Live and Die By Your Own Decisions

Be You, Including Your Mistakes

There’s this idea today that you have to fit a certain mold. That to reach a certain level of success, you have to be like the person who has that success. This is a notion that I completely reject.

Why do I reject it?

People want to do business with real people.

Not this robotic version of a man, but a person who has made mistakes, has fallen and then gotten up and learned from those falls. Success does not look like a straight line, it is not a perfect ladder, but a zigzag from failure to failure that is always moving forward.

How many times have you heard a great success story in which there were no failures along the way. Take Elon Musk for example, he’s been on the verge of bankruptcy multiple times but believed enough in himself and his ideas that he’s completely changing multiple industries.

Never trust somebody who hasn’t fallen and gotten up multiple times.

Crush this Week,

Cooper Mitchell

In defense of Mark Driscoll

In Defense of Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll. Just the name alone brings about an array of emotions, emotions that vary among Christians on a similar scale as who they vote for in elections.

He’s polarizing, he’s brash, he’s doing God’s work.

How I Was Introduced to Mark Driscoll

When I began developing my own relationship with Christ, Mark was a man who I looked to for guidance. You see, like many who grow up in the church, there’s a point in time that I like to call the critical moment, where the child either chooses to follow the world, or develop their own relationship with the Father.

There’s many sermons available for viewing anytime of any day with the explosion of the internet. However, not all Christian speakers are men I align with. In fact many I find will have a great biblical knowledge, however, aren’t somebody I see as being similar to myself. Thus, making it more difficult to truly engage in listening to what they have to say. By saying this, I am in no way meaning I disagree with what they present, but rather view their personality and attitudes towards things different than mine. We vary by degree, not by kind.

That being said, there was somebody who I began watching online in 2008 that I could look at and say, “yeah, that’s me.” And here’s why:

A MAN of God

This man was Mark Driscoll. In the Christian world that I grew up in, it was refreshing to see somebody who wouldn’t perfectly describe the word “milk toast.”

Mark would present the Bible as it was; there was no sugar coating, dumbing down, or apologies for how biblical heroes acted. He presented the faults of those in the bible as lessons to learn from, and didn’t apologize for Jesus’ actions, such as the flipping of tables and benches of the money changers in the temple. (If you haven’t you can read the story here)

Transparency

Another aspect of Mark’s ministry that inspired me was his transparency. In a move that many churches have since copied, Mark would hold church services in which attendee’s could text their questions, and Mark would answer them on stage. Putting yourself on the spot and allowing the holy spirit to speak through you in such a situation as that is not only brave, but surely a declaration of dependence upon God.

Mark would also admit to faults publicly, whether that be with his family, friends, or the outside world. How many people do you see publicly admit to faults like Mark has. He showed humility and was a great role model for living a strong life for God, but also being soft and humble when needed.

A great example of Mark’s humility

A Businessman for the Kingdom

Finally, Mark was a good businessman. Business and the Church have often drawn negative connotations from people, however, a church must be viewed as a business in order to survive.

By business, I mean the Church must be able to market itself and the Word of God, use accounting principles to prevent fraud from within, and yes, be able to sell Christianity. All of these things will be increased by a church that is alive, growing, and filled with the Spirit, however as you can read in my post here, you should be content, but not complacent. Meaning, love what God has given you, but don’t just sit around waiting for God to do something. Do things to give him the opportunity to open doors and allow you to grow.

All Men Fall, Great Men Rise Again

Being a type-A, competitive man I understand how Mark is. He has made mistakes, been over zealous in speaking his thoughts, but who hasn’t? He speaks on Christian men today being weak and not living as Christ would. Allowing the world’s views to dictate their own and rather than being opposed to things the Bible opposes, becoming accepting of everything the world presents. However, as I’m sure Mark would agree, disagreeing with somebody’s choices and lifestyle, does NOT mean you do not love them. And I believe throughout Mark’s ministry he has shown love and kindness towards those the Bible deems as sinful. Because just as they sin and need forgiveness, so do we.

Mark is at a time in his ministry where even his own brother’s are turning on him. Those who championed him at one time, are removing him from speaking engagements and things that just years ago they would have loved him to be a part of.

He has since resigned from Mars Hill Church, a church based in Seattle, a city that at one time had some of the fewest Christians per-capita than anywhere else in the US. Seattle is now home to many strong and growing churches including the one led by Judah Smith. Mars Hill is also the church that Mark spent 18 years growing into one of the most recognized churches in the entire US.

Religious States

In this time of hardship, Mark does not need more condemnation, but rather encouragement to fulfill what God has for his life.

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. – Acts 13:38

Why Write This Now?

The reason I write this is because this past Sunday my church, James River Church, one that is pastored by a great man of God in John Lindell who I have had the opportunity to learn from my entire life, welcomed Mark to speak.

The Sermon was so fittingly on Paul, one of the Bible’s greatest heroes. In the sermon Mark showed how Paul, then Saul had made many mistakes, turned to God and then lived a life that was far from easy including being stoned, imprisoned, and shipwrecked. Many of these due to his belief in the one true King.

For those reading this, I urge you to stand along side Mark. Forgive him as Jesus forgave you. Uplift this brother in Christ and allow him to continue winning the hearts of men and women to be filled with Jesus and walk a life for him, as he has done so many times before.

To Mark, don’t give up the good fight brother. Continue presenting Jesus as the Savior for the world and the one true hope.

You can find more about Mark Driscoll at his blog: MarkDriscoll.org

– Cooper Mitchell

Be Content, Not Complacent

Be Content, Not Complacent

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

Being content is a positive thing. Not only for your current well being, but also for your future.

Something I find the older I get is an increased level of anxiety. Not in the sense that I’m worried for the future, but rather the feeling that I must do things now; to get to where I want to go, I must push very hard all the time.

This is something that I believe will only grow the older I get. However, by recognizing my weakness I have been able to work on it, so that rather than growing with time, it will shrink.

The verse I’ve written at the top of this post has caused allowed me to feel much peace in being content in the place I am.

Be content.

That being said, I often find people who believe being content includes sitting around. Sitting around waiting for something to come.

Phrases I’m sure you’ve heard:

“Why can’t I make friends?”

“Why are they successful and I’m not”

Most often, the common denominator in the situations are YOU!

If you want friends, go out and make them.

If you want to be successful begin doing the things that lead to your definition of success.

Be content in the place you are, but that shouldn’t stop you from working to become who you want to be.

-Cooper Mitchell

Mustard Seed Quote

What’s the First Step in Starting a Business?

The first step when it comes to starting a business is to pursue.

What do I mean by pursue? I mean pursue your dream like a tiger stalking its prey, like a ship seeking it’s harbor, like a golf ball seeking it’s hole.

PURSUE!

Move after your dream of starting a business with a vengeance that you’ve never used so you can experience something you never have.

So, you may be asking, what’s the actual first step in building a business, not just some motivational phrase? It starts with an idea.

You must have an idea that is your own. That is unique to you. Not in the sense that you’re the only person who’s ever thought of it, but rather an idea that you identify with, that you believe with all you can make work. You and only you.

An idea is a mustard seed, that when properly taken care of can blossom into something magnificent and large.

Like your business.

Nurture your idea, and grow a business.

-Cooper Mitchell

Live and Die By Your Own Decisions

Refuse to Take Credit for Things You Haven’t Done

Everybody at sometime in their life will find themselves in a moral dilemma. They were perceived to have done something special, even though it was the work of somebody else.

What should you do in this situation?

Well, to put simply, give credit where credit is due; there’s a few reasons for this:

The first reason to not take somebody else’s credit is it’s simply not your’s to take. It’s a rather basic reason, but if it’s not you who did the good deed, you shouldn’t take somebody else’s opportunity for praise.

The second reason is, what happens if that seemingly good deed goes bad? Let’s say you were given credit for a business decision somebody else had made, but rather than saying it wasn’t your doing, you welcomed the praise. A few months later, that business decision that when made seemed like the right one, was now going all kinds of wrong.

What then?

The final reason of why you shouldn’t take credit for things you haven’t done is that you shouldn’t care what other think to begin with.

The opinion of others will ruin you if you let it dictate your life. With that mindset, the praise of others should have no consequence to whether you decide to take the credit of others doings or not.

Simply be yourself, and live and die by your own decisions, not others.

Your Opinion is not Gold

Your Opinion Doesn’t Always Matter

There’s an idea today that your opinion is always right. That everybody is entitled to their opinion and whether it’s made from thin air, or actually has merit, it is equally as important.

Well, I’d like to offer a different viewpoint.

Your opinion is not equal to somebody else’s who know’s more on the subject.

This may come as a shocker, but, somebody who has studied, read, talked to others who have a greater knowledge than them on the subject, certainly have a greater weight in an argument on their opinion.

This does not mean that your opinion is worthless. It just simply means that if you recognize that somebody has a good working knowledge on the subject matter, and it is much more than your own, maybe you should sit back and not pretend to know more than you do.

However, as difficult as this may be to do, there is hope.

In order to make your opinions increase in weight, do your research. Fact check. Read both sides of an argument.

Find out why you have the opinion you do, not on a surface level, but truly understand why you have that opinion and how you can rebuttal counter-arguments.

-Cooper Mitchell

BE-Yourself-2014

Being Yourself No Matter What

Have you ever heard the term, “think outside the box?” The idea behind this is that to stand out, you need to get out of the current environment you are in.

Many industries have a certain stereotype that people fall into. The way they dress, talk, act, everything. I see it all the time, in fact a lot of the time I can simply have a conversation with somebody and based upon how they talk and look I can guess what they do for a living.

THIS CAN BE GROSSLY NEGATIVE.

The reason?

Because everybody else is just like you.

How do you expect to stand out, whether that be to your boss, or if you’re an entrepreneur, to a potential customer? If you just do as the Romans do, you will experience the results the rest do, or worse.

To truly do something special, try being YOU!

That’s a weird concept in a world that tells you be like everyone else, but if you want to succeed and be something that is irreplaceable and indespensible, simply be the only thing that nobody else is. Which put simply is YOU!

– Cooper Mitchell

Iron Sharpens Iron420x425

Iron Sharpens Iron

When you were born you were never handed a manual, given instructions, or shown videos on how to operate. You relied on your parents to teach you, to mold you, and to guide you into how they thought you should be. The guidance that you were given was hopefully in good faith. and as such you grew up into who you are today.

However, your growth certainly does not stop.

When you become an adult you still need the help of others to grow into the best version of yourself.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

As the timeless Proverb illustrates, leaning on one another acts in the same way iron sharpens iron. 

The will to grow only grows stronger when in the company of someone who shares similar goals. You will gain insight, have someone to lean on when you feel like a failure, and a person to go to as a confidant. Not only will you gain much from others, they will gain from their relationship with you which can be equally rewarding.

If you’re stuck in a rut and have no one to turn to, that is most likely not the fault of others, but rather your own. Be proactive in seeking out others whith your interests and goals. Your goal will be achieved faster and easier with the help of another.

-Cooper Mitchell

 

Teddy Copper

Keep Motivation Close

We often experience troubles, defeatist attitudes, and worries that without the mindset that anything can be overcome, can truly crush us.

It’s for this reason that I keep motivation close at hand at all times.

One of the most motivating things for me to see, is great men who have triumphed in the face of adversity. Knowing that others have overcome obstacles much greater than those I face gives me a push that I too can make it through the ordeal.

One such who has dared mightily and failed much is Theodore Roosevelt. Being born at a disadvantage didn’t stop Teddy from achieving greatly and leaving a lasting impact on the world.

Theodore Roosevelt was a politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, historian, and President of the United States. The man did it all and is truly one of the most inspiring men in American History.

His quote, “The Man in the Arena” is my favorite. So much so that my wife had the quote stamped in a sheet of copper for me so that I can keep in my wallet.

The reason?

You never know when something or somebody will strike you down and you will need to stand on the shoulders of giants.

The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

A great illustration of this quote can be found in the book Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than. (his blog can be found here)

2012-02-06-THEODORE-ROOSEVELT-the-man-in-the-arena

 

-Cooper Mitchell

interval

Using Interval Training for Increased Focus in Your Daily Life

Something I’ve been doing research on is how physical training effects the mental side of life. It’s great to be strong and capable in the gym, however we live in an age where outrunning dinosaurs and lifting stones is not as necessary as it once was. That being said, strength is still in my opinion of utter importance and as I’ve seen in my life and many others can be a force in propelling somebody to achieve their goals outside of the gym.

One such idea I’ve run across a few times, but most notably in the book “The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance” by Joshua Waitzkin discusses using intensity followed by rest as a way of living life.

An example of this would be working with very intense focus for a certain period of time, and then afterward relaxing for a short time, and then once again applying extreme focus.

To build this Mr. Waitzkin (Grandmaster Chess Player, and Tai Chi Push Hands World Champion) uses something that all Crossfit athletes are accustomed to: Interval Training. Yes, EMOM’s (every minute on the minute training.)

If you think about it, its the perfect adaption. Jump on a rower, row your heart out for a minute, rest a minute, and do that for 20 minutes.

Imagine doing a similar sequence with longer time periods, but while using mental exertion in place of the physical.

It’s something I’ve been using and find myself much more focused and rather than wasting time checking social media or researching random things, I am focused on a task till I’m ready to rest, and then I will rest without feeling guilt.

This is something that can be used by everyone. Let’s say you’re in school and you’re studying for a difficult test. Rather than study half heartedly like many do, put every effort of yourself into studying for 10 minutes and then take a couple minutes rest.

Little hacks in time management can not only increase what you accomplish, but allow for my ultimate goal: more time to do the things I want!

Cooper Mitchell