“Faithfulness knows no difference between small and great duties.” – John Ruskin
Don’t Stay “Throwed”
Andrew Jackson’s boyhood friends couldn’t understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson’s friends said, “Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.”
Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say three times and out?” “Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beaten—he would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try, Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner.”
There’s been plenty to get and keep us throwed this year. But a mark of one who is determined to live well no matter what comes is faithfulness or steadfastness. It stems from a decision as well as a devotion. First, it is a decision to stick with or remain loyal to a process, path, or plan. And second, devotion or commitment to give oneself wholeheartedly to that process, path, or plan regardless of obstacles. This two-step verification approach to faithfulness effuses a certain ardor in life’s endeavors. It not only marked Jackson’s path but Thomas Edison’s.
After a fire burned his entire factory in 1914, Edison’s response was, “Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again.” Then again, after another experiment failed, to which his assistant expressed discouragement and disgust, Edison assured him they had learned that what they wanted to do would require a different way. Faithfulness requires that you see obstacles as learning experiences if you intend to keep moving forward. I view challenges as a way to authenticate our determination to see something through to the end.
Losing and Learning
Occasionally I have lost an entire blog post. The frustration and anger aroused by it have in those moments goaded me to quit writing altogether. But choosing not to stay ‘throwed’, and instead write again, has remarkably brought the discovery of richer thoughts and writing. These would not have been possible if I threw in the towel. I have since put measures to mitigate such losses. But I do not for one second consider what I lost, but more so what I gained by remaining faithful to my path of writing.
For the past three years, I have used schedule and structure as my bread and butter in sticking to consistent blog writing. Below I will show you how they aid in achieving goals in life.
When we first started looking for Esther’s first school, we were not aware of how schedule and structure would influence our decision. Cost played a role as well but the greater emphasis on choice was first dictated by the schedule. We inquired how many days and hours she would spend in school. It was a litmus test to determine the school’s dedication and commitment to the program they followed. It would tell us their level of investment in terms of time. Similarly, in writing, I learned maintaining a solid writing and publishing rhythm requires a schedule. From this insight, I scheduled my weekly blog posting for Thursdays. The rhythm created by having a schedule leads to a steady and predictable pace towards reaching your goals.
If your goal is losing ten pounds, a workout and perhaps an eating regimen are vital to its realization. A sample schedule would include how many days, and the time each week, you will work out as well as a meal plan. Having a blog publishing schedule helps me be fully immersed in my writing and do the deep work that produces value-adding content.
Best-selling author, leader, and creator of the Full Focus Planner, Michael Hyatt, was accurate when he said, “What gets scheduled gets done.” Without a writing schedule, it would not have been possible to maintain the consistent pace that has carried me into my third year of blogging. When you look back to the goals you have accomplished, can you trace their achievements to having a schedule? A schedule doesn’t have to be perfect at first, it just needs to be present. It can be adjusted as you go. Once a schedule is in place, a structure can be inserted.
After learning the school schedule for a potential school, we inquired about the structure next. We wanted to know the program and activities that would fit into the schedule for Esther’s daily school routine. This knowledge would give us the confidence that the potential for educational success is possible for our daughter.
My structure for blog writing is two-pronged:
- Use a monthly series blog structure
- Keep the blog content between 900-1100 words.
A structure that revolves around a schedule has kept me writing, especially in difficult personal seasons. In the example of losing ten pounds, an effective structure might comprise running/walking on the treadmill/outside and/or lifting weights. A structure in tandem with a schedule keeps you on track when you are having an “off day” or one of those, “I am not feeling it” days. Positive habits tend to thrive where a schedule and a structure are present and followed.
Final thought: Getting ‘throwed’ is not always in our control. But staying ‘throwed’ is a decision we choose to make. How do you not stay “throwed”? Funnel your devotion, passion, and determination into a predictive and productive schedule and structure. This creates the best environment to remain faithful and get closer to reaching a goal.
Keep on Keeping on