Accountability 

One of the keys to sustainable success in anything is accountability. If you want to pay off debt or acquire wealth you will need to be accountable to people, your plan and the law. If you want to get free of an addiction or be a competitive athlete you will need to learn how accountability works. Accountability is supposed to work for you not against you. I realize that oppressive and insecure leaders have hurt people and so accountability may sound scary. But we can’t live in reaction to other people’s stupidity and expect to succeed in life. Forgive them, let it go, get healthy, be humble and accountable and you will move forward in life. Just know this, where there is true humility there is accountability.

Accountability is a about freedom not control. When most people think of accountability they think of someone calling them to ask, “Are you looking at porn? or Are you still using drugs?” That is the necessary but negative side of accountability. The positive side of accountability sounds something like this. “Are you writing that book you have been talking about?” “What are you doing to start that business that you have been talking about and planning for?” Accountability will pick you up when you fall, keep you on track, help you succeed and help you not become victim of your own success. Accountability helps you to build or rebuild trust.

In the Bible when the prophet Nathan held King David accountable, he helped save David’s kingdom, which actually protected his legacy. Psalm 51 is a direct result of a healthy confrontation that helped David become accountable. In the democratic process accountability protects us from tyranny. In the banking world accountability protects us from fraud. In the jewelry business accountability assures that what you have purchased is authentic. If you want to succeed in life you need to make sure that you see accountability as a servant not a slave driver.

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. 

3 safe assumptions 

Generally it is not wise to make assumptions. Unfortunately I have learned this the hard way. You can either ask questions or make assumptions. If you want answers, ask questions. If you want problems build your expectations about reality on merely assumptions. Assumptions often lead to false assumptions. False assumptions often lead to miss understandings, which usually lead to a downward spiral. When it relates to others we should ask questions when we are able to. However there are times in life where we are relying on our own perceptions of people or circumstances and we have to move forward without all of the facts. In cases like that all we can do is go with what we perceive. In life we are always estimating and assuming stuff. We estimate how long our commute home will take. We assume that our house will be there when we get there. As we forecast reality we need to be able to make some safe assumptions. Think of it like bringing your umbrella to work when it is very overcast and moist in the morning but not yet raining. Or like a life preserving raft on a boat or a seat belt in a car. Life will blind side you so make sure you wear your seatbelt.

3 safe assumptions you can make.

  1. Things will take longer than you thought.
  2. Things will cost more than you thought.
  3. The people you trust will let you down more than your thought.

Things will take longer than you thought because there are many variables that are out of your control which can prohibit things happening exactly when and how you planned them to happen. All the planning in the world can not stop something that is out of your control. So enjoy the process and be patient with yourself and others. Things will cost more than you thought because things break, and it costs money for parts and labor. A first time home owner, a first time parent or first time Mercedes Benz owner can attest to this reality. When you buy something nice be sure to research the cost of maintenance and factor that into your decision. Also having an emergency fund is a wise way to prevent a problem from becoming a crisis. The people you trust will let you down more than you thought. This is a painful reality because you trusted them. You can avoid unnecessary disappointment by verbalizing your expectations. Once you verbalize your expectations then you can determine if those expectations are realistic or not. Unverbalized expectations almost always leads to disappointment. It is important to factor in let downs and disappointments into your meaningful relationships. Give people permission to be human. Meaningful relationships are not perfect because we are not perfect. Be merciful because one day you will need some mercy.

5 ways to get Wisdom

The wisest and wealthiest man to ever live said, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Wisdom begins when we know that in the end we will have to answer to God for our motives, words, actions, relationships and the resources that were entrusted to us. When we make decisions from that place of understanding generally we make wise decisions. Jesus said, “wisdom is justified by her children.” Wisdom leaves us both evidence and an inheritance. What is interesting about wisdom is that it outlives the wise. Think of King Solomon, his wisdom is still speaking today although he is not. There are several types of wisdom. There is wisdom that is revealed. This is supernatural logic, that is only made possible through the faith of Jesus. This is hidden wisdom. God gives us revelation and we get wisdom. That is the wisdom that we can ask God for and he gives it to us based on our ability to receive and steward it. Then there is received wisdom that comes by asking the right questions and making the right observations.

Below are 5 ways to get wisdom.

  1. We get wisdom when we ask God for wisdom in faith understanding that he is generous. (James 1:5)
  2. We get wisdom we learn from our mistakes, our lessons learned become wisdom gained.
  3. We get wisdom when we respond to correction properly.
  4. We get wisdom when we stop long enough to reflect on our priorities, progress and circumstances.
  5. We get wisdom when we ask specific questions to people who care for us and are qualified to answers us.