Simple message

I consider myself a follower of Jesus and have been for quite a while. Just stating that might make some people angry, but whatever. I think when it’s said and done, that a lot of people are unhappy because they simply don’t have Jesus in their lives. It sounds like some typical gospel type of cliche, but sometimes the truth is that simple. You can look everywhere for happiness, including money, relationships, etc., but there will always be that something that eludes you. I know because I’ve been there.

I have a tiny audience of readers and I’m perfectly fine with that, because when it comes down to it, I’ve never been a fan of big crowds, and remember a long time ago when I wrote about ‘don’t give up your voice’? If this was some massively popular blog, I’d probably get banned for talking about religion. With a smaller audience, I can feel free to talk amongst comrades and even people who don’t particularly care for what I have to say, but without constant scrutiny.

We’ve all heard the statements over and over, but why is there happiness in following Jesus? For me, there’s just a certain calm and peace that comes with it all. The Bible does have a strict set of standards and we’ll all fall from them time by time, but ultimately, I think they will make you happier when you do decide to follow them. You might wonder how giving up and abstaining from things will actually make you happy. Quite simple…consider food. When you’re young and relatively healthy, you feel like you can eat anything and everything you want without any repercussions. The reason for that is because the long-term effects do not immediately manifest themselves to you. You can eat a ton of candy and drink sodas all day long, but it’s not until you get the immense pain that comes from a toothache do you begin to realize the effects of your actions.

You can be out here engaging in all kinds of manners of sins, and it will feel rewarding in the SHORT-term indulging in the pleasures of the flesh, but you will start to accumulate heavy burdens on the inside and it begins to make you feel empty and heavy inside. In other words, you start to feel a sort of ‘spiritual death’. The burdens of all of your unrighteous actions eventually start to weigh you down inside and you wonder where all of your joy went.

On the other hand, if you engage in righteous actions, they may not be the most pleasant up-front, but you will eventually feel the rewards inside when you see that you made someone’s day or that people feel like you can be trusted because you know you won’t snake them.

Anyhow, I won’t make this too much longer, but definitely give Jesus a try today and ask Him to come into your life and ask for the salvation He provides today.

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Realness revisited

You know, it’s easy to change up because you want to fit in or you want to procure wealth or some such thing, but it’s really not worth sacrificing who you are. The only way to know who is truly about you is to be you all the time and see who sticks around. The O’Jays made a song called “Backstabbers”. The chorus went, “Smiling in your face”. That’s exactly what a lot of people do in this fake society. They smile and put on the friendliest persona when you are around, but as soon as you leave, they talk about you like a dog.  Now what does that have to do with anything? Well in order to get the real, you have to BE real. You can’t really expect anyone else around you to be real if you’re faking all the time. Y

What is the importance of surrounding yourself with the real? In wealthy times, you can get away with having the brittle and fake around you, but when things get serious, you’re going to see who is really about you and who isn’t, and that’s when it truly pays to have the real around you. Often, those snakes and vipers around you won’t bite you until you’re down. That’s what makes them so dangerous. They are cool as a glacier when you’re doing well, but none of us will be on top forever, and as soon as you have one of your lulls, they either disappear or kick you down the ladder. Fakers are extremely dangerous to keep around you.

You see a lot of famous people end up living a self-destructive lifestyle, and you wonder why they end up falling to the bottom after having millions. One of the reasons is they have a whole bunch of fakers around them, aka yes men who are always smiling and telling them exactly what they want to hear. This is the danger of fakeness. Now imagine a whole society of people sitting around smiling and pretending to like each other, but ready to toss each other over the edge of the boat for their own benefit. Is it any wonder our modern society can feel so empty?

The importance of YOU being real is that you can’t expect from others what you are not. The change starts with you. Don’t worry about being liked. Worry about being real. As Jesus said, the truth shall set you free.

Go-Getter

If you want something, you have to go get it. Many of us have been indoctrinated to be passive and to ‘wait’ on things. However, when you sit around being passive, more times than not, that which you seek will never come available to you. Today, make a move to GO GET something. No more sitting and waiting.

Get up, get out and get something

Has there ever been a garden that just grew out of the ground by people sitting around imagining that garden growing or chanting ‘I believe this garden will be amazing?’ You can imagine things all day, but unless you get up to go make it happen, nothing will occur. Now visualization is an important tool, but to merely picture something without putting muscle behind it is worthless. It’s like setting an exact destination you want to travel to in your car’s GPS, but never starting the car and mashing the gas pedal. Outkast told you back in the day: get up, get out and get something

Practice, practice, practice some more

I’ve read a ton of books, especially those books on self-help and how to be successful. There was a ton of filler and a lot of them were written by multi-level marketing type of people that want to sell you fluff, aka concepts they can pull out of thin air. They are there to sell you books by telling you what they want you to hear.

What I find is that success comes from competence, and obviously, competence comes from knowing what you are doing. “Economic success” comes from a crossroads of being fairly competent in some area that is also in demand. I can’t necessarily tell you how to do the latter other than observe trends or just up and take the risk, but the former is rather simple. STUDY and PRACTICE. Michael Jordan was a student of the game and practiced relentlessly. Same with Tiger Woods… and the same with just about anyone else who reached the epitome of their craft. Of course you had ‘natural talents’, but a lot of them failed to obtain the success they could have had if they coupled that natural talent with practice.

Now, practice involves a TON of repetition. Practice alone isn’t enough. Practicing SUCCESSFUL motions is what will help you obtain success. If you’re practicing the wrong thing, all you are doing is ingraining bad technique. You either need to carefully study the successes in your field and emulate their techniques or get a mentor/teacher/coach who is willing to show you the way.

Practice can be very tedious unless you enjoy what you are doing, and hence, it is important to find something that you enjoy doing so that you can put in the necessary practice to become successful at it. I got a degree in accounting and sat around for years doing nothing with it because I didn’t care for the subject and didn’t put in the work to become excellent at it. I eventually discovered programming, and I practice like a madman at it. I’m now about to be 31 in a few days, so no, you can’t let age get in the way of shifting directions if necessary. Sam Walton, founder of Walmart didn’t start it until he was in his 40s.

Anyways, what is your mission? To find something you really enjoy and that you can practice relentlessly that has some sort of demand in the marketplace.

No more perfectionism.

Perfectionism is probably the worst mentality I’ve ever adopted. The desire to have a high quality output isn’t the problem with the mentality, but rather, it’s that I need to make something beautiful and near perfect the first time through. The problem with this mentality is that it creates barriers in my mind before I even start a project. I start thinking thoughts like, “Man this is going to take a bunch of work to look perfect.” “Will anyone even like this?”

What ends up happening is that I’m already discouraged before I even start. I then put that act off and say something like, “I’ll get to this later when I have more energy.” I keep on putting it off and then it never gets done. Something I found is you simply have to allow yourself to create slop and then you improve it gradually. It’s like working out. You don’t simply go into the weight-room, put the max amount of weight onto the bench or squat rack and start working with it. You put lower weight and warm up and gradually start going higher.

So with other things, you have to allow yourself to create something that isn’t perfect, but you gradually improve on it until it is the level that you want it at. Realize that there is no such thing as perfection on Earth, so stop trying to chase an unobtainable standard, especially with your first go-through of doing something. If you allow yourself to make mistakes and to gradually improve on your initial work, you will avoid psyching yourself out from starting things, and ultimately you will get a lot more accomplished.

Goals and Happiness

I believe focusing too much on goals is actually BAD for happiness, contrary to this modern logic that it’s all about goals and ‘accomplishing things’.  Think about it. Most of us were extremely happy as kids, and probably way happier than we are now and we didn’t know anything about goals, procuring money and status and whatever other modern trapping we allow ourselves to get wrapped up in. However, as you get older, you have it drilled in your head that you MUST have these things in order to ‘feel happy’, and sooner or later, you start to lose the natural appreciation for just living. In other words, your beliefs are what brings forth happiness, and if you believe you can’t be happy until you accomplish this or you own that, well, you simply are blocking your happiness. This isn’t to say to not have goals. It’s more to say that it is a waste of a life to center your life around ‘achieving goals’ as a source of happiness, because what happens when you accomplish that goal? If your happiness is contingent on ‘accomplishing a goal’ or checking something off of a checklist, what happens when you’ve checked everything off? What do you do now? Oh yeah, you make up some new goal that ‘you need to achieve’ to feel happy, and you repeat the cycle of drudgery over until you can once again knock something off the checklist and feel that brief moment of happiness from ‘accomplishing something.’

Don’t delay your happiness by making it contingent on goals. There is so much beauty around you and so much to appreciate in life that you can be happy RIGHT NOW. Goals are helpful in giving us motivation to procure a living but ‘accomplishing goals’ is not the point of life, nor will they necessarily make you happier. Experience happiness now by learning to appreciate what you already have. It reminds me of the Bible verse telling us to learn to be content.

Phillippians 4:11

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Contentedness is something that has to be LEARNED, and it starts with the recognition that you have to appreciate what is here now as opposed to waiting until some imaginary point in the future when you can knock something off the checklist.

Real is rare

You know what amazes me is just how much deception and fakery we have in modern culture. For example, most media is paid for by some corporation, and the intent isn’t to tell you the truth, but rather to sell you some product or to shift your brain in some fashion so as for you to have more ‘agreeable’ viewpoints. In fact, that is pretty much the purpose of popular media– to teach people to act in a certain fashion. Not even in ‘personal spaces’ are you free from manipulators, when you have ‘viral bloggers’ or ‘viral posters’ who go to message boards and the such and post opinions paid for by some corporation.

It makes you think… how much of our own thoughts are really our own thoughts? What most people think is in reaction to their stream of information. Few people actually think outside of the stream of information they are presented. Hence, if you own the sources of information, you effectively own the minds of the public. Most sources of information are owned by very wealthy corporations, so what kind of information do they want to put out? Obviously, in one regard, they want to sell a ton of products, so a lot of the ‘shows’ we watch are actually just extremely clever commercials.

What is the purpose of this post? It’s just a general annoyance of how much is ‘manufactured’ in our country. Rarely do you ever get anything ‘real’ anymore as opposed to some opinions and outrage manufactured by some marketer or marketing department somewhere. It’s why all these websites have the same corny format for headlines. “You absolutely won’t believe what happened next!” If you took time to study things like ad-copy and other marketing techniques, you’ll realize you’re being influenced much more than you thought. But whatever…

My blog is far from polished. I don’t sit around revising these articles until they are ‘perfect’… you can call it laziness, but then again I’d probably not even post these entries because I’d be too caught up in the cycle of perfectionism. Also, your first thoughts are often your most honest… they are those thoughts that spring forth from your character before you’ve had time to wash them over and make them more pleasing for the masses. When I sit back and think, my blog probably won’t be massively popular, and that’s a great thing. I’d much rather have a smaller, more genuine audience where I can also share more honest thoughts as opposed to some ‘themed’, money-oriented blog where I’m posting meaningless, biased drivel. Keep your circle small and keep it real.

Positives of criticism

Criticism is a great thing if you know how to react to it. There’s some forms of criticism that you have to completely ignore. This criticism is ‘hate’, which is the kind that comes from someone being envious of your position, so they find invalid negativity in order to try to tear you down. Even then, if they have a point of validity, you have to learn to ignore their malice and extract the useful portion to improve yourself.

Why is criticism helpful? It helps you see the weak points of your life that would normally go uncovered and it gives you motivation to improve them. When you have something about yourself that is insufficient, if no one ever brings it to your attention, you might never know what it is. Or, if you know about it but nobody ever tells you about it, you’ll be comfortable in your mediocrity.

Criticism is a form of instruction that can shed light on your weaknesses and give you motivation to attack your problem areas if you learn not to take it personal. You want to know why a lot of these athletes and musicians and other entertainers usually end up crashing in life? Because either they have nothing but yes men around them who always agree with their choices even to the point of destruction or they simply ignore all criticism. We are not always right, so it pays to take heed to another viewpoint and see if there is validity in it. Don’t take criticism personal. Extract any useful information and react to it if necessary.

Handle your business NOW

As they say, a body in motion stays in motion. Similarly, a mind in motion stays in motion. If you keep on procrastinating, it builds up and you will keep on procrastinating. On the other hand, if you get in the habit of handling your business immediately, you will allow that habit to get ingrained in yourself and it will become much easier to get up and handle business. What I want you to do is to take one item you’ve been procrastinating on and do something about it TODAY. Make it a habit of handling business immediately. God bless.