If success has eluded us, when we know we could be doing so much more, the time to reevaluate life is here. We must be honest with ourselves, the hard choices made, a plan with defined goals, yet with the flexibility needed in the real world should be thought out. Change begins when we recognize that must master ourselves, holding in check our desires, passion, and excesses.
We close out another year and usher in a new decade. All of us tend to make resolutions on New Year’s day and yet how many of us follow through? We often give up within a month, why? Change is hard, leaving our comfort zone is not easy, does it mean we do not want to improve our lives? We all have dreams and aspirations, but are we willing to put in the work that it will take to reach them? If we want something bad enough, we will make the time, find the funds, be consistent and throw away the excuses.
We are all given gifts, they differ from person to person, it is what we do with them that counts. If we waste them or don’t use them for a good purpose, things never seem to fall into place. We all know what is good for us, we don’t need someone to take charge, nobody can do it better than we can for ourselves. Step up and take responsibility for our own lives.
Becoming an expert in anything is never quite as simple as taking a weekend course to get certified by an organization. The journey for knowledge is never-ending. Many people expect to go to school, take a class or two and become a master at something. In reality, a true master never stops their quest for knowledge.
With martial arts, in particular, I’ve learned that when you teach others you quickly realize how much you still do not know. You realize what faults you have, and if you take the right steps to remedy your faults, it helps you grow.
No matter what you do well, there is always someone who does it better. If we become so conceited that we believe our own hype, we will never continue to grow.
Even if you receive the highest award in your field, you cannot relax and quit working on your craft. If you do not consistently grow, you will soon be outdated.
There is a documentary I have watched a few times called Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It is about a man who found something he loves to do, make sushi, and he works tirelessly to perfect it. He is never content and is constantly looking for ways to make better sushi. That is why his small restaurant is rated the best sushi restaurant in the world.
In life, we must constantly keep learning in order to stay relevant. If we want to stand out in any endeavor we must keep learning and it must be quality knowledge that we gain.
We must change our mindset. Instead of doing something to win, we instead will choose to do something to gain knowledge and grow. It can be humbling to work at things we are not good at, but in the end, it is a valuable lesson. To grow, we must let go of our fear of failure, humble ourselves and often it means forgetting about what the rest of the pack is doing.
I encourage you to pick something you are not good at, and start learning, growing and developing new skills. Each of us has at our fingertips a vast amount of knowledge, why not use it?
When it comes to our faith, the same thing is true. We can never just sit back or coast on our faith. We must constantly strive toward growth. As a Christian, it is up to me to put in the work to continuously grow and become more like Jesus. None of us is without faults. I need to realize what my faults are, and work on them.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Life is hard. We all face periods when it feels like our world is collapsing in on us. During those tough times, we can either face the hard times and deal with them, or let ourselves become prisoner to our circumstances.
The holiday season is here and it tends to bring many feelings to the forefront – many good, some bad. One of the most important is gratitude.
I am coming up on my third holiday season in the Midwest. Being away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, I have truly learned to enjoy a slower pace of life. I have learned to treasure the small things that come up on a daily basis and enjoy the beauty of the country around me.
I had it in my mind, for a very long time, that the only things I should be thankful for are cash money and freedom. The funny part about that, is that the money never made me happy and freedom is something I never really had. I held on to that warped sense of “what life should be” for far longer than I should have.
It took me many years to reach a place where gratitude became an important part of my daily life.
It is easy to let life distract us with what we don’t have, but the reality is that here in the U.S. we live very blessed lives. No matter what our economic level is, we have clean water, electricity and there is always food available.
It is time for me to not only be thankful for my many blessings, but to also step it up and do what I can for others because I have been so blessed. I always talk about my “goals” and this is a big one: I will pay it forward. I will help others just as people along the way have helped me.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Making better use of our time while enriching our lives sounds a little bit like a self help guru’s pie-in-the-sky sales pitch. In all honesty, it is possible to accomplish both of these goals by making a few small changes to our daily routines.
I love to wake up early before most of the world around me is awake. The early morning is a quiet time when (after a cup of coffee) my mind is working like a well oiled machine. I can get a lot finished in a short period of time.
I realize that most people will not want to wake up as early as I do. We can all, however, plan our lives so we have a routine where we go to bed a little earlier, and get up a little bit earlier.
The extra morning time is time we can use to enrich our lives. How? Reading, for one. I always read books at night before I go to sleep. Reading helps me unwind and relax before I go to sleep. I also enjoy catching up on world news and reading my Bible first thing in the morning.
Books open up new worlds. They let us experience other lives, other periods of history and other places. Books can teach us or entertain us. Often, they do both. I have read so many books that I thought I would have no interest in, yet once I started I was sucked into the story.
The year is winding down. It’s time to think about the new year ahead and making some changes. I encourage you to wake up earlier and enjoy the morning hours. I also urge you to spend more time reading books.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.