, but we evaluate ourselves based on our intentions. The problem is that we think we’re already above average, and that subconsciously makes us comfortable with our current status. Because of that comfort, we don’t see the need for us to grow and change.
It would be better if we thought of ourselves as average, and worked as if we wanted to be above average. We need to knock ourselves out of the subconscious comfort and put in the work accordingly.

After all, the extremes of the spectrum are where we find the truly remarkable.

Patience

Patience-the capacity to accept delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Getting where we want to go can take longer than we expect sometimes. Problems arise, unexpected obstacles come up, and we lose motivation. It’s easy to get frustrated when unexpected problems show themselves. Many dreams are given up because people don’t have the patience necessary to see them fulfilled.
Our culture is a microwave culture. We want a lot and we want it right now. We don’t want to wait for it, we just want it now.

Take note of something- whenever you heat something up in the microwave, it might be hot, but it’s not quite as good. The food isn’t crispy, it’s just kind of mushy… However, if you take the time and let it reheat in the oven, it will have some crisp left in it. It tastes better when it takes longer.
Have you ever had a soup one day, let it sit in the fridge overnight, reheat it the next day and it’s even better than the first day? That extra time made it better. The process of waiting… made the end result even better.

Impatience accomplishes nothing. Have patience in the process because you know the end result will be better. It will all be worth it in the end. Accept the delays, accept the suffering, and take heart in knowing that you will see the finish line. Unlike the impatient, you will see the end.

Operate from a foundation of peace, and patience will be a valuable byproduct.

Peace

That customer or co-worker does deserve for you to go off on them. But what does it gain you? Far better to maintain your composure, brush off the anger, and let it go.
If absolutely necessary, you can still put someone in their place in a calm manner without losing your composure. Don’t let the people around you determine your disposition. Not only will you change your perspective by operating from a place of peace, you’ll carry that with you and influence others. Peace-maker is a title that is not desired often enough.

Peace is a trait that is rare to find in people. Most are very erratic going from one thing to the next… Stop. Be still. Focus on one thing at a time. Do that thing well. When you’re done-then move on. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed, handle one thing at a time, and see the progress made.

How different our culture would be if each person functioned from a baseline of peace, a foundation that was at rest… How different things would be…

Becoming a parent

My son came into the world last week, on June 18th at 2:54 AM (Quite the inconvenient time if you ask me.)
It’s hard to describe the rush of emotion you feel when you see your child for the first time. It’s mostly an exceeding joy, but there was also the realization that I’m now responsible for this little human. His view of the world, how he does things, and who he will become will be molded through my influence… As the patriarch, I feel the biggest responsibility for my family.
It’s a weighty thing to know that you determine how a child’s life will be. For most people, their father and mother are the most influential people for their entire lives… I know my parents were and still are…

I know there will be such a long journey ahead…

Teaching him what it means to follow the Lord…
Teaching him right and wrong…
Teaching what it means to be a man…
Teaching him how to treat others with love and kindness…
Teaching him what forgiveness means…
Teaching him how/when to stand up for himself…
Trying to find the balance of strong discipline without it being overbearing and too much…
Letting him stumble and fall and be the loving arms to comfort him…

Making sure he knows that he is loved, regardless of the circumstance…
Making sure I tell him how proud of him that I am…

While it’s an extremely daunting thing to think about, I’m still excited.
Excited because I know that my wife and I will work together to raise our son as well as we can.
Knowing that I am not alone in this journey makes a huge difference.
Grateful for all the people around us, our families, our church, and our friends.

It’s going to be a long, difficult, and utterly fantastic road.

Letting go vs. Holding on

Relationships with people…We hear a lot about getting away from people who are bad influences on us. Gary Vaynerchuck says, “Add one new winner friend, and cut one loser friend.” We’ve all heard about being the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and it’s true. You have to guard who you spend your time with. You have to make sure you’re not spending all of your time around negative and lazy people because you will slowly pick up their habits. We all have friends who sit around and do nothing but play videogames, party, and work at their crappy job to finance it all. A lot of those people have no direction in their life and they never will. They will continue to aimlessly float no matter how much you try to knock them out of it.

Now with that being said, we have to invest in people. Not everyone will continue to aimlessly float around. There are plenty of people who will wake up, and start pursuing what matters. John Maxwell said, “If you want to change the world, invest in helping another person to reach their potential.” Helping other people when they are down is the epitome of humility and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

So how do you know the difference?

How do you figure out who’s worth investing in and who’s worth leaving behind?

Lean far more into investing in others before giving up on someone. Now, this may not apply in the world of business, because you can’t carry people along who are holding down a team. In the business world, you have to let people go a lot quicker… But in every day life? In your groups of friends and family? Go the extra mile for people. Help them when they don’t deserve it. Invest in people without the expectation of return… It should take a long, long time for us to give up on someone and mark them a lost cause. You wouldn’t want to be a lost cause to someone…. Give people their 4th,5th,6th, and 7th chance. It doesn’t matter if they deserve another shot, if you have it in you, give them one more chance. Invest your time into people, they’re worth it.