HOPE, Pt. 1 - In-Process: A Catalyst for Hope

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage."  — Anais Nin

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.” — Carl Rogers

Benjamin Franklin is said to have coined the infamous saying about the only two things that are guaranteed in life: ____ & ____. 

Unless you’ve been living underground, I’m fairly certain you passed the quiz with flying colors. 1) Death and 2) Taxes seem to be the only guarantees we have in life. 

Of course there can always be other arguments that are made. If you do a simple google search for “guarantees in life,” you will find endless articles on various opinions of what should be inserted in addition to death and taxes, but the original deduction by Franklin carries with it the right balance of brevity and truth that makes it a fair analysis of the human condition.

Part of the truth that this cliche conveys is that life is filled with movement, dynamism, and change. 

Not For Everyone: An Honest Evaluation Of Self-Employment

“It is better to fail at your own life than to succeed at someone else’s.”  — Andre Gide

“Your calling is found where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  —Frederick Beuchner

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to “take that leap of faith”? To go out on your own and pave the path for your own career and destiny?

In the day and age we live in, this thought occurs more than it ever has before in history, because the opportunities are virtually endless (specifically in the Western world, especially for much of the U.S.).

But is it as glamorous as it sounds? Does it produce the life you always wanted to have? Will it meet all your hopes and dreams?

It’s not as easy as a yes or a no…

Brick By Brick: 2018 Year In Review

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”  — Lao Tzu

“Build” …

This year has undoubtedly been a year of more change than any other in my entire life. From top to bottom, everything has shifted and been made new. Much of it has felt like starting from scratch, yet, undoubtedly, there was a firm foundation already laid upon which I could build.

(“Build” was my 2018 Word of the Year - you can read more about that HERE.)

Just Be: What Nike Got Wrong

“In the hopes of reaching the moon man fails to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”

— Albert Schweitzer 

Lately there has been a lot of talk around the reality of being a human being, not a human doing. The question is: why? And is this helpful? And what should our response or takeaway be?

To begin, let’s examine a baseline question: 

Are we defined by who we are or what we do?
And are those two aspects necessarily mutually exclusive?

Good Timber Grows: 7 Life Lessons Learned From Trees

“Good timber does not grow with ease: The stronger wind, the stronger trees; The further sky, the greater length; The more the storm, the more the strength. By sun and cold, by rain and snow, In trees and men good timbers grow.”  —Douglas Malloch

When was the last time you saw a tree?

No, really. When was the last time you actually took notice of a tree — seeing it with the childlike eyes of awe and wonder? Hopefully you will take a moment to pause and re-see a tree after reading this post, because there are more life lessons to be found in trees than anything you may be perusing on the six-inch screen in front of you.

Kingdom-Minded: Living Empowered

"God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.”  —Ralph Waldo Emerson

What happens when your alarm goes off in the morning?

If you’re like the majority of people, your first thoughts aren’t usually of the inspired kind. More often than not we wake up with a certain level of animosity aimed towards both the noise that woke you up and the responsibilities that require you to get out of bed.

But what if you woke up with an unquenchable fire that could never be extinguished (even if it does dim to a flicker at times)? What if you woke up like royalty? Marcus Aurelius, who was royalty (the emperor of Rome), recognized the power of this mindset:

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

When Your Dream Hits A Dead-End

“Part of being wise in this world is learning to accept that we have only very limited access to the big picture.”  - David Gibson

“Persisting in one way is not a guarantee of victory. But persistence blended with experimentation does guarantee success.”  - David Schwartz

“Great opportunities never have 'great opportunity’ in the subject line.”  - Scott Belsky

"What looks inevitable in hindsight is often invisible with foresight."  - Steven Kotler

Inner Dialogue

It’s over.

… your life, that is. Well, at least it seems that way. It definitely feels that way. But you are still breathing. You are still consciously aware of these thoughts. Yet, somehow, it all seems surreal, almost as if real life isn’t that real, or at least not nearly as real as you once thought.

How did you get to here? How did you manage to come to this dead-end? And why? Why did you work so hard, fight for so long, and sacrifice so much only to wind up at a place you never wished to be?

Perspectives, Pt. 5 - Our Need For Perspective

Perspectives is a series about just that - perspectives: how we view the world; how we process the information and events we experience in everyday life.

In order to self-correct we must first be self-aware enough to know what needs correcting. Self-awareness entails an objective view of how we personally think and operate, which leads to a greater empathy and understanding towards others with whom our views and perspectives differ.

The heart behind this series is to examine the power of perspective through blog posts, to help illustrate and open our eyes to the power perspective can bring. At some point, your perspective and mine will undoubtedly differ... and that’s the point. This is my take on it, what’s yours?

“In the hopes of reaching the moon man fails to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”

--Albert Schweitzer

Perspectives, Pt. 4 - In Defense of Standing Out

Perspectives is a series about just that - perspectives: how we view the world; how we process the information and events we experience in everyday life.

In order to self-correct we must first be self-aware enough to know what needs correcting. Self-awareness entails an objective view of how we personally think and operate, which leads to a greater empathy and understanding towards others with whom our views and perspectives differ.

The heart behind this series is to examine the power of perspective through blog posts, to help illustrate and open our eyes to the power perspective can bring. At some point, your perspective and mine will undoubtedly differ... and that’s the point. This is my take on it, what’s yours?

The history of hipsters is fascinating.

With roots extending back to the beginning of the 19th century, the word “hipster” contains many layers of cultural formation. It is a term that has been shaped by an array of people and places, from the Jazz reformers in the 40’s, to hippies in the 70’s, to the modern-day version seen today in cafe’s and local goods stores across America. While this is a captivating subject and one that could take much of our time here, that’s not the point of this post. So feel free to read all about it here, here, or here.

The point is this: the culture of “hipsters” is pervasive. It has been around for a long time (probably much longer in form/function than the 19th century). Hipsters are characterized by non-conformity to mainstream culture, progressive views, and a dogged individuality. At the heart of being a hipster is the desire to go against the commonly accepted way of life, bucking the traditional norms and expectations of society. At it’s core, this is the desire to: stand out.

Perspectives, Pt. 3 - Destination < Journey

Perspectives is a series about just that - perspectives: how we view the world; how we process the information and events we experience in everyday life.

In order to self-correct we must first be self-aware enough to know what needs correcting. Self-awareness entails an objective view of how we personally think and operate, which leads to a greater empathy and understanding towards others with whom our views and perspectives differ.

The heart behind this series is to examine the power of perspective through blog posts, to help illustrate and open our eyes to the power perspective can bring. At some point, your perspective and mine will undoubtedly differ... and that’s the point. This is my take on it, what’s yours?

The Question

Here’s the question: what’s more important? The journey? Or the destination?

I would guess that most of us would agree that the journey is the probable answer, but do our lives and our actions really back up that belief? My guess is: that’s hardly the case.

Perspectives, Pt. 2 - Can vs. Should

Perspectives is a series about just that - perspectives: how we view the world; how we process the information and events we experience in everyday life.

In order to self-correct we must first be self-aware enough to know what needs correcting. Self-awareness entails an objective view of how we personally think and operate, which leads to a greater empathy and understanding towards others with whom our views and perspectives differ.

The heart behind this series is to examine the power of perspective through blog posts, to help illustrate and open our eyes to the power perspective can bring. At some point, your perspective and mine will undoubtedly differ... and that’s the point. This is my take on it, what’s yours?

“Everything that is within your grasp is not meant to be in your hand.”  - Terry Crews

“Thinking is a tiring process; it is much easier to accept beliefs passively than to think them out, rigorously questioning their grounds by asking what are the consequences that follow from them.”  - L. Susan Stebbing

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Perspectives, Pt. 1 - The Three Archetypes

Perspectives is a series about just that - perspectives: how we view the world; how we process the information and events we experience in everyday life.

In order to self-correct we must first be self-aware enough to know what needs correcting. Self-awareness entails an objective view of how we personally think and operate, which leads to a greater empathy and understanding towards others with whom our views and perspectives differ.

The heart behind this series is to examine the power of perspective through blog posts, to help illustrate and open our eyes to the power perspective can bring. At some point, your perspective and mine will undoubtedly differ... and that’s the point. This is my take on it, what’s yours?

Personality types and self-help books have been on the rise ever since the Myers-Briggs Test hit the scene in the 70’s. There are scores of books, scores of tests, scores of types - all aiming to help you understand… you. Because in understanding you, you can live your best life now. These offerings present us with hope, a hope that we can take control our own lives, a hope that we aren’t crazy, a hope that we aren’t as different from others as we think. A hope that in better understanding ourselves, we can better relate to our world and those who reside in it.

This post is my take on personality types.

Life Is Not A Hot Shower

"We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training." - Archilochus

Hot showers are great. I mean, who doesn’t like them?

It’s virtually a universal truth - a part of life we can all agree on. There’s just something about the simple pleasure of standing under a stream of warm steamy water that brings us joy and comfort in life.

… Maybe that’s why we like it so much: because it’s so un-like life.

The Case For Idealism

"Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”  - H. Jackson Brown

The idea of “Idealism” is a concept discussed by many in a broad swath of cultural spheres and influences, ranging from Forbes to the NY Times to Psychology Today (which we will be looking at today). It is a concept that appears nuanced, but the implications can be seen on multiple levels. From politics, to society, to relationships, careers, and beyond, this is a concept that has cascading effects on the general population at large, and my goal in this article is to help you see how this is true and why it is important.

To begin, let’s make this personal…

Contentment: The Single's Dilemma

Singleness is an interesting stage of life to navigate. Whether you’re a Christian or not, it is topic that's been hotly debated on multiple fronts, probably since the beginning of time (or at least the last few hundred years).

The Single’s dilemma is one that strives to marry two sides that can’t be perfectly meshed together. It is the tension that rests between contentment and pursuit, being thankful for where you are at, but also pushing to what lies beyond your current state. This is a tension that is especially felt with each additional year you spend as a single individual in a world dominated by couples.

Resolve: How Sticking to the Game Plan Can Pay Dividends

Resolve: "to decide firmly on a course of action"

This concept isn’t isolated to the realm of golf. If you scour the inter-webs for interviews from professional athletes throughout the spectrum of professional sports, you will hear the same verbiage being used. From college basketball, to boxers, to motocross racers, to endurance runners, to tennis players, and more: success is always a derivative of following the predetermined game plan.

Beyond the realm of athletics, this is a principle adopted and used by the masses in all forms of business and creation. One prime example is the beloved “business plan”. When starting any venture or business, the first step is always the creation of a game plan, mapping out the ins and outs of what this future business entails. Writing a book follows a parallel process, usually beginning with some form of a book proposal that depicts what the future pages will hold.

From athletic endeavors, to creative works, to business practices, and more, sticking to the game plan is a strong indicator for the success that follows.

Oxygen Addiction: The Rise of Chronic Overbreathers

When was the last time you thought about a breath you took?

If I had to take a guess, it wouldn’t be a moment in recent memory. And to be honest, that really is a good thing in many ways. What that reveals is that our bodies have efficiently passed off the duties of breathing to our adaptive/subconscious mind, as a part of the natural, habitual functions that keep our bodies operating and alive. This is beneficial because it frees up our mind and our energy to be fully invested in our other pursuits, activities, or tasks in day-to-day life.

But breathing is no trivial part of our existence. in fact, it is the most fundamental cornerstone to life itself. As Patrick McKeown aptly states:

“We can live without food for weeks and water for days, but air just a few brief moments.”

The Power of a Single Word

Build: My 2018 Word of the Year

 

… So what is a “word of the year”, and what are the implications?

The idea behind “word of the year” follows a parallel path to New Year’s Resolutions. It is a way to approach the year ahead with an idea, goal, or concept that you are resolved to pursuing. Typically, New Year’s Resolutions have a very low follow-through rate, meaning, the odds aren’t in your favor for the resolution to bear any semblance of fruit.

Resolutions present a dismal reality. The pessimist can easily conclude that any form of a new year’s resolution is pointless and a royal waste of time. I would probably agree with them…

Chance? : How to Make Something Happen, Because Nothing Just Happens

“Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb.”  - Austin Kleon


Believe it or not, this blog post didn’t come to me in a vision… even though that would have been pretty sweet.

In fact, it took me well over 45 minutes to finally write down that first sentence. Humbling, but true. The point is, words don’t naturally come to those who write them. They come through the sound of fingers hitting keys, and through the perspiration of the brow that is piece-mealing ideas together. It takes work.

Hope vs. Expectation: A Finer Line Than You Might Think

Recently, I read a verse that caused me to stop in my tracks and ponder.

Here's the verse: 

"The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish."  - Proverbs 10:28

This is a seemingly straight-forward verse, but I would argue it's depths are quite profound. Within the verse, the two qualifiers for each statement are: "righteous" and "wicked". This is indicating those who are believers in Jesus Christ (the only way we are seen as righteous), and unbelievers. But, beyond this distinction, there is universal wisdom that can be drawn out of this concise portion of Scripture - regardless of your beliefs or worldview.