Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

Share The Wealth With A New Generation

May 21, 2014

Yes, I am traveling again. This week two conferences in two cities. Actually, I found two additional conferences at the Houston Hilton Americas and the George R. Brown Convention Center. So three so far. Today driving to San Antonio for another conference. Then home for a little while (most of a week).

Last weekend I recruited and organized referees for a youth soccer tournament. For the first time in my career I heard the vast majority of coaches actually giving instructions to their players. Usually they just scream at them from across the field to do things that I bet they had not practiced.

As far as referees, I had a mixture of experienced adults and beginning youth. I had an opportunity to work with a young lady who had a grand total of one game of experience. She was great. There were opportunities for me to chat with her and give her encouragement. Then I could write to the referee leaders in her area to suggest they work with her to bring her along.

I heard several of the young referees talk about how much they learned during the two days.

That’s why I’m involved. I love the sport, of course. But I love to see people develop. I teach the skills of soccer refereeing, but I also teach life skills about decision making, being strong, getting into physical shape, working with a team.

Andy Stanley (on this podcast) talks about “Sharing the Wealth.” What are we doing to help the next generation take our place–and do it better? Teaching, mentoring, encouraging, providing experiences are some things we can do.

We are not here to live only for ourselves like so many unfortunately believe and preach. We are here to help other humans develop and grow. What are you doing?

Are You Emotional or Rational or Both

May 6, 2014

Just watching people in a group setting recently, I noticed a large emotional response to a situation about which no one has facts. That started me thinking about three kinds of people–or rather three types of ways of relating to the world and to others.

As humans develop and grow, they begin as emotional beings. Responses to situations are driven by emotions. When our growth and development proceeds normally, we gradually develop the ability to reflect, think and apply reason.

Have you noticed that some people even as adults react with emotional responses untempered by using the thinking part of themselves? Many times these people quickly regret their response (eventually some sort of thinking/reflection sets in) and then they must apologize.

I’ve noticed that these people quite often exhibit a sort of narcissism–in their hearts, it’s all about them.

I work with engineers–a lot. Engineers are trained thinkers. Got me thinking of the opposite trait in people. They develop the thinking part while burying the emotional part (Jung, among others, had much to say about the effects of this). These people can be maddening to the emotional type of people. They can appear cold and aloof. They can also exhibit a sort of narcissism–it’s all about me and my thoughts.

What we really need to do to develop fully as humans is to recognize the emotional part of us, apply some controls over those to keep us stable through our thinking capability, and then seek to be filled by the Holy Spirit which will move us beyond both and let us experience others.

It’s important that we not just get carried away with a solely emotional response. That leads to instability, conflict, alienation from others. We need to be united with God and with others in order for us to be healthy and for our local organizations and societies to be healthy.

Passionately Curious

May 5, 2014

As many long-time readers know, if I miss a day or two, I’m traveling. I had many meetings in the Chicago area last week. That enabled me to have an eye exam and try out new contacts courtesy of my daughter-in-law. Then also spend time with my grandkids–ages 4 and 6.

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” ― Albert Einstein

We were walking across the parking lot to the restaurant for dinner. My granddaughter was holding my hand and skipping and jumping. One of the things I love about kids is just this exuberance. To have that energy at the end of the day. Reminded me of walks with my grandson when he was 18 months or so. He lived in Florida at the time. Walks could take a long time. We stopped and checked out everything–leaves, bugs, lizards, worms, birds. That’s another thing about kids, curiosity.

I think so many people lose their curiosity. I have always been curious about things. Still am. I think that trait has kept me young even though I’m not.

Along with that thought, I picked up another:

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ― Albert Einstein

Children also know no bounds with dreaming up new things. They can blow up your structured thinking and closed way of looking at the world.

We need this in all areas of our lives. I’ve seen people in church without curiosity or imagination. I’ve seen them especially in business. The people in business who have influenced me the most had these traits.

The smaller children, before they learn differently, also just “tell it like it is.” I’m seeing situations in organizations I’m in where there are some people hiding behind masks. Not seeming to be as they are.

It’s a good thing to be childlike. I’m not sure if that is part of what Jesus said about being like children.

Cultivate A Powerful Mind

April 7, 2014

Twenty minutes of quiet meditation daily rewires your brain to tap into and grow the regions responsible for a more positive outlook on life.

How many people do you know that just can’t settle down? They can’t take time to focus on just one idea at a time. Their thoughts are scattered all over and their anxieties multiply.

Is that somewhere that you’ve been? Or are now?

Brain researchers are discovering that the brain need not harden and weaken as it grows older. It can, in fact, continue to grow, add “wiring”, become more integrated. It just needs new experiences to keep it malleable and growing.

True confession–I have never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels. I own one in paperback that I don’t think I ever read. But I’ve gotten hooked on the CBS series Elementary, the Sherlock Holmes movies and the BBC adaptation mini-series on PBS. I’ve been learning about Holmes’ thought process.

Maria Konnikova has written a well researched book on Holmes’ thought process intertwined with the latest on brain research. The book is Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. I recommend it.

Toward the end of the book, she says, “If you get only one thing out of this book, it should be this: the most powerful mind is the quiet mind. It is the mind that is present, reflective, mindful of its thoughts and it’s state. It doesn’t often multitask, and when it does, it does so with a purpose.”

I have struggled with overcoming the busy mind, anxieties, lack of focus on my life. I’m sure many others have. I’ve also spent almost 50 years researching and experiencing and reflecting on this topic. She nails it.

And every time I drift, something calls me back to a quiet mind, focus, being present in the moment.

Here are a few things I’ve discovered:

  • Start the day with quiet time, maybe a cup of coffee or tea, just relaxing and focusing on breath. (remember that in the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible breath, wind and spirit are the same word)
  • Take a break during the day at times to move around to break the momentum of stress
  • Become aware of yourself and your thoughts that reside in the background, when they are not helpful, stop and take a few deep breaths
  • Turn off email and phone when you need to concentrate on reading or work
  • When you listen, listen; when you read, read; when you meditate, mediate–become fully aware of only the present moment


How Did You Get Where You Are

March 31, 2014

Are you doing now what you thought you’d be when you started out?

I loved science as a kid. Electronics, especially, fascinated me. I learned about circuits. I learned math that was way beyond what they were teaching in school. Enough so, that I always tested well in standardized tests on math. I learned a lot of science that is still with me.

This was all outside of school. I think I learned some things in school, but to this day most of my education is outside the walls of Academe. (Note to educators 😉

Writing always had an attraction to me. So, after working in engineering-related jobs for many years, I started writing (which requires thinking, by the way).

Jesus, John, Peter and the rest of the original group must have been somewhat similar. They were very smart, and they knew a lot. But several times in the Gospel accounts they are referred to as “uneducated.” I think that is because they were educated outside of the “Ivy League” of the day. They weren’t part of the establishment.

As an aside, I looked into studying in a seminary a long time ago. It wasn’t attractive. The course of study was weird to me. And, I viewed it as just an apprenticeship toward getting into the “club” so to speak–being an official pastor. Not an attractive option to me then–or now.

Take a look at John, whose Gospel I’m studying right now. He wrote in Greek. His logic is somewhat complex. I think the same person wrote the Gospel, the three letters and the Revelation because the logic is the same and the vision is consistent–although you can see growth.

John probably came from a wealthy family. Learned the family trade of fishing. Became an intimate disciple of Jesus. Became a leader of the early movement. Probably Peter being the organizer and John being the intellectual visionary. Then he moved to Ephesus and taught a community. Was exiled to an island. And became a writer.

I think what John did was a mixture of intentionally learning and following the proddings of God. I think that’s how I’ve wound up where I am.

So, how did you get where you are? There is, of course, still time to follow the little whispers of God suggesting things you should be learning and doing.