James Patterson

For today’s Thankful Thursday I am thankful for author James Patterson.

That guy churns out best selling books, like Little Caesars rolls out hot and ready pizzas!

In 2012 alone, Patterson produced 13 total books. As someone who has had to grind to make just one book, I have a deep respect for anyone that can write one book, let alone one book for every month.

And not only does he write books at the same rate as Peyton Manning throws touchdown passes, but his books are phenomenal.

I just got his new book Gone at the library and I can wait to get started on it.

As I mentioned in an earlier Thankful Thursday, I listen to audio books in the car while driving. Most of the time you’ll find me listening to a James Patterson book.

Mr. Patterson has filled the silence for thousands of miles I’ve traveled and he’s made each one enjoyable.

And the best part is that because Patterson publishes a book as often as the Duggars produce kids, I will never run out of his books to read and listen to.

I am thankful for James Patterson and his awesome books!

Is Rain Water Clean?

Here’s an odd Wonder Why Wednesday

The other day I had just taken a shower at the gym and was walking to my car when it started to rain.

And I am not talking about just a little rain.

I’m talking, if rain is God’s tears then he just got finished watching the movie The Notebook, type of rain.

I went from soaking wet, to clean, back to soaking wet in a matter of seconds.

I had to go right from the gym to a dinner and I started to wonder if I was going to have to go change what I was wearing and shower again.

After all, rain water can’t be clean, can it?

That is what I am wondering today.

According to Ask.com (whatever happened to Jeeves), whether or not rain water is clean depends on your location. If you live somewhere with few vehicles and little pollution, then there is a chance your rain water isn’t too dirty. But if you live in a big city, the cleanliness of your water decreases dramatically.

Since I live in Phoenix, the 6th largest city in the country, it is safe to guess that our rain water isn’t very clean.

Deep down I guess I already knew that. But much like when I was a kid and would justify not taking a shower by saying that I had been in the pool all day, I wanted to believe that any type of water touching my skin meant that I was clean.

And for those of you that are wondering, no I did not take a second shower. I just went to my dinner soaking wet. As Kid President says, like a boss!

Comfortably Active

At the end of yesterday’s post, I asked a question, “In what aspects of your life have you become comfortably numb?”

Looking back, I feel like I did you a disservice.

I asked a very serious question, but didn’t give you any help.

I outlined what I called a serious problem and then just left you on your own.

When I ask you an important question, I have to be willing to answer it myself.

After thinking about being comfortably numb in my own life, I think I came up with a way to combat the feeling comfortably numb that can help us both.

So here’s a continuation of yesterday’s post and something I should have said in the first place.

One area of my life where I have become susceptible to feeling comfortably numb is with dating.

I’ve been single for awhile now and I’ll admit that I have become comfortable with that. I may like to have a girlfriend, but I don’t feel I need one.

Being single has become my status quo and I am likely afraid to mess that up by actively pursuing a relationship (side note, actively pursuing a relationship kind of sounds like a term used to describe a stalker).

How do I break out of the numb? Do I need to start dating any woman I can find? No, that would be too dramatic (plus it’s probably another way to describe a stalker).

I need to break out of my feeling of comfortably numb by becoming comfortably active.

When we think of change, we all think of a drastic change. And that’s why we fear change. We assume it will be radically different and we will not be able to handle that.

So don’t make a drastic change.

If you are comfortably numb at work, you should become comfortably active in finding more invigorating work at your current position. If that’s not possible, you should become comfortably active in finding a new position with a different company.

You don’t have to take a huge risk.

Make a comfortable change. And then another comfortable change. And then one more.

Just like what we talked about in a post from last week, we need to be willing to start with something small.

And once you start, you must be willing to keep going.

Before you know it, you’ll be feeling something more meaningful and less numb.

In my case, I can’t be afraid to date just because I fear that a relationship will mess with my comfortable life. My perception of a drastic change contains a slippery slope that forces me into marriage by the end of the week.

I know that is crazy, and just writing it down makes it feel even more absurd, but that is what fear can cause our mind to believe.

To take my own advice, I need to become comfortably active in finding someone to date. This could mean asking friends and family if they know anyone I might like. It doesn’t have to be dramatic like hitting on any random woman I meet.

One date could be my comfortable change and then my next step would be a months worth of comfortable change.

So my task for you would be to recognize where you’ve become comfortably numb. Once you do that, write it down. Next write down three ways you can become comfortably active.

Becoming comfortably active will help you make comfortable change and before you know it, you won’t even be able to remember what that numbness felt like!

Comfortably Numb

The band Pink Floyd has a song titled “Comfortably Numb.”

Reading the lyrics of the song made me suspicious that the song is about drugs, (“I hear you’re feeling down/I can ease your pain”) but the term comfortably numb really caught my eye.

We all want to be comfortable in life, but what happens if we become too comfortable? Is it possible that we will become numb?

I think this is a very serious possibility.

Comfortably numb is staying in a relationship, even though deep down you know it’s not going anywhere.

Comfortably numb is doing only what you’re told at work, instead of trying to create something remarkable.

Comfortably numb is going through the same workout everyday, despite not seeing any weight loss results.

Comfortably numb means that we are afraid to take chances because deep down we don’t want to mess up the status quo. We fear change, so we become deadened to what’s going on around us, just to avoid anything different.

The main argument for staying numb is that we may not even like the feeling, but at least we know how it feels.

Change is an unknown feeling and that unknown is what scares us away.

In what aspects of your life have you become comfortably numb?

Act. Dream. Plan. Believe

A while back, my mom sent me this picture. She saw this quote at World Market and thought it would make a good post for my blog.

To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

IMG_8101

Well mom, I agree. I think this is an awesome saying.

I’ve noticed that many of my posts have to do with putting in the work, creating ideas & planning ahead.

These are all examples of how we must act.

Seeing the above quote made me realize that I haven’t spent enough time talking about the importance of dreaming.

I think I write a lot about planning and acting because too often we can get caught simply dreaming about that perfect life, and never doing anything about it. We will never achieve our goals simply by dreaming.

Can the reverse happen too?

Can we spend all our time planning and acting and never accomplishing anything because we are unable (or afraid) to dream?

Definitely.

A friend once told me that, “you gotta have a dream to live the dream.”

I think what she meant was that you can’t really act and plan for that awesome goal unless you are able to dream up that goal first.

If you don’t have a dream outcome, then how will you know when your plans and actions pay off?

You won’t. And just as important, you won’t get anywhere unless you believe.

So that is why I think this quote my mom sent me is so great. It shows that we need an equal mix of acting, dreaming, planning and believing.

Thankful For The Library

As I have mentioned in the past, I often go to the library to write.

When people aren’t burping, I find the library to be a great place to brainstorm new ideas. It is quiet, air conditioned and is filled with shelves of motivation.

Whenever I start to think that I can’t write a book, I like to play a game I call, “If that can be a book…”

The game is simple. You pick out a random aisle in the library and look through the different titles of books. You won’t go far before one particular book catches your eye. And most of the time it catches your eye because it is just so odd.

For the first part of this game, you are literally judging a book by its cover.

Once you have picked out a couple of odd looking books, you write down their titles and tell yourself, “If ____ can be a book, so can mine.”

I created this game one time when I was down on myself as a writer. I had begun to convince myself into thinking that I could never write a book.

I was sitting in the library and I looked at the thousands of books around me and thought to myself, “my story has got to be as good if not better than at least one of these books.”

To prove it, I walked down a random aisle and looked for a book I thought I could be as good as.

I didn’t create this game to be cocky or to downgrade the work of other authors.  I created it for motivation and as a way of proving that I belong.

Here’s an example from when I played the game the other day.

I walked down an aisle of non-fiction books in the library and spotted books called, Last of the Donkey Pilgrims, Crazy Sh!t President’s Said and about 50 books about Hitler.

I am sure that all of those books are very good and I am not hating on their work. I am just pointing out that if our world (and libraries) have room for 50 books about Hitler, then clearly they can make space for one book about a Moose named Maury.

So today I am thankful for the library. It provides me a place to write and a venue for playing “If that can be a book…”

You guys are welcome to take my silly game and apply it to your life. If you have a podcast, I recommend you play “If that can be a podcast..”. If you are an artist, I think you would benefit from playing “If that is art..”.

Give it a try and I bet you will feel better and have a renewed confidence in yourself.

What Was the First College in the U.S.

I am not sure why, but my younger brother’s favorite movie is Accepted.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, the movie is about a group of kids who start a college when they can’t get into any real universities once they graduate high school.

It is actually a pretty funny movie and I have always kind of assumed that the University of Arizona started the same way. Just a bunch of kids who couldn’t get into a real school, making up classes and degrees.

Just kidding U of A.

Seeing that movie on TV got me thinking, what was the first college in the United States? And did it start with a bunch of kids who had nothing else to do?

According to Wikipedia, the first American college is actually a touchy subject.

Apparently there is some drama between Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania and the College of William and Mary. All three claim to be the first.

Harvard, founded in 1636, claims to be “the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.”

Penn considers itself, “America’s first University” as of 1765 when its medical school was created.

William and Mary says that it is the first college to become a university when it did so in 1779.

Without going into too much detail, the debate lies with the definition and criteria used when determining what a university is. All three schools have different arguments to why their school should be considered the first.

There has got to be a way to settle this debate.

I recommend creating some type of academic decathlon like the one from the movie Billy Madison.

The three schools could pick their top students or alumni to compete in a series of academic, athletic and entertainment based challenges.

Winner gets bragging rights as the oldest US college or university or whatever they want to call themselves.

Seems fair to me. Anyone else have any ideas on how we can settle this first college debate?

Dig A Ditch

In the Bible, Chapter 3 of 2 Kings tells the story of the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom who join forces to fight a war against Moab.

Apparently things don’t go as easily as the kings had planned because they soon run out of water for their troops and their cattle.

They ask Elisha for help and Elisha tells them to “make this valley full of ditches.”

The kings believe in God and decide to do what they were told.

The next morning their ditches were filled with more than enough water for all the men and cattle. And shortly thereafter, the “Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites.”

I love this story from the Bible and not just because it contains the word “smote.” I find this story to be a great example of faith and putting in the work in order to see results.

The kings of Israel, Judah and Edom had to be confused when Elisha told them to dig ditches. They asked for water and were told to start digging. Confusing right?

They probably expected Elisha just to say, “oh yeah, God says just hang tight, relax and you will get all the water you want. Also, God noticed that you lost a few cows, how about some extra cattle while he’s fixing the whole water problem?”

But God didn’t say that.

He basically said, “I don’t have any problem helping and sending water, but you have to chip in. You dig the ditch and I’ll send the water.”

God will send the water to us too, but we have to be willing to dig the ditch.

Where have we encountered something similar in our lives? Where do we expect God to send water (or money, or love, or a new job) just because we ask?

I am sure that God has no problem helping, but are we doing anything to help as well?

If you want to see some water in your life, you have to be willing to dig a ditch.

And remember, God didn’t say dig the Grand Canyon. That would have been too overwhelming for the kings. He only said dig a ditch. He kept it small.

I think this is a great example that we can’t be afraid to start small in our lives. Too often we think we have to make a drastic change for things to be different. And because we are afraid of drastic change we freeze up and decide to do nothing.

Just because we have big dreams doesn’t mean that we can’t start small.

The kings had big dreams of defeating Moab. But they realized that by listening to God and starting with one small ditch at a time they would be rewarded with results.

Next time we want to see change in our careers, relationships or finances we have to remember to start digging.

Slamball

It is funny how our tastes change as we grow up…

When I was younger, I used to wish that sidewalks were made of trampolines.  Think about it. Instead of having to walk everywhere, you could bounce, skip or hop.  If someone ahead of you was going slowly, you could just do a double jump and flip right over them.

Plus, kids might actually stop playing video games and go outside if they could jump to their friend’s house instead of having to walk on boring concrete.

98% of people ages 1-25 years old like trampolines better than concrete. That is just a stat I made up, but it has to be accurate, right?

When I was 16 years old, I would plan my weekends around one trampoline-related thing, Slamball.

If you haven’t heard of Slamball, I don’t know what you were doing in 2003. Slamball is just like basketball except it is played with four trampolines and the players wear pads because it is a full contact sport.

Basketball + Football + Trampolines = Slamball.

Made up of teams like the Slashers, the Bouncers and Mob, Slamball first aired in 2003 on Spike TV. Upon first watching the sport, I just knew that it would become a worldwide phenomenon. If you could have purchased stock in Slamball, I would have spent my entire allowance buying as many shares as I could.

But a shocking thing happened. Slamball only lasted two seasons and has now all but completely disappeared.

As a teenager, I couldn’t understand how Slamball was unpopular. But now, ten years later, I am starting to figure it out.

98% of people ages 26-126 like concrete better than trampolines.

Now that I am close to 30 years old, I am starting to rethink my trampoline instead of sidewalk idea. I have bad knees and a tight back and just the thought of jumping on a trampoline makes me want to schedule an appointment with my doctor.

Slamball was great for my teenage friends and I, but our parents had no interest in a football, basketball hybrid with a team called the Hombres.  Parents already watched football and they already enjoyed basketball. Why spend time getting to know another sport? Plus, just seeing the trampolines probably made them think about calling their doctor.  And no one wants a constant reminder that their knees and back aren’t what they used to be.

It is funny how our tastes change as we grow up.

Fear Week – Fear Quotes

As fear week comes to a close, I hope that you not only enjoyed the content, but also learned something that can help you overcome your fear.

Just in case you didn’t, I thought it would be appropriate to share some great quotes about fear from people throughout history.

There are some brilliant people out there who can say more about fear in one sentence than I can in an entire week’s worth of blog posts.

Here are 10 awesome quotes that can be used to squash fear!

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”  – Michael Jordan

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” – W. Clement Stone

“I failed my way to success.” – Thomas Edison

“The baby bat
Screamed out in fright,
‘Turn on the dark,
I’m afraid of the light.”
― Shel Silverstein

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”  – Plato

“Where ever fear shadows…. that always means there is a light shining somewhere.” – Jonathan Santos

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” – Meg Cabot

“Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.”Virgil Thomson

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks