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#db Father, Blog
Starting up anything isn’t easy. It’s actually incredibly difficult at times. I reviewed my sleep this past week (of course I track my sleep!) and found that I’ve averaged a little over 3 hours. While I don’t need a lot of sleep in general (I sleep 4-6 hours normally), getting a total of 3 hours from a series of naps is not optimal at all, which has been the case since my son, Elijah, was born. To not only survive this period, but thrive, the need to be ruthless with my schedule and priorities is necessary. There’s no other way to get everything done at work, stay healthy, spend quality time with my wife, care for our son, and continue to serve the organizations and communities I am involved in. Discipline is not just a good idea. It’s the only idea that will produce results. My schedule looks like this at the moment: 4:30am: Wake-up and morning ritual, which includes my devotions, meditation, short workout, pray for my family and teams, and review the day. 6:00am: Get dressed and leave for the office. Read the news or listen to a podcast in the car. 7:00am: Start work day. Huddle with team and leaders on Monday’s, review different units depending on predetermined priorities, or email/message instructions to teams for the day. I try not to start the day by answering emails that way I avoid reacting to them. We all get thousands of emails that all threaten to dictate our day. I try to start with my priorities.  The rest of the day is non-stop activity which I’ve come to enjoy. The secret to not getting tired during the day is to stay engaged. If you stay engaged and focused, you’ll get a lot done. I keep a detailed bullet point list using Microsoft OneNote on a day page and add links and attach photos of the notes to it. I like taking notes on a Moleskine notebook, so I take photos of the notes and add them to the digital page that way it’s easier to access in the future. My tip here is to try to remove randomness and negotiations from your day. Set your priorities beforehand and commit to them. Don’t guess what your day will look like. Design it. And don’t second guess your commitments. Stay faithful even if you’re feeling lazy or it’s difficult.  I try to be home by 6:30pm, which doesn’t happen a lot, so I just give Yasmin a heads up. When I am home, we have dinner together, spend time with Elijah, and read to him from the Bible and from whatever book I’m reading, whether it be poetry, Thomas Sowell, Rowan Moore, or Robert Massey.  Since we don’t have stay in maids or nannies, Yasmin and I do our own chores. A cleaner who comes in a few times a week takes care of, well, cleaning, and laundry. We do the rest, particularly in the evening and weekends when it’s just us. While it’s extra work, we prefer this hands-on approach to our home and family. It is also more affordable. As a startup family (less than 2 year marriage, 2 week old baby), it’s important to stay intimately involved, which I think works well for startup businesses as well. I remember when we first started Bridge, we all embraced the idea of Garage Mode, where we would not just be ok with not having fancy things, but enjoy it. We love Garage Mode at Bridge and will guard the lessons and experiences from that season. Same at home. My wife and I chat about the day Elijah will be big enough to hike with us or paint and play tennis, but we also enjoy every fun and inconvenient moment of his complete dependence. How does one enjoy inconvenice, whether at work or home? In one word: Love. Wiping my son’s butt isn’t some random poop cleanup. It’s me caring for my love. When I watch how selfless my wife is with Elijah, instinctively waking before him to prepare his milk (which basically means preparing her breasts), I see a physically tired but incredibly graceful woman. She makes this feeding and changing with no sleep while recovering from a Cesarean beautiful. I’m not talking about a face lifted, made up, catwalk stunner that comes from outer embellishments, but a soulful inner beauty that comes from inner engagements. Again, it’s much like a startup business. It’s not the external media focus that makes your startup. It’s your internal engagement. It’s your commitment when no one is looking. It’s your team’s real culture when you’re not there. It’s your inner work that will produce the outer work. At the end of the day, about 9pm, Yasmin does her final pump for the day and prepares to rest after almost non-stop caring for Elijah. I take over (though I call Yasmin a lot for help!) and set him up to sleep beside me while I work until about 10:30pm, do my evening ritual which includes a breathing exercise and preparing for the next day, and finally end the day reading. I usually sleep around 12 or 1am, but wake on and off to check on Elijah. We still have new parent jitters. Usually around 3am he has another feeding and diaper change, then I’m able to squeeze in a nap before waking up again to begin my day. Despite this busyness I’m able to write, exercise, study, and play a short game on my phone (like chess, Sim City, or Vain Glory), which I treat like mental sorbet between modes of thought. We really have a lot of time if we manage it well. Even one’s gaming should be scheduled in my opinion.  I’ll be sharing a list of what my wife and are focusing on the next few weeks for our Startup Family, but I really want to encourage you, whether, single, married, with or without kids, manage your time well by scheduling ahead. Sundays are a great time to prepare the week’s events. Like I said, don’t guess and negotiate through your priorities. Instead, design your days. You’re more capable of greater things than you think. Give yourself an advantage by making use of every second of every minute of every moment. #db
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalms 90:12 ESV

Life Style, Thoughts on Value

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Three things every man and woman has, three very amazing and important gifts within our grasp right now are time, energy (or life), and choice. Every existing person has the same amount of time, has life that animates, and whether they believe so or not, has the ability to choose what do with the time and energy that is available. What you CHOOSE to invest your TIME and ENERGY on, where you choose to spend your life, has lifelong repercussions. Every time I tell someone that, or write it, or hear it, I shiver at the thought of my own wrong choices of investing time, energy, as well as money, in things that have not appreciated in value and have actually drained value from my life. Despite my inclination to be very very private, the reason why I write is to encourage others that there’s something more for them. There’s something more for you. IF… …IF you will CHOOSE to invest your TIME and ENERGY wisely. I do NOT want to impress you (I’ll explain why later). But I do want to make an impression, and it is this: You were meant for something more. You were given eyes to see, ears to hear, mouths to taste, a nose to smell, sensors to feel, AND a mind not just to have sensory experiences BUT to attach MEANING into your existence. What makes life beautiful is not just that one experiences things, but that our experiences have meaning, they have value. Like a drop on a lake, they have ripples that impact the other parts of our life and the rest of our life. So choose your drops. And choose to make your drops in other people’s lives count. So this blog has the process of taking from my thoughts and experiences, but the purpose, my purpose for it, is to help you discover your best version of yourself. Then I go disappear to my cave just as is consistent with those crazy artists who seek permanence, excellence, and high standards in their works but dislike the temporary shallowness of attention. Which leads me to my title. To live a life of meaning and purpose, one must purposefully, intentionally, deliberately invest time and energy into “valuable things”. And what are “valuable things” are different for everyone, because a “valuable thing” is simply that which deep down in your heart, you treasure most. What you treasure or truly love, you will naturally invest your time and energy on, and these things will have more and more impact in your life, they’ll be more meaningful, they’ll be of more consequence, and they’ll thrive in your life – for better or worse. If you invest time and energy in your work – you’ll succeed there, for better or worse. If you invest time and energy in your body – you’ll succeed there, for better or worse. If you invest time and energy in relaxing – you’ll succeed there for better or worse. If you invest time and energy in good relationships – you’ll be surrounded by good relationships, for better or worse. If you invest time and energy in bad relationships – you’ll be surrounded by bad relationships, for better or worse. If you invest time and energy in distractions – you’ll succeed there, for better or worse. If you invest time and energy in self promotion – you’ll succeed there, for better or worse. The bottom line is this: Our lives are the product of where we invest our time and energy. And make no mistake about this, every single day, we automatically make investments. The clock does not stop ticking and our life’s energy does not stop pumping. We are automatically investing each and every single day and every moment. The difference is not whether someone is investing. Everyone is investing. The difference is WHERE and WHAT someone invests in.  So this puts extreme importance on our hearts, on the things we love and make beautiful in our lives. In fact, when we realize that everything overflows from our hearts, we realize that it is MOST important.  But we hate it when someone tells us to check the form of our hearts. We like it when someone tells us to check the form of our workout or our writing flow but not our hearts. Because we don’t mind being instructed on how to become sexy or professionally excellent. We do mind being instructed on how to care for our hearts. It’s too uncomfortable, and it really is. So what does my title have to do with any of this? It’s this: Don’t put your affections, your admiration, nor your hopes on me. I do not deserve them neither do I want them.  They won’t help you because I can’t help you. I’m just as human as you.  They don’t help because it just loads me with expectations I can’t fulfil. Again, I’m just as human as you. If you were to attach my mind to a screen, so that you can see everything that goes on in my brain, you would be so disgusted by the wild mix of condemnable things, and when I do good, of the most condemnable thing of all: pride. Even worse if you can press rewind. Haha!   I’m not your crush. I don’t want your affections.   In fact, my suggestion is, you’re better off throwing your affections to your parents and family. They need it and if anyone deserves your attention and emotions, they do. When was the last time you googled your crush? When was the last time you googled how to be a better son or daughter? When was the last time you stared at photos of a cute girl or guy? When was the last time you looked at photos of amazing times your parents and family made for you? How much money have you spent on yourself to feel good and look good for others? How much money have you spent on your parents to thank them for what they’ve done for you and for who they’ve been for you? Why spend so much time and energy on people who don’t even know your name? Why not spend time on the people who actually gave you your name? It’s easy to worship someone you don’t live with because you’re safely un-contradicted and can easily detach. It’s hard to care for someone you live with and affects you so much because you see the imperfections – that’s why it’s called “loving” them and not shallowly “being nice to people when they’re nice to you and not nice to people who aren’t nice to you.” And guess what? Your crush, who you’re impressed by, takes your investments of time and energy and will give you NOTHING back. Your parents who have given you much much more than me or any other crush , so much you don’t appreciate, get token Mother’s Day or Father’s Day attention, or even nothing at all. It’s easy to take the little things for granted then blame them for the moments of frustration, impatience, and mistakes. I don’t want to be part of that whole crush ecosystem. The next time I get a letter or message about that, I’m going to paste this to my response: “GO DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR PARENTS. PLEASE.”   Next, I’m not a pastor. Neither do I want to be.   Being a pastor is an honorable calling – like all other callings. I truly believe that God can move and speak through the most humble of jobs if done out of love for God. At the same time, I believe that the most religious of functions can be done without  excellence. It’s not about the job. It’s about our hearts. Also like any other calling, there are people who are good at their vocation and people who are bad at their vocation. Just like there are good and bad businessmen, there are good and bad pastors. I don’t necessarily mean evil, I mean people who just don’t do very good at what they do. But just like in our own experiences, we can all grow and get better, but no one becomes better automatically by assuming a title. Just as there is an overblown admiration for celebrities and their way of life, there is many times an overblown admiration for pastors and their way of life. This of course, leads to overblown expectations and pressures on them and their families. I believe in honoring our elders and authority, but I don’t believe in putting my faith in them. I don’t believe in putting my faith in someone just because he looks good and I don’t believe in putting my faith in someone just because he talks good or seems confident. Appearances are not difficult to achieve. Glamour is much easier to attain than character. Many times I’ve fallen for appearances, and have invested more in my appearance, when I should have been looking at character – who a person truly is when the externals are stripped. Some of the best messages I’ve heard have come from pastors, and some of the worst too. Many of the best advice I’ve heard have come from pastors, many really really terrible ones too in my opinion. Why? Because at the end of the day, they’re not infallible, they too have limited understanding, and are growing just as we are. Do we think that just because someone has “pastor” at the front of their name they all of a sudden become wiser, or more intelligent, or more insightful, or stronger, or kinder, or better? No.  These character traits come with impartation and discipline NOT with titles. And let me add something about pastors’ kids. It doesn’t take a genius to know that just because a mechanic has a kid that his kid automatically will be a good mechanic. This also goes for any other profession. Then why do we tend to automatically think that the offspring of someone who is devoted to God will automatically devote himself to God? That is why the role of a pastor is not to be some celebrity but to be a shepherd (which is a totally unglamorous nor respectable job), to sheep (you and I), who are wanting to be led closer to God. More than a giver of advice, the role of a pastor is to lead people to God, that’s what they should get good at, and they get good at this by truly spending time in devotion to God.  When people ask me why I’m not a pastor, I just say, “I’ll never make the cut.” And all my past dates said, “Amen!!!”   Finally, I’m not a your saviour. Jesus is.   Some of you may say, “Well that’s obvious.” But is it truly obvious? If someone was truly your saviour, would it be so hard to spend time with him? No. You would be so grateful and so willing to give yourself to him. Why? He saved you. If someone was truly your saviour, would it be so hard to tithe or be generous? No. If someone was generous enough to save us than why is it so hard to be generous to others? It’s funny how some people will read my blog more than their Bible, as if my blog has more wisdom. It doesn’t. I actually copy whole sections of the Bible on some of my posts. There’s wisdom there that is so beyond us that it seems like foolishness, because in the Bible is the wisdom of love – the wisdom of someone who loved you enough to save you. In short, while I hope my blog inspires you to become the best version of yourself, I do not want your attention for myself, neither do I want your affection, and most of all I don’t want your expectations. Like I say over and over, stop wasting your affections on people who don’t really care for you and start investing it in people who you will cry buckets over when they’re dead or gone from your life – especially your parents. A good sign of someone who truly knows his values is how he invests in the people he claims to love. This is a rare thing. Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? – PROVERBS 20:6 Jesus claims to have unfailing love, and He has been found to be faithful. Put your attention, your affection, your faith, your trust in Him.