The Role of Your Health in Your Success

The fact of the matter is that health often plays a significant role in the quality and quantity of life you get to enjoy. Yet, most of us ignore our body needs and tend to take things for granted. In some cases, a pet in the family receives greater attention than the owner. Careful attention is given to the kind of food purchased, and the pet is fed at appropriate times with suitable quantities. Do we pay the same level of attention to our bodies?

Why do many people live their lives at the expense of their health? What makes one focus their attention on their health? In the book, Today Matters, John Maxwell shares 4 reasons to help you focus on your health.

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  • Having a purpose to worth living for
  • Doing the work you love
  • Finding the right pace
  • Having a good sense of self-worth

Successful want to care about their health because

They have a purpose worth living

What is your purpose in life? Do you have one? What does it involve? For some, it is about their family; for others, it is their role in their society and the lives they impact. When you have a purpose, you automatically want to live long enough to live out that purpose.

I agree with Maxwell; having the drive gives you the motivation to live. Having a purpose helps you design a big picture for your life and look to it every day. It motivates you to live your life ensures the success of your purpose. If a person does not have any purpose, it becomes tough to find the motivation they need when there is no hope in the future.

“You can create purpose in a single moment, and it can affect people for the rest of their lives.” Kevin John Delaney

Looking for a bigger cause than yourself where you can make a difference and deciding that you will use your knowledge, talent, and skill set to effect a change gives you the purpose you are looking for.

Doing the work you love

Over 60 percent of the people don’t enjoy the work they do. Why don’t people enjoy the work they do? Maxwell points out two possible reasons. One, they do work they think is not important. When you see that you add value to yourself and others, you are driven to do more of the work. If you work for a large organization in a very long work chain and don’t get to see your work’s results, you are bound to feel that your efforts are useless.

Two, when people work in an area of their weakness, they face more failure and a sense that they are not good. It then affects their attitude and their output. How would you know if you are working in an area of your strength or your weakness? Working in an area of your strength gives you more energy. Even when you make mistakes, you are challenged by them and not threatened by them. Do you love the work that you do? If you are part of the statistic that does not enjoy their job, which one of the two are you?

Finding your strength zone will take some time and exploration. It is not obvious for most of us, so it is a journey filled with trial and error, the counsel of others, and personal experience. Exposing yourself to a variety of experiences will help you find what you are interested in. It starts with an interest, and then when you add hard work to it, and you start to see the results, you will know if you are doing the work you love.

Finding the right pace

A vehicle gives the best mileage when driven at an optimum speed. Mickey Mantle reportedly said, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” If you are looking to avoid burnout, then you should avoid continually running at a pace faster than you are capable of. On the other hand, if you choose a too slow pace, you will become lazy.

You need to find a path that is neither exhausting nor one that makes you lazy. How would you judge your current pace? Do you need to slow down or speed up?  Marathon runners work to find a pace that they would like to maintain over many miles and long periods of time. You are looking to do the same thing. When you have a weekly plan with the roles required of you, and you have allotted a set amount of time for each of them, you should be able to find your pace relatively soon.

Having a good sense of self-worth

What is your identity? Your identity determines your self-worth. Another way to think about this is who do you think you are? You need to accept the identity that you are here to add value to others’ lives. You are a healthy individual, you work to bring value to the life of others, and you are a successful person.

“It is no exaggeration to say that a strong positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.” Dr. Joyce Brothers

Psychologist Joyce Brothers say, “An individual’s self-concept affects every aspect of human behavior. The ability to learn… the capacity to grow and change… the choice of friends, mates, and careers. It is no exaggeration to say that a strong positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.”

Your identity drives you to success. I ask again, what is your identity?

 We need our bodies to be in optimum condition to do the work that we enjoy doing. An unhealthy body neutralizes our ability to be a productive part of society. As the old saying goes, “Health is wealth” and “when money is lost, something is lost, but when health is lost, everything is lost.” What have you done to take care of your health today?  Remember, today is all you have. I am now going to go and play some tennis, how about you?

A Leader is an Influencer

One of the most crucial life principles is this: “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” Collaboration is a critical soft skill that is required to accomplish work on a larger scale. It is a much sought-after skill by employers, and employees are eager to demonstrate their ability to work with others. While the culture increasingly celebrates independence, the reality of life is that we can’t get very far by being truly independent.

A simple way to define a leader as one who have followers. In social media, the worth of an influencer is determined by the number of followers they have. If you look at leadership as influencing others who follow you, we get into this tricky territory of managing people and their expectations. Often, a leader focuses on completing the task so, they get carried away by the deadlines and are bogged down by the need to manage scarce resources such as time and money most of the time.

Where do people fall on the long list of resources? Sadly, not on the top of the list. Gladly this is not a universal situation. FedEx Chairman Fred Smith says, “Our corporate philosophy is succinctly stated: People-Service-Profits.” I wrote about this specific order for a business to follow to guarantee success in a previous blog here. Consultant John Luther sums it up perfectly “Natural talent, intelligence, a great education – none of these guarantees success. Something else is needed: the sensitivity to understand what other people want and a willingness to give it to them.”

“Natural talent, intelligence, a wonderful education – none of these guarantees success. Something else is needed: the sensitivity to understand what other people want and a willingness to give it to them.” John Luther

As a leader, if you think I want to give people what they want, then the question becomes what people generally want. In his book Today Matters, John Maxwell makes 7 observations of people’s needs.

I believe people fall into all the 7 things at one time or other. Also, they will have one default state that they will go to. As a leader working alongside them, you should make a note of that and work to bridge the gap.

People are insecure

Insecurity is a common cause for people to limit themselves from their true potential. They lack the confidence to openly share their ideas and experience but prefer to take a back seat and go with the flow. A team’s efficiency is lost when members of the team are satisfied with the minimum. If you are insecure about yourself, remember Philippians 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God with thanksgiving. Also, Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

You, as a leader, can help bridge this gap by giving them confidence. Ask for their opinion, show that you respect and value their input. They will be hesitant at first, but they will slowly come out of their shell when they realize they are part of the team.

People want to feel special

1 Thessalonians 5: 11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Sincerely compliment the strengths of the people and appreciates their accomplishments towards the goals of the team. Focus on the ability of the individual rather than their weakness, and think about how you can leverage their strength for the benefit of the team.

People want to desire a better tomorrow

If you are anxious about what tomorrow has in store, Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” All your needs are met by God. As a leader, show others this hope. Help them plan for their future. Proverbs 21: 5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance. Show them the way to abundance.

Charles Spurgeon advised, “Carve your name on hearts and not on marble.” As a leader, work towards leaving a mark in the lives of the people you work with and not just on the work itself.

People need to be understood

Listen to the people, and you will learn what is important to them. You will learn where they are coming from, why they do what they do. King Solomon puts it this way in Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 2:2 says, “Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.” Use your ears to listen and your heart to understand. Using today’s buzz words, Solomon is advising us to show emotional intelligence.

 People are selfish

We all are selfish. As a child, we show it freely, but we learn to hide it efficiently as we get older. Ask yourself what does that member of my team wants? In Philippians 2:4, Paul writes, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” In 1 Corinthians 10:24, he writes, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” People don’t care about what you know and can do; they want to know how much you care about them. Care for their needs, and your needs will be taken care of in due time.

People are emotionally low

Paul was an exceptional leader; you see him encouraging the believers in the churches he established as he understood they were going through challenging times. Your team members may be undergoing some things in their personal life; encourage them. In Romans 15:13, we read, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In your personal life, if you are facing challenging times, then read the mindset of Paul. 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

People want to be associated with success

“So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Follow the golden rule here. As a leader, you want to win, so help others succeed, and then they will help you accomplish your goals.

Helen Keller said, “life is an exciting business and most exciting when lived for others.” Your life will impact when you work to fill the gap in the lives of the people with whom you work.

John Maxwell shares a principle called ‘The 101 principle,’ and I believe it is a great way to approach people. Look for 1 thing you admire in others and give them 100 percent encouragement for it. What better way to bridge the gap as a leader?

Here are a couple of things for you to do as an influencer as you start this journey.

Pick someone new each week to invest in this strategy and write handwritten notes to appreciate them every week.

What can you do today to improve your influence on your team?

What is Your Superpower?

We live in a time when there is no shortage of superhero movies. They come in all forms trying to save the day with the unique ability that they possess. What about you and me in real life? Do we have a superpower? If so, what would that be? Does everyone have a superpower? Let’s try to answer this question today.

You may be wondering what I am gabbing on about. You might say there are no superpowers. Yet, we all know someone who is hugely successful and wonder how they could accomplish so much. The superpower I am talking about is FOCUS. Each of us possesses this skill, and it is the secret to unlocking higher levels of success in your life.

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Focus allows you to get started on a goal without procrastination, and even more, it will enable you to stay on task by maintaining your attention and effort. Distraction is your enemy, and by strengthening your ability to focus, you can reach the targets you set for yourself.

The most precious commodity in the world is time. You can always make more money, but you can never gain back the time. “Time waits for no man,” we’ve read. It just marches on, not caring about anyone in its path. Time is an equal opportunity provider, giving everyone 24 hours each day for one to choose how they will spend them. How do you spend your time? Focus helps you exploit the most precious commodity and reap the greatest reward.

All of us agree that we cannot change the time. So, what then can we change? What do you have control over? We cannot do everything, and I think we can all agree on that. Chinese author and philosopher Lin Yutang said, “Beside the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of the elimination of non-essentials.”We have the power to change our priorities. Each day we get to decide what we choose to do.

We have established that we cannot control that clock, but we can manage our activities and coordinate them with the clock. The only thing that we can change is our approach to time. How do you manage your priorities? In his book “Today Matters,” John Maxwell shares 3 questions we need to ask ourselves as we plan each day. Let’s go over each of them.

What is required of You?

Identifying the roles that you play will help you realize the areas in which you are needed. What is expected of you? At work? At home? You need to think about things that you must personally do. These are things that you cannot delegate. You need to be a parent/spouse, son/daughter, employee/employer. These are roles that you cannot pass on to another person.

We each have several different roles in our lives – different areas or capacities in which we have responsibility. – Stephen Covey

In the book “The 7 habits of highly effective people”, Stephen Covey writes about a common pitfall when people start thinking about their roles. People use a narrow definition for their roles and focus on professional success while neglecting their health. The key is to think broadly enough about your professional roles, personal roles, and community roles.

When you have all your roles clearly before you, you can frequently refer to them to ensure that you don’t get totally absorbed by one role and exclude the others as all the roles are of equal importance in your life.

What gives me the greatest return?

In the roles, you have written down, set a long-term goal that you want to achieve in each role. If you cannot think of a significant purpose, then you should be rethinking your role. Is that something that you should leave undone?

You are setting long-term goals to be aware of the rewards you will achieve in performing the role. Also, you will be able to identify the roles that give you the greatest return on the investment of your time. In your professional roles, calculating your return on investment will help you realize where you are and if that is the right path for you. Do you have room to progress in your career? Is it worth your time? Asking and answering these questions for yourself will help you identify where you can get your most significant return.

I have realized that pursuing a promotion in the career that I am in right now will not add value for the time I will have to invest in performing that responsibility. So, I have started investigating other areas where my skill set could return more value for my time. I would not realize that had I not worked out my roles and yielded the highest returns.

We do that all the time with our investments. When a stock is not performing well and is very little in the pipeline for the stock, we sell it and buy one with more potential. Why should your priorities and how you manage your time be any different? Identify your skill set and work to match that with a role that yields the greatest return on time you will choose to invest in it.

What gives me the greatest reward?

It is vital to think about your personal satisfaction when you are thinking about your priorities. If you focus on only the things you must do and an effective way of doing it, you will be a highly effective individual, but you may not be content. Identifying the roles that bring joy to your heart will add meaning to your life.

Philosopher William James said, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” When we focus on our priorities, which we have distilled down to the essential, we will wisely govern our time. We don’t need directing, controlling, criticizing, or micromanagement. We are fully engaged with our lives, do things required of us, and yield the greatest return and reward.

To be successful, you can’t run on the fast track; run on your track. – John Maxwell

The 3 Misconceptions About Success

A few weeks ago, I watched an interview of John C Maxwell, a fantastic Christian leader who has written 23 books and has given numerous speeches. When he was asked which favorite book he had written, he said, “Today Matters,” which caught my attention, and I’ve started reading the book. So, over the next few weeks, the ideas covered in my blogs will be from this book.

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“Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily” John Maxwell

To become successful, we need to understand the misconceptions that exist and eliminate them from our lives. Unfortunately, it is easy to be carried away with these subtle ideas and misunderstand how to become successful.

Maxwell points out several misunderstandings that people have about success in the book, and I will be covering 3 of them here.

Some believe success is impossible, so they criticize it

Throughout our lifetime, we have adopted things in our lives that make our life easier. Technology indeed has played a significant part in that. Food delivery service, Amazon, Uber, and many others provide a service that makes it easier for us to order food, anything else we need, and even be driven around. These services make one’s life easier.

Many times, we start to think that life, in general, is instant or easy. We order something on Amazon, and with prime shipping, we either have that delivered to us the same day or the next, so we start to think life is similar. How many times have you started to learn a new skill and wanted to see immediate progress and considered giving up, feeling it may not be your cup of tea?

We forget mental growth is like a seed to plant growth; it takes time. Sometimes the development is lifelong. Life is not easy. The food that we eat still takes the same amount of time to grow. The surrounding work has been reduced with the aid of machines, but each plant yields its fruits in season and at the appointed time.

You are a UNIQUE individual with your own strengths and weakness. Some things will be easy for you, while others will take time. If you have set your eyes on learning or doing something essential to reach your goals, then go after it and stick to it until you have mastered or achieved it.

Success is Productivity

Many believe success is one-dimensional, so they think hard work alone will get them to where they need to be. However, hard work is essential for success but not the only ingredient in success. For example, let’s say you are working in your area of weakness; you will see minimal progress, and after much work, the same amount of work in your area of strength will give you a significant result.

Knowing which area to work in and when to work plays a vital role in your success. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you should not improve your areas of weakness. However, if they are your sole focus of development, you should then there is a good possibility that you will come to the conclusion that success is impossible for you as, after much hard work, you have not seen much progress.

If success was one-dimensional, then it would be straightforward, and everyone would be on their way to achieving it. Instead, we should produce a mathematical formula that laid out how long one should work and how many hours each week to get to the level of success that they hope to achieve. But it is not straightforward.

Success comes from using your superpower focus. Focusing on the right things that make you efficient and maximizes your output will help you become successful. Even though success is mainly thought of as an individual thing, we must not forget that God has created us interdependent. You can surround yourself with people whose strengths are your weakness then you have the right team that can propel you to success.

Success is an Event

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that success is a one-time thing. We can work toward it and achieve it and receive a certificate that states we are successful. We need to realize that success is not a one-time thing that one can mark down on their calendar and try to attain it by that date.

Success, like most essential things, is spiritual. Rabbi Lapin defines ‘spiritual’ as something that cannot be defined in a lab. Success like being rich cannot be measured in a lab. It is a mental state that we reach when we consistently set and achieve our goals. Just like being rich is a state of mind, being successful is the same as well. I am confident Mark Zuckerberg feels poor when he compares himself to Jeff Bezos, so it is valid for success when comparing ourselves in one area of our life with another.

As success is multi-dimensional, one needs to work, develop, and achieve and maintain success in all areas. Family, friends, work, health, relationship with Christ, and the list could go on. Since, according to the Bible, no one is perfect, I don’t think anyone can say we are successful in all areas of our life. Undoubtedly, hard work alone is not going to get us there. Assuming that we will reach the state instantly is going to be a big disappointment as well. One must also not forget that success is not a one-time event to check off our list.

“Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily” John Maxwell

I agree with John Maxwell that success comes from managing our decision daily, having made the right ones ahead of time. What do you need to decide today? What decisions do you need to manage today? Let’s choose to be successful and manage it daily. Are you with me?

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

How to be successful financially?

Jesus talked about money issues more than anything. When we talk about success from Christ, we should also consider money and learn to successfully manage it. We think about money every day. If we have it, we think about how to increase it, and if we don’t have, then we think about how to earn more of it. If we owe someone, then we always think about how we will pay them back.

Money dominates our thoughts more than what we would like to admit. So, let’s start with some truths about money, some disciplines regarding money, and finally, your philosophy about money. Let’s dive right in.

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Truths about Money

Money won’t make you happy

Let us start with a common misunderstanding that people have about money. This misconception exists because of the way happiness is understood. Happiness is a state of mind, a choice that you can make every day irrespective of your circumstance. Hence this truth that money does not make you happy.

There are numerous examples of how people who prioritized money more than anything ended up alone with no human connection. Ecclesiastes 5:20 says, “… God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” Happiness comes from the Lord and not your money.

Debt will make you unhappy

Debt is a controversial topic. The world had worked hard to normalize debt. The banks have even come up with credit scores to evaluate your relationship with debt. Romans 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding….” The most common verse used regarding debt is from Proverbs 22:7, “… and the borrower is a slave to the lender.”

Debt is a burden that you carry, and it affects every aspect of your life. Debt restricts and constricts your life. The stress that exists as result will take a toll on your health.

Money gives you options

The other way to say this truth to think about control. Having options means you have control. You have the right to choose. If the work environment you are in is toxic, you can quit your job and look for another one. If there is an emergency, you have the option to decide what is best for you.

Money gives you the freedom to make a choice that will suit your needs in the very situation that you find yourself in.

Money allows you to contribute to worthy causes

With the money, you can make donations that help further the causes that are important to you. If you want to care for the widows and the orphans, you can do that by supporting the organization that devotes time to taking care of their needs.

Let’s say you want to provide access to Christian education to the people below the poverty line, then you can contribute towards that need and support other God’s children. These are just two examples, but the list goes on. The opportunities are endless, and your effect in the community could grow for the glory of God with your generosity.

Now that we have gone over some truths about money let’s talk about money disciplines.

Become a good earner

Proverbs 10:4 says, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” To build your wealth, you need to work. Working is the way to earn more money.

Proverbs 12:11 says, “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” You need to work to meet your basic needs and to be generous with them.

Proverbs 12:24 says, “The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” One who works hard will be an employer, and a lazy person will remain an employee.

Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” Here is the formula to get out of poverty. There is profit in every work that is done. All talk and no action lead one to poverty and leaves one there.

Be grateful every day

Daniel 2:23 ‘I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you….” Thank God for life and your ability to think each day. He answers your requests and gives you the understanding to know.

Psalm 9:1 says, “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Count your blessings and let others know what God has done in your lives.

Philippians 4:6,7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Paul admonishes us to petition God in every circumstance with thanksgiving.

Do not compare yourself with others

Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.” When you value others to be above you, then you will avoid the traps of superiority and pride.

Ephesians 2:8 -10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Comparison leads you to boast, but when you focus on what God has done for you, then you will come to the same conclusion as Paul – No one can boast. Everything is God’s handiwork.

Give as much as you can

Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

In Luke 6:38, Jesus confirms the same truth that Solomon had mentioned in the earlier verse. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Give more to receive more.

Psalm 37:21 “but the righteous give generously.” Righteous means having the proper conduct; therefore, generous giving is the right thing to do.

We have seen the truth about money, and we have also gone over the disciplines about money. Now, let’s go over three philosophies about money.

Philosophies about money are to do with how you deal with the money you earn.

First: The rich invest the money and spend what is left while the poor spend their money and invest what is left.

This philosophy talks about your priorities in life. Now vs. Later. Which one do you do first?

Second: This is a philosophy from Blaise Pascal: “I love poverty because Jesus loved it. I love wealth because it affords me the means to help the needy. I keep faith with everyone.”

We are to follow the example of Jesus, and He lived a simple life. Also, on the other hand, He has commanded us to be generous, so we put our talents to good use, earn a living and glorify God with our work and with our generosity.

Third: This is from John Wesley: “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”

John Wesley is to maximize your effort in all aspects of money. Earning, saving, and giving. You may wonder he did not say anything about spending. When you maximize the other three parts, how do you think you will spend?

Which of the three philosophies appeals to you the most?

I will conclude with a quote from Billy Graham. He says, “If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area of his life.” So, get your philosophy about money right, keep the disciplines about money and remember the truths about money every day and you will be on your way to success.

How Do You Respond To Feedback?

Communication is a critical skill that you need to succeed. There are many dimensions to communication. Your speech, your choice of words, your body language, how you listen, etc. How you respond during communication also plays a vital role as that determines how the conversation you are part of will continue, yielding the type of result you want.

Investor Warren Buffet famously said, “Invest in yourself. The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now is to hone your written and verbal communication skills. If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark–nothing happens. You can have all the brainpower in the world, but you have to transmit it. And the transmission is communication.”

What are the different ways in which we respond? In the book, What got you here won’t get you there, author Marshall Goldsmith shares 6 ways we usually respond, and I will share with you a seventh way that adds a Christian dimension to it.

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Gentle chiding

When you respond using this method, you are a little bit annoyed. You know this person well, so you want to let them off easily, so you may say, “I think someone told me that before….” They are trying to give you a suggestion or a piece of advice that you are not interested in hearing.

Sarcastic

You are responding with sarcasm when you say something along the lines of “I didn’t need to hear that….”  It is a passive-aggressive way to show your disapproval of what was shared with you. It does not validate the person who took the time to share something they felt was essential for you.

Arrogant

You use this type of response when you don’t consider the person in front of you as your equal. You somehow feel that you are superior to them either because you think you are more intelligent or more experienced in some way. You may then respond with something along the lines of “I am five steps ahead of you ….”

Dismissive

You may use this response method when you are the line manager for someone or in the workplace. You are placed at a higher level in the hierarchy. You may say something along the lines of “Why are you bothering me with this … “You are saying “I don’t have time for this,” “I know about this already,” or “who are you to tell me about this? etc.

Passive-aggressive

You may use this approach when you know you may be at fault, but you still want to justify. You may choose to respond with, “I agree with you and understand …. But you have mistaken me …” You want to explain away something that is bothering the person who has brought this to your attention.

Better response

As opposed to the five ways mentioned above, this one is better. You patiently hear what they have to say and say nothing but thank you. When you do that, you have allowed the other person to share what is on their minds. You have shown respect by listening. They feel heard and respected. They will be more than willing to listen to you and work with you in the future.

An even better response

In the Bible, when we see how he responded to various people, He usually asked them a question. With the rich young ruler, Jesus responded by saying, “Why do you ask me about what is good?” In John 5:6, we see Jesus speaking to the crippled beggar with another question “Do you want to become well?”  To the woman caught in adultery, Jesus asked the woman, “where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 

In Acts 16:30, we see another question that people asked the disciples “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The best way for us to respond would then be to ask, “What do you suggest I do?” This question encourages another person to invest in you, your success, your vision, your leadership.

In some situations, a “thank you for bringing this to my attention” would suffice, especially you know what to do next.  But in cases where people bring you things that you are not aware of, the way to work or do things or something related to your job, then “What do you suggest I do” shows humility, willingness to learn, and desire to grow. Such a response will encourage others to work with you and even follow your lead.

Why Attitude Gives You a Winning Edge?

Merriam Webster dictionary defines Attitude as “a mental position with regard to a fact or state” and “a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state.” Therefore, one can choose the Attitude because it could be a state of the mind or a feeling or emotion that one generates towards their life.

In the Book “today matters,” John Maxwell accounts for Attitude as one of the critical ingredients that ensure your success. So, lets dig a little deeper to see the role attitude plays in your success.

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How then does Attitude provide the winning edge?

A person with the right Attitude will

Focus on the possibilities

When you come across an opportunity, what are your first thoughts about it? Do you feel excited, cautious, or pessimistic? The emotional position you take on will affect how you react to the opportunity and the way you perform in executing the task.

An appropriate attitude may be chosen based on where you decide to focus. For example, if you focus on the possibilities the experience will bring to you, you are set to choose a better attitude.

When you focus on the facts present in the experience and not on your feelings, you are also bound to choose the right Attitude.

Maxwell asserts that having the right Attitude will put you on the right track. And if one starts on the right track, the chances of ending up in the right destination are greater.

Usually, get a good response from others

When we interact with others, people usually respond to us the same way we communicate with them. The Attitude we have determines the way we treat others. For example, if you greet a person with a smile, often you are greeted back with a smile as well.

If you are combative in your interaction, be surprised when the person in front of you snaps back at you. It is important to remember that your attitude influences to Attitude towards you. So if you are keen on having good conversations with others, remember the secret is in your portrayal of the Attitude.

“All things being equal, Attitude wins. All things not being equal, Attitude sometimes still wins.” John Maxwell

You can increase your influence

A person with a great attitude will soon attract people who want to be around them. Attitude attracts. The right Attitude makes everything around them better. The atmosphere around those people is fresh and clear, one that adds and does not take away.

The people around you pick up on your mindset, beliefs, and approaches to challenges increase your possibilities. As you focus on the opportunities in an experience, you are set to accomplish more than one who misses the opportunity because they set their sights on the difficulties.

When you attract others, your influence increases, and you become more valuable and a natural leader.

“You cannot have a bad attitude and encourage others at the same time.” John Maxwell

For you to lead and influence others, you need to have a good attitude. One that attracts others towards you sees the opportunities that exist, one that looks for the strengths in others, one that seeks to teach, guide, and not judge.

Right Attitude, then, is an antivirus program that you install in your mind to keep negativity from corrupting its performance.

How to Maintain the Right Attitude?

Maxwell, in his books, a prayer that he came across, I will share that here.

Dear Lord,

So far today, I am doing all right. I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or self-indulgent. I have not whined, cursed, or eaten any chocolate. However, I will get out of bed in a few minutes, and I will need a lot more help after that. Amen

I am not saying it is easy. Each one of us struggles with it from time to time. The question to ask yourself is which Attitude is dominating your life right now?

Find a positive buddy

The first thing you can do to improve your Attitude is to surround yourself with others who already maintain a good attitude. They are like eagles flying high above the people who express a negative attitude. You are better off overcoming the negativity rather than doing it alone.

Say something positive in every conversation

It is one of the ways for you to practice maintaining a good attitude throughout the day. Look for ways to compliment the person you are conversing with. Be genuine and authentic in your interactions will increase your influence and your leadership. Start with a goal to appreciate two people every day, keep achieving it, and see the changes that bring in your life.

Delete negativity

In your conversations, adopt the language that enforces your good Attitude. Maxwell suggests using words such as I can, I will, I’m confident, I’m sure, absolutely, etc., in your conversation. Deleting alone leaves a vacuum, so fill it with gratitude.

Earlier I mentioned that the right Attitude is an antivirus program. Gratitude is the daily update that the program needs to perform at an optimum level.

Amy Vanderbilt, journalist and etiquette book author, says, “When we learn to give thanks, we are learning to concentrate not on the bad things, but on the food things in our lives.”

You start a positive cycle by thinking about the good things rather than the bad. It then becomes a self-fueling vehicle that keeps you going.

The Attitude then is a mindset that you have a chance to choose each morning. Being grateful is the self-fueling engine that drives it. Only you have the power to change your Attitude as you have the ability to select the right Attitude. As with any change, maintaining the right Attitude is gradual. You can get there by being intentional and adding gratitude to your daily routine.

Goal Setting In Your Life

Paul in 1 Corinthians 9: 24 – 27, advises the best way to set goals and reveals the key ingredients needed to successfully achieve the goals you set.

The NIV reads as follows:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

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Taking actions with the result in mind

Paul starts off with the obvious, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run.” When a goal is set, it is important to take the steps needed to reach it. We often opt to delay our actions, stating one reason or the other. “all runners run” means if you choose a goal, you start moving right away.

King Solomon confirms this idea in Ecclesiastes 7:8, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning….”

Many times, starting strong is the easy part, but finishing strong is a different game altogether. Paul recommends to “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” You need to put in every bit of your effort to see the end, giving it your all every step of the way. Think every day about giving your absolute best at every moment from start to finish. Excuses and complaints are not allowed, but only the focus is needed to see the goal to the very end.

Again in Ecclesiastes 9:10, Solomon advises, “Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might.”

Any goal states the expected outcome and when you choose a goal, start working consistently, giving it your all, such as you would when you run to win the race.

Purpose

In verse 26, Paul states, “I do not run aimlessly.” Any goal you set should serve a larger purpose, a vision, or a mission in your life. If not, as Paul says, it is like punching the air. How do you make sure you are not punching the air? Tracking how you spend your time will help you see how you manage your resource and what role it plays in winning the race.

What is your purpose in life?  Take some time to define your purpose if you have not done so already. Your purpose will become your north star and shape your actions like an arrow directed to hit the target. My purpose is to walk with you on your journey to become the best version of yourself. Therefore, my goals will be directed towards equipping myself with the skills I will need to coach you on your journey.

Passion

The word passion is often misused and, as a result, misunderstood. It does not represent a superficial feeling neither a compulsive obsession but rather a consistency required to pursue the goal.

Paul uses “exercising self-control” in verse 25 and “I discipline my body” in verse 27 to enforce the idea of consistency. Consistency requires you to follow a specific plan, limiting your choices because of the goal you are trying to reach. For example, if exercising to lose weight is your goal, you need to employ self-discipline when you eat and consistently choose to do the exercise you have committed.

Disciplining the body represents a consistent desire to become the best that you can be. Always seeking to find what God created you to be. Your passion will drive behave in a way that demonstrates that you are here to win the race.

Perseverance

1 Corinthians 9:25 says, “Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things.” [AMP] 

The over-arching goal is to finish strong in your race. Physical training represents the daily goals that you will achieve. The training also represents learning, reflecting, and receiving feedback to grow each day. Top athletes learn by watching tapes of their previous performance to identify areas that they can improve. They watch tapes of other top players, their competition to see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.

Top athletes also have coaches to help them identify areas that they need to improve. Together they come up with a plan and are passionate enough to persevere to improve themselves and achieve their purpose.

Swimmers set themselves goals to improve their speed by one-tenth of a second and work up to a month to reach the goal. The amount of time that a swimmer is trying to enhance might seem insignificant, but that is all they may need to beat their competition or set a world record.

The verse we saw at the beginning of this sub-topic is translated as “striving for mastery” [BRG] or “goes into strict training” [GW] in those respective versions. These translations add more meaning to the idea of perseverance. Research has shown that about 10000 hours are needed for one to become a master of a skill. When we consider a field of knowledge, it is recommended that a person spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 5 years, to gain mastery. When you are in pursuit of mastery, you must undergo regular training to develop the skill.

I will ask again, what is your over-arching goal in life? This is your top goal, and everything you do must take you closer to achieving this goal.

You have different roles to play in life. Son/daughter, father/mother, husband/wife, employee/employer, and any other roles you play in society. You are expected to do your best in each of these roles too. These form the mid-level goals, and doing well in them will move you forward in reaching your overarching goal.

Your lower-level goals represent the actions you take each day to gain mastery in your roles that are your mid-level goals.

Here is Paul advice on setting goals:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9: 24 – 27

Goal Setting For Success

In Luke 14:28, Jesus talks about planning and setting goals. He says, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”

The goal setting and planning process is very exciting as we imagine how our life would be once we have achieved our goal. The growth we are after and the result of the same creates a sense of excitement in our minds.

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28

The reality of pursuing the goal however is very different as there is real pain involved when you change your old ways and learn something new. The pain is even worse if the goal you are after is way out of your comfort zone.

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When faced with reality, the excitement you felt when setting the goal or the life you imagined once the goal was complete does not motivate you anymore. The result seems so far away so it becomes really easy to make excuses. You may say “today is my cheat day” or try to defend yourself by saying, “I’ve worked hard these few days and I deserve it.” You could come up with some other reason that is valid in that moment.

As humans we all have the same issue. We all struggle with the pain that exists once we start taking actions on our goals. How do some among us fare better than the most of us? Do they do something different from the majority?

King David gives us a solution in Psalm 34:12. He asks a question, “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days?” I am certain your answer is yes. In verse 14, he has the answer, “Turn from evil and do good.” Doing “good” is the goal you are after. We all set goals and move forward and then when we face the reality of pain many of us back off or let go of our goals and find reasons to justify our decision.

“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days?… “Turn from evil and do good.” Psalm 34:12, 14

King David offers a two-step solution. “turn from evil” and then “do good”. What David is saying is while you plan what it is that you will go after, you also need to recognize what current habit will you leave behind. If you decide to eat healthy then you need to also consider the unhealthy items that you will not eat. If you decide to add a new habit say exercising, then you need to also think about where will the time for exercising come from: your tv time? Your social media time? You must realize everything is an exchange. You are giving up something to go after something else.

In most of the cases, the goal you are after is the change you seek. Realizing that change is not filling a void but rather replacing some habit that already exists will help you make better decisions in the moment where you are tempted to quit.

While pursuing a new goal, you are making a change in your routine. You are planning to replace something that you normally do with something that you have now planned to do. For example, if you decide to exercise instead of watching the television then you are deciding to move away from the routine i.e., watching tv to your new goal exercising.

When you quantify both the “evil” and the “good” in your goal you know what it is that you will give up in order to gain the result you are after with your new goal. When you face pain, as in our example earlier you are thinking about watching tv today instead of exercising, you can then realize that you are turning to “evil” instead of the “good.”

In Matthew 13:44, Jesus talks about this idea of exchange. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” In order to possess the treasure that is hidden in the field (“good”) the man went and sold(“evil”) all that he had.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matthew 13:44

In the earlier example, you can also see how you brain works. Your brain loves routine and therefore will come up with reasons and excuses to return to the routine. The pain of change is real, there is no escaping it. Recognizing what you will leave and what you will gain in its stead will help you stick to the goal and repeat the decision each time you are tempted to abandon the “good” you are after.

The Growth Mindset of a Successful Christian

From the time we are conceived, we grow. Physical growth is automatic. You eat, and your stomach breaks the food down into nutrients that the body can use to build cells. If you are not starving, you are growing. The same cannot be said for the brain. The intellectual development of the brain does not happen automatically. The phrase “you are what you eat” can be taken for the brain as well. What do you consume for your brain? What type of information do you prefer?

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In Romans 12:2, Paul teaches, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” You grow by transforming your mind, and the change takes place by testing what is good and acceptable and perfect.

John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” Jesus has chosen you to go and bear fruit. The fruit mentioned here represents your actions. Your actions are a result of what is present in your mind. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus says, “… how can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” What thoughts are abundant in your heart?

One more verse, Matthew 7:16 – 18, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” You will know if your mind has grown by your actions. If you are doing the same things you did last year or the year before, you bear the same fruit. How would you judge the quality of your fruit?

Are there any areas in your life where you are yet to plant the seeds? How do you plan to take care of the seedlings that grow? If you have depended on automatic growth, how has that approach gone for you? Did you know that only weeds and tares grow on their own more often than fruit trees?

Let’s look at 3 things that are stunted in one’s life when a growth mindset is not adopted.

Stunted Growth

For a plant to grow, it needs water, sunlight, and nutrients from the soil. If it lacks any one of these, your plant has not reached its full potential. The same applies to your life as well. If you are not finding high-quality information to feed your mind, then you are restricting your growth.

Matthew 6:22 says, Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.” Eyes are vital to allow information into our minds, mainly because our minds see things like pictures. It visualizes a description and creates an image in your mind and what you see you become.

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever-increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 [AMPC].  By beholding the word of God, we become more in the image of God.

Matthew 11:15, Jesus speaking, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” We use our ears to hear and process information. Jesus repeatedly used this phrase to remind us to pay attention to what we listen to and use our ears to grow.

A goldfish can grow up to 30 cm, but its growth is stunted, limited to the size of the tank. The smaller the tank, the greater the fish’s stress, which then determines its size. You change the fish to a bigger tank, and the fish grows. You are limiting your growth with the information you are providing your brain. How can you ensure the growth of your brain? What daily habits can you develop to aid the development of your mind?

Stunted Influence

A large tree with plenty of leaves and branches attracts other living organisms to come and be a part of its environment, whereas a tree with no leaves or fruits will stand alone. If you wonder how your influence should be, I want to draw your attention to the spies in Canaan. In Number 13:23, Moses records the fruits the spies brought from Canaan. “… they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them.” One cluster of grapes was carried by 2 grown men.

The grapes represent the fruit you could bear by growing your mind. The significance and the influence you will have with such fruits.

Stunted Response

The coconut tree responds poorly to the seasons. Not all the old leaves fall, and the coconuts that did not develop fully into a fruit remain on the tree. As a result, one needs to climb onto the tree and clean the tree; otherwise, the fruit yield of the tree will decrease. In the same manner, If you have not prepared the soil of your mind, then you will lose out on the harvest. Your harvest will not meet your true potential.

In Jeremiah 17:7-8, we read, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Decide to grow in some ways every day. May your motto be to be better than yesterday. Earl Nightengale said, “If a person spends one hour a day on the same subject for 5 years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” What field interests you? Find podcasts, books, or videos on YouTube to learn from every day. By doing it each day, you prepare your mind and make yourself more valuable to the people you seek to serve.

Teach what you learn to others so that you can cement what you know. More importantly, look for applications that you can implement immediately in your life to be more fruitful. Growing is the only way to reach your true potential. What is holding you back? Let’s go, shall we?