A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Something to think about: If you make your employees jump through hoops before they’re able to act, you are effectively erecting roadblocks and telling them no. Dan Rockwell encourages leaders to create a hoop free zone, because fewer hoops fuel passion.
  • If you’ve got an interest in science, and some time to spare, I would recommend this talk given by Pastor Will Little to you. Why Jesus Creates: Science. Pastor Little is a scientist, with a PhD in biomaterials and currently working in the field, while he also serves as a pastor at Mars Hill Church Downtown Seattle. He rejects the narrative that science and Christianity can’t rationally coexist, and does a good job defending his position historically and intellectually. It’s worth watching.

March 22, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week

Flipping the Numbers

I want to do a quick thought experiment with you today.

First, think about how much you put away in savings and investments every month. You can think of it as a dollar amount or a percentage of your income.  Write it down.

Next, think about how much you give away every month. How much do you tithe, donate to charities, or give to individuals who need help? Once you figure that out, write it down.

Now, imagine that, starting tomorrow, you had to switch those numbers for a month. Would you be alright with that?

What if they had to switch for six months? A year?

You might be concerned about losses to your future retirement.

Or you might be nervous at the thought of  giving so much away.

Then again, you might enjoy the thought of your investments benefiting from a short-term switch.

Or you might not.

The size of each one of these numbers does a good job of indicating the value you place on what they represent. Savings and investments represent security. Giving and charity represent faith.

There isn’t anything wrong with valuing security. I value it. My family has a nice emergency fund saved. We’re investing for the future. Making big decisions is so much easier when your bank account is under control.

But you’ve got to be clear what the goal of gaining security is. Be careful that your basic need for security hasn’t grown into a unending quest for more comfort, or become some game you’re trying to win by having the most stuff. Neither is really fulfilling.

That growing nest egg is freedom to do radical things with your life. Have a plan for it. Know why you have it, and what you’re going to do with it. Make it count.

Which brings us to faith.

The amount that you give away every month mirrors your ability to trust in a force larger than yourself. For me, that’s my faith in God. Since I know that everything I have is from him, I can trust him to care for me as I donate more and more of what he’s given to me.

What about you? Can you see how the money you earn could be used for a larger goal? Something outside of your control and worth more than your comfort? Grow more generous and charitable and you’ll be able to see it more clearly.

How about it? Could you flip the numbers without fear?

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Work and Money | , , , | 1 Comment

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Growing up, I didn’t really learn much about making and managing money. Most of the instruction regarding budgets and savings was done in passing and not nearly often enough. As a Dad, I’m trying to do better, so I’m always happy when friends share articles with me about teaching money management to kids. I only have a couple of points of minor disagreement. First, don’t give your kids an allowance. Pay them a commission for specific chores they perform. It will help them understand that money is earned through work. Second, don’t make your kids play Monopoly. It’s a terrible board game. (Life and Payday aren’t much better, but at least they don’t take as long.) There are much better games out there that will build money or resource management skills.
  • I’m rapidly working my way through Seth Godin’s latest manifesto. It covers his thoughts on how to change education to be more relevant to the current and coming age. Stop Stealing Dreams. As a homeschooling parent, I’m challenged to re-evaluate how we’re teaching our kids, and to root out some of the methods that have been heavily influenced by the school systems that we grew up in. If you’re involved in education I would encourage you to take a look at it.
  • A photographer walks through East Germany just after the wall fell, taking photographs of the stunning, but neglected, architecture. A decade later he re-traces his steps, and recreates his photographs. The transformation is inspiring.
  • A follow up to last week’s quick hit about Pat Robertson again declaring that it’s time to decriminalize marijuana. Apparently that ruffled the feathers of Jimmy Carter’s former secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano, who criticized Pat for not having enough concern for the children. Appeals to the safety of “the children” automatically raises a red flag in my head that somebody is trying to pass or support bad legislation by twisting at people’s heartstrings. So, I’m once again in the odd position of backing Mr. Robertson. On this issue.

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week

Respect

If you didn’t already know, I take Karate lessons two or three times per week. My wife and children take lessons as well, so it’s a great way for me to stay physically active while spending time with them. Also, I get to learn a new skill, meet new people and build new friendships. That’s like four areas of Ziglar’s Wheel of Life all at once. Look at me, being all efficient.

Last weekend, I pre-tested for my next belt rank. I’ve proven a basic understanding of the physical techniques necessary to progress. Before I can receive my new belt at next week’s test, though, I have to complete a written test. Part of that is a half page essay on a subject determined by the rank I am advancing to. For the next belt, the subject is ‘Respect.’

And I also committed myself to writing a new blog post every week. Guess what I’m doing. That’s right. Being all efficient again.

Respect (v) – to hold in esteem or honor; to show regard or consideration for.

As with many aspects of good behavior, we’d like to have a codified list of what it looks like to show respect. If we could quickly flip through a checklist, marking off the dos and the don’ts, we would know whether or not we were actually being sufficiently respectful. That’d be awesome.

It would also be wrong.

The problem is that our behavior isn’t the quantum of our external actions. It is the expression of our internal values. That is to say: We are truly only respectful of things we know to be important at our core. We respect what we value.

And we need to start with ourselves. Allow me to quote a great philosopher:

Respect your efforts, respect yourself.  Self-respect leads to self-discipline.  When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.

– Clint Eastwood

I am important. My life is important. That might sound like pride, but it isn’t. I’m not saying I’m perfect, or even good. However, I still get the privilege of breathing for another day, so I still have something to do. That’s true of you, too.

So, in each area of our lives, we have to consider the implications of our choices. What does this or that action say about how important we believe ourselves to be? If we can’t accept that each day we exist has value, then we won’t ever have the proper respect for what we have been given.

And that makes it hard to respect others.

Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.

– Albert Einstein

It’s hard because when we deny ourselves of respect, we can and will use the same rationalizations to deny others of it, too. See, if I’m not important, then you certainly aren’t. Respect becomes a commodity that has to be earned.

Worse, if and when we find a person who we think earns our respect, we’ll raise them over us. We’ll overvalue their existence. We risk idolizing them, and giving them more authority than they can manage. They’re doomed to fall from such a perch, because they aren’t actually perfect either.

Respecting ourselves first gives us proper perspective on respecting others. It helps us to value our relationships as responsibilities we’re given to honor. It leads us to be more gracious to others when they stumble and need help to stand. It guides us to guard our lives with more care when we are considering who we associate with, and how much authority to give them.

We respect what we value.

Once we get that, we realize that we don’t need anyone to give us a checklist. The list we want will write itself.

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments