Thursday, July 31, 2014

Is searching better than finding

Is Searching better than finding
Tim Connor

Searching for something in life? Been at it a while?  Getting closer? Getting discouraged?  Feeling like giving up?  Found it and it wasn’t what you thought it would be or what it would look or be like?

Searching – observing acutely or examining thoroughly (well that’s not very helpful is it?

Finding - a piece of information obtained from an investigation, especially scientific research.  Ditto as above.

I don’t even know why I search for definitions any more.
Searching is a close cousin of goals, purpose, dreams and desire. In some cases our searching is a waste of time while in others it can keep us focused, committed and active.

Here are two quick examples.

Searching for God’s will or His purpose for your life. How will we ever know we are on the right path heading in the right direction when our journey is filled with disappointment, frustration, uncertainty and even failure?  We can never be totally sure we are moving in the right direction.  We can hope, we can work and we can try but will we ever know for sure?  I doubt it.

Years ago when I made the decision to become a full time speaker and author there was an inner calling – this is what I am supposed to do with my life and time.  Was it written in stone? No.  Have I experienced doubt and many questions along the way that this decision was the right one? Yes.

So, what’s the answer? Don’t know. I know this is a lot of help, but none of us can or will ever know the future let alone what tomorrow will bring.  All we can do is keep moving, learning, surrendering and asking for guidance. As well as accept what crosses our path as the ingredients necessary to achieve this destination.

A quote from one of my favorite authors, Eric Butterworth.  God’s law adjustment regulates all the affairs of my life and all things are in divine order.”

You can believe this, accept it or deny it and believe that you are in control but in the end I believe we are all here for His purpose and He will keep nudging us in the right direction.  Yes, we can resist but in the end I have learned that resistance only brings more pain and frustration.

Second example.

I love to write and speak and not because someone may benefit from my words but because I love to express myself. Yes if you benefit from my words that’s great but in the end, they are my words written and spoken to help me learn more faster, better and easier. So writing and speaking isn’t a chore, but a passionate work of love.  I can keep trying to get better, wiser and more effective as I write and speak by continuing to learn and grow.   

My search is for writing and speaking with clarity, integrity, courage and effectiveness. 
“You can make your plans, but God determines your steps.”  You may have read that somewhere if you have ever studied scripture.

Either way I’m not implying that we shouldn’t keep searching for something we want or desire, because if you don’t search that may be an obstacle to ultimately finding.  But here’s another problem.

What if we find what we are searching for and then discover it wasn’t what we thought it would be?

Another two quick examples.

Many people are searching for their one true love.  If this wasn’t true there wouldn’t be over 40,000,000 people searching on dating sites. Let’s say you find what you believe is the love of your life and after a few months or years you discover that what you found was wrong for any number of reasons.  Was the search necessary? Yes.  Did you find someone? Yes? Were they the right person for the long term? No. Was the search a waste of time?  I’ll let you answer that one.

Second example.

You are searching for the perfect career or job.  You plan, study, work hard and finally find what you feel was the right answer.  But after a few years you start to feel a sense of apathy, anxiety or even regret.  Was the decision the right one at the time?  Well, yes, no and maybe.  Would you have found the job without the search? Probably not.  Was it the best answer at the time? You believed it was - then something over time changed that gave you pause.

In each case should you have just sat by waiting? Not a good strategy.  Should you have done more research before you made the choice? A better approach.  Can you guarantee that each choice leading to your search will be the right one? Never.

The solution – keep searching, hoping, believing, planning and acting but at the same time accept that the direction or the outcomes of the search will not always lead to the destination of your choice.

In the end I believe that searching is better than finding as a life approach.  This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever find or that finding is bad, just that when you stop searching, you stop growing and learning.

“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail”.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How about a quick quiz?

And your priorities are . . . .

Give the following a number assignment from 1-17 in terms of your priorities or what matters most to you in life. You can only use one number one time.  Now assign a second umber to each – how much time you allocate to each item - you only get a total of 100%.
                                                         No.                          %

____ Pleasure    _____
____ Success    _____
____ Money    _____
____ Learning    _____
____ God/prayer    _____
____ Health    _____
____ Approval of others    _____
____ Popularity    _____
____ Freedom   _____
____ Exercise    _____
____ Work/Career    _____
____ Charity    _____
____ Power    _____
____ Life    _____
____ Play/fun/travel    _____
____ Service to others    _____
____ Fame    _____
What did you learn:

What do you need to change:

Compliments: Tim Connor: –

Monday, July 28, 2014

A culture of distraction

A culture of distraction
Tim Connor

First - a few facts based on recent studies;

-The average person spends over 6 hours a day looking at a screen (cell phone, Computer or TV.)
-The average person spends over 50 hours a week searching the internet.
-The average couple spends less than 26 minutes a week in intimate conversation and sharing (not sex talk).
-The average person spends more money on technology than self-improvement, charity or saving.
-The average person spends more time emailing and texting than talking to friends and family.
-Even though we may have more perceived relationships due to social media we are actually creating fewer value or connection based relationships where we really share and get to know people other than their latest likes, activities or in my opinion, stupid stuff.  Call me out of touch if you want but I believe that all of this stuff is significantly overrated.

Scary? You bet. It’s an indication of an increasing and negative trend or general behavior that will over time contribute sooner or later to shorter and less rewarding and shallower relationships, addiction to technology, wasted time and a loss of a spiritually based life and vague and uncertain life purpose. There are worse things than this that could be the outcomes but I don’t want to be perceived as a negative or doomsayer person.  I’ll let you observe personal human behavior for yourself during the coming months and years so for now just a few thoughts on why I believe we are living in a culture of distraction.
So why the title, a culture of distraction?  Work with me here.

Distraction – disruption, interruption, diversion, disturbance or - something that interferes with concentration or takes attention away from something else that could be more important or valuable.

I could give you dozens of examples that validate the above findings but I’d rather stick with the why’s for now.  But first consider how we are distracted by so many outside forces whether; advertising approaches, internet offers, politicians, short attention spans, the need for immediate action or response, the search for pleasure and the increasing tendency of the need for control, self-absorption and even narcissism.

Are people distracted because; they have short attention spans, need total control of life, let their egos rule their present moments, are always looking for something better, are always in a hurry, have short term or no goals – yes and is there a major contributor to these behaviors or attitudes? I believe so and it is – we are becoming a culture, to use a popular word, of “selfies”.

But I have to say that sooner or later everyone who is distracted and not focused on some specific life areas be they; spiritual, relationship, self-development, career or some higher purpose, it has been my experience over the years that these people when they reach their later years and you can define “later” any way you want, they look back with regret and disappointment.

If I have learned anything during my life and career it’s that the single most important element for success and happiness is focus, concentration and commitment to closure and completion.

This doesn’t mean that everything you start, you will finish but you will never finish if you don’t stay focused and the reason many people lose their focus is distraction.  All this means is that you really weren’t focused or committed in the first place because any simple distraction took your attention off the goal, desire or target.

In this world focus is not easy as there are so many outside things that their purpose is to distract us.  Just go to any website looking for some specific information and I’ll wager that there will be several other things crying out for your attention.  This is specifically why I don’t include any distraction in these weekly articles – stay focused even if it is only for a few minutes.

It’s unfortunate that this idea of distraction is also causing other related issues like; communication breakdowns, assumptions, confusion and misunderstanding as well as shorter careers in certain positions and relationship stress and breakdowns.

If you want to accomplish anything it requires sacrifice, attention, effort, time, courage, commitment, confidence, persistence and yes focus.

Let me close with a quick question- while you were reading this article was any exterior or internal situation, circumstance, worry, need or fear trying to draw your attention away from this brief few minutes?

“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”
Robert L Stephenson

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Are you learning or stuck in knowing

Are you learning or stuck in knowing
Tim Connor

Know a “know it all”?

There is a difference between knowing and learning.  The problem is that many people or should I say “most” people feel they know something and then act accordingly.
Let me give you a simple example.  For centuries people believed (knew from what they had heard) that the world was flat and they let this knowing impact their beliefs and attitudes.  Then we discovered otherwise – so did everyone change their view or remain stuck in their knowing that was not true?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that truth is truth and regardless of our denial of it or unaware of it, but it doesn’t change the facts or truth.

Years ago scientists believed that the atom was the smallest particle and guess what – with time this was proven that it was not true.  I could go on but over time even subsequent discoveries of the smallest particles proved to still not be true.  Did everyone embrace the new truths as they emerged?  Some yes and some no.  And why?  Well without personal experience or evidence all we have is what other people tell us, but how do we know that they know the truth?  We don’t – so we have a choice believe or question.

Flip a switch in your kitchen and the lights come on.  Truth?  Can you see the source or cause – no but you accept what you see as truth – your personal evidence.

This same approach is used by many when it comes to scripture and God.  They have a choice – believe they know it based on what is written or question it – keep learning.

I could give you thousands of examples to prove that there is more to life than we say we know, but the question remains – do we let our perceived knowing get in the way of our continued learning?

Learning is more than exposure to new information.  It involves a willingness to let go of previous opinions, judgments and mindsets. Just because you read a book or attend a seminar is no guarantee that you will really learn anything, yes you receive new information but generally speaking people resist what is not consistent with their current beliefs, values or knowledge.

As a trainer I have observed thousands of people in my audiences take notes, listen, participate and then change nothing.  Not being critical here just sharing what I believe is a common challenge to learning and the challenge is – being willing to accept that what you have believed, no matter how vested you are in it, is no longer true, valid or appropriate for how you live your life.

Let me ask you – have you changed any opinion about anything in the past five years – in other words something you believed in the past is no longer relevant or appropriate for how you work, play or just live?  If you answer is no – you are in denial.  We all learn whether we are actively searching for new knowledge or not.  Life often forces us to learn regardless of whether we are ready or open to new concepts, ideas etc.  Life is a teacher and it teaches us using – failure, problems, adversity, disappointment and uncertainty and yes change.

We always have a choice – we can learn what life is trying to teach us, actively search for new knowledge or we can resist life’s lessons as they show up.  But I guarantee that if you don’t learn when you have the option sooner or later a similar lesson will appear.

For example – if you have never learned the lesson of disappointment I will guarantee that something or someone will continue to disappoint you until you finally get it – we all face disappointment in life and we can learn to accept it and learn to manage it or continue to live with frustration, anxiety, fear etc due to life’s disappointing circumstances.

Let me close with a simple concept – you are either an active life learner continually searching for new knowledge and willing to embrace the new and let go of the old or you are stuck blaming, whining, complaining because life isn’t fair, good or it doesn’t behave according to your agendas. Expectations or schedule.

Welcome to life 101 folks – learn or stay stuck in your knowing.

“The only things worth learning are the things you learn
after you know it all.”
Harry S. Truman