NOW WHAT?

Avoiding the stumbling blocks!

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“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

The road to success is paved with hard work. There are no short cuts, and every journey is an individual one. Two of the most destructive stumbling blocks you will encounter are:

  1. self-doubt
  2. unsolicited advice

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. – 1 John 3:20

Self doubt is often created by the internal worry that we somehow do not measure up to the task, whatever it may be. In his famous book The Power of Positive Thinking Norman Vincent Peale gives us the secret to happiness: “The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”  Self doubt tells us that we can’t succeed, we’ll never win, and that happiness in the form of success will be forever denied us because we are not good enough. The key to remember is that if we were born with a healthy ‘normal’ body, we have the same opportunities in life as any other individual with a similar origin. Sometimes we’ll have people along the road of life to encourage and help us , and sometimes the journey will be a hard and lonely one. The strongest people in life have managed to cast away self doubt and pave their own paths. There is great power in succeeding at a challenge we have set for ourselves. The reward is knowing that we accomplished what the naysayers  told us we could not do. God never gives us anything that we cannot overcome.

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The Narrow Gate

In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.… –Matthew 7:12-14

“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – Burt Lance

Always consider the source when receiving unsolicited advice. Someone telling you not to fix something that works will hold you back from finding a better way to do it. Likewise, if you are doing something that  is working for you, but which is not the way that someone else is doing it, remember that everyone is different. What works for you MIGHT not work for them, and vice versa. As long as you are not doing something illegal or immoral, if it works, keep doing it.  Just because ‘everyone else is doing it’ doesn’t mean you should do it too just to appease them. The only person you are competing with is yourself.   You just need to check yourself to see if you are improving. This is easily accomplished by keeping careful records of your progress. For example, I myself have been struggling with my weight for years, and it took a lot of trial and error before I chanced upon a diet and exercise program that worked for me.  I have carefully monitored and recorded my weight for years. It wasn’t until about three years ago that I discovered a few dietary supplements, meal plans and exercise programs that broke the chains that had been holding me back.  Nine months ago I began competitive running, and now I monitor my progress with that, so I see the results. More importantly,  OTHER people have taken notice of the external changes to my physique, and they have been inspired by it. Actions speak louder than words, and results are hard to argue with. The proof is in the pudding.  If it works, KEEP doing it, never quit, never surrender!

The most important thing you can do in life is to lead by example. You are being watched all the time by everyone in your life, whether or not you are aware of it. It is better to be held up in high esteem as an example of what is possible, as opposed to being a cautionary tale of what NOT to do in life. There are too many fools who took the short-cut down ‘Easy Street’ which lead to destruction. If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, live your life the right way, and remember that life is YOUR life, and you are the one who need to live it. As always, I wish you success and happiness!

THE END IS THE BEGINNING!

Life is a journey!

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“Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.” – Anonymous.

In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul made a metaphor between his life and career in the first century church equating it with a road race.  

” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – Paul the Apostle (from 2 Timothy 4:7)

This was one of the many ways the early leadership of the church created bridges between people to connect unfamiliar concepts to various individuals. As I began running road races last year in 2019,  I quickly came to realize how appropriate this comparison was. Before I even attempted my first 5K, my goal was to run a marathon. 5K is 3.1 miles, and a marathon is about nine times that at 26.2 miles. I was inspired by Nathan Maxwell  @socialshark , a friend on Twitter who was an ultra-marathoner. Nate and I connected through a love of coffee. When the internet was in its infancy, it was referred to as The Super Information Highway. Now we have social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The thing about social media is that it allows individuals to share ideas, images and information of all sorts at a rapid-fire pace, with little or no filter. This double-edged sword has both brought some people closer, while at the same time destroying some relationships.   I am often amazed at the number of people around the world who check in regularly to read my weekly Sunday opinion piece. It is quite humbling.  

Running is a lifestyle choice. Like many things, you do it for as long as you can, on a regular basis. Once you quit, often there is no going back.

 “The end is in the beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

The First Key to success in life is proper planning executed at an early time. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I am currently using a lot of racing and health metaphors because of the interconnectivity of health and wealth. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “Your health IS your wealth, and your wealth IS your health!” As I prepare for my first marathon at the end of 2020, today I run my first official race of the year, a 10K in Muhlenberg PA. Last year I ran a dozen races, from 5Ks to half-marathons. In 2020, my plan is to run twice that, both in distance and frequency. Each of these races has an entry fee. Had my finances not been in order, I could not afford to do this. As an athlete in training for competition, I have certain nutritional requirements. Dietary supplements , special meal plans, and better quality organic produce all cost money. Again, had I not taken steps years ago to fix my finances, I would not be in a position to afford these added costs. Not to mention I also need to buy quality running shoes and gym clothes.  

The Second Key to success in life is you have to want it. That should be obvious, but saying you WANT it and actually wanting it enough to do the work to attain the goal are two different things. When you really WANT something, the effort you are putting into attaining that goal should be outwardly apparent to anyone observing you. Actions speak louder than words, but RESULTS shout from the rooftops! 

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The Third Key is not giving up. The road is long and hard, and there are many stumbling blocks.  My most grueling 5K of 2019 was a night run obstacle course, The Zombie Fun Run. The ‘fun’ stopped when I wrenched my knee as I slipped on a muddy hill. I was terribly concerned with each painful step that I would not be able to finish, but I managed to limp my way to the end. In a couple of days, I was right as rain again.  The first half-marathon I ran two months prior also was fun, until I hit the 9th mile, and was breaking personal distance records. That was when I started getting leg cramps.  I also limped to the end that time.  DNF (Did Not Finish) is currently not in my vocabulary. I have completed every race I signed up for. ONLY once (during the Chobert Challenge 15K trail run) was I DFL (Last), but I did finish.  Often when I am in such trying periods, struggling to reach the finish line, another quote from the Apostle Paul comes to mind.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Paul the Apostle (from Philippians 4:13)

Just like Nate’s Twitter posts inspired me to begin running, other folks I have connected with have inspired me to continue. One fellow runner who is truly amazing is Bruce Cronrath. Bruce is 76 years old, has a replacement knee and still runs half-marathons.  Whenever  we race,  he’s usually a few minutes faster than I am. I currently run about a  12 minute mile, and outweigh Bruce by over 100lbs. Bruce is a Vietnam  Vet and a credit to our country. He is the perfect example of never giving up, and demonstrates what is possible when you devote a lifetime of dedication to a healthy lifestyle  . I hope that when I reach his age, I have his level of stamina and endurance as well.

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Hopefully I have encouraged you through my blog to rise to new heights in whatever pursuits you wish to engage in. You can accomplish it as long as you give it everything you’ve got and never quit!  As always, I wish you success and happiness!

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WHAT’S YOUR VISION?

Go for the gold in 2020!

WHATS YOUR VISION

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.  – Anonymous

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Having put 2019 behind us and recuperated with a long winter’s  nap we are now faced with a fresh new year.  2020 is a golden opportunity to begin again. We can brush off our failures, learn from our mistakes, and build up higher from our successes. The future is mainly how we see it. The term 20/20 is used by optometrists to describe normal, clear and ‘perfect’ vision in a person.  So your primary goal in 2020 is to make your life this year better than it was last year. Everyone faces difficulties in life, but no one ever said life was going to be easy or fair. Living is a process that we all go though  and some of us will always be more successful than others. There will always be someone smarter, faster, richer and better-looking than you. That is NO excuse to give up and do nothing. Nothing happens by itself. Success is a process that takes action, time, hard-work, resources, and most of all, determination. The moment you say ‘I can’t’, you are DONE! Many people defeat themselves before they even start due to their negative outlook. You cannot have a positive life with a negative mind.   

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Define your terms!

Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

  • Action : the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.
  • Goal : the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
  • Idea :  a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.
  • Plan : a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.
  • Process:  a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
  • Strategy : a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
  • Vision : the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.– Proverbs 21:5

Clarity of vision begins with the understanding that certain actions have to be undertaken to achieve the desired goal.  It is a PROCESS! You must learn to crawl, before you learn to walk. Success takes steps. Overnight success stories are so rare as to be practically myths. ‘Get Rich Quick’ schemes are the pursuit of fools. If being successful were THAT easy, EVERYONE would be wealthy.

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Lead by example!

Your actions speak louder than your words. There are countless motivational speakers and coaches on the lecture circuit. The reasons for this are as varied as the number of self-improvement books on the shelf. They are all variations on the same theme, and as the Bible says, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The best type of motivation comes from within. YOU have to want it! YOU have to do it! No one can live your life for you.  When YOU decide that ‘enough is enough’ and that ‘something must be done’ is when the process of self-discovery and healing begins. This is YOUR LIFE! I want you to be happy and successful, but I can’t do the work for you. I can give you the tools but you must use them and do the work yourself.  It will not be easy, but I assure you, in the end it will be worth it.

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In 2019, I took up distance running with the goal of working towards eventually running a full marathon or longer. A marathon is 26.2 miles. My first official run of 2019 was a 5K race (3.1 miles). I trained for two months before I even undertook that initial run.  Prior to that first run, I had no idea how I would physically handle the challenge, but I was determined to complete it. Over the course of 2019 I ran a dozen official timed races ranging from 5Ks to half-marathons. As I built up to the longer distances, the shorter distances became cakewalks.   I put my fitness plan into action and began the process towards achieving my goal. Along the way, I received great advice and encouragement from peers in the running community who lifted my spirit to greater heights.

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I hit 2020 running from the first! On New Year’s Day January 1st, 2020 I ran my first un-official  5K race with another runner in my running pack. It was just the two of us, mono a mono. It was symbolic as Steve Capozello  was much faster than I, so I had no expectation of beating him.  The result was not the important part, running the race was. Next Sunday Jan 12th 2020 is my first OFFICIAL race of the year, number 2 in the ‘Shiver by the River’ winter running series held in Muhlenberg PA on second Sundays from December through March. In 2020 my plan is to have at least one OFFICIAL race every single month, sometimes running up to four races. I intend to run twice as many races as last year with the goal of running a full marathon in November. Again, had I not started this process of self-improvement I would not be able to attain these milestones that I have been reaching along the way. It was NOT luck. I did the work, and I ran the race. I share this with you not for bragging rights, but as encouragement to demonstrate that it IS POSSIBLE to do. You just have to want it first! As always, I wish you success and happiness!

A LONG WINTER’S NAP

Wrapping up 2019

A LONG WINTERS NAP

“A Visit from Saint Nickolas” is a well-known poem written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823. Some people refer to the poem by it’s opening line, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”.  This traditional poem was written by Moore for his children, a fairy-tale to amuse them, and he originally published it anonymously.  The eight line of the poem  “Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.” As we wrap-up 2019 and put a bow on it, this is perhaps the best piece of advice I can leave you with.

I started writing my blog http://www.InstantCoffeeWisdom.com over two years ago on September 10th 2017. This is my 113th article.

The vast majority of our troubles are wealth related. Improving our wealth situation is key to improving our lives to attain success and happiness. Wealth is not only about money and finance, there are three main components of wealth . 

  1. Money is the first thing people think of. It’s nice to have, but it’s just a tool. Like any tool if you misuse it, you will break it, or hurt yourself. You must learn to use it responsibly and skillfully.
  2.  The second is your health, and more precious than silver or gold. Investing time, money, and effort in attaining the peak of physical health will do wonders for your attitude.  
  3. Last but not least, is your wealth of knowledge.  The more wise you become, the greater your chances of stumbling upon the solution to whatever it is that is holding you back from achieving your dreams. Oftentimes, it is a sobering revelation to discover the greatest obstacle keeping us from accomplishing our goals is ourselves.

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In three days it will be Christmas Day. Six days later it will be New Year’s Eve. The year is more or less over.  Aside from a few last-minute-gift shopping, and maybe wrapping some presents, it’s all downhill from here. The hard stuff has be done, or never will be at this point. If you busted your ass this past year, take the remaining days to rest. You’ve earned your long winter’s nap. Bask in the warm glow of your accomplishments as you look back upon all you did. You earned it. 2020 is days away and you need to rest-up so that you can achieve new heights in the coming year!

On a personal note, my greatest accomplishment this past year was training to run half-marathons, something which was greatly aided by the encouragement and knowledge shared by the running community. Yes, I DID THIS, I did the work and I ran the race,  but I truly believe I could not have done it without YOU backing me. I ran eleven races, everything from 5K to Half Marathons. My ‘Twelfth race of Christmas’ will be the Kris Kringle 5 Mile Run in Leesport PA on December 29th 2019. In 2020 I plan to run twice as many races as I continue to train towards running full marathons, and eventually ultra marathons.  A side effect result of my  running is that I have encouraged others to do likewise. A year ago, I could not have done this, now I can. You change the world by your example, not your opinion. Be the change you wish to see.

On the flip side, if your had a lack-luster year, take a long hard look in the mirror. Don’t play the blame game, OWN IT.  If you did little or nothing, YOU did little or nothing.  The one thing we all get each day is the same 24hrs. The wealthy and the poor, the successes and failures, and the happy and the not.  If you’re not an example, then you become a cautionary tale. Don’t be ‘THAT GUY’.  We all have a ‘THAT GUY’, someone we know in life who did nothing with their life, and we can’t fathom why they ‘let themselves go’. Everyone wants to be around successful happy people. Their positive energy draws folks like a magnet. Like the angel Clearance reminded George Bailey in the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, no man is a failure if he has friends.  But don’t despair, God allows U-turns. Christmas Day is in three days. Enjoy the wonder and beauty of the season, and take a long winter’s nap.  Rest up, in six days it will be New Year’s Eve. Pick yourself up, dust off your failures and start again. 2020 is a whole new year.  Don’t waste it! Learn from your mistakes and try something different. If you don’t know where to start, I have written 112 other articles covering just about every aspect pertaining to self-improvement.  The one thing have been doing ever January 1st for years is I read the Gospel of John. It’s one of the 66 books of the Bible. Christmastime is inseparable from Christ, and there are many sources of inspiration and encouragement to be found in the pages of the Holy scripture. I could not have reached the height I have attained without Jesus. God is good, always!   

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http://www.InstantCoffeeWisdom.com will return in January 2020 with new content. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and as always I wish you success and happiness.  

TURNING BACK TIME!

Let’s do the time warp again!

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The idea of turning back time, or speeding ahead into a future time, is quite often the plot of many science fiction stories. UNFORTUNATELY here in the most parts of the USA it’s a reality, and an outdated nuisance.  Twice a year we ‘change the clocks’. Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November  at 2:00 AM when we turn the clocks back one hour to Daylight Standard Time.  To add to the confusion, not all of the USA observes Daylight Saving Time. the states of Arizona and Hawaii ignore it completely, as do all of the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands. So in the Autumn, we ‘gain’ an hour when the clocks ‘FALL BACK’, and ‘lose’ an hour in the Spring when the clocks ‘SPRING FORWARD’.  Despite this little ‘FALL BACK, SPRING FORWARD’ mnemonic to help people remember to adjust their clocks  accordingly, many times they still get it wrong, either setting the clock the wrong way for some bizarre reason, or forgetting completely.  It used to also be done at a different time prior to 2007. (Back then, the time shift was the last Sundays in April and October.)

BLAME CANADA

Benjamin Franklin once theorized about the benefits of adjusting the clocks to save daylight in the Winter months when the days are ‘shortened’  in the Northern Hemisphere due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.  In 1908 Canadians in Thunder Bay Ontario adopted this asinine  practice for the first time. A few years later it was also instituted by the Germans in 1916 to conserve coal during the first World War. It didn’t plague us here in the United States until 1966 when President Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act under the assumption that it would ‘conserve energy’ because if it’s light outside longer, you’ll use the lights in your homes less.

Spread read the confusion

I don’t know of any person who truly believes that changing the clocks is beneficial , but it is observed for better or worse by 70 countries around the globe, each adjusting their times on a slightly different schedule.  If you are one of those people who simply forgets about adjusting the clocks, it’s not so bad in the Fall when you gain that hour, but it’s a nightmare in the Spring when people who are already ‘pressed for time‘ rush out the door only to find out too late that they are an hour late. The poet Charles Bukowski  wrote a poem about this in 1972 titled DAYLIGHT SAVING, and it is a concrete poem shaped like a time card. The poem recounts an event in which the poet went to his day job only to discover the time cards were all pulled and he was late one hour, and had to explain why to his disbelieving supervisor. Fortunately today many of our electronic devices auto adjust themselves to the proper time.

The changing of the artificial clock doesn’t reset the biological clock. Our Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour internal clock that controls sleep-wake cycles as well as metabolism, cognition, and more. It uses clues such as light and darkness to help determine when it’s time to shift into sleep mode and when the body should wake up. When we artificially change the time, our bodies need an adjustment period.  If you’ve ever flown in a plane across several time zones, like from the East Coast of the USA to the West, you probably experienced this disruption by another common term,  jet lag. It can take as little as a day to recover, but some people feel the effects of jet lag for up to several days. Also since animals and very young children do not tell time by a clock, playing with the clocks means that you may get an earlier wake-up call from your pet dog who urgently needs to go outside and ‘never got the memo’.

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Why so S.A.D?

The end of Daylight Saving Time means less natural daylight during the day. When you couple the darkness with cold Winter’s chill, it can lead to a mental state of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D.  This is no laughing matter. People suffering from S.A.D. have a general feeling of less energy and moodiness.  Depression during the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas and even to a lesser extent New Year’s when you are surrounded by happy merry-makers and an abundance of alcohol results in higher accidental deaths from drunk driving, as well suicides from desperate people who can’t see past their current circumstances.  Life is a cycle. We have good times, and bad times, but things do get better.  In the end, everyone of us is going to die, but it’s important how we live. There is not a person on Earth that can say with absolute certainty that they will be alive tomorrow, so don’t wait for tomorrow. This is why you don’t put off important things, like spending time with friends and family and letting them know you care. This is why it is of the utmost importance to take care of our physical bodies with proper diet and exercise. This is why it is vital to straighten our minds and our souls with  knowledge and wisdom, especially the Gospel found in the Holy scripture contained in the Bible. We can do all things with Christ who strengthens us, and  we can deal with today much easier when we have hope for a better tomorrow. As always, I wish you success and happiness!

YOU CAN’T ‘FAKE’ STRONG!

Only the strong survive!

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I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.­–Paul the Apostle ,  Philippians 4:13

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One of the most common breakdowns associated with cars are flat tires. When tires are low on air, you can generally see that they need air as you approach you car, but most people do not make a habit of taking the time to inspect ALL FOUR tires on a regular basis, instead looking at the two that face them as they approach their vehicle.  Fixing a flat can be as simple as adding more air, or plugging a small leak. Ignoring the problem can result in serious damage to your tire, car, or even yourself.

According to Goodyear Tires:

“Maintaining proper air pressure is an important factor in tire safety and performance. If a driver experiences a flat tire or loss of air pressure, they should slow the vehicle gradually and carefully pull off to the side of the road as soon as possible. Driving on a flat tire can cause internal structural damage to the tire, may lead to wheel and vehicle damage and may result in poor vehicle handling and control — which could lead to an accident, injury or death.”

You may be familiar with the phrase “the road of life”. As you travel down the road of life, you are the vehicle which carries you on your journey. Like the four tires on a car, you have four categories that determine IF you will have forward momentum, or if your journey will end abruptly.  Your car has both front and rear tires. One each on the passenger and driver sides. You can still drive on a bad tire,  ignoring all the warning signs and neglecting repairing that tire until disaster occurs. Likewise YOU yourself have YOUR four ‘TIRES’ divided into two sides, and keeping all four at or as close to full strength as possible are vital to determine how far you will go down the ‘road of life’.

The two sides are your HEALTH and your WEALTH. Your HEALTH is your WEALTH, and your WEALTH is your HEALTH. HEALTH has two sides as does WEALTH. Your HEALTH is both PHYSICAL and MENTAL. Your WEALTH is both FINANCIAL and INTELLECTUAL. You need all four  to be at your maximum strength to go far in life, but running on three will carry you along for a little distance, and a brief time.   You cannot ‘fake’ strong, you are either strong, or you are weak. A strong person can things that a weak person cannot, and that is an undeniable fact of life.  

How strong are you:

FINANCIALLY

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 “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” Proverbs 21:20

If you have zero debt and just $10 in your pocket, you are richer than 25% of Americans. Do you spend EVERY cent you get?  The reason the wealthy amass such huge fortunes is NOT because they have stolen it from the poor, but because they have mastered the art of handling money. Getting financially fit means taking the time to develop spending, saving, and investment plans.

 

INTELLECTUALLY

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“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” –Proverbs 16:16

Knowledge is power! Education opens doors to greater ventures and better opportunities. The accumulation of ‘USEFUL’ knowledge and ‘USEFUL’ skills will result in greater possibilities of  employment. Having specialized knowledge in technical jobs or trades will get you hired faster than unskilled laborers. There are many classes being offered in colleges and universities nationwide that are totally worthless. Graduating with a degree in ‘gender studies’ or ‘lesbian dance theory’ is a surefire path to poverty. As poet Charles Bukowski once said, the world doesn’t need poets. Would a restaurant hire a chef who couldn’t cook an omelet?  The world needs doctors, teachers, farmers, and builders. An auto-mechanic may not be a glamorous job, but the next time you need your car fixed, you’ll be glad  if they are experienced and competent.  

PHYSICALLY

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“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God? You are not your own: you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

When you take care of your body, you can fight off illness faster, recover from infirmities, and lead an active lifestyle. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. How can you enjoy life if you are too weak and sickly to join your friends and family in various activities? Watching is fun but it is not the same as participating in the fun. Getting physically fit means taking time to eat healthy and exercise regularly.       

MENTALLY

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“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light”. – Matthew 11:28-30

Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of having been too strong for too long. Eventually everyone hits a point when we tire. When things go badly, we tend to focus on our troubles instead of counting our blessings. The Bible is the word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and is infallible and without error. When we focus on the world, it’s a depressing place. When we turn our focus to Jesus, we see that with God, all things are possible, and that when  God is with us, no one can stand against us. The Bible is a book filled with hope for something better than this fallen creation. The answers to all of life’s problems can be found in the pages of the Holy scripture, yet there are many who are reluctant, or totally against reading this book for themselves. I was an atheist when I was a teenager, but in college I became a Christian when my one professor challenged me to go to his class on the Bible and read through it cover to cover. I can honestly say I am a better man with God than I ever was without God.   People may disappoint you, lie to you, and hurt you.  Jesus is always good, faithful, and true. What if the one book that you are dead-set against reading is the only book which could provide you comfort and answers. Wouldn’t it be wise to take the time and discover the truth for yourself?  Isn’t it time to fill your ‘TIRE’ with the ‘breath of life’? As always I wish you success and happiness!   

Make time for R&R!

Vacations are important!

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R&R  is a military abbreviation for “rest and recuperation” or “rest and relaxation”. As you are probably aware, I recently returned from a two week vacation at the shore. My weekly blog InstantCoffeeWisdom went on hiatus for about a month during this much needed personal time. The main reasons I publish these weekly articles is to educate and motivate you to be the happiest and most successful  person you can be.  Often times people get into a funk where they have convinced themselves that they cannot escape their circumstances and this negativity leads to depression. Success means different things to different people, but no matter the definition , achieving success always come with an ego boost.  Success is powered by positivity. You cannot have a positive life with a negative mind. This is where the importance of vacations come into play. In some parts countries vacations are referred to as holidays. No matter what you call it, it’s still a get-away-from-it-all time that you need to clear your head and get back into the game.

Vacations require three things: Time, money, and planning.

For the vast majority of people, the BIGGEST reason that holds them back from vacationing is money. Again, that is why I stress the importance of the 52 Week Challenge, which was my very first blog post two years ago after returning from a much needed vacation.   The first year of articles dealt with personal finances, the second year expounded on how finances are  impacted by ‘the bigger picture’ of the world, and now we are covering time, because time IS money.

Excluding the day we are born and the day we die, we each get a full 24 hours each day to use however we choose. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, young or old, health or not.  Plan your time accordingly. Successful people tend to over schedule their days to maximize productivity. Often times they are convinced that they cannot leave the job because no one else can do it as well as they do.  There are people who work themselves sick, and in extreme cases, to death. It’s NOT worth it. No one on their death bed ever lamented about not spending enough time at the office.  I have come back from many a vacation to find some disaster piled on my desk, or to hear some tale of woe reported to me by a customer. Yes, it’s a major downer at that moment, but it’s certainly not the end of the world.  In a few days everything is back to normal,  ship-shape in Bristol fashion.  The work will always be there, even when we are not. When you die, your inbox will never be empty.

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Vacations are biblical!

 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”– Jesus  (Mark 2:27)

All things are created by God, including the day of rest known as a Sabbath. The time that we have here on Earth was given to us by God, and we are stewards of everything we possess. God wants us to be happy and successful, but He also gave us free will, and  we do self-destructive things to ourselves and then try to blame God for our poor choices.  Some Christians occasionally use the argument that it’s ungodly to waste money on vacations when there are poor people starving in the world and that money could be spent better on them.  If you feel guilty about spending money on vacation, make a contribution to a Christian charity of your choice. Would you intentionally starve yourself to death because there’s a poor person starving to death somewhere in the world?  That’s like saying it’s wrong to buy a house because there are homeless people. It’s nonsense. That’s why the Bible is such an important book to read to show us the proper way to live our lives. People make mistakes. God never makes mistakes.  And the God gives us numerous examples for us to follow. The former pastor of my church, now retired, once gave a sermon that tied two-week summer vacations to the Bible. There is a week-long Feast of Tabernacles described (Lev 23:33-44)  which takes place on the 15th day of the 7th month, every year. There’s other events that precede and follow, and planning that needs to be done.  Pastor Miller claimed this was a model that God gave us for an annual two week work break from our normal routine to rest, take fellowship, and worship the Lord. It may be a stretch, but he had a point. If Jesus Christ himself took time to rest and relax, He would want us to go, and do likewise.  God is good always! The United States is a great nation with many beautiful places for vacations. If you’re fortunate enough to live here, than you should praise God for the freedom and liberty granted or you to pursue your happiness. Every day you waste is a day you will never get back, so make the most of your time and live your life to the fullest! God wants you to be happy and successful, (and so do I) but you have to take the steps to make it happen.  As always, I wish you success and happiness!  

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SPARE TIME?

Living in the Moment!

SPARETIME

“We’re all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities. We are eaten up by nothing.” – Charles Bukowski

There are at least two things that differentiate the highly successful individual from the unsuccessful crowd.  Firstly, they handle their money quite differently than the average person. Instead of spending every cent the moment they receive it, they budget their money, save much of it, and invest.  Secondly they do the same thing with their time. 

You may be familiar with the old adage ‘time is money’.  In a very real sense it is. When you work at a job, you get paid for your time. When you invest over time, you get a return on your investment.  In fact, time is more important than money because money can be replaced, but time cannot. Every moment wasted is gone forever. Unsuccessful people usually whine about how unfair life is because they don’t have as much money as Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.  Here’s the main point. Rich or poor, Successful or not, every single person on Earth gets the exact same number of minutes each year. 525,600 minutes each and every year, with two exceptions. The year we are born, and the year we die. How we spend that year is up to us.

When I started writing my weekly blog InstantCoffeeWisdom over two years ago, the first article was The 52 Week Challenge. It was a weekly savings plan to be done over the course of one year, the end result being  $1350.00 saved to be used as you wish. Every year, I take a great vacation at the shore in Ocean City MD, that is my decision. I know many people who always whine that they never have money for vacation, so the first year I focused on microeconomics (personal finance) to help demonstrate ways to budget, cut expenses and hopefully achieve that goal set by The 52 Week Challenge. The second year, I focused on the bigger picture, exploring macroeconomics, and explaining how religion and politics are interconnected to economics, and why you should have a firm grasp of all three. Hopefully you were able to understand my points, see where I was leading you, and you were able to reach the same conclusions.  As I embark on my third year of blogging,  I’m going to focus on the topic of time. As I already stated, time is money, and we each have EXACTLY the same time each day, week, month, and year, despite financial disparities. How we spend our time is entirely up to us.

When I was a still just a young boy, the biggest time waster was the TV. I had family members whose entire lives were lived vicariously through the television. As a child, it was my ‘babysitter’. Plop me down in front of the set with a plate of snacks and I was good to go. My 77 year-old aunt does nothing but watch TV all day, or sleep. It doesn’t seem like much of a life to me, but she’s 77 and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I got rid of my TV a decade ago. I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by ‘cutting the cord’. If I do decide to watch some program, almost everything is available online and I can watch it when it’s convenient. Although the letters TV  are an abbreviation for Television, it should stand for TIME VACUUM because this activity is just a  waste of time that can suck away hours of your life each day if you let it. Now the biggest waste of time and productivity is the mobile smart phone.

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The smart phone  puts the sum total of human knowledge in the palm of your hands. You can load it’s memory with apps to help you track everything financial or health related. It is a tool that in the right hands can increase productivity and knowledge, and likewise can kill it in the wrong hands. In my youth, phones connected people. Now they divide people. The typical smart phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day, according to a study by research firm Dscout. Extremely addicted individuals use it twice as much as that. The phone is NOT reality. When you spend your time looking at your phone instead of living your life, you are wasting your life. You are cutting yourself off from life and missing all the wonderful things the world has to offer when you bury your face in your phone.

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Human lives are terribly short. We live at best about 120 years, but that is not guaranteed. There are preemie babies that live a few hours, or a few days.  My father died when he was 57. I missed out on all those great father-son moments growing up without a father as a result.   We are ephemeral, a vapor, and but a blink of the eye of God. We live our lives moment by moment, stringing each moment to the next like pearls on a string. We should do our best to make those moments shine.  Time cannot be replaced when it is gone, and neither can people. The greatest gift you can give a person is your time, and the second greatest gift you can give is your undivided attention. 

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One of my close friends has cancer. I pray for him every day. I hope he beats it, but ultimately that’s in God’s hands, and worrying about it won’t change that fact. If God wants us here on Earth, it’s where He wants us to be. No man can know the mind of God, but He’s in control even if it doesn’t make sense to us now. It is up to us to use our God-given free will to be stewards of our resources, which includes not just money and possessions,   but our time and our health as well. Make every moment count and interact with people instead of tuning out the world. As always, I wish you success and happiness!       

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WHAT’S YOUR LEGACY?

Is the mark you make ‘spot on’?

whats your legacy

“To a father, when a child dies, the future dies; to a child when a parent dies, the past dies.”— Red Auerbach

Last weekend was Father’s Day in the USA. Honestly it’s not my thing. My father died when I was a young boy, and as yet I still have no children of my own. The commercial holiday to honor fathers and fatherhood is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. It was first celebrated in 1910, but not signed into law as a permanent observance until 1972 when 37th President Richard M. Nixon signed the bill into law.

One thing that irritates me to no end is when pet owners refer to their pets as their ‘babies’ or refer to themselves as ‘fur parents’.  This form of self-delusion has been propitiated by various animal rights groups, environmentalist groups,  and even pro-abortion groups as a way of discouraging  child birth because the Earth is allegedly overpopulated by humans who are supposedly destroying the environment and killing ‘Mother Earth’. The Earth is NOT your Mother, and your pets are not your children. Pets can be valuable members of your family, and be loyal companions who display an unusually human level of behavior and intelligence from time to time, but they will never BE human. Humans are not evolved animals.

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We are all children of God, and by God I refer to the one true God, Jesus Christ, who created all of us in His image for His purpose. We were created to be fruitful and multiply. Children are a gift from God, and our children are a living legacy.

 “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently.” — Warren Buffett

The word LEGACY can mean either money or property that you receive from someone after they die, or something that is a part of your history or that remains from an earlier time. In other words your birthright that is passed on to you, which you in turn will pass on to another after you have departed this mortal coil.  Property is not just material goods, either but can also refer to intellectual property. When you write a book, paint a painting, film a movie, or teach a course you are passing on knowledge and inspiration to others. In the past, you really needed to shine bright to leave a mark in the history books and be remembered.  Unless we are extraordinary leaders of men, every single one of us is about fifty years from being forgotten.  When the last person who knew us passes on, we too are forgotten.

The higher you are held in regard, the further your impact will go, which is why your reputation is paramount. If you have a reputation for honesty and integrity, people will more readily believe you and follow your lead. Your enemies will do everything in their power to trash your reputation, but the truth will always be true no matter how many lies are told about it.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6 King James Version (KJV)

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In today’s digital world, nothing is forgotten, but the amount of information being generated is staggering. Information can become buried and lost virtually forever until someone uncovers and shares  it. As data ‘facts’ and fake news are spread like wild-fire in nanoseconds around the globe, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.  The important thing to keep in mind on is that both sides playing the game of kings for global domination want to influence you and sway you to their side. This is why fathers, and husbands, and the traditional family unit have been constantly being assaulted by the left. When you destroy the family unit, you can reshape society into any insane caricature you can dream up.  This is why Christianity and Jesus and the Bible are all despised by the left, and all haters of truth.  This is why President Donald J. Trump is constantly being slandered by the liberal media.  Both parents (and fathers especially) play an important part in preparing the next generation and preventing them from engaging in stupid and self-destructive actions. Turning 18 may legally grant you certain rights held by adults, but it does not make you an adult.   The next generation is the future, and freedom is always one generation away from extinction. If you love your children, teach your children well. As always, I wish you success and happiness!

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CONQUER THE WORLD!

Ask me how…

conquer the world

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale Carnegie

The world is made up of two types of people. Those who talk about doing things, and those who go out and get those things done.  According to a recent article printed in Business Insider  about a third of Millennials think that they are worse off today than they were ten years ago.  The question that really begs to be asked is what were these ‘eager young space cadets’ doing over the past decade to improve their lives? The overwhelming response was nothing. They stayed in the same dead-end jobs for fear of finding a better job. They didn’t invest in the stock market for fear of losing money. They didn’t save because they had just enough to make ends meet, and they feared they wouldn’t be able to.  The end result of doing nothing is nothing. Nothing happens unless someone makes it happen. You will never be able to conquer the world until you learn to conquer your irrational fears.

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear. –Dale Carnegie

If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self. – Napoleon Hill

Many times, we are held back by bad habits. Laziness is chief among all bad habits. We put off for tomorrow what could be done today because we ‘don’t feel like it’ or we ‘don’t have time’ or we have ‘something better to do.’ Motivation can be difficult when we don’t see immediate results, but all things take time, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. This goes for all bad habits from poor eating habits to addictions to failure to exercise regularly. If you start something, keep at it until the task has been accomplished. Never give up. Focus on doing what you can, and then going one better.    

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ― William Faulkner

If you believe that something is impossible, and you don’t attempt it, you will never know if it could have been accomplished. Trying once and failing is not an indication of impossibility, it’s just an indication of inexperience and lack of knowledge. No one was ever an expert the first time they did something, and if they happened to do it perfectly that first time, it was dumb luck. You’re an expert when you can consistently deliver the same results, and that takes time and practice.   

Energy and persistence conquer all things. – Benjamin Franklin

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. –Jeremiah 29:11

Make plans! If you fail to plan you plan to fail! You need to know where you are, where you want to be, and have the steps to get there. You need to know what direction to go, what tools you’ll need to accomplish your goal. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it won’t happen at all unless you take to proper measures beforehand. Spontaneity is great when you’re stuck and need to think of something to get you back on course, but it’s a terrible way to live your life. All successful people take notes, make plans, and work from paper. Again, if you do nothing, nothing will happen. You got this! You just have to believe in the possible.

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I believe that in the end the truth will conquer. –John Wycliffe

As you continue moving on towards accomplishing you goals, You’ll encounter a lot of fake news and negativity. You need to cut the dead-weight that’s holding you back. Unhappy, unsuccessful people will be jealous of your attempts to better yourself. Success is the best revenge. There are many people you will meet throughout your life who will never accomplish half the things you do, and they will try to make you feel bad about yourself by calling you greedy or selfish. What they think of you says more about them then it does about you. Your success does not doom them to failure. They doomed themselves to failure by doing nothing and just want you to feel sorry for their poor life choices. You can’t help them, they are the only ones who can help themselves, and they don’t want to for whatever reason. If you have access to the internet, you have access to the sum total of human knowledge. Ignorance is a choice, knowledge is power, and the truth will vanquish any lie in time. Stay focused on your goals and they will become your accomplishments. You got this, and no one can take that away from you!  If you can conceive it, and you can believe it, you can achieve it! As always I wish you success and happiness!