BUT..3- Becoming a man, a woman, who doesn’t need a but

presmedalfreedom“Man is never truly himself except when he is actively creating something.”  ~Dorothy Sayers

     The image for this article is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to American citizens (and others) who have made a substantial contribution to the shaping and preservation of our American heritage and to the world. Recipients in recent history have been- Walt Disney, Bruce Springsteen, Ellen DeGeneres, Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou, and Bill Gates.

     None of these men or women said “no” when they were told it couldn’t be done. They just did it. We need to emulate their perspicuity and perseverance. Too many of us give up midstream; or worse, we dream but never start.

     What are the characteristics of people who just do it? Who make no excuses? For one, they stick to it! Take Elon Musk:  he has found so many ways to fail that he has probably lost count; but he keeps at it. On a personal note, I used to say that I had failed so many ways that I had raised failure to an art form. Elon Musk stuck to it; so did I. And so do a lot of you. Keep it up!

     Another characteristic is listening to criticism, especially creative criticism. You know what to do with the negative critics. No you don’t. Actually, listen to them; listen to lots of people. One mouth, two ears…, remember? You want all the creative input and creativity you can get.

     Then there’s regrouping and starting over when you realize you’ve been heading down the wrong line of development. Don’t be ashamed; be smart.

     Psychologists tell us that the key to successful, long term relationships is humility. This is also true of anyone who seeks solutions rather than making excuses. One of our Board members recently designed reorganization for her business that eliminated her division. That’s creative, gutsy, and reeks of humility. She made no buts about it. She just did it.

     She could do it because her character gave her a base for such courage. If we are to become people that have no buts, we must pay dedicated attention to nurturing not only our skills, but our moral character and spiritual selves as well. Never doubt that your life has a spiritual dimension that calls for your attention. It is the basis for everything else you do. From the song in the movie, Saving Sarah CainTURN UP THE MUSIC, “make peace with God and make peace with yourself.” That’s good advice and as good a place to start as any.

     There is so much more to becoming a man, a woman, who doesn’t make excuses, but I will end these contributions with just one more— build bridges, don’t burn them. Too many of us burn our bridges behind us, or in front of us. Christians are especially good at building walls between one another; and the world outside. Christ never intended it to be this way.

NEXT— Butt-Out!

Honor God, honor people…, make a difference,
Gary

Bring it!

Dr, Gary, Davis, attitude, failure, stubborn, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, Really?  You want some a dis?  You want a piece of me?!? Bring it! Ah, the joys of the competitive brag! Nothing like it to spar some grand fisticuffs or a friendly challenge (or, not so friendly).

            Bring it! is also an expression used in business between definitely not-so-friendly rivals. People believe this kind of attitude will up the scales of productivity and competitive edge. Probably. Maybe. Or not.

            The point is that, for some of us, Bringing It is a way of live, an attitude of life. We like a good challenge. We rise to the occasion when someone says “We just can’t do that. It won’t work.” There is something built into our DNA that responds “Thank you.” And then we get about the business of making things work.

            But some of us have this attitude of— But what if I’m wrong? What if they’re right about me? What if I fail? Really?!? You’ll never know unless you try. As I said in my blog titled MY FAILURESIt’s taken most of my life, but I’ve finally perfected failure to an art-form. And I have learned from my failures. One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that FAILURE is simply an indication that I have not yet figured out what I am designed to DO best. So…, go for it…, again.

            The challenges we face in life span the diversity of graduating kindergarten to getting your first real job, from getting married to changing your first, ever, diaper, from discovering your passion to founding your first company. But these tests all have the same things in common— courage, risk, fear, determination, know how (except for the diaper thing) and commitment. Whether you believe in yourself or not, you will come to a point in life where you will make decisions that change everything. You will.

            If you shy away from these momentous moments you will admit defeat and settle for whatever comes your way. Do you really want to do that?

            Sometimes we all find ourselves in what is known as survival mode, survival mentality. Just get through this— the wedding, child-birth, the termination, a loss of income, the fear of being unknown. But to remain there is life-sucking suicide. You will still breathe the air and take up space; but that is about all. You will take what comes your way and remain there until you die. WOW! What a way to live!

            Might I instead suggest you look failure in the face, kick your courage into top gear, rise above your fear, and with a defiant voice cry out loud —

Bring it!

  Gary

My Failures

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, failure, fail, grade Failure. “It’s taken me most of my life, but I think I have perfected FAILURE to an art form.” A great quote, isn’t it? Many of us try to hide our failures, believing that they will reveal that we are losers, incapable of finishing anything, of accomplishing anything of significance. Others have a deeply rooted fear of failure and so work themselves to death to be successful. Probably another group of us are content with being failures. It’s just too much effort to try anymore.

            The choices we make in life will determine whether we are successful, marginally successful, or, well, failures. Then again, it also depends on who is defining success, failure. Being a CEO of a Fortune 500 company with your 5th wife, with kids who don’t want to be around you is not much of a success in my book.

            Speaking of my book, I would like to reveal to my more pertinacious readers some of my failures.

1.      I failed in being a good dad to my kids when they were younger.

2.      I failed in being a good son to my dad.

3.      I failed to build the kinds of teams needed to expand the reach of NEED’s principles of communication-in-community to Christians who still do commando raids for Christ.

4.      I failed in living out the holiness God has already granted me.

5.      I failed in being a consistent, genuine Christian, often falling into being merely a nice one.

6.      I have frequently failed in humility, seeking my own ascent in place of lifting up others.

7.      I failed in resilience, settling for 2nd best, 3rd; or I’ve just given up, giving in to hopelessness.

8.      I failed in losing my temper 8-9 times in my life. Maybe that’s not too bad?

9.      I failed in admitting I was wrong too many times.

10.  I failed in many relationships, disappointing people and letting them down.

There are many more areas in which I’ve failed but I must limit this confession to one page for the sake of my readers. If you want, I can tell you more things I’ve done that are really terrible. Seriously.

If I can admit the things where I have failed, maybe you can to. Some things I’ve been able to correct and received forgiveness; others, not so much. But I do not dwell here: I press on, still failing, making colossal mistakes, and watching God make use of me nonetheless.

Pass/Fail? God have mercy,

  Gary