What Am I Here For? p1 [v56]

OCTOBER 2003

WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR?: As I mentioned last month, I am reading through the book, “The Purpose-Driven Life.” WOW!!! This is more than just another book! It is a guide to a 40-day journey that will enable my to discover my answer to life’s most important questions. Hopefully, by the end of this journey I will have a much better idea of what my purpose for my life is, and will better understand the ‘big picture’—how all the pieces of my life should ‘fit’ together. The author, Rick Warren says that having this perspective will reduce one’s stress, simplify their decisions, increase their satisfaction, and, most importantly, prepare one for a decision concerning what could happen to them after they die.

Already, through only the first few chapters, I realize this is not a book to ‘blow’ through. Thankfully, I have had the opportunity to share this ‘journey’ with a few other people in a discussion group—allowing everyone to ‘bounce’ ideas off each other, and helping all of us really understand the material in a much deeper way.

The author suggests that one read only one chapter a day to let the concepts ‘sink’ in (very tough to do for type ‘A’ people like me). But with all the other things ‘vying’ for my attention, one 5-6 page chapter is probably all I could ‘fit in’ right now. I figure, at the ‘outside’, it will take about 52 hours over the next six weeks to do all the things the author is suggesting. Realizing that I will probably be awake about 600 hours during the next 40 days—not to mention the 383,250 hours the average person will be awake during their lifetime—it seems to me that this is a very small amount of time to spend on something that potentially has far-reaching consequences.

I, like I’m sure all of you do, try to ‘pack’ as much as I can into each day—wanting to ‘experience’ as much as I can of life, and not waste any time.

Someone calculated how a typical life-span of 70 years is spent. Here’s their estimate:
Sleep……………..23 years………….32.9%
Work……………..16 years………….22.8%
TV…………………8 years……………11.4%
Eating…………….6 years……………..8.6%
Travel…………….6 years……………..8.6%
Leisure…………..4.5 years…………..6.5%
Illness…………….4 years……………..5.7%
Dressing…………2 years……………..2.8%
Religion……….0.5 years…………….0.7%
TOTAL………..70 years………….100.0%

(I’ve got to believe that most of you don’t get this much sleep, at least right now—I guess we will have to wait until we are “retired” to make up on the sleep we are missing out on during these ‘middle’ years).

Even though, statistically, this will not take a ‘lot’ of my time, how can I ‘fit’ this into my already ‘over-scheduled’ life? At least for me, I can’t continue to add things and not expect other things to suffer—or even be ‘dropped’.

I think that Charles E. Hummel made a ‘wise’ observation when he said, “Don’t let the urgent take the place of the important in your life.” Robert J. McKain ’embellished’ that thought with, “Set priorities for your goals. A major part of successful living lies in the ability to put first things first. Indeed, the reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.”

Recently, author Steven Covey offered a ‘matrix’ of time management in his book, “First Things First.” He suggests that one should strike a balance between “production” and “production capability.” Production is getting something to work now (demanding that one’s son/daughter clean his/her room). Production Capability is making sure something will work in the future (building up an adult-adult relationship with one’s son or daughter so that he or she is the kind of person who wants to keep their room clean). He says one should keep these in balance.

He also said that every activity one does during the day can be put into one of four “quadrants”:
1. Urgent and Important
2. Not Urgent and Important
3. Urgent and Not Important
4. Not Urgent and Not Important

URGENT                                NOT URGENT

QUADRANT I                         QUADRANT II
(Necessity)                    (Quality/Personal Leadership)
Crisis                                  New opportunities
Pressing Problems           Long-range planning             IMPORTANT
Deadline Driven                        Reading
Some Preparations            Personal development
Relationships

QUADRANT III                      QUADRANT IV
(Waste)                                  (Deception)
Interruptions                              Trivia
Some call; Mail                        Busywork                           NOT
Drop-ins                                Time wasters                 IMPORTANT
Some meetings                     Escape activities
‘Pressing’ matters                   Irrelevant mail
‘Popular’ activities                  Excessive TV

The more urgency we have in our lives the less time we have for the truly important things. Many important things that contribute to our overall objectives and give richness and meaning to life do not tend to act upon us or press us. Because they are not urgent, they are the things that we must act upon.

QUADRANT I – Necessity
These are things that are both urgent and important in one’s life. We need to spend time in Quadrant I, but the key issue is why we are there. This is where we manage, produce, and bring our experiences and judgment to bear. However, many important activities become urgent through procrastination or because we do not do enough prevention and planning. Ask yourself—Is this activity contributing to an important objective? If it is, then it belongs here. If not, it probably belongs in Quadrant III.

QUADRANT II – Quality and Personal Leadership
Investing in this quadrant shrinks Quadrant I. Both Quadrant I and II describe what is important; it’s only the time factor that changes. Quadrant II includes activities that are important but not urgent. This Quadrant includes long range planning, anticipating and preventing problems, empowering others and increasing our skills through reading and continuous professional development. Increasing time spent in this quadrant increases our ability to ‘do’. Ignoring this quadrant feeds and enlarges Quadrant I, consequently creating stress, burnout and deeper crisis. Planning, preparation and prevention keep many things from becoming urgent. Quadrant II does not act on us; we must act on it.

QUADRANT III – Deception
The urgency creates the illusion of importance. However, the actual activities, if they are important at all, are only important to someone else. We spend a lot of time in Quadrant III meeting other people’s priorities and expectations, thinking we are really in Quadrant I. Think carefully as you consider Quadrant’s I and III. It is easy to think that because something is urgent, it is important. Ask yourself if the urgent activity is contributing to an important objective. If it is not, it probably belongs in this Quadrant.

QUADRANT IV – Waste
We shouldn’t be here at all, but we often “escape here.” This does not necessarily include recreational activities, because recreation in the true sense of ‘re-creation’ is a valuable Quadrant II activity.

So, to be effective, Covey suggests that one needs to stay out of Quadrants III and IV—try to spend most of one’s time in Quadrant II.

So, based on the few ‘bits’ of data I have acquired here—I’ve probably got WAY TOO MUCH going on in my life right now—and as I analyze all of this, I looked very critically at my ‘typical’ activities and did some “SPRING CLEANING”—at least for the next 40 days. Maybe all of this will allow me to develop a more ‘efficient’ method of time management!

As all of us have heard before, “Anything that is worth doing, it is worth doing well.” There is always a cost for putting something first in your schedule. But, I believe, that the rewards for putting God first in one’s life are unimaginable!

Many of these concepts ‘grabbed’ me a few years ago, and I have never been the same since I discovered the purpose of my life. I believe this book will further ‘refine’ that purpose.

Though I am just getting started with this, let me encourage you to go out and buy this book. Your life is worth taking the time to think about all these things. It could totally ‘transform’ your life!

[Excerpts from: Rick Warren]

P.S. If you would like more information about the book and available resources, click on this link:  http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/

Blessings…Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v56) for OCTOBER 2003.
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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A THEORY ABOUT GOD’S EXISTENCE:
Imagine a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano–world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. At first, the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was ‘Someone’ who made the music–though invisible to them–above, yet close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see. Then one day a daring mouse climbed up part of the piano and returned very thoughtful. He had found out how the music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths which trembled and vibrated. They must revise all their old beliefs; none but the most conservative could any longer believe in the Unseen Player. Later, another explorer carried the exploration further. Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires. This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. The Unseen Player came to be thought of a myth…but the pianist continued to play.  [Leadership]

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There is a God-shaped vacuum in every life that only God can fill. [Blaise Pascal]

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Writing for the journal “Nature”, Benjamin Zuckerman, a professor of astronomy at the University of California at Los Angeles, says that one factor contributing to Earth’s ability to sustain life is the size of the largest planet in our solar system: Jupiter. With a mass that is 318 times greater than that of Earth, the giant gaseous planet has a much greater gravitational force—a force that benefits Planet Earth. When massive objects, that could do great harm to our planet, hurl through the solar system, Jupiter acts as a sort of cosmic ‘vacuum cleaner’, sucking comets and asteroids into itself or causing them to veer away from Earth. Without Jupiter, says Zuckerman, Earth would be a “sitting duck.” Zuckerman says massive gaseous planets like Jupiter are very rare in the universe. Once again, we see God’s design in creation—having a planet like Jupiter nearby may be rare, but it is no coincidence.
[Craig Brian Larson]

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‘REAL’ TRUST:
Jean-Francois Gravelet (1821-1897), better known as Blondin, was a famous tightrope walker and acrobat. He was perhaps best known for his many crossings of a tightrope suspended high above the Niagra Falls, watched by large crowds. On one occasion in 1860, a Royal party from Britain went to watch Blondin perform. He began with a relatively simple crossing using a balancing pole. Then he would throw the pole away and begin to amaze the onlookers with increasingly impressive stunts. He then wheeled a wheelbarrow from one side to the other as the crowd cheered. He put a sack of potatoes into the wheelbarrow and wheeled that across. The crowd cheered louder. Then he approached the Royal party and asked the Duke of Newcastle, ‘Do you believe that I could take a man across the tightrope in this wheelbarrow?’ ‘Yes, I do’, said the Duke. ‘Hop in!’ replied Blondin. The crowd fell silent, but the Duke of Newcastle would not accept Blondin’s challenge. ‘Is there anyone else here who believes I could do it?’ asked Blondin. No one was willing to volunteer. Eventually, the only person willing to put her life in his hands was an old woman, Blondin’s mother. Blondin wheeled her all the way across and all the way back!

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I have a friend who, during the depression, lost his job, a fortune, a wife, and a home. But he tenaciously held on to his faith [in God]—the only thing he had left. One day he stopped to watch some men doing stonework on a huge church. One of them was chiseling a triangular piece of stone. “What are you going to do with that?” asked my friend. The workman said, “See that little opening way up there near the spire? Well, I’m shaping this down here, so it will fit up there.” Tears filled the eyes of my friend as he walked away, for it seemed that God had ‘spoken’ through the workman to explain his ordeal through which he was passing, “I’m shaping you down here, so you’ll fit in up here.”
[Billy Graham]

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Scott Adams transforms tales of idiotic bosses and meaningless ’empowerment’ teams into “Dilbert,” his chinless comic-strip hero to millions of cubicle-confined workers. He said, “I don’t think I’ll ever forget what it feels like to sit in a cubicle, and realize you’ve been there for eight hours…and everything you did today will become unimportant in the next reorganization.” Scott expresses a feeling we’re all familiar with. We want what we do to last. Our work (and even our life) doesn’t seem important if it is only temporary. But the sure hope we have in God is that all we ‘do’ for Him has eternal significance.
[Craig Brian Larson]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.  [C. S. Lewis]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!  Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  [Ephesians 2:10].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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