Don’t Take Anything for Granted

Someone posted a question on Twitter asking people what they had learned—during this virus-quarantine mess—not to take for granted. I said, only half-joking, that I’ve learned not to take toilet paper for granted. Now, if you’re familiar with my previous posts and articles, you know I’m a huge advocate of being grateful: “Remember to Be Grateful.” However, I don’t believe I have ever talked about not taking things for granted. And I’ll remedy that situation right now because my succinct thought regarding the topic is: don’t take anything for granted.

Appreciation is particularly important when it comes to people, as Ashley Fern (see quote below) talks about in her article on “Why We Need To Stop Taking Things For Granted.”

“Never take someone you love for granted. Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.”

Furthermore, you should also ensure that “you” are not taken for granted either; therefore, here are a few indications that indicate you’re being taken for granted: (1) an individual doesn’t treat you with respect; (2) someone doesn’t include you in their activities, and they are not especially interested in your pursuits; (3) a lack of effort displayed in the relationship, because “Remember: Someone’s Effort Is a Reflection of Their Interest in You”; (4) infidelity, of course, would be a BIG RED FLAG; (5) they don’t consider your feelings, interests, or needs; and (6) you do not feel appreciated.

Okay, so now you have something to ponder. My advice to you is striving to develop a habit of not taking things for granted—especially when it comes to people you love. Yes, it will be a challenging undertaking, but if you manage to achieve this mission, you’ll be considerably happier. And those individuals with whom you have relationships will be happier, too.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Many people around the world are worried about COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) and how it’s affecting them and their families. I understand the concern; however, there is a big difference between concern and panic. Therefore, my message to you is this: stay informed and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones but, for the love of God, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and “Remember to Be Grateful” for everything and everyone you have because there is always someone less fortunate. So . . . Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

And now let’s talk about recommendations for utilizing that extra time you have because you’re under quarantine (social distancing). The reason being, if you stay occupied or entertained, you won’t have time to be anxious. If you would like to add some of your own suggestions, please, reach out to me, and I’ll append your items to the list.

1) Take advantage of the extra time and read your Bible.

2) Spend some quality time with your family.

3) Catch up on some reading (suggested reading: “You Can Resolve Not to Be Offended”).

4) Watch a Netflix movie (horror! the best genre) or two you’ve wanted to see.

5) Do some cleaning around the house because you know a nook or cranny in need of some TLC.

6) You could give the dog a bath.

7) How about taking a nap—you know you want to.

8) Do a craft project with your children.

9) Relax, listen to some music, and sip a glass of wine, after all, it’s 5:30 somewhere.

10) Learn to play that guitar that’s been collecting dust in the closet since you purchased it.

11) Have a party with friends via Skype or FaceTime.

12) Surf the Internet to research topics of interest. Note: Don’t overdo the news or social media.

13) Go for a walk or do some other form of exercise.

14) Take up birdwatching. Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

15) Do some baking for family, friends, or neighbors. FYI: I love chocolate chip cookies.

16) Play cards or board games, perhaps even learn to play chess.

17) You could sharpen your photography skills.

18) Work on that scrapbook that never seems to get finished.

19) If you’re really bored, you could triage those 3,500 emails in your inbox.

20) How about some meditation while the kids are napping?

21) Take the opportunity to organize whatever needs organizing.

22) Start a diary or even a blog site.

23) Take an online class; hence, you’ll keep busy and learn. It’s a WIN-WIN.

24) You might network, over the phone, with individuals either personally or professionally.

25) And you should not forget to bequeath some time to your hobbies.

Okay, okay, okay, that’s enough for now, but on a serious note, I wish you and your family the best. Take care of yourself, your family and friends, and your neighbors. And I hope you have enough toilet paper to sustain your household from now until this mess is under control.

God bless you all.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Smartphone Addiction: What You Need to Know

Smartphones have become an indispensable part of people’s lives, utilized to increase productivity, stay connected with family or friends, and for entertainment or educational purposes. Unfortunately, excessive smartphone use can be harmful to both your physical and mental health. Therefore, it’s essential to understand smartphone addiction and the methods for reducing the negative impacts of using a mobile device. So, let’s get started with “Smartphone Addiction: What You Need to Know.”

Understanding smartphone addiction

Compulsive use of a smartphone is unhealthy and can interfere with work, school, and personal relationships. And while there is no official diagnosis for this fixation, the harmful effects of smartphone addiction (a.k.a. nomophobia) are real. Many professionals consider this smartphone dependency to be an impulse control disorder akin to pathological gambling or kleptomania; consequently, people who suffer from this problem have similar impairments in social and occupational functioning.

Moreover, smartphone addiction statistics show the majority of adults and fifty percent of teenagers believe they have an issue with smartphone usage. Often the first thing that these individuals touch in the morning and the last thing they see at night is a mobile device.

Signs you may have a smartphone addiction

Warning signs of smartphone addiction include an uncontrollable desire to use a mobile device; withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, anger, restlessness, etc., when the phone is not immediately available; a persistent fear of missing out (a.k.a. FOMO); concealing smartphone use from parents, significant other, or employer; lack of concentration; and loss of interest in physical activities.

Negative consequences of smartphone dependency

There are myriad effects, both psychological and physical, of smartphone addiction. Some of the adverse mental consequences are a disruption to sleep patterns, anxiety, depression, relational problems, and even OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Physical effects include eye strain, headaches, neck issues, increases in sickness, male infertility, and potentially traffic accidents.

Developing healthy smartphone usage practices

There are three main techniques for ensuring responsible smartphone utilization: (1) education, (2) monitoring, and (3) establishing healthy limits.

First, enlighten yourself regarding the potential dangers of smartphone dependency because education is crucial for prevention. You can perform Internet research, communicate with friends, or reach out to a professional for assistance, but regardless of the method, make sure you understand the pitfalls of compulsive behavior regarding smartphones.

Second, you need to monitor your mobile device usage, either manually or by enlisting the help of an application. The reason being, if you don’t have valid screen time data and usage patterns, you cannot make a precise assessment as to the severity of the problem. Review your utilization habits weekly so that you can recognize detrimental habits and make adjustments.

Lastly, learn to establish healthy boundaries regarding smartphone usage; otherwise, you will continue to feed your compulsion. (Note: Setting healthy boundaries will make you significantly happier, too.) So, fabricate your own rules, such as daily limits for usage, disallowing the smartphone in the bedroom, not permitting mobile devices at the dinner table, keeping your device in your purse during face-to-face communications, and leaving your smartphone at home when going for a walk.

In summary, smartphones are a productivity tool that is becoming more ubiquitous by the moment. And since these devices are not going away, it’s incredibly advantageous to develop responsible usage habits to prevent smartphone addiction and the harmful consequences. Also, to learn more about smartphone addiction, you can read this Wikipedia page on problematic smartphone use.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Practical Apologetics: Be Prepared for Evangelism

Today I want to discuss what I call practical apologetics. Furthermore, how said apologetics applies to evangelism, from a Christian perspective. Now, as an aside, I’m referring to Christian apologetics, but if you’re from a different religious sect, the same principles apply. This post will not be exhaustive teaching on apologetics, more like a quick start guide. So, let’s begin with some practical apologetics so that, as a Christian, you will be equipped for evangelism whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself.

What exactly is apologetics?

The simple definition of apologetics is the branch of theology that deals with defending religious doctrines through argumentation. Here is a Wikipedia link for detailed information on the word apologetics and history of its origin: Apologetics

Do I need to acquire buku amounts of information?

For practical apologetics, no, you only need to understand some basic principles and rudimentary information. With that being said, if you desire to learn more about using apologetics to defend your faith, here is a great place to start: CARM

Why should I learn apologetics?

The most relevant answer: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, King James Version).

Can you explain what practical apologetics means?

I use the term practical apologetics to describe an uncomplicated yet effective method for evangelizing. Traditional apologetics can be complicated and consists of several categories like classical, evidential, and presuppositional. However, for our purposes, the goal is to keep everything simple and practical.

Practical Apologetics 101

Goal – The only aim of practical apologetics is to bring individuals to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Period. We cannot convert or save anyone because we don’t have that power.

Presuppositions – There is only one God, his son Jesus Christ (God incarnate) is the only way to salvation, and the Christian Bible (God’s words) is both true and accurate. Also, we are all sinners in need of God’s salvation because that salvation with save us from eternal damnation, allowing us to spend eternity in Heaven.

Required learning – As Christians, we should be reading our Biles and studying God’s Words regularly; nevertheless, below are seven key verses you need to understand and be able to locate.

Genesis 1:1 and 1:27 (In the beginning God created Heaven, earth, man, and woman.)

Exodus 20:3-17 (To provide a list of God’s standards that we cannot meet.)

Matthew 1:23 and John 10:30 (Jesus is God incarnate.)

John 14:6 (Jesus is the only way.)

Romans 10:13 (Everyone can receive salvation.)

Daily application – The method for using practical apologetics is easy; you speak about the things of God in your conversations with everyone you come in contact with—whether they are a Christian or not. Accordingly, either they will quiz you about religious matters, or you can initiate by asking questions.

Example 1: You are speaking with a coworker regarding the upcoming weekend.

Coworker: “I can’t wait for the weekend. I’m looking forward to getting some extra sleep.”

You: “Yeah, I’m looking forward to the weekend, too. I love going to church on Sunday.”

Coworker: “You go to church?”

You: “Yes, I love singing songs about Jesus. Hey, do you know who Jesus is?”


Example 2: An individual at the grocery store compliments you for helping an older adult.

Customer: “That was considerate of you to help him with his groceries.”

You: “Thank you! But it was nothing.”

Customer: “Well, most people wouldn’t have helped him.”

You: “I like helping others because it demonstrates the love of Jesus. By the way, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”

Now, after you get a conversation going, you use your knowledge of Scripture to answer questions and dispel erroneous beliefs. That’s all there is to it. Simple. You have created an opportunity to evangelize by talking about the things of God.

And there you have it. You are now sufficiently equipped to begin implementing apologetics when having an evangelical conversation with someone. Will you be nervous the first time you attempt to use this technique? Yes, but that’s okay because, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13, King James Version).

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Do Your Actions Match Your Words?

How many times has someone—perhaps with good intentions—told you they would do something, only to never follow through on their word? Or worse yet, how often do “you” fail at putting action behind your words? Anyone can talk a good game; however, your actions are the indisputable proof that validates those words. Do your actions match your words?

According to my good old friend Mark Twain: “Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.”

I believe there are two primary reasons why people don’t keep their word: (1) They are attempting to impress others by promising what they can’t or don’t want to deliver. (2) They have a difficult time saying no, so they have a tendency to utter the word yes. Subsequently, their desire isn’t powerful enough to engender action because they were unwilling from the start. And individuals do not appreciate being let down. I’m not the only person that feels that way: “Why Don’t People Keep Their Word Anymore?

First, if you want to make an impression on somebody, you should try keeping your word. That simple action is unimaginably impressive. Nothing conveys integrity more fully than being a man or woman whose word is reliable. Therefore, take responsibility for your actions or lack thereof. And if you would like to read some additional material regarding responsibility, here is our post titled “Take Responsibility”.

Second, learn to respect yourself and others. You can do this by merely saying no when necessary and yes whenever possible—anything else is unsatisfactory. I believe most people would prefer to hear the word no rather than receive a false promise.

So, make a vow to yourself, today, that your actions will always match your words, guaranteeing yourself a reputation for dependability. And I will leave you with a quote from Wesam Fawzi: “Ordinary People Promise To Do More. Extraordinary People Just Do More.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

It’s Simple to Be Happy

Listening to individuals pontificate regarding their pursuit of happiness, you would believe they were searching for some magical unicorn—never spotted, just an object of lore. These people are always looking for a relationship, job, hobby, etc., they believe will lead to happiness and a quintessential existence in never-never land. It’s easy to be happy, but it requires you to accept the following truth.

Wake up! . . .  There is only one person responsible for your happiness: You!

Therefore, you can choose happy or unhappy. Unfortunately, many people make the decision to be miserable. If you’re one of those individuals, today is your lucky day; I’m going to provide you with the steps necessary for growth.

Step 1: Recognize and accept the fact you and you alone are in charge of your happiness. This step is paramount in the process. If you do not fully adhere to this belief, you are wasting your time reading any further. (And if you believe life should be easy, too, you should read this post: “Who Said Life Was Easy?”)

Step 2: Stop continually thinking of yourself. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to ponder your wants and desires and to express those needs to others. But if you never contemplate the happiness of family members, your partner, friends, or even strangers (hint, hint, charity), you need to correct this situation immediately.

Step 3: Learn to be satisfied with what you have. You don’t need more “stuff” to make you happy. Show appreciation for the wonderful individuals in your life and the material possessions you are fortunate enough to have acquired. Numerous people in the world will go without necessities today. Keep that in mind. (Here is a good article on contentment: “The Incredible Power of Contentment” by Leo Babauta.)

Step 4: Quit attempting to control every situation. There are some circumstances you can change, and some you cannot; therefore, become proficient at discerning the difference. In the words of Epictetus (circa 50-130), “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control. And some things are not.” And while we’re at it, stop searching for perfection. Just like the unicorn, perfection is a myth.

Step 5: Evaluate your associations and disconnect from anyone who is not healthy for you. It’s better to have a few close friends than a gaggle that brings nothing but drama and pain. This concept also applies to intimate relationships; however, when a marriage is at stake, you should always seek assistance from a qualified professional.

So, now you have unearthed the secret in the garden of happiness. Simple, right? Well … simple yes, but easy, no. Like any gardener worth their seeds would tell you: A garden requires frequent maintenance. You have to water. You have to weed. You have to nourish. And you’ll have to perform the same type of work. Nothing of value comes without a cost. What price are you willing to pay for your happiness?

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.