The Gift of Suffering

Photo by  Ryan Cheng  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ryan Cheng on Unsplash

On a scorching day I’ll step out into the sunlight and in seconds begin to sweat. It doesn’t take long for my body to heat up and for my skin to begin to burn. I can only bare the burden for a short while before I need to find relief in the shade of a nearby tree. In the intensity of my struggle, the tree provides welcome relief all while suffering in the sun without saying a word.

Like a tree, may you find your strength to silently suffer along side others in their misery.

Design Yourself

Design Yourself

It's not uncommon for everyone to hit a point in life where they are in search for more meaning. In fact, it's not uncommon for people to have that feeling on many occasions throughout life. When these moments occur, it leads some people down a path of depressing thoughts like "woe is me." For others, it's a spark that ignites a major life change or new adventure. In either case, people will come back around to searching for meaning because they haven't properly designed who they want to be in life.

In our culture where competition is a part of DNA we are all striving to be the best, but not everyone can be on top. To lay claim that you are the best at something is to always have to convince others they are not. Instead, what if we worked at being our own self, to be different, to be the best version of who God made us to be. It's not so much that we need meaning in our lives, because as creations made in God's image, our meaning is inherent. Rather, it's more about living uniquely because uniquely is how you were made.

Here's an excerpt from the book Play Bigger by Ramadan, Lochhead,  Peterson, and Maney.
"Designing yourself might involve developing a personal set of beliefs and a way of conducting your life that fits with what you do and the category you address. Design the
"product" - that , your offering to the world - by developing your skills. And design the space around you so it fits your capabilities but also challenges you."

If you can figure out your personal category and how you make it unique, meaning and success will come. Spend time designing yourself.

Ramadan, Al. Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets. New York: HarperBusiness, 2016. 218. Print.

Opinions of Powerful People Gomez Gomez

Several years ago, Adam Galinsky, a researcher at Columbia Business School concluded that the more power a person obtains, the more their ability to see varying perspectives diminishes. Through a series of social experiments Galinsky discovered that feeling more powerful causes us to anchor on our own opinions rather than others.

One of the causes for this is the fact that powerful people tend to have more resources available to them. They have certain comforts that afford them the luxury to be careless with their thoughts and actions because they are less incentivized to take the perspectives of others. Another cause for not taking other perspectives is the fact that powerful people are often too busy to stop and truly consider the perspectives of others. This is especially true when rushing through life and trying to consider the lifestyle differences of those unlike their own.

Whether it's for social justice, political movements, or commenting on a favorite subject people with power and celebrity status are more often careless with their thoughts and actions. Meanwhile the entire public gets in a tizzy over a social media post or a sound bite on the news from well know people because those without power want to ride the coat tails of the powerful. In turn, the weak begin to feel more powerful living vicariously through the powerful until we are all entrenched in our own views and opinions.

It's not that powerful people don't have good opinions and valuable insight on different perspectives, they can and do. However, responsible people should be careful to consider everyone's perspectives equally whether they're are in a position of power or not. A celebrity can too easily use his or her platform to persuade others from seeing multiple perspectives and therefore sharing their views is more often irresponsible than not.

We've all experienced those relationships where people rise in power and influence and as they rise, they become less humble and more dogmatic with their approaches. Good leaders maintain perspective and are willing to change their minds. It takes courage for a leader to do this and it should be commended when it happens rather than berate them for "flip-flopping."

Pittampalli, Al. Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World. New York: Harper Business, 2016. 145-47. Print.

Creating Moral Measures

When it comes to establishing habits and routines that help you reach your dreams while also honoring your values, there is a tendency to turn them into moral measures when they should have no bearing on your virtue in the first place.  Too often, people will interpret their failure to exercise for a few days or if they eat a few unhealthy meals in a row as a behavior that makes them a "bad person." These set backs in behaviors shouldn't be compared to qualities that cause harm to others or violate pillars of your faith.

Incorrectly creating these moral measures can either tell yourself that you're a bad person or that you're a good person. Telling yourself you're a bad person can lead to depression and accelerate your decline in other habits you may be wanting to form. Telling yourself you're a good person might lead to judging other who do or don't participate in the same activities, unjustly.

Informational and Transformational Learning

There are two types of learning that occur in development stages of adulthood.

Informational Learning: This type of learning is when a person learns a new skill. 

Transformational Learning: This type of learning is when a person can alter how they see something and often see a bigger perspective.

The first is more horizontal thinking and the latter is more vertical thinking. It seems the more you can learn horizontally, the more opportunity you have to learn vertically.  Both of these learnings cause a person to evaluate the way they see themselves within their current environments. If a person doesn't like their identity within their current environment, they look for making a change.

Williams, Patrick, and Diane Susan. Menendez. Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute for Life Coach Training. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. 76-79. Print.