I have 1 hour

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So I have 1 hour… 55 minutes actually. It’s totally free. I can choose to do nothing, relax, YouTube surf… OR. OR edit and upload my next audioblog, go research, read a book, learn something.

I am tired. I am struggling this morning. But this moment can affect the rest of my week. This hour can have a domino effect on everything else that I do.

So, I am going to start right now.

I will upload at the end of the hour!


Leadership, Life

Love the process

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I’m just going to say it: Your dreams are not your dreams if you are not trying to make them a reality every single day.

It’s that simple.

I’ve been riding this wave of getting the backstory of people who have greatly influenced me in recent years. Leaders, influencers, authors, entrepreneurs, and innovators… the ones that are defying and defining the world every single day. I’m talking about people like Casey Neistat who is now trying to create the biggest conduit for YouTube creatives in New York City. I’m talking about Simon Sinek who is now about to release his next leadership book, The Infinite Game, this October. How about Elon Musk who is shaping the tech-landscape and changing how the world commutes on land, water, and in space.

You know what’s fascinating? None of them were overnight successes. But all we see is where they are now. You don’t know their origin story unless you seek it out. But the truth is, All of them had slow, frustrating beginnings but all of them stayed true to this one creed: Loving the process.

I am wondering if you see what I see when you witness today’s paragons for change and transformation. I see a culmination of everything that they have worked towards. I see every minute of every day in everything worthy of witnessing because truly good things take hours, thousands of hours.

There are only two paths: the straight, narrow (and long) path that gets you from this point in your life to where you truly want to go or the broad one that leads nowhere most of the time.

It’s frustrating to hear how many people talk about their dreams like its either knocking at their door tomorrow just waiting for them or its literally two or three lifetimes away.

One camp thinks it’s only a degree or job application away. They think it’s just going to happen. This is straight up entitlement. They talk about these amazing life goals, that dream job, or this ultimate payoff as a certainty or inevitability.

The other camp? They will never try because they believe that they will never get there. It’s because they are fearful of failure and risk. Their mentality is “better to have a tiny portion then lose it all.”

Very different mentalities yet both don’t care about the beginning or middle act, only the end result.

People who love the process don’t care about the end. They only care about the present and near-future. They love hustling, grinding, making mistakes, overcoming obstacles, and learning every single day. It’s their very life source; the process is the very air they breathe in life. They love getting better and better and better, one microscopic step after another. They are relentless. They are obsessed. They are inspired.

I ask a lot of people (mostly college students) what they want, what they’re passionate about. More than not, I get “I don’t really know.” And that’s OK. You’re in a good spot. Being honest, humble, and hungry is such a key thing as we try to figure things out.

But make sure that “I don’t know” doesn’t mean “I can’t” or “I don’t care.”

I want to inspire desperation in you. I want you to seize your life, keep track of everything that you do, and start figuring things out. I WANT you to know who you are. I want you to experience failure more than success because failure is what turns our brittle spirit into vibranium.

It’s not easy. You have to find it. You have to focus on it. And for a very long time, you have to dedicate yourself to it. The commitment is HUGE but the payoff is even bigger.

You have to love the process. You have to love practicing. You have to love the nuance more than the novelty.

If you stay true to yourself and your passion. Then, you can overcome things that many people never even attempt to overcome. You can silence the naysayers. You can gloat at the haters. You can overcome fear, doubt, shame, guilt, regret, and most of all, a wasted life.

What are you going to start working on today? Let today be Day One. Let today be the beginning of a new story arc.

Need some inspiration? Me too. Here’s one of my favorite videos:

Go and create something. After all, you’ve been created to.


ENNEAGRAM: The False-Self

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Within the narrative framework of the Enneagram typology is this idea that all of us have created and propped up an identity out of a need for survival.

Mystics commonly called this particular identity the “false-self”–an identity born from a combination of internal an external pressures that betrays and undermines who we genuinely are, masking and/or debilitating our healthy and natural characteristics for self-preservation.

It goes that we are exposed to physical and psychological threats from when we are infants. And so, from the beginning, we are always trying to process and defend ourselves from sources of pain and guilt.

For example, when you were younger, you may have heard this from a parent or a friend that “Boys do not cry!” And if you were a person that naturally expresses through emotions, this statement would have induced a sociological and psychological crisis and would become a “threat” to you. Crying has become a vulnerable, weak spot. So, what do you do? You lock away your emotions. And now, you have adopted a false characterization of yourself. If you heard this being a girl, you may have assumed through implication that girls not only can but SHOULD cry, and that wasn’t true of you, you may have struggled with that.

The point is that we all experience significant moments that triggers our need to survive: You will be an “A-Student.” Don’t let them see you sweat. The worst thing you can tell someone is “Good job!” Or you are only loved if you achieve. Winning is everything.

All this amounts to us doing a Dr. Frankenstein and creating our “monster” called the “false-self.” This false-self only desires self-preservation. It uses our natural strengths, propensities, and wirings to maximize safety, minimize pain, and self-justify its existence.

This was never the plan. We were meant for ultimate flourishing and fidelity, not survival.

When our life is bent solely towards survival, we don’t experience creativity, growth, authenticity, and joy. We stay in this perpetual state of desperation, anxiety, attack, and defense. A true monster. To hunt or be hunted, becoming strong to beat the weak.

But we don’t just create a monster, we forfeit dominion and autonomy. We adopt and legitimize this “false self.” 

The most difficult thing about this monster is that it is made in the image of our true self. It uses the same strengths. It knows our language. It retains a version of our motives, dreams, and nightmares.

But that’s not the worst of it. We somehow do something even more debilitating–we bury the truth that this monster exists and then self-induce amnesia.

If this is all true, then for us to regain who we are, we just begin a long and hard journey back into the caverns of our hearts. We need to retrace our story to find where we have buried our true self. And ultimately, we have to discover the monster within us.

I have found that the enneagram is a tremendous tool to help us on this journey of self-discovery and healing.


Enneagram: A discovery of embarassment


When I first was introduced to the Enneagram, I had major doubts about the accuracy and more importantly, the implications of the results. And my greatest suspicion wasn’t the test but myself, or more precisely, my ability to self-report who I am, what my tendencies are, and how I react in light of those characteristics with confidence. I had a concern that if I go down this rabbit hole, I would be misled, mischaracterized, or even worse, enshrine a lie in my heart as truth, being worse off than before.

For those of us who have a keen interest in the Enneagram but have difficulty identifying the number type we recognize with, we face a “dilemma of skepticism.” We don’t want to be boxed in. We don’t want to be told who we are. We don’t want to be reduced or diminished by a number.

Later on, I realized the Enneagram does not function as a horoscope, telling you what you are or what you’re not, dictating what you should or shouldn’t do, etc. It’s not a set of rules or prescriptions that deconstruct your identity into a perfect box. Instead, Richard Rohr would say the Enneagram, if understood well, has the qualities of a mirror–a reflection that also tells a parable.

Jesus throughout the gospels taught in parables. He did so because he knew that there was an epidemic of people thinking they could see and hear but in reality, their hearts were blind and deaf. They would be around Jesus, hear his words, and be moved into contemplation but in the end, they would eventually be unmoved, unchanged, and unimpressed–and they fell away.

Likewise, if any of us takes the Enneagram with the expectation that it will tell us who we are and then, we will rejoice in that discovery, then we have misunderstood the purpose.

But when we look into the Enneagram with the anticipation of finding embarrassment and vice, then we are on the right path.

Richard Rohr recounts his first foray into the Enneagram as a sobering a-ha experience. His first feelings were not of elation or confirmation but resistance and humiliation. He wasn’t exploring personality profiles as he initially thought; he was studying paradigms of dysfunction, uniquely his own.

He’s a ONE (so am I). And he discovered that ones want to be right above anything else. Principles, creeds, values. All had to line up and cohere. But as he continued diving into his reflection as a ONE, a dark truth was realized. His pontifications, his principled crusades, his high morals were just as much in the interest of “self,” the ego, as much as it was about objective moral perfection. That’s the classic falseness of ONEs: a veil of perfection to hide the imperfection underneath.

The realization of this truth became a discovery of embarrassment, not an elation of triumph and joy.

But Richard Rohr says this is the path. This is how you know you’re on the right track of truth and freedom. When you identify with a number, does it bring you relief or does it bring you humiliation?


I am life logging


I am on a mission to be more minimalistic in my life. So, I downloaded yesterday an app called Day One. It’s a life logbook app. I

It looks like this when you open the app:

I like it because it’s really simple and streamlined. Very stylish. The camera button adds a photo and the + adds a text entry. The buttons are big and accessible.

When you want to add a post, you come to this screen:

You can add pictures, locations, hashtags. And it is all organized into a calendar. It’s free but they have a premium service too but I don’t think I’ll need it.

I got the idea of keeping a life log from Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like An Artist.

He says,

Just as you need a chart of future events, you also need a chart of past events.

A logbook is like a journal but you only write a sentence or two max.

So far it has helped me to be mindful. How am I spending my time? Am I being intentional and deliberate about what I am trying to accomplish every day?

You might assume that keeping a logbook is counterproductive. I think it depends. If you’re purposeful, a logbook can aid you in bringing focus to your life.

The hard part is building the habit. I’m already noticing that my logbook keeps me on task but I think there could be more value there.

So far, I’ve been good at keeping 90% of what I do documented. I’m trying to get better.

I’m hoping that if I keep documenting, I’ll become better at time management, organization, writing, budgeting, resting, and taking care of myself.

Do you keep a logbook? How has that worked out for you?


Small habits over big goals


Someone once told me that day two is always harder than day one. Which means, for many of us, January 2 is the day of breaking our promises, goals, and resolutions.

Yesterday, we were full of hopes and dreams. But today, we have broken the hopes and dreams of countless fitness trainers, librarians, vegan chefs, and pastors.

And it’s because the second day is always a reality check. It sobers you to the loftiness of your goal. It reveals how motivated or how serious you really are about that goal. Maybe you are serious. Maybe you want it badly. But you realize now how much you have to sacrifice to get to where you want to be. So you’re tempted to give up, especially if you skipped day 2.

But before you queue up Bad Day by Daniel Powter, I have a suggestion.

Translate your big goal for 2018 into a small habit that you do every single day.

Take for instance, me. I want to write more than I have ever written in 2018. I want to blog about books, theology, and culture. I want to share life, and get to know more people every day through social media and community. I want to write 365 posts in 2018. That means I have to write 1 blog post every single day for a whole year.

So, will I succeed? I don’t know. Maybe there will be days I get sick. Maybe there will be days where I have to deal with life. But there’s my big goal.

But I am not focused on the 365 posts. I am not focused on the 250,000 words. I am only focused on one thing:

Write everyday. No matter how little time or energy. Write something every single day. It may suck. It may be brief. But WRITE!

That is my habit. Every single night, before I go to bed, I am going to write something, share it, and try to get better. This is my small habit.

So what is your big goal? And what is that one small habit you can focus on so that you can chip away at your big goal every single day?