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


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What Does YOLO Mean To You?

yoloFor those of you close to my age, let me first tell you what YOLO means. It’s one of those cool acronyms that the youngsters use nowadays instead of speaking in sentences. It stands for “You only live once.”

So, let me ask you again, what does YOLO mean to you?

For many of those same youngsters it means to live life with complete irresponsibility. Have fun. Live for the now. Don’t concern yourself with the future. Be a pleasure seeker. Live with abandon. In other words YOLO is an excuse to behave like an idiot in the name of Carpe Diem.

Responsibility is the sign of our transition from childhood to adulthood. And that transition seems to be taking longer and starting later. I didn’t care much for the movie Fight Club, but one line that stood out to me was when Brad Pitt described men as “little boys trapped in thirty year old bodies.”

It seems like the age at which we are considered adults is getting older and older.

Before it sounds like I’m pointing fingers at Generation Y, let me just say that I don’t blame them. I blame the adults. I blame the culture that they were brought up in.

Parents coddle children, thinking that making their kids’ lives easier makes them better parents. If you grew up in the 1800’s you were probably expected to go out on your land with a musket and kill something for dinner by the time you were nine. In contrast, to demonstrate how helpless society thinks children are now, last month a woman was arrested for allowing her nine year old daughter to play at a park unattended. (I am not making this up).

ponyHere’s an example of the type of expectations that we used to have for young people when we were a brand new, barely civilized country.

This is an actual employment flier for the Pony Express. They wanted young men because the horses could travel further with boys than with adults, and some of the runs were over 300 miles. Expert riders willing to risk death because there were still many hostile Indian tribes that would kill unaccompanied, white minors to take their horses. Orphans preferred so that they wouldn’t be missed by a grieving mother.

Today, peanut butter is illegal in most cafeterias because of potential allergies.

Our expectations for our youth has dropped so incredibly low.

Some might argue that those were primitive times, when people lived in hardship and were expected to live by their physical prowess. We are a more sophisticated generation, much more educationally enlightened, using our brains rather than our bodies.

Really? I’m willing to bet that most graduates of a public university today could not pass the entrance exam for public high school in 1912. Back then, you had to qualify to get in to high school. Today you are arrested for truancy if you don’t go. Here are some sample questions from an eighth grade school examination for the Bullitt County Board of Education in Shepherdsville, Kentucky from 1912:

  • Arithmetic: How many steps 2 feet 4 inches each, will a man take in walking 2 1/4 miles?
  • Grammar: How many parts of speech are there? Define each.
  • Geography: Name and give the capitals of States touching the Ohio River.
  • Physiology: How does the liver compare in size with other glands in the human body? Where is it located? What does it secrete?
  • Civil Government: Define the following forms of government: Democracy, Limited Monarchy, Absolute Monarchy, Republic. Give examples of each.
  • History: Who first discovered the following places – Florida, Pacific Ocean, Mississippi River, St. Lawrence River

How did you do? You can try the rest of the test here if you like.

We learn less though we are required to spend more time in school. We attempt less though we have so much more opportunity. We achieve less though we start with so much more abundance. And some idiot yells YOLO as if shotgunning a beer were some kind of accomplishment.

So here is my message to the young (and old) people of today.

If you don’t feel that your government, your school or even your parents expect great things out of you, then expect greatness of yourself.

You only live once, so take responsibility for your life. You only live once, so recognize that your actions today influence the direction of your life tomorrow. You only live once, so be respectful to others and don’t utter hateful words that will damage relationships. You only live once, so treat your body like you plan to wear it for a long time. You only live once, so stop waiting for someone else to provide you with your life. You only live once, so always strive towards greatness. You only live once, so don’t give up on any worthwhile endeavor. You only live once, so live your life with purpose. You only live once, so live today how you want to be remembered when you are gone.

You only live once, so don’t do stupid things that will be caught on video and get you fired tomorrow.

So, what does YOLO mean to you?


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Ration Your Passion (or) a Tale of Two Rabbits

rabbitsA few weeks ago we had a guest pastor at our church talking about marriage relationships. One of the bullet points he taught for having a marriage that rocks (as opposed to a marriage that’s on the rocks) is to be a good steward of your passion.

Years ago, I heard from a successful multimillionaire that we have a limited amount of passion that we can apply to our worthwhile endeavors.

At the conference for independent business owners I recently attended I was reminded several times about the importance of focusing your passion.

See, the universe is telling me to blog on this topic.

Passion, excitement, enthusiasm can be a driving force for your goals, dreams and visions. But it is possible to squander your passion by trying to focus on too many things at once. And not necessarily stupid things like video games and television. You might be trying to do too many good things at once.

Confucius say: A man who chases two rabbits catches neither.

Some of us may think that we are human dynamos, that our excitement and passion will never fade. Sorry, but that isn’t the case. We grow weary. We even grow weary of things we love.

We need to be intentional about applying our passion and creative energy towards things that matter. (<–Click to tweet)

I’m looking back on the first two-thirds of 2014 and thinking that I haven’t got as much done as I’d like to have gotten done.

  • My buddies and I are still struggling to iron out some website difficulties for our business/non-profit launch.
  • I’ve finally finished a ghost-writing project that really should have been done as long ago as January.
  • I plotted out a joint writing project with a friend that we still haven’t started.
  • I’m behind on some financial goals.
  • I’m behind on some business growth indicators.
  • I’m behind on completing my third book (which will drive back the dates for 4 through 7 – yes I’m up to 7 books that I plan to write).
  • I even missed blogging a couple times in the past couple of weeks. (In my defense I had a great blog post all written up to announce our business launch, I just didn’t post it because I didn’t want to drive traffic to a site that isn’t working).
  • And of course I’m way behind on meeting my dream woman and getting married.
  • I’m even behind on battening down the hatches for a pair of hurricanes that are just 36 hours away.

What’s the point of me recounting all the reasons I’m behind the eight ball? My point is my energy has been directed in too many directions. It’s like trying to light eight fuses with a magnifying glass by rapidly zooming from one fuse to the next. Sometimes you need to stick with one thing, apply a consistent amount of work towards it and give it a chance to ignite.

We have a limited amount of creative energy that we are allotted each day. Some of our best hours we are forced to spend at work, but of our remaining time, we need to make sure that we are applying it to what is most important in our lives; our vision, our purpose. You may not have the freedom to give all the time to your dream that it deserves, but be sure to give it your best time. Give it all the passion that you can muster up and stay focused on it.

Remember the Native American saying, “If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both.”

Have you ever felt like you are pouring your best effort and energy into many different things – and somehow nothing is getting accomplished?

Step back.Rabbit_Killer_Small_5885

Prioritize.

Pick a rabbit.

Kill it.

Just be careful you’re chasing the right rabbit.

 

What’s your rabbit for this week? This month? This year?


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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.


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Let’s Start With Something Easy

purposeIn Napolean Hill’s classic tome, Think and Grow Rich, he lists the thirty major causes of failure. I want to spend a little bit of blog to address just one of those thirty, because I feel it is the one that holds most people back in life (even though it is only listed as #2 on the list).

2. Lack of a well-defined purpose in life. There is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal at which to aim. Ninety-eight out of every hundred of those whom I analyzed, had no such aim.”

I like the word purpose. You can have a purpose-driven life and know that you are achieving a great work. Someone can walk with purpose into a room and you know that they are about to do something important, or possibly violent. It’s also a word that if you read it about a dozen times it starts to sound really funny. Try it.

If you are not living your life with purpose, by default you are living by accident.

And few people become a success accidentally.

Like, about 2%.

If you want to separate yourself from that group labeled as failures, then the first and best thing you can do is determine a purpose for your life. That single change will increase your probability of being a success by 50 times.

And we haven’t talked one bit about work, or talent, or discipline, or character. Someone could have an abundance of each of those, and yet never rise up to any level of success simply because they have no direction, or vision, or purpose.

You may have a great work ethic inherited from your parents, but never have more than a mediocre income because you are content to let someone else call your shots. You may have great talent in art or music and never produce a thing because it was never a dream of yours to have the spotlight. You may have incredible discipline and never use it to achieve something that a lesser man would never be able to accomplish. You could have exemplary character and never leave a lasting impression on a single other soul.

Without having a definite major purpose in your life, you may be wasting not just your own potential but the potential of dozens, hundreds or thousands of others that you could have influenced.

So before you pass through another day, before you spend another twenty four hours investing your life into fulfilling someone else’s purpose (possibly your boss), ask yourself “What is the central purpose of my life?”

If you don’t have an immediate answer, then you have a 98% chance of failing.

The good news is, you can decide in an instant that your life has a purpose. You can determine what your purpose is in the next few minutes, and that will drive you closer to success than any amount of hard work, talent, discipline or character will. I’m not saying you don’t need those things, just that without purpose, they’ll end up being applied towards some other purpose besides yours.

There are people born with incredible gifts that will never achieve anything worthwhile because they never had purpose in their lives.

Question: What’s the central purpose of your life?

Question 2 (if you answered: “I don’t know?): Would you like to have a purpose in your life? (Y/N)

If you answered Y, then leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation on your life’s purpose.


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(Get Out Of What You)

ImageYes, that title is a sentence fragment that makes no sense. It’s intended to be inserted into a common question to change the way you think about your life, your reason for being and your sense of purpose and personal fulfillment.

Most people when they meet someone ask “what do you do?”

Instead try asking “what do you get out of what you do?”

The first question attaches an arbitrary label to the person. The second question should make someone think. It goes toward motive, towards purpose, towards the why of life.

Some of you may have awesome, fulfilling jobs (I have yet to experience that personally). Perhaps teaching or coaching or entertaining

What do you get out of what you do?

I get to guide young lives and inspire people.

Some of you may have important, respected jobs like policemen, soldiers and surgeons (again, don’t look at me).

What do you get out of what you do?

I get to protect lives and punish the wicked.

(although that darn Hippocratic oath prevents surgeons from acting on that second part).

Some of you may have mundane jobs (like me slinging coffee for 10 years). It’s not the job in and of itself that adds or detracts value to you or your life. Your employer is not your destiny.

I have never thought of myself as working FOR Company X. Even though I may be an excellent employee for them, I am working For ME.

I’m not here for the company’s bottom line, rather I am exchanging my skills and service for a wage. That wage provides me with food, shelter, and the means to better my life and create a glorious future.

What do you get out of what you do?

I get to provide food and shelter for my family.
I get to finance personal art and writing projects that are important to me.
I get to set aside a portion of my wages to eventually earn that special item or trip that I’ve dreamed about.

If you’re not feeling motivated or purposeful or thoughtful when going to work today don’t think if it as you being in the wrong job. Try changing the way you think about what you do.

What do YOU get out if what you do?