Aim at nothing hit it every time.

“Aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time.”

Zig Ziglar

Life doesn’t aim for you. 

It’s impossible to improve without a target!

  • Targets provide focus.
  • Focus provides momentum.
  • Momentum pushes you through the pain.

Hit the target experience the euphoria of a grand finale!

Repeat

 

 

Eye see it

Life lesson:  You go where your eyes go.

It was a hot day, miserable in fact. The road was radiating heat like a red hot engine overheating on a summer’s day. I was that guy outside on a jog soaking up the heat like someone who has lost their mind. I swear I saw buzzards circling! Next thing I noticed my eyes were gazing down, looking at my feet, counting the cracks in the sidewalk. What followed is illustrative, my posture began to slump, my steps became harder and my breath got shorter. In short, my running got harder because my eyes changed what they were fixed on. I became aware of this and changed my focus for just a moment. I lifted my eyes towards a fixed point in the distance and my entire posture, gaze, and breath changed for the better. The only thing in my circumstances that changed was my focus.

You go where your eyes go.

Want to change your life?

Change your focus.

Step 1: Take a moment at each meal of the day to simply think about what you have been focusing on.

Step 2: If your focus is misdirected, willfully change it.

Step 3: If distraction is common then place a visual reminder such as a photo, or a word, heck get a tattoo!

 

Focus Forward

13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 3: 13-14

Want to wreck your car?

Drive while looking backward.

Want to wreck your life?

Live while looking backward. 

We were meant to live out of the windshield, not the rearview mirrors.

Focus forward and glance back. 

God has called YOU to strain toward what is ahead.

Strain for the prize!

The great cloud of witnesses applauds you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Root Deep Living

I LOVE “likes”!

I was glaring at my screen eyes wide open scanning for the red notification that I have received a new “like”. I saw the beautiful red number that indicated that yet another human or computer somewhere out in the universe saw my work as worthy enough to attribute the click of the “like” button. See what I just did there? I prescribed significance and meaning to getting “likes” on my social network. Know what happened in my brain when I saw this red notification? My brain lit up like a Christmas tree in the rewards center. A shot of dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure), pulsated through my system causing my brain to smile BIG.

I just explained the anatomy of addiction!

At the very core of my functioning, I was rewarding myself by searching for “likes”. And just think, I haven’t even watched the popular Netflix documentary about this very thing. I am admitting my vulnerability to being addicted to the “like” button. How about you? Do you find yourself surfing searching for the newest response to your post? Are you hungry for the next comment on your selfie or blog post or video? We are people who are searching for the next HIT of dopamine whether it comes in tiny doses the size of an M&M or in huge doses such as personal praise or rewards. We are becoming mice in B.F. Skinner’s test labs where he created the theory of Behaviorism, this theory is rooted in the belief that we have NO FREE WILL and are only a product of rewards either positive or negative. Are we ok with being reduced to a series of rewards that influence our next actions? Are YOU ok with this?

What is my counselor’s take on all of this?

I believe that earlier and earlier we are introducing electronic devices to children where their reward center of the brain lights up much more frequently than it is designed to. With our young brains lighting up so frequently it begins to develop shallow root systems. The trees grow tall but the roots grow shallow. What does this mean? It means that as soon as something hard comes into the life of the young person they fall over because their brain can’t handle the stress.

What about you and me?

Our roots are getting more shallow as well. When the root system in our adult brains gets shallow, the smallest stress can topple us over like a live oak in wet weather with a gust of wind. Don’t believe me? Look no further than the year 2020 when Coronvirus hit our nation and world. One of the biggest results of Covid has been a massive toppling over of our trees. The absolute highest intellectual minds in science and medicine have been toppled over which has trickled down to the general public. Guess what our response was? BUY MORE TOILET PAPER!!!!!! Seems to me we have toppled our trees.

So what and now what?

We have a problem. More than ever we need to take the time to be aware of what we are doing to our brains and begin to make the choices (you have free will) to choose to deepen our roots.

Here are some root deepening exercises we can all begin to practice to deepen the roots of our brain.

  1. Put your device down and take a 15-minute walk. Notice the beauty around you, the rustling of the wind through the trees, the sound of the birds as they sing. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin.
  2. Put your device down and choose to be very interested in someone else. Dale Carnegie is famous for teaching us How to Win Friends and Influence People. One of the key point’s Carnegie made is to be very interested in other people. Get them talking. It’s amazing how much more people will like you if you become very interested in them.
  3. Close your eyes and imagine God. The leading Neuropsychologists and scientists have found that when people are hooked up to brain imaging machines where we can see the activity of the brain in real-time, it shows that our brains light up like a Christmas tree when we simply think of God. I don’t know what your faith lies in, but may I invite you to imagine the God of the Bible?
  4. Smile often. Smiling releases happy chemicals through your body. Go ahead and try it! Try frowning, it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.
  5. Live with your palms up. It has been said it is impossible to be angry with someone if your palms are up. Try to be angry with your palms open facing upward. Now ball up your fists. See the difference?

In conclusion:

We have the opportunity to be deeply rooted as we lead the next generation towards their future. Unlike Skinner, I believe we have absolute choices, God doesn’t make us mice rather we are complex intricate humans made in the likeness of a creator God who loves us and designed us for JOY! If you will take these ideas and put them into practice you will produce fruit that will impact the next generations to come.

Let’s go deepen our roots!

Don’t worry about it!

I had a nickname when I was younger. I was called “worrywart” because I worried about everything. I worried about EVERYTHING little or big, weather or sports, sickness and health, future and past. The thing I worried most about was my own life and what was going on inside of me. I had a real uncertainty about my past, present, and future. As I am now older I believe that being adopted has something to do with this, the uncertainty of everything. What got me the MOST worried was when I upset someone and they were angry with me. All I wanted was for there to be peace.

Have you ever experienced anything close to this kind of worry? How about your finances? Ever worry about your kids? How about worry about present-day politics or whether you will get cancer or not? We are worrying people, always have been. You might experience the cousins of worry such as fear, anxiety, even anger. Anger, you see, is an expression of feeling out of control and directing it at self or others often with very little positive consequence as a result. We fret, worry, fear, blow up, criticize, get defensive, or maybe balk at these and go hardline contempt which is the arrogance of a perfectionist looking down their nose at anyone who struggles.

Worry is faith turned inside out. Faith is believing even though you don’t see, taste, touch, or smell. Worry is the inside out version of this where you have seen yet you still don’t believe, you have tasted, you have touched, you have smelled yet you still worry. How is this even possible? It is possible because your brain is a phenomenal instrument that can be used for good or harm.

Every time you worry you create a rut in your brain called a neuropathway. This rut turns into a full-blown gully if traveled often. A gully in your brain is an easy path for a worrisome thought to travel especially if it has been rehearsed for years and years. The opposite is true. If you think something life-giving, true, or faith-driven accompanied by belief, you form a rut. A healthy rut well-traveled over time creates a gully that is easily traveled when a worrisome thought crosses your mind. Now your brain has a fork in the road. The simple difference between producing the action of worry or the action of faith is as simple as taking the right road when the opportunity comes.

Try this: say one healthy thing about yourself out loud. Try it, say one thing out loud that is healthy. Practice this every day for the next 10 days. What will have happened during this short period of time is the phenomenon of changing your mind. The bible calls this the renewing of your mind. By renewing your mind you actually develop the capacity to begin to experience the reality of healthy thinking which leads to healthy behavior, which leads to healthy choices, which leads to better outcomes in your life and world. When worry comes visiting it will find a deeper gully than the worry gully and will travel the faith gully.

What would your life look like if you worried less? How might your anxieties and fears decrease if you were to apply the one healthy thought for 10 days activity? Imagine going through your Sunday night full of faith rather than worry! How about imagining the difficult challenge you are facing in your family when approached by faith instead of worry. How might this change your life? I dare you to try this out for 10 days.

Don’t worry about it!

 

Base camp

If base camp isn’t good, the climb suffers.”

My family and I just finished moving. Even though it was only across town I believe I aged 10 years. Things were completely out of control, boxes were everywhere and we had a deadline. The more we would pack the more it seemed we needed to pack. The house we were moving into wasn’t ready yet so we had to live with family literally out of our suitcases. As a guy I had no control because this was bigger than me, it took time and tons of help from others but we eventually got moved in.

We don’t have to be moving to feel like the ground beneath our feet is unstable. Your job looks shaky, or your money is leaving the account faster than it is going in, or the kids are running over you. Maybe you don’t even know where you are to begin to understand what solid ground would even feel like? Sometimes, life feels like quicksand, the more you move the more stuck you get.

Let’s talk about base camp for a second. Base camp is the set up mountain climbers use to come to to ready themselves for the climb ahead. Base camp is super important because it provides energy, sustenance, safety, direction….basically all the things a mountain climber needs to climb successfully. If basecamp isn’t established and set up it will drain the climber which makes the climbs more dangerous. See the metaphor?

You have a basecamp, how’s it going? Is your base camp in the condition you need for your climb? Not everyone’s climb looks the same. If you are the CEO of a fortune 500 company your climb looks different than mine would if I were bagging groceries for 15 hours a week. Neither is better they are just different. Base camp is the place you go to recharge, renew, to gather all of the supplies for the next days climb. Order in basecamp is essential. Taking care of basecamp is vital. Having basecamp is super important.

Take some time and evaluate your basecamp, is it bringing you what you need for your climb if not what needs to be adjusted? In counseling we talk about something called self care; base camp and self care are the same thing. If you aren’t caring for you then the climb suffers. If you aren’t providing the space and place for you to take care of you the climb suffers. Have I mentioned that suffering on the climb is super dangerous?

Imagine what your day will look like if you spent some time ordering your basecamp and little more. What might your relationships look like if you have rest at basecamp. How might your stamina be impacted if your basecamp is restful. How might your overall mission and vision be impacted if basecamp is healthy.

Count the cost of basecamp and make the choice, the climb is up to you.

3 Coins

Did you know we have 3 imaginary coins given to us each day? They appear every night at midnight and can only be spent in the day you are in. We have a great opportunity to spend these coins with great freedom to choose. Some of us will spend all three coins in one area alone such as work, or being a parent. Others will spend the three in three different areas like working out and work and family time. The tension we all live with is how to spend our coins on the best things and not waste them on the worse things.

It is important to evaluate how you are spending your coins. Are you spending them wisely? It is also important to understand how others are spending their coins. Suppose you have a friend that is constantly bugging you to go the gym and workout. Maybe you don’t want to spend one of your coins in the gym. Suppose someone is asking you to volunteer on a board and you are passionate about the cause, invest your coin there. Whatever the choice, choose wisely because the coins matter.

Let’s be wise spenders of our 3 coins. May it be said of us that we lived our lives investing in the things that matter. If you aren’t sure how to spend your coins, take a trip to a cemetery. Sit among the throngs of those who have gone before you and sit with the question in your mind then go spend wisely.

Change begins with me

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi

When one gets better we all get better.

Would you agree with that?

Like the butterfly effect, (a minute localized change in a complex system that can have large effects elsewhere), small changes can result in huge effects elsewhere.

So what does all this mean?

It means that as one person improves their marriage, entire generations are impacted.

As one person invests in their Spirit, Mind, and Body, entire communities, workplaces, households, and churches can be impacted.

As one student works on their attitude and habits an entire school can be impacted.

Application:

What is one area of your life that you want to improve. Write it down and create a small attainable goal to improve that one area today.

Hardhat Healing

To heal is to recover from what was broken. It means to allow the little people with hardhats to come out and repair the parts of you that are broken. This is best accomplished while we sleep. Every night when we lie down to sleep these little imaginary people with hardhats come out and repair all that was broken throughout the day. The more sleep the more repair. The less sleep, the less repair. So get more sleep.

Application:

What can you take away from this to assist you with healing?

P.S. can this apply to emotional and spiritual healing as well?

Daily Prompt: Heal

Water always wins

We can’t make a wave, we can’t fight the wave, might as well surf the wave.

Waves come at us daily in the form of circumstances.

Fighting with life’s waves leaves you all wet.

Resisting life’s waves will break you.

Surfing life’s waves will thrill you.

Application: 

What is one wave you can identify that is crashing on you that could be surfed?

Conspiracy Monster

“In the absence of information conspiracies abound.” -Brene’ Brown

There is a little monster inside of us called the conspiracy monster. This little creature lives between your ears and roars things that aren’t true. The effects of the conspiracy monster are far-reaching from the classroom to the boardroom and even the bedroom. The conspiracy monster feeds on bits of information with much room for interpretation. A wild conspiracy monster can ruin your life. 

The conspiracy monster feeds on social media. When we view a picture-perfect family it is easy to be overcome with a myriad of thoughts most of which are completely untrue. When we feed on these untrue thoughts they serve as food for conspiracies only fueling the monster that lives in each of us. The worse part is when we behave out of the conspiracy. We might act impulsively and spend money where we don’t need to because we feel the need to be more active like that perfect family, (chomp, chomp) the monster eats your checkbook. Or we begin to dislike our lives because they seem to be so boring (chomp, chomp) there goes your contentment.

How do we identify and defeat the conspiracy monster? First, you are halfway by believing the conspiracy monster exists. Second, you need to filter events that happen in your life through the truth filter. If you hear the monster chomping, press pause and ask one question, what is true about this event right now? The truth of an event frees you from the grip of the conspiracy monster. Better yet, the truth of an event frees you to behave out of that truth. When we behave out of truth we live with significance and contentment.

Application:

Have you been allowing the monster to eat you alive? What can you do to filter the conspiracies thrown your way?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. View social media with the belief that what you are seeing isn’t THE TRUTH but a version of a person’s truth. Filter hard.
  2. When a person shares a victory in their life, pause, kill the monster, and genuinely celebrate with them.
  3. When information is scarce regarding a circumstance or life event, gather facts like a detective before permitting yourself to behave out of the limited intel.
  4. Fill your life with truth statements, factual truths that pertain to you. The Bible is a tremendous source of solid truth about who you are.
  5. Share these ideas with others.

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