Do Something Different

Are you consistently feeling bored with your life, always wishing for some exciting event to occur? If the answer to the question is yes, you need to examine your daily routine. … Are you living your life on autopilot? Are you driving the same way to work, eating the same salad for lunch, going out to dinner at the same place on the same night every week, and having the same arguments with your children/husband/significant-other?

If this describes your existence, more or less, you need to make some serious changes.

You see . . . people become comfortable with routines that allow them to use hardly any brainpower, to avoid conflict, and maintain a state of inertia. It’s just human nature. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Furthermore, it’s a guaranteed method to insure you and everyone around you is miserable.

Commit to reviving your life by getting out of you comfort zone. Try an activity you’ve never had the courage to attempt. Start a conversation with someone at the coffee shop, making sure to smile and genuinely listen to their words. Join a local group and attend meetings—maybe making some new friends in the process.

Just stop making excuses and take the first step.

Stop Saying You Don’t Have Time

There are few things more annoying in life than having a person inform you they are “so busy” when you inquire as to how they are doing. Maybe they believe it makes them sound important, but I can assure you, it makes them sound pretentious. Furthermore, those same individuals will bemoan their lack of time to assist someone or accept an invitation to an event.

Please … just stop it!

Everyone is occupied with family, work, church, relationships, sports, etc., but that is no excuse for poor behavior. … What these people are enigmatically saying is this: I’m very important and you are not a priority to me. Moreover, whatever offer is extended to them is not of any significance either. Otherwise, they would make the “time.”

I implore you. When someone takes the opportunity to question you about your day, give them your full attention and avoid terse responses. And if you’re extended an invitation, be honest with the individual and explain why you are not interested. … Or better yet, get out of your comfort zone and accept the offer. You never know, you just might enjoy yourself.

Making Decisions

As a human being you have to make decisions on an hourly basis, and some of those decisions can have long-lasting repercussions, not just for you, but also for those around you. So it’s no wonder why some people have difficulty making a choice when faced with a fork in the road; however, with a clear plan and some practice, the act of making a decision doesn’t have to be complicated or paralyzing.

Before we get started let’s categorize decisions into three types:

Unimportant – These are the choices you make that have little or no significance. Examples of these type of decisions are what you will eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner; which outfit you’ll wear to work or to an event; and how often you should wash your car.

Important – These are choices that have moderate impact on your life and comprise the majority of your decisions. Examples are the types of friends you choose to surround yourself with; the sizable purchases you make, like automobiles or houses; the schools you choose to attend or send your children to; and the employment opportunities you take.

Extremely Important – Decisions in this category are unequaled and have enormous influence on you and people around you. Example are accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior; choosing a spouse to spend the rest of your life with; and making the decision to have children.

Note: We could have categorized decisions into additional types, but I like to keep things simple and easy to remember. Also, your individual situation may call for modest adjustments.

With that out of the way, let’s outline a decision-making strategy so that you’re prepared for those moments before you encounter them. That way you feel empowered to confidently make choices without unnecessary discomfort.

First, for unimportant decisions, it’s really simple. Make a selection and don’t give it another thought. Period.

Second, for important decisions, start by going to God in prayer. Next, study God’s Word—looking for wisdom and guidance with your particular subject. And then use research and personal experience to finalize your choice.

Lastly, for extremely important decisions, begin with the steps for important decisions but add time to the equation. Yes, the extremely important decisions take time. … You have to allow yourself adequate time to count the cost, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28 KJV).

And that’s all there is to it. You now have a plan of action for the next time you’re faced with making a decision. Moreover, you’ll be able to make that decision with confidence because you were prepared for the fork in the road. By the way, preparation will relieve a ton of anxiety.

On a final note: people are not perfect, and you will inevitably make mistakes. The key here is, when you do make a mistake, take ownership of that error and come back to your plan to manage the situation. Don’t redouble bad circumstances by blaming someone else or making snap judgements.

Kindness Without Recompense

I recently overheard someone communicating their displeasure with individuals that don’t express gratitude when you hold a door open for them. And this got me to thinking:

How often do people perform acts of kindness without expecting some sort of reward?

You see … our world has become so me-centered that we’re practically programmed to look for recompense around every corner. And while there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, it’s unhealthy and irrational to have expectations of reciprocity for every gesture of benevolence.

Moreover, God tells us, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil (Luke 6:35, King James Version).”

So, I put before you this challenge: Spend some time in deep introspection, contemplating your motives for any acts of kindness. And if you find your reasons are filled with self-benefit, no matter how minor, work on becoming a little less selfish when it comes to helping others. … You might be surprised at how much better it makes you feel.

Do We Really Want the Truth?

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard someone express how much they appreciate honesty in people, I would be a wealthy man. … But are individuals who proclaim their appreciation for truthfulness actually telling the truth?

Sure, I think we can all agree there are times when you have to be judicious when expressing your opinion. When a wife gets asked by her husband if he looks fat, she might not need to be entirely candid. Or when a girlfriend inquires as to your love of her bland and overcooked pot roast, your first words should be: it’s delicious, dear.

Courteousness aside, do people really want honesty most of the time?

The short answer to that question is: it depends on the individual. Not all people are mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle the cold, hard truth. And others are so convinced of their own reality that truth is of no importance to them.

So … the takeaway is that when dealing with human beings you must understand the individual and their idiosyncrasies. And if there is any doubt or uncertainty as to how an individual will react to the facts, it would behoove you to error on the side of caution.

This does not mean you directly lie to someone or compromise your morals/principles. However, there are times when you have to know when to keep your mouth shut. (Words once spoken cannot be unspoken.) And remember: “real truth” is not up for debate.