Life = Perspective

If you feel you can’t overcome your current situation, or that you can’t change your circumstances, try changing your perspective.

Life is like the filter feature in a photo App. Your underlying situation may remain the same, but you can do various things to change your view of it, things that might make all the difference in the world!

To a great extent the perspective through which you view your life often shapes your reality. That is because your expectations impact your actions, which in turn determine outcomes. If you believe you can do something and work towards it, very little can prevent you from achieving it.

On the other hand, if you do not believe something is possible, you are defeated from the outset because your level of conviction will again determine your level of effort, which in turn affect your chances of success.

The optimism inherent in a ‘can-do’ attitude energizes someone and fuels their passion to succeed. Often times, it is this passion that ultimately changes what could have been a disastrous failure, to a resounding victory.

O. N. Rowe

Success in life requires a certain level of faith. Sometimes this faith is based on observation of cause and effect over time, which helps to shape our expectations and the relationship between actions and outcome. For example, someone who does well in school is more likely to get into a better college, education, job, etc., than someone who does not get similarly good results. There is no guarantee that the outcome will end being what you expect, but still you proceed with the expectation of similar, or better, outcome.

In the same way, a significant contributor to our success or failure to overcome our challenges rests with our perception of our ability to overcome. It is not necessarily the situation itself, which sometimes might be bad, but other times will not be as bad as they would seem at first.

As we look back at our past experiences we can often conclude that the most significant observation would have been that our experiences in life, and how we respond to them, are significantly impacted by the lens through which we view them.


Life = The Unexpected

Spring has Sprung! Well you couldn’t actually tell that from this image, can you! Yes – it might be snowing, but it is still Spring!

This eloquent metaphor of life shows us that things are not always going to be the way conventional wisdom would have us expect them to be!

How many times have we experienced situations where an outcome is all but assured. We put in the hard work, do our research, crossed all our “T’s” and dotted all our “i’s” and yet end up missing our target, or not getting that job, or failing our course.

Life is like that, you know?

We sometimes believe that if we do all that we consider necessary to accomplish a specific outcome, then that’s the outcome we will have. Or that if we work hard enough at our job then we will definitely get that promotion. Or that if we invest enough time and resources in someone we can ensure their success, or even change them!

Or perhaps your build-up to a certain event has gone so badly that you expect to be a disaster, but here comes the unexpected success! Just like preparing for an exam; sometimes you stress yourself out because you feel you will just not be ready…but then comes the resounding ‘A’ grade! That’s an unexpected outcome that just about anyone can get behind!

Life is a combination of good and bad, success and failure, ups and downs. But whatever comes our way, we don’t need to let it derail our journey. We can take them as they come, look for the positives, and I am confident this will allow us to recognize that the blend of outcomes we experience serve to make life less mundane.

By the way, the beautiful downpour of snow we are having today, even if on the dawn of spring, sets us up for a lush, green start to what might otherwise have been a struggle for the plants to take root. Farmers in our part of the country are no doubt loving it!

There’s always positive in the unexpected, even if not immediately apparent; and if we take the time to look for it.

Life indeed serves up a good dose of the expected. Embrace it.


Life = Relationships

God knew we would need relationships, so He made sure we were born into one!

We didn’t choose the family we were born into. However, for different reasons some wish they had a different family.

Family is not necessarily biological; that is, someone does not need to be related by blood in order to be(come) family.

As we grow older we develop bonds with others and generally come to choose our friends and partners. Some will choose to ‘go it alone’; however, the reality is that having healthy relationships help provide an overall state of better mental health.

Relationships provide a support system for us, and while we would hope some will last forever, life sometimes has other plans. Sometimes people come into our lives for different reasons which, once fulfilled, causes the relationship to dissipate, and then they leave.

If someone chooses to leave, think about whether you are prepared to do whatever it takes in an attempt to change their minds. Most likely, once someone has decided to leave, nothing you can do will let them change their mind, so let them.

We sometimes grieve at the loss, but it is important that we accept this reality early, so that we can move on.

Our goal should be to protect the relationships we value and do our part to be fair and reasonable in our interactions. Once someone has moved on, let them go and draw strength and support from those relationships in your life that happen to be going well.

Relationships are a means by which we can state: “We’re all in this together.”

Life = Mistakes

Are you being too hard on yourself because of mistakes you have made?

If you are going to be defined by your mistakes, let it be to the extent that you have learned the valuable lessons from them, discarded the rest, and are now better off because of them.

O. N. Rowe

At birth we are a blank slate, with our only ‘experience’ being a total reliance on our Mother while in the womb. We learn to rely on our Mom for nourishment, and develop trust.

As we grow older we learn based on our experiences and our observations of the world around us. Some of our experiences teach us what works or doesn’t work, what causes pleasure or pain, what helps us to grow or what keeps us back. Through it all, we make mistakes – sometimes lots. The lessons we learn help to inform how we behave when facing similar situations in future. When we make mistakes, the experience helps us to change our behaviour.

Unfortunately we are sometimes our worst critic, and a mistake is blown up far greater than it deserves. When that happens we become paralyzed by the fear of repeating our mistake. The old adage ‘once bitten, twice shy’ captures the psychological struggle we generally engage in after some of our mistakes. On one hand, experience can help to assure future successes; on the other hand, a mistake can shatter our confidence.

It might be that others around us also compound this by always seeking to ‘rub in’ our mistakes, instead of providing encouragement to get up on the horse again and to continue fighting. Don’t let the nay-sayers thwart your enthusiasm, nor keep you from trying again.

Regardless of how we respond to our mistakes, we are better off when we see them for what they really are: experience. When we do that, the lessons learned can be of such value that we will recognize that a mistake can be a terrible thing to waste.

What’s the biggest mistake you have ever made? What is the biggest lesson that you learned from a past experience? If answered truthfully, you might just find that they are related.

When put into their rightful place, mistakes serve as important sources of learning.

Life = Renewal

Embrace life and all that it offers

Great things can happen when someone is alive!

Yes – life sometimes throws us many curve balls. Sometimes they come when we are at the peak of our prowess, whether it be in business, sports, or Academia. Bad things happen.

BUT…how can we get beyond them? How can we move along when the odds are so stacked against us? How can we begin to pick up the pieces?

Being alive provides all the evidence we need. Yes we sometimes need encouragement from others; we might need physical, emotional and material support … lots of it. But one thing is certain: Life provides the opportunity for renewal. It provides the opportunity for restoration. It provides opportunity for us to harness the indomitable spirit that is deep within us, and which can provide the impetus we need to achieve great things.

Things might not be the way we want; our circumstances might not allow us to enjoy the things we dream of. Nevertheless life always provides us with a promise of hope. Life provides the opportunity for Renewal!

We might not see a way out, nor through, nor over, nor around, but if we believe in our strength and our capacity to overcome; if we see being alive as a demonstration of the endless possibilities that are there to be attained; and above all if we place our faith and confidence in the One who promises to never leave us nor forsake us, then we certainly will NOT go under.

Celebrate being alive, and make the most of it.

#Alive #overcome #confidence #Life #Renewal


50: The Age Of…

Growing up…one experience at a time

There is no magic switch that suddenly gets flipped at the age of 50. Except perhaps when you hear your Doctor say: “Now that you are 50 we need to begin…”

Or perhaps when you realize that you have to start checking a different box when presented options for ‘Age Range.’

But you don’t suddenly find that your bones are creaking, and your joints are now refusing to glide freely as they once did. You don’t suddenly find that your ‘get up and go has got up and left’ and you can no longer will yourself to do the things you are accustomed to doing.

You don’t suddenly find that all the hair on your head suddenly turns grey; or find hair suddenly growing from parts of your body you never knew had hair. Neither does it mean that all of a sudden, missed opportunities have been lost – permanently.

So many things can be accomplished after 50! Perhaps you want to start a business all your life but you suddenly find the motivation to do so. Or perhaps to learn a new skill; or to start a Blog, or publish your first book. Or to learn to ride a bicycle; or learn to swim, or any of many other things you have always dreamt of doing. You can still choose to take on whatever challenges you want to take on – just as always.

After all 50 does not mean ‘expired!’ On the contrary, 50 is still the age of possibilities! Yes – 50 is the age of DARING GREATLY! I still believe that even at 50, the possibilities are endless. So I eagerly look forward to all that this phase of my life entails. You will probably hear more about that as time goes by.

“You have the power to choose the kind of life you want to have – even after 50!”

#growingup #newadventures #embracing50 #50


Comparison – The Thief of Our Joy

Focusing on the things you have control over – your choices, attitudes, and your efforts – frees up your mind to accomplish great things.

We are all made complete – with infinite capacity to achieve and to impact our world. After all, we have been ‘…fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14)”

However, we often get distracted by others in pursuit of their own paths and goals. Sometimes we are inspired by them, other times becoming intimidated – giving up on our own dreams; or resentful – envious of what they have accomplished.

WRONG MOVE! While an appreciation of what others have accomplished can help to spur us on to recognize that we can also excel at what we do and what we were meant to accomplish, if not careful we can take the wrong lesson from such comparisons.

“Don’t read Beauty Magazines – they will only make you feel Ugly!” These are words from a famous recording. Does that reflect your response to someone else’s success?

If we are honest, we are very likely to admit that too much of our time is spent focusing on the wrong things and indeed the wrong persons. We have spent our time comparing ourselves with others:- our colleagues; our former schoolmates; our friends; etc. – based on what we perceive their circumstances and accomplishments to be like.

When we focus to much on others we limit our own progress and we are sometimes left feeling like failures and, at times, resentful, unappreciative, jealous, and ultimately ‘joy-less.’

Stop comparing yourself to others – except for the purpose of gaining confidence in your ability to achieve, and indeed surpass, that which you might have considered impossible. Focusing on the things you have control over – your choices, attitudes, and your efforts – frees up your mind to accomplish great things.

That might be one of the best ‘Life Resolutions’ you could make for 2022 and beyond.

#comparison #focus #goals