How Focused Are You?

“Say no”, is a popular topic in modern-day society. But this normally comes to mind when encouraging young people to keep up moral values or when it involves drugs or crime.

But the need to say need no can extend much further than this. In nugget #26 of his book An Enemy Called Average, John L. Mason tells us to “say no to many good things”.

There Can Be a Very Thin Line between a Lie and the Truth

I think that we often give the devil more credit than is due to him. People would do crazy things, and when confronted about why they did it, they would answer with something in the line of “I really don’t know….the devil just made me do it”.

No….the devil can’t make us do anything. That is what we call making excuses for not accepting responsibility.

What we do need to realize though is that the devil can be very subtle, and there can be a thin line between the truth and a lie. Even in the Garden of Eden, the devil didn’t openly come with a full-on attack. His first approach was to just cause enough confusion to get Eve to Doubt. But that is a discussion for another day.

Today we are looking at a scenario where the line between a lie and the truth is even thinner. The lie we are looking at today is that you have to please everybody.

When looking at that statement, you might be quick to say that you won’t fall into that trap, because you know it is impossible to please everybody.

But how many times have you committed to projects, or did something you really didn’t feel up to, just because you didn’t want to offend someone or for the sake of peace? On the other hand; how many times did you feel offended by the response or actions of a customer or a colleague?

There is one guaranteed formula for failure, and that is to try to please everyone. ~ John L. Mason

Being humble or good-natured doesn’t mean you have to be anybody’s floor mat. There is no need to become rude or aggressive, but there is a time and a place for everything, and we need to realize that it is impossible to please everyone. There is a time when you need to know what your priorities are, and you need to do the right thing.

As John Mason also points out, there is a difference between something that is good and something that is right.

Be Focused

It is easy to become overwhelmed if we start saying yes to every good thing that comes our way. We need to have priorities to able to decide when it is the right thing to do.

Just because something is good, doesn’t mean it is the right (or best) thing to do at that moment, considering what your goals are. Determine exactly what your goal is that you need to achieve, and whatever does not help you in achieving that goal, should not be considered as priority.

By saying no to something, doesn’t mean it is no forever. It just might not be the right thing for that moment.

This can be in any area of life. Whether you want to get a new business up and running or need to change a habit; you need to be able to focus on one thing and stay focused on it until it is achieved.

Not knowing when to say no can lead to you becoming totally overwhelmed by your activities. This can actually have negative effects on your brain and your career and lead to major obstacles in achieving your goals.

Do You Say No To Many Good Things?

Do you know when to say no? How do you manage to stay focused? How do you handle negative criticism when you have to say no?

I would love to hear from you.

How to Turn Your Failures into Successes

We constantly hear people complaining about what they are going through. Sometimes when I listen to some people, it almost sounds as if they are competing to see whose circumstances are the worst. Can it really be so exciting to have problems? Or did it become a status symbol to brag about the fact that your stress levels are higher than someone else’s?

I cannot help to come to these conclusions, because people will paint this “doom and gloom” picture about their lives, yet when you start pointing them towards the solution to their problem they go quiet. And next time when you meet with the same person, it’s the same story all over. My first question is….”What have you done in the mean time to change the situation?”

This reminds me of a story I’ve heard about a pastor. A member from his congregation came to visit him and started complaining about the testing time he’s going through. While this man was ranting on about what he was going through, the pastor’s response was…”praise the Lord for that”. The man stopped for a second in amazement…..and carried on again. A second time the pastor responded with “praise the Lord for that”.

The man was totally confused by the pastor’s response and asked what the pastor meant by responding in such a manner. He felt offended. He asked whether the pastor couldn’t understand what he was going through. This time the pastor responded with; “listen to what you are saying……you are going through it, you are not stuck in it. Praise the Lord for that”.

John L. Mason describes nugget #25 in his book An Enemy Called Average as “today is the day to decide to go through what you’ve been going through.”

Today Is the Day to Decide To Go Through What You Are Going Through

What are you focusing on? Are you focusing on the problem, or the solution?

John Mason says it well when he says “don’t accept your present, temporary situation as your future, permanent situation. Despite your present circumstances, make up your mind to get on with your life and fulfil your divine purpose and calling”.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”.

What are you speaking into your life? If you have constantly been talking about what you’ve been going through over the past years, it is time for you to change what you are saying. Yes, I’m not telling you to keep quiet; I’m saying you need to change what you are saying. In fact, that is not what I am saying, that is what the Bible is saying. In Mark 11:22-26 it says that you should speak unto the mountain……and you will have what you say. The “mountain” referred to in this scripture is referring to your situation – whatever it might be. We often refer to our problem as “laying like a mountain in front us”. Well……now you know what to do about it. Talk to that mountain….not just about it.

How to Put Power behind Your Words

By now you might be saying that you’ve tried this positive thinking stuff and repeating positive affirmations, and it just doesn’t work. You know what? I agree. Because it starts with what you believe. You can repeat positive affirmations all day long, if you don’t believe what you are saying, those are idle words. That is why the same verses in Mark 11 tell you that when you pray you need to believe. Another crucial part that is often missed is pointed out in verse 25 which says “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

So how do you get power behind your words?

Follow this process:

  1. Everything starts with a decision. You need to decide that you want to find out what God says about your situation.
  2. Then you need to decide that God’s word has final authority in your life. Yes, you have to make that decision (Deuteronomy 30:11-14; Deuteronomy 30:19). God will never force you.
  3. Thirdly you have to develop your faith. This is done by spending time in the Word of God on a daily basis (Romans 10:17). Read the Word of God and meditate on it (Joshua 1:8). “I’m to busy, I just don’t have time for that”, you might say. If you are facing difficulties and you are sick and tired of failing in life, I would say you don’t have time not to do this.
  4. Don’t hold any grudges; practice forgiving (Mark 11:25). You’ll be amazed how this step can reduce your stress levels, giving you peace and calmness to focus on taking positive action.

By doing this, you will gain knowledge about what God is saying about your situation and life in general. Seeing it (by reading), hearing it (by speaking), and then meditating on it (thinking about how to apply it in your life), it will get rooted in your heart (sub-conscious). This is where positive affirmations comes in (and work). It is when you actually believe what you say, because it is based on a firm foundation (the Word of God). When you now get confronted with a difficult situation, this knowledge automatically comes up in your mind and you start speaking and acting accordingly.

Now you can see which words have impact on your life. If you repeat your daily positive affirmations just because your life coach told you to, yet at the first opportunity you start complaining about your problem again, those positive affirmations become useless. Because what do you really believe? What matters is what comes out of your mouth spontaneously (Luke 6:45), because that is what you believe, and those words have the power to affect your life. What you focus your attention on, tend to manifest in your life. Even Job said…..” For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me” (Job 3:25 KJV).

The Bible is full of promises which can deliver you. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

If you have faith in God and you trust Him completely, giving Him final authority in your life, start appropriating those promises, speak them out loud, and you will begin to see your circumstances line up with the Word and will of God. It might not happen overnight, but eventually it will. We cannot manipulate God to become our “genie” though. He expects our involvement as well, and the first thing we need to do, is to believe, and then to develop our faith.

It’s not going To Happen like “Magic”

When Jesus walked the earth, He didn’t say we will never have to face any problems. It is a fact that the devil will come against us.  In John 10:10 it is written that the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. But the same text continues to tell us that Jesus came that we “might have life, and have it more abundantly”. By the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have God’s grace which is enough to resist any attack from the devil, and he will flee from us (James 4:7).

The devil will always try to convince us that we are not going to make it. He will try to tempt us to just give up and quit. But in 1 Corinthians 10:13 it says “No temptation[c]has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”.

It is also very interesting to note that this scripture is often misquoted by saying that God will prevent anything from happening that we cannot handle. That is not what this scripture is saying. It says that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. We often have to face situations which are impossible for us to handle. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) says “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”.

Today Is the First Day of Your Future

Make a quality decision today by deciding to turn your life around. Start focusing on the solution instead of the problem. Stop walking around the mountain, talking about it. Speak to the mountain and move it out of your way with the authority that has been given to you. Start walking in victory.

I know I have a mountain I’m speaking to. It might not be removed overnight, but I will keep working at it until I see the manifestation of God’s promises.

Do you have a mountain that needs to move? What are you doing about it? Are you telling everybody about it, or are you speaking to it? I look forward to hearing from you.

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Blend In

Nobody likes to be called an “average Joe”, yet many people prefer to just blend in with the crowd. They don’t want to drawfile000127937405 any attention to themselves. They would hide behind the excuse of “being shy”. They would claim not to enjoy the lime light or they don’t want to be the centre of attraction. Yet, everybody likes to feel special and confident. I’m not talking about being “the centre of attraction” or being a celebrity. I’m talking about having the confidence to take charge of your life, about facing challenges without fear.

You don’t have to be an extrovert, constantly drawing attention to yourself. “Oh….the strong and silent type….” you say. Call it what you want, but “we are called to stand out, not blend in”, which is actually nugget #24 from John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average.

We Are Called To Stand Out, Not Blend In.

We as Christians have many excuses to hide behind. We hear things such as being self-conscious, being shy, being humble and many other things. Maybe I’m shaking some foundations now, but these are all excuses not to live to your full potential.

John Mason says it very well when he says; “A majority, many times, is a group of highly motivated snails. If a thousand people say something foolish, it’s still foolish. Truth is never dependent upon consensus of opinion”.

As already mentioned, you don’t have to be an extrovert or some kind of a “party animal” to stand out. You can be as quiet as you want to be. You can be soft-spoken and gentle. Yet, your “yes” is “yes” and your “no” is “no”, without any aggression. You stand by your principles and you are always willing to help where needed. You take your stand when it is needed and you are not moved by people who are always too eager to voice their opinions.

Can you really be this way? Can you really find such a person? You most definitely can, yes. I should know, because I knew such a man – he was my father.

Physically, he was a very strong man. Yet, he was as gentle as can be. Although he was a very friendly person, he wasn’t keen on a social lifestyle and meeting with lots of people. Yet, he achieved the highest level in his occupation. Nobody ever hesitated to approach him for advice or moral support. Until his last day with us on earth, at the age of 74, I never heard him raising his voice to anybody in anger. Yes, there were things that would make him angry, but he never allowed it to control him. When he sensed things getting out of control, he would just calmly say “this is enough now”, and that would be the end of it. Everybody that knew him had the greatest respect for him and loved him dearly. In his calm and gentle way, he stood out clearly.

We Have a Responsibility

We are not here by chance. We are not here just to take up space on earth. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) says it this way ”For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. Then we read in 1 Peter 2:9-10 that “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”.

We are also encouraged in Romans 12:2 to “….not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”.

“One of the greatest compliments that anybody can give you is to say that you are different.” ~ John L. Mason

We are to shine our light into this world (Proverbs 13:9 and Matthew 5:16). We are to make a difference, and that cannot be done by blending in. We are called to stand out.

Accept the Challenge, You’ll Never Look Back

Stress, worry, depression…..it’s all around us and that’s all that everybody is talking about. It’s taking all hope away from people and making them physically sick. Are you also a lead singer in this choir? If so, I want to challenge you to change. Start paying attention to observe some good things. Start with things that we often take for granted. Be grateful for the fact that you have food to eat. Be grateful for your spouse, for the love in your family, for the house you live in. Just start paying attention to positive things and you will surely find the blessings in your life. We miss them because we’ve allowed ourselves to become pre-occupied with all the negative noise around us.

By shifting your focus to more positive things you will:

  1. Realize that you have much to be grateful for and that actually you are blessed.
  2. Become more excited about life.
  3. Reduce your stress levels, because you cannot focus on two things at the same time. When you focus on the positive, you cannot think about negative things.
  4. Improve your health.
  5. Have more energy.
  6. Improve your quality of life.
  7. Create a better living environment for your family.
  8. Learn that you can shine your light into a dark world by being full of joy in a world filled with sorrow.

What do you do to stand out? What are you grateful for? Do you manage to shine your light in a dark world?

You don’t have to be a celebrity. You don’t need to make a scene. Just do what you know you have to do. Tell me in the comments section below how you deal with this world and what you do to stand out. I am looking forward to hear from you.

Can We Really Trust Our Closest Friends?

Not too long ago I heard a man saying “show me your friends and I’ll tell you where you’ll be in 5 years time”. There is a file0001061938683well known saying that you become the product of the company you keep.

This is a topic that can be argued about for hours if you don’t want to accept the reality. There are many excuses for keeping the same company. You might not want to break a friendship you’ve been in for years. You might not want people to say that you think that you are better than others.

These are all excuses and you don’t have to start being rude to other people. But have you ever stopped to think about achieving your own maximum human potential? Have you ever stopped to think how you can positively influence other people if you start paying attention to your own self-improvement? Are these people you are now hanging out with really concerned about what is best for you, or is it the easy way out for everybody to stay in their comfort zone?

This brings me to this week’s nugget of John L. Mason in his book An Enemy Called Average. It says; “Your best friends are those who bring out the best in you”.

Your Best Friends Are Those Who Bring Out The Best In You.

I often hear when people start to excel in life, how they complain about the “bad vibes” in their circle of friends and even sometimes in their families. They get accused of neglecting their friends, or they get told that they think too much of themselves. Is this really the voice of true friendship?

True friends will encourage one another to constantly expand their horizons. True friendship is about bringing out the best in one another.

John Mason describes it so well when he refers to himself as he reached a stagnation point in his life. He was unproductive and unable to clearly see God’s direction. Until one day when he noticed that almost all his friends were in the same situation. When they got together, all they talked about was their problems.

He prayed about this matter, and God showed him that His desire for him was to have more “foundational-level” people in his life. In John Mason’s words, “such people who bring out the best in us, those who influence us to become better people ourselves. They cause us to have greater faith and confidence, to see things from God’s perspective. After being with them, our spirits and our sights are raised”.

The Bible describes it this way in Proverbs 27:19 (TLB) “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses”, and Proverbs 13:20 says “Be with wise men and become wise. Be with evil men and become evil”.

If You Want To Be Successful You Need To Mix With Successful People. 

If you want to be successful you need to mix with successful people. This is one of the first things you get taught on any self-improvement course or when you listen to motivational speakers.

This is a very important principle, and as we saw, a biblical principle on top of it. But it can easily be taken out of context. It file1431294260017doesn’t mean you need to turn your back on the good people who has been close to you. This is where you need to practice discernment. If you were mixing with the “wrong crowd”, by all means yes, get out of there and don’t look back.

But what if you were among some good, well meaning people? Well, don’t you think they deserve a chance at a better life as well? Why don’t you take them on the journey with you? Why don’t you be that best friend first and share what you learn?

The secret lies in the fact to realise when you reach a point of stagnation. Then seek the company of wise people and start learning from them. You can then share what you learn with your friends. But this is where the rubber hits the road. This is where it is decision making time for everybody. Do your friends also want to change and grow, or are they happy to stay in their comfort zone? If they want to stay in their comfort zone, you are left with a decision to make. Are you also going to stay there, are you going to work towards reaching your full potential as a human being?

This doesn’t mean you are turning your back on them and you don’t want to know them, but there will be a spontaneous move to whom you are going to spend most of your time with. This is where you need to make the choices.

Find Your Calling

Your choice of career is obviously playing a major part in achieving your full potential in life. It will be worth your while to spend some time investigating your options.

Once you have found your passion and you start working towards your full potential, choosing the right circle of friends is crucial to your success.

No-one can say better than John Mason when he says “I have found that it is better to be alone than in the wrong company. A single conversation with the right person can be more valuable than many years of study”.

It is not about how many people you can count in your circle of friends; it is about the quality of these people. Are these people of faith? Do they make you a better person by being around them? Do they bring out the best in you? Do they encourage you to grow by going outside your comfort zone? These can be called true friends.

Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 and 12 (TLB) says it this way; “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. 10 If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble…..12 And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

I would like to end this post with another quote from John Mason’s book; “You need to steer clear of negative-thinking ‘experts.’ Remember: in the eyes of average people average is always outstanding. Look carefully at the closest associations in your life, for that is the direction you are heading.”

Do you pay attention to which people you give permission to speak into your life? Do those who are closest to you, bring out the best in you?

What influence do your friends have in your life? I would like to hear from you.

The Secret To Success.

Everybody is always searching for the secret to success. The answer might not be as mysterious as you thought. Yes, Roofing Contractors Calgary1there are many factors to consider in achieving success. You need to know about proper time management, goal setting and action plans. But one of the most important ingredients for success is plain and simple “hard work”. Be willing to serve. Don’t expect to achieve success without this crucial ingredient.

It is time for nugget #22 in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. This nugget is so straight to the point; I don’t really think there is even much to say about it. It simply says; “Being a servant won’t make you famous, just rich”.

Being A Servant Won’t Make You Famous, Just Rich.

Zig Ziglar said; “you’ll always have everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want”. I’ve heard various versions of this same quote, but it all comes back to the same principle. Many people love quoting this when giving advice to others on how to be successful.

My first question in this scenario is this; how many of these people giving this advice, is actually applying it in their own lives? It feels good when one can make these quotes in conversation, yet we often see how these same people will humiliate others. While they are all too eager to share these types of quotes, the principle itself is absent in their own lives. They would be willing to cheat lie just to obtain a good business deal. In my opinion no deal is a good deal unless everybody involved is able to gain from it.

My second question actually forms part of the first; how much of this “advice” is just for boosting one’s own ego? Is it to show-off your “wisdom” and look good, or is it genuine and sincere, coming from the heart? Once again, if the latter was to be true, it would be evident in that person’s life for everybody to see. It is about the principle to “practice what you preach”.

Practice What You Preach.

Many people are willing to spend thousands of dollars to attend seminars presented by well known personalities worldwide. Yet, those very same principles can be found on your coffee table or on your book shelf – wherever you keep your Bible. And you don’t even have to pay a dime for it, just sit down, relax and spend some time with God while you study your Bible.

Venues are packed when people like Tony Robbins, Tony Buzan or Suze Orman are presenting their seminars. And that is good; if it is within your means I strongly recommend that you do attend these. But if you have your roots in the Word of God, it would be so much easier to realize that what you learn at these seminars are often showing practical ways to apply principles that is already being taught in the Bible for ages.

I am not saying that this is – or isn’t – the intent of the presenter, as I don’t know what they believe spiritually unless they openly discuss it. But when these experts teach these principles which are based on fact, and it has been proven to work, thus far I haven’t found one instance where that same principle doesn’t also appear in the Bible.

I would sometimes find myself reading great articles by these same people as I’ve mentioned, and recommend it to my daughters to read as well. Later, when enquiring about what they thought about the information, I have often received the response “but that is what you have taught us all these years, Dad”.

Whether talking about this week’s nugget – “being a servant won’t make you famous, just rich” – or the quote from Zig Ziglarfile5701263246293 – “you’ll always have everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want” – the same principle applies. When going to the Word of God, we’ll find the same principle in Matthew 7:12 (NIV) “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”.

In John 13 we find where Jesus sets the practical example by washing the feet of his disciples.

Being A Servant Doesn’t Mean Being A Floor Mat.

Being humble or having a serving attitude does not mean that you have to be other people’s floor mat. You don’t have to shy away from voicing your opinion. You also do not have to accept second best all the time. You should take your stand for what is right.

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less ~ C. S. Lewis

True leaders are the hardest working people. Think of any successful person in the world today (including the ones mentioned in this article), and you will find that they all are hard working people. They are willing to “get their hands dirty”. These people are all serving other people by helping them to achieve their goals. The more they do this, the more successful they become. By applying this principle, it is inevitable for them to achieve their own goals.

The best news is that it works for everybody. A good friend mine always says it’s not just about “knowing what to do”, but “doing what you know”. That is the difference between success and failure. So my question is this; do you know it, or are you doing it?

The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them. ~ Mark Twain

We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough. ~ Helen Keller

I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it. ~ Gale Sayers

The Creator has not given you a longing to do that which you have no ability to do. ~ Orison Swett Marden

Whatever you want to achieve, I am convinced that you’ve got what it takes. It is not going to happen by itself though. First, you need to make the decision, then take action and make it happen. Role up your sleeves, and be willing to serve, and you won’t be able to avoid success.

Tell me about your successes, I would love to hear from you.