Recently, my wife and I were calculating how much we needed to earn each week to pay all of our bills. After adding up the desired monthly income for the entire year, I was surprised at how little money we needed to survive. If you folks saw the numbers, I'd almost guarantee you that you'd fall over your chairs and ask, "How can a family of four live on that amount alone???"
One time, an older guy at our church showed us some apartments, and he explained to us the benefits of owning a house rather than renting. When discussing our combined income, he asked, "Do you guys make $50,000 a year?" That was his immediate guess, and my wife and I looked at each other and smirked. After telling him what we actually made, I could tell he was rather shocked -- but he did his best to hide it. He was probably thinking, "How in the world could a family of four survive on that???"
Another time, a friend of ours was doing our taxes. After seeing the numbers, she told my wife, "I'd be absolutely terrified of doing what you guys do!"
We don't even get any government assistance. We never sought it and we don't care to seek it. We just know how to live a "succulent life."
What do I mean? Think about so-called "desert plants" such as aloes and cacti. These plants are known as "succulents" because they hold a significant amount of water in their leaves and stems. Not only could they survive with very, VERY little water, they could also THRIVE without much water. They could grow big, produce more leaves, and even produce blooms with a very minute amount of water. Also, they could survive in the poorest kind of soil. The soil you wouldn't plant your precious petunias, geraniums, or lilies in, you could plant succulents in.
These plants were designed to hold their own with very little care. I have an aloe plant in my home and I think the longest I've went without watering it was AT LEAST one month. And it showed no signs of distress. It was actually producing more leaves!
I love succulents because not only are they beautiful and low maintenance, but also because they remind me that I don't need a lot in life to survive. Succulents remind me that it's not about how much I want, but how much I need. Succulents also remind me that in this life, there is very, very little that we humans need to live.
While on our way to Wednesday Night Bible study, we were listening on the radio about someone who made x amount of money on his main job, but yet he "had" to work two other jobs to make ends meet. My wife and I, after hearing of his income, just shook our heads. We thought, "If we made the money that he made, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves!" We'd feel rich! But you see, when you live a succulent lifestyle, you can't make $30,000 a year and live as if you were making $50,000 a year. You can't make $50,000 a year and live as if you were making $100,000 a year.
Yes, I know, you got that new job promotion. You're making a few thousand dollars more per year! Okay, go ahead and celebrate by taking all your friends out to dinner. But afterward, live as if you didn't get that promotion. Our temptation is to increase our standards of living when the money starts rolling in -- and later, we'd find ourselves struggling yet again.
I don't know about you, but the succulent lifestyle is rather freeing. I was quite relieved to see how little we actually needed. When the needs are low, it frees your mind. The more you need, the more grief you bring into your life. The more grief you have, the less you're able to enjoy your life.
In my life, I focus on NEEDS rather than WANTS. We generally confuse the two, don't we? How many of you have gone to a restaurant and told the waiter, "Yeah, I need..." First of all, the restaurant in itself isn't even a need! So, don't go in the restaurant talking about what you need. What you do need is to eat food -- what you DON'T need is to eat at a restaurant. You WANT to eat at a restaurant.
Or, how many of you have cable issues and called the company saying, "Yeah, I need to know..." Cable isn't a need. While it's nice to have (we have it ourselves), we don't NEED it. So, don't call your cable company talking about what you need. You WANT cable, you don't NEED it.
If we would look at what we actually need and learn how to live without many of our wants, we could start living the succulent lifestyle. We could not just survive, but we could THRIVE with very little -- only if you're willing to learn how. You don't need to live like a pauper. You just need to know what you actually need and how to maximize on the little resources that you have.
As a fitness trainer, I could give you a total body work-out, working everything from your shoulders to your ankles, without using ANY exercise equipment. Zero! I could just show up on your doorstep with nothing else but my clothes on, and I could take you to the middle of nowhere with nothing to workout with, and I could still build up your body. Using equipment is simply a bonus for me.
So, could you also live a succulent lifestyle? Could you learn to thrive with little? Could you maximize your small resources? Just think about this: knowing how to survive with little is a basic survival skill. If you don't have that skill, then when the money runs low, you'll go into panic mode and make many desperate decisions.
Go out and get yourself a succulent plant. Let it serve as a reminder to work with what you got and to make it count!
If you want to know discouragement, try teaching your children at home!
Teaching math to my children was perhaps the second biggest source of discouragement for me (teaching reading was perhaps number one on the list). Teaching basic addition wasn't easy! The hardest part about teaching addition was explaining when to carry a number. And don't even get me started on teaching subtraction!
Due to discouragement, I failed to be consistent in teaching them. I would teach them math for a few days, then take a long break from teaching it. Guess what? Once we started on math again, they would pretty much forget what I've taught them. And I'll be thinking, "Are you freaking kidding me??? You forgot how to do this basic problem that quickly???"
But finally, I had to just get past the discouragement and be consistent with the math lessons. Soon enough, my kids started to "get it." My daughter in particular quickly progressed from basic math to doing long division and converting mixed fractions -- all before the fourth grade. My son, while behind his sister, started to progress from basic math to more advance math.
Now just think if I just let discouragement keep me down. My kids would still be struggling with math to this day. I always had trouble with math when I was a kid and I don't want my kids having the same trouble as I had with math. Determination won out, and I'm proud to give my kids math assignments that they could complete on their own without my help.
When committing to anything, the one thing you need to conquer is discouragement. You will be discouraged several times before you start seeing positive progress. As long as you could get past the discouragement obstacles, you will start seeing favorable results.
Some of you know that my wife and I are big-time gardeners. But starting out was FULL of discouragement. Years ago, I started growing cantaloupe plants, but they died before producing fruit. I grew a pepper plant and it grew a pepper! Then it got eaten by what I think was a horned worm. We bought a tomato plant from the farmer's market that had tomatoes on it -- but the tomatoes started rotting out.
Then we purchased a vertical gardening tower and we grew these HUGE, beautiful squash plants -- and they got sick. I had to pull them out.
Trying again, we purchased another vertical gardening tower, and this time, after all the failed experiences we had, we started seeing good results. We started growing lots of food and even gave some food away! Finally, we started seeing good results!
When tempted to give up because of discouragement, don't do it. You never know what's on the other side if you keep pressing on!
I think about people who want to give up a bad habit. They stopped cold turkey for a few days and feel great -- until they got weak and gave in to their habits. Well, they try again, giving up cold turkey. They succeed for a few days, but then they fall back to their old habits.
After many of these failures, they decide to give up trying altogether. They think they'll be doomed to suffer from those bad habits. But they fail to understand that success comes after many discouraging road blocks.If you fail and give up, then you'd never know what you could have accomplished. But if you get past the discouragements and keep pressing on, then you could see the gold at the end of the rainbow.
How many things could you have accomplished had you not gotten discouraged? How far could you have traveled? How much weight could you have lost? How many bad habits could you have broken?Discouragement is there to remind you WHAT IS, instead of showing you what COULD BE. That is, discouragement tells you that you've failed, but it doesn't tell you what could happen if you keep trying.
When you commit to something, STICK TO IT if you truly see the potential in whatever it is you're committing to. Whether it's a business plan or a diet plan, if you see the potential, then stick with it. If you get discouraged along the way, just shake it off and keep going. You'll be discouraged before you be encouraged. Even if you get encouraged first, the encouragement won't last. The discouragement moments will come and you'd be faced with giving up or pressing on.
Whatever you commit to, give it time to show its true potential. Don't give up right away. Stick around. If you hang in there, you just might be pleasantly surprised at the end.
How do you add value to your home? With necessary renovations, repairs, and any additions that the general buyer would want such as a garage, a fence for the backyard, etc. Having a neat landscape would be icing on the cake. The purpose of increasing the value of your home is to make a nice profit from it should you decide to sell it -- or at the very least be reimbursed for everything that you've spent on the house.
Of course, you have certain home owners that do crazy things to decrease the value of their homes, such as painting them crazy colors, adding funky-looking wall paper, and making additions that seem to make no real sense. On top of that, having a poor landscape, not making any repairs, and making no renovations (you know, like a kitchen that hasn't been updated since 1974). All of these things decrease the value of your home to the point where not only would you NOT make a profit on your home, but you would actually LOSE money. If you've spent $100,000 on your home, you may only get half of that back.
Now think about adding or losing value in our personal lives. Everyday, we make choices that would either add value to us or take away value from us. Think about how you spend your typical day. Are you doing things that would make improvements to your character, or are you doing things that would make you LESS of who you are?
Whenever I have down time on the job, my natural inclination is to go on Facebook and veg out. But then I realized that doing this isn't adding any value to my life. Or when I'm at home and I have nothing to do, I would turn the T.V. on (or go on Facebook, too!). Again, this adds no value to my life. Instead of vegging out in front of the tube, I could be learning a new language, something that actually adds value to my life!
When you're in the car, you want to listen to some music. While I believe music is important for relaxation, you could be listening to something that would BETTER improve your character such as listening to a language CD, or a personal development CD, or just mediating and reflecting on life.
If you're not happy with the kind of person you are, then ask yourself how much time are you spending doing things that add value to your life. If all you do is go to work, watch T.V., and go to sleep, then you're not adding any value to your life.
You know, when I step back and look at the amount of time that I waste, man, it would shame me to death! I could easily waste 10 minutes just sitting on the couch staring into space. What could I have done in 10 minutes? I could have read a few pages in a book, or do some cleaning, or, in my field, do some exercises. Instead, I just wasted 10 minutes in a zombie state of mind!
Sleep is one my top weaknesses. I LOVE sleep! Even if I get up absolutely refreshed, if it's still dark outside, I'll go back to sleep -- then wake up miserable because I've slept too much. I've been doing this for years, and you'd think I'd learn my lesson by now! Nope, I continue to do it, not understanding that nobody needs too much sleep. Your body just needs enough to restore itself. So, by sleeping for an extra two or three hours, I've just wasted the opportunity to use those hours to make some personal improvements.
Don't get to the point in your life where you think you're perfect. Don't get to the point where you don't think you need any improvements. Want a little test to show that you need to make some improvements? If you....
Then you need to make some improvements! Just imagine what kind of person you'd be if you're always doing something that makes you better and better. Think about how much you'd boost your self-esteem. Think about the opportunities that would present themselves to you. Think about all the places you could go in life if you would only be willing to do something everyday that adds value to your life.
So, before you cut that T.V. on, or before you run around looking for Pokémon, or before you decide to sleep in for an extra 10 minutes, think about what valuable thing you could do instead. Don't dread the things that add value. Dread the things that don't add value, because the more you engage in non-valuable activities, the less valuable you would be. In this world, we need more people that ADD value, not take away value.
One thing I've learned from my kids is that I cannot tell them anything exciting before bed time. If they would be doing an exciting activity on the next day, I cannot tell them the night before, otherwise they would either have trouble sleeping or would get up really early. All that excitement pumps them up with too much adrenaline, and the more adrenaline you have, the less you could rest.
When you look forward to something, your moods and your energy would heighten! Have you ever worked on a project deep into the middle of the night and you have to force yourself to stop? That's because you were looking forward to completing your project. The anticipation gave you so much energy that sleeping and eating didn't even appeal to you.
Whenever I start writing on something, I won't eat or sleep. One time back in high school, I went to the library to research something for history class. I had to write a history paper, and when it comes to writing...man...somebody needs to hold me back! I will write, and write, and write, and write for hours. I won't care to eat or drink anything, or take any pee breaks. Once I get going, it would be hard for me to stop. I didn't eat anything for that whole day while I was at the library. I think I ate ONE meal that entire day.
But, if I had nothing to look forward to, well, I'd just be sluggish, tired, and cranky. The only thing I'd be looking forward to is sleep!
When we were kids, there was always something we looked forward to. Whether a school field trip, or visiting a relative, or getting a new toy (or video game), or playing with friends, or going to someone's birthday party, we were always looking forward to something. Maybe that is why we had so much energy as children!
But as we get older, we don't look forward to many things. Work, bills, car issues, house issues, kids driving you crazy, spouse getting on your nerves, etc. These things don't excite us. Yes, we love our family and appreciate life, but man, it's like after you've become an adult, all you do is work, pay bills, take care of the kids, sleep, wake up, and repeat. After awhile, life gets mundane. If you have kids, you watch them being excited for everything while you're slumped over on the couch watching television, because it's one of the few things you look forward to.
Well, it's time to make some changes. It's time to start new projects, to have new pursuits, to finally look forward to something. When there is something that excites you, your energy will just go through the roof! No more being a slave to coffee. You just might rush out the house forgetting to eat breakfast and to drink your coffee.
And you know what? When you're excited about something, your family could actually be excited for you and encourage you to pursue whatever it is that has gotten you pumped up. One time, my wife and I had a goal for me to write a book and sell 80,000 copies of it in hopes that it would help us get a house. My daughter learned of our goals and got excited about it, too. She even wanted to write a book herself.
But I had periods where I got excited about nothing! Life was just the same ol' same ol'. I found myself always tired, lacking appetite, and loving sleep. I loved my God, my wife, my kids, my church, so it's not as if my lack of excitement had anything to do with these things. It's just that I had no personal pursuits. All I could think of was how to survive, how to make a business, how to get a job, how to keep myself from asking my mother for money, etc., etc. When those thoughts weigh down on you, well, you just don't get excited about things anymore.
And guess what happens to those around you? When you lack passion in your life, you don't act very lovingly to those you live with -- and you'd be teaching your kids to not get excited for anything. Why should they look forward to anything when they see you looking forward to nothing else but work and bills?
Let's go back to my example of wanting to write a book and selling 80,000 copies. My excitement spelled over to my daughter, who wanted to also write a book. My son, well, he's not too big on writing. However, he can easily get excited about anything, so if somebody in the family is excited about something, he would be excited for it, too. Your excitement could be so contagious that it would inspire those around you to pursue something exciting of their own.
As tempting as it may be, don't live life passively.While the responsibility of being an adult could weigh heavily on you, don't let it crush you. Don't just look forward to Fridays, or going to the club, or racking up paid vacation days. Look forward to something deeper, something that just hypes you up so much that sleeping would seem undesirable.
The day you started asking for coffee was the day you've stopped being excited. Your energy comes from two glands that sit on top of your kidneys, called your adrenal glands. They produce epinephrine (adrenaline), and this chemical jacks you up and makes you do things that you've never done before. If that epinephrine is not flowing through your veins, then you've lost passion. You'd always be fatigue. You would never get a good night's rest, you will always be trying different energy drinks, coffee would be your friend, and you just might eventually go to the doctor for what you think is clinical depression.
Find something that excites you and pursue it. Get that energy back up again. The more times you get excited, the less times you'd be complaining about not having enough energy.
If you have ever went jogging before, you'd know that the most difficult thing about jogging isn't the jogging part. Jogging is rather easy -- and I believe it's one of the easiest exercises you could do once you get the hang of it. The most difficult part of jogging is the mental fatigue that you get while jogging -- or in other words, the fact that you know that you are jogging can be discouraging.
Just think about jogging in a straight line for one hour. You do nothing else but jog. No jumping, no sprinting, no dancing, and no lifting weights...just jogging. The exercise is rather easy, because you do nothing but go forward at a nice, steady pace. But now, try doing that for 30 to 60 minutes. After a while, you just get bored, and if you have no music playing, you just may get discouraged and stop.
Jogging is nothing for me, but I can't get past the mental fatigue of jogging. Any exercise that involves me doing the same thing over and over and over again is mentally exhausting. While I could physically perform the exercise, the mental fatigue would wear me out so that jogging would FEEL difficult.
Now, if you're a creature of habit where you THRIVE on routine and predictability, then this exercise would be perfect for you. But for others who like to mix it up every now and then, jogging could be a mentally painful experience. This is why many joggers listen to music: it keeps their minds off of the mundane task.
Here's the thing about mental fatigue: it would make the easiest task seem difficult. If you don't have any mental endurance, then you would get easily discouraged from doing the simplest of all tasks.
Some of you remembered having a writing assignment as punishment when you were kids. Remember when the teacher would make you write a phrase over and over again either on the chalkboard or on paper? Maybe you threw a spitball at someone, and the teacher caught you. As punishment, the teacher made you write "I will not throw spitballs at my classmate" after school on her 100-foot chalkboard! The actual activity in itself was simple. Yes, your hand and arms started to get tired, but all you had to do was write that phrase repeatedly. The difficult part of that activity was staying focused enough to do it! After writing the phrase down 5 times, your brain just got tired and knowing that you still have to do it 30 more times was mentally draining.
In life, most of the stuff that we do is actually easy in themselves. You most likely work at a job that is pretty much mindless: it doesn't take much effort to do a good job. But it's the fact that you have to do that task over and over for a full day that makes you mentally tired.
When I do my kids' hair, I would twist it back at night so that when I undo it, their hair could be beautiful and wavy. The actual task is stupid easy. But whenever I think about doing their hair, I just get mentally tired to the point where I would go for DAYS without doing their hair. As a result, their hair would get dried up, knotted up, and full of lent. Then when I finally do their hair, I'm battling knots that are so bad that I can't even run a finger through it!
Everything from brushing your teeth, to driving to the store, to cleaning the house, and even to exercising is easy to do. But since we have so little mental endurance, doing even the easy stuff becomes difficult to do.
Building muscle is actually easy to do. Just take a weight and lift it. Do that everyday and you will get muscles. When the weight becomes easy, lift heavier and you'll get bigger muscles. Sounds easy? Well, that's because it is! So if you're not doing it, it's because you don't have the mental endurance for it.
The main fuel for achieving anything comes from your head. If you cannot mentally endure a task, then you won't complete a task. Even if you're just trying to tie your shoes, if you're not mentally ready for that task, you won't do it.
Kids give the best examples for mental endurance (or lack of it). Ask them to do a simple job such as emptying the dishwasher or making up their beds. Simple, right? Nothing mentally complicated about those tasks. Why is it that 2 hours later, they still haven't completed those tasks? Because they can't focus on those tasks! Lack of mental endurance means lack of focus. Then, of course, you yell at them about how you had to milk the cows, feed the pigs, and shave the sheep from 4 am to 9 pm everyday and all you ask them to do was to just make up their beds.
A lack of mental endurance is serious, because it could keep you from being your best! And believe me, it doesn't take much to be your best. The simplest activities could make significant improvements to your character, but we can't do those simple things because we get mentally tired too easily.
See, we have no problems doing the easy stuff like play video games, chat on Facebook, or watch television. Those are things we enjoy doing. Now, doing stuff that is actually important is just mentally draining. We could only do so much at a time before we hit a mental crash.
Having mental endurance is a discipline. It doesn't come naturally to anybody, so you need to train yourself to have it. Do you know that back in ancient times, before writing was a common practice, people had to memorize EVERYTHING, even word-from-word. When you had to retell a historical event, you had to memorize every detail of that story so you could accurately pass it down from generation to generation. Today, we are so lazy with memorizing anything that we barely try to memorize: we just write everything down. Trying to memorize something is mentally exhausting, even though the activity is very simple.
Better mental endurance means better accomplishments. You could get more things done when you could increase your mental endurance. The next time you're doing something that's easy and you start getting restless, force yourself to stay on task. Don't quit doing what you're doing until the job is completed. Don't stop because you can't mentally bare the task anymore. Anything worth achieving is going to mentally wear you down. If you could get past the mental drain, you would be successful in more areas of your life.
During church one Sunday, I've approached a woman about her weight. It looked like she slimmed down, and she was proud to tell me that she had lost over 60 lbs in one year! What did she do to lose that weight? She just stopped taking a particular medication for her alleged diabetes. I say "alleged" because these days you don't have to have diabetes to be on diabetic medications.
Her doctor put her on metformin, which is a very common type of diabetic medication. The reason her doctor prescribed this medication to her was to help her lose belly fat -- plus, her A1C reading (which measures your blood sugar levels over a three-month period) wasn't good. So, she took this medication and had actually lost 14 lbs at first, but then the weight-loss stopped -- and she started gaining weight again.
So, one day she decided to quit the metformin cold turkey. Sure enough, the weight fell off. She told me that she had to quit cold turkey. Weaning herself off wasn't helping. It was all or nothing. She feels good and she looks better.
She didn't get her doctor's permission to get off the drug. She just reclaimed her power that she had given to the doctor and made her choice to stop a medication that didn't seem to help her.
Now, it's time for you to reclaim your power. If you have given someone else control of your life, it's time to take that power back. Once you get back that power, don't give it to anybody else.
One time, my wife was telling me about a person who had successfully reduced his blood pressure by taking nutritional supplements. His doctor, however, was against him taking the supplements, so this man stopped the supplements and was put back on medication. Never mind that his condition improved with the supplements. This man had given his power to the doctor, and now this man may suffer for it later.
You see, only YOU know YOU. Only YOU know what works for YOU. Only YOU know what you need to be doing to make your life better. Giving your power to someone else who doesn't know you as well as YOU do would lead you down the wrong path.
One of the most dreaded phrases I hear is, "Let me check with my doctor first." Well, before you check with your doctor first, ask yourself, "What if my doctor said no?" What if your doctor doesn't approve of those oils, or vitamins, or that exercise program, or this, that, or the other? What if you know that what you need to do to improve your health will actually work, but your doctor says no? What would you do?
But, let's leave the doctors alone for a moment. What if you wanted to take out a loan for business, knowing fully well that you need to do this for business growth, but your accountant said no. Your accountant said you have too much debt and you can't afford another loan. Okay, valid point. But you know that if you just take out one more loan for a very particular business purpose, your chances of making a ton of money would be super high -- and you could pay off all your debts in a matter of months. Yes, you're willing to deal with the consequences if things don't work out the right way. Well, your accountant said no. What would you do?
Or, let's say that you have a personal trainer who put you on a diet that is supposed to make you lose weight. Well, you feel sick from this diet. You have, however, found a diet that you really believe would work for you. But your personal trainer said no. He or she is more of an expert than you are. So, what do you do?
Ultimately, you have to make the decision that would be right for you. While it's very helpful to have expert advice, you need to make the right decision for you. The only way to make this right decision is to not give your power to someone else.
When you think about it, you are just a number to your doctor. Should you drop dead, your doctor has hundreds of other clients to deal with. When that doctor goes home, he or she is not thinking about you or your well-being. In the same way, you are just a number to your accountant, your car mechanic, your personal trainer, your teacher, your college professor, etc. When they make decisions that affect your life, it doesn't hurt or benefit them. So, why would you want to give your power to people who ultimately don't care all that much about you.
Listen, my top concerns aren't you. My top concerns are my wife and kids. Whatever happens to them, whether good or bad, would ultimately affect me. But if I suggest that YOU do something, I don't benefit from it and I don't hurt from it. If I told you to do three hours of intense cardio everyday and eat only lettuce, it won't hurt me. When I get home, I'd probably forget that I told you to do all that crazy stuff to yourself. So, why would you give your power to ME? You know YOU. I know ME. I do what I KNOW is best for ME. So YOU need to do what YOU KNOW is best for YOU!
Whenever someone tells me what they're doing to lose weight, my attitude is, "Does it work for you?" or "What has happened since you've been doing it?" I can't tell you that I disagree with your decision unless I'm seeing evidence that whatever it is that you're doing is harming you. I don't want any of your power. I would be more than happy to give you my advice, but I don't care to tell you what to do -- unless you're my kids, of course.
If somebody is keeping you from better things, then it's time to reclaim your power. Don't have so much respect for someone so that you would give them your power. Remember: when it comes down to it, that person doesn't care all that much about you. Who cares about you as much as you do? Nobody! So, don't give your power to anybody else but YOU.
Make the decision that you believe is best for you. Only YOU would truly benefit if you make a good decision, and only YOU would be hurt if you made a poor decision. Let the decision be yours alone. Don't let your doctor, lawyer, teacher, mechanic, psychologist, etc., rule your life. You are more than welcome to listen to their advice, but at the end, the decision is all yours to make.
One thing I've recently realized is that when we were kids, we would do activities simply for the fun of it. Whether it's playing sports, drawing pictures, acting in plays, making crafts, or playing games, we just did it simply because we enjoyed it. We didn't care so much about getting anything in return for whatever activity we did.
When we become adults, we enjoyed the activities less and loved the results more. Or in other words, we do things simply to get something in return.
We go to work simply to make money.
We start a business hoping to get rich.
We exercise hoping to lose weight.
We lift weights hoping to get muscles.
We give hoping to get something back.
Whatever we do, we want to be compensated somehow. We don't want to do something simply because we enjoy it, and we definitely don't want to do something free. If we don't get anything back, then we don't want anything to do with it.
See, the one thing to understand is that results are to be bonuses, not obligations. No one is guaranteed to get anything from all their hard work. So if you get something in return, count it as an unexpected blessing.
Think about this. If you work at a traditional job, do you get paid when you first clock in? No? Well, do you at least get paid at the end of each day? Maybe, if you work at a temp agency. But most likely, you work at a place that pays you either at the end of the week, at the end of two weeks, or worst, at the end of the month. So, essentially, you're giving your employers free labor until they decide to pay you.
Well, what if after working for a whole week, your job shuts down overnight and your boss is nowhere to be found? How are you going to get paid? See, the results aren't guaranteed unless you get results BEFORE you start working, which rarely ever happens.
What if you exercised your heart out and still don't lose weight? What if you've planted seeds and get no fruit? What if you helped someone and that person couldn't reward you? Results aren't guaranteed. You could work hard to build something up and not be able to enjoy the fruit of your labor.
King Solomon pondered these kinds of things, stating that good things could happen to bad people, that your hard work could go to waste, that your children could ruin the business that you've past down to them, etc. He says that life is just full of irony. "The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all." (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Or in other words, results don't happen because you make them happen. Results come almost as if by random.
So, if you're a result-oriented person, you may find yourself constantly disappointed because things don't happen the way you want them to happen. You didn't make enough money with your business today. You didn't drop enough weight this week. You couldn't find the job that you wanted yet. You didn't get the grade on your test that you've studied so hard for.
Instead of loving the results, love the WORK. Love what you do. Enjoy your labor. After pondering all of these ironies, King Solomon concluded, "I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil" (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
Think about children. They simply enjoy whatever it is that they do. I know when I was a kid, I loved drawing and I was able to draw very well. I even went to a middle school that specialized in fine arts and attended a high school that specialized in art. I still have my drawings that I've made while in middle school, and man, they were pretty darn good! I did these drawings simply for the love of it, not because I was expecting anything from it.
Life is very short for all of us, and it's not worth pursuing things that we find no joy in. If you are doing things simply to get something in return, then you're looking in the wrong places. You will constantly find yourself in misery. But if you find yourself doing things simply because you enjoy them, you will have more joy in your life. Man, the feeling of doing something that you love is amazing! And if you get something in return, you'll be floating on the clouds!
Find something to do that makes you alive and don't worry about compensation.
Find an exercise program that you enjoy, and don't worry about losing weight.
Find a hobby that you love, and don't worry about making a business from it.
Do an activity that excites you, and don't worry about getting famous for it.
Sometimes when looking at certain people in my fitness classes, I would wonder why do they even come if they're not going to work out hard. But then I had to realize that for some people, they simply come to class because they enjoy it. They don't care about getting results. These people are more likely to continue coming to my classes than those who come simply to get results.
Love the work, not the results. Just experience the pure joy of doing an activity. Whether it's painting a picture, planting a garden, taking a jog, or working at your job, do it mostly because you enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, then find a reason to enjoy it. If you can't even do that, then sooner or later, you'll need to move on to doing something different. Don't spend your life chasing after things that you don't care about. And think about this: if you do something that you enjoy, you'll most likely do it well, and you just might be compensated for it.
While at my wife's family's house in Buffalo, I offered her aunt to work in her garden, because I enjoyed gardening. I didn't expect any compensation for it, but because I was simply willing to work in her garden while I was on vacation, she wanted to pay me. She had the money for it and it would make her feel better if I was compensated. So, after working in the garden for a few days, she rewarded me BIG! The money to her probably meant nothing, but it meant a whole lot to us!
While helping someone at the gym get in shape, this lady appreciated my service so much that she really wanted to pay me for it. At first I refused, but later on, I agreed to take some cash -- especially since during that time I had financial difficulty. She paid me BIG! Again, I wasn't expecting compensation. I just enjoyed helping her out, and the joy I had from my labor brought on some rewards.
Now, would this happen every single time? Would you always get paid for doing something that you love? No, but the point is that if you do what you enjoy, it would invite the opportunities for compensation. There are plenty of stories of individuals who started huge businesses because they started out doing something that they enjoyed. But even if you don't get compensated, do what you enjoy anyway -- if for any reason, so that you could have something to look forward to.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.