Slow And Steady

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For those of us with goals, the fact that most of them take time, lots of effort, learning and more time is a tough pill to swallow. In fact it reminds me a lot of the first time I literally tried to swallow a pill. I’m sure it was at least slightly amusing for my mom to watch. Needless to say, I’ve nailed the technique!

However, there are still several pills we need to learn to swallow. There are talents, concepts, information and other practices that all of us would like to be better at, if not master. I would love to one day be an expert in (or at) something. The hardest part of that kind of goal is the fact that it is not something one can master overnight. The road to expert-ism (yep, that’s made up) is long. Knowing that I’m going to need to pursue new things for a long period of time can be slightly disheartening. Knowing that failure and criticism is something I will need to become comfortable with is scary.

One thing I can say I do well, although I still can’t claim to be an expert at, is playing the drums. 14 years of work and practice (and lots of embarrassing screw ups) have given me the ability to become a fairly adequate musician. When I first set out on the road to be a drummer I had no idea I would still be playing to this day. I had no clue that I might one day be a professional. But I’ve done it long enough and put enough into it that I have found myself yielding a real talent.

Over the past year I’ve been taking steps towards new goals. I continually get lazy and fall off the wagon from time to time, but that isn’t stopping me from pursuing and learning. The fact is, goals take time. Goals require failure. You will never arrive. There is always more to be done.

Chasing goals is a slow and steady pursuit. Stay strong and stay focused.

Question:

What are some things you are working to be better at or learn?

For encouragement in this area I recommend Jon Acuff’s book Start.

I Want To Be An Astronaut (Part I)

When I was four I wanted to be an acrobat in the circus. Unfortunately, a broken elbow due to my parent’s bed and a stubborn closet door put an end to that.

When I was nine I wanted to play professional baseball.

At 12 I decided to add professional basketball to the plan as well. I mean, that couldn’t be too difficult, right? Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders pulled off the multi-professional sport thing. Heck, so did Michael Jordan… sort of.

By the age of 14 I didn’t know what I wanted to be anymore. And frankly, I wasn’t worried about it. I figured my dream would find me at some point, hand me a detailed plan and a slice of cheesecake (cause that’s what dreams do), pat me on the back and say “ok, let’s be awesome.”

At age 20 I decided I wanted to be a professional musician in a national touring band. I even pursued that dream for 4 1/2 years. After some minimal success, that dream fell apart like all the rest.

Now, at the ripe age of 27, after several years of coasting, I know what I want to be. I want to be an astronaut!

Not literally. But I do want to have the same audacious attitude I had as a child. Why not?!

Most kids have “crazy” dreams to be something or do something incredible with their lives. They even believe they can accomplish those goals.

But somewhere along the road to “adulthood” we seem to loose the adventure and whimsical spirit of dreaming big. This bugs me to no end. I’m tired of doing just enough to be safe and get by. Safety is for suckas!

Ben Franklin said, “Some people die and 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”

When I first heard that quote I freaked out a little. A vision of myself as an older gentleman, feeding ducks in a park in between my games of chess (I’m sure I’ll learn the rules of chess before I’m 65), wondering what life would have been like if I tired something audacious came to mind. What would it be like to be an old man full of regrets? Stability is great and all, but at what expense? We have dreams, desires, and passions for a reason. If we do not pursue them, we are robbing ourselves of joy and fulfillment and potentially robbing our community and the world of great ideas.

In short:

Your dreams matter.

Your passions matter.

If it’s in you, it’s important.

It’s never too late. If you spend your time feeding ducks in the park and playing chess you can still do something “crazy”.

Making a dream a reality is a bridge to be crossed soon. But for now, just dream! And dream big. That’s the start.

Question: What has kept you from pursuing a dream of yours?

Need A Last Minute Christmas Gift? Look No Further Than Internet Bucks

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If you’re in need of a quick, “sure to be a hit” Christmas gift you may want to look into Internet Bucks. I.B.’s as they are referred to are a new form of currency that work directly with your existing bank account to ensure a safe shopping experience. Purchases on The Internets just became that easy!

We are currently working on expanding our market and hope Internet Bucks will be available through Amazon and other online retailers in 2014.

If You Don’t Have Anything Good To Write…

Producing a product of value

Producing a product of value

…Don’t write anything at all.

Blogging is great.

Ideas are great.

Sharing those ideas is even better!

In Seth Godin’s book Poke The Box he says “Intellectual integrity goes beyond being clever-it requires that you put your ideas into the world.”

It’s your responsibility to share your valuable thoughts and ideas with the world. Otherwise, your creativity is nothing but selfish ambition.

However, in the sport of blogging, we often find people meeting quotas rather than publishing valuable material. If you want your blog or any other creative endeavor to gain traction there must be a level of integrity and honesty behind it. After all, we’re writing to give people something worth reading aren’t we?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when producing a product?

Will this teach someone?

Will this encourage someone?

Will this make someone laugh?

Will this challenge somebody?

As you create, make it a point to create something of value…to anybody. Even if it’s just a few.

Don’t give into the pressure of posting something everyday for the sake of “being consistent”. Don’t flood “The Internets” with junk. There is plenty of that to go around.

Question: What are some other questions we should ask ourselves before tossing an idea into the world?

How to get the most out of your Christmas gifts

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Christmas gifts are an interesting thing. It’s the one time a year we are expected to give someone a gift in honor of them doing absolutely nothing to earn it.

“Hey you graduated, here’s a necklace!” “Hey you went another year without dying, here’s a watch!” That’s understandable.

This is why it makes complete sense to buy a “Boomerang Gift” this year. Yes, I just coined that term. A Boomerang Gift is one that is guaranteed to gyrate right back into your own life so you may also reap the benefits. If you’re going to give somebody an undeserved gift you might as well get something out of it also. Here are a few ideas:

Find a friend who likes going to the movies with you and buy them a gift card to the theater. They will have no choice but to take you along when they inevitably use your Boomerang Gift. Just be sure to pick the least popular friend. This will ensure your spot in that comfy seat and a box of Sour Patch Kids in your hand.

Ladies, now is the perfect time to buy your man that grill he’s been wanting. Fork over a little cash now and enjoy the juicy, tender rewards for years to come. No man has ever responded with a “no thanks” at the chance to throw some meat on the grill. Your carnivorous needs will be met with a smile that says “She really gets me”.

Parents, do the right thing and buy your kid a popcorn machine.

“You mean I can make my OWN popcorn now?!”

“You bet son, but you better get to practicing so you can master the art. I’ll be in the living room watching the game.”

You’d be surprised at just how much popcorn you can fit in your stomach.

I hope these tips were helpful in getting the most out of your gifts this year. I mean, if you’re going to drop some dough, you might as well enjoy it too. It’s like getting a 50% discount on all your purchases. Talk about a great deal!

Question: What are some other great Boomerang Gift ideas?

7 Things I’ve learned In Adulthood

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There is no possible way I could cover everything in seven bullet points. This is a start though.

1. It’s Cirque du Soleil, NOT Circus Olé– I know somebody’s mind was just blown. It would’ve been nice to learn that before the age of 24. You’re welcome.

2. Bills are no fun (As if I really had to say that)-  Try to have as few as possible. After living as inexpensively as possible for many years I developed a good understanding of the things I can do without. The less things you need to spend and worry about every month the better. This isn’t to say it’s bad, wrong, or ill advised to treat yourself to nice things if you can afford it. IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT (like, without hoping you can pay off the credit card bill at the end of the month).  But there is something to say for living simply. Just ask my friend Tiny Tim. Spending less money than you make allows for some margin in your finances and frees up money to be generous with when real needs of the people around you arise.

3. It’s okay to hang out with people who are very different than you- When I was in high school my default was to make friends who were like me. As it turns out, my best friends in adulthood are not very much like me at all. But they are genuine and reliable. The ones who are different actually make some of best friends. Besides, one space on earth couldn’t handle all my awesomeness. I need others to balance it out.

4. People are crazy- I would elaborate but I think the mental image of a crazy person in your life just did that for me. Cut them some slack, but keep your distance if need be.

5. Even though people are crazy they are also what matter most- Relationships are key to doing life right. We often under value the friends and family we have until that relationship is gone or estranged. Put stock in people. Go to bed a little later than usual on occasion in order to have a meaningful conversation. Watch a little less Netflix to have coffee with a friend instead. Those will be the moments that matter.

6. Guacamole is one of the ways I know for a fact God loves me- As an adolescent I was so afraid of this green, mushiness. Possibly because I once accidentally saw the contents of a baby’s diaper that could’ve been guacamole’s evil twin. At that moment I promised myself I would never try guacamole. I’m just glad I’m a crappy promise keeper. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You’d be surprised at what you’re missing out on. Also, guacamole is technically made up of fruits. How weird is that? Don’t complain next time you ask me to bring a fruit salad to the dinner party.

7. Pour into someone’s life who is younger or less experienced than you- There I go with the “people” thing again. If you aren’t actively pouring knowledge, life experience, or support into someone’s life you are missing out. Knowledge can only take you so far. Putting into practice what you know and teaching it is what will grow you.  It’s an interesting thing to have someone want to be like you in some form or fashion. It’s very scary actually. There is an underlying responsibility that you are now accountable for. Believe me, in the long run the responsibility is worth it.

Question: What are some important things you have learned since becoming an adult?

At Least You’re Not Him

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Last week Thamsanqa Jantjie (Don’t ask me how to pronounce it) graced the memorial of Nelson Mandela with a bit of bogus sign language. My first thought was, “Ok, this is obviously a huge deal. Wouldn’t you naturally find an interpreter who actually knows sign language? Was he an understudy who had to fill in last minute after the star signer developed a stomach bug from some bad Mexican food earlier in the day?”

As if his performance wasn’t bad enough, the entire world now knows he is a fraud. Talk about a public beat down. It can’t possibly get worse than SNL taking your public blunder and creating a comical skit out of it.

Actually, yes it can.

Hey dude, we’ve got some bad news. The entire world thinks your pathetic…. oh, and you’re wanted for murder.”

Thamsanqa Jantjie was allegedly involved in the killing of two men several years ago but did not stand trial in 2003 because authorities determined he was not mentally fit to stand trial.

Also, did we mention you’re insane?”

Talk about a bad week.

We all have rough weeks and seasons of life. They will pass.

When you experience these difficult moments just remember, at least you’re not a lunatic who made a fool of himself on a worldwide stage while at the same time drawing attention to a previous murder.

You’re week will get better.

At least you’re not “him”.