Did You Hear From God, Or Was It Just A Thought?

I think this can often be a challenge for many people. I’ve had that experience so often in my own life. You would be convinced that you are doing the right thing and that you are within the will of God, yet shortly after you’ve made the decision and took action, it feels as if the wheels are coming off.

That brings us to nugget #39 in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. It says “ideas go away, but direction stays”.

Was It God, Or Was It Just a Thought?listen-1257756-640x480

We often make the mistake of thinking that if your decision was in line with the will of God; everything will just fall into place. Then, when chaos breaks loose, we start tormenting ourselves with feelings of guilt and doubt.

Yes, when our lives are constantly in chaos, we should be taking stock because maybe we did get off course somewhere. But this is where I find John Mason’s nugget absolutely spot-on.

Let’s have a look at the nugget again; “ideas go away, but direction stays”. If something is meant to be and it is God’s will, it is often possible for things to “just fall in place”. But it is also possible for challenges to start appearing shortly afterwards. The test lies in this; does everything fade away? Or is there consistency in the direction?

Ideas Go Away, But Direction Stays.

If it was just an idea, chances are that it will just go away. You will start running out of ideas. Everything will come to a dead end. But if God is involved, there will be direction and consistency.

Remember, facing challenges doesn’t mean that God is not involved. The enemy would love to see you fail and he will challenge you. But when God is involved, you will stay on course.

Have you ever found that it seems as if you get challenged with every challenge you can imagine? Yet, you stay on the same course?

Just as you think it is impossible to push through, you are able to take another step, no matter how small it might be. You might even think of giving up and you try something totally different, but that doesn’t work at all and eventually, somehow, you find yourself back working at the same thing you thought is not working for you.

This might be a good time to have a look at Proverbs 19:21 (NIV), that says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”. And in Psalm 32:8 (NIV) the Lord gives us this promise; “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you”.

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The Lord is gentle, and He will never force you to do anything. As a matter of fact, He will allow you to do whatever it is you want to do. You might even be successful to a certain degree, but as long as you do it in your own power, you will have to put in a lot of effort and toiling. In spite of all the effort, it might still come to nothing, or it may start costing you in the form of your health, family life or some other area. Psalm 127:1-2 (NIV) says “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves”.

Yet, when you are fulfilling your real purpose, and God is working with you, directing you every step of the way, you will be excited about getting started in the morning. You might be busier than ever before, but it wouldn’t feel like work.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to face any challenges, but you will be able to overcome them all (John 16:33). You will stay on course and live life with a purpose.

Guaranteed Success.

We are often scared to find out what it is that God wants us to do. People tend to think that what God wants us to do, can’t be fun. Or what if I’m not able to do what He expects of me?

Believe me, it’s got nothing to do with your ability, it is about your availability. Stop relying on your own abilities and trust God to get the job done. He is much more capable than us.

Do you want to have fun? Allow God to take control and you’ll have more fun than you can dream of. And the best of all, the fun won’t stop, because God’s fun won’t harm you, it will actually make you stronger.

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

Have you given the reigns over to God? Or are you still holding on for dear life, staying in control of your own life? Tell me about it, I will love to hear from you.

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What does God’s Names Reveal About His Character?

“Stop every day and look at the size of God”, is nugget #38 as it appear in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. With that in mind I’ve decided to have a look at the character of God.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts

While still here on earth, we will not be able to comprehend everything about God in full. What we do know is that there is no one like God. As the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). No man knows the things of God, but the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11).

So it is best to see what the Spirit of God will reveal about God, which is why we go to the Word of God. Let us have a look at the names of God as they are known to us and see what the Bible says about them, and what it means to us.

The Redemptive Names of God

  • Jehovah Shammah
  • Jehovah Shalom
  • Jehovah Jireh
  • Jehovah Nissi
  • Jehovah Tsidkenu
  • Jehovah Rapha
  • Jehovah Raah

Let’s have a look at these names one by one to see what they teach us about God’s character.

  1. Jehovah Shammah

Jehovah Shammah means – The Lord is there.

God is always with us. In Matthew 28:20 (NIV) Jesus said “….And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) God says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”[a]  

God never leaves us or forsake us. We are the ones who leave and forsake God.

  1. Jehovah Shalom

Jehovah Shalom means – The Lord of our peace.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) says; “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed”.

That means that not only did Jesus go to the cross for our salvation, but also that we could have peace. That is why in John 14:27 (NIV), Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.

Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you”.

The problem is that so many people put their trust in riches, in circumstances, or in lust of other things, but not in God’s Word. When we completely trust in Jesus – the Word – our minds become totally focused on God. When our minds are totally focused on God and His Word, He will keep us in perfect peace.

In the New Testament the words ‘peace’ and ‘rest’ are interchangeable.

In Matthew 11:28 (NIV) Jesus says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) says Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. But how many times do we cast our cares on the Lord and immediately take them back again. You might be facing a problem at work. You come before the Lord in prayer and you cast the problem on him, standing on 1 Peter 5:7. Yet, as soon as you say amen, you start thinking about what you are going to do about the problem and your stress levels are going through the roof again.

To experience the peace of God; do what Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV) says:” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.

  1. Jehovah Jireh

Jehovah Jireh means – The Lord will provide.

God is our provider. Whenever the Israelites said “Jehovah Jireh”, they were saying, “The Lord will provide”.

As already mention in point 2, many people put their trust in riches, in circumstances, or in lust of other things.

Your job is not your source; God is your source. There is nothing secure about your job or your business. Trusting in the economy of the world, the company you work for might decide to make your position redundant tomorrow. Or your business might not be able to withstand the bad economy.

But God’s economy cannot go bankrupt. Trust in God, because the Lord will provide. God will provide in every need, whether it is for your business, for finances, healing, food…..no matter what the need, God will provide.

Philippians 4:19 (NIV) says: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”.

  1. Jehovah Nissi

Jehovah Nissi means – The Lord our Victor.

Jesus Christ is no longer on the cross. Neither is He in the grave. He is alive and he is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Mark 16:19).

Colossians 2:15 (NIV) says “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”.[e]

Jesus made a public spectacle of the devil and his demons. If you believe with your heart and confess with your mouth, you will be saved (Romans 10:4-13) and that same victory belongs to you (Romans 8:17).

Through the Holy Spirit He is also living in and through us. 1 John 4:4 (NIV) says “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”.

Jesus is making intercession for us. In Christ we have His authority and His name – he is our Victor.

  1. Jehovah Tsidkenu

Jehovah Tsidkenu means – The Lord our Righteousness.

When we are born again, we are made in right standing with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. We can say “I am a son/daughter of the living God, I am a joint heir with Jesus Christ according to Romans 8:17”.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) says “God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.

  1. Jehovah Rapha

Jehova Rapha means – The Lord that healeth thee.

Healing is just as much part of our salvation as eternal life with God the Father in heaven. Many people think that sickness is just something we have to accept. It even goes as far as people saying “maybe God is trying to teach me something through this sickness”. No, no, no. God is not trying to teach you anything through sickness.

Adam was given dominion over this earth, but he gave that authority to the devil with the fall of man. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that Satan is the god of this world. In John 10:10 (KJV) Jesus says “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”.

Matthew 8:17 (NIV) says “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”[b]

1 Peter 2:24 says “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

This is why it so important to feed our spirit with the Word of God, so that we can know how to respond in an emergency. That is why Proverbs 4:20-23 (NIV) says “20 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.

  1. Jehovah Raahfile6671253072530

Jehovah Raah means – The Lord is our Shepherd.

Psalm 23:1 (KJV) says “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”.

The original text as it appears in Hebrew reads “The Lord my Shepherd”. It doesn’t show the word ‘is’. So we cannot separate the shepherd from the Lord or the Lord from the shepherd. The Lord is my Shepherd and my Shepherd is the Lord. We also need to realize in what context this scripture is referring to the Shepard. It is not just a silent, passive, man standing around watching over his herd of sheep (as often portrayed in nativity scenes).

The Shepherd is actively looking after us. He is the One that defeated the devil 2000 years ago.

I think a more realistic image comes to mind when we think of David. When he was looking after his father’s sheep as a young boy, he fought lions and bears and killed them to ensure the safety of his father’s sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-36).

Psalm 23:2 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters”.

This does not mean we will never have to face persecution or affliction, but the Shepherd will uphold us and lead us out of it. Jesus defeated Satan and we share in that victory (Romans 8:17)

Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”.

When we come to Jesus Christ, God will restore our minds and emotions. Jesus became sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”.

Whatever situation you might find yourself in, you are not stuck in there to stay there. You are moving through it. And when faced with physical death, we die physically but we step into eternity. Death has been defeated by Jesus Christ and has no more power over us.

We don’t have to fear evil. The Holy Spirit is with us and enables us to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).

Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over”.

You are protected and you can live in peace. When facing problems, you can cast your care on Him (1 Peter 5:7). God says He prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemy. There are no enemies in heaven. God is talking about here and now.

Anointing with oil is symbolizing the filling with the Holy Spirit. The Shepherd is the One that fills you with the Holy Spirit.

When you cup runs over, it means that your needs would be met at any given time. It doesn’t mean that you are going to be a millionaire. But ‘running over’ means your needs (whatever they are) will be met in abundance, so that you can also be a blessing to those around you.

Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.

If we made Jesus the Lord of our life, we are made new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). That means that we have received eternal life and will spend eternity with Jesus.

So How Does All This Help Me In Everyday Life?

‘Stop every day and look at the size of God’. When we put our trust in God, there is nothing in this life that we cannot overcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s End The Confusion

“Love your enemy”…..”turn the other cheek”…is what many Christians get bombarded with. Does that mean that we as Christians are not supposed to defend ourselves?

I have done a guest post over at Empowerment Moments Blog about the choices we have to make; to resist or not to resist.

Recent news events highlighted this question; should we as Christians turn the other cheek or should we defend ourselves? One of the deadliest weapons (or strategies) in warfare is confusion, and our biggest enemy – Satan – is an expert in using this strategy.

Confusion will render us helpless and vulnerable, but you can read the full post here, and then decide for yourself.

6 Reasons Why You Should Pay Attention to What You Say

We are quick to complain about the chaos the world is in. Everybody is talking about the corruption, the fact that you can trust nobody anymore, the crime, the violence, the lying, the cheating and how rude people are.

We blame politicians and corrupt businessmen, and we even go to the extent to ask why God allows all this. But have you ever paid Don't Say That jar, collecting coins for bad wordsattention to your words? Yes, the words you speak every day have a far greater effect than what you might realize.

Nugget #37 in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average is about “ten truisms that aren’t true”. A few weeks ago I’ve discussed 20 attributes of a leader and I repeated them as they are in his book. I mentioned that there is not much to discuss about facts, as they are what they are.

Today I want to stay with the norm which I have followed from the beginning of this series though. John Mason is highlighting ten specific truisms, but you will have to read about those in his book.

As I have done every week so far, I will refer to his nugget, but then do a discussion which is completely my own opinion. So for today’s discussion I will choose other sayings and focus on those. These are things we tend to say before we think about what we are saying.

Words Have Power.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. Yet, we still don’t pay attention to what we say.

What I fail to understand (and I hear this often) is when people say “I love working with John. We can have a huge argument about work and I can even swear at him, but it’s only business. An hour later we can have coffee together and there are no hard feelings”.

What am I missing here? What you are saying is that you can treat me like a piece of dirt the one moment, and the very next moment I must be your buddy. That’s like expecting of me to have some kind of ‘switch’ somewhere that I just flip over depending on your mood or opinion. When you want to be rude to me, I must just accept it and when you want to be buddies again the next moment; I should be grateful and smile.

Forgive me, but I fail to understand the logic in that reasoning. I do not say that we should always agree about everything. But then we can have a civilized conversation, showing mutual respect until we can come to some form of an agreement. There is no need to insult one another. As an example; how could you tell someone to his face that he is plain stupid and that he doesn’t know what he is doing; and an hour later you want to have a friendly conversation over a cup of coffee and expect that same person to act as though he thinks you respect his intelligence?

And then we wonder why so many people battle today with low self-esteem. Why do people battle with an identity crisis? At the same time people can’t understand why no-one takes them seriously. Yet, they would tell someone they don’t want anything to do with them, but tomorrow morning they sit down and have coffee together as if nothing has happened.

According to Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12 we shouldn’t need to make promises or oaths to convince somebody when we say something. What we say should be so trustworthy that we simply need to say “yes” or “no”.

The study notes in the Life Application Bible (KJV) for James 5:12 say the following: “A person with a reputation for exaggeration or lying often can’t get anyone to believe him on his word alone. Christians should never become like that. Always be honest so that others will believe your simple yes or no. By avoiding lies, half-truths and omissions of the truth, you will become known as a trustworthy person.

This does not mean that you need to become a “sour grape” and you are never allowed to joke with someone. But when you are known for your “yes” meaning “yes” and your “no” meaning “no”, people will take you serious when you say something. That also means that when you have a difference of opinion with someone else about some business or work matter, you are not going to say something without thinking. You do not have to get involved in a screaming session or an argument. You can voice your opinion, and that settles it. Both parties can still respect one another for their opinions, and that cup of coffee afterwards can be enjoyed by both parties.

Six Examples of What We Say Without Thinking:

  1. “If it was me I would have punched him” or sometimes people really get into it and it becomes “If I was there I would have shot him” or “If that happens to me I’ll shoot him”.
    • No you wouldn’t. Firstly, you weren’t there, how can you say for a fact what you would have done?
    • Secondly, nine times out ten, people who are quick to make these kind of statements, respond totally to the opposite when they do find themselves in that situation.
    • Thirdly, it’s not as simple as just drawing a firearm and shooting someone. Have you ever thought about the consequences? Do you even know what it feels like to point a firearm at someone?
  2. “Everything in life comes at a price”.
    • No, if you work hard and you achieve success, that work was an investment. I wouldn’t exactly call that a price. (Unless you didn’t maintain the balance and you lost your family in the process. That is paying a price.)
  3. “It’s either win or lose”.
    • I have recently heard a nice one to replace that statement with: “It’s either win or learn”.
  4. We often hear parents calling their children stupid. “Why did you do that, are your stupid?”……Or they take some task away from the child while making the comment “I’ll rather do it myself, you’ll never be able to do it”.
    • These remarks are causing so much damage. That child eventually starts believing that he / she is useless and can’t do anything right.
  5. “That will never work”.
    • You can only say that once you have stopped trying.
  6. “This is just my luck”, or “I always have bad luck”, or “with my luck I’ll always end up with a problem which can’t be solved”.
    • That’s because you have decided before-hand that you cannot solve the problem. Your mind responds to what you are saying continually, so you start believing what you are saying. By this time, it doesn’t matter what problem ends up on your desk, it will look difficult to you, because that is what you expect. You’ve already made up your mind about how bad it’s going to be. It’s got nothing to do with ‘luck’. Once again, it’s not about what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.

There are many more of these, but maybe it’s time to start paying more attention to what we say.

Earlier this month there was a discussion on the Believers Voice of Victory Broadcast between Kenneth Copeland and Keith Moore. The discussion was on the topic of how God can clearly be seen. But during this discussion Keith Moore also mentioned some great examples of how our words have an influence on our thinking. He also illustrates an excellent example of how it affects our children through the way we respond to them and what we say to them.

There is one other saying that we also often use, and while we might think it’s just an expression, this one holds more truth than what you may think. We would sometimes refer to someone by saying that person “is sharp with the tongue”, or “wow, she has a sharp tongue”. That is normally referring to someone who seems to be good at saying something hurtful (often sarcastically), and those words really penetrate and hurts deeply.

This alone should already be ample proof of the power of the tongue and of the effect of the words you speak.

Create By Speaking

Have you ever had the experience of being in a room where everybody is relaxed and just having a good time? Until one other individual enters the room. This person is really stressed out and angry. He starts barking out orders and is rude to everybody in the room. Have you ever experienced that? To the extent where you use the expression “the whole atmosphere in the room changed. The atmosphere got so thick and tense that you could feel it”.

For that same reason, why don’t we start creating a pleasant atmosphere wordswherever we go? Create an atmosphere that everybody wants to be in. We can do that by paying attention to what we say and how we say it.

What is your experience with words? Do you think before you speak, or do you sometimes find yourself thinking that you shouldn’t have said that? Are people taking you serious when you speak? Have you ever realized the effect that your words have on how you feel? Have you ever been hurt by someone else’s words?

Let’s talk about it in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Do You Have The Guts To Put God First?

put God FirstHave you ever been excited about something you want to do, but you never saw it through because you couldn’t handle the remarks from other people? Would you like to put God first in your life, but you get confused with all the different opinions you get from different people?

I’ve written a guest post on Empowerment Moments Blog about people who have the guts to put God first, no matter what other people say. It is about the fact that you don’t need to back-off and hide away.

Here is a short excerpt from the post:

I’ve decided to do some research on people (from ordinary people to preachers; from little-known to well-known) who have the guts to put God first, no matter what other people say, and to see where they are in life today…… You can read the full post here.

People Are Born Originals, But Most Die Copies

A common topic of discussion today is that of “peer pressure”. Especially among the youth of today we often hear about scary statistics about emotional problems, stress and even suicide. Yet, it all comes back to the choices we make. The groups we associate with, will to a large extent determine whether the peer pressure we experience is positive or negative.

This brings us to this week’s nugget #36 from An Enemy Called Average by John L. Mason. This week’s nugget saysfingerprint-1427210-639x883 “people are born originals, but most die copies”.

Don’t Compare Yourself.      

One of the biggest problems we face today is that of people with a low self-esteem. But where did it all start? How can we solve this problem? The place to start is; stop comparing yourself to other people.

A crucial point which I want to emphasize is to never compare yourself – and especially if you are a parent, never, never ever compare your child – to anybody else. That is often the starting point of developing a low self-esteem.

It might seem so harmless at the time. Stevie might not be doing so well in a certain project at school, and you say to him “Look how well Jimmy is doing in his project”. Eventually it might lead to “Can you imagine Jimmy coming home with these kinds of results?”

You might think you do it to motivate or encourage the child, but it has the exact opposite effect. It does more harm than good. Jimmy might have a natural talent for this particular project. Instead of being encouraged by Jimmy’s wonderful achievements, it becomes a burden and a threat to Stevie. His thoughts are going in the direction of… “I can never be that good…..Jimmy is the main man….I’m just a loser….a real nobody”.

We are not always equally strong in everything we do, but somewhere you’ll find something you are good at. If you were Stevie’s parent, instead of focusing on Jimmy’s strong point and pointing that out, why don’t you rather find Stevie’s strong point which might be in some other area, and point that out to him. If he does feel intimidated by Jimmy, explain to him that this is Jimmy’s strong area, but point out to him that he is the stronger one in some other area, but that he still needs to do his best in this particular area too due to whatever reason….eg. exams for school.

The same goes for us in adulthood. Maybe you grew up with this feeling of always being second best. Maybe you feel you are doing fine but you know you can do better. Whatever the reason for this attitude or feelings, whether you feel you grew up in the shadow of a brother or a sister, or if you were constantly compared to someone else, you do not have to accept that because it is not true.

I want to urge you to find your strong point/s, start believing in yourself and develop it. But don’t try to do it all alone. Accept the encouragement of people who would support you. That makes the journey so much easier and enjoyable.

We often hear that we should keep the company of successful people if we want to become successful ourselves. Find a successful person and use him or her as a role model, by imitating their actions to become successful.

That is true, and I strongly recommend you to follow that advice. But, remain yourself in the process.

You Are Not A Copy.

The whole idea is to first find what your natural interests are. What do you enjoy doing? What is of interest to you? If you have already been paying attention to this, you might already be good at it, but still want to improve and become even better.

Find someone who is an expert or a champion in what you do and use that person as a role model.

The secret is this; study his or her actions. If it involves business, what strategies are being used? How does he communicate with people? What methods are being used for planning and productivity?

If it is in some sports activity, what training programs is this person following? How does he or she execute certain moves?

It’s all about activities and how certain things get done and then for you to learn how to do the same to become better in what you do. It is not studying his or her personality and to become a second Donald Trump or Michael Schumacher.

Be the best you that you can be. Be the person God has made you to be. You are not a copy. You have a purpose. Find it and fulfill it.

The One Thing You Need To Do

Let’s think about some successful people for a moment and look at only one thing that contributed to their success. One thing that I think often gets overlooked because nobody ever thought it’s important. Yet, I think it’s of cardinal importance even if it came so natural for these people that they never even gave a conscious thought to it themselves.

What is that one thing? Besides their natural talent, the hard work and the dedication: They remained themselves. They never tried to be someone else.

Call it self-confidence or call it whatever you want, but that is what makes them stand out.

You won’t see Donald Trump trying to act like Bill Gates. Why should you do it?

The average person compares himself with others, but we as Christians should always compare ourselves with the person God has called us to be. – John L. Mason.

Keep The Right Company.

Once you know what you want to do and you have a good role model who you can follow to see how to do it (and preferably have someone like a coach for personal advice); you now need to keep the right company as well.

There is no sense for you to be as positive as can be, just to get de-motivated and run down by negative people, giving you a million and one reasons why you will fail and why you just need to accept it. That’s plain silly.

Someone once said “show me the company you keep and I’ll tell you where you’ll be in five years’ time.”

There Is Still Time

If you are still breathing, there is still time. Your job is not done. It’s up to you now.LABEL 5

Did you have some set-backs? Do you feel you that grew up in the shadow of someone else? Do you have the courage to come out now, and become the best you that you can be. Are you willing to become the best you that God created you to be?

What advice can you give to people who do have this problem?

I look forward to hearing from you?

Making Others Better is a Boomerang

It’s sad, but these days we often hear the statement “every man for himself”. The other one is….”I’ve got enough problems of my own, I don’t have time to help someone else”. It’s almost as if it’s becoming a burden to reach out and help someone else.

The Spirit of Competition

Many hide behind the idea of being competitive, but is it really being competitive? When you start stepping on toes, whenserm you start getting rude, when you become so ruthless that it becomes less important to you if other people get hurt in the process, as long as you can be victorious…..to me, that is not competition.

I do agree; healthy competition is a good thing. But how many people have a true concept of what real healthy competition is all about. When someone says that he or she doesn’t like competition, it is often taken as a sign of bad sportsmanship. People think you just can’t handle it to be a loser. That is by far not always the case.

Hear me out. I’ve been involved in coaching sports on a professional level for many years, and today I don’t even hesitate to say that I don’t like competition (at least not in the way many people interpret the word “competition”). Not because I don’t like people competing with me, but because I’ve seen the hurt and the damage it can cause. Everybody is zooming in on the first prize. The winner is the hero. Winning becomes everything and we end up with sayings such as “second place is just the first loser”.

This sounds very macho and exciting. Hey, it’s all about a competitive no-nonsense attitude, isn’t it? Yes, while we stay focused on the hype and excitement at the top. But starting at the very bottom, we miss the trail of destruction that it leaves behind when our children don’t get taught the true value and principles of healthy competion. Have you ever stopped to think about that ten year old boy, who gave it everything he had, but he just couldn’t take that first place, and his dad – his hero – turns around and says to him “second place is just the first loser”.

I’ve personally witnessed how parent’s (and I’m sorry to say – this was more often the father figures), would encourage their kids to do their best at competition time. When the little winner walked away with gold, he or she would be carried away on daddy’s shoulders. Mission accomplished. Getting to the next competition, that same child could maybe end up with a second or third place. As soon as it becomes evident that the kid is facing serious competition, the aggression starts coming from the side line.

I’ve seen this at more than one occasion where the father gets so frustrated and angry that he openly turns his back on that child and just walks away. The effect on that child, the disappointment, the humiliation and the hurt is heart breaking.

I have even seen senior competitors responding in similar fashion. While on a winning streak, it’s all excitement and joy. But settling for a second place? No way, not to even mention third or worse. They would lose their temper, start throwing things around and make rude remarks toward the competitors. Now you might say this is just bad sportsmanship, but I can’t help to wonder if maybe there was an aggressive, win or nothing parent involved somewhere in this person’s childhood.

And then in both cases, there are always the referees. Oh my, whenever your child can’t win, or you couldn’t make it to the top, it is always the bad refereeing.

What I saw happening was the development of jealousy, frustration, hatred and dishonesty. Yes, dishonesty. Winning becomes such an obsession, that people would revert to anything, just for the sake of winning. It’s all in the name of competition. “It’s strategy” they say.

Some of the main motivating reasons people encourage their children to participate in sport, is to develop character, perseverance and discipline. I fail to see that in the scenarios mentioned above.

I don’t care how good the intentions were in the beginning, if you can’t stick to it in practice, it means nothing.

I always tried to encourage my students to work hard and do their best. When you take first place, encourage the competition, don’t run them down. Yet, you now have to work hard to stay on top.

If you couldn’t win, it is not the end of the world. Congratulate the winner on his achievement.  You have done your best for today, but let’s study the competition and see where you can improve. Then we just work harder until we can beat the competition. Get motivated, not ugly and depressed. I recently heard such a good expression. We normally hear it as “win or lose”, but this time I heard this man say it is either “win or learn”.

We also hear people saying “there can be only one winner”. Well, exactly. So why be so harsh on all the others who couldn’t stand on the top spot of the podium, or not even make to the podium for today? Without their effort, there wouldn’t have been a winner anyhow. Losing is part of the journey, then third place….then second….until you make it to first. But what do you make of that journey? What do you teach your child to make of that journey?

Often people just have to compete against themselves. Sometimes they have to overcome some personal challenges, such as working on concentration, developing better co-ordination or recovering from some injury. In these cases, a first place on a podium is of minor value; it is a bonus. They first have to triumph over some personal battle. The satisfaction that comes from assisting such a person to be successful is beyond words. Those victories are often better than ten first places in a competition. And those results also last longer.

Another form of healthy competition in my opinion is competition in business. It is healthy competition when it leads to the development of quality and good service (once again not the humiliation of the other party).

The Danger of Becoming “The Lone Ranger”

When you have fallen into the trap of “winning is everything” or “the winner takes it all”, and you have left a trail of disaster behind you, you are on dangerous territory.

When things start going wrong and you desperately need the support from other people, you might be in for a nasty surprise.

You might have to deal with two scenarios:

  • All those “friends” and supporters that always just wanted to be associated with you and be seen with you, have the bad habit of just disappearing when things aren’t going that well anymore.
  • People who would have been true and loyal friends, might not be around anymore, as they are part of the statistics; being some of the victims left alongside the road to “victory”.

Making Others Better is a Boomerang

Yes and this eventually brings us to this week’s nugget from John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. His nuggetboomerang-1464792-639x540 #35 as it appears in his book says “making others better is a boomerang”.

Getting back to the example of competition, when competing in a healthy way everybody walks away as a winner. Everybody benefits from healthy competition. But it need not only be in competition. In any area of life, whenever you make someone else better or make them feel better, it has a boomerang effect. Somewhere, someday it comes back to you.

I couldn’t help to take note of what happened after the end of the match in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday between Australia and New Zealand.

After a young boy ran on to the field to get close to his All Black hero, Sonny Bill Williams, he got tackled by a security officer. After Williams gently helped the boy up, he not only escorted the boy back to safety in the pavilion, he also gave him his world cup medal. Click the link below to watch the video and see what happened.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1225633.html

Sonny Bill Williams was awarded with another medal. But can you imagine the effect of this gesture in the youngster’s life? What a great example was set here? Sonny Bill Williams is obviously a role model to this youngster, and I am convinced that the example that was set to him in this instance, will have far reaching effects in this boy’s future.

Have you ever experienced the boomerang effect? Or have you seen it in someone else’s life. Share your experiences – good or bad – in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you.