1 Thing You Can Do That Astounds the World Around You

Take Responsibility

It’s not difficult.

You’ll be surprised—it’s not as painful as it sounds.

You can do it at home, on the job, or anywhere human beings gather.

If it hurts, you can cry. If you’re confident, you can stand steady.

Matter of fact, there must be twenty ways to leave your mistake:

“It was me.”

“My bad.”

“Buck stops here…”

“Look no further. ‘Twas I.”

“My doing.”

“I own that.”

“No excuses.”

“Back to the drawing board.”

“Oops.”

“That’s got my fingerprints all over it.”

“Plan B.”

“That one’s gonna smell.”

“You got me.”

“I dropped the ball.”

“Not my finest hour.”

“My blame. No shame.”

“I’m your huckleberry.”

“I failed.”

“Crash and burn.”

“I ate the apple.”

Pick one.

They’ve been used over the years by many intelligent individuals who wanted to avoid the stupidity of lying, cheating and accusing others.

And by the way—you get a gift.

Here it is:

You aren’t exposed, you don’t have to hide and if you confess, you can be healed.

 

 

1 Thing You Can Do This Week is Change the Name of the Homeless

I suggest we call them “the pointless.”

It is unacceptable that nearly a half million people in America can’t find a home to protect them from the elements.

There are so many charitable organizations, so many beds, so many opportunities and so many shelters that the term “homeless” does not apply.

These brothers and sisters on the street are “the pointless.”

They are folks who have lived their lives to a certain juncture, and really see no advantage in continuing to try to be solvent, functioning, or for that matter, contributing.

Maybe this decision was arrived at through addiction.

Perhaps it was mental illness.

Do they have a disability?

Do they just enjoy living on the darker edges of the streets?

I don’t know.

But you certainly cannot refer to them as homeless.

Housing possibilities and living quarters are constantly available.

We can no longer say that these Spartans cannot get a job—the unemployment rate is so low that McDonald’s is hanging out in the avenues, passing out applications.

I have every intention of continuing to be generous and open to these who are so situated. But I am no longer going to propagate the myth of “homelessness.”

I am giving my funds, my mercy and a moment of my time to the pointless.

We can gather the five hundred thousand people on the streets and take care of every one of them through a one-dollar-a-week payroll tax on each worker’s paycheck. Yes—four dollars a month.

It’s about fifty dollars a year per taxpayer, and if you multiply that by two hundred million payees, you come up with trillions of dollars. Don’t you think we could probably lodge some folks comfortably and feed them for that sum?

Of course we could.

But it wouldn’t eliminate the problem—for they aren’t homeless. They are pointless.

  • They’ve lost their point of attack.
  • They’ve lost their point of purpose.
  • And they’ve lost their point of reasoning.

After all, nobody grows up wishing they could someday be homeless, freshening up in a bird bath at the park.

Their brain, soul and emotions have placed them in this cauldron of vulnerability—to suffer the dire situation.

So God bless the pointless.

And every time I use the word, please realize that I am not being critical—just avoiding condemnation or useless pity.

1 Thing You Can Do to Be Nicer to People

Stay away from folks when you’re in a bad mood.

The average time span for a bad mood is about three-and-a-half hours.

But if you happen to have your bad mood in front of other humans, the “forgiveness tour” you will have to go on to make amends for all the negative things you said could last days, weeks—maybe a lifetime.

If you get in one of these bad moods, run until you’re completely sure you’re alone. (“I think we’re alone now.”)

Then you can allow the foamy fussiness to seep out of all your pores.

The poison won’t affect anyone else.

And when you come back—even if you’re only slightly renewed—don’t be so foolish as to share your frustrations with others.

Just because your friends listen to you does not mean they don’t hate you for taking them on your roller-coaster ride to hell’s gates.

Bad mood? Stay alone.

Better mood? Text.

Mood improved? Slowly emerge.

Good mood? Bless someone.

1 Thing That Will Teach You the Power of Not Knowing

Understand what is considered normal good behavior.

1. “I don’t know.”

2. “Let’s find out.”

3. “Gee, that’s interesting.”

Human beings are attracted to each other when ignorance is in pursuit of deeper understanding.

Unfortunately, sometimes when we arrive ignorant, we decide to hold a barn dance to celebrate our deficiency. Worse, we call our ignorance “greater understanding that has not yet been fathomed by the masses.”

But when we get together as people and share a common “I don’t know,” it opens the door to “let’s find out.”

Then, in the midst of finding out, we form deep, meaningful relationships. Therefore, when we do uncover some mystery, we can hug each other and say, “Gee, that’s interesting.”

Otherwise, we get stuck in a logjam of personality quirks which make us desirable to only a few.

Understand the “Know Flow”

A. “I know it all.” (Good luck.)

B. “I know lots of things.” (Be prepared to be challenged.)

C. “I know certain things.” (Your information needs to be spot-on.)

D. “I know this.” (Please be humble if you find out you’re wrong.)

E. “I don’t know.” (The freakin’ door to wisdom.)

 

1 Thing You Can Do This Week to Improve Your Chances

Stop Complaining

I know you’ve heard this many times—even by this simple writer.

But I would like you to consider it as a personal life choice and a means of procuring survival.

Complaining takes a very ugly route—a four-step decline into stinky doo-doo.

  1. Life sucks.
  2. You suck.
  3. God sucks.
  4. I suck because I’m stuck.

As you can see, with each new step, deeper and deeper depression sets in, until finally the complete sense of doom makes us feel we’re at the mercy of all circumstance.

Now, simply telling someone not to complain is like encouraging a friend on a diet not to eat too much. It often increases the temptation, and therefore sinks the ship of possibility.

I’m not trying to get you to stop complaining cold turkey.

I’m telling you to back your way out of it.

When you start thinking “you suck because you’re stuck,” just change the complaint to a statement—a simple one:

“This is the crux of what is really bothering me.”

You will be surprised, if you chase the bird to the tree, how much easier it is to see it.

So once you’ve made the statement—and it does not have to be happy or friendly—then change that statement to a memory.

In other words:

“Maybe God doesn’t suck. Maybe there was a time I was in just as bad a state as I am now and survived it. When did that happen? Do I have a memory of being victorious in any situation that was as horrible as this?”

If you can come up with a statement of what’s bothering you, deciding that you no longer suck, and then spark a memory of when you overcame, then therefore God doesn’t suck—and you might be able to change that memory to sharing.

Find one person among all those people that you think suck and tell him or her about your predicament.

Share about your complaint, how you found out what was at the heart of it, and how you came up with a memory of something you pursued before which succeeded—hence, “you’re not a little weenie.”

Yes, take the memory of being redeemed and share your hope.

So change your statement of dissatisfaction into a memory of overcoming your dilemma, and present that memory to another human being.

After this, you just might be ready to change your sharing into planning.

Said plainly:

“It turns out that life doesn’t suck. It just picks on people who expect everything to come their way.”

So you find yourself complaining: “Life sucks, you suck, God sucks and I suck.”

Here’s the counter:

  • Change that complaining to a statement
  • Statement to memory
  • Memory to sharing
  • And sharing to launching a great plan.

Complaining.

Best suggestion? Back off.

That’s often really good advice.

And not just for when you’re out chasing a serial killer with a squirt gun.

 

1 Thing You Can Do to Gain the Lasting Respect of Others

Be Straight

Stop trying to make the facts conform to your conviction.

Don’t merely pull out statistics to support your assertion.

Don’t quote the scriptures to confirm your theology.

And stop smirking because you’re convinced that the word “straight” cannot be used for anything other than the opposite of “gay.”

Come with me and we’ll practice:

Abortion kills something.

Religion has very little to do with faith.

Brain injuries are horrible and shouldn’t be marginalized.

The founding fathers warned against religion as much as they praised it.

Guns don’t control themselves.

North Korea is not a Superpower.

Climate change is real enough that we need to get real about it.

Drugs are dangerous—all drugs.

Poverty will not go away. Do what you can.

Wealth is all in who has it.

As far as gender, it does take two to make one.

Concerning race, no one is better than anyone else.

The truth is not here to confirm your theory, politics, theology or prejudice.

The truth is here to free us from stupidity.

1 Thing You Can Achieve

Be Known for Your Love

I’m a writer.

I guess you could say I’m known for that.

I’m a dad.

I have some sons to prove this.

I sing.

All over America, nine times around.

If I were to die this evening, I would certainly be known for these three things.

There are others as well.

Two days ago, waking up in the middle of the night, I pulled out my I-Pad and there was a little YouTube available of three people. They were quietly and simply singing the old campfire chorus, “We Are One in the Spirit.”

It was so beautiful and the surroundings so ideal for emotion that I cried—especially when it came to the line:

“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

I paused.

I asked myself an intriguing question:

Am I known for my love?

I have done loving things.

I have loved full tilt without apology.

But am I known for my love?

Too many times I hear people say someone is an asshole—”but he’s a good musician.”

“She’s hard to get along with but that’s because she’s a genius.”

But in that quiet moment two nights ago, in my room in the dark, I realized that if I’m not known for my love, everything else will pass away.

People only remember how much you love them personally. You can be entertaining, inspiring, uplifting or even beneficial to them—but that won’t last.

What remains for all of us is the sensation of being loved.

Am I known for my love?

The answer came back: No.

It doesn’t mean I’m not loving.

But it does mean that I’ve advertised, propagated and promoted other aspects of myself more than my love.

It was a solemn realization—one I will not soon forget.

So for every book I write, I want to live out ten love stories.

For every time I am called “Dad,” I want the love that is attached to that title to wiggle its way to the top.

And for every song I sing, may the feeling at the conclusion be the enduring proclamation:

“I love you.”

 

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