The ‘Chipper’.

Posted on: February 4th, 2012 by latentresources No Comments

Not too many years ago, my wife noticed my style of work as trying to accomplish overwhelming tasks by overloading myself to the point of exhaustion. It was about the same time that I noticed how she worked, which was quite the opposite approach as mine. I can’t believe it didn’t occurred to me sooner. While I got a lot more done in the same time frame, I was beat and ready for a beer, while she was setting off to start anther project. What she pointed out was that steady, consistent work pays off, leaving you with the time and energy to enjoy the reward of your labor.

Later on, she noticed the same tendency in my saving habits. I would get a sizable check and devote as much of it to savings, even if it meant being stretched thin later in the month. She, however, would take the $12.00 she saved on groceries and put it in savings. She called this “chipping away”, so I dubbed her ‘The Chipper’. The slow and steady, little by little approach has paid off in many ways, and I learned some valuable lessons from my wife in the first few years of marriage. I think our opposite ways of dealing with tasks, time, money, and especially long-term goals blended well. But ultimately, our combined chipping built our lives in a way that my all-or-nothing, burn-out style just couldn’t have built. I discovered that small and consistent builds stronger and lasts longer than the ‘get rich quick’, ‘buy now – pay later’ mindset. This was a valuable lesson, indeed.

So my word to you is this: If you want to accomplish something, start small. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Pace yourself. By tackling more than can be handled, discouragement comes easily, especially after realizing that completing what was started and continuing at that pace could be fatal. This often results in giving up on the venture, no matter how significant it may be. Practice becoming a Chipper; its reward is for the long haul.


Reading List

Posted on: August 7th, 2011 by latentresources No Comments

How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read OneHow to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One by Stanley Fish

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first I have read of Stanely Fish, and having done so, I am compelled to get my hands on everything he has produced. He is a true joy to read. The reader will come away from the book realizing that you have just been in the presence of a highly capable and well researched author, a cunning wit, and a precise linguist.

Fish has a way of taking the reader by the arm, leading him to a view point, and explaining to him the lay-of-the-land of written English in terms that are enjoyable, interesting, and anything but rigid or cold.

Had I read this book when I was in high school (were it available at that time), I would have undoubtedly come away with a greater love for English and creative writing. Even the best writers out there are sure to benefit from their time spent reading “How to Write A Sentence: And How to Read One”.

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Respect of Self

Posted on: July 12th, 2011 by latentresources No Comments

Respect. What does that mean? The word is derived from two: re, meaning, “Again”; and spect, which means, “Look” or “See”. Literally, it is to look at again. The idea behind this word is to “treat with deferential regard or esteem”. When you respect someone, you are looking at him or her differently than you would someone of lesser respectability. On the lesser, you look only once; on the greater, you look again.

Let’s view it from the receiving end. What is it to be respected? Respect, is generally thought of as something earned, and to a certain degree, I would concur. Normally it implies being someone noteworthy, or having accomplished something of difficulty. To be respected, one must do or be something of regard. We all have various ideas about what things are deserving of respect, but it is safe to say that value of one kind or another is the core. We respect those things on which we place value.

What needs to be examined is value. Why should anyone pay any respect to anyone anyway? The most fundamental reason is that we are human, and therefore, made in God’s image; we have His stamp on us; He made us. That is our deepest claim to value. That is why, in our culture, we don’t regard the life of animals in the same way we do human life. We are different because of our intrinsic value as image bearers of our Creator. In the sense that we dimly reflect God, we are all birthed on equal planes and all have the same value. No human can be worth any less than the value placed on him by his Creator.

Respect for ones self is of absolute importance before one can respect others. You must understand your own value before God before you can understand the value of others. I think this needs to be considered well, simply because there is a growing population who have been brought up to hate themselves and, therefore, everyone else. I’ll not go into the psychology behind this, but essentially, the love and value , or the lack if it, you are shown as a child by your parents is, to a large degree, the love and value you are going to show to others.

But what does it look like to respect ones self? To say that self-respect is to know your own value is pretty vague. However, once you do understand your personal value, you will understand that taking care of yourself is of great importance. This could look like hygiene, cleanliness, and your appearance; it might show itself in the way you regard your work and in rewarding yourself for it. I would say further that it also looks like disciplining yourself, and restricting yourself from things that are not best. Maybe even deeper self-respect is seen as the ability and willingness to forgive yourself for things you have done to cause you harm or loss.

This brings us back to the reality of our value being the very image of God, and what He has done to forgive us. He sees our value as people, because we carry His image, and that means that He wants us clean, healthy, disciplined, rewarded, and ultimately, forgiven. Once we consider ourselves valuable and begin putting it into practice by valuing others and ourselves, people will notice and will, in turn reciprocate value on us. This begins a cycle, which flows into every aspect of our lives, and which creates an environment for accomplishment and success.

Only when this reality has taken root, can it be truly expanded outside yourself and directed to those around you. This is the very foundation of living a fulfilling life.

You are of worth to your creator because you resemble Him. That worth cannot be increased or decreased. Because you are human, you have abilities and the ability to increase them. Your value to others is measured by your contribution through your abilities.


Who Are You? – Cleanliness

Posted on: June 28th, 2011 by mrjsthomas No Comments

A short time ago, I was laughed at when I mentioned, in a men’s Bible study, that one of God’s attributes was cleanliness. The look on people’s faces was something of mockery and at the same time, inquisition. From cover to cover of the Bible, I see a picture painted of a deity who like things picked up, washed off, and orderly. If you are Jewish or are acquainted with the Jewish culture, you will be familiar with their general, personal, and household tidiness. This comes from their history of serving a God who is generally, shall we say, clean.

If you are doubtful, I would not hesitate to send you to the Levitical chapters of the Old Testament to see the dietary and cleaning rituals laid out in great detail. Even note the consequences for failing to follow these statutes; pretty rough. It was a required way of life that helped protect life, and God being the God of the living, not of the dead, instructed the Jewish people in the ways of hygiene.

From a more subjective vantage point, I think it would be fair to say that most people prefer a clean environment to its alternative. Think back to a time when you visited a restaurant; a Dairy Queen, or a local ‘greasy spoon’, and witnessed flies swarming over the tables, or maybe you picked up a fork that was carrying remnants of the previous user’s meal between the tines. Your impression of the place was probably not stellar, and what may have stuck in your memory was more of a warning to you not to return.

That old saying, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is more true than many of might care to admit; it tends to act as a measure of our internal cleanliness. If you take care of yourself, it is probable that you will take care of others, and people notice that. They may not be consciously thinking, “That person is well dressed and groomed; I bet she’d make a great friend”, but what is worn on the outside does bare some resemblance to what’s on the inside. People gravitate to those with a warm, genuine smile in the same way there is something magnetic about a person who is polished and clean.

When it comes to the professional field, customers would rather the business be well-kept, and therefore, Human Resource professionals and hiring managers would sooner hand the job over to one whose hands are clean than risk the company’s reputation getting dirty. Nobody likes having their car serviced, and then being handed greasy keys that transmit used motor oil to their slacks or skirt. Tradesmen are expected to remove or cover their boots before entering a customer’s home.This does not put aside the fact that performing work often requires you get dirty, but my writing this to address a life-style, and not disparage one whose work creates a mess.

The principle at work here is simply one of respect. If you don’t respect yourself, it follows that you won’t respect others. If you don’t take care of yourself, it can be reasoned that you may not take care of others. Businesses keep their store-fronts clean, partly as a gesture of respect, but mainly because they know that a neglected public area is a sure way to get customers heading for the doors, and with little hope of them returning.

My encouragement to the reader is this: work on being mindful of your inner cleanness. Clean out the closet, so to speak. Seek to align the inside with the outside. Take a hard look at you house, your car, your clothes… you. It takes work, but if work is what you’re looking for, why not start on yourself? Potential customers will notice, your [future] boss will notice, your spouse and friends will notice, and even you may be surprised by the results. Consider this: if part of an interview process was for the interviewer to rate you based on the condition of the interior of your car, do you think you would win the job? What if they wanted to hold the interview in your home on short notice? Would you be comfortable inviting them in? One difficulty of being unemployed is the lack of demands to get up, clean up, and dress up. But think how much better you would feel, how much more confidence you would have, how clear your mind could be, if your surroundings were neat and organized.

Who Are You? – Authenticity

Posted on: June 16th, 2011 by mrjsthomas No Comments

Who are you? I don’t mean, “What do you do?” or “Where did you graduate college?”, but who are you on the inside? Is what you see in the mirror a true reflection of who you are? Do you have to hide a history inked onto your skin? What about that driving record? Do you present yourself, as if an actor, to your family, to your new date, to your boss, to your church group? One inescapable truth is that we can not hide from ourselves. What if you could be so genuine that who you are in private is who you want to be in public? Would it concern you if someone looked through your computer, in your closet, or at your credit card receipts? The disconnect between the real ‘you’ and the ‘you’ that you wear on the outside, is a lie; a false front. It’s a mask one wears to hide the truth, like a bad toupee.

Take for example; you are gingerly walking back from the break room with a HOT cup of coffee, when a co-worker abruptly steps in front of you. You end up with your shirt tainted a dirty brown, and the skin on your chest is left feeling like you exfoliated it with 60-grit sandpaper. What is your immediate response? What is the first word out of your mouth?

Whatever you express in that moment shows the viewers your true composure on the inside. If you are characterized by patience, a mild response will be initiated. If short-tempered, foul language and rage may flow. Or, maybe you have just enough self-control to hold back the words, but your facial expression says it all. You may even be able to lie well enough with smiles and “That’s OK”s, but inside you are steaming for days.

The Proverbs of The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. The question remains: “Who are you?” While you can’t erase your past, a new future can certainly be carved out. The reason many people shy away from authenticity is because it requires brutal honesty, confrontation, hurt feelings, exposing the past, dealing with it, and apologizing; first with yourself, then with others. Not only that, it’s a life-style of sacrificing what’s fun for what’s right; what is simply OK for what’s best. Surprisingly, once you’ve dealt with yourself, facing others is more of a relief than a burden.

If you could live without the fear of someone digging up some of your old bones, or you making a slip of the ton

gue at the wrong time, would you go to work on your self and begin eliminating the things that could come back to haunt you?

Here is a short list of things to work on:

- White lies

- Badly broken relationships

- Peeking at those websites

- Credit scores

- Unscrupulous language

- Broken promises

- Untamed tempers

- Dietary control

The good news is that you are re-programmable. Research has shown that it takes, on average, 21 consciously repeated efforts to replace an old habit with a new, good habit. With consistency and patience, you can become the person you want to be, starting on the inside. You will be authentic, not worried about the thoughts of others, not second-guessing your words. You will have confidence and fulfillment by conquering yourself and bringing your thoughts and actions into line with who you ultimately want to be. Becoming this will serve you more than you can calculate, and prepare you for positions of greater responsibility.