I’m obsessed with reflection. I spend a lot of time writing and reading, planning and thinking. I’m do feel that I’m a little young to be writing memoirs. I mean, how much could I possibly even know at this point? And yet I feel like an old soul.
My crazy thought was this: if I just spend a consistent amount of time building myself up to be the best I can be, opportunities would show themselves. Certainly, this turned out to be the case.
Here is a list of active projects I’ve been working on for several months (in some cases, several years). I’m going to explain my basic methodology, what I’ve learned, the mistakes I’ve made, and adjustments as I move forward. There’s no method to this madness so I will probably just write free flowing thought and edit it later.
1. Following God
One day, I woke up and was disgusted with myself. How far had I slipped morally? How did that affect my health, my relationships, and my finances? If I was to face my Maker one day, would I end up in his Book of Life?
“One year, God,” I said. “For one year, I will serve You. If You let me down this time, we’re done.”
This goes very deep. It goes deep into my past, deep into my sin, it exposes the skeletons in my closet, the demons I faced on a regular basis for years and years and years.
I won’t cover it now, but let’s just say the obvious: what kind of arrogant prayer was this? What kind of all-powerful Creator would still love such a silly, spoiled child to answer this prayer positively? God is love. To this day, I don’t fully understand why He loves me.
But this is without question the best decision I’ve ever made. I believe at that moment when I prayed that arrogant prayer, when I set my heart on repentance, and cried out for help in my own selfish, broken fashion — that is when I was saved. For the first time in my life, I had the Holy Spirit dwelling within me. My life is transformed completely inside and out.
I pray that God will use me to share with others what He has done for me.
2. Gym Rat
Changing my life meant changing my activities. Being jobless and moving back in with my parents humbled me a lot. I stopped hanging out with friends that weren’t good for me. I stopped partnering with less-than-ethical business partners. I stopped finding comfort in the wrong activities. But this led to me feeling extremely lonely.
I laugh as I write this, because the story is really quite funny. I decided with a friend of mine (who seemed to also be going through a season of humbling) that if we were going to be depressed, we might as well be simultaneously physically attractive.
I started going to the gym. I started running long distances. I started tweaking my diet to sculpt my body. I wrote down my meals and my workouts in my notebooks. I asked for help from people that knew more than I did. I read articles on the internet and tried things out [most of which did not work very well]. I was honest with myself when I tracked my progress. Little by little, I improved.
I weigh 150 pounds. I benchpress 225 pounds. I deadlift 415. I squat 455. I can run 10-15 miles at any given time I want before my knees start to hurt (my goal is to be able to run a marathon, and progress to ultra as a bucket-list type of thing). I am at 10 percent bodyfat. I’m addicted to forward progress.
I love, love, love helping other people move forward, but I find almost none who are willing to be consistent.
3. Book nerd
I picked up the reading habit about 10 years ago. I was young and stupid and reckless, but hardworking. I was fortunate to run into ambitious businessmen that taught me the power of reading books.
I’ve read (or at least skimmed til I got bored) hundreds of books from a wide variety of topics. From the Bible, to books on business skills, relationships, health and fitness, finances, to literature, how-to books of all kinds, motivational books, biographies, and religion.
I’ve still got quite a bit of room to grow. I’m nowhere near where I want to be. I really feel like I’m just getting started. I’m really enjoying my current focus — apologetics. I’ve become quite the Amazon One-Click junkie. Books on philosophy and history and economics, essays and long-form contemporary journalism and essays, still books on business and books on self-development, books on Christianity.
I remember feeling so stupid for spending tons of money on books and seminars and CDs (and believe it or not, tapes), because everyone else was buying nice clothes and having fun partying. I tried to do the same, but I was always broke (and quite frankly, still am).
I am miles ahead of where I was. I may not yet be ahead of my peers, but I hold on to the hope that this habit will set me apart for the rest of my life from others who follow the crowd.
For years I’ve had a simple goal regarding relationships: to widen the circle of people I know and to deepen the ones that I resonate with most. I’ve never set this as a goal (at least on paper), but I’ve also done a ton of house cleaning over the years — removing friends that weren’t really friends, cutting ties with people that weren’t going anywhere, setting boundaries with people I meet.
This isn’t work for me. I think as much as I’ve been shy over the years, and as much as I’ve lacked confidence in myself, I’ve always been drawn to building relationships. I get ansy when I don’t have people in my day, and I tend to turn into a social media addict and texting junkie until I get my fix.
I was once terrified of approaching strangers, even though I constantly hungered for connection. Through various stints in sales and public speaking, I’ve not completely gotten rid of my fear of strangers or rejection, but I no longer allow fear to stop me from pursuing what I want.
I tend to meet at least three new people every day. I used to be an aggressive “networker” A.K.A. business card collector and fake personality email sender (before social media became so popular), but I’m more of a resonation guy now who keeps in touch with people only if it makes sense to keep in touch with them.
I have a group of friends that I fellowship with regularly — most of us have a common love in Jesus Christ, but several of the best people I know and love and talk to regularly believe differently than I do. I hope they feel the same way I do about them.
One more thing. I’ve also failed. A lot. And big. I’ve come to understand that because of my immaturity and failures in character, I am responsible for neglecting and destroying some of the most important relationships in my life — many that are beyond saving. From romantic to professional to friends and family and even strangers. I apologize to the people I’ll never get an opportunity to make it up to. I pray that my Father in Heaven will repay you for the kindness you showed me that I can never repay.
5. Lazy Ass
For the first quarter of the year, God sent me at least eight separate people, many who didn’t know me or my story, telling me to that I needed to rest.
It’s funny that I have to try to rest. I suppose this is what the author of Hebrews states when he talks about “laboring into His rest.” The reason it’s funny is because if you know my past at all, you know that all I ever did was be as lazy as I possibly could.
I was a big pot-smoker in high school. I found a loophole in the school’s attendance policy that allowed me to easily miss at least 50% of my classes. I used to stay up late, play video games, and skip school. I was known as the guy that was “most likely to sleep through college.”
Later on, after realizing how much time I’d lost, I developed a chip on my shoulder mentality and tried to earn all my time back by adopting the other extreme: workaholism. I speculate that this is partially a result of growing up with a need to perform to be accepted.
By the way, I did, in fact, sleep through most of my college classes, but I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management Economics in three years. The degree is happily sitting in my closet, collecting dust.
And that’s where I’m at. As Vonnegut would say, “So it goes.”