Thursday, November 10, 2011

A letter from Africa

A decade ago I sponsored a young lad in Africa.  About three times a year I hear from this now young adult in the form of a written letter.  Want to feel good?  I suggest sponsoring a child.  For the small amount I donate I receive in exchange letters gushing with gratitude.

For fun I thought I'd  share with you a portion of his letter.  (His name has been changed for protection reasons)

....  Much regards to Jacob, I am happy to hear that Jacob will be going to school soon and for your daughter I wish her all the best  as she is still going to school.  Tell your wife that our family is praying for her.

Pass my family greetings to Jacob, Winona, and Autumn.  We all love you very much and are always in our daily prayers.

Then he sent a poem he had written

When I woke up in the morning lying on my bed, I was asking my self what is the secret to success in life?  I found the answers in my room.

The fan said be cool.
The roof said aim high
The window said see the world
The clock said every moment in very special.
The mirror said reflect before you act.
The calendar said be up-to-date.
The door said push hard for your goals.

And not to forget the carpet said kneel down and pray.
Carry a smile that never hates.
Carry a smile that never fades.
Carry a smile that never hurts.
Have a purposeful day in the Lord.
God bless us to be a blessing into others.

Thank you all for being a blessing to my life.

Your Friend,

One small gift a month, and in return I get letters like these.  Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stupidity and Butterflies

One thing I miss about being a teenager is being stupid.   When I was younger I never experienced stress.  Now it seems as though the older I get, the more I over-think things, and the more I experience stress.  I feel the tension of trying to do great work, providing for my family, and leading a life of character.   I am not overwhelmed, but for a week I've had a knot in my stomach.  This persistent knot is new to me.  Normally when I get the butterflies it will last for just a few minutes, but this is unusual.  I want it to go away.

Last week I made a quick announcement in front of 400 people regarding the dates, location, and theme of a conference I am helping out on.  I'm really excited about this conference.  But for whatever reason about 20 minutes before I was to go on stage to make the announcement, I freaked out.  This is where I wish I was stupid again.  Because during my freakfest not only did I imagine me fumbling over my words, but that my short little announcement (that I had thoroughly prepared for) wouldn't go over well.   In my mind I imagined the worst case scenario, and then I hit the "repeat" button.  

This is where being stupid would have come in handy.

If I was stupid, I wouldn't have thought about failure, I would have gone ahead spoke in front of a large group and done my thing.

Maybe stupidity is why Mark Zuckerberg succeeded with Facebook, maybe stupidity is the reason why Lindberg succeeded flying across the Atlantic.  Think about Lindberg, do you think it was smart to fly the Spirit of St. Louis over the Atlantic when nobody else had done it before?  That's about as dumb as you can get.  To Zuckerberg, Lindberg and countless other successful endeavors, logic was thrown out the door and only possibilities remained.

You and I with our big brains over-think failure and create sound evidence in our minds to shove our dreams to the side. 

All of us have that self-doubting voice in our head, all of us get butterflies when we're about to attempt to do something out of our comfort zone.   We want that knot in our stomach to go away, we want the butterflies to stop floating.  No matter what I write, I'm not ever going to make those things go away for you or me. 

But here is the tough thing - you have a choice.  You can untie the knot and you can kill the butterflies in your stomach by ending your dream, which will finally give you relief.  Or you can you climb the knot, ride those butterflies, and keep your dream alive.