6 views to change for a more fulfilling life

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This post was actually inspired by another that I felt was quite shallow.  It claimed that we need less attachments to have peace but it actually went a little too far (in my opinion) by suggesting that we should have more of a “sweep responsibility under the rug” mentality.  Of course, if you sweep too many things under the rug, a hump develops that will cause people to trip.

 

I prefer a more straight-forward approach that is meeting your issues head-on.  These are 6 areas that I believe will lead to a much fuller life; one with meaning and purpose.

 

Seeking Others’ Approval
This is somewhat true and somewhat false.  To be able to get things done in your own life, there needs to be some approval by others.  Living your life to please others is different…because it is impossible to please everyone.  But I guarantee you, if you want to ever have a happy marriage or decent career, you need to find the happy medium.  If you are so selfish and so rich that you believe that this doesn’t apply to you, have a happy empty life and stop reading this post.

 

Social Media
For the most part, social media is something that you can control.  If you do not want to see the embarrassing pictures from when you got drunk at the party last weekend, stop doing stupid shit like that and they won’t have anything to take a picture of.  And if you are using any branch of social media as your main means of communication, you need help.  Try Skype (That’s a joke).

 

Posterity

“Live in the moment” is commonly heard these days.  While there are @theTimSpencegreat reasons to experience great moments, if that is what you live for, your life will be empty and you may die that way.  Better said may be to live as if it were your last day alive and care for your posterity, not so much your posterior.

 

Previous Relationships
Rather than toss your exes out on their arses like dirty laundry when you have had enough of them, maybe you should look introspectively and figure out why you end up with short term relationships, abusive people, etc.  Examine your own choices rather than tossing them in the dirty laundry bin.  Keep it up and sooner or later, the dirty laundry will have to be dealt with.

 

The Fallacy of Indecision
Indecision has played itself off as a procrastination or longer choice for making a decision.  Here is the truth.  Indecision is a decision.  It is Plan C when you only had Plan A or B.  Make a conscious decision to make a decision (even if it is the wrong one) or alleviate the phrase “I don’t know” from your daily vocabulary.

 

Dwelling on the Past
The only thing you can change about the past is how you look at it.  There are always, I repeat, ALWAYS something positive that can come from any negative event in our life.  For examples, please refer to the Not So Typical Thanksgiving List.  It really does depend on how you look at it.  I have seen people give thanks for some of the most horrific events because it led them to a new understanding of their own purpose in life. There is much healing in this.

 

While these are just short bits of wisdom that have been learned through much trial and error, each of them can be expounded upon greatly.  Of course, you don’t have to agree with all of them.  You can choose to find out for yourself…and make your own mistakes to learn from.  I prefer to attempt to “stand on the shoulders of giants” whenever I can.

Dry

Dry times are difficult to go through.  It is where I am right now.  These times are like being depressed except you’re not.  Life’s battles have not gotten harder, it just feels like you have given all that you have and there is nothing left.  But…taking the effort that you have left over and utilizing it to its best use tends to show later on that you can do more with less energy than you think.

 

These times will test you.  You will come home grouchy and gripe at everyone, thinking that you are just acting normal until you do something that takes you outside of yourself to see how much of a pain you are being.

 

You may get up in the morning and think that talking to God is the last thing that you want to do…but…these are the times when He longs to hear from you.  “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.”

 

Talk to Him like He is your actual living father.  After all, He is.  He is the father that our fathers could never be because of their human frailties.  You can unload on Him.  Its ok.

 

Sometimes you have to think about people like Moses and how he talked to God.  “Lord God of Israel, your chosen people are such a pain!  And we are slaves!  And I am not a leader!  I talk with a stutter!  Why don’t you choose my brother?  He is better at this kind of stuff.  He beats everybody at checkers and cornhole.  People love him but they just look at me and wonder why I cannot be more like him.  Why me?”

 

Do you think that he may have been much of a complainer?

 

God wants to use us anyway because we are His instruments.  You have the choice to be used of Him or let someone else.  But He wants to talk to you.

 

Talk to Him…again…like He is the perfect daddy.  Because He is.

Know that this is just a short season in your life and He will give you nourishment to where your thirst will go away and your dry times will become profitable and productive, spiritually and physically.

Giving

What is your purpose of giving?

I heard once about a professional football player that while he was in college got into an argument with his professor about benevolence.  I believe that the player was Ricky Williams.  The argument was that the professor claimed that people do not give selflessly, they do so to make themselves feel good.  Mr. Williams stood his ground by saying that this was not true.  As is true in most arguments, it was never settled.

So what is your motivation for giving?  Not just money, I am talking about giving.  Is it inherent that you give to give yourself a good feeling or is it a sense of “the right thing to do”?

We give of ourselves, sometimes not knowing of the return but yet we give anyway.  Is it because we know that we will feel better about ourselves afterwards or that we have been convicted to do so and the “feeling better” is a sense of relief?

It probably differs in many cases, but what about in the case of giving where may never see the return even if it happens.  Our society is not able to see this.  They say “What does it matter?  I won’t be here anyway.  Live and let live.  Be wild, be free, it’s all about me”.  But what about your legacy?

I know, legacy, for some people is a strong word.  “Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”.  So really what does it matter.  It matters because our paradigm needs to shift beyond ourselves.  Truth is that you may be already seeing a return on things done previously.  The return from times of irresponsibility.  The return from days of selfishness.  The return of those “what does it matter?” days.  And even though we can look at those returns and wonder “what if I would have done that differently?”, we should look and say “what now?”

It is like a chess game.  Some people said that great chess players start a game, knowing exactly what moves they are going to make in each circumstance, knowing how their opponent will react to each of their moves.  But the beginning moves are the ones where things are volatile.  Each move that follows, corrals the opponent into their plan until finally victory is achieved.

This is how purpose works.  Direction, calling, destiny.  Each move keeps you moving in a certain direction until victory is achieved.

Giving has a purpose.  Giving of money, time, wisdom, even hugs.  They work towards the ultimate goal of a purpose.  And even though we may have a sense of necessity or a desire for fulfillment, what does that matter?

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

It matters that you give.

To be or not to be

I read in the mornings, every morning unless I fail, which I do.  I pray in the mornings, every morning unless I fail.  I write in the mornings, every morning unless I fail.  I do all of these things in the morning because I made the choice to do them.  The reasons that I do them are many but the initial reason that I started, I cannot put my finger on.

I can say that a certain book inspired me.  It is a small book that was free online.  I am happy to give you the link to it but, truthfully, it may not move you to do the same.  By the way, the link is at the end of this post.

The point is that it is really up to you.  The necessity of starting is important but do you finish your start?  Whatever you are seeking to start, do you end up starting but not doing?  Do you feel like you life is a series of starts?

Well, actually it is.  For example, I started this marriage 25 years ago yesterday.  Over time, my wife and I were determined that whatever happened (Yes, whatever), we would not let divorce creep into our lives.  We had a couple of brushes with it but in the end of each “chapter” of our marriage, it came down to looking at our vows again and not considering divorce.  Has it been hard?  Yes, very difficult at times but I do see that even though there were times that we failed each other, the divorce option was not there.  That choice, itself, caused us to think differently about situations every time.

This choice of thinking differently, a gap if you will, is necessary to look at the habits that are not necessary to achieve your goals, and correct or eliminate them.  I am a former smoker.  I have quit and started smoking many times.  I tell some people that once I quit 3 times in one day…but I did quit (I am at five years now).  Robin Williams, playing a psychiatrist in Awakenings, had a line that summed it up very well.  He said, “You have got to decide whether you are a smoker or non-smoker…and be that”.

Finish your start.  Do not set goals to achieve, achieve goals to BE.

(https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CC8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fclairediazortiz.com%2Fthe-present-principle%2F&ei=KbfvUfiSJY6O9ASE24HoCw&usg=AFQjCNFLqo6R9MqLgEXpFg6uaQw1FgKm_Q&sig2=POe96DMv4frc4yqUeVMK5g&bvm=bv.49641647,d.eWU)

Isaiah 32:8

“But the noble man make noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.”

This verse has meant so much to me for many years.  I have kept it in my heart daily and remembered its sobering words.  Having been self-employed in the past, I chose it as the name for the business each time.  Noble man.  Besides being taught John 3:16 as a small child, the verse about the noble man has taken stage as a guide for my life.

But I saw a different translation this morning that challenged me.  It said, “But a good leader plans to do good, and those good things make him a good leader.”  Still the statement about planning, which is another post in itself, is important but it actually states that the good leader plans good things and the good plans make him a good leader.  If those deeds were money, that would mean that every good financial plan you make, would in turn make you richer.  If it were friends, then every good friend you make would make you a better friend.  Every lesson you teach, makes you a better teacher.  It is so simple and yet we look for something different occasionally when we should stay the course…to become better at what we do.

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It is apparently one of the “gifts that keep on giving”…one that when used, does not go without a reward.  And being the noble man can stand on its own.  It not only gives your family confidence, it gives you confidence in return.  Because of my upbringing, standing up to lead has been a challenge.  Having this scripture as a guiding motto, has given me confidence over many years.  One of my favorite creative minds, Seth Godin, wrote “Leaders have nothing in common, except the decision to lead”.

 

Turn the camera around and focus…

This society and its need for self promotion is very peculiar.  It is very different from the way I was raised.  The necessity to let everyone know what we’re doing fascinates me to the point that I wonder about its latent effects on future society.

For example, let’s say that you have a child and you teach the child that everything he does is important to everyone else and everyone wants to know what he is doing; from eating a hot dog to his whole trip to disneyworld.  The child goes into the world displaying relevant (and some irrelevant, of course) things that he is doing expecting that everyone else wants to know.

Soon, he finds that people are not responding to his displays of activity and he does 1 of 2 things:  he starts to withdraw from society gradually realizing that people are only interested in themselves OR he steps up the display to make himself more interesting, more outrageous, more apt to be noticed.

Now you have two extremes here and they may not be applying directly to your child but this put people into 2 categories:  watching or being watched.

Stop!  Hold that vision that you have right now.

Go back to the beginning and see where it started.

Now shift your teaching to letting the child know from day 1 that everything they do affects their surroundings.

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 They see their actions differently rather than just seeing themselves.  They may still display much of what they are doing to the world but their intent is different.

Now turn the camera around.  Look at yourself and instead of taking a picture to show the world, take an inner picture, focusing beforehand on how you affect your immediate surroundings and your effects that you may not have realized before.  Those effects keep going and affecting long after you are done.

Glimmer – Part 2

When I talk about being directed, I mean more that my concerns, prayers and thoughts were being focused.  This is just “scratching the surface”.  Just as you would read material for a school assignment so that you could write a paper on it and use the knowledge in your everyday life, making a list of prayers and goals keeps your mind headed in the right direction.  Read that same material again and what happens?  You not only reinforce what you read the last time, you usually catch something that you didn’t the time before.

Why is this so important?  Well, the funny thing about it is that I have read this kind of stuff for years and you are reading it now.  We can read about it everyday if we like but if you do not step out and actually do it, it is worthless…and much of this builds on some of my previous posts concerning integrity, purpose, principle, etc.

Did you get the glimmer?  You know…that fleeting thought that you wish you could have held on to?  The only way to make it more than a glimmer is to go through the motions again so that you can catch it, just like I talked about with the prayer list.

If you decide to make a prayer and goal list, make sure that you structure it so that it reflects the person you aspire to be and would best serve others.  Make it editable because you will grow.  Fall back on what I said earlier about reading and reinforcement.  Read it every morning, even if you do not want to.  If you miss a day, just read it the next day but do not stop altogether.  Read it, edit it, focus on how it can direct you.  Then move ahead knowing that your direction is confident.  This is a secondary purpose for a prayer/goal list.

Glimmer – Part 1

Have you ever had one of those moments where you caught a glimmer of that feeling “This is what I am called to do” and it was gone before you could grasp it. You felt a “flow” and it felt good. Well it is frustrating and satisfying at the same time, but a simple rule to follow and a little preparation can help you to get back into that groove.

It applies to a rule that tech support people are taught to single out the source of a problem. When a customer is having an issue with their tech product, support is instructed to ask “What were you doing when the event occurred?” or “What was changed in the time leading up to the event?”. Of course, this is referring to a detrimental event but the same applies to the “A-ha” moment we are talking about. The “flow” will come back but it needs to have the appropriate environment to flourish.

Now this does not just mean that you get in the same place, at the same time and wait for it. There is preparation needed and it may be something that you already do and do not even know it.

1. Part of this is to detail what you were doing and why, possibly by writing it down as a journal.

2. This second part is crucial and takes discipline. Map out your schedule to get to a time of doing those things on a regular basis. If you are not in the habit of following a schedule or method, it can be very difficult.

I have to be vague on the instruction because your “flow” is different than mine but I can give an example that I have experienced.

My last post was concerning direction and over time, I have found that writing out these posts have helped me define much of what I believe and put it into practice. It is a process that cannot be hurried but can die away if not cultivated. That is a subject for another post.

I have a prayer list that I go over every morning. Sometimes, believe it or not, I do not like to do it. Sorry that I am not perfect but, yes, it is true. But I saw something this morning that I had not seen before and would not have if I had not been forcing myself into that habit. My concerns, my prayers, my thoughts were being directed. Did you get that? I actually need to think on that more right now…just being real here. More to come…