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This is a great article on failure via An Phung on Big Think, I love Walter’s advice in the video- “Take the chance.”

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What is the Big Idea?

Walter Mosley is famous for his mystery and crime fiction. But there is very little mystery behind the secret to his success.  First, writing takes practice. Mosley has been writing every day for the last 27 years. Then, he says, he writes without regard for acceptance or success.

“Some of my stories work, some of them don’t work,” said the 60-year-old.  “Some of them are like, you know, fit perfectly into you know, like a structure that somebody would want to publish and deal with.  It doesn’t matter to me because I’m writing, I’m using language and I’m using that language to tell stories and even more so to get ideas across.”

Mosley writes because he loves it, and not because he needs fame or recognition. His passion and willingness to fail may be the source of his award-winning careeras a novelist. He is the author of more than 37 books, which have been translated into 23 languages.

“I never really thought I’d be successful,” he said. “I never thought I’d get books published, but this was something completely beyond me.  You know, the fact that it happened is wonderful, but it is not something that I was aiming for.”

What is the Significance?

Failure is a daunting concept in this competitive economy, where job seekers and employees are expected to outshine their peers in order to rise to the top.  But whether you’re attempting to write your first crime novel or start your own company, trying and failing is much more interesting that playing it safe and consistently succeeding.

Growth and learning happens when you fail, says Mosley.

“In art and in science it’s failure that teaches you,” he said. “Doing something right never teaches you.  It’s only failure that you learn from.”

Watch Walter Mosley talk about the role of failure in a successful career:

 

Image courtesy of djgis/Shutterstock.com.

Article via Big Think.

Thanks to Allen Hankins (@allenhankins) for sharing this article:

How Will You Measure Your Life?

by Clayton M. Christensen

Editor’s Note: When the members of the class of 2010 entered business school, the economy was strong and their post-graduation ambitions could be limitless. Just a few weeks later, the economy went into a tailspin. They’ve spent the past two years recalibrating their worldview and their definition of success.

The students seem highly aware of how the world has changed (as the sampling of views in this article shows). In the spring, Harvard Business School’s graduating class asked HBS professor Clay Christensen to address them—but not on how to apply his principles and thinking to their post-HBS careers. The students wanted to know how to apply them to their personal lives. He shared with them a set of guidelines that have helped him find meaning in his own life. Though Christensen’s thinking comes from his deep religious faith, we believe that these are strategies anyone can use. And so we asked him to share them with the readers of HBR. To learn more about Christensen’s work, visit his HBR Author Page.

Before I published The Innovator’s Dilemma, I got a call from Andrew Grove, then the chairman of Intel. He had read one of my early papers about disruptive technology, and he asked if I could talk to his direct reports and explain my research and what it implied for Intel. Excited, I flew to Silicon Valley and showed up at the appointed time, only to have Grove say, “Look, stuff has happened. We have only 10 minutes for you. Tell us what your model of disruption means for Intel.” I said that I couldn’t—that I needed a full 30 minutes to explain the model, because only with it as context would any comments about Intel make sense. Ten minutes into my explanation, Grove interrupted: “Look, I’ve got your model. Just tell us what it means for Intel.”

I insisted that I needed 10 more minutes to describe how the process of disruption had worked its way through a very different industry, steel, so that he and his team could understand how disruption worked. I told the story of how Nucor and other steel minimills had begun by attacking the lowest end of the market—steel reinforcing bars, or rebar—and later moved up toward the high end, undercutting the traditional steel mills.

When I finished the minimill story, Grove said, “OK, I get it. What it means for Intel is…,” and then went on to articulate what would become the company’s strategy for going to the bottom of the market to launch the Celeron processor.

I’ve thought about that a million times since. If I had been suckered into telling Andy Grove what he should think about the microprocessor business, I’d have been killed. But instead of telling him what to think, I taught him how to think—and then he reached what I felt was the correct decision on his own.

That experience had a profound influence on me. When people ask what I think they should do, I rarely answer their question directly. Instead, I run the question aloud through one of my models. I’ll describe how the process in the model worked its way through an industry quite different from their own. And then, more often than not, they’ll say, “OK, I get it.” And they’ll answer their own question more insightfully than I could have.

My class at HBS is structured to help my students understand what good management theory is and how it is built. To that backbone I attach different models or theories that help students think about the various dimensions of a general manager’s job in stimulating innovation and growth. In each session we look at one company through the lenses of those theories—using them to explain how the company got into its situation and to examine what managerial actions will yield the needed results.

On the last day of class, I ask my students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves, to find cogent answers to three questions: First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail? Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.

As the students discuss the answers to these questions, I open my own life to them as a case study of sorts, to illustrate how they can use the theories from our course to guide their life decisions.

One of the theories that gives great insight on the first question—how to be sure we find happiness in our careers—is from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements. I tell the students about a vision of sorts I had while I was running the company I founded before becoming an academic. In my mind’s eye I saw one of my managers leave for work one morning with a relatively strong level of self-esteem. Then I pictured her driving home to her family 10 hours later, feeling unappreciated, frustrated, underutilized, and demeaned. I imagined how profoundly her lowered self-esteem affected the way she interacted with her children. The vision in my mind then fast-forwarded to another day, when she drove home with greater self-esteem—feeling that she had learned a lot, been recognized for achieving valuable things, and played a significant role in the success of some important initiatives. I then imagined how positively that affected her as a spouse and a parent. My conclusion: Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team. More and more MBA students come to school thinking that a career in business means buying, selling, and investing in companies. That’s unfortunate. Doing deals doesn’t yield the deep rewards that come from building up people.

I want students to leave my classroom knowing that.

Create a Strategy for Your Life

A theory that is helpful in answering the second question—How can I ensure that my relationship with my family proves to be an enduring source of happiness?—concerns how strategy is defined and implemented. Its primary insight is that a company’s strategy is determined by the types of initiatives that management invests in. If a company’s resource allocation process is not managed masterfully, what emerges from it can be very different from what management intended. Because companies’ decision-making systems are designed to steer investments to initiatives that offer the most tangible and immediate returns, companies shortchange investments in initiatives that are crucial to their long-term strategies.

Over the years I’ve watched the fates of my HBS classmates from 1979 unfold; I’ve seen more and more of them come to reunions unhappy, divorced, and alienated from their children. I can guarantee you that not a single one of them graduated with the deliberate strategy of getting divorced and raising children who would become estranged from them. And yet a shocking number of them implemented that strategy. The reason? They didn’t keep the purpose of their lives front and center as they decided how to spend their time, talents, and energy.

It’s quite startling that a significant fraction of the 900 students that HBS draws each year from the world’s best have given little thought to the purpose of their lives. I tell the students that HBS might be one of their last chances to reflect deeply on that question. If they think that they’ll have more time and energy to reflect later, they’re nuts, because life only gets more demanding: You take on a mortgage; you’re working 70 hours a week; you have a spouse and children.

For me, having a clear purpose in my life has been essential. But it was something I had to think long and hard about before I understood it. When I was a Rhodes scholar, I was in a very demanding academic program, trying to cram an extra year’s worth of work into my time at Oxford. I decided to spend an hour every night reading, thinking, and praying about why God put me on this earth. That was a very challenging commitment to keep, because every hour I spent doing that, I wasn’t studying applied econometrics. I was conflicted about whether I could really afford to take that time away from my studies, but I stuck with it—and ultimately figured out the purpose of my life.

Had I instead spent that hour each day learning the latest techniques for mastering the problems of autocorrelation in regression analysis, I would have badly misspent my life. I apply the tools of econometrics a few times a year, but I apply my knowledge of the purpose of my life every day. It’s the single most useful thing I’ve ever learned. I promise my students that if they take the time to figure out their life purpose, they’ll look back on it as the most important thing they discovered at HBS. If they don’t figure it out, they will just sail off without a rudder and get buffeted in the very rough seas of life. Clarity about their purpose will trump knowledge of activity-based costing, balanced scorecards, core competence, disruptive innovation, the four Ps, and the five forces.

My purpose grew out of my religious faith, but faith isn’t the only thing that gives people direction. For example, one of my former students decided that his purpose was to bring honesty and economic prosperity to his country and to raise children who were as capably committed to this cause, and to each other, as he was. His purpose is focused on family and others—as mine is.

The choice and successful pursuit of a profession is but one tool for achieving your purpose. But without a purpose, life can become hollow.

Allocate Your Resources

Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent ultimately shape your life’s strategy.

I have a bunch of “businesses” that compete for these resources: I’m trying to have a rewarding relationship with my wife, raise great kids, contribute to my community, succeed in my career, contribute to my church, and so on. And I have exactly the same problem that a corporation does. I have a limited amount of time and energy and talent. How much do I devote to each of these pursuits?

Allocation choices can make your life turn out to be very different from what you intended. Sometimes that’s good: Opportunities that you never planned for emerge. But if you misinvest your resources, the outcome can be bad. As I think about my former classmates who inadvertently invested for lives of hollow unhappiness, I can’t help believing that their troubles relate right back to a short-term perspective.

When people who have a high need for achievement—and that includes all Harvard Business School graduates—have an extra half hour of time or an extra ounce of energy, they’ll unconsciously allocate it to activities that yield the most tangible accomplishments. And our careers provide the most concrete evidence that we’re moving forward. You ship a product, finish a design, complete a presentation, close a sale, teach a class, publish a paper, get paid, get promoted. In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationship with your spouse and children typically doesn’t offer that same immediate sense of achievement. Kids misbehave every day. It’s really not until 20 years down the road that you can put your hands on your hips and say, “I raised a good son or a good daughter.” You can neglect your relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t seem as if things are deteriorating. People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.

If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification. If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see the same stunning and sobering pattern: people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most.

Create a Culture

There’s an important model in our class called the Tools of Cooperation, which basically says that being a visionary manager isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s one thing to see into the foggy future with acuity and chart the course corrections that the company must make. But it’s quite another to persuade employees who might not see the changes ahead to line up and work cooperatively to take the company in that new direction. Knowing what tools to wield to elicit the needed cooperation is a critical managerial skill.

The theory arrays these tools along two dimensions—the extent to which members of the organization agree on what they want from their participation in the enterprise, and the extent to which they agree on what actions will produce the desired results. When there is little agreement on both axes, you have to use “power tools”—coercion, threats, punishment, and so on—to secure cooperation. Many companies start in this quadrant, which is why the founding executive team must play such an assertive role in defining what must be done and how. If employees’ ways of working together to address those tasks succeed over and over, consensus begins to form. MIT’s Edgar Schein has described this process as the mechanism by which a culture is built. Ultimately, people don’t even think about whether their way of doing things yields success. They embrace priorities and follow procedures by instinct and assumption rather than by explicit decision—which means that they’ve created a culture. Culture, in compelling but unspoken ways, dictates the proven, acceptable methods by which members of the group address recurrent problems. And culture defines the priority given to different types of problems. It can be a powerful management tool.

In using this model to address the question, How can I be sure that my family becomes an enduring source of happiness?, my students quickly see that the simplest tools that parents can wield to elicit cooperation from children are power tools. But there comes a point during the teen years when power tools no longer work. At that point parents start wishing that they had begun working with their children at a very young age to build a culture at home in which children instinctively behave respectfully toward one another, obey their parents, and choose the right thing to do. Families have cultures, just as companies do. Those cultures can be built consciously or evolve inadvertently.

If you want your kids to have strong self-esteem and confidence that they can solve hard problems, those qualities won’t magically materialize in high school. You have to design them into your family’s culture—and you have to think about this very early on. Like employees, children build self-esteem by doing things that are hard and learning what works.

Avoid the “Marginal Costs” Mistake

We’re taught in finance and economics that in evaluating alternative investments, we should ignore sunk and fixed costs, and instead base decisions on the marginal costs and marginal revenues that each alternative entails. We learn in our course that this doctrine biases companies to leverage what they have put in place to succeed in the past, instead of guiding them to create the capabilities they’ll need in the future. If we knew the future would be exactly the same as the past, that approach would be fine. But if the future’s different—and it almost always is—then it’s the wrong thing to do.

This theory addresses the third question I discuss with my students—how to live a life of integrity (stay out of jail). Unconsciously, we often employ the marginal cost doctrine in our personal lives when we choose between right and wrong. A voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s OK.” The marginal cost of doing something wrong “just this once” always seems alluringly low. It suckers you in, and you don’t ever look at where that path ultimately is headed and at the full costs that the choice entails. Justification for infidelity and dishonesty in all their manifestations lies in the marginal cost economics of “just this once.”

I’d like to share a story about how I came to understand the potential damage of “just this once” in my own life. I played on the Oxford University varsity basketball team. We worked our tails off and finished the season undefeated. The guys on the team were the best friends I’ve ever had in my life. We got to the British equivalent of the NCAA tournament—and made it to the final four. It turned out the championship game was scheduled to be played on a Sunday. I had made a personal commitment to God at age 16 that I would never play ball on Sunday. So I went to the coach and explained my problem. He was incredulous. My teammates were, too, because I was the starting center. Every one of the guys on the team came to me and said, “You’ve got to play. Can’t you break the rule just this one time?”

I’m a deeply religious man, so I went away and prayed about what I should do. I got a very clear feeling that I shouldn’t break my commitment—so I didn’t play in the championship game.

In many ways that was a small decision—involving one of several thousand Sundays in my life. In theory, surely I could have crossed over the line just that one time and then not done it again. But looking back on it, resisting the temptation whose logic was “In this extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s OK” has proven to be one of the most important decisions of my life. Why? My life has been one unending stream of extenuating circumstances. Had I crossed the line that one time, I would have done it over and over in the years that followed.

The lesson I learned from this is that it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time. If you give in to “just this once,” based on a marginal cost analysis, as some of my former classmates have done, you’ll regret where you end up. You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.

Remember the Importance of Humility

I got this insight when I was asked to teach a class on humility at Harvard College. I asked all the students to describe the most humble person they knew. One characteristic of these humble people stood out: They had a high level of self-esteem. They knew who they were, and they felt good about who they were. We also decided that humility was defined not by self-deprecating behavior or attitudes but by the esteem with which you regard others. Good behavior flows naturally from that kind of humility. For example, you would never steal from someone, because you respect that person too much. You’d never lie to someone, either.

It’s crucial to take a sense of humility into the world. By the time you make it to a top graduate school, almost all your learning has come from people who are smarter and more experienced than you: parents, teachers, bosses. But once you’ve finished at Harvard Business School or any other top academic institution, the vast majority of people you’ll interact with on a day-to-day basis may not be smarter than you. And if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited. Generally, you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself—and you want to help those around you feel really good about themselves, too. When we see people acting in an abusive, arrogant, or demeaning manner toward others, their behavior almost always is a symptom of their lack of self-esteem. They need to put someone else down to feel good about themselves.

Choose the Right Yardstick

This past year I was diagnosed with cancer and faced the possibility that my life would end sooner than I’d planned. Thankfully, it now looks as if I’ll be spared. But the experience has given me important insight into my life.

I have a pretty clear idea of how my ideas have generated enormous revenue for companies that have used my research; I know I’ve had a substantial impact. But as I’ve confronted this disease, it’s been interesting to see how unimportant that impact is to me now. I’ve concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched.

I think that’s the way it will work for us all. Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. This is my final recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.

Clayton M. Christensen (cchristensen@hbs.edu) is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is the author of the forthcoming book, How Will You Measure Your Life? (May 15, 2012), which is based on this article.

Leadership is the occupation of change management, people tend to be resistant to change.  Even when it’s best for us, we are so resistant to change that often we won’t listen to the signs laid out on the road before us.  Working in change management is quite the task.  Be it with those at work or even your spouse at home, we live off the expectations we believe and work off the expectations we set.

Check out Michael Hyatt’s advice for “How to Avoid Public Backlash when Instituting Major Institutional Change.” link here.

As a leader, any time you introduce major change into your organization, the more you must communicate. In fact, the relationship between change and communication is proportional:the greater the change, the greater the need for communication.

To avoid a public backlash when introducing a major organizational change, you must do six things well:

  1. Determine what you need to communicate. This is the single most important step. Get crystal clear on your message. Distill the message down to a press release headline. This is all most people will ever take away. Then flesh it out in more detail.In addition, you must answer the why question. This is what the TSA forgot to do. They didn’t explain to the American public why they were moving to the new system. It just suddenly happened, surprising everyone.As a leader, you can’t afford this mistake. In my experience, people are very cooperative once they understand why you are taking a particular action—even if it will mean inconvenience or hardship for them.

    You also need to address how you will implement the change, when you will implement it, and how it will affect your audience. Like it or not, this will be everyone’s primary concern—how does this affect me? Don’t leave them wondering.

  2. Commit the message to writing. I always start by writing a press release. This forces me to get crystal clear on my own thinking. Remember, “thoughts disentangle themselves passing over the lips and pencil tips.”Next, I suggest that you create written talking points. You don’t just want to issue a press release and then hunker down in your office. If you want to be effective—and trusted—you must deliver the news in-person to key constituents.You might also want to create a voice mail script or email template. You won’t be able to reach everyone you want to meet with or call. As a result, you might have to settle for leaving a voice mail or sending an email. Don’t leave this to chance.

    Finally, create an FAQ document. I try to anticipate every possible question, starting with the ones I think people will be most interested in. Write down every question you can think of. Then go back answer them honestly but succinctly. Avoid spin. If you don’t know the answer, say so—or find out. You don’t necessarily have to publish this document. It’s primarily for your internal use.

  3. Secure alignment with your leadership team. You can get into deep trouble fast if you miss this step. You have to give your key leaders time to process the change, provide input, and work toward alignment. This might take days, weeks, or, in some cases, months, depending on the size and significance of the decision.You may not always be able to get agreement, but you can always get alignment. Individuals may disagree with the direction you are taking. But if they feel they have been heard and considered, they will generally align with the decision and support it.I also don’t assume alignment; I call for it. When we have hashed through the issue long enough, I simply ask, “Are we aligned on this?” I don’t move forward until I have everyone’s commitment. Sometimes someone will say, “Look, I don’t agree with this move. However, I appreciate you hearing me out, and I will support it.”

    Before we take the next step, I want my team aligned. I want to know everyone will support the decision. This means that no one second-guesses the decision or the process as we roll it out. If a new concern develops, they bring it back to me or the group to consider. In the midst of the battle, we know we have one another’s backs.

  4. Contact influential stakeholders—personally. I think this is also crucial. You don’t want your key constituents surprised. On major decisions, we usually develop a list of influential stakeholders, determine who will contact whom, and then begin quietly making our visits or calls. We do this before the public announcement.If you have a broader group of leaders in your organization (those beyond your direct reports), you should start with them. This includes divisional or department leaders—anyone with supervisory responsibility. We cascade this communication and work our way down the organization.We then roll it out selectively to VIPs outside the organization. This might include investors (unless you are a public company), key customers, vendors, authors, agents, collaborators, etc. Once you have done that, you need to communicate the news to your entire organization.

    The main thing you want to convey is that you respect your VIPs and your people enough to communicate the news to them first—before you go public.

  5. Announce the change through all available media channels. Now, it’s time to announce it to the world. Theoretically, this will not be news to those you care about the most. They will have already heard from you or your colleagues personally.We typically send out a press release. You might blog about it as well. You do this, so you can retain control of the narrative. In the absence of one, people—particularly those hostile to your organization—will create their own. And often it is to serve their own agenda.
  6. Make yourself available to answer questions. If the news is big, I make myself available for interviews. I don’t hide from the media. My office responds to every media inquiry. We do our best to answer every question, even if we have to admit that we don’t have the answer—or can’t comment. (This is where the FAQs come in.)In my experience, the media are almost always respectful—or at least fair—if they feel respected. That means being responsive and being honest.Beyond merely responding to questions, we actively monitor the media and social media channels. We want to know what people are saying. And we are not afraid to jump into the middle of a conversation and offer our view point. It’s amazing how many time this shifts the entire conversation.

The bottom line is that as leaders, we must communicate strategically. When it comes to a big change, we can’t leave it to chance. We need to think it through carefully and execute deliberately.

Question: What good and bad experiences have you had with major organizational announcements?

WebCam Pic of Mt. Rainier This Week.

Analysis of Paralysis

Too many choices, no decisions.  Analysis of paralysis is a situation where you just can’t decide.  You don’t know what’s right, or as my friend Jonathan Pokluda said, “It’s not right or wrong, it’s right or left.”

With the complex decisions you are required to make these days, it is important to research and find the necessary information to make a good decision. Do the work. Read more »

Encouraging words on a Dark Night From a Wise Man:

“Stay the course and measure each life changing decision, especially when it gets “dark” by the goal you set in the light and w/ a clear head.  You’ll do just right.

You trusted God in the Light; don’t doubt Him in the dark.”  - Dee Elliot


Cover of "Desiring God: Meditations of a ...

Cover via Amazon

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.  Soren Kierkegaard

Define Success.

I spent years defining success for myself.  Success was a scholarship, then I got one.  Success was a Championship, then I won one.  Success was having a sick job, then I got it.  Success was making six-figures, then I did it.  Success was being Sales person of the year, then I earned it.

Each time left me searching, what WILL fulfill me?  When will I be satisfied?  Is success fulfillment or satisfaction?

I finally asked the question.  What is my purpose?

All about method.

Purpose is an easy question to ask; a much harder question to answer.  I tried to find success forever, but purpose left me searching for more.

So I began starting activities with the end in mind.  I call it playing the “End Game.”  Play X out to the very farthest point, then you should… Y.  Hedonism, for example.  If pleasure is my goal, then I should find the most pleasurable activities and do them over and over, again forever, until my knees fall off and my heart fails.

How you find pleasure is the bigger question?

What is Hedonism?

And so is the point of Christian Hedonism.  Hedonism, just in the word itself can be misleading.  Hedonism defined looks like:

he·don·ism/ˈhēdnˌizəm/Noun

1. The pursuit of pleasure.
2. The ethical theory that pleasure is the highest good and proper aim of human life.
The problem is that the pursuit of pleasure can be a very selfish activity.   Selfish enough to make one miserable.
Seems today the two words, Christian and Hedonism come with very weighted definitions.  Both honestly, sound more negative then positive in many peoples ears.
Someone hears that I am a Christian Hedonist, they question?  Who is this guy?  Why’s he saying that?

Magnanimous Goal

I began reading books from C.S. Lewis, John Piper, GK Chesterton, JI Packer and others.   I trusted that these great thinkers could help me iron out my missteps. I discovered a treat when I found Desiring God by John Piper.

In Desiring God, Piper lays down his whole theology about finding joy in God.  Philippians 4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say Rejoice.”  No where else in the Bible is a command repeated like that- Do not Covet and again Do not Covet. ~ Sounds weird, right?   REJOICE.

The command in scripture to find joy in Him, and our natural inclination to not find joy where it should be found are so instinctual and natural, but so implicit in the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism summarises the “chief end of man” as “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  Pastor John Piper, from Bethleham Baptist, writes a whole book on the subject of changing the word AND to BY.  Leaving my purpose statement to be:

The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever.

God’s the ultimate goal, purpose and success.  The day you have all of Him is the day you are left with nothing, because it is all His.  How you get there?  You choose.
Piper gives the book away online:

What do you think about Christian Hedonism?

Stop and Smell the Flowers, Be Thankful, Do For Others

Life today is not a guided line-by-line, item-by-item crossing off the list activity.

Today we multitask at incredible levels.  I sit here writing a blog entry, while calling a customer for payment, while tweeting and checking email all at the same time.

There are three things you MUST schedule for yourself:

1. See how far you’ve come.

Set a regular time for you to evaluate yourself.  Take a moment, grasp your present position and see how far you’ve come.  Remember to recognize the journey and smell the flowers.  I find if I don’t stop to smell the flowers, I get lost in the pollen and dust in the air, and miss the beauty of it all.  Do this EVERY TWO WEEKS.

2. Be thankful.

I set a reminder in my outlook to be thankful on Mondays.  Mondays generally suck.  They suck for many people, however I find that when I remind myself to be thankful, my heart all the sudden changes to a glimmer of hope and a tinge of a smile.  I know God’s got me- for this I am ever thankful. Do this EVERY WEEK.

3. Do for Others.

I find I become increasingly self-involved.  As my issues elevate, they become more distressful and complicated.  My issues become about me and somehow multiply.  However, if I intentionally set out each day to do something for someone else, the pitch of my life changes.  I begin to look for ways to serve and not to be served.  I look for ways to love and inspire hope, instead of dreariness.  I start to give, and not take.  Do this EVERY DAY.

Oh, and one final thought:

Do Celebrate Victories.

Remember to allow yourself some space to celebrate.  Maybe even schedule it?  A workout, a dance, a walk, a piece of cake.  Something.  Allow yourself to celebrate when you win.  Relish the moments of winning, just don’t imitate Charlie Sheen.  Losing is tough, down times happen.  On the daily, we can look down and celebrate crossing an item off the To-Do list or crushing a task.

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Many blessings and thanks for reading today!!!

Christopher Bridges (Stage Name "Ludracri...

Image via Wikipedia

Two statements:

- Writing this will change the world.  People will stop what they’re doing and change to something they love.  The world will notice.  You can change the world.

- Writing this will do nothing.  Not even one person will read this.  A blade of grass won’t move because of this.  This is a waste, nothing will change.

Which do you fear more?  Failure or Success?

Two statements made, the former about as ludicrous as the latter.  Ludicrous!

lu·di·crous –adjective

causing laughter because of absurdity; provoking or deserving derision; ridiculous; laughable: a ludicrous lack of efficiency.

GO DO SOMETHING BIG.

Here’s some Ludacris, while you’re on the way.

INFLUENCERS TRAILER from R+I creative on Vimeo.

Conform Vs. Influence

Conforming is something special.

People who conform, God bless you, I do not understand.  There is a place for conforming, definitely.  Getting in line is ok, at times.  Obedience and the ability to conform has been a slow learn, but I’ve had to learn through the years.  Rebellion is not always best.  Rebellion can harm you.  But, rebellion is the definition of influence.

Regardless, influencers have a different way of thinking.  They step out and define the way.  Even if the way is an old way rebranded;  Influencers evaluate the way, decide the vision, set the path, and motivate people to go with them.

Milton Glaser designing I<3NY.

Jay Z rebranding a Yankee hat.

And Fashion? What is Fashion? Style is something out there, but rarely defined.

For good or bad, influencers change your way of thinking.  Even if I could, I don’t know if I want to be a complete conformist.  Yet, every day I comform.  I think the example and the aspiration is an influencer.

Following the influence of the one that influences.

Where Does Influence Occur?

Influence occurs in random places where people assemble based on passion, These influencing places are places where things happen; SXSW, Bonaroo, TED. (I want to go to there…)  As Penny Lane says in Almost Famous, places where, “It’s all happening.”

One Last Thing

“When you get to where you are, you must identify younger talent, and help them out.  Mentor them.”

“Influence is relative.”

“Cool stuff, is when people aren’t looking at you, who you are.  That’s cool.”

Touch points are becoming everywhere, great information is paramount.  Influence is beginning from creation.

To see who the Influencers and Icons will be in this new era, I think we’ve got to wait and see.

Great Music, Tough Theme

“Hot and heavy, pumpkin pie, chocolate candy, Jesus Christ, can’t nothing please me more than you.“   Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Home. - Love the song, however, we’ve gotta find a focus. God, I love my wife, I love apple pie; however, I’m left wanting in this logic.  (and @ladyavance  is offended she’s mentioned in the same sentence with apple pie.)

The Question of Love

“Men love to sex, women sex to love.” – Unknown.  Left wanting.  Either way, we have flawed logic. Love is the answer.

We lead ourselves to emptiness and loss, unless God himself is the center of that love.  We will endure horrid treatment as long as we look to man for the love only God can give.

Principle:  You will fail her/him.  He/she will fail you.

We have two trails of logic:

1. If I have X, this relationship, he/she will fix things.

2. If I’m too afraid of too enamored by love.  My perception is distorted and I settle for less or worse.

Result:  If hope is in X, I will crush X with my expectations.  (No one can hold that weight.)

These are all ways we are left wanting.  In this want, one must react.  You cannot help but react, for this is all your filters say to do.

Our Reaction

We generally have four reactions to this deficit:

1. Blame and move.  We find something new to desire.

2. Blame and beat yourself.  I was wrong.  I am wrong.  I am worthless.

3. Blame the world.  I am mad, depressed or disillusioned.

4. Reorient everything to God.  Find joy in Him.

The Answer

Start today.  Choose #4.  Stop making others our Savior because we have one.

Song of Solomon 7:10 I am my beloved’s, and His desire is for me.

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