Build the New

How much energy have I spent in reliving the past? It is a time locked in concrete and cannot be changed. All the “I wish I would have, could have, or should have” to no avail. What is done is done, yet so hard to be done with.

There are a few old computer programs I liked. They were familiar, therefore making it easier to use. But as technology improved, they became less appealing, buggier, and simply outdated. To keep those programs operating took more work and eventually the costs outweighed the benefits.

Like the computer programs, companies often struggle when they can’t adapt to the times. They held onto the old ways of doing business and got outpaced by their competitors. The “why fix it if it ain’t broke” mentality holds true, unless one is unaware that it is indeed broken.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Socrates

Companies that can build the new stay relevant.

Computer programs that are technologically with the times will outperform the legacy programs of yesterday.

And then, there is us. If we are constantly fighting the old, we will continuously find ourselves in a losing battle. Would it not be better for us to concentrate on building the new?

Mind, body, and spirit. If what we did in the past is no longer serving us, we would be better off building a new way to do things. It takes observation and analysis to build self-awareness. This is review of the past, not dwelling in the past. We must look to the future and plan a deviation from previously failed actions. This is strategy, not fantasy. It is in the present moment that the changes are made. Work on building the new, not fighting the old.

Examining Epictetus #32 Daily Improvements

I am believer in destiny. Specifically, I am a believer in my own destiny. There is a person out there who I am meant to become. If there is one primary objective I have in this life, it is to become that person.

Though I have always believed this to be the case, I have not always lived it. I have spent years trying to discover who this person is supposed to be. I have spent an equal amount of time coasting along and not even searching for this person. And unfortunately, I have also spent a considerable amount of time trying to deny who this person is. Sadly, those were the times when I was my most miserable. To be someone you are not supposed to be is a most unhappy existence.

But what does Socrates say? “Just as one person delights in improving his farm, and another his horse, so I delight in attending to my own improvement day by day.

Epictetus

Several years ago, I had an epiphany. I wasn’t happy with my personal progress and needed a change. I got comfortable and was once again coasting through life. Diet and exercise were the first major shakeup. If I wanted to change who I was on the inside, I must change who I was on the outside. It is amazing how many people understand this concept, yet do not take the steps to make this change!

Once I established a routine for my external being, I began to work on the internal. This meant watching less television, spending less time idling through the days, and more time hitting the accelerator on my own development. Believe it or not, this was the easy part. As an avid reader of fiction, all I had to do was switch my content. No longer was I delving into someone’s fantasy world. Instead, I began immersing myself in the real world.

What were the benefits of these two changes? I look and feel better, and I am more attune to my surroundings. A step in the right direction! Finally, my feet were firmly on the ground and walking toward the person I was supposed to become. But that step was not enough. I had to keep going by adding more layers. The next step was to share my journey and begin helping others. Yes, I was on a very personal quest, but part of that quest was to leave some portion of this world a little better off than when I found it. And the only way to do that was to keep improving.


Every morning,  I wake up with the desire to take another step. With these words from Socrates in mind, I attend to my own improvements daily. It is truly a delight as I see the progress being made, as well as  the potential of what is to come. Someday, I will be the person I was destined to become. And if I can do this, so can you. All you must do is take that first step.

Strong Body, Beautiful Body

Some say the body is a temple. Yet like the body, not all temples are the same.  Some are carved out of abandoned shopping centers, while others are magnificent structures designed to glorify the Deity it represents.

All temples began the same way. A dream and a vision, the clearing of ground, and then the work to build the structure. Once completed, it became a place of worship and spirituality.

It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.

Socrates

At forty-seven years of age, I still look in the mirror and imagine what my body can become. I can’t control my height, facial structure, or any of the odd features I was born with. Instead, I can only try to control the things within my power. I can make what I can control beautiful and strong. My temple holds my heart and my spirit. Therefore, I work to make it a worthy structure fit for a child of God. While on the earth, this body is the only I have, and I treat it with the reverence it deserves.

How is your temple coming along? It would be a shame to grow old and never be able to see the beauty and strength it is capable of achieving.


Feature photo by Jade Stephens on Unsplash.

Proverbs 30:2-3 More Stupid than Any Man

Confucius and Socrates were by no means considered foolish. Instead, they were some of the most brilliant thinkers of their time. And yet, this is what they said:

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. -Confucius

One thing that I know, and that is that I know nothing. -Socrates

There was a king named Agur, the son of Jakeh. Nobody knows who he or his father was. But whoever he may have been, he was wise enough to write the 30th chapter of Proverbs. And how did he start off his chapter? With these words:

Surely I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One.

Proverbs 30:2-3

I think I have made some progress over the years. But compared to Confucius, Socrates, or even Agur, I have barely even scratched the surface. Whatever stores of knowledge I have accumulated has only led me to the realization that my pursuit is not complete. In fact, it will never be complete.

First Move Yourself

Natural disasters, pandemics, global elitist playing the part of puppet master, drought, starvation, war, inflation.

So much in this world that weighs us down physically and mentally. Why is this happening to us? Why now? How do we stop it?

Why us and why now really come down to our viewpoint. The good times are the easiest to remember and certainly the times we long for. But catastrophes do not discriminate. They don’t just go after you and the ones you love. They attack anybody and everybody that gets in their way. A tidal wave doesn’t pick who its victims will be. It is an equal-opportunity destroyer. The hard times has always come and gone only to turn around and come again. It is rather depressing if you allow it to depress you.

What about trying to stop it? Equally depressing is the answer. Some things you just can’t stop. You can give water to him that thirsts, but can you stop a drought?

Let him that would move the world first move himself.

Socrates

Leave it to Socrates to find a glimmer of hope in what seems to be an unfixable situation. Maybe there are some things we cannot change, but there are some that we can. We can be the catalysts that sparks a movement. We can be the rock in which others find shelter and comfort. We can be these things but not without a price. What is this price? We must first be willing to change. We must become the pinnacle of self-improvement. We must learn to grow, adapt, and as Gandhi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” It begins with us on the individual level. And once we fix ourselves, we can go about trying to fix the world.


Feature photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Why Staying Busy Isn’t Good Enough

Like many in the world, I’m locked down. Can’t go to work. Can’t hang out with friends and family.

And over the last couple of weeks, I have been working longer hours than usual. I get up, work out, and start working on projects around the house or at my parent’s house. I’m getting things done and really trying to stay busy. But there are draw backs, and I’ve noticed something else over the last couple of weeks.

When I punch the clock, I have more discipline. I know I have a limited amount of free time and so I try to squeeze in as much as I can. But now I am not punching a clock. As a result, my intensity has fallen off. I am not squeezing as hard. The creative work I try to do and the self-development that I try to pursue has fallen off. I have been busy. Things are getting done, but the things I feel that I am called to pursue in life have taken a back seat. I am moving but not forward in the way that I should.

Beware of the braveness of a busy life. -Socrates

Discipline is easy when it is forced upon you. As a soldier, I had no choice but to be disciplined. If I wanted to succeed, I had to have it. Same way when it comes to my professional life. To progress and become better, I have to have discipline whether I am on or off of the clock.

But now there is no clock, and I find my discipline is starting to waver. The sense of urgency is starting to diminish. I am reminded of the times in my past when everything was dark, a time when there was no drive and definitely no discipline. It is in recalling those times that I have to get back to the basics. I have to force the structure and routine back into my daily schedule. I have to punch my own internal clock and regain a sense of urgency.

Just moving in and of itself is not going to work. I have move with a purpose. I have to move with intention towards the direction I want to go. Even in these times when the world seems to be standing still, I can still move forward.