Life to the fulL
By Pat Brown, Founder of Rent Sons
Rent Sons not only claims to create jobs, but great lives.
The foundational drive behind this company stems from a far greater purpose than earning considerable money and having a great work environment with flexible hours. Our Community Builders endure intensive training before carrying out the practice to the Sons. This mindset book was designed to inspire all Rent Sons to live their lives to the full. All Sons are encouraged to study the chapters throughout their initial Son journey.
This is the first step in your journal program, reading. The richest most powerful figures in the world read an exponential amount. We hope you can love reading as well. This is a journey you'll embark on. Learning more about who you are, what are your passions and to challenge what living your fullest life looks life. Take your first 100 hours of work to read through this and gain your life bonus at the end. There will be a journaling question at the end of each chapter that make you think and grow.
We don't earn a dollar by building this program, in fact in costs us money. This is a combination of a lot of people's devoted time because they care about your life, your growth and your freedom.
What's the Point
Hey there! I’m Pat Brown, the founder of Rent Sons. Before diving into the reasoning of why I wrote this book, you should know something: I’m a geek. In 2015, I became obsessed with reading and realized the value books hold. I mark, highlight, and tab-up a book like no other. I literally have a journal that I write “book reports” in, and highlight common points that are discussed in each. Why do I do that? Because I plan to build an empire that will significantly impact and better the world. This is my dream.
The foundational drive behind this company stems from a far greater purpose than earning money and having a positive work environment with flexible hours. Here’s a question for you: If your desire was to build a successful business, would you seek advice from a friend who took a business class, or the CEO of a large company? The answer is obvious. The information and guidance you could prune from that CEO, just over a cup of coffee, would be priceless. Like your mom always told you, “you are who you walk with.” It's called learning through osmosis. Look it up.
Why do I think reading is awesome? Because I’m actively learning from people who have founded the largest companies and have the most respected minds in the world. I’m not just taking advice from a friend or even my neighbor that may own a $1 million company. I’m diving into the thought processes of people like the founders of Nike, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Keller Williams, and authors who have sold over 37 million copies - world changing activists. These authors share their most treasured pieces of advice, in just under 200 pages, for 10 to 20 bucks on Amazon.
Over the past couple years, I have come across some prevalent ideas pertaining to life and business, from many different authors. This book is designed to highlight those points, focusing on recommendations to incorporate into your life. Excerpts from my favorite books are featured for your perusal. Many people will attempt to steer you in directions they seem fit, but do your best to take to heart the words from the best in that field.
I encourage you to keep a pen and highlighter handy. If you read something that resonates with you, fold the page, highlight, and make a note. My desire for your Rent Sons work experience is to establish the fundamentals to live a life full of adventure.
The Life You’re Built For
What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you want more than anything else? Everybody dreams, and some people are too fearful to pursue them or even vocalize them. Unfortunately, if you're too afraid to seek your passions, then you're not living the life you truly desire. I call this, "bopping around."
"Bopping around" is defined as one working for the sole purpose of surviving - living without direction. Not doing what you love and just "getting by" seems to be a common theme in today's society. If you're familiar with this outlook, and you find yourself falling into those lies, bail out. It's a load of bull, and here's why.
The One Thing, by Gary Keller, is a New York Times bestseller. Keller built the largest real estate company in world; Keller Williams. Throughout the book, Keller explains different aspects about what it takes to possess an EPIC life.
“Life is too short to pile up woulda, coulda, shouldas. What clinched this for me was when I asked myself who might be the people with the greatest clarity about life? I decided it was those who were nearing the end of theirs. If starting with them in mind is a good idea, then there’s no end further than the very end of life to look for clues about how to live. I wondered what people with nothing left to do but look back might tell me about how to move forward. Their collective voice was overwhelming, the answer clear: live your life to minimize the regrets you might have at the end.
What kind of regrets? For me, very few books caused tears, much less require a handkerchief, but Bronnie Ware’s 2012 book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying did both. Ware spent many years caring for those facing their own mortality. When she questioned the dying about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, Bronnie found that common themes surfaced again and again. The five most common were these: I wish that I’d let myself be happier–too late they realized happiness is a choice; I wish that I’d stayed in touch with my friends–too often they failed to give them the time and effort they deserved; I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings–too frequently shut mouths and shuttered feelings weighed too heavy to handle; I wish I hadn’t worked so hard–too much time spent making a living over building a life caused too much remorse.
As tough as these were, one stood out above them all. The most common regret was this: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. Half filled dreams and unfulfilled hopes: this was the number-one regret expressed by the dying. As Ware put it, 'most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.'
Bronnie Ware’s observations aren’t hers alone. At the conclusion of their exhaustive research, Gilovich and Medvec in 1992 wrote, 'When people look back on their lives, it is the things they have not done that generate the greatest regret… People’s actions may be troublesome initially; it is their inactions that plague them most with long-term feelings of regret.'
Honoring our hopes and pursuing productive lives through faith in our purpose and priorities is the message from our elders. From the wisest position they’ll ever have comes their clearest message.
No regrets. So make sure every day you do what matters most. When you know what matters most, everything makes sense. When you don’t know what matters most, anything makes sense. The best lives aren’t led this way."
You live your life and then you die. Don't you want it to be epic? If so, “bopping” can't be an option. John Eldredge, another respected New York Times best selling author, describes the marks of manhood in his book Wild at Heart.
“I picked up a book and read “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ” I was struck dumb. It could have been Balaam’s donkey, for all I was concerned. Suddenly my life up till that point made sense in a sickening sort of way; I realized I was living a script written for me by someone else. All my life I had been asking the world to tell me what to do with myself. This is different from seeking counsel or advice; what I wanted was freedom from responsibility and especially freedom from risk, I wanted someone else to tell me who to be, thank God it didn’t work. The scripts they handed me I simply could not bring myself to play for very long. Like Saul’s armor, they never fit. Can a world of posers tell you to do anything but pose yourself? As Buechner says, we are in constant danger of being not actors in the drama of our lives but reactors, “to go where the world takes us, to drift with whatever current happens to be running the strongest.” Reading the counsel Thurman gave to Baile, I knew it was God speaking to me. It was an invitation to come out of Ur. I set the volume down without turning another page and walked out of that bookstore to find a life worth living...
Life is not a problem to be solved, its an adventure to be lived. That's the nature of it and has been since the beginning when God set the dangerous stage for his high-stakes drama and called the whole wild enterprise good. He rigged the world in such a way that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, which is to say, only when we live by faith. A man just won’t be happy until he’s got adventure in his work, in his love, and in his spiritual life”.
Wild at Heart (202-203)
Despite your background, it's true that life is an adventure to be lived. For example, one time in Puerto Rico, some friends brought us to a waterfall. Wading through a fresh pool, I observed all of the natural beauty around me. Divots in the rock structure towards the base of the falls drew my attention. I began to climb. About halfway up, there appeared to be a natural waterslide, and it was calling my name. I hopped over, sat down and... WEEEE! I splashed into the basin and explored a tiny cave under the rock face. Submerged to my nose, I found shelter from the pouring buckets above. Staring out from behind the the waterfall's continuous roar, amazement hit me hard and I was awestruck. I thought to myself, "How incredible is this?"
Hike up a mountain, sit under a waterfall, and gaze at the sunset. Now, tell me there isn't something amazing about that experience. Tell me you have no inkling of inspiration that pushes you onward to live a life worth writing about one day; a life you can look back on and think, "WOW, that was greater than I ever could have dreamed."
Embrace that feeling. OWN IT. Once that mentality is accepted, there's no going back.
Living an adventurous life incorporates a specific condition that has been noted in nearly every book I've read. Dream big; SO BIG that it scares you.
“Think Small, Stay Small.”
-Ray Kroc, Grinding It Out (Founder of McDonalds)
“I’d like to think it’s because we didn’t have a plan. We had a big idea instead. You see the problem with my plans is that they normally work. And if they don’t seem to be working, I force them to work and I get the small results I aim for.”
-Bob Goff, Love Does (New York Times bestseller)
“How big could it be? I told them it could ultimately be worth $1 billion. To this day, I have no clue where that number came from.”
-Phil Knight, Shoe Dog (Founder of Nike)
“Big gives you the best chance for extraordinary results today and tomorrow. When Arthur Guinness set up his first brewery, he signed a 9,000 year lease.”
-Gary Keller, The One Thing (Founder of Keller Williams)
“Shift from local thinking to global thinking.”
-Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
Ask yourself these questions: Am I living the life chosen for me? Am I living the life I DEEPLY DESIRE for myself? At one point in time, every one of these entrepreneurs was in your boat. They had to face their doubts and fears head-on while asking themselves the same thing: "What kind of life am I going to live?”
Rent Sons will equip you with tools to live out the life you're built for. By providing all Sons with the fundamentals, skills will be harvested to improve later outcomes. Similar to attending college before entering the workforce, Rent Sons will prepare all Sons with adequate training as a foundation for flourishing dreams. Financial freedom, flexible schedules, acquired skills, and priceless connections encompass the Rent Sons experience. Take the advice from these authors to heart, apply it to your everyday life, and drill it into your character. I challenge you to take the road less traveled. The whole world desires this, but very few ever achieve it.
JOURNAL - Explain the life you deeply desire. Not sure? Just start writing, it will come out. Write your dreams down. Don't give any limits, this is a time for dreaming.
No Stopping Before The Finish Line
Dreaming big is one thing, but actively turning your fears and doubts into determination to overcome tribulation is another. The founder of Nike, one of the most recognizable brands in the world, outlines this case in his biography.
“I was up before the others, before the birds, before the sun. I drank a cup of coffee, wolfed down a piece of toast, put on my shorts and sweatshirt, and laced up my green running shoes. Then slipped quietly out the back door.
I stretched my legs, my hamstrings, lower back, and groaned as I took the first few balky steps down the cool road, into the fog. Why is it always so hard to get started?
There were no cars, no people, no signs of life. I was all alone, the world to myself–though the trees seemed oddly aware of me. Then again, this was Oregon. The trees always seemed to know. The trees always had your back.
What a beautiful place to be from, I thought, gazing around. Calm, green, tranquil–I was proud to call Oregon my home, proud to call little Portland my place of birth. But I felt a stab of regret, too. Though beautiful, Oregon struck some people as the kind of place where nothing big ever happened, or was ever likely to. If we Oregonians were famous for anything, it was an old, old trail we’d had to blaze to get here. Since then, things have been pretty tame.
The best teacher I ever had, one of the finest men I ever knew, spoke of that trail often. It’s our birthright, he’d growl. Our character, our fate–our DNA. “The cowards never started,” he’d tell me, “and the weak died along the way–that leaves us.”
Us. Some rare strain of pioneer spirit was discovered along that trail, my teacher believed, some outsized sense of possibility mixed with a diminished capacity for pessimism–and it was our job as Oregonians to keep that strain alive.
I’d nod, showing him all due respect. I loved the guy. But walking away I’d sometimes think: Jeez it's just a dirt road.
That foggy morning, that momentous morning in 1962, I’d recently blazed my own trail–back home, after seven long years away. It was strange being home again, strange being lashed again by the daily rains. Stranger still was living again with my parents and twin sisters, sleeping in my childhood bed. Late at night, I’d lie on my back, staring in my college textbooks, my high school trophies and blue ribbons thinking: This is me? Still?
I moved quicker down the road. My breath formed rounded, frosty puffs, swirling into the fog. I savored that first physical awakening, that brilliant moment before the mind is fully clear, when the limbs and joints first began to loosen and the material body starts to melt away. Solid to Liquid.
Faster, I told myself. Faster.
On paper, I thought, I’m an adult. Graduated from a good college–University of Oregon. Earned a master’s from a top business school–Stanford. Survived a yearlong hitch in the U.S. Army–Fort Lewis and Fort Eustis. My resume said I was a learned accomplished soldier, a twenty-four-year-old man in full… So why, I wondered, why do I still feel like a kid?
Worse, like the same shy, pale, rail-thin kid I’d always been.
Maybe because I still hadn’t experienced anything of life. Least of all its many temptations and excitements. I hadn’t smoked a cigarette, hadn’t tried a drug. I hadn’t broken a rule, let alone a law. The 1960’s were just under way, the age of rebelled. I couldn’t think of one time I’d cut loose, done the unexpected.
I’d never even been with a girl.
If I tended to dwell on all the things I wasn’t the reason was simple. Those were the things I knew best. I’d have found it difficult to say what or who exactly I was, or might become. Like all my friends, I wanted to be successful. Unlike my friends, I didn’t know what that meant. Money? Maybe. Wife? Kids? House? Sure, if I was lucky. These were the goals I was taught to aspire to, and part of me did aspire to them, instinctively. I had an aching sense that our time is short, shorter than we ever know, short as a morning run, and I wanted mine to be meaningful. And purposeful. And creative. And important. Above all… different.
I wanted to leave a mark on the world.
I wanted to win.
No, that’s not right. I simply didn’t want to lose.
And then it happened. As my young heart began to thump, as my pink lungs expanded like the wings of a bird, as the trees turned to greenish blurs, I saw it before me, exactly what I wanted my life to be. Play.
Yes, I thought, that’s it. That’s the word. The secret of happiness, I’d always suspected, the essence of beauty or truth, or all we ever need to know of either, lay somewhere in that moment when the ball is in midair, when both the boxers sense the approach of the bell, when the runners near the finish line and the crowd rises as one. There’s a kind of exuberant clarity in that pulsing half second before winning and losing are decided. I wanted that, whatever that was, to be my life, my daily life.
At different times I’d fantasized about becoming a great novelist, a great journalist, a great statesman. But the ultimate dream was always to be a great athlete. Sadly, fate had made me good, not great. At twenty-four I was finally resigned to that fact. I’d run track at Oregon, and I’d distinguished myself, lettering three of four years. But that was that, the end. Now, as I began to clip off one brisk six-minute mile after another, as the rising sun set fire to the lowest needles of the pines, I asked myself: What if there were a way, without being an athlete, to feel what athletes feel? To play all the time, instead of working? Or else to enjoy work so much that it becomes essentially the same thing.
The world is so overrun with war and pain and misery, the daily grind was so exhausting and often unjust–maybe the only answer, I thought, was to find prodigious, improbable dream that seemed worthy, that seemed fun, that seemed a good fit, and chase it with an athlete's single minded dedication and purpose. Like it or not, life is a game. Whoever denied that truth, whoever simply refuses to play, gets left on the sidelines, and I didn’t want that. More than anything, that was the thing I did not want.
Which led, as always, to my Crazy Idea. Maybe, I thought, just maybe, I need to take one more look at my Crazy Idea. Maybe my Crazy Idea just might...work?
No, no, I thought, running faster, faster, running as if I were chasing someone and being chased all at the same time. It will work. By God I’ll make it work. No maybes about it.
I was suddenly smiling. Almost laughing. Drenched in sweat, moving as gracefully and effortlessly as I ever had, I saw my Crazy Idea shining up ahead, and it didn’t look all that crazy. It didn’t even look like an idea. It looked like a place. It looked like a person, or some life force that existed long before I did, separate from me, but also part of me. Waiting for me, but also hiding from me. That might sound a little high-flown, a little crazy. But that’s how I felt back then.
Or maybe I didn’t. Maybe my memory is enlarging this eureka moment, or condensing many eureka moments into one. Or maybe, if there was such a moment, it was nothing more than a runner’s high. I don’t know. I can’t say. So much about those days, and the months and years into which they slowly sorted themselves, has vanished, like those rounded, frosty puffs of breath. Faces, numbers, decisions that once seemed pressing and irrevocable, they’re all gone.
What remains, however, is this one comforting certainty, this one anchoring truth that will never go away. At twenty-four, I did have a Crazy Idea, and somehow, despite being dizzy with existential angst, and fears about the future, and doubts about myself, as all young men and women in their mid-twenties are, I did decide that the world is made up of crazy ideas. The things I loved most–books, sports democracy, free enterprise–started as crazy ideas.
For that matter, few ideas are as crazy as my favorite thing, running. It’s hard. It’s painful. Its risky. The rewards are few and far from guaranteed. When you run around an oval track, or down an empty road, you have no real destination. At least, none that can fully justify the effort. The act itself becomes the destination. It’s not just that there’s no finish line; its that you define the finish line. Whatever pleasures or gains you derive from the act of running, you must find within. It’s all in how you frame it, how you sell it to yourself.
Every runner knows this. You run and run, mile after mile, and you never quite know why. You tell yourself that you’re running toward some goal, chasing some rush, but really you run because the alternative, stopping, scares you to death.
So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy… just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.
That’s precocious, prescient, urgent advice I managed to give myself, out of the blue, and somehow managed to take. Half a century later, I believe it’s the best advice–maybe the only advice–any of us should ever give.”
Phil Knight, The Shoe Dog (pgs 1-5)
Ponder the ideas Phil mentioned. Do you feel inspired? Can you relate with Phil's feelings? Do you have any crazy ideas you want to pursue? The founder of Nike, himself, dug deep to answer these questions. Sure, as he chased his dream he encountered countless setbacks along the way, but he never broke away from the promise he made at 24 years old. "It WILL work. By God I'll MAKE it work. No maybes about it."
From his mid-twenties and onward, Phil underwent immeasurable amounts of defeat, until his company went public. Fifty years subsequent to making that promise, Phil Knight has changed shoes forever. Nike is worth over 26 billions dollars; 26 with 9 zeros and 3 commas. "Never giving up may be the only advice any of us should ever give". Now that's advice worth taking.
My desire is to encourage you to have a vision for your life and obtain the perseverance to make that vision your reality. Phil said, “I wanted mine to be meaningful. And purposeful. And creative. And important. Above all… different. I wanted to leave a mark on the world. I wanted to win.” So, what's YOUR purpose? What do you wish for? What do you want to do, but feel silly about vocalizing because others may snicker at your idea? Go for your biggest dream and nothing less; revel in every step, trip and fall along the way.
On the surface, Rent Sons is an "odd jobs" business for individuals to make decent money. Beneath the trivialities, Rent Sons grooms perseverance to the likes of Phil Knight. Each Rent Sons job needs to be approached in the same manner that Phil approached his runs. A run wasn't just a run, it was a daily molding of his character. It was a way to build endurance and determination to accomplish his goals. Phil learned to push through despite the obstacles he faced and the ability to fight through a run became routed in Phil's nature.
An overgrown garden isn't just a bountiful amount of weeds taking over a bed. It is a hurdle that requires soundly defeating. Once the weeds are tackled and a dazzling garden bed is developed, a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment is accompanied by this achievement... Similarly to Phil's experiences with running.
Each "odd job" acts as a "wax on, wax off" method, molding the Sons into who they aspire to be. If one fights through a hundred overgrown gardens, there won't be a garden that's ever too much to conquer. There will be good days and bad days, but it's imperative to always finish strong. Forming this habit will allow you to endure the obstacles life throws at you.
Although it may be a controversial book, it is important to take note of the Bible's impact on human beings. It has been distributed to more than 6 billion people. From a purely historic point of view, there's no questioning the change that Jesus flipped the world upside down. No company created by an entrepreneur can even compare to the impact Jesus made. Coincidently, many of those entrepreneurs still heavily rely on the Bible throughout their life journeys; might I say, a handbook for entrepreneurs? Some believe the Bible is just a book of outdated rules and boring stories, but in actuality it is the greatest love story of all time. It provides so much priceless insight about life, specifically when faced with a stumbling block.
"Tribulation produces persistence, persistence, character, character, hope".
In other words…
"Tribulation produces persistence" signifies how an individual becomes stronger, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally, after persisting through a difficult task or season in life.
"Persistence [produces] character" then conveys the consistency of ALWAYS being able to fight past things that try to bring a person down.
"Character [produces] hope" demonstrates the manifestation of becoming hopeful based on one's reluctance to give up.
"Therefore, tribulation PRODUCES hope". Keep this verse in mind the next time a barrier presents itself.
World changers, like the founder of Nike, recognize this as truth. Running isn't just running; it's pushing through anguish and chasing after new heights that previously seemed unattainable. THIS is how dreams are accomplished. There's no jogging involved; run. 80% of the weeds in the garden aren't removed; 100% are... and then some. By generating a solid foundation, The Rent Sons jobs establish individuals' work ethic. This is vital because there will come a day when it's time to sprint.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”
-Ray Kroc, The Founder of McDonalds
JOURNAL - Write a letter to yourself as an 80 year old reflecting on your life. Highlight every 5 years and what you hope to accomplish. When did you have kids? What was your career like? What were your friends like? What difference did you make?
“There's is an art to clearing away the clutter and focusing on what matters most. It is simple and it is transferable. It just requires the courage to take a different approach.”
On June 23, 1885, in the town of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Andrew Carnegie addressed the students of the Cury Commercial College. At the height of his business success, the Carnegie Steel Company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. Carnegie would later become the second richest man in history, after John D. Rockefeller. In Carnegie’s talk, entitled “The Road to Business Success,” he discussed his life as a successful business person and gave this advice:
“And here is the prime condition of success, the great secret–concentrate your energy, thought and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged. Having begun on one line, resolve to fight it out on that line, to lead in it, adopt every improvement, have the best machinery, and know the most about it. The concerns which fail are those which have scattered their brains also. They have investments in this, or that, or the other, here, there, and everywhere. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is all wrong. I tell you “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.” Look around you and take notice; men who do that do not often fail. It is easy to watch and carry the one basket. It is trying to carry too many baskets that breaks the most eggs in this country.”
So how do you know which basket to pick? The Focusing Question. Mark Twain agreed with Carnegie and described it this way:
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”
So, how do you know what the first one should be? The Focusing Question.”
The One Thing, (102-103)
Some think that by accomplishing many small tasks, that many goals are being obtained; but this ideology couldn't be further from the truth. Andrew Carnegie, the second richest man of all time exemplifies this. During life and career building, it's so necessary to stay focused, otherwise that unproductive time turns into a wasted opportunities.
The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, focuses on "focusing". How are you moving closer towards your goals, at this very moment? Imagine your ideal "end all be all", and work backwards; GOAL, 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, 1 year, 6 months, 1 month, tomorrow... right now.
“The power of focusing can be seen in light. Diffused light has little power of impact, but you can concentrate its energy by focusing it. With a magnifying glass, the rays of the sun can be focused to set grass on fire. When light is focused even more as a laser beam, it can cut through steel.
There is nothing quite as potent as a focused light, one lived on purpose. The men and women who have made the greatest difference in history were the most focused. For instance, the apostle Paul almost single-handedly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. His secret was a focused life. He said, “I am focusing all my energy on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead”.
If you want your life to have impact, FOCUS on it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most. Never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what’s the point? Paul said, “Let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us.”
KNOWING your purpose motivates your life. Purpose always produces passion. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose.”
(Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life)
To reiterate the"wax on, wax off" method, Rent Sons aids in developing that concentration and mindfulness.
Staying focused transcends into all areas of life. By practicing mindfulness, it allows for others to feel appreciated; when you're fully present with them instead of glued to your cell phone. The greatest form of love you can show someone is your undivided attention.
When weeding a garden, painting a wall, or talking with a Neighbor, put your phone away. By practicing this attentiveness and forming these into habits, you'll be blown away by the results within your relationships.
JOURNAL - Do you find yourself doing a lot of things at once? What things do you need to clear out to laser focus? Is technology like Netflix and Instagram distracting you from your purpose?
Learn. Or Stay As Dumb As You Are
Acquiring a "learning mindset" is an extremely valuable characteristic. Warren Buffet, the 3rd richest person in the world (also worth $68.2 billon), reads 5-6 hours everyday. Bill Gates, the number one richest person in the WORLD (worth $85.9 billion), completes one book every week. Both these individuals claim that if they could have one super power, it would be to be the fastest reader in the world. Now that's saying something.
Open-mindedness and learning goes hand-in-hand with intelligence and capability. There's no limits when it comes to learning. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart (whose family is collectively worth $140 billion), shares a funny story with his readers.
“There was once a group of Brazilian businessmen who sent letters to the heads of the top 10 U.S. retailers asking to come visit and learn how they did business. Most of the U.S. companies ignored the letters, and the few that had acknowledged the Brazilians said, “No.” However, Sam Walton said, “Yes.”
Sam Walton invited them to his hometown in Bentonville, Arkansas and when the Brazilian businessmen came Sam Walton ended up asking them far more questions then they’d asked him. It turns out that despite being far more successful, Walton had invited these men to the U.S. because he wanted to see what he could learn from them!
The story gets even better. Sam Walton later went to Brazil to visit the businessmen and got arrested in the process. The cops thought he was a danger to society because they’d found him on his hands and knees measuring the amount of space a store had left in-between the aisles.
Even though he was the richest man in the United States, Sam Walton was humble enough to get on his hands and knees measuring things because he understood that there was always more he could learn. If Sam Walton, the founder of the largest retailer in the world was willing to go to that length to learn from others then what’s your excuse?”
There are two different types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Peter Sims writes about the differences in his bestselling book Little Bets. He is the founder of an organization called Parliament; a community of top entrepreneurs, thought leaders, best selling authors and senior executives in the country. They meet together to collaborate and share ideas that help shape business and society.
“Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of social psychology at Stanford University, is one of the leading experts on why some people are more willing (and able) to learn from setbacks. Based until 2004 at Columbia University, Dweck has studied motivation for several decades. Her research has demonstrated that people tend to lean toward one of two general ways of thinking and learning about failure, though everyone exhibits both to some extent. Those favoring a fixed mindset believe that abilities and intelligence are set in stone, that we have an innate set of talents, which creates an urgency to repeatedly prove those abilities. They perceive failures or setbacks as threatening their sense of worth or their identity. Every situation, therefore, gets closely evaluated: “Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected?” Fixed mindsets cause people to be overconcerned with seeking validation, such as grades, titles, or social recognition. Conversely, those favoring a growth mindset believe that intelligence and abilities can be grown through effort, and tend to view failures or setbacks as opportunities for growth. They have a desire to constantly challenge and stretch themselves.
Michael Jordan is one of Dweck’s oft-used examples of someone with a growth mindset. He did not start out as a player who would obviously become one of the greatest ever in his game. Rather, he exerted enormous effort to reach that level, and even after having attained it, he continued to work extremely hard. So for example, even as one of the top NBA players, Jordan worked to improve his three-point range shooting. After shooting 18 percent or less during his first four seasons, Jordan ended his thirteen-year career at an average of 33 percent. He was fiercely competitive but, win or lose, he was honest with himself and constantly sought to build his capabilities. “If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you,” Jordan said. “If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you.”
Meanwhile, Dweck describes John McEnroe as exemplifying someone with a fixed mindset. If he started losing a tennis match, he would blame everyone in sight for the problem, from line judges to people in the stands. Rather than making adjustments to refocus and improve his game, he became distracted and angry (and notorious for his temper tantrums).
Dweck is quick to note that people with a fixed mind-set can be quite confident, just as John McEnroe was when he was winning. She says, “You can be very confident with a fixed mind-set, but every time you hit a setback, every time you have to struggle, every time other talented people come around, one has to guard against that threatening information.” As such, Dweck says it's difficult to maintain confidence in a fixed mindset without distorting the world, such as acting defensively or blaming someone or something else for setbacks.
Dweck initially developed the fixed versus growth mindset distinction by studying how schoolchildren reacted to failure and challenges. To her surprise, she found that some students relished difficulty and challenge. “I love a challenge,” a student might say. Or if he got a low grade on an exam he might react, “I need to try harder next time.” Alternatively, if a child leans towards a fixed mindset, a low grade would cause him to question his intelligence or worth. He’s say things like, “I feel like a reject,” or, “I’m the most unlucky person on earth.”
Dozens of studies later, Dweck’s findings suggest that people exhibiting fixed mindsets tend to gravitate to activities that confirm their abilities, whereas those with growth mindsets tend to seek activities that expand their abilities”
Don't ever believe that you know everything. If a successful person gives you advice, shut up and listen! The more you talk, the less you're learning.
When someone is teaching you something, they don’t want to know how much you know. They want you to listen. You’re not getting brownie points by cutting them off and seeming like a know-it-all. They aren’t trying to insult your intelligence so don’t be offended. When you take the time to listen, there's a good chance you WILL learn something. You will also allow that person the validation that they have provided useful information and that you care about what they have to say.
Don’t be a dummy, always seek to learn. Develop a growth mindset to always better yourself. Constantly read and seek council to sharpen your soft and hard skills. Envision your brain as a vacuum, in which you suck in as much information in as possible. Study those you admire and who are successful. Chances are they read a lot and have a humble growth mindset. Also, notice the people you don’t want to be like and make sure you’re not sharing the same qualities. The more you learn, the more knowledge you’ll possess. As the famous proverb states, “Knowledge is power.”
JOURNAL - Are you easily offended? Do you find yourself defending your self when someone gives you constructive criticism? Do you care more about HOW you look right now in a situation OR your future ability/position?
How to Love
When you think of the word “love”, what do you think about? Do you think of the relationship you have with your best friend or the love painted by Romeo and Juliet? Is it what you feel the moment you meet “the one” or the bond you have with your family?
According to the Greeks, “love” has many different forms.
“Eros” is named after the Greek god of Love and fertility.
“Philia” is Affectionate Love,
“Storge” is Familiar Love,
“Ludus” is Playful Love,
“Mania” is Obsessive Love,
“Pragma” is Enduring Love,
“Philautia” is Self Love,
and, “Agape” is Selfless Love.
The kind of Love that we are talking about is Agape. Agape is defined as the highest form of love. It embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends and serves, regardless of circumstances.
Bob Goff, one of the most loving guys alive, wrote about one of his experiences involving Agape Love. It is one of my favorite stories that I’ve ever read. Although it's simple, sometimes the most simple acts of love can completely change the direction of one’s life.
“I’m With You.
I used to want to fix people,
but now I just want to be with them.”
“When I was in high school, I met a guy named Randy. Randy had all three things I didn’t have: a Triumph motorcycle, a beard, and a girlfriend. It just didn’t seem fair. I wanted all three in ascending order. I asked around and found out Randy didn’t even go to the high school; he just hung out there. I had heard about guys like that and figured I should keep my distance, so I did. Later, I heard that Randy was a Christian and worked with an outreach called Young Life. I didn’t know much about any of that stuff, but it helped explain the beard and made it okay that he was hanging out at the high school, I guess. Randy never offered me a ride on his motorcycle, but he tried to engage me in discussions about Jesus. I kept him at arm’s length, but that didn’t seem to chill his interest in finding out who I was and what I was about. I figured maybe he didn’t know anyone his age, so we eventually became friends.
I was a lousy student and found out I could take a test to get a certificate that was the equivalent to a high school diploma. I couldn’t figure out how to sign up for the test, though, which on reflection was a pretty good indicator that I should stay in high school. My plan was to move to Yosemite and spend my days climbing the massive granite cliffs. At six feet four inches and two hundred and twenty pounds, I didn’t really have a rock climber’s build. I wonder what made me think there was a rock climber in me? When you’re in high school, you don’t give much thought to what you can’t do. For most people, that gets learned later, and for still fewer, gets unlearned for the rest of life.
At the beginning of my junior year, I decided it was time to leave high school and made the move to Yosemite. I had a down vest, two red bandanas, a pair of rock climbing shoes, seventy-five dollars, and a VW Bug. What else did I need? I’d find work in the valley and spend my off-time in the mountains. More out of courtesy than anything, I swung by Randy’s house first thing on a Sunday morning to say good-bye and to let him know I was leaving. I knocked on the door and after a long couple of minutes Randy answered. He was groggy and bedheaded–I had obviously woken him.
I gave him the rundown on what I was doing. All the while, Randy stood patiently in the doorway trying his best to suppress a puzzled expression.
“You’re leaving soon?” he asked when I had finished.
“Yeah, right now, actually,” I said as I straightened my back and barreled my chest to show I meant business. “Look Randy, it’s time for me to get out of here. I just came by to thank you for hanging out with me and being a great friend.”
Randy kept his earnest and concerned face, but he didn’t say a word.
“Oh, hey,” I inserted, “will you tell your girlfriend good-bye for me too, you know, when you see her next?” Again, no words from Randy. He had this weird, faraway look on his face like he was looking right through me. He snapped back into our conversation.
“Hey, Bob, would you wait here for a second while I check something out?”
“No sweat, Randy.” I had nothing but time now; what did I care?
Randy disappeared for a few minutes into the house while I stood awkwardly on his porch with my hands in my pockets. When he came back to the door, he had a tattered backpack hanging over shoulder by one frayed strap and a sleeping bag under his other arm. He was focused and direct. All he said was this: “Bob, I’m with you.”
Something in his words rang right through me. He didn’t lecture me about how I was blowing it and throwing opportunities away by leaving high school. He didn’t tell me I was a fool and that my idea would fall off the tracks on the way to the launchpad. He didn’t tell me I would surely crater even if I did briefly lift off. He was resolute, unequivocal, and had no agenda. He was with me.
Despite the kind gesture, it was pretty odd to think he wanted to come along.
“Um sure, I guess,” I said halfheartedly. “You sure?”
“Yeah, Bob, I’m in. If you wouldn’t mind, what if I caught a ride with you?” Randy stood with a determined look.
“So, let me get this straight. You want to drive to yosemite with me–right now?”
“Yep, that’s right. I can find my way back after we get there and you get settled in.”
I’m not sure why I accepted Randy’s generous self-invitation. I guess it’s because it caught me totally off guard. No one had ever expressed an interest in me like that before.
“Sure…,” I stammed as we both stood awkwardly on his stoop. “Uh, I guess we should get going then.”
And with that, Randy closed that door to his little house and we walked side by side to my VW Bug. He plopped into the passenger seat and threw his stuff on top of mine on the backseat.
We got to Yosemite before nightfall, and it occurred to me for the first time we had no place to stay. We had a couple of sleeping bags, no tent, and very little money, so we snuck in through the back of the platform tent set up at one of the pay-per-night campsites. We slept toward the back so we could made our escape if an upstanding tent-renter showed up for the night. Fortunately no one came, and the next morning we woke up to a chilly but glorious morning in Yosemite Valley. To the north of us, El Capitan soared three thousand feet straight up like a huge granite soldier. Half Dome dominated the landscape to the east. These were my companions; this was my cathedral. I was in the valleywide living room of my new home. Now it was time to get a job and get settled in. I rolled over in my sleeping bag, thinking about how great it was to have Randy with me. I was a little nervous but also excited about my newfound freedom. I was a man now. I felt my chin for any sign of whiskers. Nothing yet, but I shaved anyway, just in case.
Randy and I dusted off the stiffness that comes with tent camping and went to the Camp Curry company cafeteria. I thought I could get a job flipping pancakes in the mornings, which would leave the rest of the day to climb. I finished the job application in front of the manager, handed it to him, and he gave it right back, sternly shaking his head no. He didn’t even pretend to be interested, but I was secretly thankful he at least humored me enough to let me apply.
No matter. Undaunted, I went to one of the rock climbing outfitters with a storefront in the valley. I told them I’d do whatever they needed. I was sure that what I lacked in experience I could make up for by what I lacked in maturity or raw intelligence. They said that they didn’t have any work for me either and that jobs were tight and almost impossible to get in the valley. I walked out of the store discouraged and looked at Randy, who gas leaning against the VW. Rather than feeding my discouragement or saying “I told you so,” Randy fed my soul with words of truth and perspective.
“Bob, you can do this thing if you want. You have the stuff it takes to pull it off. These guys don’t know what they’re missing. Let’s try a few more places.”
And then, just like he had said the day before on his porch, Randy reiterated his statement: “Either way, Bob, I’m with you.” His words gave me tremendous comfort.
I applied at nearly every business in the valley and struck out every time. There were simply no jobs available and no hope of one opening up soon.
The evening approached as the sun sank low in the hills. It was one of those sunsets displaying the kinds of vibrant colors that would have made a painter’s canvas look overambitious. But I was still heartened: this sunset was real, I was in Yosemite, my friend was with me, and I still had a shot at my dream.
Randy and I headed back to the campsite and snuck into the same tent we had commandeered the night before. I didn’t sleep well or long as I sorted through my very short list of options. There was no work, I had no money, I was a high school dropout, Randy snored, and I had to go to the bathroom. That about covered my list of problems from least to greatest.
The next morning came with a crispness that only fueled my anxiety. Randy stirred next to me in his sleeping bag, gave a couple phlegm-filled coughs, and said in a much-too-cheery voice, “Let's go climb some rocks!” We headed to the foot of one of the monolith cliffs and boulders for a couple of hours, talking trash to each other about who was the better climber. By midday, we headed back to the valley to see if any businesses had a miraculously decided to expand their operations overnight. It felt like the shop owners had quickly met somewhere when they learned that I was arriving in the valley and were conspiring against me to dash my dreams. The same rocks I had come to climb were now beginning to look like barricades. I applied at the remaining small store fronts I hadn’t tried the day before. Do I even need to waste my breath to tell you what happened?
Randy and I sat on the front bumper of my VW Bug and leaned back against its flimsy and slightly rusted hood that buckled slightly under our weight. The sun was getting low in the valley again, and the granite cliffs I’d hoped to count as neighbors were casting long, dark shadows on the ground, each of the deepening shadows pointing towards the road exiting the valley.
I had only a few bucks left after buying gas, and Randy offered to spring for dinner. As we walked back out to the car after eating, I turned to Randy and said, “You know, Randy, you've been great coming with me and everything, but it looks like I’m striking out. I think what I’ll do is head back and finish up high school.” After a short pause, Randy said again what had become a comfort to me throughout the trip: “Man, whatever you decide, just know that either way I’m with you, Bob.”
Randy had been with me, and I could tell that he was “with me” in spirit as much as with his presence. He was committed to me and he believe in me. I wasn’t a project; I was his friend. I wondered if maybe all Christians operated this way. I didn’t think so, because most of them I had met up until that time were kind of wimpy and seemed to have more opinions about what or who they were against than who they were for. Without much more discussion, Randy and I exchanged a silent look and a nod, which meant we were done. Without a word spoken, I hopped in the passenger seat, and we followed the path cast from the long shadows the day before. I was going back.
We didn’t talk much as we left Yosemite Valley for much of the way home, for that matter. A dream of mine had just checked into hospice, and Randy was sensitive enough to know I needed some margin to think. We drove for five or six quiet hours. Every once in awhile, Randy would check on me in his confident and upbeat voice. “Hey, how are you doing, Bob?”
We pulled down some familiar roads and into Randy’s driveway. There was another car in the driveway next to Randy’s that looked like his girlfriend’s. She visited often. We walked up to the front door and he opened it. I walked in behind Randy uninvited, but somehow I still felt welcome. On the floor, I noticed a stack of plates and some wrapping paper, a coffeemaker, some glasses. On the couch there was a microwave half in a box. I didn’t understand at first. Had Randy just had a birthday? Was it his girlfriend’s? A microwave seemed like a weird way to celebrate someone’s arrival into the world. I knew Randy wasn’t moving because there wouldn’t be wrapping paper. Then, from around the corner, the other half of this couple bounded out and threw her arms around Randy. “Welcome home, honey.” Then the nickel dropped.
I felt both sick and choked up in an instant. I realized that these were wedding presents on the floor. Randy and his girlfriend had just gotten married. When I had knocked on Randy’s door on that Sunday morning, Randy didn’t see just a highschool kid who had disrupted the beginning of his marriage. He saw a kid who was about to jump the tracks. Instead of spending the early days of his marriage with his bride, he spent it with me, sneaking into the back of a tent.
Why? It was because Randy loved me. He saw the need and he did something about it. He didn’t just say he was for me or with me. He was actually present with me.
What I learned from Randy changed my view permanently about what it meant to have a friendship with Jesus. I learned that faith isn’t about knowing all of the right stuff or obeying a list of rules. It’s something more, something more costly because it involves being present and making sacrifice. Perhaps that why Jesus is sometimes called Immanuel–”God with us.” I think that's what God had in mind, for Jesus to be present, to just be with us. It’s also what He has in mind for us when it comes to other people.
The world can make you think that love can be picked up at a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card. But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involved sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright. What I learned from Randy about the brand of love Jesus offers is that it’s more about presence that undertaking a project. It’s a brand of love that doesn’t just think about good things, or agree with them, or talk about them. What I learned from Randy reinforced the simple truth that continues to weave itself into the tapestry of every great story: Love does.
(Love Does, 1-9)
Randy went with Bob because he loved him and he stayed with him all the way despite missing his new wife. That's Agape Love. It’s sacrificial and unconditional. It’s presence; being there, going, doing, and listening to those who need it. It’s easy to “talk love”, but it’s much harder to “do love”.
“What you do speaks SO LOUDLY, I can’t hear what you say.”
At Rent Sons, we “do love” for our Neighbors and for each other. We serve our communities in the way they need to be served. We go the extra mile for people, help them with whatever they need, and listen. Sons are there for Sons in and out of work. People need people because people need love. You’ll learn through life experiences that money and fame are fun, but it's embracing a community engaging in love that will give you true joy. Everything else in life won’t last the test of time.
As a Rent Son, you can be like Randy to the Neighbors. When approaching a door, never underestimate what a person could be going through. They could be a widow, or divorced, or totally overwhelmed with whatever situation life has thrown at them. By you BEING there for them to get this daunting task completed, you could positively change their day, just like Randy did in the story for Bob. By helping the Neighbor move a couch or clean a garage, you’re helping them solve a problem they had no other way of solving. YOU were there for them. YOU made their day. Spend an extra 10 minutes helping the “Neighbor” out. Listen to what they have to say. Smile.
Randy’s simple act has been a critical teaching moment, and the story now affects millions. Selfless, Agape Love can be unfair, inconvenient and can sometimes even be painful. But this is the kind of love we all need and it shines far brighter than we can ever imagine. This story is one of my favorite true stories. It’s simple and that's the beauty of it.
JOURNAL - When's a time you were present for someone that was out of your way or inconvenient? How appreciative was that person? If you can't think of any, how can you be MORE present?
People Are Made For People
I’m not sure I ever really knew what the word “community” meant. It always sounded nice, but when I asked people what it was, they had different opinions. Every company talks about community but what is it, actually? Why is it important? Why do we need it?
As mentioned before, people are made for people! When isolation ensues and we shut ourselves off from others, that’s when depression comes into play. Today, depression rates are at an all time high. 30% of college students say they suffer from depression to the point they feel unable to move and 60% say they suffer from high levels of anxiety. Depression can be one of the HARDEST things to talk about because no one likes to say “HEY! I’m not that happy right now.” Especially in a world that is driven by a false sense of perfection on social media. In fact, 15% of people who are clinically depressed commit suicide (allaboutdepression.com).
Think about it, if you’re in college it's likely 3 out of 10 of your friends deal with depression. Interestingly enough, most depression rates can be diminished by simply having strong community.
“A new study finds that belonging to a social group helps alleviate depression and prevent relapse. And, it appears the closer the tie to the group, the better the results.
In the paper, currently in press at the Journal of Affective Disorders, psychologists at the University of Queensland conducted two studies of patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety. The patients either joined a community group with activities such as sewing, yoga, sports and art, or partook in group therapy at a psychiatric hospital.
In both cases, patients responding to survey questions who did not identify strongly with the social group, had about a 50 percent likelihood of continued depression a month later. Less than a third met the criteria for clinical depression of those who developed a stronger connection to the group and understood its members as ‘us’ rather than ‘them’. Many patients said the group made them feel supported because everyone was ‘in it together.’
We were able to find clear evidence that joining groups, and coming to identify with them, can alleviate depression,” said Haslam. While past research has looked at the importance of social connections for preventing and treating depression, Haslam says it has tended to emphasize interpersonal relationships rather than the importance of a sense of group identity.
In addition, researchers haven’t really understood why group therapy works. “Our work shows that the ‘group’ aspect of social interaction is critical,” he said. The researchers say the next questions they will try to answer are what factors encourage people to engage with a group and to internalize its identity, and how this leads them to develop a sense of support, belonging, purpose, and meaning.
Haslam said this is likely to involve both group and individual factors, including how accommodating the group is, and how the group fits with a person’s understanding of themselves and the world. Haslam said his participation in the program has greatly influenced his research on depression. “The group is a major source of encouragement, but it has also helped to hone our questions in important ways — so that we have asked the right questions and looked in the right places for answers.”
Unfortunately, depression is a VERY real thing that is seems to be swept under the rug. I’ve grievously lost some good friends to suicide because of depression and many of my friends suffer from it. But we can stay away from it; by community, by being there with and for each other, by working and doing life together. Starbucks, Facebook, Instagram all talk about community. I think it's time we fully define what an authentic community since that’s the main aspect of this whole business.
Rick Warren has sold over 37 millions copies of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, where the aspects of creating a real community are discussed.
Real community is Authentic. “In real fellowship people experience authenticity. Authentic fellowship is not superficial-level chit-chat. It is genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing. It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives” (141). Be real with other Sons and your Community Builder. It takes time to build that relationship but once you do, you’re forming a real community. Be authentic.
It takes Mutuality. “Mutuality is the art of giving and receiving. Its depending on each other” (142). Help each other. We all pitch in to help each other finish a job. We all pitch in to grow the Rent Son’s business so we can affect other’s lives. In a community, ask yourself, how can I be used?
Be Sympathetic. “Sympathy is not giving advice or offering quick, cosmetic help; sympathy is entering in a sharing the pain of others. Sympathy says, “I understand what you’re going through and it's neither strange nor crazy”. “Sympathy meets two fundamental human needs: the need to be understood and the need to have your feelings validated. Every time you understand and affirm someone's feelings, you build fellowship. The problem is that we are often in so much of a hurry to fix things that we don’t have time to sympathize with people” (143).
Sometimes all you need to do is LISTEN. BE THERE with them. People want people beside them through thick and thin. Keep this in mind with fellow Sons, Neighbors and those close to you. Everyone goes through crap at some point where they feel alone. How you sympathize can make all the difference.
Have Mercy. “Fellowship is a place of grace, their mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out. Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice. WE ALL NEED mercy, because we all stumble and fall and require help getting back on track. We need to be willing to offer mercy to each other and be willing to receive it from each other” (145).
Encourage means to put courage into someone. If someone screws up on a job, be there to lift them up instead of knock them down. We want all of our Sons to go on to live great lives. It’s our job to always help them get back up. Everyone needs to learn from their mistakes and it's our job to love them always and be truthful with them. “It’s ok, I forgive you. Here’s how to not screw up again.”
Honesty. “You will have to care enough to lovingly speak the truth, even when you would rather gloss over a problem or ignore an issue. While it is much easier to remain silent when others around us are harming themselves or others with a sinful pattern, it is not the loving thing to do. Most people have NO ONE in their lives who loves them enough to tell them the truth (even when it's painful), so they continue in self-destructive ways. Often we know what needs to be said to someone, but our fears prevent us from saying anything. Many fellowship has been sabotaged by fear: no one had the courage to speak up in the group while a member’s life fell apart” (147).
Be real with people in a loving way. Don’t be afraid of conflict and handle it correctly. But don’t NOT handle it. Not handling it is a great way to ruin relationships your entire life.
Humility. “Self-importance, smugness, and stubborn pride destroy fellowship faster than anything else. Pride builds walls between people; humility builds bridges. Humility is the oil that smooths and soothes relationships. Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others. Humble people are so focused on serving others, they don’t think of themselves” (148).
When you’re so focused on serving and loving your Neighbor, the joy of helping them will be far greater than any amount of money. Don’t worry about the money, that will flow when your focus is centered on helping people. When being able to give with the hope of gaining nothing in return, more will be added to you. It may not make sense now, but it's true. Give it a shot! See what happens.
Courtesy. “Courtesy is respecting our differences, being considerate of each other’s feelings, and being patient with people who irritate us. In a family, acceptance isn’t based on how smart or beautiful or talented you are. It's based on the fact that we belong to each other. We defend and protect family. A family member may be a little goofy, but she’s one of us” (149).
There will be Sons you’ll work with and Neighbors you’ll work for who aren’t your favorite people. But we are all part of the same community. We all need mercy, sympathy, and to be there for each other. I like to say, “People suck! But you know what you are? A person!” There's definitely things you’ll do that fail and annoy others, therefore we all need show each other courtesy.
What's the beauty of Agape Love? It embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends and serves regardless of circumstances. EXCEL in showing respect for others.
Confidentiality. “Only in the safe environment of warm acceptance and trusted confidentiality will people open up and share their deepest hurts, needs, and mistakes.” When you break confidentiality, you break trust–and trust takes a while to rebuild. Practice NEVER taking part in gossip between Sons, Community Builders, Neighbors, or anyone.
Frequency. “You MUST have frequent, regular contact with your group in order to build genuine fellowship. Relationships take time. We are to develop the habit of meeting together. A habit is something you do with frequency, not occasionally. You have to spend time with people, a lot of time, to build deep relationships” (151). Find time to hang out with the people you work with. Make sure you’re spending time with people you care about.
Re-capping of how to build an authentic community
Authenticity - Share our true feelings
Frequency - Make group a priority
Confidentiality - Don’t gossip
Courtesy - Respect our differences
Humility - Admit our weaknesses
Honesty - Speak TRUTH in LOVE
Mercy - Forgive each other
Sympathy - Support each other
Mutuality - Encourage each other
JOURNAL - Did you realize the effects community has? Who's in your community? Who are you actively growing relationships with?
Just Do It
Dream big and never give up. Focus, have a growth mindset towards learning and failure, “Agape Love” people, and embrace real community. This is who we are and this is what will bring an amazing life when fully engaged. So, how do we do it? Well, there's a practical secret to get you started; your mornings.
“I once was asked, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” It was a real question. I had been fighting the painful side effects of interstitial cystitis (you don’t want to know) and was dealing with continually shaking legs, a debilitating side effect of cholesterol-fighting statins. My ability to function, much less focus, was extremely compromised, and the challenge to overcome this was daunting. My doctor gave me some options and asked me what I wanted to do. The answer was to change my health habits. It was then that I discovered one of the greatest lessons of extraordinary results: Personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity.
When we keep borrowing against our future by poorly protecting our energy, there is a predictable outcome of either slowly running out of gas or prematurely crashing and burning. You see it all the time. When people don’t understand the power of the ONE thing, they try and do too much–and because this never works over time, they end up making a horrific deal with themselves. They go for success by sacrificing their health. They stay up late, miss meals or eat poorly, and completely ignore exercise. Personal energy becomes an afterthought; allowing health and home life to suffer becomes acceptable by default. Driven to hit goals, they think cheating themselves as a good bet, but this gamble can’t pay off. Not only does this approach consistently short-circuit your best work, it’s dangerous to assume that health and hearth will be just waiting for you to come back and enjoy anytime in the future.
High achievement and extraordinary results require big energy. The trick is learning how to get it and keep it.
So, what can you do? Think of yourself as the amazing biological machine you are and consider this daily energy plan for high productivity. Begin early with meditation and prayer for spiritual energy; starting the day by connecting with your higher purpose aligns your thoughts and actions with a larger story. Then move straight to the kitchen for your most important meal of the day and the cornerstone of physical energy: a nutritious breakfast designed to fuel your day’s work. You can’t run long on empty calories, and you can’t run at all on an empty tank. Figure out easy ways to eat right and then plan all your daily meals a week at a time.
Fueled up, head to your exercise spot to relieve stress and strengthen your body. Conditioning gives you maximum capacity, which is critical for maximum productivity. If you have limited time to exercise, the simplest thing to do is wear a pedometer. Towards the end of the day, if you haven’t walked at least 10,000 steps, make it your ONE “exercise” Thing to reach your 10,000-step goal before you go to bed. This one habit will change your life.
Now, if you haven’t spent time with your loved ones at breakfast or during your workout, go find them. Hug, talk, and laugh. You’ll be reminded why you’re working in the first place, and motivated to be as productive as possible so you can get home earlier. Productive people thrive on emotional energy; it fills their heart with joy and makes them light on their feet.
Next, grab your calendar and plan your day. Make sure you know what matters most, and make sure those things are going to get done. Look at what you have to do, estimate the time it will take to do them, and plan your time accordingly. Knowing what you must do and making the time to do it is how you bring the most amazing mental energy to your life. Calendaring your day this way frees your mind from worrying about what might not get done while inspiring you with what will. It’s only when you make time for extraordinary results that they get a chance to show up.
When you get to work, go to work on your ONE Thing. If you’re like me and have some morning priorities you must get done first, then give yourself an hour at most to do them. Don’t loiter and don’t slow down. Clear the decks and then get down to the business of doing what matters most. Around noon, take a break, have lunch, and turn your attention to everything else you can do before you head out for the day.
Last, in the evening when it’s time for bed, get eight hours of sleep. Powerful engines need cooling down and resting before taking off again, and you’re no different. You need your sleep so your mind and body can rest and recharge for tomorrow’s extraordinary productivity. Anyone you know who gets little sleep and appears to be doing great is either a freak of nature or hiding its effects from you. Either way, they aren’t your role model. Protect your sleep by determining when you must go to bed each night and don’t allow yourself to be lured away from it. If you’re committed to your wakeup time, you can stay up late only so many times before you’re forced to hit the hay at a decent hour. If your response is that you have too much to do, stop right now, go back to the beginning of this book, and start over. You apparently missed something. When you’ve connected proper sleep with success, you’ll have a good reason to get up and you’ll go to sleep at the right time.
THE HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE PERSON’S DAILY ENERGY PLAN
Meditate and pray for spiritual energy
Eat right, exercise, and sleep sufficiently for physical energy
Hug, kiss, and laugh with loved ones for emotional energy
Set goals, plan, and calendar for mental energy
Time block your ONE Thing for business energy
Here’s the productivity secret of this plan: when you spend the early hours energizing yourself, you get pulled through the rest of the day with little additional effort. You’re not focused on having the perfect day all day, but on having an energized start to each day. If you can have a highly productive day until noon, the rest of the day falls easily into place. That’s positive energy creating positive momentum. Structuring the early hours of each day is the simplest way to extraordinary results” (198-201).
Organizing your day will allow you to get to the right mental framework to role out every other aspect you need for an extraordinary life.
“One evening, a young boy hopped up on his father’s lap and whispered, “Dad, we don’t spend enough time together.” The father, who dearly loved his son, knew in his heart this was true and replied, “You’re right and I’m so sorry. But I promise, I’ll make it up to you. Since tomorrow is Saturday, why don’t we spend the entire day together? Just you and me!” It was a plan and the boy went to bed that night with a smile on his face, envisioning the day excited about the adventurous possibilities with his Pops.
The next morning the father rose earlier than usual. He wanted to make sure he could still enjoy his ritual cup of coffee with the morning paper before his son awoke, wound up and ready to go. Lost in thought reading the business section, he was caught by surprise when suddenly his son pulled the newspaper down and enthusiastically shouted, “Dad, I’m up. Let’s play!”
The father, although thrilled to see his son and eager to start the day together, found himself guilty craving just a little more time to finished his morning routine. Quickly his son, gave him a huge hug, and announced that their first game would be to put a puzzle together, and when that's done, “We’ll head outside to play for the rest of the day.”
Earlier in his reading, he had seen a full-page ad with a picture of the world. He quickly found it, tore it into into little pieces, and spread them out on the table. He found some tape for his son and said, “I want to see how fast you can put this puzzle together.” The boy enthusiastically dove right in, while his father, confident that he had now bought some extra time, buried himself back in his paper.
Within minutes, the boy once again yanked down his father’s newspaper and proudly announced, “Dad, I’m done!” The father was astonished. For what lay in front of him–whole, intact, and complete–was the picture of the world, back together as it was in the ad and not one piece out of place. In a voice mixed with parental pride and wonder, the father asked, “How on earth did you do that so fast?”
The young boy beamed. “It was easy, Dad! I couldn’t do it at first and I started to give up, it was so hard. But then I dropped a piece on the floor, and because it’s a glass-top table, when I looked I saw that there was a picture of a man on the other side. That gave me the idea!
“When I put the man together, the world just fell into place.”
Get yourself together and everything else will fall into place. It may seem overwhelming to face your fears and doubts, to dream big, focus and ignore distractions, humble yourself and learn how to always learn, “do” love, embrace community and rebuild your schedule, but just take it one day at a time. One step at a time, one job at a time, and slowly but surely you’ll start becoming the person you want to be.
According to the University of London, it takes 66 days to form and break habits. If you can make it 66 days, you won’t have to try to do any of these aspects, they will just become who you are. So many people never ask themselves what they want out of life and end up just bopping around until it's too late. You have dreams, purpose and one shot at life to make it everything you desire. DO NOT get to your death bed and realize you settled the entire way through. Embrace a FULL life. Wake up overflowing with whimsy and love.
It's going to take time, but this job, this community, and this book, will get you off to a good start. This is the correct first step on your 2000 step journey. The right One Thing to begin it all; the right foundation to get you well on your way.
Now, let’s get to work on your path to living in success.
JOURNAL - Whats ONE THING that needs to change in your schedule?
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