15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


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Why I’ve Never Eaten At Restaurant X

There is a particular restaurant on Monsarrat avenue in Honolulu that I’ve never eaten at. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, it has gotten excellent reviews, but I still have not eaten there. I have no ill will towards the owners, the employees, the menu. The place is not infested with rodents or ghosts that I know of. “So why haven’t you ever eaten there?” I hear you cry.

Because whenever I am in that neighborhood, which is not that frequently, I eat at this other restaurant down the street:

ImageThis little hole in the wall is the infamous South Shore Grill. I know the owner, Bruce. I have brought many friends there who have become regulars, who have in turn introduced other people to South Shore cuisine. Yes they have good food, yes I am acquainted with the owner (I wouldn’t say we are friends), but what really accounts for my absolute devotion to eating at South Shore Grill as opposed to Restaurant X (as well as many other fine eating establishments nearby)?

Because. One day about 5 or 6 years ago, Bruce stopped to help my mom change a tire on the highway.

Because I want to live in a world where a random act of kindness is repaid back to you. (do you?)

Because I’d like to think that every single person reading this would want to support a business that is owned by a man who would take time out of his busy schedule to help a lady change a tire. (And if you think that you are busy, try opening a restaurant).

And I hope every single person who reads this, shares it. And every person who hears of South Shore Grill, whether they live on Oahu or are just visiting, stops by for lunch.

Next week I’ll be expounding on random acts of kindness and the launch of our new business that has kindness as a commodity.

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The Secret of Steady

ImageExpounding on my comments from last week, the reason slow and steady wins the race is because of steady not because of slow. The only reason that slow is of any value is because it makes steady easier.

For example, I did some math because I’ve started running again recently and have been tracking my workouts using a free app called Runkeeper. My average walking pace is about 3.5 mph while my running (jogging) speed was about 5.8 mph. That’s only about a 67% increase between walking and running (sue me, I’m out of shape).

But the difference is, that after jogging for 20 or 30 minutes I’m tired, sweaty and sore. But 20 or 30 minutes of walking is essentially effortless. I haven’t broken a sweat, I’m not tired and I don’t have to worry about being sore in the morning.

That extra 67% of speed uses up 800% more energy (at this point I’m no longer using data from the app, I’m just making up numbers).

That’s why I’m such a big advocate of small, daily changes.

Small, daily changes that are easy to implement allow you to apply steady growth to your life. (tweet that)

And just like with walking, if you do it every day you would be amazed at how far you can go.

I wrote my first book in 15 minutes a day. I also gave myself the intentional limitation that I would not write for more than 15 minutes. So no one could accuse me of cheating.

When I wrote my second book, I finished a lot quicker because I didn’t handicap myself with a speed limit. Now that I’m on my third book, I realized that I’m way behind schedule. Because I allowed myself to become complacent, allowed myself to believe that I could make up skipped time by going fast. After all, missing four days of work at 15 minutes a day, you can make that up in one hour, right? Or if you fall behind two weeks, you can make that up on your next day off and just concentrate on writing for a full day of work, right?

All the chronic procrastinators know the answer to that…. NO.

We tend to over estimate what we can do quickly (my jogging pace is only 67% faster than my walking pace). We severely under estimate what we can accomplish slowly.

So yesterday, after not looking at my manuscript for a couple of weeks, I planned to use my my day off for a marathon writing session. It worked out about as well as running an actual marathon after a couple weeks of inactivity. I was sluggish, I was confused. I had a hard time making sense out of fragments of thoughts and sentences that I’m sure had a point when I started them a few weeks back.

The bottom line is, I need to once again practice what I teach. I need to get back to my 15 minute habit. Walk every day and run when I can. Stop allowing myself to get out of shape.

Slow, steady growth:

  • Is easy to maintain on a daily basis
  • Keeps your momentum going in the right direction
  • Keeps you limber so you don’t pull a groin muscle

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. ~Chinese Proverb


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You Don’t Need To Sprint The Whole Way, But Don’t Stop Walking

Yes, that’s me racing a turtle on a black sand beach. Yes, it is illegal to be that close to a turtle. How do I know this? Because there is a sign posted. Want to know where it’s posted? About ten feet in front of me–facing the water. Which is a dumb place to put that sign because it only warns the tourists as they are LEAVING the beach. Unless the intent was to warn the turtles ahead of time and inform them of their rights.

Everyone is familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race, right? That is not the entire truth. Actually it is steady that wins the race. There is no inherent value in slow.

I’ll defer to another story that I read in elementary school, although I don’t recall the title of the book, but I think it might have been The Great Brain Does It Again.

Kid A was talking smack because his parents bought him a new champion quarter horse. Kid B challenged him to a race with his parent’s broken down nag. Except that Kid B challenged him to a race that was two miles long. For those unfamiliar with the term “quarter horse,” it’s a racing horse that is trained to run short sprints, say… a quarter mile.

Kid A galloped out strong at the start, easily out-pacing Kid B’s old workhorse, but Horse A exhausted itself and eventually stopped despite his owner goading him to keep sprinting. Horse B jogged across the finish line.

Kid B won a lot of money on that race. But being something of a swindler, gave everyone a chance to win their money back the next day. Except this time Kid B agreed to race riding the quarter horse and Kid A could ride the winning nag.

The next day, Kid B won. Because he didn’t race his horse, he paced his horse. Rather than trying to force the champion quarter horse to sprint the entire two miles, he would let him run, then let him rest, let him run, let him rest. He didn’t push the horse past the point of exhaustion. He went at a steady pace and ran in occasional bursts of speed.

That’s my message for you today. In whatever venue you are planning for, whether your finances, your fitness, your relationships or your spiritual walk: Do a little bit every day, but do a lot when you can.

  • If you have never started saving for your retirement, don’t try to sprint by allocating 50% of your salary and 100% of your discretionary spending starting now. You will get exhausted and you will stop.
  • If you’ve been neglecting your spouse or children, don’t try to make it up by sprinting; by devoting every waking hour of your attention on them. It’s a little bit creepy and clingy.
  • If your relationship with God is not where you want it to be, don’t sprint by wearing a hair shirt, then fasting and praying for 48 hours straight. You’ll hallucinate. And itch.
  • If you want to get in shape, don’t start by racing a cheetah.

Stay steady. Don’t exhaust yourself.

The hare would have won if he just walked the entire race. His crime was that he stopped.

Devote a little bit of time and resources every day towards your goals. That’s your walking. And if you occasionally feel like running, then run.

  • Financial walking is setting aside a small percentage of your paycheck towards long term and short term savings (say $100 a month). Running is when you get a Christmas bonus and throw half of it into your portfolio (an instant $500). Notice though that sprinting is no substitute for steady walking.
  • Relationship walking is eating meals with your family, asking about their day, being available to talk. Running is taking them on a vacation! And I think we all know that trying to be Superdad for 1 week out of the year when you haven’t been around for the last 51 weeks is a little pathetic.
  • Walking with God is reading the bible for 15 minutes every day (I used dailybiblereader.com to read the entire bible in one year for about 15 minutes a day). Running with God is going on a missions trip or building orphanages in the Philippines.
  • Walking for fitness is… well, I guess is actually just walking. And when you’ve built up some stamina you can actually do some running.

Small investments compounded over time yield vast rewards (I think I may have written a book on this subject).

Have planned, daily activities that move you forward in some area of your life. That’s your daily walking; your good habits that make every day a growing day. Even just investing 15 minutes a day will result in huge long-term growth with very little effort.

Then every so often, you will have the opportunity to run. And when you do, you won’t pull a groin muscle.


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Do You Believe in Life After Birth?

Bored-people-at-meetingWatch people at work today.

How often do you see someone look at the clock?

How often does someone say “I wish it was time for lunch?” They mentally check out for an hour and virtually fast-forward to their break.

Or maybe they said I wish it was quitting time? They just mentally discard the second half of their day.

If you offered someone the opportunity to fast forward their life to the weekend, would they do it?

If you offered a child the opportunity to fast forward through a month of their life to get to their birthday, would they?

Two months to get to Christmas?

How many people are squandering away their lives by not living now, but living in the future? Cramming 3 or 4 days of joy into every year?

zombieEvery moment spent being bored, every moment spent wishing time would skip ahead, is a moment where you are not really living. You are one of the walking dead. One of those masses of people living a life of quiet desperation that Emerson wrote about.

What’s the solution? How do you breathe life back into your life?

Purpose.

Purpose will add life to your living. (Tweet that)

If you are living your life towards some purpose, you are living for something greater than yourself.

If you have a purpose, you are focused on big thinking and big ideas rather than on tedium and boring details.

If you are striving towards a purpose, than even the most mundane, trivial job becomes a means to finance your purpose.

If you are on purpose, you are no longer drifting aimlessly and instead are focused on achieving or becoming something greater.

With a life of purpose, you no longer have wasted moments. Every moment is moving you towards your life purpose.

If you are bored, if you are weary, if you are just staring at the clock waiting for the drudgery to end; determine a grand and glorious purpose for your life.