“It’s not enough to be great; you have to be great together.”
General Stanley McChrystal
Good morning, friends! Did you wake up to a chill this morning? I sure did; fall seems to be real. Let’s not tally; let’s get to it!
It’s World Series time and I love baseball. Tony Gwynn is one of my favorite players of all times; he was the best hitter of the past 50 years, maybe 100. He averaged 20 strike outs per year for 10 years. Most regular players have 20 or more per month. He was more likely to have a four hit game than a two strike out game. He batted .370 or better for a season three times; all the other great hitters of the past 80 years have combined to do it eight times. He was, in the estimation of every knowledgeable baseball person, the best hitter they ever saw. And he never won a World Series in twenty years of supreme excellence.
Most of us will never win a World Series either but we will strive for success. And as hard as it is to achieve success doing it alone, solitary, apart is exponentially harder. Consider all the important roles a partner in success plays: accountability, encouragement, support, restraint, honesty, protection… The list goes on and on. Imagine even trying to succeed without a partner, and then wonder with whom you would celebrate without a partner. Partners, like reading, are fundamental.
To be sure I’m not talking here about marriage partners, although a spouse can surely fit the bill. A partner can be any trusted and reliable companion. What matters is that we not see ourselves as silos seeking success. No matter how great you are or may become we live in a connected world. Make the right connections, build a good team, find the right partner(s) and you magnify your chances of success.
Who are your trusted and reliable companions focused on success?
What roles do you need filled to help you succeed?
Who can you add to your team to magnify your chances of success?
We all swing and miss once in a while. What matters is that we keep batting. And when we have the right team, be it one, two or three players, so long as all our needs are met, we have a much greater chance of big wins. Build your team and succeed! I have great faith in you. Have a wonderful week.
"It's near to impossible to make positive change in a negative environment."
James Smart, paraphrase
Good morning, friends! I hope your weekend was exactly as you planned and included a bit of rest. I could have used it! Still, let's get to it!
Almost ten years ago was the first notion I had of turning my health life around. I was just over 40 and pushing a weight limit I never, ever thought I'd touch. It shocked me to make a change. Yet the first thing I encountered was my environment; nothing was supportive of my change. All the food we had in the pantry was food I didn't need to eat to be healthy! Every meal we planned (old, familiar meals) was patently unhealthy. And my schedule was comfortably arranged to make exercise a difficult choice. Let's just say it was a tough environment in which to make a positive change.
How often have you tried to make a change without considering your environment? Consider the flip side. I'll bet this is a lesson you learned in grade school; perhaps your parents encouraged it in you. Birds of a feather flock together? Ring a bell? Positive change is much easier in a positive environment. Consider the environment "friction". A positive environment is a well-oiled machine, low friction, smooth as glass. A negative environment is ankle deep mud.
These days when I think about change I think first about the environment. What do I need to change in my environment to make the real change more likely? Think about changes you've attempted and the environments that affected them. Now look to the future. What changes do you want to make and what environmental changes will make the real change more likely? The more you begin to think first about the environments that surround your desired changes the sooner you'll find your changes become realities. Now, which change will you make next?! Whatever it is, I have faith in your chances. Have a great week.
Pastor Thomas' Encouraging Word for Monday, October 23, 2017
on behalf of
Thomas Bounds <email@example.com>
Today, 11:06 AM
This message was sent with low importance.
October has arrived with a brrrrr! Perhaps a little encouragement might ease the chill in someone’s life. Share this e-mail with your friends and co-workers. And reply to firstname.lastname@example.org to get directly on the list.
"We want to just be able to pull up our iPhone while we're sitting on the train or at a bus stop or something, play a game for a couple minutes, and get smarter, but we can't.”
Good morning, friends! I hope you are off to a wonderful start for your week and ready for a week of success. Let’s get to it!
Ah, the sweet smell of easy success. What a siren that call is to us, and sadly our culture preys on our desire for easy success. Commercials tout easy weight loss, easy debt repayment, easy income, easy health, easy everything! I just don’t buy it and you shouldn’t either. Experience in my life tells me that easy and successful are usually opposites. Putting on weight is easy. Taking on debt is easy. Losing everything is easy. If it’s easy we ought to be wary but we’re not.
There is something to envy in our desire for easy; we want what successful people have. Success can be generated in any endeavor so no matter what we are doing we can find an image of success. The danger comes when we undervalue the success of our examples. If success and ease are opposites then the real partners of success are hard work, dedication, commitment, sacrifice, investment and patience. It is understandable why the lines at that trough are short while the line at deceptive ease is long, but the easy trough is empty.
Today’s quote comes from a study of brain science and improving brain function. Perhaps you know there are apps for memory support. They are, in a word, selling “ease”. Are you buying in to the deception of ease in any area of your life? I’d love to be the prophet saying, “Easy is easy! Get your success easily!” but I couldn’t live with myself. No matter what you’re trying to do the difference between you and success is a lot of tough and hard. The question is, “Do you want to succeed enough to do the tough and hard work?”
A few questions of relevance:
· What is your clear focus of success?
· What is your commitment to succeed?
· What is your breaking point?
· What do you need to overcome that breaking point?
At any age and any circumstance success is hope for everyone. Don’t give in to the siren call of ease. Make the commitment to bear the tough road of success. I have much faith in you! Have a great week.
TODAY’S EDITION IS A BIT LONGER THAN USUAL. GRACE, PLEASE.
Good morning, Monday friends! I hope you are well today and wherever you are the storms of last night didn’t harm you or your community. Be safe today. Let’s get to it!
Recently I was introduced to the work of Suzman, who has lived with and learned from the last tribes of hunter-gatherers on earth for the past 25 years. As all cultures on earth move towards the Euro-American ideal of consumerism and consumption the hunter-gatherer life remains a fragile hold out. Among the many lessons we can learn from their culture is the victory over “wants” and connection to “happiness”.
Perhaps the one word from my children that has troubled me most is “want”: I want this, I want that. “Want” is worse than “no” at least in my mind. As my children became aware of our culture of consumption and satisfaction they mastered the language of “want” as most children do. Yet to be honest they learned the language from their parents, friends, teachers, leaders, society, etc. The language of “want” is our way. I’m not beating up on my kids; I’m using the easiest and most clear example, like a petri dish.
Yet observing their behaviors I noticed the connection between their wants and apparent happiness. If a “want” was met once it arose then happiness ensued, if but for a moment, but if the “want” was not met unhappiness ensued. Think about that result for a moment: in a space where a moment prior nothing at all existed, once a mental “want” arose and emotion was attached to it happiness hung in the balance. Over nothing… I marveled, until I noticed it in myself, and my wife, and everyone else. Then I became a bit depressed.
As adults we may have nearly mastered our physical wants (or essentially met them), but we have developed our mental wants. As adults we call them “expectations”. “I want you to do or be (or the negative) this or that.” When persons don’t live up to our expectations (mental “wants”) notice how happiness ebbs and flows. Over nothing but an internal desire that has no connection to reality.
Many studies have been experienced that connect simplicity and happiness. Consistently we see that the happiest people around us are those persons with simpler lives, fewer wants and precious few needs. The pinnacle of this line is the hunter-gatherer or perhaps the monk. None of us will approach the pinnacle but we must ask ourselves to which end of the spectrum are we headed? In a culture nearly devoid of lasting happiness, are we seeking it in more consumption or in less desire? The evidence is clear which way we should go and equally clear the opposite direction we are headed.
* How would your life be different with fewer wants?
* What does chasing your wants do to you?
* What would a week without a focus on wants look like for you?
We all would like more “happiness”. Books, talks, gurus, they all want to get us “there”. Perhaps “there” is already in you just masked by a cloud of “wants”. Pay attention to the direction you’re headed. Consider your experience of being a “want” chaser. Imagine trading fewer and less “wants” with more and greater “happiness”. It may seem paradoxical, but what has a life of chasing gotten you? Anecdotes of temporary happiness until the next “want” arises. You dream of better than this, and you can do it! I have great faith in you.
Thanks for the grace of patience with me today. I did my best to be brief and failed. I hope you found a nugget of help and encouragement today. Have a wonderful week!
Good morning, friends! I hope your weekend was as great as mine, or at least nearly so. Whatever it was, though, it’s over, and now it’s time to move on. Let’s get to it!
Life affords us occasional opportunities to rehearse. We rehearse weddings and graduations and a few other events. Just this past Wednesday evening my youngest son and I rehearsed his baptism; I walked him through the experience so when the “real” thing happened Sunday morning he would be ready and prepared. That’s what rehearsals are: walk through’s. We walk through the event a time or two so when the “real” event happens we are prepared and hopefully polished. Life itself isn’t that way, though.
Life is live all the time. I suppose the difference can be seen comparing movies to Broadway. Movies are long, slow, methodical events. From conception to presentation a movie is a thousand rehearsals, retakes, cut outs, ect. What we see on the big screen is only the best of the director’s vision. Broadway plays are quite different. Sure, they have planning and rehearsals, too, but once the curtain goes up it’s live. Like life. Jobs aren’t rehearsals. Marriages aren’t rehearsals. School isn’t a rehearsal. Relationships aren’t rehearsals. The curtain goes up on life at the beginning and it’s live from there on.
There’s something about “live” life that is shocking. When you make a mess you have to clean it up right now or live with it. When you have a success it’s shocking how quickly it fades into the past. Life just goes on, cameras rolling, every day. It is said that the best professional athletes are the ones who can slow the game down in their mind while the speed of the game is happening all around them. Whatever it takes for you, this moment is happening.
* Notice what’s happening in your life right now; be honest with yourself.
* Make your adjustments or corrections in real time; be courageous.
* Value, appreciate and make something of the time right now; be smart.
Keep moving in the directions of your choice but whatever you do, don’t waste time. You only have so much and you won’t get any back. Life is live all the time. Have a wonderful week!