Three Ways to Find an Answer … June 4th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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To question is to care.

Undoubtedly.

But if you establish a heart that is inquisitive, you also must be prepared for answers to begin to come your way.

Unfortunately, there’s a climate in our society that views doubt and cynicism as a sign of intelligence, and produces questions, assuming that there are no answers or all answers have been provided.

Are you really looking for answers, or do you just want to continue to form what you view as intelligent questions?

I’m not so certain we can continue to prosper as a society if we believe that maturity equals pessimism. So how can you find answers?

1. Don’t listen to statistics.

I know that will be hard. News organizations are based on them.

But don’t ever forget what the purpose is for offering statistics: it is a way of telling you that you don’t need to seek further for information, because “here is the data, and it’s already pre-determined.”

I don’t care what percentage of the American people are for or against anything. I want to know the history of the situation, the humanity involved and the hope for betterment. Once I understand the history, the humanity and the hope, I can let you know my heart.

Don’t listen to statistics. They are trumped-up numbers passed along as facts by people who have an agenda.

2. Hang with people who believe.

I’m not just talking about religion. I’m talking about folks who still believe in other human beings, who believe in possibilities, who still want to multiply their talents, and who still think that every new sunrise provides an additional opportunity.

3. Look for daily progress.

Yes, as soon as you can, get off of the five-year goal plan, the one-year lease, the monthly budget and the weekly planning session.

Life happens in 24-hour periods, and if you don’t believe that’s true, understand that somewhere within that 24 hours, we actually lay down and pretend we’re dead.

So is life a 75-year journey? Or is it basically pursued about 75 seconds at a time?

If you look for daily progress, you will begin to notice the movement of the caterpillar instead of only being impressed with the soaring of the eagle.

It will make you a more powerful person.

So in a world filled with questions:

  • Stand out from the crowd by looking for answers.
  • Ignore the statistics provided
  • Get yourself around people who believe in something
  • And put yourself on a daily regimen of interaction with the world around you.

 

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Three Ways to Avoid War… May 28th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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explosion

“War is hell.”

Actually, tracking down the origin of that quote is not very easy. Some people attribute it to General Sherman, from the Civil War. I think the people of Georgia would certainly agree that he brought the hell of war to their doorstep.

We have been programmed in this country to believe that to some extent, war is inevitable. We now have two holidays during the year when we commemorate those who have fallen in conflicts, and give them due honor.

Yet a voice of reason, insisting that war is to be avoided, is needed at this time in our history. It is not only patriotic, it is life-saving.

I will tell you–war is hell–whether fought in your living room, your work place, your church, your town, or nation against nation.

And there are three very strong profiles that can be taken to avoid war:

1. Don’t push your freedom.

If you have found something meaningful and beneficial to your life, don’t assume it’s your mission to evangelize it to the entire world–or even to insist that others are “lacking” because they don’t share your vision.

America does the world a disservice by contending that the seeds of democracy can be planted anywhere and grow a similar crop. It makes us come off as self-righteous.

In your own personal life, don’t insist that your principles are meant for general consumption. If people are interested in your philosophy or your freedom, they will let you know.

When you push your freedom, you incite war.

2. Don’t interfere in family arguments.

If you have two friends going through marital difficulties, don’t take sides. Matter of fact, refuse to–even if it initially makes them angry with you.

If you take sides and they reconcile, you will be the villain.

If they don’t reconcile, you have the opportunity to maintain relationship with both parties.

When will we finally understand that the situation in the Middle East is a family squabble? By taking sides, we deepen the conflict and increase the violence. We should stand prepared to support both sides–especially if they are working toward immediate reconciliation.

Taking sides increases the ferocity of the warfare.

3. Don’t let corporations dictate policy.

Corporations have one goal–to make money.

If corporations are deciding our foreign policy, then we are at the mercy of their bottom line instead of respecting the power of peace and keeping our free-standing army standing instead of falling.

The same thing is true in a family. Moms and Dads end up fighting with each other because they fall mercy to their bills, responsibilities and mortgages.

These are things you pay; they are not meant to prey on your sense of stability.

Corporations start wars to make money.

If you keep an eye on these three things you can avoid war.

So don’t force your freedom, take sides or let business decide policy. If you do this, you have a great chance to become a peace-maker.

Word has it…they are called the children of God.

 

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Three Ways for Me to Promote My New Book, “Within” … May 21st, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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within promo shot

It is too easy to be vain.

To be vain, all you have to do is pretend like you’re able to accomplish something that other people can’t, and then continue to harp on it until everybody wants to kill you.

I wrote a book.

It’s my 12th book. By the way, it is no better than having laid 12 bricks or cleaned 12 rooms at a motel or succeeded in working a 12-hour shift.

It’s what I do.

Writing a book is thrilling because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. What follows writing a book is not such a pleasant experience–because at that point I have to find a way to get people to purchase it and read it.

Just because one is a writer does not mean that one is a marketer.

So when my book arrived last week and I held it in my hands, I realized that possessing my book was not the goal of writing it. The goal was to get my book out of my hands and into the hands of other people without annoying them so much that they declare me “vain.”

So I came up with three ways for me to promote my book, “Within.”

1. Remember why I wrote it.

It’s easy to forget, you know. If we’re not careful, we all forget the important stuff because we get overwhelmed by the dumb stuff.

I wrote the book because it seems to me that somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten that we’re human. Being human is neither a divine nor a devilish proposition. I wanted to clarify that.

Then, I wanted to simplify the language into accessible “people talk.”

And finally, I wanted to rectify the mistakes of religion and secularism by filling the vacuum evacuated by the absence of a creative Father.

So that’s why I wrote it. I’m feeling better already.

2. Don’t be afraid of reactions.

After all, there really is only one bad reaction: “It was nice.”

If people are either moved to joy or distressed, and it leads to thought, then I have achieved my purpose as a writer.

I must be unafraid of criticism. I’ll work on that.

3. Tell somebody something to help someone.

Yes, I must be willing to tell somebody that I wrote a book.

It is a courageous step. I must risk that the person might think that I’m over-promoting. But if I don’t tell somebody, then the something I put in the book can never help someone.

  • Can I overcome my timidity?
  • Can I escape a fear of being rejected?

Truth of the matter is, if I can’t, I will probably have a whole lot of books sitting in my corner, never distributed to anyone else.

So here’s my announcement:

I have a new book. It clarifies, simplifies and rectifies some of the situations surrounding being a human. It’s not very long, it’s easy to read, it’s cheap–and it is available.

You can check out the details below.

Do I hope you will purchase it and read it?

I hope you will do what’s best for you, and in the process of doing so, might consider my humble offering.

 

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Three Ways to Handle Small Talk … May 14th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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small talk

People who think they’re good at small talk are probably doing all the talking.

Small talk is not big talk–it’s the ability to enjoy a conversation with someone, even if they’re a stranger, while filling the time that has been imposed upon you to be patient.

I am of the school of thought that every person I meet deserves a smile and a “good day.” Beyond that it’s up to me how deeply I want to engage with them.

But many people fail at small talk because they don’t know how to get in and how to get out. Here’s my approach:

1. What are you doing?

I do believe that every human being is anxious to share his or her heart’s desire, whether it’s the job, upcoming fishing trip or renovation on a kitchen. Their minds are ablaze with the endeavor and they are certainly willing to fill a paragraph or two to tell you of their passion.

But after this point the interchange will die if you don’t have a good follow-up:

2. Why are you doing it?

This question will probably surprise them–yet I will tell you, the motivation for pursuing their dream is very strong. They may become thoughtful and then give you a very deep and often personal answer. It creates some warmth and generates a “lotion of understanding” between the two of you.

And then, just when you think the embers of the fire are dying out, close with one final inquiry:

3. How’s it going?

In other words, how are you finding the whole process? Is it what you thought it was going to be? More work or more fun?

In offering these three questions to those who cross your path, you not only carry on great small talk, but you provide benefit by allowing them to clean out some clutter in their brain about what, why and how they do things.

Make sure when you finish that third question and they’re coming to the end of how they feel about their pursuit, that you excuse yourself. Tell them how much you enjoyed the time, and move on along.

I have just found that if you follow this simple formula, you will probably never meet anyone you can’t chat up. I have used it on a senator from Washington, D.C. and a gang-banger on the street … although some people would insist there’s not that much difference betwixt the two.

 

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Three Ways to Be Yourself in a World of Them…May 7th, 2015

 

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2574)

us them street sign

Even though I would agree that “us against them” can be a very unhealthy mindset, I also think it’s important to separate oneself from the herd–or you will end up spending all your time marching around in the surrounding crap.

There are three very distinct attitudes that have snuck into the common consciousness of our society, which even 20 years ago, would have been looked on with a bit of disapproval.

  1. Get your own.
  2. It’s no big deal.
  3. You deserve better.

These slogans conjure up selfishness, procrastination and complaining, which are gradually becoming acceptable human behavior, and can even evoke tremendous applause on a talk show if uttered with enough defiance.

The basic problem is that every philosophy has a door in and a door out. The door in is where you apply it, and the door out is when everybody else applies it against you.

So even though I may want to “get my own,” think “it’s no big deal,” and insist “I deserve better,” if other folks start popping these ideas back my way, I will be perpetually aggravated.

Thus, the philosophy doesn’t work.

So how can you live in a world of “them”–who think these ideas are popcorn, to be buttered up and consumed rapidly–and still have the integrity of having a way to believe that is acceptable if it’s projected back in your direction.

Let me offer you my three concepts:

1. Share what you can.

No one is asking anyone to live a sacrificial life. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your own needs, but there is something wrong with making up additional needs and forbidding blessing to others less fortunate.

2. Pursue what works.

We often procrastinate because we’re not convinced that our efforts amount to much. But if you have newfound vitality in knowing that something is going to work, it’s much easier to chase it down with gusto.

3. Let everyone know that you can work with what you’ve got.

I don’t know if I deserve better–because I’m too busy trying to better what I apparently deserve.

  • A genius is not someone who is given much and returns much.
  • A true genius is someone who’s given little and finds a way to make it more.

Be careful running towards the cheers of a generation that is completely befuddled by the inconsistencies of its own preaching.

There will never be any law against sharing, pursuing and working. Even those who don’t do it will eventually express their admiration.

Your job is to find yourself in a world of “them.”

You might be surprised how many “thems” see your path … and decide to pursue who they really are.

 

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Three Ways to Respond to Punctuation…April 30, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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punctuation marks for jonathots

Words are the soundtrack of our relationships. They mingle melody, mood and movement to generate the music of our interaction.

And words are accentuated by punctuation. If you don’t learn the punctuation, you are destined to hit sour notes with your friends.

For instance, let’s look at three different thoughts:

  • “I am going to the concert.” (period)
  • “I am going to the concert!” (exclamation point)
  • “Should I go to the concert?” (question mark)

Each of these communicates a different sensation.

Successful communication is learning how to respond to punctuation.

When somebody ends a discourse with a period, you have permission to listen. It is not necessary to get excited, nor are you granted intervention to question the statement. A period means that you may listen.

When a friend concludes an announcement with an exclamation point, you may celebrate. It is very annoying when we find ourselves excited, to discover that our companions are unwilling to join us in our enthusiasm. Matter of fact, it might even be considered mean-spirited.

And if your partner ends the discussion with a question, you may comment. Opinions are completely unnecessary unless they are answering questions.

So if you’re going to have healthy relationships with other human beings, you must realize that your input is unwelcome unless requested.

Therefore, when a friend makes a statement, just continue to listen.

If they are excited, have the decency to celebrate with them.

And only when they finish out their explanation with a question mark can you proceed to offer an opinion or comment.

This creates harmony.

It enables you to be of value to those around you instead of cluttering up their lives with unnecessary insertions of your ideas or a failure to rejoice with them when they rejoice.

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Three Ways to Make a Friend Last…April 23, 2015

 

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2569)

old friends

Merely relying on affection to maintain a relationship will exhaust the closeness.

It takes more than that.

For after all, human passion ebbs and flows. If you want to make sure the person you care deeply for is around for a long time, you need to instill values that incite longevity.

  1. Remember what your friend says and likes.

The quickest way to terminate a relationship is to stop listening to the preferences of your acquaintance. People make it clear what they like. People make it clear that they want to be heard. If you’re aware of what people enjoy because you listen to what they say instead of assuming that you know better, you greatly increase the potential of maintaining good fellowship.

  1. Remember to listen for a question before offering your opinion.

Sometimes people want to vent, not hear your sermon. A sounding board does not require a microphone. In other words, often in a friendship you are a pair of ears which purposely has closed up your mouth.

Only when people ask a question and inquire of your insight should you offer an opinion.

This is why our children can never be our friends. We must instruct them even when they don’t want to hear what we have to say. But our friends are not our children. We must grant them the respect of asking instead of being told.

       3. Remember to forget.

One of the more beautiful parts of repentance is the ointment of forgetfulness that is served up to complete the healing. No one ever truly heals until they press ahead to new projects which take them further and further away from the pain.

A friend should always let you–or even help you–create distance from your latest stupidity.

Anyone who constantly reminds you of your failures or warns you to be careful all the time is taking you out of the best aspects of your game and sidelining you as second string.

But until we remember what our friend likes, to only offer an opinion when asked, and to forget the mistakes that have crossed the path, we will lurk as an adversary instead of an advocates. 

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Published in: on April 23, 2015 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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