A couple years ago, I read two books that were very impactful upon me. One was ‘The Slight Edge‘ by Jeff Olson, and the second was ‘The Compound Effect‘ by Darren Hardy. These books really helped me transition from the business world to the missionary calling I have now embraced.
Seven Life Principals:
In Reading Jeff Olson’s ‘The Slight Edge’, he gives 7 principals in life that have caused him, and many others to be successful in life, business, and sports.
1. Show Up – That is, whatever particular endeavor you are called to, be there. If school or academia, attend all the lectures, complete all the reading, lab, research, and homework assignments, and schedule 2 hours/day of study time. If sports, hit every work out, and then work on disciplined drills, an extra 20 mins to half and hour/day. If business, keep a consistent work schedule. Show up!
2. Be consistent:
In both ‘The Slight Edge’ and ‘The Compound Effect’ it is slight, disciplined changes, performed daily, every day, that bring huge results. Read 10 pages of inspirational books/day, exercise 15-20 mins every day, cut 150 junk calories out of your diet every day, substitute one hour of listening to the news or entertainment with the same hour listening to educational, motivational, instructional or inspirational material.
3. Keep a good attitude: So much can, and has been said about our attitude, and guarding our hearts. As Christians, we must constantly walk in love, forgiveness, and keep the garden of our heart, our inner life free from the weeds of offense, unforgiveness, bitterness, cynicism,lies, and deliberately remaining loving, joyful, enthusiastic, exuding the power of heaven over the circumstances of this fallen, broken, and often hurting world. Attitude determines altitude. Who would you rather spend time with? Someone always depressed and down, or someone on fire, bubbling over with life, joy, and love? Think about it.
4.Plan for the long haul:
In both books, it was these slight disciplines, performed consistently, over 18 months, that brought incredible results. Seeds are powerful things, and though they may not look like much, the multiplied effect of small consistent actions, creates an unstoppable force for success, in whatever endeavor or vocation you are called to in life, as long as it is legal, moral, and in line with God’s specific plan for your life. Remember that success has come from the daily schedule, therefore, as you experience your day in the spotlight, enjoying the fruit of the process, remember to maintain the process, or you will begin to lose, what you have gained. Stay the course!
5. Have faith and a burning desire:
Faith is trust. Trust that the process you have implemented will be supported by God and His Word, and that even when nothing appears to be happening in your daily circumstances, that powerful invisible forces are being marshaled on your behalf. Stay passionate for your purpose and goals, focused, and your day will come.
6. Be willing to pay the price:
Hard times will come. Distractions, persecutions, heartbreaks, betrayals, disappointments, and the challenges of life come to all of our lives. Yet, the decisions we make, daily, in the long dark night of our soul, will determine the outcome of our particular trial. You cannot be defeated if you will not quit. This is not just good preaching, but a fact of life. Keep doing the small, disciplined things daily you know to do, and you will succeed, always.
7. Practice Integrity:
I like the way he says that: ‘practice’ integrity. I think of this the way a doctor ‘practices’ medicine. He or she spend many, many years learning the human body and how to cure it, yet they recognize after all of their training and experience, they are still practicing the field of medicine. They have not arrived yet. So, I have learned, it is with integrity. Certain things will forever be right or wrong, there is absolute moral truth revealed in the Word of God, but as our responsibility levels in life grow, more is required of us to maintain integrity. Think about our growth. A two year old is taught ‘Don’t hit!’. An eight year old is taught ‘Don’t hit your brother!’ A teen is taught: ‘Only hit in self defense!’, a young husband and father is taught: ‘Don’t hit, unless in defense of your family.’, a soldier or police officer is taught: ‘Don’t hit unless an enemy or criminal throws the first punch, or in the case of combat, in defense of freedom, ‘Don’t fire unless fired upon.”. From ‘Don’t hit!’ in the life of a toddler, to the right and responsibility to use deadly force in a combat or wartime situation, requires growth in the area of integrity.
Yet, fleeing sexual immorality, faithfulness to our spouses, refusing to lie, cheat, or steal, refusal to compromise our faith, are inviolate principals.
We fight daily, to keep our spoken word, our bond, to pay our bills on time, to treat others honorably the way we would want to be treated, no matter what happens.
As I discussed this one day, with my business partner of seven years, we came to the following conclusion, that our definition of integrity is simply: ‘A firm decision to do right, no matter what happens’
As we have dealt with contracts, work place accidents, hiring and firing employees, and some very difficult clients, and contracts that went to hell in a hand-basket, we have lived this out
This is the practice of integrity.
His principals are good, but as I thought I would make up a list of seven daily disciplines for myself. I’m working on them, and have five complete, still seeking God for the other two. How about you, what are some daily disciplines you have developed, or might implement, to get where God want YOU to succeed in life?
For the record, here are my five so far: 1.Prayer and morning devotions 2. Reading through the Bible each Year 3. Regular Exercise 4. Daily commitment to love my wife and family time. 5. On-going academic and spiritual growth
I am not sure what 6 and 7 will be, but probably 6 might be to manage and increase my finances, so that I can give more to the ministries I support. 7. Deliberately choose a group of people to mentor and encourage in the things of God.
What are your daily disciplines?