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.

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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.

“Good”

I have one bumper sticker on my car. It just says the word “GOOD” with a picture of a man who is known for saying it-Jocko Willink. Jocko tells the story of how his subordinates in the Seal teams would come to him with a problem, some major issue, and he would always look at them and just say, “Good”. He would always say that no matter the situation or what is going on, there is going to be some good that comes from it.

“Didn’t get promoted?”-“Good, more time to get better.”

“Mission got canceled?-“Good, we can focus on our other one.”

“Got beat?”-“Good, you learned.”

“Unexpected problems?-“Good, we have the opportunity to figure out a solution.”

I love this. Whatever happens, you control how you respond to it. Figure out the problem, find the good in the midst of the bad, because your circumstance does not determine the end result.

I had a friend who used to always say, “Perception is reality” meaning that how someone perceives something is what’s real to them. He would always say it in regard to how other people perceive you, but it applies to yourself. How you perceive the situation becomes the reality in your eyes. If you perceive that everyone is against you and nothing ever goes your way? Guess what. You’re going to find more and more that everyone is against you and nothing ever goes your way. Why? Because that’s what you’re looking for. “Seek and you shall find…” Whatever you are searching for you will discover.

The point is; control the controllable. Keep the right perspective. There’s no point in complaining. Look for the good, find the good, and if you can’t see it then bring some good into the situation.

Authenticity and flexibility in the workplace.

The topic of politics in the workplace has come up a lot recently. Most of the people I talk to hate how they feel like they have to suck up to their boss in order to get promoted. They think that the people who get promoted at their jobs only get promoted because they suck up to the boss, or they cry favoritism because the boss likes the person who got promoted. (What a concept, getting leadership on your side is a good idea…)

I’ve definitely seen some people who completely change who they are and how they act when the boss shows up as opposed to when the boss isn’t there. I have been guilty of it myself a few times. There are also people who aren’t willing to flex their behavior/perspective to that of leadership and they call it staying true to who they are.
There’s problems when you go to either extreme. No one likes a suck up, and they’re rarely respected in the workplace.
The person who isn’t willing to flex to leadership and adapt is only seen as stubborn and they become an obstacle instead of an asset.

There should be a balance between staying true to who we are, and flexing to leadership’s preference. There’s things that you should hold onto with a closed fist, and there’s things that you should be open to change based on who you’re working for/with. Standing up for what you believe is right and good, but at times it makes more sense to drop your perspective and adapt to what leadership wants to happen even if you don’t agree. Adapting to change can be very valuable, but there’s times when you should hold your ground and state what you think, even if you step on some toes in the process.

The challenge is figuring out the correct response in each circumstance. I imagine the ability to figure that out will only come through time and experience.