Things You Should Never Tell Yourself

Happy Halloween Everyone!  Or as I like to spell it, B-O-S-T-O-N R-E-D S-O-X W-O-R-L-D C-H-A-M-P-S!

Yes dear readers if you didn’t already know I am a die hard Red Sox fan living in NYC and last night was AMAZING!  It was an amazing World Series, certainly better than last year and yes I realize I am being biased.  Life is still incredibly busy here for me so I just haven’t had time to write something for you.  Thus I am doing another guest post from Marc and Angel Hack Life.  I hope you enjoy!

10 Things You Should Never Say About Yourself

“None but ourselves can free our minds.”
―Bob Marley

When I was a freshman in high school, and struggling to find my way, someone anonymously slipped a note into my locker one afternoon. It said, “Don’t let them get inside your head. You’re not boring, nerdy or weird. You’re complex, creative and far too intelligent for their small words. And for the record, you are also infinitely more attractive than you give yourself credit for.”

I never discovered who wrote the note, but whoever they are, they changed my life. From that day forward, I changed the way I talked to myself.

Specifically, I STOPPED saying…

1. “I’m not good enough yet.”

You might think you’re not good enough, but you’ll surprise yourself if you keep trying. Your past does not determine who you are. Your past prepares you for who you are capable of becoming. What ultimately defines you is how well you rise after falling. Don’t ever be afraid to give yourself a chance to be everything you are capable of being. Forget the haters. Never undervalue who you are and what you’re capable of. Excellence is the result of loving more than others think is necessary, dreaming more than others think is practical, risking more than others think is safe, and doing more than others think is possible.

2. “I should be living up to other people’s expectations.”

Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t. Happiness and success is all about spending your life in your own way. Always be yourself and walk your own path. No one can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong. Everyone has their own dreams, their own struggles, and a different path that makes sense for them. You are YOU for a reason.

If you end up living a boring, miserable life because you ignored yourself and instead listened to a parent, a teacher, or some gal on TV telling you how to live your life, then you have no one but yourself to blame. Just remember, the smartest and most courageous act is simply to think for yourself and listen to you own intuition. In the end, it’s better to die your way, than live someone else’s idea of your life.

3. “What they think and say about me matters.”

What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Don’t let others crush your dreams. Do just once what they say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their negativity again. Don’t walk away from these negative people… RUN! Good things happen when you distance yourself from negativity and those who create it.

Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you. People may have heard your stories, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life. So forget what they say about you. Focus on how you feel about yourself, and do what you know in your heart is right.

4. “I need recognition for my actions to be worthwhile.”

Do what you know is right. Integrity is doing the right thing, no matter what, even when nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. Life always finds its balance. Don’t expect to get back everything you give. Don’t expect recognition for every effort you make. And don’t expect your kindness to be instantly recognized or your love to be understood by everyone you encounter.

What seems like the right thing to do could also be the hardest thing you have ever done. Do it anyway. There is no greatness or peace of mind where there is betrayal of your own goodwill. Always aim at complete sincerity of your thoughts, words and deeds. If it is wrong, don’t do it. If it is untrue, don’t repeat it. Do what you do because you believe it’s the right thing to do. Do the right thing even when nobody is looking. Be one of the people who make a true difference in the world by leaving it a little better and more wholesome than you found it.

5. “It’s too late for me.”

Don’t let yesterday steal your present. Don’t judge yourself by your past… you don’t live there anymore. Let go, grow, and move forward. As we grow older and wiser, we begin to realize what we need and what we need to leave behind. Sometimes walking away is a step forward. Sometimes a break from your routine is exactly what you need. Unless you try to master something beyond what you already know, you will feel forever stuck.

Don’t waste another minute regretting what you did yesterday, and start doing what you have to do now, so tomorrow you won’t regret what you did today. It’s not too late. If you feel like it is, it’s just your inner fears lying to you. But remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in your mind. It’s difficult to follow your heart, but it’s a tragedy to let the lies of fear stop you.

6. “I need to have it all figured out.”

Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker? Believe it or not, sometimes it’s the latter.

Sometimes the greatest dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had. It’s about open-minded exploration. There are no wrong turns in life, only paths you didn’t know you were meant to walk. You never can be certain what’s around the corner. It could be everything, or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and realize you’ve climbed to the peak of the most beautiful mountaintop.

7. “I do not have enough to be positive and grateful.”

Some days you’ll find diamonds and some days all you’ll see is coal. However, every day is a golden opportunity to learn, practice gratitude, and positively impact the world around you. Do not ask for instant fulfillment in your life, but for patience to accept your current frustrations. Do not ask for perfection in all you do, but for the wisdom to not repeat past mistakes. Do not ask for more before saying, “THANK YOU” for everything you have already received.

And remember, everything in life is temporary. So if things are good, enjoy it. It won’t last forever. If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either. Just because life isn’t stress-free right now, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh. Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile. The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low.

8. “My life should be easier and free of discomfort.”

Great challenges make life interesting; overcoming them makes life meaningful. It’s how you deal with failure and discomfort that determines your level of success and happiness. Laugh at your mistakes and learn from them. Joke about your troubles and gather strength from them. Have fun with the challenges you face and then conquer them.

Emotional discomfort in life, when accepted, rises, crests and crashes in a series of waves. Each wave washes an old layer of you away and deposits treasures you never expected to find. Out goes inexperience, in comes awareness; out goes frustration, in comes resilience; out goes hatred, in comes kindness. No one would say these waves of emotional experience are easy to ride, but the rhythm of emotional discomfort that you learn to tolerate while doing so is natural, helpful and prevalent. The discomfort eventually leaves you stronger and healthier than it found you.

9. “I can’t forgive them.”

Forgiveness is a promise. When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened was completely excusable, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that person should still be welcome in your life. It simply means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let it go and move on with your life.

Forgiveness has nothing to do with freeing a criminal of his or her crime. It has everything to do with freeing yourself of the burden of being a victim – letting go of the pain and transforming yourself from victim to victor.

10. “I am alone.”

You can’t make it through on your own. None of us can. That’s why, thank goodness, you are never as alone as you sometimes feel. So many of us are fighting the same exact battle alongside you. You may feel alone sometimes, but you are not alone in being alone.

To lose sleep worrying about a loved one. To have trouble picking yourself up after someone lets you down. To feel rejected because someone didn’t care about you enough to stay. To be afraid to try something new for fear you may fail. None of this means you’re weird or dysfunctional. It just means you’re human, and that you need a little time to regroup and recalibrate yourself.

No matter how embarrassed or pathetic you feel about your own situation, there are others out there experiencing the same emotions. When you hear yourself say, “I am all alone,” it’s just your mind trying to sell you a lie. There’s always someone who can relate to you. Perhaps you can’t immediately talk to them, but they are out there, and that’s all you need to know right now.

Next steps…

If I eavesdropped on your self-talk, would I hear statements that empower happiness, or statements that refute it? The next time you decide to unclutter your life and clean up your space, start with your intellectual space by clearing out the old lies and negative self-talk you often recite to yourself.

The floor is yours…

What would you add to the list? What kind of negative self-talk do you need to stop? What will you never say about yourself again? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.

No Rules Required

danger-no-rules

“Christ has truly set us free.  Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1

Good Evening!

It has been a busy week at the Sloss household despite having Monday and Tuesday off.  My wonderful parents were in town this weekend celebrating their 40th Wedding Anniversary so it has been a busy four or five days.  I plan on blogging more about the anniversary and the significance it has played in my life later this week.  However, because I didn’t have time yesterday and am very far behind on my Thesis homework (hard to entertain parents, complete homework and watch the Red Sox in the same week) I am sharing another page from Coach Dungy’s book “Uncommon Life.”

I am not just sharing something randomly however.  This was the reading for today but it really spoke to me and helped me to see a few areas I could improve upon.  Specifically, I know I am hard on people around me who don’t “play by the rules” from the start.  This passage helped me to see that either people will either learn to grow into a life of integrity or they won’t.

I hope you enjoy!

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Albert Camus once said, “Integrity has no need of rules.” Think about that.  Rules are designed to keep behavior in order.  If someone has strong character and lives with integrity, the rules are unnecessary.  That person will act consistently with his or her values.

That is one reason I never had many team rules for our players. (We looked for players who had high integrity, who held themselves to a high standard.)  They knew where I stood and what I expected of them.  As a leader – of both my football team, and my family I realize that people have to grow into their values and learn to be accountable not to me but to their own character.  It’s important to give people a certain amount of freedom, as well as the responsibilities that go with it, to allow them to grow.  If they develop an inner life committed to honor and integrity they have no need of my rules or anyone else’s.  They live from the core of who they have become.

That applies not only to people we lead but to ourselves.  We need to live with both freedom and responsibility.  We need to decide what our true values are-things like inner courage, wisdom, a sense of duty, a commitment to something larger than ourselves 0 and for our relationships.  That’s the glue that holds individuals together in a bond of trust and accountability.

Companies often put a higher priority on character than on competence because they know someone who functions from their integrity will be free to focus on the overall mission without character issues getting in the way.  Instead of spending time correcting behavior, they will be able to move forward towards the common goal.  Strong character creates trust within any group of people-a team, a business, a family and develops an uncommon bond.

Uncommon Key – Don’t focus on keeping the rules.  Focus on becoming the kind of person who is so strong in character that the rules aren’t even necessary.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew

Gaining Persepctive Through Adversity

perspective

 

“Everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.  For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, know that I am in chains because of Christ.  And because of m y imprisionment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldy speak God’s message without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

Happy Friday everyone!

As always I hope as you are ending your week that it has been productive, successful and better than the week before.  If not, don’t worry because you can always make next week better than this past week!  Let’s work on putting any disappointments from this past week behind us and focus on those things that were enjoyable and helped us to relax.  Some disappoints are totally beyond our control and thus we have to try to just let them go.  To the extent we made mistakes or failed to live up to expectations we have to be quick to forgive ourselves and realize that you can go back out there tomorrow (or today) and get another chance at success!  Don’t let yesterday define your today!

With that in mind I am going to share with you today one of the chapters I read in Tony Dungy’s “Uncommon Life.”  Over the last few weeks I have had discussions with a lot of people who are going through or recently have gone through some very tough times.  Many of these were relationship related and a few even defied logic.  Few things can mess us up than love lost, especially when that loss occurs in very unexpected ways.  It is always a gamble to invest in another person and once emotions get involved the stakes don’t get much higher for us as men or women.

Men – stop pretending we don’t get  invested emotionally in your relationships.  You think you are having just a casual relationship with a woman but there is a good chance part of you are committed at an emotional level even if you don’t realize it.

The amazing thing about these people I have talked with over the last few weeks is eventually they were able to arrive at a silver lining over the loss of the boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé/husband/wife etc.  Finding perspective after adversity is a key to healing and moving on.  Often we have to create space between the event and our emotions before we can get that perspective but it will come and when it does you need to hang on to it with all you have!

Personally, I am forever grateful that I can hold on to my faith in God.  It always provides with a proper perspective, even if I don’t want to hear it right away. 

Even if you don’t believe in God or only refer to yourself as a Christian on your Match.com profile I believe what follows can provide you comfort and perspective if you open up your heart and mind to the truth of what Coach Dungy writes.  Without further ado I will turn it over to Coach.

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Adversity can have a silver lining.  Sometimes good actually flows from unlikely places.

I think the teams I coached grew stronger from the difficult losses we endured.  Many times I found myself consoling family and friends after a devastating loss.  They may have been surprised by a head coach doing that, thinking, He’s the head coach, and here he is consoling me, a fan? But I knew how much the members of our team loved their jobs, I loved mine, too.  I never though or responded, “It’s only a game.”  What I would say, however, is that when viewed through the lens of eternity, we’d be just fine.  It may hurt now, but someday all things will be made new in heaven.

That is why I can imagine Paul writing these words of encouragement from prison.  I think we could safely say that his was a case of bad things happening to a good person.  And yet Paul was energized by what had been happening before his eyes.  Because he had been faithful in telling others the gospel message, others were boldly speaking out too.

In the last chapter of Acts, we read an example of Paul’s boldness. “For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense.  He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ.  And no one tried to stop him.” (Acts 28:30-31.)

As long as we stay focused on spreading the Good nEws of Christ, that He came to earth and died for us that we might have abundant live in heaven, we will continue to gain perspective and peace.  Holding up any personal issue – no matter how debilitating-against the backdrop of eternity changes things, doesn’t it?  And, as in Paul’s case, it’s hard to keep that change inside.  We want to boldly tell other people what Jesus has done for us.

Key for Gaining Perspective Through Adversity – What do you need to hold up against the backdrop of eternity to change the negative into a positive?  Keep your focus on the good that can come from your story!

The Calm of Your Storm

The Calm of Your Storm
One more day to go before Friday hits!  I am MIA again today as my parents are visiting New York this weekend in celebration of their 40th Wedding Anniversary!  Today’s blog comes courtesy of Jim Crumbly, former Marine and leader of C3 Journey in Atlanta.  Jim is basically big cuddly teddy bear who like to yell a lot (don’t tell him I said he was cuddly.)  You can follow C3 Journey’s blog by click on the link to the right of this blog post.  Always solid spiritual meat for your daily battles.  Enjoy!
 
 
Where is God in your storm? Where is He when the waves threaten to overtake your seawall and wash away all that you have believed for and even all that God has promised?

The God of all hope is centered in the calm of your storm.

Hurricane Eye

The most recognizable feature found within a hurricane is the eye. They are found at the center and are between 20-50km in diameter. The eye is the focus of the hurricane, the point about which the rest of the storm rotates and where the lowest surface pressures are found in the storm.

Skies are often clear above the eye and winds are relatively light. It is actually the calmest section of any hurricane.

The Eye Wall

Located just outside of the eye is the eye wall. This is the location within a hurricane where the most damaging winds and intense rainfall is found.

Things may be rough right now. Life may be difficult. Hard choices with unpleasant results may be on the horizon. Your 160476102circumstances may get worse before they get better. The winds may batter you so hard that forward progress is almost indiscernible. Rain and hail may tear at your skin and it can seem easier to just give up and go with the flow.

In the midst of a storm is no time to quit. You can’t afford to evacuate!! Hoist your sails! Push forward! Break through the Hell of the Eye Wall. There you will find that the God of all hope is centered in the eye of your storm.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7

Moving Past Our Idols

“They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (NIV.)

Happy Hump Day!!  Only a few more days until the weekend is here, be sure to make the rest of today and this week as productive as possible!  After all you will never get this day back!  Stay positive and try to enjoy the small moments of your day today!

Sometimes I think we read a passage in the Bible like the one above and just automatically dismiss the idea we have idols in our lives.  I know for me it is hard to think of an idol as anything other than this:

harrison-ford-indiana-jones-idol1

Truth is we all have idols in our lives outside of God.  An idol is simply defined as: 1) an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship or 2) a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.

As men we often share many of the same idols, even as we struggle with one or two which are unique to each of us. This is by no means a complete list but I wanted to touch on three areas which I see men struggle with often and hopefully give some helpful tips in not allowing these idols to take the place of God in our daily lives.

1.  Work/Career

“The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on.” Proverbs 16:26

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23

“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.” Proverbs 28:19

Those verses and many others are used to prove (in the minds of men) that unless you are working 60+ hours a week you aren’t doing it right.  They have also been used by church leaders and Pastors to justify hammering their poor volunteers (and lowly paid staff) into submission, requiring them to work insane hours “for the Kingdom.”

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know how I feel about a lack of work/life balance in the lives of men all over the world but especially here in New York City.  It is especially hard to understand when I hear men I respect a great deal espouse those same beliefs but I am not convinced this is the kind of life God intended for us.

I have been around men in the workplace long enough that we often work long hours and pursue career goals at the cost of other areas in our lives.  We often do this because we don’t want to have to go home and face a quiet apartment, an upset wife or screaming kids that will demand your attention the minute you walk in the door.  We lie to ourselves (and our families) telling them we are working all these hours for them and for the family.  In turn we end up sounding like a Walter White sound bite.

The TRUTH is however that we work long hours, miss soccer games and hide behind the excuse of “work” for ourselves.

The scriptures referenced above reflect the importance of working so you can eat and not live in poverty.  There may be a small percentage of you who actually do need to work 60 hours a week to feed your family and provide for them.  However, that is not the majority of you.  Don’t lie to yourself about why you are working so many hours.

You will never be on your death-bed regretting the fact you didn’t bill an addition 40 hours to a client.  Your regret will come from time lost with family and loved ones.  It will come with regret wishing you had done more for God.  By then it will be too late to do anything about it.  Don’t allow work and career be an idol in your life.

If you are willing to be open to new ideas and to work differently you really can work fewer hours and still get more accomplished.  I was just promoted at work over the summer but I didn’t get the promotion because of the hours I put in at the office.  I was promoted because of the output I produced.

Work and career are important.  However, that doesn’t mean we should focus all our energies here at the cost of every other area in our lives.

Tip – take a day off from work to spend with your wife and family and don’t check your work e-mails.  As a matter of fact leave your phone at home to avoid getting a phone call.  Let your bosses know you will be unreachable for the day.  Neither you nor your job is so important they can’t go a day without hearing from you.

2.  Ourselves/Selfishness

“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” Psalm 119:36

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Phil. 2:3-4

I have spoken about this recently in other blog posts but because I remained shocked at the levels of selfishness in men I am writing about it again today.  When an only child (that is me) is disgusted with the selfishness of other men that is saying a lot!  The demands that I hear husbands make on their wives, children and family out of selfish desire is just mind-boggling.

I realize I have only been married for just under a year but one thing has become clear in my short time as a husband is that being self-centered has no place in a successful and happy marriage.  In fact, being married is the exact opposite of that.  Being married (and I presume when you have children) is only and always about the other person/people.  You can’t be selfish and pursue only your own desires and expect good results.

Some men are so desperate to hold on to some kind of selfish desires in a marriage they cannot even see how it is undermining their relationship.  This kind of behavior isn’t something that will rise up and destroy your marriage suddenly rather it is something that will slowly erode the bedrock of your foundation.  At first you will only notice small cracks here and there and likely will avoid fixing them because everything still seems to be operating just fine.  However, with enough time the walls will fall and crush you and your family under the weight of your selfishness.  Being single is great for being selfish but having a family is not.  Grow up.

Tip – nothing will eliminate a selfish attitude faster than being generous with your time and/or money.  Volunteer somewhere in your city, whether it is at a church, food shelter or some other charity.  I promise focusing on others and their needs will make it impossible to be selfish.

What other idols do you have in your life?  How do you combat then?  I want to hear from you!  Be sure to email us BetterMenNow@gmail.com.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew