How Hungry Are You?

Unpleasant hunger pangs, that growling stomach discomfort and awareness of sagging energy, are physical reminders that our bodies need to be refueled.  But what about our minds? Do people have a signal like an inner voice that urges them to nourish their minds and hearts? I believe some do – perhaps not everyone.

Based on my observation of human behavior it would seem whatever that voice is saying is gentler than the voice of a grinding stomach and no match for human stubbornness. However, there are some who discover a way to align their free will with their whispering conscience. A person like this responds by making good choices about feeding their body and mind and heart and spirit. No matter how crazy life gets, they are prepared at every level and able to restore balance.

Here’s what I know – people need nourishment and exercise to be healthy and happy and they know it. Still, they are inconsistent in both areas.  Tragic as this is culturally, we are significantly more neglectful about mental, emotional, creative and spiritual health.  How else can we explain the people problems that exist in every sector of society?

Here are estimates on what America spends in a year on our bodies and our physical appearances:

  • Food: Nearly $1.35 Trillion (USDA-2013)
  • Cosmetics: Nearly $60 billion
  • Tattoos: $3 Billion
  • Surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures: $12 billion
  • Fitness Industry: $40 billion
  • Hair, nails & tanning: $10 billion
  • Fashion: $250 billion
  • TOTAL: $1,745,000,000,000 ($1.745 Trillion)

Now, look at how we as a nation, after formal education, continue our personal and professional development.  Businesses and other organizations spent an estimated $55.4 billion on training in 2014.  (That’s less than $25/month per American adult.)  As the numbers show, it’s a tiny fraction of what we spend on our bodies. The ratio is approximately 97 to 3 in favor of the body.  The difference becomes even more dramatic when we add the cost of repairing our broken bodies (i.e. health care.)  Maybe if we invested more wisely, focusing more intentionally on our inner selves, we would make different choices for our outer selves.

Human bodies are like a mobile home.  It’s where a person can reside and a vehicle that moves the person from one place to another.  In these ways, the mobile home is very useful.  Therefore, we need to take good physical care of it.  However, if the person inside is neglected to the point of starvation, what’s the point of the mobile home?

None of these thoughts are intended to place moral judgments on tattoos or nice clothes nor are they to suggest we neglect our bodies.  The lesson is about prioritization. I believe Americans would be healthier, happier and more productive if we would invest more in the person inside.  This suggests we probably need to redirect some of our resources.  Oh NO!

Here’s the good news.  You can do this and you don’t have to wait until the next January 1st, spend a fortune or give up everything that is fun!  You can begin one new practice — today that will put you on a path to a better life.  Ask your self, “What could I read to get started?  What could I sign up for?  What wisdom could I seek?  Who could I reach out to for the help I need?  However, the first question you need to ask yourself I this, “Am I hungry enough to change my diet today?”

The body is a home for people.
We are wise to take good care of ours.
But if we don’t care for the person who lives there,
what’s the point? 
— Clancy Cross

Preparation – The Law of True Opportunities

Opportunities are Gifts

The Opportunity Clock
Click Image for More Engagement Squares

True opportunities are the results of alignment with our internal gifts and the happenings in the world.  They are neither accidental nor coincidental.  Just like talents alone, true opportunities are gifts.  Our abilities to benefit from them is the cause-and-effect reward for doing the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons.  In other words, I believed, I planned, I prepared, I searched, I found and I took action.

Some opportunities sit patiently on a shelf waiting to be discovered and claimed by opportunity shoppers who are willing to pay the price.  There are no special requirements for acquiring the gift except that the purchaser is willing to pay the price.  From then on, the investment creates an incentive to do something meaningful with the opportunity.

There are also legacy opportunities tucked away in a safe place, for the right time, like a dowry or inheritance.  Others are the gifts of our potential.  Still others are gifts of love and attention.

Talent is both a gift and an opportunity.  It’s like a seed waiting to be planted and watered so it can grow to maturity, harvested and put to its intended use.  Talent comes with a purpose.  The purpose of an apple seed is to grow into an apple tree that produces apples.  Talents are the seeds of our lives.

There’s something even more important than just recognizing our gifts and opportunities — full understanding and use of them.  To do this, some key connections must be made.  Let’s call it the Opportunity Progression…

  • Talents – the innate gifts of “potential.” We’re all born with unique sets of abilities.
  • Potential – the God-given gift that enables everything we do AND gives hints about our possibilities.
  • Possibility – the gift of “hope.”  Hope is the attitude of expectations for a better future.
  • Hope – the gift that is built on trust, strengthens faith and inspires courage.
  • Courage – the gift that inspires and fuels action – both proactive a reactive.  Proactive courage leads to preparation.  The reactive gift is the courage to respond.  We need both types of courage.
  • Action – the gift that relies on our inner voice – the gift conscience.
  • Conscience – God’s voice of “purpose.”  It answers the purpose question “Why me?”  Purpose is the gift that reveals true opportunities and redirects action to be focused on right actions.  As such, conscience is the voice of character.
  • YOUR True Opportunities – those opportunities that successfully pass through the entire Opportunity Progression.

The Opportunity Tragedy

Lost and wasted opportunities are one human tragedy we all experience.  At this very moment you are on the brink of missing one because you are unaware, afraid, confused, uncommitted, distracted, ungrateful, arrogant and/or uninformed and therefore, unwilling to claim this opportunity.  Although these are the causes of breakdowns in the Opportunity Progression, there is one simple explanation that covers them all…

Lack of preparation is the cause of lost opportunities.
Preparation is a choice.
Therefore, the loss of opportunities is a choice.

We are who we are and where we are because of the daily choices we make regarding our personal preparation.  The loss of opportunities is the result of not spending enough of our finite resources becoming ready.  What areas of preparation am I referring to?

  • Wisdom – where knowledge, context and experience come together.
  • Beliefs – where wisdom joins with perspective, trust and confidence to form a foundation of truth.
  • Values – the beliefs that matter most to one or more individuals based on personal or shared relevance.
  • Attitudes – the way we feel about our beliefs determines the choices and quality of our actions.
  • Understanding – the ability to form judgments based on knowledge and circumstances.
  • Relationships – the way people interact, align, work and bond with one another.
  • Awareness – recognizing and understanding the events and opportunities around us.
  • Skills – the developed aptitudes, abilities and power to do something with competence.

The more we invest in ALL of these areas, the more valuable opportunities will be accessible to us.  It’s a matter of one choice — to prepare or not prepare, that is the question!

— CC


Quotes 5/5/2014

“Maybe you’ve made some bad decisions that have gotten you
to where you don’t want to be.  The good news is
that you’re only one defining decision away
from a totally different life… Never underestimate
the potential of one resolution to change your life.”

— Mark Batterson, “The Circle Maker”, pp. 170-71.


At the same time, understand that the key to recovery is to move forward with better choices, not just the easy ones.  Quick-fix options that avoid difficulty and ignore your conscience and the consequences of natural law will only make your life worse.  — CC

The Importance of “Important”

The late Stephen Covey was well-know for his classic book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  Habit #3 is entitled, “Put First Things First.”  It’s all about knowing what is important and honoring it by our actions.  Looking at the culture, it would seem that defining importance is more difficult than one would think.  People seem to be confused by this.  What happens?  Confusion becomes a barricade to any action, much less the right action.

Newton’s first law of motion says that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it.  This is a great metaphor for human behavior.  A person will move from inaction to action only when motivated by something sufficiently important.  Most barricade-busting motivation fits into the following categories: Wants, Needs, and Responsibilities.

  • Emptiness Chooses Wants. — People fill voids with something they want.
  • Pain Chooses Needs. — People relieve pain with something they believe they need.
  • Conscience Chooses Responsibilities. — People choose right actions in obedience to their consciences.

Importance is established when one or more of these motivators takes center stage in the person’s mind and heart.  Sometimes people coincidentally choose Right Actions when Responsibility does not play a significant role.  That is, we sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reason.

Admittedly, the formula is not quite so straightforward.  The strength of the motivators is constantly rising and falling because of emotional fluctuations, changes in personal perspectives and changes in external circumstances.  It’s a dynamic environment.

Here’s what I am certain about.  When an opportunity intersects with importance, we give it the red carpet treatment.  Which means, we mark the calendar.  We rearrange appointments.  We set aside funds.  We post reminders. We tell people.  We tweet.  We follow through.

It doesn’t matter whether the opportunity is one you created or a gift from someone else.  Importance is still the motivation necessary to cause action.  Until then, the opportunity is just another competing option in our busy lives.  Only what we perceive to be truly important finds its way onto our calendars, into our budgets and into our conversations.

What’s on your calendar?  What’s in your budget?  What are you talking about?