You can spend an inordinate amount of time and resources working to improve upon your opportunities… would it not be more logical to figure out what you naturally do well, and then work to do it better? Take penguins for example; they are not built to walk quickly or efficiently. If a predator were to attack a penguin, no amount of training or preparation would equip the animal to escape the danger better than if said time was spent in the water. Penguins are built for swimming, not running. Have you identified your natural gifts and abilities? In The Church and The Community, Page 181, I shared my top 5 of 34 talents. I am strategic, an achiever, competitive, command oriented, and seek significance. If you are unfamiliar with your top strengths, I implore your to take Gallup’s Strength Finders Assessment. There is no point focusing on jogging, or trying to run faster, if you are a penguin.
As midterm elections are upon us in the United States, we are presented with various candidates who may, and may not, support our values. And depending on your religious beliefs, the decision might be further complicated by trying to decide which secular leader, secretly (or openly) aligns with your theology. One movement or party though, is gaining momentum again in the United States, yet their premise stands in opposition to the Bible. In The Church and The Community, Page 74, I talked about Socialism, and likened it to a situation where my siblings took property from myself that they felt they deserved. Forget capitalism, entrepreneurship, hard work, or even reaping what you sow… just take from the people who have more, to give to people who have less. Socialism. Now ask yourself if the candidates you support, support the idea of socialism. Thoughts to consider, as you vote.
Most people respond to being angry or upset in a healthy, reasonable manner. When you accidentally broke the item your friend let you borrow, they got over it in a few days, and were content with the replacement you purchased. Your business colleague from whom you “stole” an account or client, got over it quickly, after a few drinks at the company party. Juxtapose this with the time you offended your sibling’s spouse, or upset someone in your church, and you have the story I wrote about in The Church and The Community, Page 54. Unlike how a friend or co-worker deals with offense, the Bible admits how a religious person upset is more unyielding than a strong city, and their quarreling is like the bars of a castle. One’s own family members often stay upset equally long, for similar reasons. It is time though to be less judgmental and more forgiving, especially for family, and fellow believers.
Legally you become an adult when you turn a certain age, but does time on this earth guarantee one has reached manhood or womanhood? Being able to drive a car, smoke a cigarette, or vote does not automatically mean you fully understand life, to include its dangers and responsibilities. In order to become a man or woman, you need to ask yourself when did you stop acting like a child… when do you overcome your biggest fear? In The Church and The Community, Page 40, I talked about my childhood fear of getting physically hit or knocked down. Yet I found myself on a football team one year, and my commitment to be important landed me a spot on the offensive line, as well as on special teams. Before you knew it, my biggest fear was running toward me and I had the choice of running away, or facing him head on. I decided to face my fears and become a man. It hurt, but was worth it. When did you earn adulthood?
The answer is probably no. Maybe you heard the mantra “you have to earn my trust”? Well sadly, this is usually code for the person having been hurt in the past, and wanting you to prove trustworthiness. It makes sense, and is logical, but it is not right to force people through the lens of your past hurts and hang ups. Further, you run the risk of living a life alone, or one with very few friends, because you project past issues on present people. Thankfully, I have had the pleasure of developing many great friendships, from people who have gauged whether or not to trust me, based on my present actions. I wrote about one such friend, Benjamin, in The Church and The Community, Page 135. And with this, I encourage you; if you find yourself struggling to trust people, deeply consider why, then do your best to forgive or reconcile the issues of your past. Only then can you enjoy deep friendships, as do I.
Each decision in business, ministry, and life, presents an opportunity to effect success, or failure. These decisions are like intersections where you can choose the path that betters your situation, or makes it worse. Most people do not realize how many intersections they come to, every day. There are the large and obvious crossroads, such as choosing whom to marry or what career path is best, but what about the smaller and seemingly insignificant choices? Do you greet every stranger politely, and double check the air pressure in your spare tire daily? An inability to recognize and properly respond to all the opportunities we face, is a sure way to guarantee one’s life will not be successful. In The Church and The Community, Page 03, you will see how there are implications to EVERY decision in life. For your own sake, be certain you are comfortable living with the implication or outcomes, of each and every choice.
You know that guy or girl who goes out of their way to tell you, and others, that you are nothing? It is like their life mission is to bring you down, and make sure you do not feel good about yourself. They are motivated by a fear that people will continue liking you, or looking up to you; God forbid they fail in their “noble” pursuit. If you have encountered more than one of these “righteously” angry or hateful people, you might have picked up an interesting fact; most haters have low self-confidence. By putting you down, they feel lifted up. In The Church and The Community, Page 22, I wrote about Dr. Sherwin K., an atheist, secular Jew who loathed seeing Messianic Jews succeed in leading a public Chanukah Lighting. Our win was a loss or affront to him, and he made sure to lash out at us more than once. Do not let anyone with low self-confidence or self-esteem, bring down yours down. You earned it.
Long gone are the days of “if you do not have something nice to say, do not say anything at all.” Especially if the “perpetrator” is not doing anything to you, is it really necessary to write letters to the editor filled with your disdain, or build an entire website to hold all of your negative thoughts and feelings? Sadly, for some people, if they do not have something nice to say they feel it needs to be said to the whole world, but if you are the subject of such negative attention, know that you can positively use it for your advantage. In The Church and The Community, Page 39, I wrote about how what was purposed as a public relations barrage, ended up increasing awareness and sensitivity for our beliefs. So the next time someone does not have anything nice to say, and then says it publicly, know that “any news is good news”, and you can positively use it to increase exposure of your product or service.
Especially in today’s narcissistic and self-centered world, who still admits when they are wrong? It is so much easier to justify our behaviors or say the result “was not our intent”, but in reality, we all have fault, and transgress against other people, unless of course you are Jesus Christ. Assuming you are not (Jesus has other things to do than read our blog), there will come a day, possibly multiple, when YOU will be forced to admit YOU messed up, and or have a problem. Bad employees and managers keep their issues bottled up inside, or hidden in your closet. They hope no knows their faults but that is also the downside; no one is able to help you fix it, stay accountable, and reconcile with those you wronged. In The Church and The Community, Page 130, there is an account of how a good person benefited from reconciling their issues with other people, publicly. Are you brave enough to do so?
It has been 17 years since terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center in New York, but many adults in my generation, remember it like it was yesterday. We recall vivid details of where we were, what we were doing, and why our country subsequently went to war against Islamic Terrorists in the Middle East. We will also never forget the heroism of the first responders, the sacrifices they made, and the emotional trauma that haunts many of them, to this day. I personally made the decision. Sadly though, there is new generation that was not alive, does not know, and does not feel the threat of terrorism. They might have a friend or relative who joined the military in the aftermath of 9-11, but without witnessing the terrorism and heroism yourself, it is all too easy to forget. In The Church and The Community, Page 105, I wrote about 9-11… may it be a legacy and reminder to all those who read.