7 Quotes From “Self-Improvement 101”

Self-Improvement 101In all of John Maxwell’s 101 books there is an overall theme, but there are also numerous snippets which we can immediately apply. Here are just a few of those thoughts from Self-Improvement 101.

“The ironic thing is that change is inevitable. Everybody has to deal with it. On the other hand, growth is optional. You can choose to grow or fight it. But know this: people unwilling to grow will never reach their potential.”

“The only way to improve the quality of your life is to improve yourself. If you want to grow your organization, you must grow a leader. If you want better children, you must become a better person. If you want others to treat you more kindly, you must develop better people skills. There is no sure way to make other people in your environment improve. The only thing you truly have the ability to improve is yourself.”

“There’s certainly nothing wrong with the desire to progress in your career, But never try to ‘arrive.’ Instead, intend your journey to be open-ended. Most people have no idea how far they can go in life. They aim way too low.”

“Pride is the number one hindrance to teachability. … While envy is the deadly sin that comes from feelings of inferiority, the deadly sin of pride comes from feelings of superiority. It creates an arrogance of success, an inflated sense of self-worth accompanied by a distorted perspective of reality. Such an attitude leads to a loss of desire to learn and an unwillingness to change. It makes a person unteachable.”

“People’s purpose in life is always connected to their giftedness. It always works that way. You are not called to do something that you have no talent for. You will discover your purpose by finding and remaining in your strength zone. Similarly, you cannot grow to your maximum potential if you continually work outside of your strength zone.” 

“What is the greatest obstacle you will face once you have achieved your goals and tasted success? I believe it is the ability to let go of what you have so that you can reach for something new.”

“Every new level of growth we hope to experience as leaders calls for a new level of change. You cannot have one without the other.”

You can check out my review of Self-Improvement 101 by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“I have learned…that the Lord can fill the soul with Himself, when He takes away what seemed indispensable to our happiness on earth.” —Andrew Bonar

In a day of endless distraction and diversion, there is no greater remedy for our clouded heads and hectic lives than the sober mind of Christ.” Read more in this post: Finding A Level Head In A Hectic World.

“Prayer really is simple. Resist the urge to complicate it. Don’t take pride in well-crafted prayers. Don’t apologize for incoherent prayers. No games. No cover-ups. Just be honest—honest to God. Climb into His lap. Tell Him everything that’s on your heart. Or tell Him nothing at all. Just lift your heart to heaven and declare, ‘Father … Daddy.’ Stress. Fear. Guilt. Grief. Demands on all sides. And all we can summon is a plaintive, ‘Oh, Father.’ If so, that’s enough. Your heavenly Father will wrap you in His arms!” —Max Lucado

Some super-cool pictures of the work that won the 2014 Nobel Prize for chemistry.

[INFOGRAPHIC] The size, spread and cost of Ebola.

I have been saying this was coming: Pastors in Houston have their sermons subpoenaed to make sure they are “correct.”

“The time for speaking seldom arrives, the time for being never departs.” —George MacDonald

“The Word of God ignores size and quantity and lays all its stress upon quality. Christ, more than any other man, was followed by the crowds, yet after giving them such help as they were able to receive, He quietly turned from them and deposited His enduring truths in the breasts of His chosen 12.” —A.W. Tozer

Overcoming The Goliath Fears

Jeff Hlavin

Rev. Jeff Hlavin brought such an amazing and timely message to Calvary Assembly of God yesterday! Using the well known story of David and Goliath (see 1 Samuel 17), Pastor Jeff showed us how to defeat the giants of fear that stare us down. Here are the notes I took during his message—

“Unhealthy fear is anxiety-producing and diminishes the quality of our lives. It negatively affects our behavior and our relationships.”

Unhealthy fear dominates our thinking … It looms larger in consequence … It intimidates… All other options seem to evaporate.”

On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. (1 Samuel 17:11)

“Who decides the battle gets to be fought this way? We don’t have to let the enemy dictate the terms of engagement! If we let the enemy define the battle, our fearful state becomes our new status quo.”

A Christian cliché will not overcome fear. We need to assess the situation accurately: (a) in the light of what fear is and does, (b) in the light of who and what you are, and (c) in the light of who and what God is.”

“…Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26)

We overcome personal fear through personal faith. Not someone else’s faith or experience or testimony, but mine.

“I cannot go in these,” David said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. (1 Samuel 17:39)

“God wired you the way He did on purpose. Use what is ‘you’ and ‘yours.’” Look at David’s faith. He tells Goliath he’s going to take his head off, but he doesn’t even have a sword! He used what God gave him and then he used the enemy’s own weapon against him. Once one fear is defeated, the other related fears flee too (v. 51b).

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together. I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. (Psalms 34:1-6 NLT)

 

1>2 & 2>1

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible.

I know this sounds like confusing—maybe even illogical—math, and it probably sounds a bit like a contradiction, too. But hang with me.

Two verses from the sometimes-confusing book of Ecclesiastes say just this: 1 is greater than two, and two is greater than one.

Check them out for yourself:

1>2One handful of peaceful repose is better than two fistfuls of worried work.

2>1Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

When it comes to working hard to get stuff: 1>2. It’s far better to have less and enjoy it more.

When it comes to meaningful relationships: 2>1. It’s far better to have the time to invest in more intimate relationships.

Never, ever, EVER let the pursuit of stuff get in the way of your important relationships.

To have more satisfying relationships, always keep this in mind: 1>2 [stuff] so that 2>1 [relationships].

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Every Moment Is Special

As I was in the midst of studying for our series Overloaded, there was one thought that kept coming back to me time and time again—

The biggest victim in our overloaded lives are our relationships

And then the news of a tragic, unexpected death comes crashing into all of my local newsfeeds.

Wes Leonard was a star athlete for the Fennville High School Blackhawks. This 16-year-old played quarterback for the football team, and forward for the basketball team.

Last week the Fennville basketball team put their undefeated season on the line in their final regular season game against Bridgman. The game was tied at the end of regulation. As overtime was running out, the Blackhawks turned to their star player. And Wes Leonard deliver: hitting the game-winning shot as overtime expired!

The other Blackhawk players lifted their hero into the air and celebrated their undefeated season. But just moments later their joy would turn to shock, and then to sorrow. Wes collapsed just minutes after the game ended. Even though medical personnel worked valiantly on him, Wes Leonard was pronounced dead at Holland Hospital.

There were no outward signs of any medical issues. It wasn’t until the autopsy that the corner discovered that Wes had an enlarged heart, which led to the post-game heart arrhythmia, which caused this 16-year-old to have a life-ending heart attack.

None of us know how much time we have.

I pray we’re never too busy to have deep, meaningful relationships.

I pray we make the most of every opportunity to connect with our friends and family.

I pray we live without the regrets of unspoken words of love.

I pray we realize more and more that every moment is special.

I pray that you can overcome the overload in your life that may be robbing you of capturing every special moment that comes your way.

Last-Minute Christmas Shopping

Over the past couple of days, anytime I’m driving anywhere near a store, I’m slowed down by so many last-minute shoppers.

I understand that some shoppers procrastinate, some family members are hard to shop for, and some folks wait so long to share their wish list with you. But as I’ve engaged a few shoppers in conversation, one thing I’m routinely hearing is, “I’ve got to get just one more gift for….”

One more gift.

Just one more.

And maybe one more after that.

I’m not knocking generosity, but I would like to point out that there is something called Enough.

Maybe instead of buying one more gift for someone special, you could exchange your shopping time for conversation time.

Maybe instead of one more gadget, you could go on one more date.

Maybe instead of more presents, you could give more presence.

Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.

“More, more.”

I have God’s more-than-enough,

More joy in one ordinary day

Than they get in all their shopping sprees. (Psalm 4:6-7).

The greatest joy comes not from giving great gifts, but in being a gift to someone else. Enjoy God’s presence, and then give a present of your presence to a special someone!

More?

I keep getting these annoying messages on Twitter that say something like, “I got over 500 new followers on Twitter, and you can too!!” Then I get these sorts of emails, “We can increase the traffic to your blog 300% per day!!”

What would make them think I want more? Maybe it’s because almost everything in our lives is about more.

  • After high school, go to college to get more education.
  • After college, climb the corporate ladder to get more money or more recognition.
  • After you start working, take more vacations and enjoy more perks.

Lately, I’ve become focused on better. I think better is better than more.

More is about width, better is about depth. More is an exhausting pursuit, better is a satisfying pursuit. More is about quantity, better is about quality.

So here’s my challenge, trade more for better

  • Instead of looking for more friends, make your current friendships better.
  • Instead of getting more followers on Twitter, make better followers.
  • Instead of getting more education, get a better education.
  • Instead of trying to read more books, read better books.
  • Instead of spending more time with a lot of people, spend better time with a few people.

In what areas of your life can better be better than more?

More Today?

I have shared before how I often wake up with a particular song on my mind. This morning it was a 1969 classic that I added to my iPod a few weeks ago: “More Today Than Yesterday” by The Spiral Starecase. (Go ahead and listen to the song while you read on.)

So as I was attempting to wake up Betsy, I sang part of the chorus to her. “I love you more today than yesterday. But not as much as tomorrow.” Which got me thinking: How do I do this?

Betsy and I have been “an item” for 8,935 days. I thought I loved her tons yesterday, so how do I love her more today than yesterday? Let me take a couple of cues from the song:

“I’ll be spending time with you”—the greater the quantity of time I spend with her the more likely I’ll have quality time with her.

“Everyday’s a new day in love with you”—love keeps no record of wrongs. If I’m holding grudges against her or beating myself up over mistakes I made, I’m keeping a record. Forgiveness is the key to wiping the slate clean so I can love her more today than yesterday.

“With each day comes a new way of loving you”—there’s a reason why the apostle Paul talks about “growing up” in the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. My love should be maturing and growing up every day. So today I should be able to love Betsy in a more mature way.

“I thank the Lord for love like ours that grows ever stronger”—as my relationship with Jesus becomes more intimate I will learn how to love Betsy more today than yesterday. As C.S. Lewis put it, “When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”

What special relationships do you have? Do you love that earthly dearest more today than yesterday? With quality time, forgiveness, maturity, and a closer relationship with Jesus, you can truly love that special someone more today than yesterday. Give it a try!

Every day’s a new day, every time I love you.

Every way’s a new way, every time I love you!

The Right Time To Do The Right Thing

I spent yesterday afternoon and a good portion of this morning with a precious family. The 93-year-old patriarch of the family is in his last days on this earth. This family is absolutely wonderful, and it has been such a blessing to spend this time with them.

They laugh, tell stories, sing songs, read Scripture, joke with each other, and cry. The full range of emotions overflowing from a full life.

I have learned something—the human heart is designed to know and to be known. The human heart longs for relationship—deep, meaningful, satisfying relationship. In order to achieve this type of relationship, two things are key: (1) Time and (2) Empathy.

(1) Time. Relationships cannot be microwaved. We cannot just show up, press a few buttons, and—voilá—expect a meaningful relationship. Of course, just spending a lot of time together doesn’t mean a relationship will be successful either. However, the greater the quantity of time that is spent means a greater likelihood of quality time.

(2) Empathy. The Bible says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). It doesn’t say, “If people are low, bring them up; if they are too high, bring them down to realistic levels.” Empathy is all about letting the other person drive the agenda—to match whatever they are feeling. A Swedish Proverb says, “A shared joy is a double joy, and a shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

Here’s a good pattern to follow—

Right Time + Right Thing = Meaningful Relationships
<or>
Quality Time + Empathy Time = Satisfying Relationships

I’m trying to learn this and apply it to my life. How about you?

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