Archive for the ‘ Motivation ’ Category

Faithfulness > Passion

It’s hard to believe that I originally created this note in Evernote almost a year ago. I never wrote in it for different reasons that were probably excuses, so I figure it’s about time to finish what I started all those months ago.

And yes, I totally get the irony of the title of my blog post vis-a-vis the fact that I started this long ago and “didn’t get around to it” till now.

Something that I’m learning over the last few years of life is that while passion is a great thing to have and a great thing to see in others, I’ll take faithfulness over passion any day when choosing someone to work with. I think that many folks in this millennial generation have plenty of passion, but they certainly struggle in the area of faithfulness/commitment. I don’t mean it as a death sentence – I’m still part of this generation – but it is something that we need to recognize and work on.
Passion is great. It’s often needed. Without passion, there’s no push to get anything big started. We wouldn’t have much of what we now take for granted without someone having passion to get it started, particularly not the social enterprise products we love so much these days (e.g., TOMS, free trade coffee, etc.). We need passion to get started on something important.
The problem with passion is that it’s often associated with emotion, and it doesn’t stick as a result. It can easily fade, and it can easily get redirected to other things. Without your passion being funneled into one direction, you end up with nothing to show for it. You can end up devoting effort into different areas, and at the end of it all, you’ve accomplished nothing but pushed some stuff around.
It’s like digging for treasure. You need to have a direction you’re digging in; otherwise, you’re just pushing dirt around. It’s possible that you get to where you think you ought to go and find nothing, but the only way for you to get there is to push through the resistance and be consistent in a directed, concerted effort.
This is why I believe faithfulness/commitment is more important than passion. Passion can come and go. Hopefully it comes and stays, but without commitment and faithfulness, it will go where it wants. The Bible has all sorts of warnings about our plight when we decide to follow our passions instead of what we know to be true.
More than someone who preaches with fire, I’m impressed by the pastor who sticks it out through challenges galore at the small church without any recognition, any big favors, any fame, and stands fast for years and years.
More than someone who draws a bunch of attention by being super effusive and outpouring with eloquence, I’m impressed by those who are there in those critical moments where a friend needs them.
More than those who shut it down during worship service at church, I’m impressed by those who have served faithfully behind the scenes for years and years without much recognition, status, or benefit.
These are the people I’m impressed by – the people who stand by their freaking word. People who don’t over-promise and under-deliver. People who count the cost with wisdom before making a commitment, rather than making them on a whim and breaking them. People who I can believe when they look me in the eye and say, “I’ve got this.”
This is what I aspire to become. A man who, by the grace of God, follows through on his commitments and does what he says he will.
I would encourage other men (and women) to take up this challenge as well!
Advertisements

Living in the tension.

Probably my favorite poem right now is Rudyard Kipling’s “If.” It’s a few stanzas, has some clever rhymes, and has a pretty great rhythm. But more than that, it alludes to virtues that characterize great men – being honorable, taking risks, not complaining, being well-balanced, etc.

Every time I read that poem, my heartbeat picks up, and I feel that urge to embody each of the virtues mentioned. What’s more, I see the areas alluded to that I lack in my own life, and long to have more of that virtue in my life. What this poem, great preaching, and good friends do to me is remind me of the tension I think we all face: the tension between who we are and who we would like to be.

Whether your goals are financial, physical, spiritual, or in any other area, having them keeps that tension alive, and I think that’s a healthy tension to keep. Without it, I know I can easily become complacent, thinking I’ve done well enough and don’t need to keep pushing forward. I’ve been there, and it’s not a healthy way to be.

To progress, though, requires discipline, and that’s something not easily attained. It takes work, time, energy, commitment, dedication, sacrifice… and there are no shortcuts. You need to do the work, and you need to keep going when it gets difficult (perhaps especially when it gets difficult). And that’s something I think our generation needs to grasp (but that’ll get me started on a blog post for another day).

It’s a few months into 2014 now. Perhaps you’ve fallen on the wayside on some of the commitments you made at the beginning of the year. Perhaps you’ve gone back on some of your Lent commitments. What’s past is past.  Begin again today.

Decide today to get back in the fight with the Holy Spirit alongside.

Decide today to work hard and pray harder.

Decide today to stop making excuses. You can make excuses, or you can make progress.

Decide today to set and keep your priorities.

Decide today to take on the God-sized challenges you’ve been shying away from but that God has put in front of you.

Decide today to start becoming who God made you to be.

Growing up.

It’s hard to figure when exactly that happens, isn’t it?

Some say it’s when you have a good job and can buy the things you want.

Some say it’s when you know what you want to do with your life.

Some say it’s when you get married and have kids.

I think it’s when you decide to stop living on other people’s terms and live in such a way to make dreams come true for you and those closest to you.

Here’s a friend of mine who’s doing one hell of a job at it. He’s also been featured on The Art of Manliness.

It’s a lesson I’m learning, even though I’m not enrolled in any traditional school. It’s a lesson that I’m learning from friends who are on the same journey. It’s a lesson inspired by teachers and reinforced by artists, one in particular.

I may not have written about this before, but while I’m not enrolled in a traditional school, I am enrolled in this one. It’s not free, but tuition is pretty low compared to higher education. It’s a great program for me because it helps me figure out, 1) how God has wired me to live out His glory in my everyday activities, and 2) how to make a living and support myself and a family doing those things.

Thanks for being on this journey with me, anonymous crowd out there. Please welcome my parents, who have finally started reading my blog 😉

I’m going to continue writing here while I start building my website for Awesome Biz Blogs, my proposed next venture.

Things I wish I knew in college…

Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with a bunch of college students. Many of them attend my alma mater, where I volunteer with a campus ministry they’re involved with. Others I met through an Epic conference in January. Still others I’ve met through other means.

Students, this post is for you. It’s a list of things I wish I had known when I was in college. Hopefully it will be helpful for you.

  • Evernote is probably the best all-around software for taking notes and remembering things. Of course, Evernote may not have been around when I was in college, but go check it out! I’ve also written a Squidoo lens about why Evernote rocks.
  • Google Calendar is so key. Especially being able to share it with others.
  • Gmail is awesome, especially with the new Priority Inbox function, but to really hack your e-mail, play the E-mail Game.
  • Blogging is underrated. Maintaining a blog can be a great way to share insights with people, build community online and practice writing. Platform-wise, I think WordPress is great for customization, but Tumblr is great if you want to just get started with the basics. If you have some real value to share and are interested in making money from your writing, though, Squidoo is awesome for that.
  • Mac is great.
  • Reading the Bible consistently is challenging but very beneficial. Sign up for YouVersion to get on a plan and stay on it.
  • Consuming media is fun but often distracts you from what is much better.
  • Figuring out what you’re naturally good at is a challenging but worthy pursuit. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to do but one of the most important. Sadly, many don’t care to investigate this, and many of them don’t want you to either.
  • You become like the people you hang out with most. This is not meant to condemn. It’s just something you need to realize.
  • Mediocrity can get you by, but it will never get you where you want to go. I used to take pride in my mediocrity. That was unbelievably stupid.
  • Stop complaining. Hustle instead. You’ll grow and learn far, far more.
  • One of the hardest questions to ask yourself is, “What do I want?” Many don’t want to answer that question because they know they’re not doing anything to get there. Ask it. Answer it. Go get it.
  • If you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll end up with what everyone else has.
  • Choose a major that will enhance and utilize your natural strengths, not one that will “guarantee” you a job (it won’t).
  • Find ways to get both inspiration and wisdom, and keep going back for more. Proverbs says this more eloquently. I will post a resource list soon and link it here.
  • Read this and share it with everyone you know who’s in school or working at a school.

What you don’t need

Considering a career change? Thinking of starting a business? Want to start a non-profit? Want to try something new at work? Great! What’s stopping you?

It’s so easy to convince ourselves that we need something to start working on our dreams and goals. There are a lot of things we can tell ourselves we need before we can start.

  • Funding
  • A chance
  • An opportunity
  • Permission
  • Approval
  • Buy-in
  • Support

What do all of these have in common? They depend on someone else (or many someones else).

But what if you had all the things you’re saying you need? What then? Would you really start, or would you find something else to wait on?

Pointing the finger at someone else may make you feel better (I know I did), but it doesn’t solve anything. So which do you prefer – feeling better about yourself or winning?

Stop waiting. No one’s going to just give you funding. Or a job. Or support. Asking for it is a step in the right direction, but more than that, you need to build a good case for it. You’re not owed anything.

The bad news – the only person stopping you is you. The good news – the only person stopping you is you.