The Myth of Ignorant Bliss

Ignorance is Bliss. This old saying implies the less you know, the less you are responsible for, and the less you have to worry about. The problem with that is that it’s only half true! As my wife and I are raising our kids this has been made very clear. It’s also very clear why people stay in ignorance even when the long term consequences are just plain devastating! Let me explain.

As parents of young children it requires HARD WORK to raise them the right way. You need to know how young children respond to input, to think about every word that comes out of your mouth, and you need consistency in what you do vs. what you say, and in how you hold them accountable. Parenting also requires a balance of freedom to learn, and guidelines your children have to abide by. These are just a few things, aside from all the non-intellectual activities such as making food, changing diapers, and cleaning the house! This is the work required when you decide not to be ignorant. You see, the moment you learn something, such as the right way to behave or raise children, you are now responsible to do something with that knowledge. It’s a lot of work! Because the burden of responsibility is so great, it’s worth wondering, would you be better off not knowing, and being less stressed? If you don’t know, you aren’t responsible for the outcome, the way things happen, or for alerting someone who can do something about the problem. What you don’t know won’t hurt you.

Here is the thing, though. Not knowing an alligator is about to eat you doesn’t change the FACT that you will soon be in his stomach. Not exactly blissful. Not working hard to be aware and raise your kids with intentional words and actions is only blissful as long as they are too young to question. It doesn’t change the fact that they will someday be out of control, demanding people, who think very little of themselves and others. Being ignorant becomes much less blissful when your house is in constant chaos because your kids won’t listen and your spouse is angry at you!

Using the ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ mindset in any area of life will end up metaphorically killing the one who speaks it. Money, marriage, knowledge of responsibilities at work, raising kids, knowing how to handle salesmen, or a million other things you could name. This saying is used by people who have not had success in their lives, and instead of taking responsibility to change and do the hard, but effective, things, they laugh and say “ignorance is bliss.” It is only blissful until the results come in: chaos, loss, pain, broken relationships, lost work, lost money, and a thousand other woes that result.

On the other hand, being aware, taking responsibility and working hard, staying up late taking care of your kids, trying to communicate well with your spouse, doing something about a problem you see at work, playing with your kids even at the end of a long day, these are all hard things we do now to produce the fruit of future healthy relationships. Feelings value, children who do responsible things and take responsibility for themselves, having money in the bank to take care of needs that come up, and even to enjoy! This is the fruit that is brought from NOT allowing yourself to be ignorant. From taking responsibility and being an ADULT instead of acting like a kid and then blaming the “other kids” for your problems.

Unhappy marriages, out of control kids, bad health, in most cases, these situations are the result of people choosing to stay ignorant of better ways of handling things in their lives. The moment you are no longer ignorant is the moment in which you become responsible for the outcome of a lot of situations. Based on how you respond, how you act, the words you say, the things you eat, how hard you work at your job. To be aware and do nothing does not allow you to blame others for your problems.

Now I know most of us probably don’t think on a conscious level that the phrase “ignorance is bliss” is really true. But on a subconscious level, many of us live that way. Thinking everything is going well and when things get bad we wonder what happened. I hear phrases from people all the time like “One day my kids just quit listening to me and now they are totally out of control” or “Everything with our money was fine until that car accident and then the whole world seemed to crash in” or “Our relationship was awesome, and then out of nowhere she got angry and said I never listen and left.” Do any of these saying sound familiar to you? Have you said them, or heard them said? Do these kinds of things really happen overnight? These people could have spent more time learning about their situations before it was too late, and it all “went south.” But more Netflix, another doughnut, the newest video game, being the parent that is always in control, may have been more important than actually learning how to do such big, hard, adult things like being married, having a job, paying for your bills and saving for the future, or raising kids. So even though we may not say this out loud, often on a lower level of consciousness we live this out daily, thinking that if we stay in the dark, everything will work out okay. WRONG. We have to work hard at the things that are important to us. If we do not, we will lose those things, possibly forever. And the pain will be much worse than the work it would have taken to avoid the problems.

So don’t be ignorant, create your own bliss, and let the haters clean up their own mess in 5 years when they could have had so much better!

Matthew 25:23 (NIV)

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’

 

Do you want to take more charge over your life? Do you want to not be the ignorantly blissful individual headed for a train wreck in life? If you want to create your own version of bliss then subscribe to my free course here!!!

5 Tips to Find a Career That Suits You

How do you respond when you’re 15, 16, 17, and people ask you “What are you going to do with your life?” The expectation to have the entirety of your life planned out before you even have much real life experience is high. Everyone seems very concerned that you don’t waste your life. Considering talents and undiscovered skills you may learn in the coming years, finding the right answer can seem daunting. No pressure! This is only a lifelong decision you need to have figured out before you graduate high school.

Let’s be honest. The expectation to get it figured out is pretty unrealistic. With all of the pressure to choose something “practical” or “useful,” how do you choose what to do with your life? Here are five things to consider while trying to avoid the drama of family expectations, the dread of a life doing something you won’t enjoy, and the pressure to have everything figured out by the time you’re old enough to drive.

  1. Think about things you enjoy. There is an assumption that if you enjoy doing something, it must not be practical and you could never make a good income out of it. But think about it. There are professional skateboarders and video gamers. I mean, of all the things that seem impractical, these would certainly fall into this category. And yet, people make money at it. What is the key? They looked for opportunities to show their skills to people who paid. Competing, honing their skills, learning everything they could about what they did. Just remember, it can’t be only a hobby if you are going to make a living at it. You have to take it seriously enough to put in work.
  2. Add something you’re good at to something you enjoy. Often if you enjoy something you will be good at it because you enjoy putting in the time to get better. Sometimes it goes the other way too, where you are naturally good at something and learn to enjoy doing it because it seems comfortable or it comes somewhat easily. Doing something “practical” that you are NOT good at just because it is a “good career choice” could be disastrous. If you pursue something you are not good, it’s a quick road to burnout and frustration. There is another common misconception around this, and that is that the path of least resistance is for sissies. If you aren’t working miserably hard, then you must be lazy and unproductive. But the opposite can be true. If something comes naturally, why not take advantage of your natural talents?
  3. Don’t choose a career based on what people think. It isn’t a bad idea to consider advice, but advice is just that. Advice. You can consider it, think about it, determine if it makes sense for your life, and use what works. Also realize that when listening to advice given from someone’s insecurities shouldn’t be taken as a serious desire to help you.
  4. If you think a career field seems interesting to you, spend some time getting into and immersed in it. Your first reaction shouldn’t be “I am going to spend money on getting the degree required for this job.”  I mean seriously, you have the internet, there are internships, base level jobs, and people in currently in those jobs you can talk to first. Think about it. Why would you invest thousands of dollars and years of your life without a plan? People who with investments research the funds or things they are investing in extensively before they put ANY money into it.  Why not do that before investing YOUR time and money?
  5. Don’t be afraid to change a few times as you grow and discover different things about yourself. Until you get a chance to start getting your hands dirty and get into the workplace, it can be hard to tell what you might be good at or enjoy. Think like a business owner, not a recruiter. A business owner knows all the worst parts of the job and running the business, but to him he weighs it against the benefits of what he does and how it makes him feel, or how much money he makes, and he doesn’t mind doing the harder things because he enjoy the work more. A recruiter tells you all the coolest and best parts of a job without telling you about the worst parts. If you feel the need to make a change in direction, just remember that the most important part of this process is honesty. Don’t quit a job by walking off because you discover you don’t like it. Maintain your integrity with employers and yourself as you work at finding what your purpose and fulfilling career could be.

Figuring out what to do for the rest of your life can seem like a daunting task, especially when it seems like the only thing people care about is that you do what they think is good for you. Don’t be afraid to take on some commitment in the form of a job, or starting to build a business. Be willing to figure things out. And remember, you don’t have to have it all figured out yet, but to get anywhere, you have to be willing to try!

 

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Why Do We Wait To Get Better?

Why do we wait to start change?

Does setting a starting date for being more responsible with money, eating right, or getting up early make it easier to start? Does waiting to forgive someone make it easier to reconcile? Do we need to wait for someone’s permission to value ourselves or take responsibility?

 

Change can be scary for a myriad of reasons, but instead of focusing on the fear, why not try looking at the results we are missing by not working to be better?

 

Recently I have had two friends unexpectedly pass away, a brother in a nearly fatal accident, and a brother and sister in law in a car-totaling accident. All of these events remind me that life only comes once, and it goes by so much faster than we think it does. It is important to maintain a balance between enjoying the current moment and working to make the next one better. Too often, we use the excuse that we are living in the moment to let ourselves out of improving ourselves.

 

Imagine living until age ninety and looking back realizing that the entirety of your life, you were afraid you had nothing to offer the world, and so you just lived day to day eating, sleeping, going to work, and being afraid of what people thought of you. Imagine if Michelangelo had never given the world the Sistine Chapel because he didn’t think he had anything to offer the world. What if Benjamin Franklin had not invented bifocals because he was afraid that if he failed people would think he was just a crazy old man? These men did things that they were uniquely capable of doing. So what makes you think that you have nothing to develop, or that if you have something, it is your right to keep it from the world?

 

While the things done by “great” people seem much bigger than managing your time, controlling your weight, or learning to be confident in yourself, it all starts somewhere. It starts with trial and error. It starts with discipline and failure. It starts in the very beginning with knowing that you are worth your own effort! You are worth changing for the better. It is good, great, and profitable for you to focus on yourself, developing what you have, so you can then in turn develop others.

 

To go back to the question about why change is scary, it usually boils down to people either being afraid they are not worth putting in the effort to change themselves, or they are afraid that others won’t like them anymore if they work hard at being the best versions of themselves.

 

Don’t let fear of failure or of others cheat the world out of the greatness that God created in you! Be brave. Work hard. Change!

 

If you are tired of waiting, sick of letting life go by you and want to start the change in your life, then click here to take my easy, FREE course! Don’t wait for the right time! Make the time!

Commitment?

I wish I could have more time and money. I wish that I could travel more. I wish I liked my job. I wish life wasn’t so hard. I wish that I could have x, y, or z. Wishing will never get you anywhere, and your life is a picture of what you are committed to the most deeply.

 

So what does this look like, and if it’s true, then how committed should you be to getting the things you say you wish you could have? This is a big topic. Let’s try to break things down a little and deal with one piece at a time.

What does it mean that “Your life is a picture of what you are committed to?” It means that you are responsible for what your life looks like. If you don’t like your job, you have a couple of choices. You can change your attitude, or you can get a new job. If you don’t do one of these things, then you show that you are committed to being unhappy at work. If the job you have just doesn’t pay the bills, again you have choices. You can get another job, or you can find a way to get paid more where you are through more hours or getting more per hour, etc. If you don’t do one of these things, ultimately you are committed to being broke. If you are overweight, you can change your eating habits, and exercise (this works outside of absolutely obscure medical conditions) to get healthier. If you don’t do this and instead are just jealous, or insecure, you are committed to being overweight and unhappy. Bottom line, to change your results, you have to admit that your current results are your responsibility and a matter of your own choices and commitments.

I’m not trying to beat you down or discourage you if you’ve made some bad choices in the past. We all have. But to someone who is committed to growth, it’s empowering to realize that we’re the ones responsible for the results in our life – because when we realize that, we then have the ability to change the person in the mirror!

So if you are trying to change your circumstances, how far should you go? To what level should you be committed? Obviously, bank robbery is not a good option for changing your financial situation, and cutting off the fat with a knife, while taking a lot of willpower, would not be the best option for healthy weight loss. Trying to start up a new business and putting so much into it that you cannot feed your family would be wrong and selfish.

But what about the simple idea of hard work? The idea that when you are trying to change something for the better it will require effort? It’s okay to run into a road block or two, or three, or four, and keep pushing through. To realize that to accomplish things that are worthwhile you have to put skin in the game. If you want to start a business, create a new habit, get out of a toxic situation, then you can’t give up when it gets tough. Seek God’s guidance. Pray. Look at what you are doing. Ask questions. Often people think that if they encounter resistance it’s automatically a sign that they are going the wrong way.

So how do you know the difference between resistance and a sign of being in the wrong place? Asking the following questions should help.

Does what I am pursuing agree with my values?

Is what I am pursuing morally wrong?

Does my continuing in this direction cause harm to others?

Will achieving my goal result in my life, or someone else’s being improved?

Would I be willing to stop if a harmful, or wrong condition arose?

Asking these questions can help you determine whether or not you are really going the wrong way, or if you are going the right way and doing the right thing is hard sometimes. What you are putting effort into needs to line up with God, with your values, it needs to make you or someone else better, and it needs to be constructive. As long as it is meeting these criteria, then by all means continue, and learn from the struggle. Grow through the pains

As I wrap up, the answer here is that, as you are pursuing change, new directions, looking to start something better for life, remember that how far you go is something only you can answer. Consider advice from trusted people. But don’t give up easily because others get jealous and ridicule, or because it requires more effort than you originally thought. Being healthy requires discipline in eating habits. Getting strong requires hard work in the gym. Being a Christian who knows God requires study even when you don’t want to, or people say you are wrong.

Don’t ever give up on being better and keep asking questions! Don’t work blindly. Do work with purpose. Be committed to life!

 

Are you not sure what direction to go? Do you want to be committed to something, but don’t know what that looks like? Are you willing to commit to being better every day? If any of these sound like you, then take the first step toward learning, growing, and being better by taking my FREE course here!

Do You Really Want to be Disciplined?

Discipline. It’s one of those things we all claim to want, but at the end of the day, we end up reverting to our old habits. We end up falling short of our goals. What is the key to staying on task? Thinking bigger picture!

How do people get up at 5 or 6 every morning? Is it because they are just “morning people?” How does someone say no to sugar when they decide to eat better? Is it because they just no longer like sugar? How does someone stay with a project for months, or even years, continuing to work on it before they see results? Is it because they just have nothing else to do?

It can be easy to see someone succeeding at something and to simply say “Oh, they must have a special power, or something.” The truth is that they don’t have anything more than you do, except practice and a long-term picture.

So, how do you get from where you are today to that person who is disciplined, dedicated, and motivated? I will warn you that there is a fairly simple answer, but not an easy one, or one that is a magic pill where suddenly your brain never wants anything but success. It is a conscious effort that you have to make daily.

Becoming disciplined starts with recognizing that you always do what you want. If you sleep late, then what you really want to do is sleep more than getting up early. If you eat donuts instead of just nuts, then you really want the donut more than you want to be healthy. Unless you are willing to admit that you don’t do anything you don’t want to do, you won’t take responsibility and you will see yourself as a helpless victim. You will sabotage your own success because you will tell yourself “I really want to be healthy, but I just CAN’T resist this donut.” When you admit that you wanted the donut most, you can decide that you have control over what you want, and you can change it if you don’t like it. When you take responsibility, you give yourself power to be in charge. Now you can use that power. This is probably the hardest part of change which leads to success.

Discipline is simply a result of taking charge of your choices, and making the choices that give you what you really want. As I was working at building my morning routine and getting up early every day, I saw that if I didn’t have something specific that I was going to do when I got up, I struggled to get out of bed when I thought I wanted to, and some days I slept in. I had to decide the night before when I went to bed what specifically I was going to do when I got up the next morning. That way when I woke up I would tell myself, “If I get up and do this task, then I can go back to bed,” knowing that if I could get myself out of bed, and open my computer to write, or to read, that I would be winning the hardest part of the battle: getting out of bed. Not getting out of getting up by reasoning with myself why I needed more sleep. Then once I was up, I would rarely go back to bed. It wasn’t that hard to stay up, because I had already committed to an action and didn’t want to lose my progress.

The key to this equation is reminding yourself of what you are gaining by following through on the choice you have already made. Remind yourself of what you’re trying to do, and how that will make you feel versus how you feel when you fail. If you are trying to lose weight and find yourself tempted by ice cream, remind yourself of how you will feel tonight if you give in, even though you want to in that moment. How will you feel tomorrow, or next week, when you haven’t been able to meet your weight loss goal? Is having an ice cream cone now really worth the feeling of failure you’ll have when you look back on today? Think about the difference in cost; it’s just not worth it. It would be like taking $100 bribe from someone to lose a game so you can buy an Xbox, and not caring that it could ruin your career in sports.

Think beyond your current moment. That is what discipline is. It isn’t  some magical power that a chosen few have obtained. Discipline is making it through this moment by reminding yourself of what your actions will add up to if you do them for a week, a month, or a year, and basing your choices on that. If the choices you make today produce the only results you are allowed to experience for the next year, what choices would you make today? Would you work harder at your job? Would you make it a priority to work out today? Would you skip the burger and soda and instead save your money and eat at home? That’s discipline.

You have the power to choose. You are not a victim of your circumstances. What you do today creates your tomorrow. No one can tell you what kind of success your discipline can create. It’s up to you! Now what are you going to do about it?

 

Have you done some self-examination and found your discipline to be sorely lacking? Don’t beat yourself up about it – we all need help sometimes! But you can make tomorrow better than today. My FREE COURSE 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams can help you plan your day to accomplish those things you really want to be doing. Click here to start today!

The George Lucas Success Story: Talent or Hard Work?

You may not be a fan of Star Wars, or of science fiction in general. You may not like the directing style of George Lucas. But one thing that no one can argue with is his success. My wife has been reading a book about the making of the first Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It took George Lucas four years to make the first Star Wars movie. He directly oversaw almost all of the work himself, and dealt with a movie company who didn’t want to fund his movie or trust his direction decisions, a special effects company in California who didn’t complete work unless George was right there making it happen, and a labor force in London that would NEVER work past 5:30 and took three meal breaks a day. Fun fact, George Lucas hated writing, but he wrote the story and dialog for this movie by making himself sit at his desk 8 hours a day until the story was done. He didn’t wait to be “inspired,” instead he was just disciplined enough to get the job done! He was dedicated to his work, still working on the sound reel up to the day that the movie was released in theaters.

The point of this story is that this man decided he was going to be successful at something and he didn’t quit until he made it work. He was passionate about what he was doing, and didn’t give up when things got hard, when people stood in the way of his creativity, or when he didn’t reap immediate rewards. Something else we can learn is that you don’t have to be an expert in a field before starting; you learn as you go. Star Wars was only the third film Lucas had directed. But he still gave it everything he had and more! The Star Wars universe that we see today is the result of the very dedicated work of one man not calling it quits, even in the months and years of frustration and resistance. His key: a little every day. He did something every day to make his dreams a reality. It wasn’t his hobby, it was his life and passion!

We often find ourselves making a hobby of something that we say we want to do with our lives, and then wondering why it doesn’t work out. We let the urgent take over the important things. We let the daily clamour of life get in the way of dedicating ourselves to what we are good at and are passionate about. Do you really want to work for yourself? Do you really want to be the best painter, salesman, electrician, musician? What are you doing about it? Are you wishing, waiting for inspiration, or putting in an hour a week? Success is based on routine and habits applied over time. Creating a habit requires that you have a reason bigger than right now, and discipline to make yourself do it for at least three weeks consistently. Do you have what it takes, or do you just wish you had what it takes, but don’t want to work for it? We see someone’s success and wish it were ours. What we don’t see is what the success was built on: Rejection, discipline, sacrifice, late nights, doubts, failure, criticism, risk, and persistence, and did I say hard work!

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone

This is not the part where you promise yourself that you will be committed to X until you are a raving success. That isn’t enough. You have to ask “Why am I doing this?” Then you have to let your ‘why’ drive you to make habits. Then you have to make your habits a way of life. Then over time you begin to see the fruit being produced, from the seeds of success that you planted, weeks, months, or even years ago, and have continued to water through your decisions and choices of how to use your time!

When you look at what you have achieved and what you want to achieve, don’t look at where you are not, rather look at where you want to go and build a road to get there. Find people to help you, encourage you, and people who will kick you in the seat of the pants when you want to quit. Make success a way of life, not a hobby. If you do this, you may be the next George Lucas, the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Wright Brothers, the list goes on. Hard work is what they had in common. Not luck.

Create your own luck, Own it. Do it. Be Better.

 

 

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