Monday, December 27, 2010

Will It Matter In Five Years?

It was about a year ago that I read a blog by Dian Thomas titled, “This New Year—Live a Designer Life.” She listed ten things she was going to do during the 2010 New Year to accomplish specific goals to make her life what she wanted it to be. Initially, I thought “YES! This is what I am going to do, too!” I immediately set about coming up with my list of ten things. I think my enthusiasm lasted all of two minutes (if that).

Then I felt very tired.

Defeated, I put away Dian’s blog for some other time.

I never got back to it.

It wasn’t that I forgot; it just always made me tired to think about it.

This morning, I read yet another article in the newspaper about making New Year’s resolutions. I almost just skipped it, saying to myself, “Making resolutions is a sure-fire guarantee that I will utterly fail at every single thing I list!” Perhaps the word resolution carries a negative connotation of compulsion which causes me to instinctively resist.

But, I read the article anyway, and decided that they (writers Linda and Richard Eyre) wisely offered a common sense approach to making resolutions. They suggested that resolutions should be our priorities; and that to know whether something is worth doing well, ask the following three questions:

Will it matter in five years?

Do I need it?

Can I simplify it?

Then they suggest that three is the magic number when it comes to resolutions or focusing on priorities. Juggling three balls is relatively easy, they say; four balls are many times more difficult. The mind, they point out, can stay consistently conscious of three items. With four or more, some are always overlooked or forgotten.

The Eyers then tell us that the highest, deepest, and truest priorities of life fit into the three categories, family, work, and self. (“Self” includes service and interests.)

Each day we are to spend just five minutes deciding on the single most important thing we can do that day for our family, for work, and for ourselves. We are to list these three choose-to-dos before listing any have-to-dos. Thinking hard enough to establish one single priority for each day, they assure us, will cause our minds to stay aware of all three priorities all day long.

It sounds just simple enough and easy enough to be doable! I felt optimistic, not tired!!

To read their entire article, “Our Resolutions Ought to Be Our Priorities,” go to:

Friday, December 24, 2010

People Like That

“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

— Mark Twain


"When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that person is crazy."

— Dave Barry

Monday, December 13, 2010

Outriggers for My Canoe

Maintaining perspective and equilibrium in daily life is not easy. My very small canoe on the vast ocean of life is easily rocked, swamped, or capsized. I recognize that my vulnerable vessel needs outriggers. Outriggers on a canoe are somewhat like training wheels on a bicycle. The difference is a bicyclist soon outgrows his need for training wheels, while the most experienced sailor of a small craft on the ocean is wise enough to know that he will never outgrow his need for outriggers on his boat.

The best outriggers that help me maintain perspective and equilibrium on a daily basis can be found through contemplating the truths in the scriptures and drawing inspiration from the words and lives of those who have overcome the world, or who are “fighting the good fight.” Their admirable examples help me to try a little harder to be a little better.

For example, I feel encouraged and stronger and able to meet the challenges of the day as I contemplate the strength and wisdom of Mother Teresa:

Words to Live By:

People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Give the world your best and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It never was between you and them anyway.
~Mother Teresa~

With God at my side -- since this is all about Him and me -- I can let go of hurt feelings, I can be kind, I can chose to be happy, I can notice His blessings and be grateful for them, I can be a blessing to others, and thus, I will find more joy (and safety) in my journey.