Monday’s are a tough day for us all. We wake up after a great weekend to the realization that it’s over and we must go back to work. In my experience though, I have found Monday’s to be the catalyst for the rest of the week. Make Monday the foundation for the rest of your week and see if it doesn’t elevate the rest of your days.
Some posts are long, others are short but they will always contain something of worth for both you and I.
Failure can be difficult to swallow.
In the moment, it can often seem as if the world is crashing around you. This viewpoint is only enhanced by a short-term view on life. This viewpoint can infiltrate itself into every aspect of your being if you let it. Your business, your marriage, your friendships, everything!
Although this viewpoint is common, there are many in history who looked beyond their short-term failure. Instead of doting in the moment, these great examples focused on their long-term success.
One such giant in which I stand on the shoulders of is Abraham Lincoln.
Many may see Abraham Lincoln as a man with a straight shot to the top. That nothing and no one stood in the way of his perennial rise.
This notion I’m sure would have been flattering as his journey to success was anything but dominant.
Let’s take a look at his victories and more importantly his defeats:
Now, why do I say, “more IMPORTANTLY his defeats.”
Well, first off, you can see based upon the red versus the green that there’s a lot more defeats/tragedies than there are triumphs.
BUT, the reason is really quite simple:
Learn from Others Mistakes, So You Don’t Have To Learn From Your Own
This also tales into another important aspect of failures:
Everyone Has Them. Nobody Likes to Talk About Them.
One key principle I’ve found in talking to people deemed “successful” is they love to talk about themselves. This is for many reasons, however one such reason is to impart the lessons learned on the next generation who is eager to learn. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, there’s few who are truly interested in learning.
Sometimes it takes digging, but there is gold to be found in the mind of a successful man willing to share his failures.
Learn from others failures. Learn from your own failures. And most importantly, persist, persist, persist.
A smart man learns from his failures, a wise man learns from others’. – Unknown
Yours in Ambition,
This for the most part marks the first anniversary of me starting CooperDane.com.
It’s funny to me that more people don’t have a place to share their views with the world other than on other people’s platforms. I can truly say that having this medium has allowed me to not only become more creative, but also be intentional with my thoughts.
When you’re forced to write a thought out article on your views rather than keep them in your mind, it causes you to formulate a much better and more well rounded argument. Sometimes in fact, I would sit down and plan to write an article and halfway through realize that what I was writing was not actually something I believed. So, in the trash can it went.
One thing I have been planning to write on ever since I started this was on the word COMMITMENT.
What does commitment look like?
Why should we keep our promises?
What does commitment look like in the Bible?
Who are we failing by not keeping our commitments?
These are questions I plan to explore among others.
What does commitment look like?
More and more it appears the definition of commitment seems to be lost.
Commitment defined is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.
This is a fine definition, but I’d like to expound on it and define what it means to me.
Commitment defined by Cooper is saying, “I will do something regardless of other things that present themselves to the best of my abilities.”
This definition is NOT only to other people.
This is first and foremost to yourself.
When you say to yourself, “I’m going to workout 3 times this week because I want to be healthier for myself and for my family” you are COMMITTING to those three days. That means regardless of other things that are going on, regardless of other people that want to take your time, YOU WILL WORK OUT 3 TIMES NO MATTER WHAT.
Let me give you an example of what commitment looks like from one of my personal heroes in history, Mr. Theodore Roosevelt.
On October 14, 1912, Theodore Roosevelt having been out of politics, but being disappointed with the current administration was about to give a speech in an attempt to win an unprecedented third term as POTUS.
When he stepped out of the car to wave at his supporters, suddenly a man only a few feet away shot Teddy in the chest. Thankfully his 50 page speech he had written along with his metal glasses case had shielded him from imminent death. Being a man who had seen gun fire quite a bit in his life, Teddy stuck his finger in his mouth to see if blood was present indicating a punctured lung. Fortunately for him there was not.
Theodore Roosevelt went on to give a 90 minute speech and providing the world with one of the greatest one liner comebacks of all time,
“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”
My friends, that is the definition of commitment. Teddy had committed not only to himself to give this speech, but also to the people attending. Even though he was SHOT IN THE CHEST, he still went on to give a speech lasting over an hour and a half.
Curious what the opposite of commitment is?
Justin Bieber storming off the stage in Oslo after only one song because people were trying to touch him while he was cleaning up spilled water.
Unfortunately, this sort of lack of commitment seems to have infiltrated itself so deep into our society it can be seen everywhere.
But, before we decide to keep our commitments, we need to know why.
Why should we keep our promises?
Every time you make a promise, you are giving a part of yourself.
I mean it, every single time you tell someone that you can be counted on, you are giving a piece of who you are.
When you follow through and do the thing you said you would do, you get back the piece of you that was given, plus something extra. That something extra is the trust the person now has for you because you were a man of your word.
This trust that you build with people compounds itself until everyone you know, knows you as a trustworthy person.
Think back to all of the people you are friends or have done business with. When somebody shows up late or doesn’t follow through with something you were counting them on, you remember that. And every time you think of people you can count on to do something for you, that time your friend Bobby said he could help you and never showed up, replays in your mind.
So, if you want to have people who are committed to you, you need to be committed to them.
This also plays itself out in your own life; I’ve seen it 1000 times.
Somebody tells me they’re going to commit to only going to somewhere like Starbucks once a week because they want to save money by making coffee at home.
Not a week goes by and they’re back to buying a cup of coffee at their local brown eyes every morning.
In their mind, it doesn’t matter because it was a commitment nobody knew about. It was simply a promise they made to themselves and in all reality, can you really lie to yourself?
Yes, you can. And the majority of people go through life telling themselves one thing, and doing another.
This lack of trust in oneself will play itself out in all sorts of ways. I mean honestly, how can you expect to keep a commitment to others, if you can’t keep one to yourself?
Not everyone reading this is a Christian, however even if you aren’t a Christian, the Bible has many principles for living a successful life.
One of the many stories that pops into my head regarding commitment in the Bible is the story of King David.
I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – Psalm 16:8
David committed his entire life to the Lord and through it, the Lord blessed him in return.
One of the main principles that is shown throughout the Bible in regards to commitment is the fact that commitment is not always, and in many cases, never easy.
When you commit to someone or something, you should be saying regardless of the obstacles that come in my way, I will give my all to do the thing I said I would. A story that illustrates this in the bible is of Job.
This is personally one of my favorite stories in the Bible and shows that if we commit to the Lord, He will commit back to us.
And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” – Job 1:12
Job then began to experience many trials in his health, wealth, and even his Wife telling him to curse God and kill himself. Through all of this, Job remained committed to his faith. He did not sway. He did not forget his commitments even though life was going rough. But instead, Job cried out:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Think on this for a second. Job was a wealthy man who was truly blessed. Suddenly he had nothing.
What would you do in that situation? Would you curse? Would you turn your back on God? It’s very hard to say without ever having gone through such a tumultuous time. But, I believe that through small commitments to others, we can develop the fortitude necessary to remain committed to the Lord even in the most difficult times.
Let me say this again, because to me, this is the most important lesson to be learned in this entire discussion:
By keeping the seemingly small commitments to our friends, family, and business associates we deal with on a daily basis, we can develop the means to stay committed in the situations that would feel impossible otherwise. This illustrates the power of compounding. Many see it only in the area of finance, but it is all around you.
God calls us to be FULLY invested in Him. He does not want wafflers or back and forthers. He despises these types so much it is written in Revelation:
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. – Revelation 3:16
In the end, after all of Job’s trials and hardships, God blesses Job with twice of what he had before.
And this receiving of something extra goes right back to my example of giving a piece of yourself and in return, receiving even more.
Who are we failing by not keeping our commitments?
You don’t have to commit to the majority of things in life. In fact, there’s many people that live this way. You may ask them to do something and rather than giving you a yes or no, they just give you the ol’ “I’ll let you know.” These are not the type of people that can be trusted and often turn out to be very unreliable people.
But, even worse than never committing, is committing and not following through with your commitments.
What happens when the lady in my previous example who was set on not going to Starbucks each week decides she’s no longer going to keep her commitment?
Well, for one, it will become more and more difficult for her to stay committed to anything if she doesn’t follow through.
“Willpower is like a muscle. The more you work on developing it, the more you can incorporate it into your life. – Dr. Kelly McGonigal
Other people will also see that she is not committing to herself and will not expect her to commit to them.
A secret to committing to oneself
Do you know why people love to tell others what they plan on doing?
It’s because it allows them to feel a sense of immediate accomplishment. So much so in fact, that many people will not do, what they said they would.
Going around telling everybody, everything you plan on doing is a recipe for disaster. In the short term it will lead to little shots of dopamine, but in the long term, it will lead to ruin.
The next time you have an idea of something you want to commit to, say it’s working out or eating better, wait at least 3 months before you tell anybody outside of your closest circle of people. Being able to say, “these are things I’m doing” vs. “these are things I’m going to do” will change your life. Procrastinators talk about what they want to do, successful people talk about what they’re currently doing.
A real life example of commitment
Every Thursday evening at 7:30 PM rain or shine, 20 dedicated people come to my Wife and I’s home to encourage one another and dig into the Word.
I’ve been a part of various bible studies, but none have had the intentionality and dedication to one another as this group does.
In fact, it’s been such a committed group of individuals, we’ve created a name and a mission statement.
A group of men and women that is committed through love, humility, community, and the word of God to become more equipped for the intentional pursuit of Jesus in our everyday lives.
The overarching theme and idea that has caused us to flourish, is every one is bought in. When someone says they’re going to do something and doesn’t, you’ll be sure that a brother will come alongside them to encourage future change.
We see each other as family. When people need help moving, we’re there. When a couple is suddenly expecting a baby, we’re there to celebrate. When an engagement is announced, we’re there to share in the moments.
Through commitment to one another, EVERYONE has seen incredible growth. If you’re not surrounded by others committed as much to you as you are to them, then I highly suggest you seek a change. Everybody deserves to have people walk alongside them on this journey we call life.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of all of the positive sides of standing by your commitments, but it is a start. Make this year, the year where you no longer say one thing, and do something else.
Live and die by your commitments and your life with flourish.
– Cooper Mitchell
When you woke up this morning, what did you do?
Did it involve hitting the snooze alarm multiple times? Possibly running to the shower, changing, and heading out the door? Or maybe you even made enough time to grab a granola bar on the way out the door.
If your mornings are defined by any of these situations or consist of any similar iteration then you’re doing it wrong.
I like to think of the morning as a foundation to the start of your day.
If you start your morning in a rush to get going, you’re going to go through the day in a rush. And this my friends is what the majority of America does.
The majority of America sleeps until there is absolutely no more time available for sleep, and then rushes to get to their workplace.
If you can wake up early to get to something that you have to do, like go to work, then you can certainly muster up the gusto to wake up for something you want to do.
Like IMPROVE your life.
If you start the day with personal development, then I can guarantee you that your life will improve dramatically.
This goes back to one of my favorite quotes by Charlie Munger:
“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”
What are you doing to develop yourself, not for the sake of your employer, but for YOU?!
While you’re reading this, you’re probably saying, “but I’m so busy, there’s not enough time in a day.” Then make time! You make time for the things you want to accomplish.
If I told you, that you could accomplish at least 75% of the the goals you set for yourself if you dedicated an hour of your day to personal improvement, would you do it?
I guarantee you would. And that’s exactly what can happen if you dedicate yourself to it.
And when’s the best time to do it.
I recently read a book by “Yo Pal” Hal Elrod (great name to have people remember you) called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life… (Before 8AM).
I typically shy away from books with this overly enthusiastic title, but I saw some good reviews from people I respect so I decided to give it a shot. Besides, nobody has ever gone broke buying books to read.
Although much of the book is simply words to fill pages, there were some great tips I picked up.
The first one is to have a strategy when you wake up. Don’t just fall asleep without a plan on how you’re going to attack your morning.
This is how I go about mine:
- 5:30 AM: Wake Up (I am slowly waking up earlier and earlier till I reach 4:00 AM which is my goal for waking up.)
- Immediately put on workout clothes and drink a glass of water.
- Spend 10 minutes praying. This can be replaced with meditating for some.
- Spend 10-20 minutes reading the bible.
- Spend 10-20 minutes reading a book of my choice, most often non-fiction, or reading Bloomberg Businessweek or WSJ.
- Spend 20-30 minutes walking/running ‘Famous Amos’ (dog) or stretching/breaking a sweat.
- Once all of that is done, I make my breakfast, drink my coffee and then begin getting ready for the upcoming day.
Notice how I don’t even begin thinking about the upcoming day until after I’ve done all the things I WANT to do.
By picking a morning schedule and sticking to it, you are winning the morning. Although it may seem small, these small wins compound themselves over time. This is an idea I recently picked up from the book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.
The second idea I picked up from The Miracle Morning is to spend time in silence. This is talked about by many of the guests on the Tim Ferriss Podcast (my personal favorite) but simply being able to sit in silence in a world that is constantly in motion is a skill few will master.
This small portion of your day simply being content with nothing will radically change your life.
As will starting your morning on your terms.
So, stop being a victim of your situation. Stop allowing the morning to ruin your day. Rebel against the way everybody else is living.
Make the morning a victory, and watch as your days become victories.
Stay Strong, Live Long,
Why do we compare ourselves to others?
It’s as if we are wired to look at somebody else’s accomplishments and judge them against our own.
We think that by measuring up to someone else that we have reached a level of success that is something we should be striving for. This idea however, is completely false.
First off, we are all DIFFERENT.
Every single person reading this post is different from one another, as well as myself. We all have specific traits, goals, skills, and attitudes that shape the individual you see in the mirror.
If this is the case then, that each person is indeed an individual, then why are we trying to veer into other peoples lanes?
This goes both ways as well.
By comparing yourself to somebody who you’ve deemed to be “successful,” you immediately squander your own achievements.
AND, by comparing yourself to others, you immediately place yourself in the same race as that person. This is the issue I have with the idea of human comparison.
If I’m comparing my unique self, with all of my individual abilities and ideas to somebody who is obviously not me, I’m completely limiting my potential. It would be like a long distance runner comparing themselves to a sprinter. Sure, they’re both doing the same action, going from point A to point B with their legs being the only mode of transportation; but, they’re two completely different skillsets, body types, distances, and mental races.
So, my suggestion to you is the next time you look at somebody else’s accomplishments, congratulate them, but remember that you are not them.
You my friend have your own race to run and in order to stand atop the podium of self improvement you must stay in your lane.
I’ll leave you with this:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, – Hebrews 12:1
– Cooper Mitchell
Today’s topic is not of the norm for me, but is something I see beginning to occur and will only increase with time.
Once upon a time when people marketed on the internet or wrote to a certain crowd, they would write for the masses. I.e the crowd they were trying to reach was the ENTIRE WORLD.
This was something that often worked.
Put yourself and your ideas into this new virtual world and with time, your audience will grow. It’s an idea that is heavily spoken on in a book I recently read by Austin Kleon called “Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered.
I greatly agree with this advice and it’s something I’m doing right now as I write this.
However, I believe there will soon be a shift, and one that will begin to become very noticeable.
First, why a shift?
Reaching the entire world with your content was at one time very possible. In fact, it’s still possible today, but is becoming more and more difficult as time goes on.
The reason is due to the amount of information being uploaded on the internet at an increasing pace, AND the amount of information that’s been on the webiverse for years.
I recently read a statistic that was confirmed by a Google Spokesperson that 300 hours of video is uploaded to Google (wait for it…) every MINUTE!
Every minute! Can you believe that?
And that’s just video, which doesn’t include all of the social media posts, blog entries, music, or anything else share for the world to see.
With the ever increasing amount of information sharing, you must believe it is only becoming harder to be seen.
So, what can be done?
This is the real point of this article.
Now that it’s becoming more difficult than ever to get noticed on the interwebs, what can be done?
However, specialization is not enough. Specialization and niche markets plague the internet, so something else must be done.
Yes, I believe the future of the internet including marketing and visibility will begin to become much more geographically based.
To reach target audiences, I see it becoming very important to focus efforts on your local market. Which is something I’ve begun to do, and is even easily seen in a recent article I wrote called, “Springfield MO Financial Advisor.”
It doesn’t get much more locally focused then that.
This is far from a new idea in the large spectrum of things. Companies have done this for centuries, however, it’s typically been done in the reverse.
Companies attempt to grab a foothold in the local market, and then expand outward.
In my opinion, visibility in the internet age is the opposite.
Begin globally, and narrow down to being seen locally.
What’s your opinion?
The sound of your alarm goes off.
Although this appears as a very simple yes or no answer, get up or stay in bed, it is much more important than we give it credit.
You see, should you decide to remain in slumber underneath your warm covers, you are saying you’d rather sleep than get whatever it is you would do with extra hours in the day.
However, should you decide to spring out of your welcoming bed and attack the day with vigor, you are setting a foundation for the rest of your day.
By choosing to wake up at the time you’ve set for yourself, hopefully a time that is early and challenging for you, then your first decision for the day is a win. Essentially, by making that first decision a victory for yourself, you’re preparing the rest of your day to reflect the same.
And, as I’ve written on many times before, a solid foundation is an essential part to every endeavor you plan to uphold. Many people do not have a strong foundation and thus, when the wind and the waves of life come, they are unable to weather the storm.
So, this brings me to my point of discipline ultimately equating to freedom. Discipline = Freedom.
Because you decide to discipline yourself, others will not have to. This gives you the freedom to make choices that you want to choose versus being forced to choose them.
Discipline yourself and others won’t need to – John Wooden
For more discussion on this topic, check out Tim Ferriss podcast with Navy Seal Jocko Willink.
– Cooper Mitchell
“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.” – Daniel 1:8-16
My life is easy.
So easy in fact that I initially thought the idea of fasting from meat (I’m practically a carnivore), alcohol, dairy, caffeine (yes, no coffee), and sugar was something I didn’t need to partake in.
I had the option of either joining in with my church, James River Church, and seeking God in my life by fasting from culinary luxuries afforded to the majority of Americans, or pretending it wasn’t something I needed to do.
Looking back on my thought process on whether I should join in on my first Daniel’s Fast actually embarrasses me somewhat.
I wasn’t willing to give up things that many in other countries would only dream of having available every hour of everyday, and for only a measly 3 weeks.
Daniel was giving up food fit for kings! We have this food all around us, and for a very low cost.
If I don’t have it “good,” I don’t know who does.
And this brings up a good point…
Why are we trying to squeak by?
God didn’t make us to be 9-5er’s, shuttling to our cubicles and avoiding anything that would put us out of our element.
GOD MADE US TO BE WARRIORS.
Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. – Psalm 144:1-2
So, rather than trying to be as comfortable in our lives as possible, let’s pray to face adversity.
Let’s pray that God would make our lives tough, not toughness for it’s own sake, but so that through us, others would see a shining example of a warrior for Christ.
To me, that’s what the Daniel’s Fast is about.
Putting a stop to the excess of this world, and turning the green light on to experiencing what life in Christ is like, outside of the king’s lifestyle many of us live.
So, how did I do on the fast?
Much better than I would have thought.
I remember joking with my wife that I didn’t ever remember eating a meal that didn’t involve some sort of meat. Seriously. I couldn’t think of one.
It’s just the way my life has been, and I never stopped to think that never experiencing discomfort regarding food was a bad thing.
I’m well aware of the idea that discomfort today, could mean experiencing something great in the future. But, this idea applied to food never popped in my head outside of simply eating healthy.
One thing I noticed was the amount of thought that is taken by deciding what and where to eat throughout the day. Rather than thinking at the various eating intervals what I was going to slam down my gullet, I instead thought of the reason I was fasting.
Thus, leading me to pray.
This was the single greatest takeaway from my experience on the Daniel’s Fast. I don’t pray near enough.
In fact, I don’t think many of us do.
Speaking on myself for a moment, I get so wrapped up in the things of this world that I forget to speak with God. I am admittedly hard headed and will try to do things on my own.
I find that the more I try to do on my own, the less progress I make. It’s as if I’m in quicksand and no matter how hard I try to push forward, I’m still stuck or worse off than I was.
However, when I accept that I can’t do things on my own, and ask for God’s intervention, life becomes easier. Often times due to the lack of worry that is associated with everything being on my shoulders.
So, the lesson learned from the Daniel’s Fast was pray fervently!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18
In summary, the Daniels Fast was a great experience and one that makes you realize just how good you have it.
In addition, you will learn to pray, because every time you think about food, you should be reminded the reason you are abstaining from it.
Also, the food you will eat after you have completed your Daniel’s Fast is unlike any other.
To see rewards, we must sacrifice. Without the feeling of pain, how are we to know the sweet taste of victory?
Our victory after the fast included custard from Andy’s. Yum!
– Cooper Mitchell
If you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid – Albert Einstein
In today’s day and age it is so easy to compare ourselves to others.
We scroll through any number of the dopamine inducing social media sites and realize our inadequacies.
However, what we often don’t see is the struggle. The struggle that everybody inevitably faces, but nobody wants to talk about. Why would somebody want people to know they’re going through a tough time when they can simply post all of the good things for everyone to see and comment on?
Life is not all sunshine and rainbows forever. It’s not like that for anyone, no matter how hard they try to make it look like it is.
Another thing we must realize is our individuality.
I am not made to follow the plan you are, and the same goes the other way. I am my own person, somebody who has his own goals, dreams, and struggles. They are different than anybody else’s.
So, if we all struggle.
And, we all are individuals.
Then my question is…
Why do we compare?
– Cooper Mitchell
I’m in the middle of reading Ashlee Vance’s Biography on Elon Musk.
So far it is an incredibly insightful and exciting read.
Just to give you a little background on Elon, he was once a co-founder of Zip 2 and Paypal. He is currently the CEO of Tesla Motors, Space X, and a Chairman of Solar City.
How is it that Elon can be equally competent in building cars as he is in building rockets? How can a guy go from co-founding PayPal to exploring Space?
What separates Elon Musk from the rest?
Curiosity is an underlying principle between nearly every great titan of industry. You see everyday people going about their mundane lives, never striving for anything greater than what’s within their cubicle? The reason they never go outside their comfort zone is because they’re never curious enough to know what lies ahead.
People are longing for something more than what they currently experience, but never take action to change.
Elon pushes the boundaries on what’s possible. If he’s interested in something, he seeks to learn about it.
This brings up another principle that separates Elon and others like him.
The constant pursuit of knowledge.
In today’s age, it’s possible to know a little about everything. But, it’s also possible to know a lot about little.
There’s many today that have a little bit of knowledge over a large spectrum. But just knowing something small about a lot will never get you far enough in any one thing.
What Elon has done is completely immersed himself in a few areas. He’s taken advantage of the opportunities for learning that are available today. But he hasn’t just skimmed the hot points.
Elon Musk is drowning in information trying to see if he can stay afloat.
This has allowed him to develop rockets for less than ever before, create an automobile company that sells fully electric cars out of shopping malls, and made solar power no longer just a thing of the future, but a reality of today.
Elon Musk is a true renaissance man. AND, if he can keep it up, will truly be somebody talked about for centuries to come.
Don’t wake up with regrets from the past.
Don’t worry about what you’re going to do, or be sad of things you’ve done.
There are new mercies awaiting you everyday. The only choice you need to make is whether to accept them or not.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
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,
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)
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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!
Today I’d like to discuss the use of momentum. Have you ever been working hard on something only to realize nothing was going your way? Whether that be a project for school, work or any other endeavor and then all of sudden things started to fall into place really quickly.
It was as if you were tied up and suddenly you broke the chains and were running free. It’s at this point that I think the most effort must be applied.
Often times when we experience this jolt of success we rest on our laurels. We take a step back and look at what we’ve accomplished. I’ve noticed this many times in my own life for example after having a great hockey game, gaining a new client, or having success in any other entrepreneurial effort. It’s at that moment that I rest and think of what I’ve accomplished.
However, this is the most important time to dig in and get to work. You’ve just experienced success, your confidence is sky high, and your outlook on life is extremely positive. Take that momentum going forward and use it to your advantage.
For those of you in sales, if you’ve just closed a sale over the phone, pick up that phone again and make more calls. If you’re a small business owner and just completed a successful marketing program, don’t wait to develop another one, start it immediately!
Have you ever noticed something similar in your own life where after you experienced success, rather than sitting back, you pushed forward and saw more benefit than if you would have followed the former?
Growing up we’re given all kinds of opportunities to learn and grow. Some are given more than others, and some simply take more advantage of the opportunities they were given. The best opportunity I have had for growth has come through the help of a mentor.
I was blessed in that I was born with a mentor. Somebody who put lots of time and energy into me, in showing me how to become a man. That man was my father and I am constantly leaning on him for advice in business and in life.
For the majority of you, you will not have this guidance given to you. You must go out into the world and seek the help of others. To give you an idea of how a mentor can propel you, take a look at Aristotle. Aristotle was mentored by Plato, Plato was mentored by Socrates. 3 of the most famous philosophers of all time. There’s only so much you can learn on your own and it is undoubtedly possible to bypass a whole myriad of mistakes by learning from those who have paved the path before you.
Previous to our time mentors were a common sight. Many empires were built by standing on the shoulders of giants and you should take the time to find someone to be your guide. Successful people love to tell you how they have become successful. If you seek, you shall find.
For those whose age and wisdom is far greater than my own, have you given the opportunity for those who seek to learn from you? I believe you can gain as much out of the relationship as the young person you’re teaching. It’s a win-win situation.
How many times have you talked to someone who kept going on about how busy, and how little time they had to accomplish things?
This is always a funny idea to me, because many people have much more time than they realize. Often after explaining the lack of time they have, they will then talk about their favorite Netflix series, or how late they slept in.
If you’re sleeping in, and watching Netflix marathons you do not lack time, you lack discipline.
If you truly wanted to accomplish the things you say you do, you will make time. No amount of school or work or any of the other things we spend our time doing keeps you from reaching your goals. It’s only you who stands in the way.
But, there’s hope for change. Rather than filling a conversation about your lack of time, fill it with the things you’re working on and what you need to do to get to where you want to go. I think this can prove to be a powerful change.
One of my favorite poems is ‘IF’ by Rudyard Kipling. To me it speaks of living boldly. To care for those who can do nothing for you in the same way that you care for those that can change your life. Every man is made in God’s image and should be loved the same. Kipling hits on so many different aspects of life in just a small poem and it’s a push to strive for more. There’s so many boy’s walking around in the bodies of men today pretending to be something they aren’t. Someday I strive to be a Man, not by my age, but by my actions and I hope you would do the same.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
The body is a crazy thing. You can neglect it like the majority of Americans, and it will keep performing for much longer than it should. However, at some point everything breaks down and so too shall you. I urge you, however to not neglect the great machine that God has given you. Push yourself to your limits, see what you’re made of.
The constant pursuit of knowledge is so great and powerful, but without the body to control you are only half a person.
The same can be also be said for the other side of the coin. If you have achieved an elite level of fitness, don’t neglect your mind. The idea of only increasing one part of your life reminds me of the man who builds a large house on a shaky foundation. It may look good from the outside but someday the faults that lie in your foundation will be exposed and ultimately bring your ruin.
Find Balance, See Success.
A lot of people look to Arnold for inspiration. He is certainly a man worthy of your attention and today while I read his book I shall smoked a nice Cohiba cigar.
Best quote thus far:
“After that (loss,) I never went to a competition to compete, I went to win. I deserve the pedestal, the sea ought to part for me.”
This mindset allowed Arnold Schwarzenegger, in my eyes one of the greatest immigrant success stories of all time, to become who Arnold is today. Attack life with the ferocity of a champion, go into situations poised to take victory and I believe you shall.
I finished reading the book “The Richest Man in Babylon” yesterday and came away with a few key ideas that I believe we can all apply to the use, and gathering of assets.
1. “Increase thy ability to earn”
In my opinion this is of utmost importance. The more opportunities you have to earn, the more you surely will earn.
2. “Make thy gold multiply”
Quoting arguably one of the greatest minds of all time in Albert Einstein, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” Making your money work for you is a lesson of the wealthy. The fool works for money, the intelligent have their money work for them.
3.”Start thy purse to fattening”
Often times when money is earned, the first person to be paid are others. You pay your bills, you pay the merchant for new shoes, or the owner of a restaurant for food. Paying yourself first and allowing your wealth to accumulate is the fastest way to leave behind the worries of money.
There were many more lessons learned and to be learned by you in “The Richest Man in Babylon.” I highly suggest you invest in yourself by picking up a copy.
We all face challenges, some more than others, but nevertheless each day we wake there is something staring us down waiting to be overcome. Many times we view these challenges with a “woe is me” attitude. We complain and are fearful of what’s ahead. I’d like to offer a new way of viewing these seemingly endless onslaught of tests that await each day.
Be thankful you have a challenge to face. There are many that would kill (and some do) to have a hill to climb, something to overcome but due to their location/social class/whatever have no such opportunity. Viewing situations with a joyous heart towards God who has allowed you to face something that can make you better and improve your life will dramatically change your point of view. And most importantly in my opinion, allow you to overcome more than you thought you could.
To gain an edge in life you must do things that others don’t. There are many ways to get ahead, but a book I’ve been reading lately titled “Poor Charlies Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger” had a quote by the great investor that really stuck out to me. If you don’t like your current situation, do something about it. The only permanent part of life is death, and if you’re reading this, you are still alive.
“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you. Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.” – Charles T. Munger
I often get caught up in the world, chasing money and power as I’m sure many do. Francis Chan has a great quote: “Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?”
Pursue excellence and success, but not at the cost of your life.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
I’m at a financial seminar in New Orleans and Swen Nater, famous basketball player came and spoke. Besides his height, he spoke of three things that caused his success and can be true for anyone that I really liked.
1. Be persistent.
2. Focus on the fundamentals. You can’t build a successful business without a solid foundation.
3. Be the best you, that you can be.
Happy 2015 friends, may it be the best yet!