Monday, October 31, 2011

Wise enough to know what I do not

My friend David taught me a valuable lesson about the limits of wisdom and the folly of overconfidence. I met David about 5 years ago, and at first, we didn't get along. We were both members of a social group, and when the group would meet, we'd each have some job to perform.

I took the group very seriously, and whatever job I was assigned I did as well as I could. But David did not. He would talk about things way off topic. He was distracted by other things, and so he was distracting me and others from our purpose. His lack of ability to focus was a constant irritant.

Then, one day I received an e-mail informing me that he'd taken his own life. I learned that many months before, not long before I met him, he'd been diagnosed with a disease like Alzheimer's, and would experience diminishing mental abilities for the rest of his life. Evidently his mother suffered from the same condition, and it pained David greatly to see her mentally fail the last years of her life.

Whether David's choice was right or wrong is not my subject. The limits of my knowledge and poor judgement is. I judged David's poor performance and mental sloppiness to be the result of a lack of desire on his part. I considered him to be an inconsiderate annoyance. Until I learned that David was really doing the best he could.

In 2007 and 2008, Lute Olson, the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona for 25 years, displayed erratic and uncharacteristic behavior. He fired two different assistant coaches who he had selected as his successor, divorced his wife, and had sudden leaves of absence from work. After all this, his doctors and family announced that Lute had suffered a stroke some time ago that had not been diagnosed until recently. They believed his unusual recent behavior was caused by the damage the blood clot had caused to his brain.

I think of my friend David and Coach Olson reminders to me that things are not always what they seem, and that it is easy to think that I have most, or all, of the relevant information when in fact, I do not. I have learned that an important part of wisdom is to consider what I do not know along what I do.

How do you overcome the overconfidence of thinking you have all the facts?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Her name means wisdom

It is common to associate wisdom with age. Persons with more birthdays are often thought to be wise simply because they've had more opportunities to learn from life. But age and wisdom are sometimes not correlated. It takes an act of will and a bit of skill to turn a life experience into wisdom. The old aren't always wise.

Nor are the young always foolish. Some young people are skilled enough and intentional enough to gain wisdom faster than they gain birthdays. One of those persons is my wife.

She's does not have a ton of candles on her birthday cake, but she has turned the few years she's had into an amazing amount of wisdom.

Her spiritual gift is discernment. (I'm going to blog about that sometime.) She's used that gift to develop a special wisdom I've learned to rely on. She can almost instinctively discern what spiritual matters are at work behind what is easily seen and heard.

Her name, Sonya, is derived from the Greek name Sophia, which literally means wisdom. For example, the word philosophy is from phileo (brotherly love) and sophia (wisdom), and means the love of wisdom.

My recommendation to all you out there who, like me, seek out wisdom is this:

1) Don't confuse age with wisdom. There are old fools and young sages.

2) You'll know you've found wisdom by the fruit of the teaching, and the heart of the teacher connecting to yours.

Keep seeking out wisdom! It's out there, and not always in the obvious places.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can't put down Beautiful Outlaw

I've only managed to read the first few chapters of Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge, but I'm already gaining a deeper and more meaningful understanding of Jesus.  John has such a great ability to make the Biblical accounts something that I can relate to, putting things into an understandable perspective from 2,000 years away.

John's Ransomed Heart Ministries also has lots of free resources to go with the book, including videos, audio podcasts, and readers guides.

If you are interesting in seeing a side of Jesus not often highlighted and exhorted, I hope you'll join me in reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge.

Quitter by Jon Acuff

Title: Quitter:  Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job

Author: Jon Acuff

Rating: Right for you if you are , but you want to be a

Reason for Reading:  Jon is the author of the Stuff Christians Like blog, and now his own blog at about leadership and business.  As a fan of Dave Ramsey, I couldn’t help but notice when Jon joined Dave’s team and took his writing and speaking endeavors from his side gig to his day job.

Format:  Audiobook, unabridged, read by the author, downloaded from iTunes

Summary:  Quitter is the lessons Jon learned in changing his dream job into his day job.  After moving from employer to employer almost habitually, all in a career field he later decided was not what he was meant for, Jon started following his dream of writing and speaking in addition to his day job.  He worked his dream and still kept his day job until the right opportunity came along for his dream job to become his day job.  Told in his rapturous style of humor, Jon describes how he learned to honor his employer, care for his family, and pursue his calling.  And how you can do it, too.

Review:  I was blown away by Quitter.  It has great content about a difficult topic.  It isn’t easy to write about the practical realities of personal development and life change.  Spouting on and on about theory and concepts isn’t too challenging.  Describing in real terms, in manageable steps, and in useful phrases how one changes one habits and improves ones life is difficult.  Jon does just that.
If you are looking ahead into your future and considering a change from being a to being a , after reading this, you’ll feel like you got a graduate degree in personal career change.  If you tell yourself, “I’d go for it IF I could hear how someone else did it first”, then Quitter needs to be on your reading list or your iPod.


Other resources:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Books in the queue

Here's what I'm reading and should post reviews from in the future:
  • Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff (
  • Beautiful Outlaw:  Experience the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagent Personality of Jesus by John Eldredge (
  • EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey (
  • The 360° Leader by John Maxwell  (
 It will take me a little while to get to all of them, but I will.  The review of Quitter will be up next, then Beautiful Outlaw.

If you have any suggestions for what you'd like me to read, send me a comment!

Overwhelmed by wisdom

Seems these days it is easy to be overwhelmed by life. So many things we do big, or not at all. We don't just watch a movie, we do a movie marathon. We try to "collect them all", and strive to be not just up to date, but up to the minute.

This isn't necessarily bad. There are some things you wouldn't mind being overwhelmed by, such as:
  • if your coworkers had a party to celebrate your latest achievement,
  • if your adult child thanked you for all the times you were strict with them because it built their character, or
  • if your spouse went all out for your anniversary.
Wisdom can be overwhelming also. When you are exposed to someone with great presence, someone with whom you feel you could spend hours and still not hear everything they have to teach you or impart into you life, you are overwhelmed by wisdom. Or in the presence of a great library of books and materials, each being one you could spend hours reading and digesting, with the next one there waiting for you

There is plenty of media out there that would overwhelm your senses and your time, but underwhelm your intellect and creativity.  There is also a cornucopia of media that would do both, where the time and attention you spend is an investment, in your mind, in your heart, and in your life.

This blog is intended to help you find that kind of material, the good stuff that will make a difference in your life.  If you are going to be bombarded by messages anyways, if what you are exposed to will influence you whether you like it or not, you might as well choose what you read and to what you listen.  Be overwhelmed in a good way.