Actions Speak Louder Than Knowledge

The amount of knowledge at our fingertips today is remarkable:

Smart phone

Need Directions, hit google maps.  Do you want to know what that actress played in before?  Pull up IMDB.  Where is that Bible Verse?  Access the Bible App?  How do I program my garage door opener?  You Tube will be there for you.

I heard a quote on a podcast recently that if knowledge were truly power we would all be billionaires and have six-pack abs!  It is so true, isn’t it?  With a “Smart” phone we have all the wisdom of the ages, literally at our fingertips, yet the human condition seems little improved.  Why is that?

I think it boils down to three things we must do to leverage knowledge:

Align:  With so much information available, we have to filter out things that do not add value.  There are certainly things that are available that might not align with things that will improve the human condition.  Gambling sites, child pornography, and terrorist networking sites are a few that come to mind.  Beyond that there are things available that may be fine in small doses, but if they consume our calendar they can take away from family, work, and more productive elements to have a successful existence, Pokemon Go, Candy Crush, Netflix streaming, and gaming sites to name a few.  If we are to succeed, we must make sure we are spending our time accessing things that align with the goals we have.

Access:  Having knowledge available has no value whatsoever if one does not access it!  The other day I was driving around lost.  After about 15 minutes it dawned on me that I should pull over the car, and use google maps.  I will never get that 15 minutes back because I chose to delay accessing the information readily available to me.  Many of us have had the experience of losing years of our life because we chose not to take advantage of knowledge available to us.  The good news is that today is a new day.  If we are still breathing we can choose to access the wisdom earned from the pain and successes of others.

Apply:  With all this knowledge so readily available today, I think we have the danger of falling into the same trap as the ancient Greeks.  We can sit around on our phones and computers, IM’ing, texting, face timing, and blogging about our lives much like the ancient Greeks hung out in the Acropolis debating philosophy while first the Roman Empire, then Christianity, then Islam swept across what was once their empire changing and reshaping their reality over and over again.

Unless we take hold of the available knowledge and wisdom and apply it to our lives nothing will change.  This is true in all aspects of our life; family, careers, health, and spirituality.

On the latter point, we have had scriptures available to us for 6,000 years.  The printing press made it more accessible 600 years ago, and now we can access it on our phones, and even listen to it audibly while we commute.  Have we seen that change our generation?  No, because though it is there for us, many of us neglect it, while others of us let it go in one ear and out the other, never allowing it to pass through our hearts and souls.

What knowledge do you think we need to access and apply to create the kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren?

A New #CREED For Your #ROCKY Life

I love the Rocky franchise; from the critically acclaimed to the cheesiest, but I was not expecting to learn a life lesson from the latest release #CREED, but learn I did.  As the grizzled old Rocky was mentoring his young apprentice, Adonis (Donny) Creed (Johnson), he also mentored me with this advice:

“One step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time.”  Over and over again, as Rocky trained the son of his best friend, he imparted this wisdom until it sunk deep into the young man’s soul.  “One step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time,” and his words reverberated in my psyche.

Life is very much like a prize-fight.  There will be winners, there will be losers, and there will be split decisions that should have gone the other way.  The real secrets to winning the fight of your life are summed up in Rocky’s advice.  Let’s break it down:

One step at a time:

I am an over the hill guy, like Rocky.  I have fewer years in front of me than I do behind me.  One thing I can tell you is that if someone would have shown me at 18 all the hard things I would have to face: loss of loved ones, sickness, pain, poverty, and failure, it would have overwhelmed me.  God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to put us on the earth with only the ability to live in the present, learning from the past and facing the future.  As long as we keep moving “one step at a time” in the direction we wat to go, we make progress.  Now, I can look back at a wonderful, successful, love filled life with its share of hardship, but also with meaning and purpose.  I got here by moving forward, executing on my plans and goals, “one step at a time.”

One punch at a time:

The reality is life is a battle.  From our first breath, death seeks to take us.  We have to fight it everyday.  There are times we will get knocked to the canvass.  The only way we lose for sure is to not get back up.  Sadly I have seen this in my life a couple of times with people close to me.  Life knocked these guys down and they could not get back up.  They just stayed down.  The secret is to stay on the offensive.  When you receive a blow, your enemy has left himself exposed, look for the counter punch!  Press forward (one step at a time) and keep jabbing.  You will take more blows, but you will never win the fight by retreating.  Press in, jab, press in, block, then hook, block, then uppercut.  Take the fight to the enemy.  Remember the enemy is death, defeat it by living life to the full;  Live, Laugh, and Love.  Jab, hook, uppercut.

One Round at a Time

The fight of your life is a long one.  Fifteen rounds are for lightweights!  You will grow weary and you will want to throw in the towel to stop the blows from coming.  At that point, remember: This round will end!  You will be able to go to your corner, get some rest, get some coaching, and salve the wounds.  This is ALWAYS the case.  There is always an end to a round.  Wait for it, and then when it comes, don’t stay in the ring.  Go to your corner, get what you need to recover and get renewed, because the bell for the next round will sound, and the fight will resume.

Before the Final Bell

Finally, Creed learned that it was OK for him to acknowledge he was his father’s son.  It was OK to take advantage of his Father’s name to influence his future.  It is OK for you too.  You have a Father who has passed to you what you need to fulfill your destiny.  You do not have to do it all on your own power.  He has provided for you to give you a future and hope.  He may not be visible, but he is here.  He loves you and He can still give you what it takes to win the fight.


WORK ETHIC: There’s No CheckFree, Only PayPal (Re-Post)

I heard a quote from Rory Vaden, New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs, recently.  He said, “You always get paid for the work you do; sometimes now, often times later, but always eventually.”  It harkens back to the biblical proverb, “As a man sows, so shall he reap.”

Sometimes, these statements appear not to be true.  For instance, when banks have to be bailed out by trillions of dollars of taxpayer money because they lent without regard to the recipients’ abilities to repay, or when “Green” companies get hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, only to fold without contributing one bit of service or product they promised.  How about when an average family of four pays out over $22,000 per year for their healthcare (recent study)?  Consider when college students default on 10’s of thousands of dollars in student loan money they used to take Spring Break trips to Cancun and pay car payments on their new sports car, but never graduated from college?  And what about those who pour their blood, sweat and tears into a family business, only to see the economy tank, the business fail, and they end up in personal bankruptcy?  This world does not seem to be fair when one looks at these scenarios.  It does not appear that people are reaping what they sow.

That is why I like the Vaden quote.  It helps us get the long-term view and realize that “eventually,” THE HARD WORK WILL PAY OFF.  The application of this truth in the work place is best explained by the “Flywheel Principle,” offered by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great.  The concept is that you have a massive 5,000 pound steel wheel that lies horizontal on its axis. One push will not move it, but consistent force, over time, in a constant direction, starts the flywheel in motion. It moves, oh so slowly at first, then faster and faster, until at some point the momentum of the flywheel is greater than the force of all the pushing, causing it to spin on its own.

That is how we see Vaden’s quote becomes real in our work life.  If we work consistently, doing the everyday things every day, we will build momentum.  We will start to accomplish more in less time as we continue to push toward our clear direction.  If we let up, we will lose momentum.  If we are not clear about our direction, we will lose ground.  But if we continue, day in and day out to deliver our best, it will pay-off for our organizations, our customers, and for our careers and personal growth.

Still skeptical?  How can I know that will really happen?

The truth is I cannot prove it to you.  It is a leap of faith.  Millions of people everyday check out and give up on the process.  The flywheel feels more like a millstone grinding them down, day after day, so they quit.  I wonder how many were one push away from the momentum swing that would have led them to the success they had been striving for?  The principle can apply in any arena; work, marriage, parenting, personal finance, etc.

Whatever areas you are fighting to succeed in, I encourage you to keep on pushing.  Also, if you have been through the process and your flywheel is humming, jump over to help someone else push on theirs.  The only thing more exciting than personal success is helping someone else achieve theirs!

In the end, you will reap what you sow.  There is no free ride, no Checkfree.  If you want to succeed, you are going to have to PayPal!