You Do What You Believe

Survey Says…

survey-opinion-research-voting-fill-159353.jpeg   Read just about any survey where the respondents said something was important to them versus whether they do it. Everyone has an opinion as to what is important. Question is: is it important enough to do it? Take any Family Feud type question for example. One hundred American men surveyed said this is the most important thing to them. The top six answers are on the board. There seems to be this pat answer in the politically correct order. Can’t you see the top answers as the bell dings when the board flips? GOD! The contestant yells. “Good answer, good answer,” his family claps and cheers. Ding! God/church/religion. Number one. We’ll play Steve, and the game goes on. Spouse. Good answer. Ding! Family/children. Ding! Country. Job. Ding! Ding! Entertainment/ pleasure. Ding!

Priorities

What if we stopped the game right here? Cblack-and-white-people-bar-men.jpgontestants, where do you spend most of your time, energy, and money? If I were a betting man, I would say you could probably flip the list upside down. There’s a saying that goes like this: “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” If there is a disparity between what we say and what we do, it begs the question: why? Any problem can be boiled down to the cause by asking “why” at least five times. Usually, it doesn’t take all five “whys.” So let’s take the number one New Years’ resolution: to lose weight. Followed by exercising more so we will take both together. People will join gyms like crazy in January, and then the attendance drops off shortly around February.

The Five “Whys”

Number one: Why do people make these resolutions? Normally, it is because they have guilt or remorse. Some want to do better.

Number two: Why does the attendance drop off in February? People quit their resolutions.

Number three: Why do people quit their resolutions? Too hard, peer pressure, it hurts, I can’t look like that, no really cares, lack of discipline, really not that important. They have tried it in the past and didn’t make it. Certainly not going to make it now, etc.

Number four: Why do people think these things? Because that is the script that is going on inside their head.

Number five: Why do they have this script? The reasons will be as varied as the people themselves. I believe it comes down to this: they have lied to themselves over and over, year after year. They don’t believe the resolutions and therefore do not do what they say to themselves. And you’re saying “Huh?”

The Ant and the Elephant

Vince Poscente has a short, but powerful little book called The Ant and the Elephant. I highly recommend it. In short, the ant is your conscious mind. The elephant is your subconscious mind. The ant tells the elephant that we are going to lose weight and exercise. The elephant laughs at the thought because it has heard it so many times before and knows the ant is lying. Again. So the elephant lumbers on as it did before according to the script as written. We believe something is the truth because we have heard it over and over again. We have ingrained it in our script. We have to change the script to change what we believe which in turn changes what we do. Don’t miss this.

Hit the Target

darts-target-bull-s-eye-delivering-37604.jpeg    Case in point, in an earlier article this year I laid out several lofty goals. I will hit these goals. You how I know? I have hit them before and will do it again. My elephant knows I can, so I will. I am no more special than you or anyone else. How did I do it before? I changed my script. I chose to. Was it easy? Heck no! Was it worth it? Absolutely and you can do it too. Here is how I did it and will continue to do it.

  • Lead. First off, know that you can lead your elephant. You can school the mind, soul, and body. You can change your script. It starts with the “want to.”
  • Feed. Change what you feed your elephant. Your elephant feeds on what you give it. What is the daily diet of your elephant? Is it healthy or hurtful? It is fed through what and who you watch, listen to, and read. If your daily elephant diet is soap operas what do you think your life will be like?
  • Speed. Too many resolutions fail because people want instant success. Know that it takes time to change the script. Know that it takes some work as well. Start small and keep track.
  • Read. Be selective. You should read more than you watch or listen. Listening is important, but a different part of the brain is engaged when you read. Again start small. Start with “The Ant and the Elephant.”
  • Weed. You are what you think, and you are only as successful as you think. Pluck the negative thoughts as if they are weeds. Replace them with positive thoughts. Keep doing this. A perfect example was given to me by a friend about my garden. He said when you till the garden you bring inactive weed seeds to the surface, and they sprout. Kill those weeds and then till the soil again. Then kill the new weeds. It may take many times of this process to kill the weeds, but they will always come back, but not as strong.

Summary

You can do this. It helps if you have someone to partner with you and challenge you. If you are one of the fortunate ones that can find a mentor you will be miles ahead. You also can sign up for several self-directed education courses. I would be glad to recommend books and audios for you. You can see the books I have read and are reading at Goodreads.com. I also have several blogs where I recommend books. As always I welcome your comments and questions. You can reach out to me at thesaltyeclectic@gmail.com.

For Such a Time as This

Let’s Define It

Significant.  Miriam-Webster online has the following definitions with examples:

“1 : having meaning; especially : suggestive a significant glance

2 a : having or likely to have influence or effect : important a significant piece of legislation; also : of a noticeably or measurably large amount a significant number of layoffs producing significant profits

b : probably caused by something other than mere chance statistically significant correlation between vitamin deficiency and disease”

Your Life

pexels-photo-730547.jpeg   But what does it mean to you? Ben Franklin said, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”  I try to do both. Did he live a life of significance? I think we will all agree that he did. If you ask the average American to name something about Ben Franklin you would get a varied response. You might hear such as he created the potbellied stove; he created the bifocals; he was struck by lightning when flying a kite in a storm, or more likely, he is on a $100.00 bill. But was he more significant today than he was in his generation?

Based on the above definitions, are you more significant today than you will be in future generations? Does your life have meaning? Do you have influence or effect? Do you make things happen rather than wait for a mere chance? The choice rests with you and no one else. I believe you, and I are alive, right now, at this time to be significant. It wasn’t chance. It was God-ordained.

A Biblical/ Historical Example

pexels-photo-783952.jpeg   If you have ever read the book of Esther you know, it reads like a soap opera. A king who lorded over his wife and a wife who disrespected her husband and lost her head in the process. Then the king throws a beauty pageant to pick the next queen. Beautiful Esther wins. It isn’t clear if she wanted to be there, but now she is the new queen. Meanwhile, her cousin Mordechai foils a plot to kill the king (and isn’t even thanked for his involvement).  Throw in a murderous, narcissistic prime minister in the king’s court named Haman, who hates Mordechai because he won’t bow down as Haman passes by. All this time the king’s court does not know that both Esther and Mordechai are related and are Jews.

One thing leads to another and Haman convinces the king to open up hunting season on Jews. Haman builds a gallows to hang Mordechai when the season opens up personally. Mordechai goes to Esther on behalf of their people and tells her she needs to convince the king to spare them. She hesitates. Sidebar: during this period, if someone came to the court of the king without being summoned and the king did not extend his scepter toward them in favor, then they were killed. The king had already chopped off one queen’s head. Mordechai’s response is timeless. He asked Esther if she thinks just because she is the queen that she and her family will be spared.  “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” he adds.

Be the Change

Who knows why you are where you are in life today? Who knows why you were born to the family in which you were? Who knows how significant your life is to those around you? Who knows why you have had the struggles in life that you have had? God does. He intended for you to be significant in this generation and to those around you. You are not here by mere chance without meaning. You are here to influence and effect/affect your generation. I love the Gandhi quote where he instructs us to “be the change in the world that you want to see.” Your time is now. Your time is here. God formed you and placed you here in this time and generation on purpose, for a purpose. You are here “for such a time as this.” What are you going to do about it?

 

 

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Podcast for this blog

 

2018: A Significant Year in Six Simple Steps

How’s your year?

Have you ever had a day or week even, where you have felt like you just muddled through it? How about a year or a series of years? Some might say that this is indicative of their whole life. Or have you just felt like your life is not one of significance? My favorite saying for most issues is that “it’s a choice.” Rather simple and uneventful. Simple, yes, but not always easy. The significance is a choice. But how can I choose to make 2018 a year of significance? Here are six practical steps to head you (and me) in the right direction.

Step One: Define Significance.

As Stephen Covey has said, start with the end in mind. At this time next year what would have to of occurred for you to say that the last twelve months were significant? What does that look like? What would you have to be or, where would you have to be, and what would you have to accomplish? The term significance in of itself is too broad. Set specific goals. This is foundational. Don’t gloss over this. If you get this right then you are on the right track. It is worth your time to really work hard on this first step. Some call it defining the “why”.

Step Two: Plan.

Break it down. Step one is broad in nature. Now you have to break it down into smaller attainable chunks. Can you break the goal down into twelve steps where you can accomplish one each month? Let’s say your goal is to save $1200.00 this year. Some may laugh at that. The average American family won’t save even $200.00 each year. Did you save $1200.00 last year? $200.00? So, that’s our goal. Can you find a way to save $100.00 a month? Or let’s say you want to increase your knowledge on any given subject and you decide to read books that would help you accomplish this. Could you read a book a month or a book every two months? You get the idea.

Step Three: Focus.

Keep the goals you have outlined in front of you. Out of sight, out of pexels-photo-370659.jpegmind is a true maxim. Never underestimate the value of a 3×5 card. List your goals on several and strategically place them so you see that list every day, several times a day. Put one on your bathroom mirror so you can see it in the morning when you get up and before you go to bed. Put one on your refrigerator, one on the dashboard of your car, one on your desk, in your lunch box and so on. Keep your mind focused on your goals.

Step Four: Evaluate.

eye-female-funny-glass-41558.jpeg  You have a goal, and you have a plan. Now you have to measure the plan. There are several ways to do this, monthly, quarterly, biannually, and annually. In some cases, depending on the goal, you may have to measure and review weekly or daily.  For you to save $1200.00 a year, you will have to save around $23.08 a week or $46.15 every two weeks. What if you get paid every two weeks, and you rounded it up to $50.00 a pay period? At the halfway point of the year, you would have $650.00. You would be $50.00 ahead of your goal for that timeframe.

For most of my adult life, I have reviewed how my life was going every six months. I would do these reviews around Christmas and my birthday in June. I have asked myself these questions: am I where I want to be in life? Is my life heading in the direction I wanted it to be? Have I accomplished what I wanted? What am I going to do differently to get myself back on course?

Step Five: Adjust.

What course corrections do you need to make to keep on course? The worst thing you can do here is beat yourself up for not meeting your intended goals and mile markers. Now don’t get me wrong. I agree with you if you are disappointed. If you are not disappointed, then you have other issues. If life has dealt you a heavy blow and has knocked you way off course, then it may take some time and effort to get back to it. I am not talking about that. Pick yourself back up. We all get there, but if you are just plain lazy and making excuses then I have no sympathy for you, and you really weren’t committed to your goals. Too harsh? Not if you want it.

Step Six: Complete it. Repeat it.

So let’s say you weren’t able to meet your goal of $1200.00, but you were able to save $700.00. How much more do you have than the average American? Were you successful? YES! You are now further along than you were before. So you were trying to read twelve books but only finished ten. Success! Your year was significant. Now, let’s do it again. From month to month and year to year, you will create a life of significance. Question is: what is significance? You may have to redefine the answer to that question each year.

P.S. Let’s make it more personal. Here are my goals for 2018 and how I have them broke down.

  • Fifty-two blogs. That’s one a week. I have fifty-one to go.
  • Twenty-six podcasts. That’s one every two weeks.
  • Record four audio books. One a quarter.
  • Read twelve books. One a month.
  • Upload twelve videos to my YouTube Channel. One a month.
  • Publish one book.
  • Increase my prayer life. Spend five mornings a week in prayer. Keep a journal.
  • Reduce my debt by 25%. I’ll discuss this in another blog.
  • Increase my savings by $1200.00 this year. Sounded like a good goal. I have set up a monthly transfer of $100.00 from checking into savings.

 

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Podcast for this blog