Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

29 Life Lessons – 30th Tomorrow

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old man wisdom

Every year, on my birthday I contemplate on the life lessons from the previous 365 days. I have learned some amazing lessons this last and I am going to share my 30th one tomorrow. But now, I’ll give you my previous 29.

While this might not be amazingly insightful or new to you or old man on a park bench wise, these lessons have shaped everything that I am and everything I try to be.

….and I can’t wait to learn more!

Please share your big life lessons in the comments.

  1. Follow the Spirit.
  2. Go to bed every night knowing God a little better than the night before.
  3. Never finish a prayer until you feel God’s love.
  4. Study the scriptures to teach something daily.
  5. Confidence is based on who you really are–nothing else.
  6. Leadership is an organized opportunity to help the world and you grow.
  7. Distill every institution, activity and program down to love.
  8. One soul is a good enough reason.
  9. If you don’t think you can change the world, then change someone’s world. Don’t underestimate the power of one–namely, you.
  10. Keep your priorities focused on the eternal.
  11. Serve until you love.
  12. If you have to wonder if they can feel your love, express it.
  13. Godly sorrow is knowing that Christ suffered because of you and not just for you.
  14. There is ALWAYS a reason to rejoice.
  15. Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it…and try to do a little more.
  16. If you feel stressed, stop. Think. What can you do to fix the problem? If there is nothing you can do, then pray. If there is something you can do, then do it. If you ever forget this rule, just go under the stars for 5 minutes.
  17. Expectations for other should be to try; expectations for yourself should be perfect love.
  18. Women bear children, men open doors.
  19. Do what the best version of you would do.
  20. There is a way to do things, and there is the way to get things done.
  21. The proverbial “self” is not found or discovered–it is created.
  22. Dream big and live smart, but don’t let others’ invented limitations dictate what constitutes “smart.”
  23. Live life sincerely.
  24. Keep your heart open to real love, for love liberates hope.
  25. Seek business partners who display three attributes consistently: innovation, communication and dependability-ation.
  26. Work smart, work hard and know that, in the end, success is given to you.
  27. You are what’s worth it. And while you have a ways to go, you are doing better than you think. In a life filled with dreams broken by ‘just about’s and ‘almost’s and ‘sort of’s and ‘would have been’s…know that you, yes…even you–especially you, are worth being loved.
  28. If you want to see the hand of God, Look. If you want to hear the voice of God, listen. If you want to feel the love of God, serve.
  29. Elevate your faith above your circumstances.
  30. …coming tomorrow!

Grow, Don’t Just Go

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Climbing the tree

A man was hiking through the forest when he saw something half-way up a tree.

 

Looking up, he saw another man climbing.

 

“What are you doing up there?” the grounded man inquired.

 

“Trying to get to the moon,” came the matter-of-fact response.

 

Baffled, the hiker furrowed his eyebrows before informing the climber that he was never going to get to the moon up there.

 

The climber snickered at this lowly man’s apparent ignorance. “What do you know? I’m higher than you and still have higher to climb!”

 

Many of us are just like the man in the tree. We think that moving is getting us somewhere.

 

Our lofty goals and ambitions cause us to start racing through life, or climbing a tree, never giving thought to whether or not we are actually going towards a finish line. As Stephen Covey put it, “if the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”

 

So often in life, we make a goal to get married, but we go on tons of dates instead of really getting to know someone.

 

We want to have a successful marriage, but when we go to dinner with our spouse, we are on our phones the whole time.

 

We desire to do more with our lives, but we read self-help books as procrastination for actually helping ourselves!

 

It can be agonizing to give our lives an honest look, only to see that our current course is not going to get us where we truly desire. But at times, going backward is what will ultimately propel us forward.

 

The most successful people I’ve observed do two things very well: they work hard and they work smart. If one of those is missing, then you will also miss your end goal.

 

 

To read the 5 steps to grow and not just go and read the conclusion of this article, to go LDSLiving.org!

What I Thought I Would Feel on My Wedding Day but Didn’t

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scary dating

So…I’m married.

 

The scene that was the wedding day seemed to play out in a directed concoction of met and exceeded expectations.

 

The drive to the temple excitement, reception stress, hair problems, sheer happiness, craziness of actually getting married, tears of joy, laughter of a final dance, a humorously awkward drive to the hotel—they all appeared right on queue center stage during a perfect wedding day.

 

But there was one actor that did not play a part.

 

Not only was I surprised—but shocked.

 

I had him cast as a lead.

 

The villain’s name?

 

 

Fear.

 

 

It was an omission, which left a (former) singular audience of one giving a standing ovation.

 

But I was not alone in my pleasantly unmet expectation.

 

Who else was flabbergasted?

 

Oh, let’s say just about everyone who knows me.

 

See, the week after I got engaged my father called me for a chat.

“Son, you are going to have doubts and be afraid sometime between now and the wedding. You may want to run Just get through it. It will pass. You found yourself someone really special and everything will be okay.”

 

So I hunkered down in my seat and waited, with a fixed determination to outwit the frightened scoundrel.

 

And waited…

 

…and waited.

 

I knew it would come eventually. After all, my entire life I was accused of being someone who had a fear of commitment.

 

The inevitability of the fear from jumping into the biggest eternal commitment of my entire life (and eternity), was getting closer and closer.

 

It is simply a matter of time, I doubtlessly thought.

 

…but it never did.

 

It was as if I showed up to the battlefield ready for war and was met by a middle school theater class fieldtrip who offered to share their lunches with me.

 

Even moments before the ceremony, my trepidation for a surprise entrance was evident.

 

On the drive to the temple with Annie, I turned to her and asked, ‘How do you feel?’

‘Great!’

‘Me too…? Aren’t we supposed to feel—scared or something?’

‘Not when it’s right, I guess.’

 

Ah, and there it is.

 

Turns out, I wasn’t afraid of committing, but just committing to the wrong person.

 

A wedding day is the intermission of the eternal play that is our existence. It gives us a moment to just be completely present in between everything that has taken place from our pre-earth life, birth and life and everything that will take place from our death to forever after.

 

This is not to say that I wasn’t afraid of commitment at other times in my life or that cold feet is a foreboding omen, for everyone goes through their own wedding scene, but rather that sometimes,
“it” can be easy.

 

Yes, while I expect staying in love will be work, falling in love was easy. Some might even call it play.

 

So don’t fear if you feel fear—it might not be you, it might just be that you haven’t found them. (And a simple way to tell if it is you…pray to fall in love and see if you mean it.)

 

5 Relationship Questions You Didn’t Realize Were Answered in Alma 32

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Shot of an affectionate young couple relaxing at home

Alma gives a beautiful dissertation about the seed of faith in Alma 32.

 

But as I read this chapter recently, I realized that the advice and principles in it are just as true if you change the word “faith” to “relationship.” Here are the answers to five common relationship questions, as explained by Alma 32.

 

1. How do I know if I’m dating the right person?

“Now we will compare the [relationship] unto a seed. Now if ye give place, that a [relationship] may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true [relationship], or a good [relationship], if ye do not cast it out by your [pickiness, laziness, busyness, fear of commitment, etc.]…it will begin to swell within your breasts…”

 

Jonn D. Claybaugh said, “Some people expect the Lord to provide a dramatic revelation about their eternal mate, but what usually happens is that we drop our defenses and communicate with a potential spouse, we experience subtle, ongoing spiritual promptings about the relationship. Inspiration can come only when we are honest with ourselves, our potential mates, and the Lord” (“Dating: A Time to Become Best Friends,” Ensign, Apr 1994)

 

2. Once I’ve found a good relationship, then what?

“As the [relationship] beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us.”

 

Spencer W. Kimball said, “The successful marriage depends in large measure upon the preparation made in approaching it…One cannot pick the ripe, rich, luscious fruit from a tree that was never planted, nurtured, nor pruned” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, p. 242).

 

3. The relationship is dying after it was growing. Not my fault, right?

“But if ye neglect the [relationship]…when the heat of the sun cometh…it hath no root and withers away…Now, this is not because the [relationship] was not good…but it is because your ground is barren.”

 

Yikes! We must remember that who we are affects how our relationship grows.

5 Relationship Questions You Didn’t Realize Were Answered in Alma 32

4. How do you know when the seed has grown into “true love?”

“…ye will begin to say within yourselves—it must needs be that this is a good [relationship]…for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.”

 

David O. McKay said, “‘How may I know when I am in love?’ That is a very important question…in the presence of the girl you truly love you do not feel to grovel; in her presence you do not attempt to take advantage of her; in her presence you feel that you would like to be everything that a [great man] should become, for she will inspire you to that idea. And I ask you young women to cherish that same guide. What does he inspire in you?” (“Chapter 14: Preparing for an Eternal Marriage and Family,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay)

 

5. Is all this work worth it?

“But if ye will nourish the [relationship]…as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience…behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet.”

 

 

(To read the actual commentary and not just quotes AND a nice little ending, read the full article (3-min read) at LDSLiving.com!)

 

Why We’ll Never Be Prepared for What’s Next—And That’s Okay

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running dating

 

A few years ago I signed up for a marathon.

 

When I decided I would run the 26.2 miles, I couldn’t even jog for one mile without stopping. But, I decided that regardless of what was expected or how hard the inclines, I would finish the race.

 

However, whenever I start a significant event in my life, feelings of personal insignificance usually quickly follow.

 

Like when I was set apart as an elder.

Or when I received the first investment dollar into my company.

Or when I started my MBA.

Or when I proposed a few weeks ago.

 

Every one of those events didn’t change who I was but rather explained who I was and made me more committed to climb.

 

I realized that even though I had prepared for each of these steps, when they finally did come, I wasn’t ready. I had no sudden epiphanies or magical wand that transformed me into a member, an elder, a student, or a husband. I was still just . . . me. How was I ever supposed to measure up and succeed at tasks so above my head?

 

But isn’t that the way it goes? Isn’t that how God works?

 

As my MBA Professor Grant McQueen reminded me at our class convocation,

When God wanted an ark, He didn’t look for a boat builder.

When God wanted Goliath killed, He didn’t look for a giant slayer.

When God wanted the Church to settle in the West, He didn’t look for a frontiersman.

So when God wants an incredible life to be lived, He is looking at you.

 

Why do you think that Christ told Peter and Andrew, “I will make you fishers of men?” (Matthew 4:19) Because they were just men who fished before Christ.

 

Maybe you’re like me and often feel a sense of doubt about your abilities, but even Shakespeare decried such notions! “Our doubts are our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing the attempt (Measure for Measure, act 1, scene 4).

 

To read the conclusion of this article and my favorite Neal A. Maxwell quote, continue reading at LDSLiving.com.

 

What I Learned from Almost Falling Off of a Cliff and What Mozart Already Knew

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mountain hiking

 

My buddy invited me to go climbing with him. I had never been, but the concept seemed easy enough: get up a rock wall.

 

I had no clue what I was actually in for.

 

As we approached the cliff, I realized that he didn’t have any ropes!

 

It was at that moment that I learned what ‘free solo climbing’ was. I wish I would have asked sooner, but still, I was going to make it to the top of that ciff.

 

We started up a wedge that went up 25 feet…and it just got more challenging from there. I decided to try to find an easier route and in doing so, ended up trying to shimmy around an outcropping of rock.

 

Below me there was a 40 foot drop with jagged rocks. The part of the mountain that I was on had been baking in the sun all afternoon and was piping hot. The heat and the nerves got to me and I started to sweat.

 

I tried to shimmy faster, but–I slipped.

 

Then slipped again.

 

I was losing grip and panic started to set in.

 

Looking around me, I screamed–but no one heard me. I knew that either I would find a way to the top or I would fall to the bottom. With determined desperation, I saw a little plant, barely growing in a mountain crack. I slowly, carefully crawled my fingers up and grabbed on, which took just enough pressure off to stop me from slipping off and helped me find a good foothold.

 

I almost died–and would have,  had I waited for someone to save me.

 

 

I had to act and believe it would work. As it is written in Endurance, the book about Shackleton’s unbelievable journey where he saved a doomed Antarctic polar exploration, “No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.”

I recently was talking to my roommate who is a master at being curious. He has such a ferocious hunger to become an expert at what he is doing that he stops at nothing until he gets there. He told me of someone who asked, ‘How does someone become as good as Mozart?’

 

The response he read sent a chill of truth to his core, ‘If you have to ask, you’ll never know.’

 

He was that good because he did what it took to become “Mozart.”

old piano time

There is a certain amount of work required to get the results you desire, but from what I’ve seen of the most successful people, there comes a point where the paved road ends and the mountains begin. And real success is on the other side.

 

As Nikos Kazantzakis, a philosopher and author, said, “The Nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired, whatever we have not irrigated with our blood to such a degree that it becomes strong enough to stride across the somber threshold of nonexistence” (‘Report to Greco,’ p.434).

 

Yes, there are times that things will seem impossible. But we must realize that if we hit those walls of adversity, they will fall over and turn into ramps that will take us higher than we ever thought imaginable. The impossible will become the improbable misunderstood by everyone else.

 

No matter how hard the situation, how difficult the climb, how precarious the endeavor, there is always that one little plant to help you, if you will just reach out for it. “A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed a hopeless failure may turn into a glorious success…There is no defeat except within, no really insurmountable barrier save one’s own inherent weakness of purpose” (Quoted by Joseph B Wirthlin, “Never Give up,” LDS General Conference, Oct 1987).

 

So find your purpose! It will be the motivation to get you to make one last reach. As Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz, said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’” (Man’s Search for Meaning).

 

So don’t read this post and ask, ‘How do I become better?’

 

You know!

 

Within you is a better you. Find it. Be it.

 

No matter how many books tell you how to get to the top of the mountain, they won’t ever help you unless you want to. You must close your eyes, see the vision of what’s at the top and find your own way up.

 

Work for that girl. Find that boy. Get that job. Gain that testimony.

 

You (yes, you) have limitless potential and when you believe that, you can do what is needed to achieve it.

 

 

The Only Thing That helped When I was TICKED!

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hand and holding

 

I was fuming.

 

The details are not important, but I was treated so rudely by a potential business partner that I was left in shock. I had never had someone be so inconsiderate to me before.

 

But since I only allow myself 10 hours a year to feel frustrated, and it was only March at the time, I didn’t want to waste my frustration too early.

 

I tried to blow off some steam.

 

I went for a run in the desert, but it didn’t help.

I called my mother and it just got me more worked up.

I went to the temple, but didn’t have the right attitude.

 

As I was sitting in my kitchen looking for something to make me happy (realizing that I had already eaten up half of my year’s frustration time, which only made me more frustrated), I started eating some Goldfish. I started to think about how I loved Goldfish and that they are, indeed, “so delicious.” Then, I remembered hearing a sentiment described in the book Flourish, where Martin Seligman recommends all readers try an experiment: “Find one wholly unexpected kind thing to do tomorrow and just do it. Notice what happens to your mood.”

 

So I did just that.

 

I called the 1-800 number on the Goldfish box and told the lady who answered that I had a comment I wanted to make. I could feel her eyes squinting on the other end of the phone, ready for a deluge of disapproval.

 

“I just want to say thank you for such a great product. I seriously love your Goldfish!”
[silence] “Um…Oh, okay…well thank you for saying so.”

 

“Yeah,” I responded. I hadn’t really thought through what else I would say past that point.

 

“Well,” the woman answered much more cheerfully, “what is your address and I’ll send you some coupons to get a free box of Goldfish!”

 

And while of course I was excited for free Goldfish, I honest to goodness felt so, so, so much better after saying something nice in an unexpected way.

 

Truly, when we do something nice with no thought of reward, we can improve our hearts. And, because God is so giving and so good, we’ll often find we still receive blessings in turn—like free Goldfish.

 

To read the conclusion of this article, check out LDSLiving.com.

Why I’m Afraid of Marriage: Confessions of a Single LDS Man

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happy newlywed

 

At the start of this year, I got tired of not being able to see the world. So, as some of you may know, I’ve been traveling a lot lately.

 

When I share this with my married friends, they usually say, “Get that all out of your system now, because when you’re married . . .”

 

Then they trail off into an assumed negative statement of common knowledge about how marriage means that life isn’t fun or something. (I’m not sure because no one ever finishes that sentence.)

 

Sure, it becomes more expensive and more difficult (especially with kids). But does excitement have to be drained out of a relationship because of family?

 

In pondering over that question, I realized one of my biggest fears about marriage is that life will become audaciously ordinary, banal—dull. 

 

Of the couples I have observed, there are very few marriages which look enjoyable to me. (Now admittedly, the couples in those relationships may be perfectly content; it just doesn’t seem like it would work for me.)

 

Not great odds. But determined to beat the odds, I started to consider the commonalities between the marriages I admired.

There were two factors I’ve noticed in marriages I admire:

1. They have respect for each other. They are friends.

2. They work for adventure. Not that they spend thousands of dollars a month traveling, but they share new experiences with each other.

 

To read the conclusion of this post, go to LDSLiving.com.

God’s 3 Steps to Successful Dating and Marriage

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A loving young couple spending time together at home

 

I had just received the news through some not-so-subtle hints.

 

She wasn’t interested.

 

(Insert disappointed sigh here.)

 

Not that I was counting on it working out, per se, it’s just that . . . well, I was really hoping it might have. Yeah, it was just a crush; yeah, we might have only gone on a couple of dates; yeah, I wasn’t super emotionally invested . . . but I was at that point in life where it seemed that nothing was working out. (You know what I mean.) I was frustrated because whenever I liked a great girl, they weren’t interested; and when a great girl liked me, it didn’t seem right.

 

I was standing on a packed train when I had a prompting to open up to Doctrine & Covenants Section 90. I was not sure exactly what was there, but when I came across verse 24, I realized that God had put in a formula so that my relationships—in my dating life and in my future marriage—would really work! He packaged it up in three simple steps that could help me keep perspective. It filled my heart with hope—and it can fill your heart too.

 

  1. Search Diligently
  2. Pray Always
  3. Be Believing

 

This is just a summary of this article. To get the full punch:

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO LDSLIVING.COM

 

 

What’s More Important: Love or Loyalty?

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Loyalty locks love

“Did I make a mistake?”

 

This is the question that almost every single married person has asked themselves at some point (and something that single people ask themselves daily)

 

Death, bad choices, hurtful words, emotional funks, and irritations usually lead spouses to take a look at their relationship and wonder on….then, often, wander off.

 

So what keeps the other half of America from getting divorced?

 

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a few hours in the van with 11 married men. Being the only single guy, everyone went around and gave me a piece of advice for life and marriage

 

While I undoubtedly will write about many of the things said, there is something that really stuck out to me–it centers around how marriages last.

 

The question of “successful” marriages came down to this: it is more about loyalty than love.

 

At the end of the ride, almost everyone in the van was in agreement: While love will get you married, it is loyalty that keeps you married.

 

As has been mentioned in previous posts, there is so much that changes after marriage, but it is that commitment to the marriage and to each other that will keep things together.

 

Even though there are difficulties and trials and the love will be there some days and irritation on others, if you have that loyalty to each other to stick it out, it can work

 

Now, there are obviously times when logic must triumph over both love and loyalty, but those cases are individual and should not be judged by any outside party.

 

But for those whose relationship doesn’t meet that logic level of lacking, when love is ebbing, fix firm on the resolve of loyalty…or so I’ve been told.