Finding out why is the best adventure

There are policies at my job which I don’t understand.  I have to send notes to certain people after I do certain steps along the way and honestly, it makes no sense to me or to anyone I talk to. But it is a policy I am expected to follow without question.  And that gets under my skin.

Most people do things they don’t necessarily know why they do them.  But they are expected to do them because they’ve always been done that way or because at one point, it was a great thing to do.

Going through life without thought to why you’re there is the common perception among people but I know you want to be different.  I know that you desire to be better than average.  And I hope that I continue to yearn for this.

I was recently listening to the Nerdist podcast and Chris Hardwick was interviewing Arnold Schwarzenegger and in that interview, Arnold said, “Why would you settle for average?  Average is bullshit.”  Why not strive to destroy your competition and go above and beyond?

Why settle for average?  Why settle for the same routine day in day out, when that is not something you love?  And not something you wish to do with your life?

Why not ask why?  What if that is the game changing question for your life to be dramatically improved?  There are reasons those who ask why are more successful.  They get to the heart of the matter more quickly than those who just go about their days.

In fact, Mark Twain once said, “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”  I love that.  Because I’m searching for the why.  In many ways, I have been searching for why I’m here and what I’m to do but honestly, I feel like I’m just getting started and it is exciting.

Finding out why is the key to happiness.  It leads to our success and joy.  And yet, we do not think about these things and allow ourselves the time to discover the why of our lives.

So today, spend some time asking why and let it determine the coming days.

Advertisements

The journey

I read Seth Godin‘s work almost daily.  Sometimes I have to cram previous posts all into one day but seldom do a couple days go by that I haven’t caught up or at least read something he’s shared.

And a couple weeks ago, I read a blog post that hit me.  You can find it here.

The beginning is what caught me.  Here is exactly what he said:

“The most underrated scene in the Wizard of Oz is the hallway leading up to the audience with the great and powerful one.

One of the reasons that Oz is seen as being particularly great and powerful is that it’s just so much trouble to get to see him–and that hallway is the perfect metaphor.”

This hallway in that movie always freaked me out as a kid.  I can’t truly explain to you how many times I had to see this movie but it was almost every time I saw my grandmother for more than a couple hours, this movie was watched.  This movie as well as this other movie.

And that hallway put into perspective how great and powerful this Wizard of Oz truly was. Historians have said that you would fear the great kings of old by how much they had built up for themselves.  Alexander the Great had huge cities built in his honor.  You can look at the kingdoms of the great Pharoahs and many, many others.  These people had huge hallways (or even better, a Sphinx) that showed off their power.

But the great thing about this quote is that the things of greatness have some type of journey to them.  They aren’t normally just stumbled upon. There is a walk up that mountain or some type of effort on the part of the people involved.

Take Moses hearing God speak through the burning bush.  That event was cool and all but he really didn’t get to meet God until he got up early and climbed to the top of Mt. Sinai. He had a journey to take him to the face of God.  And I’m thankful he took those steps and didn’t give up.

The journey there better be worth it. Because sometimes that’s all we will get.  Part of the awesomeness of whatever you’re trying to achieve is the fire that you have to walk over to get there.

I hope you’re encouraged to keep pushing forward because the prize is great.  Especially if the journey is tough.

Memory

We have more information available to us than ever before yet I can remember less than ever before.  It takes me a minute to remember my wife’s phone number.  I have even given out my number wrong twice before.

I don’t know if this is necessarily a bad thing because when I don’t know something, it takes 5 to 10 seconds to learn it or to direct someone to the right answer.  And that is the power of Google.

But part of me is worried about my memory when I’m 65.  Dementia is one of the scariest things to me because you lose your mental processes and develop a memory disorder and that is terrifying to me.  But I believe that we should maybe switch our minds to forgetting the information that is easy for us to obtain quickly and hold on to the most essential things. Like what we felt when hanging out fighting monsters with our kids.

My son, Harrison, and I went to the park the other weekend and it was early in the morning (9:30 am or so) and we were the only ones there so of course, I got to have one-on-one time with my son.  And he wanted to play ninjas so he “gave” me an imaginary sword and had me fight the monsters that were climbing the stairs of the big, scary slide while he rode down the slide kicking them down all the way.  Then we had to go defend our ninja house (the monkey bars).

It was one of those moments where I could easily forget and move on, especially if I have all this other data taking up space in my mind.  But honestly, what data is worth taking up that space in my memory?  What phone number is worth remembering over that moment of bonding with my son?

Yes, you can take this too far and remember nothing but honestly, I am learning to hold on to the memories and forget the data that can be obtained by a simple search on my phone.  The data can be retained.  The memories can’t be without a conscious effort on your part.

So let’s be about the experiences.  Let’s try and do all we can to first create those great moments and then fight to hold onto them.  And you can do this, by simply cherishing and celebrating them when they come to mind.

What’s one of your best recent memories?

Dive in

A few weeks back, my family and I went to the beach to spend time with family and while there, we spent some time hanging out at an indoor pool.  The great thing about this was that it was the first time since last summer that Harrison has had a chance to swim.  He had definitely lost some of his skills of swimming but he was a trooper and started working his way farther and farther away from me.  But he would not go full on and just dive right in.

Until these teenage guys came in to the indoor pool.  Harrison saw one of them push the other one into the pool and then swam to the ladder and got out and then just jumped into my dad’s arms.  It was awesome.  It was like that freeing moment in a movie where a character finally conquers his fears.

It always takes some time to immerse yourself in something.  I know that I find it very difficult to jump right in.

Can you imagine Noah starting to build an ark before a single cloud had formed in the sky?  Or Steve Jobs saying that he was going to revolutionize personal computers before that had ever been conceived? Sometimes all it takes is a jump into the abyss.  And then the ball gets rolling.  Then and only then will things start to happen.

Maybe you are waiting on a dream job to pop in your lap or that weight to fall off you.  But the key is to jump in and go be that person you want to be.  Maybe you’re thinking about all that debt built up that won’t go away.  Take the plunge and cut up your cards.  Yes, an emergency may happen where you need your cards to pay for something.  But I doubt it.  More than likely you’ll just continue to use your credit card to pay for that much needed new pair of shoes and continue on that downward spiral. It is time to dig in and go off on whatever you want to go off on.

Maybe you want to teach guitar lessons.  Start with some friends who can refer you to others.  Do it for free if they won’t pay you.  Say you want to play music around town.  Offer to play at some restaurants for free or for a burger combo so that you can get experience and hopefully another referral.  If you want to write, start a blog.  Offer to guest post for others.

Think outside the box.  But get to jumping.

Plastic people

14.6 million people had plastic surgery in 2012.  Let’s say that again.  Out of 312.8 million people in America, 4.66% had some type of plastic surgery.  Almost 1 in 20.  Translated that means, someone in your family had some type of plastic surgery.  At least, one of your cousins had some type of enhancement done to their bodies.  Yes, not all of these could be for some non-cosmetic reason but some were.

There are people who spend way too much (time, money, thoughts, etc…) on their looks or their apperance.  I know that it is hard to figure out what to wear but ultimately, it is just one decision in a long line of decisions you’ll have to make that day.  Frankly, I hardly spend any thought whatsoever on my looks and I get hounded all the time for it (especially for a haircut).  And I need some new shorts because I own like 2 pairs now.

And when I see people like this who make themselves out to be a Barbie or Ken replica, I just get annoyed.  Because it is too much.  Too much fakeness and plasticity.

If I had the chance to speak with these two, I would let them know that I wish that they had a better life than one where their complete focus was on their looks. Or quite literally, on their face.  I wish you had more going for you than that because if that is all you have, then you have no future.

Yes, appearance is great.  Your face needs attention because that is the thing that we all stare at when talking with you but don’t let it be all that you have going for you.  At least, Ashton has more than his pretty face and body going for him.  And he’s a producer, actor, etc…

And all this leads me to realize that it is past the time that we should just focus on that one thing we feel we’re supposed to do.  There is so much more that interests us than just one thing so why should we sell ourselves short and our friends and the world when we have so much more to offer than just one thing.

There is no one thing you’re made to do.  There are tons of things that you can do.  So focus on them.  Find what most excites you and go do it.  Don’t become this plastic person who is fake and then say that the only thing you have to offer is your face.  You’re so much more than just a pretty face.

Capturing moments

The Thursday before my wife’s birthday, I had arranged for about 30 plus of her friends to join us at PF Changs to share in the surprise.

Vickie had no clue about it and as far as I know, no small thought crept into her mind enough to question me and call her attention to this event.  And it was worth all that planning because her face was priceless when she walked out on the patio to see all her friends shouting “Happy Birthday”.

Then her eyes immediately met her mom’s and she almost started crying.  It was so worth it just for that moment.  Just to see her reaction and joy in the short time.

There are many moments like these in our lives but honestly, we miss them.  We don’t take the time to see those moments. Because we didn’t put in the time preparing for it.

Because we are not preparing, we are honestly squandering so much that could change us for the better. Moments that if captured could radically alter the course of our lives.  And I have had it with losing these times in my life.

So I’m preparing to capture moments better by using these 3 ways of being:

1) Selfish with what I need to do.
I have so many dreams that I want to accomplish.  Things I’d love to see happen in my life.  One is writing a book.  I’m coming up with more and more ideas concerning this each and every day and I’ve never been more excited about it than ever before.  But honestly, I have a wife and son who want to see me and I want to see them, so my time is not my own.  So if I want to do the things I want to do, I have to find the time.  And as Jon Acuff pointed out in his great book, Start, we have to be selfish with these things and he suggests starting before or after they get up or go to bed each day.  Yes that is a sacrifice but it is a worthy one if you want to capture the best moments in life.

2) Open to change
I must be willing to be open to interruptions and to not be discouraged by them.  Jesus once was going to see a dead child’s family and they wanted him to perform a miracle and raise her from the dead.  But on the way, a woman who had a disease that caused her to bleed constantly, grabbed the hem of his garment and stopped him on the way.

He didn’t get discouraged by her but asked her why she did that and she said it was because she believed that He had the power to heal her.  And because of this lady’s faith in just interrupting Jesus on His great mission, she got to be healed and Jesus got to teach great things to the crowd on hand.  Then Jesus went and performed a miracle to the already-upset family who had been waiting on Him and had to wait even longer with the “interruption”.

These interruptions may be the real reason you’re in the situation you’re in.  Don’t let your job or your whatever get in the way of a great moment because moments slip by in a flash. And we can miss them because we are so focused on having this control over our situation.

3) Reflecting on everything as I’m in it or immediately afterwards.
This idea is best captured through writing down the things that happen throughout your day.  This is why I keep a journal and why I ultimately write down the good points in every message I hear.  Because if I didn’t write it down, I wouldn’t remember it and therefore. wasted my time by being there.  And it is the same way with my life.  Writing it down helps me to see how much fun something was or how tough it was or whatever emotion it was.  And when I know the emotion, it helps me always remember that moment.

My hope for you today is to have better experiences more.  Because it is within your grasp, as long as your eyes are open and you are willing to step in and see it happen.  I truly believe that our life will be greatly enhanced because of it.