Fix Thoughts

How important is it for us to find a way to fix Thoughts?

There is a battle raging for our souls and it is life-altering to acknowledge that our thoughts are the only thing within our control.

We cannot change the political climate, celebrity morals, Mother Nature, Father Time — or, even, your neighbor’s yapping dog.

Yet, we can be the Captain of Destiny — as we create a future of our choice.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

Reverse Genius

Genius is taking the complex and making it simple — which, then, means Stupidity is taking the simple and making it complex.

There are moments, as we stare in disbelief at the absurd, when we ask, “What the flaming heck were they thinking?!”

The problem is just that, “They probably weren’t thinking.” And, that, my friends, is why we find ourselves in the Danger Zone. The majority of civilization in any society, at any time, are not thinking. They are, simply, going with the flow — of what propagandists want them to say and do.

On the other hand, the real geniuses have always been considered crazy — for going where angels fear to tread. Because they push against what the majority consider normal (generally, the lowest common denominator), the innovators of the world happily bear the ridicule of the masses.

Fix Your Thoughts

Now, you’re thinking, “Did he slip a cog. What’s up with this notion of happily bear ridicule?!”

Happy are the people who understand this secret.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

WTF Thoughts - Anyway

If goodness is out of vogue, happy people don’t care. What they do CARE about is truth, honor, righteousness, purity, love, and admiration for the 100% accuracy of Karma delivering what is earned.

By thinking about excellence and praiseworthy topics, happy people create their own destiny. With words, it is impossible to capture this principle, which is more magical than logical.

YOU must experience it through your actions.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

Paradoxical Commandments

Some things are better explained by the experts. In keeping with the concept Less Is More, I’ll direct you to Dr. Kent M. Keith.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

Love Your Enemies

Yes, when reminded to do this, I tend to balk, too. However, recently, I read the Rest of the Story to realize, “We’re not alone in our daily effort to fix — what is broken.”

When someone with the Power to heal the deformed is condemned by the local yokels, then, we find ourselves in extraordinarily great company.

He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At this, His enemies were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.

Short version of the story is they killed Him.

But before they did, our Hero had this to say, “To you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.”

WTF Thoughts - Think Differently

That is the way to fix Thoughts.

Do we change the character of our enemies, the haters, the vulgar, or the abusers? Simple answer: No.

Why, then, are we encouraged to Do It?

Because it is tonic for our Thoughts.

Into The Unknown

We don’t know what we don’t know. Or, in other words, how do we navigate a course never before traveled? Simple answer: Faith.

In leaving the shores of the old behind, we embrace the horizons of new beginnings. We sail forth by changing the way we think.

Whatever the mind can Conceive and Believe, it can Achieve.

Will we make “mistakes” that will be harshly judged by the naysayers as a representation of our foolishness? Of course! That is the exciting element of this great adventure into the unknown — we will grow, while the rest of the world stagnates in their comfortable rut (grave with the ends kicked out).

What is LOVE, anyway?

This definition works for me.

The greatest gift is a chosen, purposeful effort — often done in the face of fear — to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

Love can also be measured by seven attributes.

LOVE
Is patient,
Is kind,
Rejoices with the truth,
Always protects,
Always trusts,
Always hopes,
Always perseveres.

As you might have noticed, Love is a verb — framed as a gift and delivered by action. Which means we must grow in stature, resources, and wisdom to have something to offer others.

The more we learn, the more we know;
The more we know, the more we sow;
The more we sow, the more we grow.

Isn’t life grand?!

Opportunity To Create

Designed for greatness, engineered for success, and motivated by goodness as Captains of Destiny, we are courageously heading into uncharted waters to serve the multitudes.

Simply, we have been offered the opportunity, by a Creator, to create.

I know you’ve had the experience of a HUG.

On occasion, you have served another person — who, with their eyes, expressed a newfound Hope, Understanding, and Gratitude (HUG) of life, once again.

YOU did that for them.

That is the way to fix Thoughts!

Leadership

Money does not a leadership problem fix.

In fact, a problem is simply an opportunity in disguise.

We grow — when confronted with the impossible. It is that defining moment of decision. Many will quit. A few will do what others say can’t be done.

Leaders

Leaders will accomplish what has never been attempted, before.

Those who do are the leaders among us. Those who talk are not necessarily the followers. Talk is cheap and those who blather, generally, complain about all of their problems. Unknowingly and unwittingly, they are complaining about themselves.

For the entirety of human existence, the accumulation of wealth has been the measure of empires. The Golden Rule has been disenfranchised into a barbaric slogan, “Those who have the Gold make the Rules.”

Rules and regulations do not an Empire make. In fact, Empires come and go — because, their leaders abdicate the responsibility to set an example. We — the People — learn by doing.

Passion

Leadership is not a cult-like mission of forcing others into compliance. Leadership is a deep-felt passion of guiding everyone to the best individual choices.

Say what?! Doesn’t a leader, by default, need followers?

For a moment, forget about following and let’s focus on leading. Leaders believe in the power of one. They understand life is best experienced from the inside, out. They are true to themselves, by constantly improving the character at their core.

Leaders make absolutely sure they have much to give. What they offer to the whole wide world is the Three-E Formula to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Enlighten

We don’t know what we don’t know. Leaders share the best of what they have learned with all who are accepting. The story of their journey is the inspiration for broadened horizons and myriad options of choice. Leaders communicate their saga — and, they color that vision of abundance with broad strokes and vivid detail.

Empower

Knowing what to do and doing it are two, entirely, different things. Leaders offer the tools to build something special. We all want and need something different. Leaders are the ultimate teachers through explanation and demonstration, then asking for imitation, offering correction, and expecting repetition.

Encourage

The best teachers have humbly learned from the School of Hard Knocks. They can share many lessons learned the hard way and know, for an absolute fact, their Students need a few of the same experiences. Leaders patiently wait for new lessons to be learned, all the while supporting that effort.

The Legacy

True leaders always have a following. Hundreds, maybe even many thousands, are watching the silent example of their heroes. Actions speak so much louder than words. A life of sterling character generously offered to others — through consistent choices to build mutually beneficial dynamic relationships — is the legacy of leaders.

The choice is free, for us to make.

The results are priceless, for future generations.

Let’s accept the challenge of leadership.

Slap It Back

If you think the World is out to get you, you’ll make that come true.

If you believe in making a dent in the World, that’s what you will achieve.

Same YOU and same World. What’s the difference?

Attitude

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.
~ Henry Ford

It all begins with The Want To.

What do “Y-O-U” want?

If you’re ever in need of a conversation starter, just look right into the eyes of another person and ask this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

One of two things is guaranteed to happen: Immediate animation, as the person begins to share that passion with you. Or, a deer-in-the-headlights look, with a really long, awkward, pause, as the individual painfully looks for a way to escape.

Escape from what — their own life?! All we want is to understand what makes them tick — that which empowers them to take a licking and keep on ticking.

Can YOU answer the questions, above, quickly, boldly, and confidently?

The Match

Recently, I was invited to participate in an open-court event. Rarely do I get invited by a beautiful woman to play games, so, naturally, I accepted. As I showed up to play, there were two women on the other side of the net. So, being a guy, I thought, “Double the fun!”

We volleyed back and forth to warm up. Everything was grins and giggles. Then, it’s time to begin. So, naturally, being a guy, I zinged one over the net.

And, that’s when the ship hit the sand…

What is it that YOU want from this email? To point out? To challenge? To encourage the why + what do I want thinking?

Now, my idea of tennis is, “When the ball comes to you, slap it back over.”

Nope, the beautiful one watched her friend catch the ball, study it for defects, and then cheered her for questioning my “intent” behind the serve.

I thought the idea was for us to have fun and improve our game.

Silly me!

My Response

Dumbfounded, I stared at that email wondering, “What the H-E-Double-Toothpicks just happened?” Then, I remembered, “This is just a game. Let’s have some fun with this. So, I grabbed another ball and slapped it on over.

I want nothing — from you. I was “sharing” my thoughts. After clicking Send on the email below, I discovered your recent Upload into our portal, Rohn Guide To Goal Setting. So, I downloaded a Copy, highlighted areas important to me, and uploaded my Copy back into the Portal.

I am pointing out that the theme of Jim is consistent with the diction of Kim.

I am challenging nothing, and nobody, (to a duel, or otherwise). I am stating my beliefs — boldly and confidently.

I am passionately offering my Three-E Formula — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage — to the whole wide world. You are a beneficiary of that. I know for a fact: Some people will love it — and, others will hate it. That choice is theirs. Either way, I’ll continue to give — my Best.

Because I loved this graphic when I first saw it, I shared it with them, too.

When I Give

Three Types Of Players

There are those who take up space, rigid as a post, frozen in time, and watch the ball dribble right on by. There are others, like the two above, who catch the ball and stop the fun. And, finally, there are those who are determined to improve — themselves, their game, and the other participants.

There’s another way to state (in reverse) the available Options, above.

1.) Do it right ~ Have fun and slap the ball back over the net.
2.) Do it wrong ~ Catch the ball and examine it for defects.
3.) Do nothing ~ Absolute Void – Mother Nature hates that.

So, you see, my experience with the two women could have been worse.

With time to feel their way through the logic of my response, each of them replied graciously — and, the Game continues.

All In

If you have the passion for building something special (Attitude) and you have done the challenging work to define who YOU are (Boundaries), then, the final step to success is YOU must go All In (Commitment).

Success

Success is not going to magically waltz into our lives. It is not a destination, at which to arrive. Daily, we must create success — the unique version each of us has determined to be right — for the benefit of ourselves and the rest of the world.

The reason people join cults and gangs is that they want someone else to provide the answers to Life. In other words, they want to shirk the responsibility of making their own choices — and, of being held accountable for their own decisions and actions.

All I can say is, “Good luck with that.” I’ve seen how those stories end — and, it’s never pretty. There is a better way. We get our Attitude right and we get our Boundaries right. Then, we go All In — by sacrificing all of the other options, for a single choice — with Commitment.

Got Me Thinking

When I challenged my son, Ryan, recently as to “why” he was letting customers use him as a banker and “why” he was not asking for a deposit on larger projects, he pushed back with, “Well, you’ve always said people want to pay for results.”

As much as I love hearing my own words quoted back to me, I had to grin — because a complete response was going to require some time for thought.

Rest of the Story

Yep — it’s true — people do want to pay for Results, rather than pay by the Hour. However, there’s more to the psychology and ethical business practices than letting the customer determine the degree of our success.

People only do business with those they know, like, and trust. Ryan is a lot like his Grandpa Jim Foard — in so much both of them ooze charisma. Men and women were naturally attracted to my Dad — and, I’ve watched Ryan bask in the glory of his aficionados.

So, for those two men, the Know and Like elements are a given. Trust is a matter of character. I do not have a single memory of my Dad ever saying one thing and doing another.

If Ryan is uncertain about being trustworthy, then I can understand his reluctance in asking for money, before the work is completed. However, if he builds a reputation of being true to his word, then, in the minds of his customers there will be no concern if the project will get done. It will, only, be a matter of when — and, they will know the ETA of that will be ASAP.

In time, Ryan will learn that the very best way to test the commitment of a customer — to the engagement — is to ask them for money. The good customers will already have a check written — and the bad ones will whine.

Old English

Generally, I steer away from the old King’s English, but because of childhood exposure to the Good Book, my memories of that are recorded in KJV. So, when I did the Google Search for “double-minded man” an authorized version was discovered.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

What caught my eye is that the word “is” is italicized — as in absolutely no doubt about it.

New World

Now, I know that I can attract narcissists like moths to a flame. By definition, they are chameleons. Love bombing their victims, today — and, kicking them to the curb, tomorrow. I’m curious, though, have you, too, experienced a plethora of bad actors, lately? For me, in a single month, there was the Pet Dragon gal — and the Trust Fund Baby geezer.

Along with the multitude of other Zombies, the modus operandi of these two was identical — refuse to make up their mind and then explode, when I ask, “Why do you say one thing and do another?”

Mother Nature and Vacuums

Mother Nature hates a vacuum. No, it’s not that she has anything against a clean Earth. She refuses to allow nothing to exist. In any field, we have a choice, plant good seeds — or, weeds will grow.

Our minds are fertile beds waiting for us to tend them. Plant productive thoughts — and, success is guaranteed. Leave our minds unattended — and, vile imaginings will appear.

The choice is ours. Either go All In — or, the world will go All Out to destroy our potential. In other words, we either draft a Blueprint for our lives — or, others will have a game plan for us and our resources.

This is more important than any other “game” we will ever play. This is not a hand of cards in a Poker game — that even if we lose, it is only money. This is the real deal — the future of our Life.

Choose A Master

Each of us will serve someone, or something — either by choice, or hand of fate. If we go All In, we will achieve one, or the other, of these results: 1) a goal will be accomplished, or 2) a lesson will be learned.

Either way, we will be growing, learning, and loving the adventure of discovering who we are — and the value of our contribution to the world.

Real Deal

When I hear someone use the word try in a sentence, I cringe. Because I know, for a fact, they are more interested in the talk than they are living the walk.

Accordingly, it’s another humor Kim moment. In support of the above statement, take a pen into your hand. Now, try to drop it. See my point? You’re either going to hang onto it — or, you’re going to drop it.

There’s no “try” to it.

Here’s another example — the word maybe. Those people, who refuse to make a decision, end up high-centering on the fork-in-the-road. Look at the word closer: ma-Y-be. See the fork-in-the-road? The people who are fond of maybe are reluctant to choose — left, or right, at Oak Street.

To encourage us to, always, make a decision, look at ma-Y-be, again.

Ma = Cry Baby
Be = A Creator
Y = Choose to Be

Just one more — how many times have you been promised something, someday? And, someday never came. Builders know this as the secret to accomplishment, “You must begin — and, begin again.” Because — they live by this creed.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Begin it, now.

If we put all of this silliness together, we have, “Someday, maybe I’ll try.

There Is A Better Way

Much more than an audition for the opening night of the Broadway playbill, Life — this is the Real Deal.

So real, in fact, I want to share insight from my children. To be precise, they are young adults, who are taking Relationship Strategies to increasingly higher levels for the benefit of all.

Lindsey and Ryan are priceless gifts. Yet, at times, they will also purchase tangible expressions of reminders for me. On a Father’s Day, Ryan presented “Easy 88“, a bronze of a cowboy making a great ride on a bull. On another day, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived from Lindsey, in acknowledgment of birthday “Fifty-Five“.

Also, she has given me Words — inspiring words:

Family ~ Forever, For Always and No Matter What

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at midnight all clean and perfect and puts itself in our hands. And hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.

In regards to ‘Lessons Learned’ from yesterday, the most important one can be expressed by a single word:

Forgiveness ~ Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

The purest definition of a ‘Rut’ — a grave, with the ends kicked out.

When we replay the past in our minds, over and over, a rut forms — a pattern of thinking. Really, those familiar grooves are the equivalent of a broken record — ’round and ’round the same track, while expecting new music. Does insanity come to mind?!

Music

A common theme in my Family is music — always has been, always will be.

It is the best way to convey messages for us to remember.

Better Get To Livin’ (Video)
Artist: Dolly Parton

People always comin’ up to me and askin’
“Dolly, what’s your secret?
With all you do, your attitude
Just seems to be so good
How do you keep it?”
Well I’m not the Dalai Lama, but I’ll try
To offer up a few words of advice

Chorus:

You better get to livin’, givin’
Don’t forget to throw in a little forgivin’
And lovin’ on the way
You better get to knowin’, showin’
A little bit more concerned about where you’re goin’
Just a word unto the wise
You better get to livin’

A girlfriend came to my house
Started cryin’ on my shoulder Sunday evening
She was spinnin’ such a sad tale
I could not believe the yarn that she was weavin’
So negative the words she had to say
I said if I had a violin I’d play

I said you’d better get to livin’, givin’
Be willing and forgivin’
Cause all healing has to start with you
You better stop whining, pining
Get your dreams in line
And then just shine, design, refine
Until they come true
And you better get to livin’

Your life’s a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you
This I know is true

You better get to livin’, givin’
A little more thought about bein’
A little more willin’ to make a better way
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up
Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray
And do that every day
Then you’ll get to livin’

The day we’re born we start to die
Don’t waste one minute of this life
Get to livin’
Share your dreams and share your laughter
Make some points for the great hereafter

Better start carin’
Better start sharin’
Better start tryin’
Better start smiling
And you better get to livin’

When we do it right, the livin’ that Dolly encourages is more like playing, than working. Although, as with all things in Life, there is a fine line. On the one hand, we must acknowledge this is serious business. Because, at the end of our Play, all of the props go back in the box. On the other hand, we learn the most when we are playing and having fun.

The Point

And, that, my friend, is the point — We are to learn, grow, care, share, and love.

There’s a story about a southern farmer who goes out into his field early one morning to catch his mule for the day’s work ahead. To his dismay that mule was nowhere in sight. As the farmer headed back to the house, he passed an old, abandoned, hand-dug well. Sure enough. At the bottom of that well was Clyde.

Since the farmer was poor, he had no money to hire the necessary equipment to lift that much weight, from that far down. He was rich in friends, though. So he asked his neighbors to bring their shovels. As sad as it was to lose Clyde, the right thing to do was to fill in that deathtrap.

From the mounds of dirt excavated when the well was originally dug, the farmers began the serious business of burying Clyde and making sure nothing else was ever harmed by the long ignored danger of a pit.

Making the best of a bad situation, they shoveled quickly. As they were finishing up their work and upon hearing something, they paused to look up. To their amazement, they watched Clyde jump out of the well.

You see, while they were shoveling dirt down the hole onto Clyde’s back, he simply shook it off and stepped up.

The gifts from Ryan and Lindsey are much more than plaques and bronzes, They are the evidence of their success in ‘shaking it off and stepping up‘. Through no fault of theirs, they have experienced The Pit and the Bad Hands of cards dealt to them.

With courage, poise, determination, and grace, they have chosen to shake it off and step up — time and time, again. Consequently, the bull and bouquet speak volumes about their character.

A Chosen Effort

From the mouths of babes and the examples of our young people, we learn to — Preserve a childlike sweetness and innocence, while growing out of our childishness.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

One thing I have, always, understood — Family and Work are the two legs carrying me across the stages of life.

I believe purpose in life is discovered by acknowledging a power greater than ourselves. As a result, accomplishment is possible by being a conduit for timeless and priceless gifts.

The greatest gift – LOVE – is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

Let’s get to livin’!

Good Directions

Moving Forward

Imagine your favorite action movie. The ground is crumbling behind our heroes and heroines as they run toward the only escape available to them. Our heart is in our throat, as we encourage them to go, quickly, forward.

Life is like that. There is no standing still. There is no going back. The only direction to safety is forward.

The Story of a Friend

I lost a dear friend of twenty-plus years because he made a choice to be comfortable in a rut. The definition of a rut is – a grave with the ends kicked out. Yes, it’s dark, damp, and depressing down there. My friend exploded upon being reminded of the only two choices we have: Grow or Die.

He assured me in no uncertain terms that he was not depressed. (The fellow doth protest too much, methinks.)

As recently as, November 15, 2006, this is the complete text of the Testimonial he offered when asked to document our business relationship — Client and Certified Public Accountant.

While reflecting on the past years of business growth … the ups and downs; the trials and tests; the hard work; and, never-ending commitment to push forward … I come to realize that you have been a vital part of that growth. You have been with us all the way.

The accounting profession has truly been honored by your steadfast commitment to serving, to advise … to help direct my thoughts in the financial decisions of our company. It has made my job as CEO much easier.

We are in our 15th year and looking forward to working with you in the years to come.

Fast forward to September 14, 2011, and this is my goodbye to a business relationship, which was enjoyed by that friend, who (at one time) was closer than any brother.

The purpose of this letter is to document the essence of our phone conversation, yesterday.

At the end of that conversation, you wondered if your message was adequately communicated by asking, “Is that clear?!” My response, “Perfectly.”

It is crystal clear that there is a difference in core philosophies.

You believe and have stated quite clearly, numerous times over the last few months, that you and your Company are at the mercy of the Hand of Fate. In essence, you are tethered to a fixed set of practices, which have brought you success in the Past — and, now, are frustrated that the Present is less than accepting.

I believe life is what we make of it, friend — if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. My purpose in business is summarized in four words: Building Bright Financial Futures. I have gone to great lengths to promote this idea to the world via every digital means possible. I have clearly communicated this core belief to you via an email conversation thread from May 17th to July 20th.

My last email request of you was for one hour of your time to discern how we might build a dynamic business relationship. Having heard absolutely nothing from you, I called yesterday with an offer for year-end planning. In the past, you welcomed the opportunity for us to talk about your Company.

You chose to refuse my offer. You have that right. I also have the right to choose.

As of today, we no longer have a business relationship. You are encouraged to engage other professionals to provide services for your financial fiscal year (and, payroll calendar quarter) ended September 30th. Documents in your Client File Portal will be available to you and your representatives until December 31st.

What happened between November 15, 2006, and September 14, 2011?

We will never know. To be judgmental toward my friend and all he has experienced in the last five years is the wrong thing to do. I can, though, tell my story. In the past, I have first-hand knowledge and experience of what it’s like to be stuck in a rut. It is dark, damp and depressing.

Rest of the Story

Since this is my story, I’ll finish telling it my way.

The darkest times in my life began, at the moment, when I started to think that I had arrived. Thinking that I had reached my destination and could quit — or, coast — or, savor the rewards — or, otherwise think I had, really, become somebody. You see, the focus had shifted to thinking, believing, and acting as if, the world revolved around me.

In the simplest of analogies, my life had gone off a cliff. The ground was, literally, crumbling beneath my feet as I tumbled into the chasm of darkness.

Recovery from the pit was only possible by acknowledging, “There but for the grace of God go I” … further down into the abyss. At that moment, there was a Rock on which to cling and a view of the hard work necessary to climb from the rubble into the brightness of opportunity, once again.

Don’t Look Down

There is nothing new under the sun.

There’s a story of a guy walking on water. His name was Peter and he was a cocky fellow, with relatives from Missouri (the Show Me state). He enjoyed the companionship of a friend, who cared deeply about the growth of others.

So, one day Peter challenged his friend with, “If you’re really as good as you claim, ask me to walk on water.” Guys being guys, the friend accepted the challenge and said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water. But, when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.

Moral of this story: Don’t look down.

Children Grow Up

In fact, don’t look back, either. The ground is crumbling behind us. There is only one safe path — Forward.

There’s another story of a guy pondering the progression of life. His name was Paul and one of his many attributes was that of a Philosopher. He observed, “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

Moral of this story: Children grow up.

The Challenge

At this point in my story, there is at least one person just aching to challenge this thesis of — Forward motion being the best direction and Growth being a prerequisite to a rich life. They will posit that “going back” has its merits.

As in:

We miss a turn at the intersection and need to go back.

We forget something when leaving on vacation and need to go back.

We neglect to learn a lesson and need to go back (for another dose).

We ignore an opportunity, which is good for us, and need to go back.

Going Back & Moving Forward

I agree. There are legitimate times for us to go back and recover from frailties of the human condition. “Thank God for Good Directions and turnip greens!” (by Billy Currington and his album Doin’ Somethin’ Right) Turn up your speakers and enjoy this tune.

For the astute scholars among us, I will acknowledge their point that we are encouraged by the Good Book to go back. As we examine this riddle to the very essence of life, the answer is simple. We are encouraged to be childlike, not childish. There is a difference.

So… at the moment, when there is the temptation to think we have arrived and can stop growing — Look up, think forward, and really focus on the hard work to take the next step.

Go ahead — do it. Now, that we are big kids — older and wiser, with all of our education and experience, hurts and betrayals, safely archived in the memory banks — do it. Be innocent, be sweet, be open, be humble, be accepting, be trusting, and believe that we can experience heaven, here on earth.

All we need to do is to take that next step — often into the unknown — forward, to grow.

In The Game

There is only one way to, really, learn anything — and, that is: hands-on.

It is impossible for the mind to forget what the hands have learned.

Why, then, do we believe someone else has the answers to our questions? And, why do we defer our good judgment to others?

We Are Unique

No one else has our combination of Heredity and Environment. Only we, individually, can encourage our growth.

To do that, it is imperative we get — and, stay — in the game.

Do you know the difference between an Amateur and a Professional? Well, the Amateur practices until they can do something right — the Professional practices until it is impossible for them to do anything wrong.

In fact, the Professional, always, practices. Why?

Amateur vs. Professional

1.) Talk is cheap. Knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different approaches. Those who can: practice — those who can’t: preach. Those who spin their stories of yesterday will be left in the dust of those who are getting it done, today. What got us here will not take us to where we need to go. The principle is, “A little less talk and a lot more action.” Amateurs will tell you how to do something — Professionals will show you.

2.) No pain — No gain. Easy is hard — Hard is easy. Shortcuts are the surest way to oblivion. There is an order to the Universe. It is obvious when we acknowledge that every worthwhile endeavor begins with a rock-solid foundation. The beginning of every construction project is ugly — it starts with an excavation, a hole in the ground. It requires a whole lot of digging and pounding. Amateurs want the glory of a finish — Professionals seek to serve from beginning to end.

3.) Pink elephants are absurd. Any single negative in an equation forces a negative result. When told, “Don’t think about pink elephants,” what do we do? Bad habits die hard. They don’t go of their own volition — a stake must be driven through the heart of the beast. That stake is sustained, positive, decisive, and committed actions toward the new desire. Mastery of the self is an artistic expression. Amateurs are tethered to the past — Professionals use that vine to swing into the future.

Those who claim to know it all — and, therefore, take it upon themselves to think that they know what is best for us — are dangerous. Arrogance and ignorance are a volatile combination. Regardless of what someone might know up to this present moment, there is always the opportunity to learn more. If… they stay in the game.

The Game

The game always changes. It is the only constant in life. Those on the sidelines are stuck — frozen in that moment of time — when they chose to stop there. Those on the court continue to learn, to get better, to improve, to innovate, and to grow as individuals and teammates. They do common things in uncommon ways — they take the scientific to an art form.

All, because of their love for the game — of Life!