Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

In the Friend Zone? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Panic

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Young couple enjoying in night music festival

“I thought it was over,” he exhaled. “I mean, she said that I was her friend…her friend!”

 

It had been a rough road for my buddy, Jack. He had been married for 25 years until a recent divorce. Then he had met a lovely woman online. She was living in a domestic violence shelter at the time; they both had a few kids and a lot of baggage. But in time they connected and started chatting, then texting, then calling. Jack felt things were going well until she dropped a bomb.

 

She called him her “friend.”

 

“How did you deal with getting friend-zoned?” I probed.

 

“Well, I took it hard,” he said. “At first, I cried, then I came to terms with the fact that it was over. That is when I went to see my therapist.”

 

Then, Jack got a serious look on his face and told me what his therapist said—a message of wisdom that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

 

“When I told my therapist, he laughed! I was offended and then a little hurt until he patted my knee and said, ‘You know that, to her, the word ‘friend’ is the highest compliment she can give?’

 

It suddenly dawned on Jack that this woman, who had spent her whole life trying and failing to trust another man, simply wanted—and needed—a friend. And so by saying that he was her friend, it was actually more like saying, “I trust you.”

 

With that vote of confidence, their relationship kept growing and growing.

 

A year later, he married his best friend.

 

I have long believed God gives us friends so that we might choose family, but only once in a lifetime or so, do we get to actually make that best friend family.

 

In life and in love, there are the crushes, the dates, and the games—but in the end, the thing that makes life sweet are the friends we can enjoy it with. When you have a best friend to share the joys and the sorrows of life, then truly, the best place you can ever be is the friend zone.

 

If you are married, keep the love alive by treating your spouse as your best friend. You might be surprised by how much joy it brings.

 

And if you aren’t married, don’t be discouraged if you simply seem to be acquiring a lot of friends. Continue to cultivate those friendships, and one day you might just find one that turns into something eternal.

 

But even if you don’t, remember—the reason we have life and joy at all is because of friends. After all, didn’t Christ lay down His life for friends? (John 15:13)

 

 

This post was originally posted on this link at LDSLiving.com

 

You’re looking for Happiness in the Wrong Places

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father and son piggybacking

 

My wife and I recently went to Austin, Texas, to go to a concert with another couple. We got to the venue and saw a line wrapped around the block. After going into an underground lot and practically signing away our first child for permission to park there, we found the venue again and proceeded to walk three blocks to the end of line. After waiting for a while, the women had to use the restroom. Thirty minutes later, they came back with new shoes they had bought (I was confused, but my buddy who has been married a few years longer than me didn’t look surprised at all).

 

After what seemed like hours of waiting, we finally made it up to the front of the line, went through security, and at last reached the ticket counter.

 

The Austin dude (I don’t know how else to describe him) at the counter took one look at our tickets, and said, “Whoa, man. This is the wrong venue.”

 

Turns out, our venue was on the other side of the line. We just assumed that we needed to be in the line we had waited in because that’s where everyone else was. And yeah…our venue had no line.

 

This experience has come to my mind again and again. The thought of waiting in the wrong line just because other people were waiting there brought to my heart the realization of how many other lines I wait in—just because everyone else is.

 

Especially the long line of happiness.

 

 

**** To read the rest of this article and see what the 5 most dangerous words in the world are, go to LDSLiving.com!

The 3 Simple Words My Grandma Brought Me from the Spirit World

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Jesus Christ Beyond the grave

 

My grandma was in a coma for nearly 10 days. She had flatlined a few times and doctors said that things were not looking good.

 

It’s interesting how when someone is so close to death, memories of their life begin to flood your mind. I remembered her teaching me to let my little sister win at Go Fish, or her waking up an hour early to grind fresh wheat for her famous homemade pancakes after a cousin sleepover, or her gathering the family and making everyone say something nice about each person on their birthday (during family reunions these “Nice Talk” sessions could last a few hours).

 

But it wasn’t just what she did when everyone was around; it was the countless personal letters of encouragement, or the call right when I needed it, or simply pulling me aside to let me know that she thought I was special.

 

She just had a way of making everyone feel loved and helping us keep perspective. Everything she did was to bless others. Let’s put it this way—if she doesn’t make it into heaven, I’m quitting now because no one will!

 

She was the glue of my family and truly a best friend to me. So upon hearing the news that she wouldn’t live much longer, my heart broke. As I had done the previous 10 days, I made the hour-long drive to the hospital to be there—maybe for her, maybe for my family members, or maybe just for me, I’m not sure. But there I was, in her hospital room when all of a sudden—she woke up!

 

She was weak and her mouth was very dry from the ventilator, but she could whisper just enough to talk; only a few belabored words per breath.

 

She asked me about my wife. At the time, I was single—super single.

 

Upon hearing that I wasn’t married, she informed me that she knew my wife and that the woman I would marry was very beautiful and kind and that I was going to be very lucky. I tried in vain to get a name or address, but now, almost eight years later, I wonder if she knew just how right she would be.

 

After talking about other things for a few minutes, though, I asked her, “Grandma, where have you been these last 10 days?”

 

“Oh,” she responded, “I haven’t been alone.”

 

She proceeded to tell me about the life after death so casually and candidly that I found myself in near shock. She told me about her mother and mother-in-law and how other members of the family were doing who had long since passed. She had everything in her travelogue except pictures. Then came the part that changed my life forever.

 

“Zack, I was sent back with a very important message.”

 

 

To read what the message was, continue reading at LDSLiving.com.

 

 

 

6 Reasons Marriage Will Never Make You Happy

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marriage is hard

 

“Zack, you just can’t understand the happiness I feel—because you’re single.”

 

My friend had been married for almost a year and was telling me about the void he felt in his life before he was married. Marriage filled that void.

 

At the time, I was single and just couldn’t understand the ‘happiness that would forever evade me if I stayed in my pathetic lonesome state.’

 

He spoke as if happiness was this great ocean before me and I was stuck on dry ground.

 

It bothered me.

 

And it really bothered me that he was one of too many people who had told me the same exact thing: ‘Happiness is on the other side of singledom.’

 

I always knew that if I was doing the right thing, I would be happy; and in my opinion, trying to get married was the right thing regardless if I made it yet or not!

 

See, I really liked my single life.
I loved my friends, the dance parties, the trips, the hot tubing and meeting new people.
I felt close to God and genuinely happy.

 

I never understood what void I was missing.

 

Now that I’m married I can say I really like my married life.
I loved my friends, the dance parties, the trips, the hot tubing and meeting new people.
I feel close to God and genuinely happy.

 

Marriage doesn’t make you any happier than winning the lottery; you may have more money, but studies have shown that happiness is all relative.
Marriage doesn’t make you any happier than going to church; you can be in the building and walk out empty hearted.
Marriage doesn’t make you any happier than you already are.

 

Yes, indeed, it isn’t marriage that makes you happy—it is your choice to be happy regardless of circumstance.

 

Marriage doesn’t change you, but it reveals yourself to yourself…and scarily enough…to another.

 

And no, marriage isn’t the same as being single, but it is as great as your attitude will allow it to be.

 

Charles Swindoll (author educator and pastor) said, “Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, … than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” (Daniel H. Johnston, Lessons for Living (2001), 29.)

 

Sure you can’t swim on the sand, but you also can’t build sand castles in the water. Both are great, if your attitude looks for the greatness.

 

But too often, we only see the sands of time slipping away our best years single while waiting to be happy when we’re married.

 

But waiting to be happy is like waiting for Godot.
Waiting to be happy is like starving to death waiting for a food truck while sitting on a loaf of bread.
Waiting to be happy is like searching the world for acres of diamonds that are hidden beneath your own home (that link is worth the read).

 

happy woman in marriage

But it isn’t like these married people are all lying. They genuinely (and erroneously) think that it is marriage that makes them happy.

 

So what is it then that all these married people are really talking about? If not marriage, then why are they happier than when they are single? It’s because…

 

Marriage gives you more opportunities to do the things that make you happy.

 

Let’s go through these six examples:

 

1. Giving genuine service makes you happy.
If you are seeking to always make someone’s day better, then you will be happy. You can do that single, but marriage puts you in fairly close proximity to one person every day whom you can serve.

 

2. Being loved makes you happy.
Whether or not you are single, there are people who love you, but it can be hard to see sometimes. Being married allows you to look down at your left hand and see that someone said, ‘Even you, Zack, are worth being loved.’

 

3. Best friends make you happy.
This ties very closely to being loved, but it is amazing knowing that I have a best friend who has my back. Marriage isn’t the only way to get this, though.

 

4. Purpose makes you happy.
We can have purpose whether we are single or married. Some people need a spouse to give them that purpose; others can have a spouse add to their purpose.

 

5. Having kids makes you happy.
Now I don’t know anything about this and quite frankly have heard mixed reviews about kids…but what I have heard in the end is that it is a sacrifice and service that goes beyond what I can now understand. I look forward to it and know that now that I’m married I’m one step closer to it—but whether or not you’re married, simply preparing for this step brings happiness. For are we not all mothers/fathers?

 

6. Coming closer to God makes you happy.
Yes, making promises with God and my wife brings happiness, but married people don’t have a monopoly on God’s love. As Jeffrey R Holland said, “The gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed” (“Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You,” General Conference April 2016, original emphasis). If you are honestly trying to get married, that is enough.

 

So, to my dear friend who said that I couldn’t understand happiness, I thought you were wrong on the shores of singledom, and I still think you’re wrong in the ocean of matrimony.

 

While marriage provides a wonderful venue to practice these 6 (and many more) activities that creates happiness in one’s life; it never will make anyone happy. (After all, have you ever heard of “unhappy marriages?” About half of my married friends certainly have.)

 

Now, when people ask me if I’m happier married than when I was single, I’d say yes—but not because of marriage. I’m happier now because I am able to do those things more frequently that bring me happiness.

 

Don’t look to marriage tomorrow for happiness.

Do the things that truly make you happy today.

 

 

3 Habits That Could Make You Lose Your Testimony Without Realizing It

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This post had over 200k visits to LDSLiving.com. Read the whole post there.

 

losing my testimony

 

It was a blistering hot day in NYC.

 

I was 23 and had graduated from BYU two months earlier. Now I was nearing the end of my summer internship at a very fast-paced advertising agency.

 

From my apartment window, I looked out over the Hudson River where a city that shimmered with opportunity lay before me. The whole world was looking bright, but inside, I felt…cloudy.

 

I had doubts.

 

I wasn’t sure where to live after my internship, what to do for work, and worst of all, I went from having a huge support system in Utah where everyone encouraged me to choose the right and where gospel conversations were a norm, to a bustling city where my thoughts rarely fell on the gospel. And when they did, it was mainly questions about Church history. I began doubting whether or not I believed in the Church anymore.

 

But how could I—someone who prayed every day, hadn’t skipped a day of reading my scriptures since I was 15—have doubts? In my mind, doubts were for those people who had serious struggles in life or who chose paths that took them away from the Church—not for an active returned missionary like me. Right?

 

It was at this time of great confusion that my friend called me from the airport, en route to his mission. After a few minutes of talking he said, “Zack, you don’t sound good.”

 

 

 

To read the rest of the post and the three things that that might make you be losing your testimony, go to LDSLiving.com.

 

 

I Have an Idea for a Startup…Now What? Your First Hour of Entrepreneurship

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i have a business idea

 

It is late at night.

You are under the covers about to close your eyes—when it strikes you.

You got a business idea.

 

The muse of creative entrepreneurship knows no time zone and respects no alarm clock.

 

In a mad fever, your rush to your computer and start to write down an idea. At first a few words and then a flood of clarity! 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour pass before the brilliance is quelled, the muse satisfied and your heart content.

 

You are destined to become a millionaire.

 

The next morning you wake up and stumble to your computer to see if that dazed memory was actually a dream.

Alas no…you have a business idea.

 

(or maybe you were just walking and saw something can improve, or have been thinking about this one idea for a while or something far less dramatic…whatever…the point is, you have a business idea and should not let that sit by the wayside. It came to you, so see where it takes you.)

 

Now what?

 

Well, the first goal is to try to kill the idea.

And give yourself one hour to do it.

 

Yes, that’s right.

 

Your first hour of entrepreneurship should be spent trying to make it your last.

 

If you make it past that, then maybe you’re onto something.

 

I’m no expert on how to raise a million dollars for a startup, or how to sell a business or how to get featured in a national tech magazine—after all, experts can duplicate.

 

But one thing I do know, and something I have done hundreds of times over, is figuring out what to do with a brand new business idea.

 

I get the question, “Now What?!” so many times, I thought I’d finally put the six steps I tell people into a simple blog post.

 

The Six Steps of your First Hour as an Entrepreneur:

 

 

STEP 1: Think of every way a potential customer could find you online.

Write down a bunch of different phrases. Maybe 10, hopefully at least 20.

 

Not just for your product, but for the problem. So not just phrases like “a gift idea engine,” but things like, “how do I find gifts?” “best gift websites.”

 

 

STEP 2: Google all of the phrases.

Use exact match with double quotes and broad match with no quotes.

 

See what comes up.

 

This is your potential competition.

 

There are going to be companies trying to solve the same problem, or maybe even doing exactly what you are doing. Don’t worry yet. This is just the lay of the land.

 

 

STEP 3: “But Zack, what do I do if I didn’t find any competition?”

If there is no competition…you’re doing something wrong.

 

Keep Googling.

 

It might not be the EXACT thing you are looking to do, but who else is solving the problem and how are they solving it?

Life hacks? Substitutes? Work arounds?

If you still can’t find anything—go back to the drawing board because you clearly do not understand the problem.

 

Look, there wasn’t an iPhone before an iPhone, but there were phones and shoot, even BlackBerries (rest in peace). There weren’t iPods before iPods, but there were MP3 players.

Problems are being solved, but maybe just not the best way.

And that is where your idea can come in!

 

 

STEP 4: Kill or King?

This is the turning point for your idea. Are you going to keep going or not? Are you going to kill the idea, or make it your king?

 

Just because there is competition, doesn’t mean your idea is dead.

 

Ask yourself a few questions:

Are there thousands or a couple of other companies?

How similar are their products to yours?

Why are have you not heard of them already?

Can you do something better to give you an advantage?

 

If you have honestly, rationally and unemotionally answered these questions and are still ready to rock, stop— and take step 5 very seriously.

 

 

STEP 5: Realize what Entrepreneurship is NOT

If your idea passed through step 4 and you find yourself wanting to start a business just so you don’t have a boss, then my friend, call me, give me your great business idea, take a few percentage points and walk away.

 

I said that the idea will be your king for a reason.

 

You will never have more bosses than when you are an entrepreneur. Your investors, your employees, your family—everyone is your boss.

Not to mention you will be your own boss.

There aren’t too many professions where you vacation with your boss, sleep with your boss, shower with your boss. Your boss is ALWAYS there and if he/she is not driving you crazy to work harder, your business is likely never to see the light of day.

 

So if your business idea has made the cut, then you need to think if you want to.

 

Keep in mind, there’s no shame in being an advisor to your own idea. Coming up with an idea doesn’t qualify someone to be CEO. Confidence will help you in business, pride blinds you. I flanked myself with 50 years of business with my first idea because I knew how little I knew. Now that I know more about entrepreneurship and have an MBA, I’d probably find even more experience to help me.

 

But if you are still pumped and revving to go—THEN LET’S GET TO IT!

 

 

STEP 6: Simply Socialize

Put together a 3-slide PowerPoint.

 

– Slide 1: Write down clearly what the problem is you are solving and who your customer(s) is/are (very important to realize that you may have more than one customer. A coupon company, for example, is selling both to the companies and to the end user.).

– Slide 2: Write out the solution. Make it 12 words max. You can have a more detailed description below including how you plan to make money, but the solution sentence should be 12 words or less.

– Slide 3: Write/Draw/etc. a simple diagram of how it will work. Do NOT start looking for app developers or investors.

 

This deck is just as much for you as it is for the people with whom you will share it.

 

Call up a few friends and family and talk to them about the idea. Ask them if they know anyone who can help give advice. Then go to LinkedIn and search for your network to see if there is anyone who can give you really good insight. And please, never ask someone to sign an NDA at this stage. The only people who will are the people who you shouldn’t trust.

 

Now this last step will take you beyond the first hour, but then you are at least going in the right direction.

 

 

After your first hour is over, your life will never be the same. The passion that awaits you, the excitement of any small success, the joy of bringing something into this world from your mind that never was before—it is a thrill.

 

So buckle up and and start running—it’s gunna be a wild race!

 

 

And really though, if you do want to ever talk through your ideas—shoot me an email with your three slides. Always happy to chat with a thoughtful entrepreneur!

 

 

Seven Perfect Days: A Life-Changing Challenge

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Canyon on the edge

 

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt 5:48) was the injunction of the Savior.

 

Not like ‘sort of perfect’ or ‘just about perfect’….but an unqualified “perfect.”

 

I, like you, have at times stood at the edge of my true reflection and been disheartened by the craterous chasm between me and perfection.

 

But in studying how the Savior grew from “grace to grace” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:13), I began to realize that while perfection is the eventual goal, it isn’t an immediate destination.

 

As my father always reminds me, it isn’t where you are on the path, but which direction your toes are pointed.

 

It isn’t about me jumping across the canyon of my imperfections today, but about consistently working on the bridge.

 

So a few years ago, I started a different kind of goal. Instead of trying to be perfect, I decided I would try to be perfect at something…and not forever—but just for 7 days.

 

Each Sunday I’ll try to pick something to do perfectly for 7 days.

 

Seven Perfect Days.

 

Try it.

 

Try studying your scriptures for real every day for 7 days.

Try not cursing at all for 7 days.

Try not looking pornography for 7 days.

Try being completely kind for 7 days.

Try not yelling for 7 days.

Try praying every morning for 7 days.

Try working out every day for 7 days (#KeylePetittAdvice).

 

Not everything at once.

Not forever.

 

One thing.

For 7 days.

Perfectly.

 

And as I have done this, I realized how much joy it brought me to keep that one thing on the forefront of my mind until it was engrained on my heart and became a habit.

 

Many times I’ve gone back to a previous Seven Perfect Days goal and other times I’ve worked on the one goal for 5, 6, or 7 weeks.

 

And even if I wasn’t totally perfect after 7 times trying Seven Perfect Days, at least I was trying.

 

Because in the end, we must take a step back and ask ourselves: what does it mean to be “perfect?”

 

Brigham Young shed some light on this when he said, “We can alter the phraseology of the sentence, and say, ‘Be ye as perfect as ye can,’ for that is all we can do, though it is written, be ye perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. To be as perfect as we possibly can, according to our knowledge, is to be just as perfect as our Father in heaven is. He cannot be any more perfect than He knows how, any more than we. When we are doing as well as we know how in the sphere and station which we occupy here, we are justified in the justice, righteousness, mercy, and judgment that go before the Lord of heaven and earth” (Journal of Discourses 2:129-130)

 

And in the end, no matter how far away we are from the other side of that canyon, if we are willing to try and to build, the Atonement will take us all the way across. But we must take that first step.

 

So try it this week.

 

Pick something to show God that you are being perfect—or at least as perfect as you now how.

 

Start now.

 

It took God 7 days to create a perfect world. Take the next 7 to create a more perfect version of yours.

 

 

Fear Not; Great Things Await You

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keep holding on

It was 2008 and I was really like this girl.

 

It was our third date and I thought it went well…so I decided to ask her out for another.

 

She turned to me, looked away and then down at her feet.

 

I assumed she was racking her mind as to how to cancel her other dates so she could spend more time with me.

 

I assumed wrong.

 

“Zack…” she started with a slight stutter, “you’re like a wet keg of gunpowder. Everything is there, but there is just no spark.”

 

I can’t say that I was devastated, but certainly discouraged. I mean, I only found a girl I even liked once or twice a year–and this was one of them.

 

After an awkward last doorstep scene, I got into my car and started to pray.

 

I prayed to find out why I was still single, how much longer I would be single, why dating was so hard and why things just never seemed to work out for me.

 

In that moment I felt a prompting that was so strong, it was almost like a voice. “Zack, it will all work out. Don’t worry. Your wife will be worth it.”

 

I knew my patriarchal blessing told me I’d get married, I knew people always said I would get married, I knew that God wanted me to get married…but in that moment in that car, by myself—it was just me and God. That prayer filled me with a peace that kept me going…for another 8 years.

 

Now don’t feel too bad for me. Dating wasn’t painful.

 

Oh sure, dating was fun. But make no mistake about it—fun and loneliness are no strangers to each other.

 

At times the thin threads of loneliness are so delicately interwoven with the fabric of fun that they are almost an indistinguishable veil separating reality from our emotions.

 

But keeping that perspective that “the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled (Mormon 8:22) and that “great things await you” (Doc&Cov 45:62) helped keep me going.

 

And when things got hard and loneliness started to take the center stage of my mind, I remembered the words of God, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee” (Isaiah 41:10).

 

And so to you, if you are wondering what your future holds, just hold on. It will all work out. Don’t worry. Your life will be worth it.

 

 

“Am I UnLoveable?”

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Ship sunset

 

“Zack, I only have one question: What is wrong with you?”

 

It was a few years ago on a warm summer evening. I was out with some family friends at a backyard bbq and had been chatting with a nice middle-aged woman I had just met about…life.

 

She was recently single; I was perpetually single.

 

Same ocean; different boats.

 

She felt like Robison Crusoe getting ready to shipwreck on the Island of Despair; I felt like an under-paid over-worked Carnival bus boy.carnival fun date

 

She was wondering if she could be loved again; I was wondering if I was loveable.

 

She was missing; I was longing.

 

But we were both swimming in our own ocean loneliness.

 

Her in her singleness; me in my many-ness.

 

After getting to know each other a little, she asked me that question that so many had thoughtlessly asked before and one that she perhaps was asking herself, “What is wrong with you?”

 

Granted, implied in that question was a pseudo-complement of her feeling like there must be something terribly amiss in my life that I have yet to reveal if I am still single—but it’s hard to take a compliment in a question dripping with the assumed accusation that there is something terribly amiss in my life that I have yet to reveal.

 

I went through the “Lord is it I?” and “What lack I yet?” questions in my heart and felt that while I didn’t always follow true north in every aspect of my life, the Lord was pleased with my direction. So I felt like I was doing okay; but my mind couldn’t stay calm.

 

She wasn’t the first one to ask me this; in fact, it had become a recurring conversation (something many 25+ singles may also notice).

 

And, like the waves after an oil spill, the question kept crashing into my conscience over and over and over again beginning to soil the sand of my mind.

 

ship wreckIs there something terribly wrong with me? Am I just not loveable?

 

But those doubts had to be submerged for a pithy backyard bbq conversation. A flirty chuckle and awkward pause always got me out of diving into the uncharted territory of true feelings. After all, I had become an expert at faking things surface level when they too sunk deep.

 

But I wish I could have been in the car with myself that evening as I was driving home alone, floundering in my own self-doubts weighted down by the constant questions of others.

 

For now that the single “ship is anchor’d safe and sound” I can say that the journey does not have to end with a mournful tread or a captain dead. (“O Captain, My Captain”) http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174742. And while the destination may be different for everyone, I am confident that we each have a charted path by the Great Mariner.

 

It is unwise to question someone else’s path because it is taking them longer to get to land than others.

 

And while we might have the echoes of “what is wrong with you” in the rusted hulls of our minds, we, like Kristen Oaks, can begin “to reflect a different question, ‘What more can I do that is right?’” (“Trust in Heaven’s Timing”) https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/02/trust-in-heavens-timing?cid=HP_FR_2-12-2016_dPFD_fENSN_xLIDyL2-1_&lang=eng And there is much “right” that we need to do.

 

Indeed we are loved by a God whose love spans heights and depths (Romans 8:39). I have proof of that every time I reach out to Him and ask. Yes, I, from time to time, will ask God if He loves me.

 

Try it.

 

Pray, ask and then…wait…

 

Wait until you feel a response.

 

That love will help remind you that if you are trying to head in the right direction, the lights along the shore will lead you to the right destination.

 

And while I won’t give you the whole, ‘there are plenty of fish in the sea’ thing, I will tell you this: You are loveable.

 

Whether you know it now or not; whether you have recently lost a love or never found it; whether you are in solitude or are drowning in social events—you deserve love.

 

So let not the doubts weigh you down, but let hope buoy you up with the knowledge that “great things await you.” (Doc&Cov 45:62)

 

 

My 30th Life Lesson

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Life Lessons

Every year at my birthday, I like to reflect back at what the last 365 days taught me.

 

This last year was a big one.

 

It brought me to 15 countries across 5 continents and all over the USA—from LA to NYC, Chicago to Dallas and the “Nebraska” stuff in the middle.

 

But it wasn’t just a journey of destinations; it was a journey of experiences.

 

I finished my MBA, met a girl, cut ties with my single life, moved to a new state, started my first “real” JOB (as my mother puts it), won some money, rang the NASDAQ, signed a book contract…oh yeah, and got married.

 

Now, I give you that accounting for the simple purpose of expressing the importance of the biggest lesson that I learned, for there were many along the way.

 

But while journeying, I was struck by how beautiful our little world really is. This pale blue dot we call earth is our home. We all live here together and hence, we should all love here together.

And that brings me to what the last 365 days has taught me:

 

Love is a choice.

 

Yes, much like gratitude and happiness…love, indeed, is a choice.

 

We choose to keep ourselves open to the possibility of love.

We choose to give someone the chance to be loved by us.

We choose to allow another to love us.

 

And yes, we even choose to stay in love.

 

Now we might not always choose with whom we fall in love, but we definitely can choose to NOT fall in love with someone.

 

Regardless of how different or how similar people are from what we would expect and regardless of how disjointed or perfectly planned our circumstance—love is always our choice to make.