Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

Twitterdom or Wisdom?

June 22, 2009

While attending a funeral recently I glanced up and down just my row to see several people Twittering and checking emails in the last few minutes prior to the beginning of the service.  It’s now common during sermons and seminars to see people with their heads down, busy passing on tidbits of information instantly.  This morning I read that one million people are following Ashton Kutcher on Twitter.  

I suggest that this massive addiction to information leads us away from wisdom, not toward it, creating what author Shane Hill calls “a permanent puberty of the mind.”  Recognize that information, knowledge and even intelligence do not necessarily lead to wisdom.  The overload of information in fact encourages the opposite of what creates wisdom – stillness, time, reflection and solitude.  With the internet, TV, email, FaceBook, Twitter and cell phones, there is no waiting.  There is no such thing as stillness or quiet personal reflection.  Meaningful experiences and the path toward wisdom can be diverted by constant information. 

I am not anti-technology.  I love having instant access to useful information.  But this is much like having a bowl of peanut M&Ms in front of me.  I tend to eat them just because they are there.  At some point I will have to remove myself from the bowl or my initial pleasure will turn to misery and sickness.  And I believe allowing a constant diet of unlimited information and data into our brain will also ultimately turn from being a useful treat to something that will cause our mental lives to become bloated and deprive us of the characteristics we desire most.  We have to decide when to push back from the table of information overload – where it leads to our emotional, social, philosophical, and psychological sickness rather than being a useful addition in our quest for wisdom.  I have made strategic decisions to not be on Facebook or use Twitter.  Not because they are bad but because I have to chose which tools that I can use effectively.  

Increasing the rate of information input to your brain may make you a candidate for Jeopardy but it probably has little to do with increasing spiritual characteristics like love, trust, compassion, faith, courage – and wisdom. 

Want to increase your wisdom?

  • Practice reflection, meditation and introspective thinking for 30 minutes each morning.  Many who allow constant input are keeping themselves in the shallow end of the wisdom pool.  Don’t be one of them.
  • Turn off the TV for at least two hours every evening
  • Read your email at set times during the day – perhaps once in the morning and once in the evening.  Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted with every new incoming message
  • Spend four hours on Saturday without your cell phone or computer
  • Plan one day a quarter on an “information fast.”  Get away from your computer, your cell phone, TV and the newspapers.  You’ll be amazed at how your creativity will increase – you may get the one idea that will change your future
  • Read one good non-fiction book each month.  Chose carefully from the wisdom of the ages.

Incidentally, according to a new Nielson report, 60% of Twitter users sign up and drop out after one month.  And I seriously doubt that following Ashton Kutcher is going to increase your wisdom.

“Dreamers of the Day”

January 19, 2009

Your dreams may be the real beginnings of the future you want.

In Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence says, “There are dreamers, but not all human beings dream equally. Some are dreamers of the night, who in the dusty recesses of their mind dream and wake in the morning to find it was just vanity. But the Dreamers of the Day are dangerous people because they act their dreams into reality with open eyes.”

Now there’s a clear picture. “Dreamers of the Day” are dangerous because they “act their dreams into reality with open eyes.” We are hearing a lot about dreams this week. Our new president has inspired people to think big, and never stop believing that big dreams can come true. Certainly, his own life story is a clear example of that.

In today’s sophisticated, technological world we often dismiss our night dreams as the result of too much pizza or having too much on our minds when we went to bed. But what about those day dreams? Are they to be dismissed as just random thoughts passing through our brains? Should we pay attention to those “dreams” or just hunker down and be “realistic” and “practical” with the economy in the shape it is? With jobs being lost, homes being foreclosed, 700 billion dollars up in smoke, and General Motors on the brink of disaster, surely now is not the time to dream. Or is it? Haven’t you experienced in your own life how those times of trials often release your best ideas? Have you ever taken a dream and acted it into reality? Isn’t that where your best ideas started?

Could your “dreams of the day” be the seeds of creative problem solutions and the opening door into your greatest new opportunities?

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate accomplishments.” — Napoleon Hill
As a life coach, nothing concerns me more than beginning the coaching process with someone who says they have no dreams. No dreams traps people in jobs they hate, relationships that have never blossomed, and cars, houses and clothes that serve nothing but utilitarian functions.

Don’t underestimate the value of your night dreams for problem solving and creative approaches to your situation. And by all means, keep dreaming during the day. Tap into those recurring thoughts and ideas that have followed you for years.

“All successful men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.” — Brian Tracy

If you can’t dream it, it won’t likely happen. Success doesn’t sneak up on us. It starts as a dream that we combine with a clear plan of action. Become a Dreamer of the Day and watch your success soar.

Even the Bible tells us — “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Prov 29:18)  We are not going to perish as individuals, families, companies or a nation — unless we ignore those beautiful dreams of the day.

Wanna be a wealthy idiot?

October 14, 2008

The name Nasrudin is used as the mythical character in a tradition of Sufi tales.  Here’s one:

Nasrudin used to stand in the street on market days, to be pointed out as an idiot.  No matter how often people offered him a large or a small coin, he always chose the smaller piece.

One day a kindly man said to him, “Mulla, you should take the bigger coin.  Then you will have money and people will no longer be able to make a laughingstock of you.”

“That might be true,” said Nasrudin, “but if I always take the larger coin, people will stop offering me money to prove that I am more idiotic than they are.  Then I would have no money at all.”

Sometimes the most obvious solution really isn’t the best one.  You might assume that the best way to grow your business is to get more customers – it may in fact be more profitable to reduce your number of customers and charge them more.  Here in Nashville a doctor just reduced his 3,000 person client list to 300 “invited guests,” each of which he charges $2000 annually to be his patient.  He is their “concierge doctor” – and he locks in a $600,000 annual income with minimal office expense.

We all “know” that “winners never quit, and quitters never win.”  But is that really true?  How does that work with smokers?  Or with people who have taken a wrong turn on the freeway?  What if you have been in business for a year and still haven’t made any money?  What if your retirement funds have suddenly been shown to be worthless?

20 years ago this month I suffered through a devastating business crash.  I scrambled to find solutions for both the emotional pain and embarrassment as well as the financial disaster I had experienced.  My logical mind raced to find ideas where I could make money quickly to address the screaming creditors and the ongoing needs of my family.

Yet one of the “solutions” defied all normal approaches.  In reading the book of Proverbs each day – the chapter that correlated to the day of the month (31 chapters) – I began to see timeless principles that I had repeatedly violated in my previous attempts at financial success and I also discovered some counterintuitive keys for increasing my bank account once again.

I learned that wisdom is more valuable than gold or silver.  But that seeking wisdom will ultimately bring gold and silver on the back side anyway.  Here’s what it says in Proverbs 3: 13-17

“God blesses everyone who has wisdom and common sense. Wisdom is worth more than silver; it makes you much richer than gold.  Wisdom is more valuable than precious jewels; nothing you want compares with her.  In her right hand Wisdom holds a long life, and in her left hand are wealth and honor. Wisdom makes life pleasant and leads us safely along.”

 The dictionary defines “wisdom” as “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.”   How are you doing with “wisdom” in these days when stocks, real estate, and mortgages may turn out to be worthless?  Are you increasing your “wisdom portfolio” and assuring that you will be wealthy in the coming years?

 One of the evidences of “wisdom” is finding that authentic fit for how God wired us.  Many years ago I met Dave Anderson, the founder of Famous Dave’s restaurants.  He told me that as a young American Indian kid he had wanted to be rich, but in chasing money it always seemed to be just out of reach.  When he finally gave up on getting money and just resigned himself to doing what he loved to do, (making great barbeque) the money showed up in lots of unexpected ways.  Among other things Dave founded The Life Center for Leadership with a $1.4 million gift.

Maybe you’re chasing the wrong thing.  Give up on getting rich — try getting “wisdom” and see where it leads you.