Sunday, September 27, 2009

High Tide or Low Tide

I've come to a pretty remarkable realization lately. In 23 years I've learned that life is not easy. In fact, it's quite hard. There are ups and there are downs. There are highs and there are lows. Sometimes, it's low after low after low; others, it's a string of highs with the occasional low. Sometimes the highs feel higher than the lows are low and maybe, more frequently, the lows feel lower. One thing is for sure though, there will definitely be lows mixed in with the highs.

It makes sense for highs and lows to come together. If we have the occasional high mixed in with everyday life, then our everyday life would quickly become our low and the mixed in high would be the high. And if we only had highs then they would no longer be highs but merely everyday life. So, it makes perfect sense to have highs and lows mixed together.

It's a good thing they come together. I would rather have highs with lows, than no highs at all. When was the last time you had an average day and thought to yourself, "wow, I just love life. Today was amazing." We need highs to appreciate everything we've been given. It seems so simple to me, yet to others the concept is hard to grasp.

Currently, I am reading a book called Crimes Against Logic: Exposing the Bogus Arguments of Politicians, Priests, Journalists, and Other Serial Offenders. It was while reading this book, which is actually pretty good, that I began to think about writing this post. In the book, the author, Jamie Whyte, talks about inconsistencies in people's thoughts and arguments. He says there are inconsistencies everywhere but many times they are not easily recognized. He uses the example of evil and existence of an all-powerful, all-good god. He says, "Their inconsistency is not immediately obvious, but inconsistent they are. An all-good god would want to avoid any evil he could and an all-powerful god would be able to avoid any evil he wanted. Hence, if there was an all-good and all-powerful god, there would be no evil." He continues by defining what could be evil. "By 'evil' I mean nothing metaphysical: toothache, trailer-park destroying tornadoes, or torture will do."

How sad I was for this man. He's an extremely bright, well-educated man; and yet, he doesn't understand the beauty and blessings of having highs and lows. I wonder if he thinks God, being all-powerful and all-good, should take away all of our trials and our lows? Would our life be that much better if there was no heart-ache, no pain, and no sorrow? Would we ever think to ourselves that a certain day was extraordinary and made us grateful to be alive? Or would everyday just be average? Days that make us grateful to be alive are what make people happy. Would an "all-good" god take away the ability to have those days by taking away the contrast?

God is all-powerful and He is all-good. I know this for a fact. And, it is because He is all-good that there is evil.
Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light and create the darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."
And He does this because He loves us. He wants us to learn and grow and be happy; all of which come from having highs and lows. Without them, we would have no understanding of what happiness is.
2 Nephi 2:11 "For is must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must need remain dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."

Life is hard. It is full of lows. The past six months my life have been sprinkled with some of what I think have been the lowest lows of my life so far. And yet, I am encouraged by the knowledge that God loves us. It is through these lows that we find our highs and truly appreciate them. I am also encouraged by the knowledge of what's to come. As Frank Sinatra put it
The best is yet to come and won't that be fine
You think you've seen the sun, but you ain't seen it shine
Things may get tough. The lows may get lower. But there are highs yet to happen that will surpass any lows we have or will experience. I end with a final quote:
Habakkuk 3:18-19 "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I wish I had this quote for my last post. I thought it tied in nicely.

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. -C.S. Lewis

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Good Enough" good enough?

So, lately I've been thinking about a saying I heard Bill Parcells tell Tony Romo. He said, "Don't let 'good enough' be good enough." I heard it a couple years ago and since then, it has come to mind from time to time. Often people are content with where they are. I've seen teams do it, organizations do it, companies do it, and people do it. We fail to become what we're capable of becoming because we are content with where we are. We think we have improved enough to succeed and now we can reap what we have sowed. Unfortunately, this is not enough. Gordon Hinckley once said, "There is room for improvement in every life." I would like to take that further and say there is room for improvement in every aspect of every life. No matter where we are, or how far we've come, we can always improve. Do not be satisfied.

Other people believe they have achieved all there is to achieve. That, for whatever reason, they have maxed out their potential. We think we will never be able to achieve this or that. I'm as guilty as the next person. Do not sell yourself short. I echo the challenge of President Hinckley when he said, "I challenge everyone of you who can hear me to rise up to the divinity within you." Again, do not sell yourself short.

Finally, I would like to give two hints or pieces of advice for those who are trying to not let 'good enough' be good enough.

First, "shoot for the stars." There is a quote by C.S. Lewis that was probably said in a different context (a topic I hope to address in a later post) but that I feel applies here. He said, "aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." If we set our goals high we may or may not get there. But, we will get everything on the way there. Set our goals low and we may or may not get there. The difference is, if its low we haven't accomplished anything on the way.

Secondly, we just need to start moving. When we set our goals high we always run the risk of being so overwhelmed by the task that we never start moving towards the goal. I learned a great lesson while wrestling years ago in high school. Just get through the next minute (in a wrestling match or workout. One minute is a long time in those). If you can't get through the next minute get through the next 30 seconds. Can't do that? Get through the next 15 seconds and so on. Eventually you will get to a point where it's easy to do. Then you just keep on getting through the next 5 seconds. Soon enough, you'll make it through the match or to your goal. C.S. Lewis also said, "It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird; it would be a jolly sigh harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just on ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." Like the egg, we need to start moving or we will go bad.

Set your goals high and far. Then just keep on focusing on that next step. Before you know it you'll be there. Then set your goals high and far and do it all over again. Don't be satisfied at where you're at.

The conquest is never over. The field is never quite ours.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A quick quote

So I was reading my book tonight ("Outliers" See 2 posts down for more details) and I found a quote that I really like. It hit me so hard that I had to get on here and post it before I go to bed.
Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.-Malcolm Gladwell

That's all I have for tonight. I hope you enjoy the quote. Goodnight.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My posts always start with questions

I'm glad I've finally used a statement to start my post. I was looking back at my previous posts and realize I ask too many questions during them. So, here goes trying to not use any questions in my post. Think I can do it? (D'oh! haha j/k). Anways, I just wanted to post a simple thought:

Keep yourself, mind and body, engaged as often and as intensely as possible. You feel more productive, you get more out of your life, and it keeps you out of trouble. ;-)


Monday, March 30, 2009

Where Does My Time Go?

So, I've recently started a new book called "Outliers: The Story of Success". So far I really like it (although I'm only about 60 pages in). Anyways, there is an interesting chapter in it called the 10,000 rule. Basically, it takes 10,000 hours to become a world-class expert. It listed a handful of examples where this was true. Interestingly enough, it doesn't matter how bright someone is or how athletic they are. It always takes at 10,000 hours to become a master. No matter how gifted they were, or for that matter ungifted, it takes 10,000 hours. There was no indication in the studies that showed talented people reached mastery in less than 10,000 hours and untalented people took longer. The fact is, if you want to be an expert, it is going to take you 10,000 hours.

This has gotten me thinking. What do I want to become a master at? What am I willing to spend 10,000 hours on? Is there anything? I can think of a handful of things I would love to become a master at. However, I realize I don't always have the desire or willingness to spend 10,000 hours to do something. I have played lacrosse for over a decade. I would love to become an expert of lacrosse. Am I willing to spend the time? I am going to start a master's program in September. Ultimately, one of my goals is to become an expert of my field, but way too often I don't want to spend the time doing my homework or other things. I look for short cuts to get through what I have to do. Yes, I'm getting by. But, how am I going to log my 10,000 hours?

One problem I have is my lack of focus. There are so many things I spend time on that I could have been spending time logging my 10,000 hours. Just thinking about today, I've wasted time on video games, facebook, day dreaming, talking on-line to friends, surfing the internet, and simply avoiding my work. I wonder if I had used those wasted hours over the last month productively, how much closer would I be to becoming an expert?

I think in the coming week I am going to make a conscious effort to stop wasting hours I could be "logging hours." I also would like to make a list of things I'd like to become an expert in. I think it would be interesting to see what happens if I log every hour on those things. How long do you think it would take me to get to 10,000 hours? I probably won't ever keep track, but it would be interesting. Maybe I'll post about what I want to become an expert in, keep a log, and update my progress here... That would be interesting...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Where Does This Stuff Come From????

So, today was a wonderful Sunday, full of church and relaxing. All day I've been planning on blogging tonight and trying to decide exactly what to write about. I've had a couple of inspirational, religious thoughts I was toying with that might be appropriate for Sunday. But.... As I was changing out my laundry I finally realized what I should blog about:

Now, for a while I was a physics teaching major and while I didn't learn too much from my classes, I felt like I had heard somwhere that matter can't be created nor destroyed. Or something along those lines. Anyways, as I changed out my clothes I went to take out the lint. And then it hit me... Where in the world does all this stuff come from? Now, I understand a lot of you might think exactly what I thought initially. "That's easy, it comes from the cloth of the clothing in the dryer." Well, my clothes don't look THAT much different than when they went in and I feel like i'm pulling out enough lint to make a whole shirt after every other load. So where does all this stuff come from? If it is from the clothes then if I kept drying one shirt would it just disintegrate after like a day of being in the dryer? I think I might have to try it....

So... Is this where all my missing socks have gone? turned into lint... dang you dryer and your thievery!!!