“Old age ain’t no place for sissies” (Bette Davis). Old or young is not the issue as much as the decisions we make along the way. What matters most is that dash on a tombstone between the year a person is born and dies. Be mindful enough to take care of your mind, body, spirit, and soul being they must help guide and produce priceless intangibles, while lasting your entire life. How would you describe quality of life for you? Eating, drinking, tasting, conversing, walking, praying, hiking, biking, traveling, debating, listening, thinking, writing, reading, among myriads more? Live this way now, cherishing moments, for the roadmap is set in motion. Preparing one’s self, today, for what lies ahead is living on purpose. Heeding our clear visions, we can be proud of who we are, while gratefully living with wondrous quality of life throughout. Many times, we only think about such things after they are gone. How about being grateful for our blessings every day?
“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us” (Charles Bukowski). Continual growth and progress are pivotal keys toward living fully, therefore dying full, yet spent. You can’t spend your way to monetary wealth, only long-term joy fulfilling wealth. Remember to start where you are with what you have. No excuses, blaming, complaining, self-pity, regret, shame, or procrastination allowed. Get intentionally busy filling yourself up with greatness so you can spend yourself in an extravagant, yet selfless manner.
During a Kari Jobe concert a man spoke about a young boy he observed while on a missionary trip. The child kept tiptoeing up to a volunteer missionary lady and saying, “Hola,” with a great big universal smile spanning from ear-to-ear while giving her monstrous hugs. The boy would hold the woman tight in his arms, while grinning extremely wide, day in and day out. He said, “Hola,” hugged her, smiled enormously large, and darted away. The boy’s behavior began to seem peculiar. Later, the volunteer missionary man found out through a translator that the boy had been bounced from one home to another, over and over, throughout his young life. From the ages of four through twelve, the boy fought to stay alive, while transiently living alone on perilous streets in isolated regions of South America. Finally, the young boy found a home where he became loved unconditionally and consistently, which gave him stability and hope.
“…Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 NIV). Nourishing our mind, body, spirit, and soul with truths and life-giving principles keeps our cups plentiful. Worry does not add life, peace, joy, health, wealth, love, or any good thing to anyone. Stop being anxious and let it go. Be grateful for everything, use it advantageously for good, and drive on. The road toward sunrises and sunsets are but one beautiful ride. Replace fault-finding with good-finding and change pessimism to optimism, therefore transforming your life.
“I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLV). Moreover, the pain and suffering that child endured and overcame instilled strength, courage, resilience, and compassion into the depths of his soul. The boy cried when the volunteer lady had to leave because she reminded him of his new mom whom loved and cared for him dearly. The boy was immensely grateful.
Furthermore, through World Vision, a 13 year-old boy from Ghana in need of sanitary water, food, shelter, education, and hope is being sponsored. I am not asking anyone for donations to this cause, although start someplace by giving a portion of your money, time, talents, gifts, skills or abilities to a mission, vision, and purpose you believe to be worthy. Ideally, 80% or more of your monetary donation should go strictly toward the helpful cause and not to overhead, such as administration and marketing costs. Investigate and choose accordingly. Giving not only shows that we care, but creates an abundance mindset that we have more than enough. The character built through giving is infinitely more valuable than the act itself.
“Don’t be misled, you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant” (Galatians 6:7 NIV). God knows our heart’s genuine intentions, therefore let’s purify our love with sincere wholesome purpose. We truly do reap what we sow, thus sow seeds of greatness, today.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant” (Robert Louis Stevenson). The art of living is sowing seeds of greatness, much more so than reaping. Let serving and giving be pivotal maps that direct decision-making. The byproducts of giving and helping others think, grow, and become their best is cosmically of greater value than monetary gains.
Do you hit the snooze button or possess little energy or motivation to arise in the morning? How about the desire or automatic response to exercise, or do you think it’s too much work? Do you want to lose weight, although think it is too challenging to achieve and maintain? Do you desire to stop smoking, drinking, gambling, eating excessively, spending too much money, or jettison any other bad habit? Do you focus on your past mistakes and allow that past to dictate your present and future beliefs?
You cannot change the past, yet the future is so bright it can burn your eyes. Daily choices create power to make heaven from hell or hell into heaven. Attitudes and perceptions are in your control. Live your purpose, thus success, leading to fulfillment. Forget about what anyone else desires from you. Just do and be the best you. Remember, forgiveness brightens your future.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” (Anne Frank). Our existence and legacy can take on incredible meaning and purpose that transcends through generations. Change begins by igniting flames within our soul, coupled with a choice. What gifts, talents, skills, and abilities do you desire to share with humanity and the world?
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21 NLT). Don’t steal from your future just to make today easier. Discipline yourself to invest in health, wealth, and relationships, while choosing to love, learn, grow, and live your purpose. Focus on living out your principles. Bumps in the road will come, although principles remain unchanging, thus impenetrable to enemy forces. Keep on doing the right thing, despite others’ opinions and small judgmental minds. This way of living leads to personal significance and fulfillment. Raise your standards. Be you, not someone else. Don’t chase after someone else’s worldly dreams, fixated on fame, power, or excessive possessions. What gives you peace and makes you happy? You owe yourself the best of you—all of you. Be unapologetically you.
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” (Patrick Henry). Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, was inhumanly tortured in a Nazi prison camp, nevertheless, found meaning and purpose that helped him endure and truly live despite the horrors of death, tragedy, suffering, terror, and indescribable evil and injustice surrounding him. In spite of the chains and physical imprisonment physically seen and felt, Viktor saw and felt freedom with his mind. Through visualizing mental images and thoughts of his wife, while creating other positive anchors to hold near, he aspired to survive so he could tell his story to inspire and impact multitudes of people by giving them hope and purpose.⁵
It is irrational and illogical to do something just because our parents, grandparents, or whomever did it a particular way. Their reasons and ways of believing, thinking, doing, and acting may have been or might be erroneous. There is a story of a young woman who habitually cut off both ends of a pot roast. A friend asked her why she did that and the answer was because my mother did it. The young woman asked her mom why she cut the ends off the pot roast and the reason was because her mother did it too. Finally, the grandmother was inquired and subsequently gave the real reason for cutting off the ends of the pot roast. The ends of the roast were removed so it could fit in the small pan and oven that was possessed at the time.
Do not live an unexamined life. Why do you believe, think, and behave certain ways? Is this the best way to live your life? Are you living with purpose and meaning, beyond yourself?
“Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential” (Andy Stanley). Be brutally honest while self-reflecting on right and wrong. Your answers are perceptions related to personal principles, beliefs, and experiences. Make sure your ideal self and real self are congruent, therefore creating peace and abundant fulfillment within. What do you stand for and why?
“Sometimes what counts can’t be counted, and what can be counted doesn’t count” (Albert Einstein). Do not compare yourself with anyone, except who you were yesterday. Your very own intangible character traits based upon what you stand for helps preserve visions, dreams, and goals while persevering toward greatness, despite adversity. Know both what to do and what not to do in varying situations, thus expediting your journey toward becoming the best version of yourself. Furthermore, another person’s perspective, especially from a leader, mentor, counselor or coach can guide, teach, inspire and direct our steps, additionally, helping to hold us accountable. Strive toward becoming the person you truly desire and are fully capable of being. Be you!—everyone else is taken.
“A man who denies to other men equality of rights is hardly worthy of freedom; but I would give even to him all the rights which I claim for myself” (Abraham Lincoln). Only allow love and good wishes for greatness unleashed within to go out toward each and every beautiful God-created person. We all are human with ebbs and flows of ups and downs. Let’s maximize our ups and minimize the down times. Living with aliveness, excitement, adventure, and vigor is fully attainable for each of us, today, tomorrow, and always.