Recap of Part One…….
- We are all dying but we are not yet dead
- We are meant to live not just exist
- If we simply exist we eventually become extinct
- Pay attention to the voice inside calling you to live
- View death as a motivator to live by design, not default
- Greatness has a launching pad when we live to serve, and not just to be served
As you serve, you will sense a desire to grow. Like it or not, we are attracted to growth. People who grow are full of life. They are vibrant, carry a great attitude, and are open to learning new things. They are like a plant in a garden adding color and life to the canvas of soil. We cannot become what we are meant to be by remaining where we are.
Growth increases our capacity. This is not just connected to how much we can hold or contain but also our ability to do more. Growth expands your vision, purpose and propels you forward in life. It also attracts opportunities. How do we grow? By exposure. It’s the exposure to light, water, and air that causes plants to grow. Seeds don’t grow in the bag. They must be freed from the confines of that bag and planted. Similarly, we cannot grow in cages. We must expose ourselves to people, cultures, books, courses, experiences etc. The tools for growth are visible if we only look and step into them. The people you are calling difficult might be in your life for your growth! Exposure will be uncomfortable, awkward, and at times painful, but if you can take the pain, growth will be your gain.
Growth also requires loss, (things we think we cannot do without but are impeding our progress) resulting in pain. Avoiding pain is avoiding growth. It is only out of your comfort zone that growth takes place. A smooth sea never made a sailor skillful. Leadership expert John Maxwell said, “Growth is the only guarantee that tomorrow will get better.”
This is the point where service and growth are making an impact and influencing others to live and not just exist. Author Paul J. Meyer said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
We are what we repeatedly do, said Aristotle. Patterns yield production or the lack of it. Potential is vital but without the right patterns, potential remains dormant and eventually wasted. Our patterns are either building us or killing us. In multiplication, the product is a result of patterns. For example, 5×5=25. To change the product to 30, we must first change the existing pattern to 6×5=30. If you don’t like the product you keep getting it’s time to change the pattern that you keep using.
There is a difference between busy and productive. When we are busy there is a likelihood we have nothing to show for it. This can be illustrated by a car spinning its wheels in the mud. Plenty of power and effort but lacking progress. Busy people talk about how much time they don’t have, while those who are productive wisely use their time on what’s important.
Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People aptly divides time into four quadrants. Quadrant One is Urgent and Important. These are classified as emergencies. An example of this would be a deadline to complete an assignment, a task, or a breakdown which requires immediate fixing. The more time we spend in this quadrant the more drained and worn out we become. Quadrant Two is Not Urgent but Important which involves things that call for attention and have a high return on investment but don’t constitute an emergency. Spending time with family, relationship building, planning, preparing for opportunities, idea generation, and personal development fall in this quadrant. This is the ideal quadrant to spend most time because it carries the highest return on your investment. Quadrant Three is Urgent but Not Important. An inbox full of unread emails, or phone calls would be listed under this category. Time spent in this category must be measured because interruptions and distractions can be found here. Quadrant Four is Not Urgent and Not Important. Time wasting activities like surfing the web endlessly (social media falls here), playing video games for long periods of time, and hours of watching TV, are in this quadrant. This quadrant gives the illusion of relaxation but it breeds laziness and addiction as it flirts with fantasy. In which quadrant do you spend the majority of your time?
Time is a precious commodity and it always moves forward; never pausing, stopping, or rewinding for us to catch up. For most of us, time seems to have stepped up the pace. As an exercise, start taking inventory of how much time you are spending in each quadrant and measure it against how busy (spinning wheels) or productive (making progress) you are.
Famous Last Words
Before Moses, (the great leader of Israel), died, he placed a choice before his fellow countrymen,
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants will live: that you may love the Lord your God and that you may obey His voice and cleave to Him. For the Lord is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20).
Choose to be fully alive while you are still alive. It’s never too late to choose life. We choosing life by choosing God. “He is your life, and the length of your days.” We choose God by loving Him, obeying Him, and cleaving to Him. There is a relational progression; love, obey, cleave. Cleave is a marriage term that denotes intimacy, closeness, or union. When we divorce the things that sap life out of us, we create room for God to live through us. The choice to live will come with its fair share of trouble and struggle, but with a sense of confidence and boldness, we can face every threat aimed at us, assured that God holds our life and what He has promised will stand. Choose life and live!
by Waiyaki M. Waiyaki
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Library of Thought
1. John C. Maxwell, No Limits: Blowing the Cap off your Capacity, p.289
2. Stephen R. Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, p.160