4 Ways To Not Become a Workaholic

James Preston Reply 7:12 AM
Workaholics are not successful.

Simple.

Here's why:  Workaholics either work too hard to be around for their families which in turn crumble around them.  Or they work too hard that their bodies can't take it any longer, and their minds & bodies end up capitulating.  Having weak relational ties with your family or poor physical health is no way of being successful.

No matter how much money you've made or influence you have.

You have to be disciplined with your time.  It is the only the commodity you have that you cannot get more of.  But the great thing about Time is; everyone gets the same amount every day, week, month, year and decade.

Proper management of your most precious commodity can yield sensational results.  It is possible to build your wealth whilst simultaneously building your family.  That should always be your goal.

Never sacrifice your family and friends for the sake of apparent success.  Why apparent?  Because success is relative.  No matter how "successful" you become, if you don't have true family and friends to enjoy it with, how "successful" is that in reality?

How do you do it?

1. Make time for your family.
This comes before "you" because I can assure you, if your family are looked after, you will naturally feel satisfied.  Many people make the mistake of looking after themselves before their family, and thus sacrifice invaluable time with their family which would have been precious input.

Family are the most precious thing you have.  If you don't have family, you can build one when you meet your spouse.  But if you don't learn this discipline now, it'll be difficult to implement once you meet your spouse and start your lives together.

If you have no family or spouse, your close friends are your next best thing.  Make time for them.  Build those relationships.  Those relationships are what matter in life.


2. Make time for you.
At the end of the day, only you are responsible for you.  No one else.  You are in control of your own life.  Without a functional mind and body, you can't reach peak performance.  You don't want to operate below "peak" do you?

Make time to quieten your mind at least twice a week.  Find a hobby.  Go for a walk alone.  Have a cup of coffee in the morning.  Pray (Spirit).  Read (Mind).  Exercise (Body).

Look after yourself spiritually, mentally, and physically.  Make time for these areas at least every few weeks.

Prayer and reading is something I do daily.  Exercise is something I try and do at least once a week, but twice is a regular, and I aim for three times a week.

Quieten your mind from the noise of life.  
Often I will have breakfast or lunch sitting outside in my garden (at home or office), without any books, cellphone, computer or TV.  Just to switch my mind off from the daily bombardment of information and allow myself time to think.

I also enjoying wandering around a Shopping Centre, not something I do regularly, only every few weeks or so.

Whatever works for you.  Make time for you.

Jesus said to "love your neighbour as yourself".  How much do you love "yourself"?

3. Schedule these times.
You have to make a conscious effort to keep time aside for these moments.  Without being purposeful about it, life will swallow you up.  Even your hobbies and passions can swallow you up.  This is why you must schedule.  To prevent "what needs to be done" from dictating to you how your life pans out.

We so often fall into the trap of believing "that I just need to finish this last Email, or finish this project and then my day is done" but if those Emails or projects take longer than expected, then who is in control?  The work, or me?  I am in control of my own destiny.

Things can wait.  Work can wait.  Projects can wait.

I don't do this as actively as I should, but it is something I am working on.  What I do is keep time aside in my mind every week as to when I will be with my family, and when I will do things for me.  As the week progresses, I often find myself saying "no" to extra work or even hobbies in order to meet those expectations I've made in my mind to be with my family.

I can feel in a week when I haven't spent enough time with my family, and when I feel that I quickly make time to change it.  This has come from years of getting to know me, my wife, and more recently my son.  It becomes an instinct.

Do this on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.  When are your special times going to be together in the month?  A long day out together?  When are your quality holidays coming?  How valuable are they going to be for the family?

Be intentional.

4. Work around these scheduled times and be Disciplined
Very similar to the above, but once you have set these times for you and family in place, make sure everything falls into line.  You now have the power to say "no" to those things that gnaw and nag at you telling you to "get me done".  You can say "no" because you have something else planned.

Be disciplined about this.  Don't fall into the trap of reducing the value of "me" and "family" times and therefore pushing these times out.  When you make a scheduled family time wait in order to continue other work, you have made that other work more valuable than your family.  This can grow into a dangerous pattern.

Only disciplined keeping of these scheduled times will prevent an unhealthy pattern growing in your life.  Such an unhealthy pattern is just that; unhealthy.  Meaning it will have seriously negative consequences on your family, your relationships, your emotions, and your health.

On the other hand, disciplined keeping to set times for you and your family will create a healthy pattern that make you feel happier, stronger, rejuvenated and passionate.  Living your life like that can only but be successful.  No matter how much you have.

The power is in your hands.  Start exercising that power today.  Start small.  And make it become second nature.

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What do you like to do to rejuvenate as a family and for yourself?


Everything Happens For A Reason Is Unbiblical

James Preston 5 8:29 AM
Yes, you read that correctly. The popular phrase "everything happens for a reason" is entirely unbiblical. As in; it is not a Bible verse.

I wanted to tackle this common misconception in light of some tragic events in the past few days. The devastating Tornadoes in Oklahoma and the shocking and brutal attack on a British Soldier in broad daylight by crazed extremists. News channels were working overtime.

The people of Oklahoma must be wondering "what on earth just happened?" after a 2km-wide Tornado ripped through the town of Moore just outside Oklahoma City. Many are now homeless while a precious 24 people lost their lives.

Unfortunately, the all-too-familiar comfort-phrase "everything happens for a reason" will be doing the rounds as people try and put reason on something so tragic and devastating. It is very Human to attempt to attach reason to every event that takes place in this life. But it is also very dangerous.

As human beings we are designed to have purpose. That we feel a deep sense of purpose and reason for our lives is what separates us from the animal-kingdom. But the danger with this "sense" is that we naturally point to the Heavens when events out of our control take place. We as human beings don't have the power to create a Tornado or a Tsunami, so who else must it have been? God. Clearly.

Wrong answer.


Wrong Conclusions

Human beings, and mostly Christians unfortunately, have made a logical conclusion and used Scripture to support this conclusion. Whereas A) it isn't very logical and B) the Scripture doesn't even say that.

From a logical perspective, if everything happens for a reason; what was the reason for... say... Hitler's decimation of the Jews in World War 2?

Technically, I can give you a reason...  It was because Hitler was mad and he had very skewed beliefs. THAT is the reason. God didn't make him do it.

Let's look at it Biblically. The verse so often quoted by the well-meaning among us is Romans 8:28:

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

Can you believe this is the only verse people use when trying to substantiate the beliefs that "everything happens for a reason".

This verse is saying something quite different. It is saying that "no matter what happens in this life, it is going to work out for the good. If you place your life, your brokenness, your tragic situation, your good situation, whatever situation, God is so good He will turn it around and work it out for the good. He will take it, and make things better."

I like how the NIV interprets the verse...

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him."

In all things. No matter what you've been through, no matter what has happened, God will turn it around and make it work out, for you! Not for Him! But for YOU! That's how good He is! If you would just place your circumstances in His hands, He will turn it around and make it work out.

This is very different from the philosophy that "everything happens for a reason." You see, if we believed that "everything happened for a reason" then we would be asking for the reason in these tragic events, and the only conclusion we would come to is that God had some purpose for it. Which is sick, twisted and sadistic. What possible purpose could God have for wiping out entire towns and villages, and killing thousands of people, when in fact He died for them to have Life at the Cross?

What About Old Testament Examples?
Now, if you're a Christian, I know your mind is going straight to the Old Testament stories of God instructing Israel to destroy entire cities and taking out the likes of Sodom and Gomorrah in His Power. I don't want to tackle all these in this Post, but just briefly...

1. God said He would spare the entire city of Sodom and Gomorrah if there were just TEN righteous people. (What people are saying if HE was the One who caused the Tornado, Tsunami etc. then there were not even TEN righteous people among those in its path!)

2. Now take this example above, and place it in light of the New Covenant. Jesus died to give mankind His Righteousness. He credits us with HIS Pure Righteousness!  

3. Jesus showed things had changed when His disciples asked if they could call fire down from Heaven to destroy a Samaritan village for not receiving Him. Instead of saying "yes", Jesus rebuked His disciples (A) because He had come into the world to save it, not condemn it (B)!

4. Stories in the Old Testament are not a 100% accurate representation of God's Nature. ONLY JESUS is an accurate representation of God's Nature. Nothing else! Old Testament Scripture points us to Jesus. Hebrews 1:3 says only Jesus is the exact representation of The Father. (And Jesus actually STOPPED storms, not created them! He healed EVERYONE who asked Him. Etc. Etc.)

5. For more in this topic I'd suggest you read these 2 articles by my friend Phil Drysdale on "Suffering in this world" and "the lies that so many Christians believe".


CONCLUSION

So you see, not everything happens for a reason. I know you may be asking "well, why do bad things happen"? Again, that's an entire article! But basically... for God to create an environment for True Love, He had to create an environment of Freedom and choice. Man chose to go his own way, and the consequence of that was dramatic. The world broke. We now live on a planet that is afflicted with disease and tragedy not because God is causing these things to happen, but because we, in our disobedience in the Garden of Eden, caused the planet to go into a frustration. A brokenness. And now, this planet is crying out for its liberation. To return back to its original plan of perfection. You can check out Romans 8:20-22 for confirmation there.

The reality is, bad things do happen in this world. But God isn't pleased when these things happen, let alone causing them to happen! Not everything happens for a reason. God does not cause tragedies. They happen because we live in a fallen world, and He weeps with us.

He invites us to find comfort and peace in His arms, and to trust Him to help us rebuild.
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Has this article helped you in your understanding of the brokenness in this world?  If so, what did you always believe?


This Is Water - The Greatest Philosophical Speech Ever?

James Preston Reply 6:45 AM
Wow.  Simply wow.  This could quite possibly be the most inspiring video I've ever watched.  It will educate you.  It will inspire you.  Do yourself a favour, schedule 10 mins in your busy week and make time to watch this.  I bookmarked it 4 days ago, and I am so glad I kept it on my "To-Do" list.

The video is made to the audio of a speech made by David Foster Wallace, one of the greatest modern philosophers and intellectuals to come from America.  He unfortunately committed suicide in 2008 after suffering serious clinical depression for 20 years.  I think when you watch a video of this nature, and the quality of his thoughts, it just goes to show how serious clinical depression really is.  I think of the dearly loved Rick Warren's son Matthew Warren who also committed suicide recently due to years of clinical depression.  If you suffer from clinical depression, I want to pray for you at the end of this post...

But I give you that prelude because David Wallace deserves as much credit as he can get.  In my opinion, he was one of the world's geniuses of his time.

I know you will enjoy this video.  It was made by a Production Company named "The Glossary" and it is simply astounding.  Creativity and inspiration of the highest order.  Watch and learn...






I conclude with this prayer in tribute to David Foster Wallace, and to so many others who have taken their own lives due to clinical depression (like Matthew Warren and so many others).  Like Matthew, David Foster Wallace's death was a loss to the entire world.  So many more thought-provoking messages lay wait in that mind, never to be heard on this side of death again.

If this prayer saves just one depressed mind.  It was worth it.  So please,  if you suffer from depression, read this out loud:
Father God,
I call out to You, Creator of all things.
I recognise You as my Creator, and my Father.
I need you to release Your Power into my mind and heal me of this depression.
I don't want to live like this any longer.
I receive Your free gift of Healing released at the Cross of Jesus Christ,
and by it I receive Your Spirit's Power to dissolve every chemical imbalance causing my depression for ever!
I receive Your Life and declare depression gone and broken right now!
I praise You and I thank You for Your Love for me, and Your free gift of healing.
In Jesus's name,
Amen

5 Important Life Lessons from 1 Photo

James Preston Reply 9:30 AM
I was going through my photos after another incredible day in the African Bush at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and came across this one that my wife snapped of Joel and I while we were at the restaurant/bar of Hilltop camp. I love the photo for so many reasons. It encapsulates so many of my values not only due to the photo's content, but because of how it was taken and the moment with in which it was snapped.

When I looked at this photo I immediately recognised 5 Values of mine that are symbolised within. So for this week's blog, I figured it was only fitting to post something associated with our time away.

Here are 5 Values I hold dear and live my life by. They are not the only values, and neither are they the most important values, they are simply outlined here because of what is symbolised in the photo.

1. Make time for your family
What separates this photo from the others snapped away on the iPad by my wife (you know how you always seem to take way too many pics!?) is that it captured a moment of genuine joy and happiness between Joel and myself, not just a posed smile. This symbolises how much I hold dear to making memories with my family, and making sure I get good quality time with them wherever possible.

Family are the most important thing you have. No one ever says on their deathbed, "oh, I wish I had made more money or spent more time at the office." Instead, the first thing that goes through someone's mind when they are confronted with a life-threatening situation is the closest people to them. These are the people that count. They are God's gift to you. Don't wait till it's too late. You may be ambitious and believe you're in a building phase in order to make more time for family, but don't sacrifice the good you have available to you now for something not guaranteed then. Make time for the important people NOW.

2. Do what you love
The photo was taken at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserves. One of myself and Corinne's favourite places in our beautiful Province. We planned 2 nights up here before going to a week in the Drakensberg. That's in the opposite direction. We love The African Bush that much. Often we will take a day off to drive the 3 hours up to Hluhluwe just for a day trip!

Doing things you love releases endorphins into your system that refresh you and rejuvenate you, making you ready for your next bout of hard work. Doing a hobby or fun activity takes your mind off the troubles of life and fills your tank giving you fuel to be your best again! For us, we took the words of Jesus to heart: "Don't worry about your life... Look at the birds of the air and the flowers of the field."

One of the best ways for us not to worry is to look at the birds of the air and the flowers of the fields!

3. Celebrate and be proud of your heritage
The feature of the photograph is clearly the Lion Skin hanging off the top of the bar. I am no proponent of hunting, and don't revel in the fact that there is a dead lion for me to see and touch, but what I do appreciate is that it was once a living beast at the top of its Eco-system. It is obviously an old skin from the early 1900's back when Big Five hunting was commonplace. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is the oldest Game Reserve in South Africa, and the term "Big Five" was originally a hunting term based on how dangerous the animal was to hunt.

What this Lion symbolizes is everything African. I am an African, and I am deeply proud! My land has its challenges, but we can and will overcome them. There is something about Africa, it's hazey orange sunsets, morning bird calls, grand wildlife, and passionate people that makes you come alive. I will always celebrate Africa, and the Republic of South Africa specifically. Celebrate your land, it's part of who you are.

4. Have fun, let your hair down, let go
Why I love this photo over some of the others snapped of the same scene, is that this one captures a moment between Joel and I that a normal pose can't. It captures fun, happiness, joy and love.

While I realise I can't be high-energy with Joel all the time, I am one seriously passionate guy. And having fun is what I am all about. I can't remember who it was who said "if you're not having fun, it's not worth doing", but I like that! Obviously there are exceptions, but for the most part, make life as fun as possible. It is good for your soul in more ways than you can imagine. God is a fun God. "He sits in the Heavens and Laughs!" Jesus' first miracle was to turn water into Wine! We can learn a lot....

5. Keep moving
Again, the moment of this photo captures to boystrous way Joel and I play. And represents one of life's most natural energisers and rejuvenators: mobile activity. Getting out and physically doing something, being active, is not only good for your body, it is good for your emotional health, too.

When your body is happy, you are happy. Make time to get active. Even if it's once a week. Get that body moving! It was created to be agile!

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Well, I better leave my computer alone for another few days and soak up the beauty of the African air. I hope you make time to rejuvenate at least once a year. Maybe not in the same way I like to do it, but whatever works for you. The world needs you to be operating at your best!

What are some of the ways you like to rejuvenate? If you're not from Africa, where are you from and what are some good places to unwind?

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