Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Da Word... 234! No Bubbles!

It's quite easy to buckle down and work inside of a bubble.  In fact, sometimes it downright seems like the best course of action!  The problem lies when the bubble is the only environment in which we move, think, and act.  It becomes VERY easy to convince ourselves of a single course... only to end up with results that completely blow up in our faces.

For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.
- Proverbs 11:14

As mentioned in the intro, isolating oneself is many times a good way to reap destruction.  Now that was kind of extreme, but I say it to make a point.  If outside perspectives are not taken into account, profound discoveries could be lost.   And those lost nuggets of wisdom could very well take down a nation -- so reads the proverb.  What would drive someone to reject even the desire to gather outside input?

There are many reasons.  For instance, the individual could be a control freak.  Yes!  This type of manic control is a sure shot to the most effective blinders you have ever seen.   On the flip side, an individual could simply be afraid of criticism.  It takes some mettle to be able to put your idea out there for the world to take a couple swings at.  As a result, thick skin is sometimes required.  And still, there are others who simply believe they know all the answers.  Maybe he or she came up with some pretty genius stuff back in the day, was catapulted to rock star status, and have now let it get to their head.  This is probably the worst case because such a person is EXTREMELY difficult to talk to!  It's even more difficult to get them to admit they may potentially have made a mistake!!!  I know you know what I'm talking about!

So to avoid the gigantic blow up, we need advisers!  If you look around and do some homework on those we perceive as wildly successful, you will notice each has a circle of trusted advisers.  And that's the key.  Getting an adviser just to have one is a path to ruin.  No, we need to recruit advisers that are trusted, sort of your inner circle.  These should be people who also recognize the importance of critical thought, the sharing of ideas, the seeking of feedback, and the value of mentors.  These are the kinds of people who will tell it to you straight and will protect you from operating in an isolated bubble.

We need to remember that we are social beings whose very ability to do amazing things is magnified by relationships.  Relationships bind us together and make us stronger.  We are not meant for bubbles!  Besides, bubbles can be a lonely place.  Who wants that?  By instead incorporating others, we raise the collective level of all involved and multiply the potential benefit to all those potentially affected.  Bust a hole in that bubble and let's get on with increasing our probability of success!


  - patrick

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Da Word... 233! Embracing the Zone

Ever get in the zone?  I mean, really in the zone?  Isn't it a great feeling!  I remember playing pool with some friends.  There was one game in particular where I was on fire.  I'm telling you, if there ever were a zone.. THAT was it!  I COMPLETELY ran the table on these fools!  Sinking shot after shot, one after the other, I could only hear the words from that classic NBA Jam video game echoing in my head, "He's heating up! HE'S ON FIRE!!!!"  By not getting distracted, my output blew the charts. They didn't even get to take a shot!

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
- J (Matthew 13:22)

Let's set the stage a bit.  My man J (da Christ), had just told a parable about a sower who was sowing seed and as he did some some fell among different types of earth.  There were those that fell on the path, those that fell on rocky places, those that fell among thorns, and those that fell among good soil.  Later, Jesus explained the parable to his inner crew of disciples. And that's where the above verse comes into play, my man J explaining about the seeds that fell among the thorns.

In His description, the seed that falls among the thorns basically represents those individuals who lose sight of the big picture.  These are the people who get distracted, lose focus, and fall out of the zone.  But the zone is where we wanna be!  What's interesting is how this type of person loses sight of the big picture and falls out of the zone: the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.  And whats even more interesting?  J describes these things as choking!  Thus making this person unfruitful.

It sounds to me like this type of person is one who means well, but is going about it incorrectly.  The worries of this life are always going to be present.  So sinking hours, days, and months into worries is not an effective use of our time!  If instead we focus on the bigger picture and on something greater than ourselves, the looming specter of our worries suddenly begins to diminish in size.  It's loom loses its bite and pales in comparison to the vision of the big picture.  And thus, life's worries become easier to navigate.

Wealth... now that's no adversary to take lightly!  The picture of wealth is amazingly deceptive.  It's easy to fall into notion that wealth can solve all problems.  And that's so not true!  Wealth brings along its own problems!  Check out the Dave Chappelle interview on Inside the Actors Studio.  He drops some bonafide nuggets about how people change, especially your supposed friends, when suddenly 50 mil is written next to your name.  And if money solved all problems, why do many of the rich feel devoid of the genuine nature of joy? We, as humans, always want what we don't have and think the grass is greener on the other side.  One can easily fall into the mode of chasing money, falsely thinking that acquiring wealth will catapult his/her efforts to attain the big picture.  Instead, he will find himself doing all the things to increase his wealth, and doing none of the things that would advance progress towards the big picture.  In short, he is unfruitful having been choked.

So what's da word?  Embrace the zone.  Check your trajectory from time to time.  Ask yourself, is worrying about this or chasing that bringing me closer to the big picture?  Is it allowing me to produce output that blows the charts?  Or, is it causing me to deviate from the path?  Let's get in the zone and start producing 30, 60, and 100 fold!  Let's produce genuine fruit.


  - patrick