Ugh, it’s Monday. This weather is just terrible. Is it Friday yet? I can’t wait for the weekend...I heard an unusual amount of this type of dialogue last week, and it got me thinking about thoughts, actions, and the way we subtly shape our perspectives.
I heard some variation of the “work and weather sucks, is it the weekend yet” talk enough times to be forced to actually think through it. Sometimes we spew negativity without realizing it. It’s built into our casual rhetoric. Work, weather, weekends.
It’s like we’ve forgotten that it’s an incredible privilege to even be alive, sentient, pondering the fact that we have a job to provide for ourselves, that our most precious resource is falling from the sky, that the weekend will inevitably come—it always does.
We get lost in the monotony of casual conversation without even realizing it steals a small amount of joy and motivation. It not only affects our moods, but it shapes what we do with our time. We think poorly, we perform poorly.
How much differently would you act if your mindset was,
“I’m so grateful I have a job and five days ahead of me to earn money. It’s a privilege to not only survive but to thrive, because much of the world is struggling. The weekend will arrive like it always does, but I’m going to live as if today is the only guarantee I have. Rain or shine, it’s amazing to simply exist.”
Cheesy, yeah, but I promise it will serve you and others a heck of a lot better than the default mindset so many are trudging around with. I’m as guilty of the work-weather-weekend talk as anyone, but today is Monday, and it’s a fresh start and I have a renewed perspective.
As a previous president of our company once said,
“Today is my favorite day, and right now is my favorite time.”
That may not be literally true for you today, tomorrow, or any day for the next few years, but I assure you if you change your thoughts from work-weather-weekend to a right-now-is-my-favorite, slowly but surely you’ll see a shift.
One of the blessings of being in a sales role is you are rewarded in direct proportion to your results. One of the curses of being in a sales role is you are rewarded in direct proportion to your results.
For all of my “career” I’ve been in a commission-based job. To some that might seem normal, and others it’s probably a terrifying thought. There have been times I’ve greatly appreciated it and others where I’ve resented and hated it.
I recently laughed out loud at the frustrated Pam Halpert on The Office when describing her lack of success in sales, “The unfair thing about working in sales is that your salary is almost all commission, so if you suck at sales you make almost no money. [long pause] I guess that's fair.”
There’s no hiding. Numbers don’t lie. The most extreme accountability is tying your income to your productivity. Your business, therefore, almost always ends up being a reflection of what’s happening in your head/heart.
I use this example not because most people I know are in sales, but because the principle of the Law of the Harvest (you reap what you sow) is most prevalent to me in this scenario.
It’s a constant reminder that inconsistent activity yields inconsistent results. You must tend the garden. You have to make more deposits than withdrawals. The illustrations go on and on.
In my business, in my marriage, in my relationships...there are no salaried positions, no guarantees. I will reap in direct proportion to what I sow. Just like my job, so much is on the line if I’m unwilling to do the necessary work to sustain it.
Like I said, sales is a blessing and a curse. It’s a double-edged sword. But it’s a reminder that anything worthwhile in life normally exists outside of comfort zones and requires sacrifice, time, hard work, consistency.
Being in nature and its vast beauty with only what I could carry in a pack brought a sense of wonder, contentment, and joy that needed very little to sustain it. The backwoods camping trip to Yellowstone showed me something I can’t unsee.
We create systems that require all sorts of foundations to stand up. I’ll be happy when: I earn a certain amount of money, my family looks a certain way, I achieve xyz-fitness goal, I have this type of house and car, and so on.
We work and work, trading our time for money in the early days then trading our money for more time as we age and enter into our last years.
I was reminded of this reality just this week as I pushed coins into a parking meter. Money for time, time for money.
There is a precarious balance to the economy of our lives. Save enough now to support yourself when you aren’t working later. Spend enough now so you have experiences you may not get to experience later.
Needs, wants, responsibilities, obligations, saving, spending, investing, retirement...these are all words and ideas that affect the time-money tradeoff.
It’s a balance, and one that can have serious consequences if not done well. More than telling you to budget well and make good financial decisions, though, I think I just want to hone in on where I began.
Middle of nowhere. Surrounded by mountains and wildlife. Gazing at a night sky void of light pollution. Billions of stars. All I need to survive in a backpack.
I could feel that sense of wonder and awe with $1 or $1,000,000 to my name. There is a simple beauty readily available, excluded from the economies and complex systems we create to sustain our “happiness.”
It’s here now. It’s all around us. And we rarely see it. We continue to strive, to fight for things we think we need, to hoard and store up, to spend and waste, to try to become something different, better...giving up time and money for the wrong things.
Richard Rohr writes,
“All creatures seem to like being what they are and to accept what they’re not. But humans, we’re a different story, aren’t we? We don’t like being what we are; and worse, we always want to be someone else. We’re mimetic and envious. We’ve traded our instincts for aspirations, wishing we were thinner, or taller, or more handsome, or whatever, anything other than this little incarnation that we are for one gorgeous moment in time.”
There’s a good chance you’re reading this amidst the busyness a “work day” can often carry. Would you just pause for a second and acknowledge that the simple fact that you are reading this right now means you have enough?
You are enough. You are loved. You have an immense opportunity before you. But you don’t need to pursue it with the heavy burden of the expectations the world has placed upon your shoulders to be some idealized version of a “successful, beautiful” human.
Created in the image of God, in this “one gorgeous moment in time”, to participate in the freely-given, divine dance God has called us to. Some call it the “Kingdom,” entered in by grace, and it’s all around us for those who will see.
Do you ever wake up right before the Sun comes up, when the sky begins to fade from pitch black to purple? Purple becomes pink then orange, and before you know it the day has begun.
The colorful in between of darkness to daylight is a spectacle we as humans have been fascinated by since the beginning of time.
As I lay here and watch the Sun rise through the slit in our curtains I think about how this simple moment is possible because of a giant burning ball of gas 93 million miles away.
I think about all the incredible, specific requirements that physically must be met for life to even be sustained here on earth.
I ponder the magnificent odds of every choice of those who came before Lacie and I that led to us laying here together in this particular part of the world as husband and wife.
The odds of it all, the limitless possibilities that resulted in this outcome...it’s truly amazing.
The complex systems that support the seemingly simple pleasures in our life could leave even the brightest mind contemplating for eternity.
From the sunrise to relationships, there is a behind-the-scenes we can sometimes scratch the surface of but still largely remains a mystery.
Lacie is still sleeping, and the light is casting a soft pink glow on her face. This is one of those special moments, birthed from infinite prior interactions, and I want to freeze time.
Inevitably, though, the light turns to orange and then as bright as day, and we have to go on with the day. I’ll keep my eyes peeled, because these moments are tucked between the ordinary and only seen when you’re willing to see.
We spend a third of our life asleep, a third of our working years at a job, and the other third as we choose. The most important parts of our life, family and friends, often only occupy a fraction of our time.
I’ve been acutely aware of the passage of time lately. Death has been on my mind. Not in a morbid sense but in a “I want to live more fully” way. My day is coming. Am I using my 16 waking hours everyday well?
I bumped into my Dad unexpectedly on Friday. He was having lunch with his coworkers. I was having lunch with mine. As I sat at a distance and watched him talk, laugh, eat his meal...it hit me. This is a huge chunk of his life I have very little to do with.
It’s the necessary third of life that is largely disconnected from the third that we believe is most important. The same is true for me. I can tell him about my job, but very little of the experience is actually shared.
So much of our life happens separate from the ones that are closest.
I’ve been around my dad thousands of hours over the last twenty-nine years, and there was still that hint of unfamiliarity when our work worlds crossed paths. I felt the exact same thing the first time I had lunch at Lacie’s hospital and met her coworkers.
Even with the most intimate relationships in our life, there are complex systems and experiences that seem normal to them and foreign to us. Swirling in between the compartments of our individual worlds are nuances we’ve yet to uncover about each other.
It makes me more interested in my loved ones. It makes me more determined to understand them better, to be curious again. It also makes me want to keep tipping that time scale, to figure out a way to break the rule of thirds and integrate more fully.