The past few years or so have been highly impactful on the way that I craft my lifestyle. It started with the book I wrote, ARROWS, which is a primer on missional lifestyle design. As I began developing my thoughts on what a missional lifestyle should look like, I had no choice but to trim the fat. The bare-bones version of missional living meant simplifying life so that you have the flexibility, mobility, resources and time to hit the curve balls life throws at you in a way that does the most for the Kingdom of God. Naturally, my ideas evolve over time. As I come to understand more truths of life I can piece them together to create a new perspective within my old worldview.
Over and over, one theme keeps reoccurring:
Invest in things that matter and let those that don't matter take care of themselves.
Humility is one of those words that, somewhere along the way, has gotten lost in translation. Kind of like the word "love." I love my family. I also love pizza (can I get an amen?). The term has simply been demoted from its position of prominence and depth to one of flippant overuse. Like love, humility fell into the same habit of casual use and has since lost the punch in its meaning. Its proper or technical definition is "a modest or low view of one's own importance." These days, it's something more along the lines of, "ego buffer." You can't do anything awesome these days without having to preface your awesomeness with, "I'm so humbled to have this opportunity to..." Let's be honest, most of the people prefacing their Oscar acceptance speech with, "I'm so humbled" don't have a "modest or low view of their own importance."
History is being made right now. What are you doing to make your mark? We read stories of great men and women throughout the last 100 years braving the frigid cold of the Arctic or modern day adventurers climbing snow summits in Iceland. These are compelling, engaging stories and guess what! You could be those people. After reading about the exotic adventures and meaningful discoveries that people are making, I have to wonder, "what am I doing?" We live in such an incredible world with adventure waiting on every side of us. I caught the bug over this past summer as I backpacked for two months across eleven countries. After returning home from that trip I couldn't help but see TV for what it is - a waste of a beautiful life. My friend, Micah, and I climbed to the peak of the tallest mountain in Ireland, jumped into the fairy pools in Scotland, saw Phantom of the Opera in London, hammocked in a coastal village in Italy, drank tea from a pier overlooking a crystal lake in Switzerland, got pick-pocketed in Rome, slept in a tent during a thunderstorm in Venice, soaked in the mineral pools of Budapest and drank wine under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Television... lol
Traditions are one of those subtle things that makes home, home. Even if it's an absolutely horrible tradition, like fruitcake. Do we even need to have that discussion? Either way, I'm a huge advocate of tradition, but - like inside jokes - the best ones aren't planned. They evolve over the years because a person or group enjoys doing something every year and it becomes a staple that everyone would miss if it didn't happen.
One such tradition for us, sort of fell into our laps - the annual Jolibois Family Christmas Picture.
There is a constant war being waged in your mind. A war between your wants and your needs. Armies of voices in your head will tell you that you need to turn off the alarm and lay back down. But don't listen to them. Listen to the small voice in the back of your head that is whispering...
Just one generation ago, big business was where everything happened. Now, we're in an age of entrepreneurship and limitless potential. In the past, people would work at one job their entire lives - today, people quit, move on, start their own projects, enjoy the freedom, collaborate, explore and take risks.
Some of these risks have manifested themselves in game changing ways. Entire industries have been expanded, modified or completely disbanded because of brave people willing to go for it. Boundaries in innovation, creativity, industry, business and technology should be pushed - the results are empowering.
I love listening to motivational speakers because, most often, it's like listening to stand-up comedy.
"Do you have a dream, ma'am? Yes ma'am, you in the front row, red sweater. Do you have a dream? May I ask what it is?" "Um... okay... to... to have my own cooking show." "And what an incredible dream that is! Give her a round of applause for her courage folks." *clapping* "Ma'am... you've just admitted to us what your dream is... that took courage. Now the biggest step is over with. We're all going to be here to support you along your journey as you pursue your dream. Pursue it with gusto! Pursue it with vigor! Pursue it with a reckless abandon!"
Everyone who knows me well knows that I like to keep a clean and semi-orderly workspace. In fact, before I sit down to write I grab a cup of coffee, light a candle, put on some instrumental music, and straighten up my space. I always thought it was because I was a neat-freak... but that doesn't make any sense. My car, while uncluttered, has dirt and leaves on the floor mats that I haven't bothered to clean out from my last camping trip. What's the difference between my obsessive need for cleanliness and order in my work space but not in my car? Why don't those traits carry over to every aspect of my life?
The holiday season is notoriously stressful. Between shopping for dozens of people, decorating the house and tree, cooking extravagant, multi-course meals and being crowded into tiny spaces with lots of family members, you can empathize, I'm sure. The insanity and chaos that ensues from traditions such as Black Friday certainly doesn't help either.
As I sat in Sunday School yesterday morning, our teacher brought up a rather cool connection. I'm sure many of you smart cookies out there have already drawn this conclusion but it was new to me! He said that Thanksgiving comes at a time of year that perfectly precedes the Christmas season because it buffers the onslaught of Holiday stress with a time of gratitude. Though the histories of the two holidays are not related, it's quite incredible how one acts as the gate keeper for the other. The practice of being grateful that is often encouraged during the Thanksgiving holidays primes the heart and mind with contentment. As a result, you're more likely to have a greater focus on family and friends, more apt to give even if you don't receive and more inclined to get through the daily grind with minimal stress.
Hey kid! I've got a proposition for ya, I think you're gonna love it. You know I'm running my own company and we've done pretty well over the last five years... well, I was thinking that once you graduated college you might like to come work for me! I've got a position with your name on it. It's a pretty good job if I do say so myself... you'll be making six figures to start not to mention bonuses, a company car and some great perks. Anyway, if you're up for it, I have a few requests for you. I want you to complete every homework assignment, make A's on every exam, get involved in a student life organization on campus and volunteer at the local food shelters on the weekends. If you can do that, the job is yours. Waddaya say kid?
Doodles, by their very nature, are non-threatening.
I mean, seriously... doodles? Rather than have religious doctrine laid out in front of you in all its complexity and depth for the first time, wouldn't you rather your friend buy you a cup of coffee and ask the barista for a few extra napkins to doodle on? See, here's the cool part about it - no one expects doodles to convey the complexities. No one sketches a Rembrandt and expects the viewer to stand in awe or examine the play of light and color or admire the details... because you can't. So if you ask an art aficionado to give you a beginner's lesson on Rembrandt and he pulls out a napkin and his sketch pen, you don't freak out. You expect simply to hit the highlights - to ski the bunny slopes. In the same vein, when you pull out a napkin to share the Gospel, your listener doesn't expect incredibly daunting theology to be thrust upon them but rather a crash course. With a napkin, the concept is so utterly familiar that you feel like, at least on a rudimentary level, you can understand it! No one is afraid of a napkin.
I found a little gem on social media the other day. As I read it, I knew something wasn't quite right. I got a sickly feeling in my heart, not because I was offended by what I read but because I realized how many people hold a slighted and cynical view of marriage. My first instinct was to stamp everything with a bright red "FALSE!" but as I brought my gavel down, I realized I couldn't... because it was all true. Here's what it said:
The emphasis on individuality in our culture has infected the minds of everyone, myself included. While that may sound unnecessarily ominous, the impact is quite larger than many believe it to be. We are one of the relatively small number of cultures that puts such large stock in being your own person, being self-sufficient, riding solo etc. Many other cultures place greater emphasis, instead, on family, working teams, groups and larger functioning units of society. The understanding behind this way of life, that I'm afraid is being lost in our culture, is that our lives, though we may have persuaded ourselves otherwise, have a huge impact on other people.
In that moment I was grounded. I could feel the fire. I could taste the coffee. I could hear the music. I soaked it all in, intentionally ingraining the memory in my mind. Surrounding me sat some of the men who I respect most in life and my stomach was full on southern cooking - it couldn't get much better than that.
I wish I could make exceptions for my friends, family... even myself. Yet it seems that no matter what situation I find myself in, I'm greeted by the incessant boasting of feats that do nothing but publicly display the boaster's ignorance, lack of self-control or, in some instances, complete idiocy. If I may make a reference to pop culture to illustrate my point, turn your attention to one of our "stars."
Evernote is the best tool that I have found to help you live a smoother, stress-free life by helping you declutter and organize you mind with little effort. If you're new to Evernote, check out the crash course. I also wrote another post taking a deeper look at my personal system for organizing my Notes for those freaks like me who are interested in obsessive, organizational structure. While crammed with great information for the traditional Evernote users, these two posts didn't explore the cooler, lesser-known functions of Evernote. Let's move past the basics and show you a few tricks to becoming an Evernote ninja.
Evernote has been an invaluable tool to help me organize my life. It allows me to mind-vomit my thoughts, inspiration, lists, questions, work and more so that I can get everything out of my head.
I wrote this post explaining that process on using Evernote to help you destress, hone your focus and begin creating the best work of your life. But I wanted to go a bit further in unveiling my personal processes to help y'all understand just how customizable you can get and hopefully inspire y'all to have fun creating your own system.
As a blogger, designer, photographer, business owner, author, former student, employee, avid reader, compulsive list maker and more, sometimes my mind can get a little too cluttered and it's in those moments that I need a place to unload it all. For the past several years, Evernote has served that purpose and continues to do so incredibly well. For those that are not familiar with it, it is a digital note-taking application that syncs across all of your devices and can be used to store documents, text, audio, images, lists and more so that you always have access to your information.
As a follow up on those thoughts, I want to walk you through the powerful functions of Evernote and show you why I've chosen it as my tool of choice. I believe that everyone can leverage this tool to help them improve their focus, their productivity, their organization, their creativity and their timeliness.
I have been fascinated by the practices and rituals of the world's elite. Those masterminds who consistently seem to be producing extraordinary content and still find time to read 50 books a year. How do they juggle everything that they have going on without collapsing under the demands on their time and energy?
What I'm about to show you is a proven system for many individuals to help them improve their focus, produce their best work and manage their time without compromising their sanity.
Camping, like other activities, has a small learning curve. If we aren't used to being without certain conveniences, we might find ourselves stumped over an ordinarily simple task. Here are a few of the essentials of camping to help you along.
I woke up and groggily stepped outside of my room. As I opened the door I was immediately welcomed by a cool, fall breeze. My heart skipped a beat as the fresh air awakened my senses.
"YES!" I thought. "Fall is here."
And when fall is here, it means camping season is here. Warm fires, wool socks, black coffee (or not) and flap jacks - it's all a part of the magic of camping in Autumn. If you have never been camping, don't worry! I got your back.
Now that the cool weather is setting in, it's time to break out the sleeping bags and marshmallows. Camping has been a part of my life since childhood and I absolutely crave it. For a short time, as the dry, autumn leaves rustle beneath your feet, nothing else matters.
For some, however, they can't imagine why anyone would want to sleep on the hard ground, smell like smoke, potentially freeze at night and pee behind a tree. Allow me to explain:
A well-read gentleman (or lady) understands the inherent and artistic value of a curated book list. If you are an avid reader already, perhaps you have a collection of authors who's books you eagerly consume and cherish. Collecting a personal library of books is a wonderfully easy (and relatively cheap) way of building a "board of advisors" so to speak. Books are the compact, organized package of knowledge and wisdom from brilliant minds across the centuries making it, easily, one of the most beneficial investments of our time and money.
In a time when people are reading almost constantly whether it be a text message or an advertisement, it really is quite incredible how few books are being read. The long-form book is rarely appreciated for what it truly brings to the table. In my own recent efforts to become a better man, I wanted to reacquaint myself with the physical, hard-copy book that I used to know and love. It wasn't until I began reading regularly that I fell in love with reading again. I hope you'll join me in my reading adventures. Perhaps, first, we should look to the benefits of reading. The following fourteen listed here are benefits that I have come to see first-hand in my own life.
Potential energy is energy stored within a substance, waiting to be released, such as a coiled spring. Kinetic, on the other hand, is active energy, found often in detonated atomic bombs or small children.
In regards to our faith, we often live with a potential faith instead of a kinetic faith. Misguided by cultural expectations or perhaps just ignorant of what Jesus asks of His disciples, people store faith away as an intellectual pursuit, never realizing it as an active lifestyle.
We should take ownership of our faith because faith, like life, must be kinetic to grow and move forward.
I woke up and rolled over, turning off the alarm. Looking at my clock, I saw it was around one in the morning. I silently crept into the computer room, switched on the monitor and my face lit up with the cool glow. I pulled up a web browser - I think it may have been Internet Explorer back then - and did a quick Google search for...
I am one of those people who loves things to be just so; I like my pens lined up in perfect rows on my desk and my coffee to be the (Okay, it's not that bad). Sometimes, this desire for perfection in everything I do tends to cause this enormous pile of content that I have created but haven't put out there to the world. I've got about a hundred ideas in my Evernote notebooks that are marinating, waiting for me to cross the t's and dot the i's before I let them breathe.
I've been trying to break this habit and, as a result, in the last eight months I have: