Monday, September 28 2015
“How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?”
Good afternoon, friends! So sorry I missed the morning, but sometimes even Sunday evenings and Monday mornings are packed, so now it is and I hope it’s on time for you. Let’s get to it!
I had a milestone birthday yesterday, a big one, a turning point one, one that seemed to make a lot of people happy. Can you guess what number that was? I’m not ashamed; it was 50. Lovely people sang to me, my family experienced a typically excellent birthday celebration, and I certainly felt loved. But one thing I didn’t feel was 50. In fact, I still don’t feel 40. What good is a number compared to reality?
Satchel Paige was an aging marvel. Paige was a Major League pitcher who debuted with the Cleveland Indians in 1948 at the age of 42 (!) and pitched in the majors for 17 years, until he was 59 (!!!). Marvel hardly covers the whole truth; he was incredible. You can imagine the grief and ribbing he took for his age, but Paige played along and effectively battled to the end. What was key to his success? Good health helped, but I think great perspective on aging was even greater help.
Frankly, most people I know are much older than their age. Bad eating habits, poor exercise efforts, family histories, stress and anxieties all age us well beyond our years. How can we counter this unhealthy buffet of badness with better experiences of goodness? Paige sets a great example of competing to the end and getting our minds right.
If you want more life, what part of you needs better attention from your mind? If you want better life, what part of you could use a little more attention, commitment, and/or support? After all, age is just a number, but life is an experience. Take it from an old guy (guess which one), you have a lot of life left in you. Quit obsessing about your age and get on with your living. I plan to; why not you, too?! Now, I’ll get on with the second half of my life…!
Monday, September 21 2015
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Good Monday morning to you, friends! Are you experiencing joy today? If not, the day is young!
Have you ever had the joy of witnessing the “rebirth” of someone? Perhaps it was a spiritual experience, when someone lived a new commitment to their faith. Or perhaps it was an emotional rebirth, as someone climbed from the depth of a negative experience. Most common is the physical experience of rebirth. A couch potato becomes a 5K’er. A heart attack victim becomes a daily walker. A lifelong smoker kicks the habit. You’ve seen some version of this movie. What do all “rebirths” have in common?
A friend of mine has long struggled with weight and health issues, even as a young man. We would frequently meet for lunch and I would hear the tale of woe. This pattern went on for years. One day, much to my surprise, he began to exercise. I wondered if it would last, but last it did. Week after week he exercised and slowly but surely his weight and health improved. He was, simply put, reborn. What happened?
What happened to my friend, as it does with all “rebirth” cases, is something tipped him from thought to action. Often we believe if we simply store up sufficient thought, plans, dreams, expectations, etc. that some kind of momentum or landslide will produce action in us. It never works. The “something that tips” thought to action is choice. All rebirths begin with a choice to act. The day one chooses to act is often one of the best days of life. Why do we wait so long?
I’m sure you, like me, have something steady on your mind, something appealing to you, something that haunts you, taunts you, and teases you. I don’t know what holds you back from action, but I do know the difference choice can make. Make the choice to act today. Give some time to doing today. Stop planning, stop thinking, stop everything that isn’t action and do something about it today, and then tomorrow and the next day and the next. And before you know it you, too, will be reborn and someone will tell the story of the reborn you! I can’t wait to hear your story! Have a wonderful week!
Monday, September 14 2015
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
Greetings, friends! Wow! Did you get a chance to enjoy this beautiful Fall-like weekend? What a stunner! It inspired me to extra efforts. Let’s give one today.
In recent years I’ve become fascinated by the difference between the acceptable and the excellent. I see it everywhere, all the time. Consider how much “acceptable” you give and experience in a given day. The likelihood is that the percentage nears 100%. We tend to do and give efforts to an acceptable level, as does nearly everyone. Acceptable is all around us and within us all the time.
Now consider any exceptional, excellent experiences you’ve recently had. I cannot speak to any of your experiences, but what has been common among mine for as long as I’ve been aware is the simplicity of excellence. What it took to wow me, impress me or overwhelm me was pretty simple yet a step or two beyond average. Consider the doctor who pauses to answer all your questions; what did it cost? A few minutes. Consider the technician who solves the problem and then informs you how it happened and practical ways to prevent it next time; what did it cost? A little effort. Consider the friend who answers your call for help and sees it through to the end; what did it cost? A little more, that’s all. Excellence is a couple of good steps beyond average, that’s all.
How much average will you produce today? We all will produce a lot, for sure. And quite honestly average is acceptable for most of what we do. But in our day there are times that excellent will make a great difference but cost very little, just a couple of steps beyond average. Maybe it will be excellence you offer to someone else or excellence you produce for yourself. Only you can determine when the excellence has great value. I simply want to assure you that the excellence will most often require simple cost. Think carefully about your day and where excellent will have a great impact or offer the most value. Give the extra effort, take the two good steps, and watch the excellence occur. You will be amazed! And I can’t wait to hear about it! Have a great week!
Tuesday, September 08 2015
“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the small uncaring ways.”
Stephen Vincent Benet
Good morning, friends! It is Tuesday, right? Labor Day is one of the few Mondays of the year I schedule “off” to be with my family. If you had to work yesterday I thank you for the understanding. Now, let’s get on to a Tuesday encouragement!
Do you remember the Holiday Inn Express commercials of a few years ago? In the ads a person would do something great and then reveal that even though they were not the situational expert, they did stay at a Holiday Inn Express “last night”. Apparently a HIE choice made you an exceptionally smart person. Well, I didn’t stay at a HIE last night, and I’m not a doctor, but I have been a minister for 15 years, so I do know more than a little about life.
In my years I’ve come to new and improved understandings of living and dying. What are your definitions of living and dying? Typical definitions are simplistic, but living and dying are anything but simplistic. Let’s take dying, for example. In the grand scheme of things no one can change the end result of physical life; we all die. But have you ever observed someone dying while physically healthy? I’ll bet you have, and I pray it’s not you or me. Every moment we have the opportunity to express life or death, to be or not be, to connect or disconnect. These are living and dying choices, and too many of us choose death every day. Must it be? No! You can choose life, every moment, today!
My new and improved understandings of life include expressions of connection. If death is the ultimate disconnection from everything, then life must be the intentional connection to whatever is possible. Why lose moments in disconnection (expressions of death)? You know as well as I do the life giving energy from connections, so why not surrender more moments of your day to connect? Connect to your neighbor, a stranger, someone in need, a friend, whoever, just connect. Embrace relationship, cherish people, and care for someone(s) other than yourself. That’s living.
Are you living or dying today? Chances are it’s a bit of both. Give intentional efforts to live today, live bigger than breathing and a beating heart. Live in connections, positive connections, caring connections, life giving connections. Practice the art, and give more days to life. You’ll be happy you did! And so will I! Have a great week.