Get Understanding

The wisest and wealthiest man to ever live said this about understanding, “in all of your getting, get understanding.” Understanding empowers us to make better, more informed decisions. Understanding helps us to know why to make the right decision. I find that understanding makes certain decisions easier once you know why you should or should not do something.

To be honest weight loss has been a struggle for me for a while. If I look at pizza or pasta I gain weight. This has really been a challenge for me, some days I feel like I am winning and some days I feel like I am losing but I choose to keep fighting. If you are engaged in an ongoing battle and you need a breakthrough your breakthrough may come by getting understanding. I want to share with you how understanding has helped me make two diet based decisions that have helped me and are helping me to make better food choices. Recently I had been frequently eating a ham, egg and cheese quiche. I could not figure out why it tasted so good. So when I spoke to my dad who is a chef about this amazing little goodie he said to me, “buddy that thing is no good for you, it’s made with heavy cream.” So the next time I went to the bakery I asked them if the quiche was made with heavy cream, the owner confirmed that is was made with heavy cream. I have not had one more of those quiches since I understood what it was made of. Now in the future I may have another one, but it will never be something that I frequently eat again. Understanding helped me to make a better choice.

As many of you know soda is not good for you based on it’s ingredients. For those of you who have travelled internationally you know that soda made with real sugar both tastes better and is better for you than soda made with corn syrup. However generally soda is not good for you because sugar turns to fat and fat clogs your body up and weighs you down. All that is good to know but if you see the long term affect on someone’s body although soda may taste like your friend you realize that it is really your enemy. Also if you know what soda used to be used for it may give you the understanding to either totally quit or vastly reduce your soda intake. Cola can even be used to clean toilets and unclog drain. Click here to read more about what cola can be used for.

In all of your getting, get understanding. Let understanding empower you to make better choices.

The Anatomy of a bad decision 

Transparent people are confident in grace. They are confident in what Jesus has done for them that they could not do for themselves. So to be totally honest I have made a lot of bad decisions. Some of those decisions have caused my loved ones and myself a lot of pain. Some decisions have cost me a lot of money; some have resulted in me wasting my time. I have also made some good decisions and then rewarded myself in a counterproductive way. For example, I lost two or three pounds in a week and then the next day rewarded myself with an ice cream sundae and gained a pound back with one snack. Many of us are counterproductive as it relates to how we reward ourselves for making a good decision. 

Let me be clear, a good decision doesn’t always get you the results you may have desired. Here is a brief example: Joseph the dreamer chose not to sleep with his boss’s wife; he wasn’t promoted, he was imprisoned. He was falsely accused and unjustly sentenced as a direct result of making the right choice. The good news is that decision positioned him for the process that God would use to promote him from the prison to the palace. Sometimes, a good decision takes longer to materialize but in the long run it is always worth it. A good decision has no regret attached to it; a bad decision almost always involves regret. Regret is something that we will either live with or learn from. The choice is ours. 

Bad decisions happen when we isolate ourselves from the counsel (or the advice) of the wise. If you don’t take counsel you will need counseling. Bad decisions happen when we have wrong desires and wrong priorities. Bad decisions happen when we are motivated by fear. Here are a few ways this plays out. For example, we are going through something that is painful and a shortcut is offered. We choose what seems to be the easier and faster way because of the pain. The end result is more pain and a longer unnecessary detour because we made a decision from our place of pain and impatience. It is important to know and remember that there are no shortcuts in the kingdom of God. Bad decisions are often made from a place of insecurity. We do things to try to prove ourselves instead of being ourselves. Or we don’t say or do things for fear of what people will think about us. We do need to be conscious of others, but we do not need to be controlled by the opinions of others. Other bad decisions are motivated by lust. Although lust is sexual, it is not only sexual. Lust says, “I can not wait, I will not wait, I have to do it now, I have to say it now, I have to have it now.” It is important to remember that patient and prudent people don’t make rushed and impetuous decisions. If you are someone who makes decisions based on emotions instead of wisdom and understanding read this blog. It will encourage you toward better decisions where you count the cost before you make the choice.

How trust is built

Trust is built slowly. The more consistent you are the more trustworthy you will be. Everyone wants to be loved and cared for; everyone wants to be trusted. When we speak we want people to listen to us and believe us. When we belong it means we are both loved and trusted. The Bible teaches us to love people unconditionally because God loved us unconditionally. However, the Bible does not teach that we should trust people unconditionally. The Scripture is clear that Jesus – although he loved everyone – did not trust everyone. See John 2:23-25. Personally, I will only trust someone as much as their integrity allows me to trust them.

5 ways to build trust.

  1. Admit when you are wrong. The more you do this publicly the more people identify with you.
  2. Be on time, apologize when you are late and call people back.
  3. Do what you say. Integrity is essential. He who sows integrity reaps trust. Under promise and over deliver.
  4. Say what you mean and mean what you say: Be honest and don’t flatter people.
  5. Talk to people, not about people. If you speak about people, others will hear you, and will not trust you. 

Integrity

The wisest and wealthiest man to ever live said, “the integrity of the upright shall guide them.” Integrity is a guide, it gives us direction. Integrity instructs us with what to do next. Someone who has integrity may not have a blueprint for the rest of their life, but they intuitively know what is the next right decision. C.S. Lewis said, “integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” When someone has integrity they are honest with God, themselves and others. If you have integrity you do what you say, you mean what you say, and you admit when you are wrong.

Integrity is not about perfection, it’s about authenticity. Hypocrisy is when we project an image of ourselves that is not who we really are. Hypocrisy is the opposite of integrity. Hypocrisy tells others that we are not trustworthy, serious or safe. Our integrity tells others that we are trustworthy. If people don’t see our integrity they won’t want to hear our truth. If we are honest most of us would say that we are recovering hypocrites who are being changed into people of integrity who mean what they say, do what they say, and are what they project. If we want to have real meaningful relationships then we need to keep it real with ourselves and others.

Our integrity will determine both our longevity and our legacy. King Solomon said this, “The just man walks in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” Again we see that integrity gives us direction and provides our children with blessing. We can protect our children’s future by living with integrity now. Let integrity lead you to do the next right thing, it will effect you, your family, your friends and your future. Remember this, the more integrity you have, the less regrets you will have. 

Vision 

Your eyes give you sight, but faith gives you vision. Sight sees what is, vision sees what could be. Vision is when faith and hope look into tomorrow and see something that is not yet, but should be. Vision is when you see a picture of something that is not yet, but could be. Vision sees possibilities. The people in life who have vision usually have direction as well. For vision to give you clear direction, vision must be converted to mission. For example if you have a vision of a skinnier, healthier or wealthier you. You will need a game plan to get there. So your diet and gym routine become your mission and that came from the vision that you had of a better you. When you look at a problem through the lens of faith and hope you get a vision. So look at your life or circumstances through the lens of faith and hope and see what could be. Don’t be discouraged about what is, crying over spilt milk will only turn the milk sour. Look at what is and see what could be. Who do you see yourself becoming this year? Where do you see yourself going this year? What opportunities are before you now? What are the possibilities if you make the most of the opportunities you have been given?

What is in your power to do now that will help you move closer to the vision you have for your life? Powerful people don’t focus on what they can’t change, they focus on what is in their power to change. Be powerful and take initiative to move closer toward the vision you have for your life. Remember being passive is not being patient. Now is the best time to move forward.

How are your Emotions?

How are your emotions? How you manage your emotions will determine the quality of your life. How you mange your emotions will determine how much people trust you. There is a direct connection between how you manage your feelings and how you manage your friendships. Many people are like a hard drive that is 98 % full and slowing down. When the hard drive is very close to full the computer is not only slower but it is also at risk of crashing. Crashing could mean that you loose what you have because you didn’t protect it well. Many people are one situation away from a meltdown. Your mind, will and emotions are limited in both strength and space. Keeping a clear conscience is not just about admitting when you are wrong or confessing sin, its also about managing your emotions. If you don’t manage your emotions you may have a meltdown. The same way if you don’t make space on the hard drive and just keep saving stuff your computer may eventually crash. The end result of not managing emotions could even be murder or suicide, so this is a very serious thing. Your emotional health is determined by what you internalize and what you externalize. Here is a model I have used especially during hard times.


What to Internalize and what to Externalize.

Internalize – think about and focus on.

  1. What God says in his word (the Bible) and by his Holy Spirit.
  2. What God does. (The Testimonies of the Lord)
  3. Success. (What I have learned from what I did right) 
  4. The lessons I have learned and why? (What I learned from my failures)
  5. Good advice I have received from wise counselors.

Externalize – write them down on paper until you are done processing what was presented to you. 

  1. Problems
  2. Needs
  3. Temptation
  4. Criticism
  5. Failures

We should write down what we internalize as well. The reason I am saying to write down what you are externalizing is so that your problems don’t occupy precious and priceless space in your soul. I hope this helps you process what emotions you are feeling. Remember, emotions make a great servant but a terrible master. 

Poverty

Poverty is not only a lack of money, it’s also a lack of opportunity. Steve Stewart founder of Impact Nations said, “opportunity unlocks potential.” Where poverty is, potential is not. Because human beings are priceless potential is expensive. The best thing we can invest in is people. The greatest investment is to give to someone who can not give you anything in return.

Poverty is also economic oppression. Sometimes the oppressor is without, and sometimes the oppressor is within. Sometimes the oppression is hopelessness. When someone is hopeless they feel helpless. When you give someone hope you are actually giving them help. When people are hungry and do not have access to clean water they suffer unnecessarily. It’s hard to work and learn when your stomach hurts because of you don’t have access to clean water, or you have a headache because you are hungry. Also the poor are also often oppressed by corrupt police or under policed because they have nothing. Not always but often your voice is as loud as your pocket is deep.

We should be a voice for those who have no voice. We should should extend a hand to the needy instead of just assuming they are lazy. The wisest and richest man to ever live said, “when you give to the poor you are lending to the Lord.” Jesus said, “what you have done to the least of these you have done to me.” In the kingdom of God you don’t have what you saved, you have what you gave. We store up treasure in heaven by giving to the poor of the earth. If you would like to invest in the poor click here.

4 Keys to Productivity

Highly productive people are strategic about what they do, intentional about how, why and when they do it and are relentlessly committed as they are doing it. If you want to be more and do more this blog is for you. If you believe you can do more because of the vision, passion and mission you have been given then this blog is for you.

4 Keys to Productivity 

  1. Prepare – for what you will do. A man once asked Abraham Lincoln “If you had 8 hours to cut a tree down what would you do?” Lincoln replied, “I would sharpen my axe for 6 hours.” The more prepared we are the easier it is to execute what we are actually trying to do.
  2. Plan– for how and when you will do it. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” (John C Maxwell) If you don’t care about what you are doing you will not prepare yourself for it or plan how and when you will do it. The more you care about who you are and what you are doing the more seriously you will take planning. Just think about how much planning goes into a wedding. The wedding is a very important and expensive day; therefore a lot of planning goes into that day. Whatever we value we plan for.
  3. Focus – while you are doing it. In reality most of us are very busy and easily distracted. When we are doing something that really matters we should give that something or that someone our undivided attention. The more we focus on what we are doing, the faster and more effective we will be. We spend a lot of time and money on unnecessary things because we don’t pay close attention to details. Only when we really focus can we really put our best foot forward.
  4. Persevere– following through until you have done it. Often the only difference between failure and success is perseverance. Most people quit right before they begin to win. If you are someone who is motivated and led by feelings you will struggle with perseverance. However if you value choices over feelings you will choose perseverance and have your due reward for not quitting. Often in life we come to a breaking point right before we enter into a breakthrough. If you are doing something good for God and people, don’t quit. I have never met someone that regretted persevering when it came to doing what was right and good. However I have met many people who live with “I should have”, “I could have” but “I didn’t”. If you are that person let go of regret and go finish that good thing you started. It is not too late to do what is right. You have a choice to make today. Don’t quit! 

How the Media Controls People

What if the media was strategically putting their message directly into your mind? What if they had a proven scientific strategy to bypass your logic and implant their message deep into the recesses of your mind? They do. But who are they? I am glad you asked. They are communists, terrorists, liberals and even conservatives. I am not writing this to scare you. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am not writing this so that you stop watching the news. However, I am writing this so you watch the news with a filter on so that their message doesn’t end up deep in your memory bank without you choosing to put it there. What is bizarre about this whole thing is that people who believe completely different things all use the same strategy. The strategy is very simple and I will illustrate it and then show you another unrelated example that has affected all of us. Step one: they show you a disturbing image that breeds fear. This shuts down your frontal lobe, which is your logic center. Step two: they take their message and bypass your logic and put it directly into your memory bank. They do this without you accepting or believing it. Practically and scientifically speaking here is how they do it. They show you frightening images with disturbing sounds they shut down the frontal lobe in your brain. Their goal is control. They accomplish it through fear. Remember this, whatever you are afraid of is what rules you. The media uses fear to bypass our logic and control us. If we reject fear they cannot control us. My friend Khalid from Pakistan said, “danger is real, but fear is a choice.” So reject fear and then process the information logically instead of just emotionally. Emotions are great, they make a great servant but a terrible master.

Here is another illustration of how fear shuts down the logical side of your brain in real life. You are watching a scary movie, you hear a loud sound coming from a darkroom in the movie scene and you jump. What just happened here? Fear shut down the frontal lobe or the logic side of your brain. In that moment you forgot that the movie was filmed long ago in a faraway land called Hollywood and that everything is happening on the TV screen. Because you forgot that, you reacted in fear to something that you have absolutely no reason to be afraid of.

If you would like to read an article that explains how fear affects the brain click here.

How Powerful People Think.

Powerful people don’t think I can’t, they think how can I? They don’t think this won’t work, they think how can we make this work? Powerful people don’t focus on the problem they focus on solutions and strategies. Let me share with you a private conversation I had with a powerful person who is happy, humble and really down to earth. This man is an inventor, an investor, a philanthropist and an evangelist. He is a good husband to one woman for many years and a good father to his children. He feeds orphans daily and sends young people to college that are not even his children. God has blessed him and he has made some right decisions over the course of his life and now he lives to give. I have leaned a lot from him. His life has taught me that the purpose of prosperity is generosity. 

One day while in another country with my good friend I asked him, what does it feel like to be powerful? I said to him, you can buy a Mercedes or a house in the Caribbean or go on vacation for a few months. You can do virtually whatever you want. What does that feel like? When you get up in the morning what do you feel like? At first he really didn’t have an answer. In fact he said that it was a good question and that no one had ever asked him that before. From my question I learned that a good question is a question that has never been asked before. Not only will the asker grow from the answer, but the one answering the question will grow also because now he is thinking about something he never thought about before. The next day he answered me in a more clear and definitive way. He said, “to be honest it feels good to know that I can buy my wife a Lexus cash, but honestly I really don’t think about it until we need a car.” When he said that a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. Powerful people don’t allow useless thoughts to occupy precious head space. In other words my friend doesn’t wake up thinking about what he can buy or where he can go, he only thinks about what is pertinent to now. Because he planned for tomorrow he doesn’t have to worry about it. Powerful people live in now. They may plan for tomorrow, but they refuse to worry about it. Remember this if you are worrying about tomorrow you are probably not planning for it wisely, because fear and worry shut down the logical part of your brain. So worrying about tomorrow will mess up both today and tomorrow, making yesterday rather appealing. Powerful people don’t live in yesterday or tomorrow they live in now. You can’t be powerful living in the past or the future, because you live in now. If you are attentive to now, tomorrow will be better than if you focused on yesterday or worried about tomorrow. Whether you are day dreaming about the house or the car of your dreams, or worrying about how you are going to pay your bills. Dreaming and worrying are not how powerful think. Powerful think about what is the next right decision based on who I am, where I am, where I am going and what I value. Powerful people practice self control, which helps them to stay focused on what is most important. The more self control you have the more powerful you are. Powerful people don’t control others they control themselves.

3 things powerful people don’t think about.

  1. Powerful people don’t worry about what is out of their control.
  2. Powerful people don’t allow useless things to occupy precious head space.
  3. Powerful people don’t live in the past, they are focused on the next right decision.