For Best Results, Combine These with Your Dreams

Chances are, you don’t have the body you want. Chances are you don’t have the savings you know you need. Chances are you’re not performing as well as you could in your job. Chances are you’re not as consistent with your daily devotions. Chances are you’re nothing like the posts you like on social media. Chances are your big dreams won’t come true – and when you’re honest with yourself – it’s because you simply haven’t stuck with them, choosing instead to listen to one or more of the unlimited excuses available to all of us.

But this doesn’t have to be the case.

To be honest, the statements above describe me accurately as well. While I may have some success in those areas, and while I’ve seen improvement, I cannot say that I am the level I desire to be.
But it won’t be the case forever. I’m working on achieving my goals in the different areas of my life.

I have big dreams and big goals. Just ask my family and my team, and they will tell you that I’ve never been a small thinker. Setting big goals, having a vision, and dreaming up amazing things is beneficial, and is an inspiring exercise, but it is completely useless IF it is not followed with discipline, diligence, and determination. I believe someone with small goals, a blurry vision, and a simple dream who is disciplined, diligent, and determined, will go much further than “visionaries” who lack those character traits.

Dreams combined with Discipline, Diligence, and Determination, on a Daily basis, lead to success.

Discipline is the ability to focus on and commit to the necessary requirements of achieving a goal.

Diligence is the care and hard work we apply to everything we do.

Determination is the proactive, no-excuses, will to finish things excellently.

Daily is self-explanatory but just as important. It’s very possible to sabotage a week’s worth of exercise with a weekend binge. (If you burned 3000 calories at the gym and added another 5000 calories over the weekend you’ll actually gain weight.) It’s possible to blow a lifetime of savings with one bad decision. By aiming for success on a day-by-day basis, we stay consistent and vigilant.

As we end the month of January, I hope you’ve set great goals for yourself. But I also hope you’ve set yourself up for success by fixing your schedules, setting your alarms, adding accountability, and tracking your actual results. I hope you don’t waste another year, another set of goals and dreams, by not combining them with Discipline, Diligence, and Determination on a Daily basis. #DB


It’s not enough for people to respect me.

I want to know, I need to know, in the deepest part of me, where there’s no one but God and myself, that in our partnership, we weren’t lazy nor dishonest with each other. I know that He’s faithful with His part. I need to focus on being faithful with mine. This is why I put a lot of emphasis on measured results, so that I never fall into the vanity of being honored by man and think that is proof of  a good life. It’s easy to impress a shallow judge. Man is a shallow judge. But by putting standards, even difficult standards, I push myself towards actual, fundamental, tangible results, that I may sleep content that I did everything in my power to be faithful to God as well.

When I am not meeting these standards, I feel the insecurity of dissonance. There is no peace in a lying heart, and my heart has, through the years, gone through many lies. Chief of which is that I am here to promote, protect, and pleasure me above all. It manifests clearly when I say things like, “I’m not so bad” or “I’m alright” or “I’m enjoying my ‘me’ time” or “I’m allowed to feel this way” or when I entertain other excuses. These are some of the conversations I have in my head when defending my small laziness and dishonesties, not thinking of the other lives deprived or hurt by me When I catch myself do this, I switch the question from “How do I feel today?” to “What is my measurable impact today?” and it changes my mental framework. Before I think about what I think I lack or need, I think about what I have given.

In Matthew 11, there’s a story where the John the Baptists sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He’s the real deal. John was having doubts, probably due to his situation in prison. Jesus didn’t go on an offended, angry, defensive “You don’t believe in me!” speech. Instead, He said, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Jesus simply said: Look at the results. The reply wasn’t “look at my posts”, “look what the media is saying about me”, “look at my likes and comments”. He said, “Look at the fundamental improvements in the lives of people I’ve touched. Look at my life’s message.” 

Jesus never argued His value to anyone. He let His results do the talking, and His results weren’t cute or vanity metrics. They were fundamental life improvements that transformed.

This is the example I seek to follow: to live such a good life that whenever there are doubters, I can simply say, “Look at the results. Look at my life’s message. I’m not perfect. There are a ton of mistakes. But look at the results.” To do this, I need to make sure that every day is spent generating results, not necessarily for monetary ends, but for life transforming impact. This is where discipline, diligence, and determination trumps intention, inspiration, and ideas. Too many people share a lot of inspiring crap but completely fail when they are asked, “So where are the actual, tangible, fundamental results?”



To the Young, Work Hard

I had a very nice discussion with a young man I have had the privilege of knowing for a while. He wanted to meet to talk about his business. I was very glad to hear that not only did he hit his original targets, he beat them by a lot. I was so encouraged by him and his young wife, how they’re facing life together and maturing. During the conversation, he mentioned that he comes home tired. We discussed ideas on how to handle his growing opportunities better, but I also told him something I like to tell young people:

It’s good to work hard. It’s not wrong to feel tired at the end of the day. It’s good to push yourself to a higher level – especially when you’re young. 

I told him, “That’s fine. Don’t see being tired as a reason to slow down. See it as a time to reflect and learn how to handle greater responsibility.”

And I encouraged his wife, “Continue to be supportive. Be encouraging. Tell him, ‘I’m proud of you for working hard. I’m proud of you for fighting hard for us.’ And you need to honor him in front of your kids, “Look at your dad. You become like him and do honest hard work for the people you love. You marry someone like him, someone who’ll work hard for you.’ That’s how you teach your kids the beauty of work.”

I left that lunch so happy for them.

Some people may say, “Why encourage him to work more? Isn’t he tired already? What about a balanced life?”

Here’s my reply to that:

1. It’s good to encourage people to work. The bible even says:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:16

One big reason why I think Christians don’t have the influence they used to is because, in general, they’re no longer known for the excellent good works that make non-believers glorify God.

2. Being tired now can be cured by rest but growth helps keep us from getting as tired in the future. Let me explain:

When I was a child, carrying a 5 pound weight was a huge effort. Now that I’m older and stronger, it doesn’t provide the same stress nor require the same effort as before. It’s because I’ve grown. A lot of the loads I’m carrying today I never imagined I would be able to handle when I was younger. I remember feeling how heavy my initial responsibilities seem. But over time, with perseverance and discipline, my abilities improved, and what seemed so difficult actually became manageable. Because I had grown, what used to tire me so much no longer did.

Encouraging people to stretch gives them the chance to grow their strengths so that they may not be so stressed by the same challenges over and over. That’s how we progress.

3. I DON’T believe in a balanced life. Repeat. I DON’T believe in a balanced life.

I believe in a responsible life, meaning response + able, the ability to face life with prudence and succeed. And real life is many times not neatly organized into ideal categories. When you’re young, real life looks more like a constant grind and, like I said earlier, a foundation that only looks like a hole.

I asked my older brother, Joseph, about this, and he said:

“Balance implies a static condition. And life isn’t like that.”

Instead he told me about how a family friend of ours, Alex Castillo, defined it:

Dynamic Equilibrium – Moving with life and adjusting to things as they come.

Part of maturity is learning how to handle reality and make the most of it, NOT to live in a perpetual wish of a better future and living vicariously through the glamour of others in the meantime. It means facing the reality of your life’s situations and responding to them with courage, honor, and diligence. When we’re young, that’s the time to really sow and lay foundations. That looks like a lot of digging, a lot of bending down, a lot of getting your hands dirty. It’s not glamorous, and many times all that work seems like it’s just making a giant hole, but that’s not a bad thing. That’s how foundations look. Of course it’s very possible to build a nice looking superstructure with a shallow or no foundation. It’s just not going to last a shaking. Life stretches out. You want to build for the long haul.

That’s why, young people, and not-so-young-people wanting to build anything of importance, I encourage you to work very very hard.