God willing

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
-King Solomon

God willing

James is a most useful book for Christians who want to learn how to act. In it James writes to newly Jewish-Christians and explains just that; as followers of Christ, how are we to live. There are many practical things in this letter. As a business person here is one that I have come to believe is important to practice.

In business there are plans. Plans to do this and to do that. When we speak about the future as Christians I think we need to understand the power of our words. As a quick side note please consider reading James chapter 3 for a better understanding on how our words can change the course of our whole life. Back to it then. In business we are called to speak of the future, to lead a team to a better place in time. James shows us how we are to do this in James 4:13-15:

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

It is my estimation, that as Christians we are called to uphold God’s reputation. Here James also tells us not to boast in the future but humble ourselves and to submit it to God. Admit that it is subject to God’s will. This I have come to believe is a way to uphold God’s reputation. Here is an example of what I am trying at:

Whenever we talk about the future may we honor God. Let this remind ourselves that God is in control. Let this proclaim our belief that our future rest in God’s hands that others would know that we belong to God. The Creator of all.

 

-A takeaway from a study in James 4:13-15

-A takeaway from a study in Proverbs 27:1

-A takeaway from a study in Jeremiah 9:24

-A takeaway from a study in 2 Corinthians 10:17

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Never Retire

Integrate your vocation and your identity by thinking of your life as a journey rather than a destination.

-Rabbi Daniel Lapin

journalist writing with typewriter

In his last commandment to making money Rabbi Lapin suggests retirement is a no go.  In fact, he points to the Jewish belief that hebrew is the language of God and therefore it is perfect.  Meaning that there is a word for everything that is real and timeless in it.  there is no word for retirement in Hebrew.  I have not come across a similar word in the Bible either.  Interesting.  What is retirement all about anyways?

When I was growing up my father told me a story, most likely very similar to a story you have heard.  It goes like this.  He had a friend who loved to write.  His friend, we will call him Jim, had two options for the next chapter in his career.  Option one was a corporate sales job that paid really well.  Option two was a writing job that did not.  Jim became a paid writer.  And because Jim went to work everyday with a smile on his face and a fantastic attitude he soon became a writer for a major publication and earned substantially more than he would have at the corporate job.  Because he was doing what he loved he naturally put his heart and soul into the work and that is a beautiful thing that is easy for everyone to see.  The old adage “do what you love and never work a day in your life” is true.  It is out there.  My challenge to you is to create margin in your life and seek it.  You will be happier.  Your family will be happier.  Your boss will be happier.  Everyone will be happier.

-A takeaway from Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject would be the coolest.

Learn to Fortell the Future

Who is wise? One who can tell what will be hatched from the egg that has been laid. Not he who can see the future — that is a prophet.  Wisdom is seeing tomorrow’s consequences of today’s events.

-Babylonian Talmund, tractate Tamid

Hot Air Balloon Flying over Dramatic Sunset Sky

Rabbi Lapin’s seventh commandment to making money is “learn to foretell the future.”  In this chapter Lapin gives a lot of advice that feels a lot like the traditional Porter’s five forces, SWOT and PEST analyses.  Look for trends and patterns in the marketplace.  Forces and how they came to be.  Are the forces present due to a lack of market influence or the presence of one and is the influence likely to continue or not?  Who seeks to gain from these influences?  How do the influencers make decisions?  What does that process look like?  When is it likely to happen? Etc.  All important things to consider when considering how things will play out.

The part that I liked the most about this chapter was an exercise to help your mind weigh all these elements.  An exercise in ‘foretelling the future’ (Cue cheesy sound effect here).  I have heard of a similar exercise in other books.  One that comes to mind is Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.  It goes like this.  Learn to flip the switch in your mind into receive mode when considering the future.  Find yourself a peaceful place apart from interruption.  Start by focusing intensely on a subject in the future.  Take all the data you have on the subject and weigh it from every conceivable angle.  From the top and then the bottom.  From one side then the next.  From within.  From the outside looking in.  From 10,000 feet then right along side it.  When you feel like the angles from which to consider the topic have been exhausted switch your mind to receive mode by focusing intently on the sound of the birds, or the wind, or the traffic, or whatever it is that surrounds you right in that moment.  Bounce from one stimuli to the next and let your mind grab hold of whatever comes its way.  Go back and forth between receive mode and problem solving mode several times.  Capture and consider the ideas that flash into your mind when in receive mode.  Cool.

 

-A takeaway from Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject would be the coolest.

 

Fear

“A good plan violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
-George S. Patton

Dramatic scene on the sky. Vintage fighter plane inbound from su

 

I love staying in touch with students who go through the entrepreneurship program.  When it comes to work, I do not think there is anything more fulfilling than being around entrepreneurs and their growing companies – especially young ones.  I find the way they view the future inspiring.

The other day I met with one of the most promising recent ISU entrepreneurship program grads.  The topic of the meeting was “what is next?”

We talked about planning.  And how bad it can be for a startup.  He identified an area where he had succumb to planning paralyzation.  He had a plan in the works re: going national which combined implementing mass production and replacing an existing product line.  The problem was it had been in the works for almost a year now.  Mass production and new product lines are a big deal, but he realized he needed to stop planning and start doing – even if it meant his plans might not go perfectly.  Fear can keep us in planning mode.  What if this?  What if that?

Planning and acting.  When balancing the two, a good way is to do just enough planning to act well.  Just enough to decide what you need to learn, what action it will take to learn it – and no more.

By the end of our talk he had come up with an action plan.  Within twenty-four hours he had sent me a note describing the results of some of the actions he was taking.  They were good results. Results he would have never realized if he was still planning.

 

A takeaway from Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey.

 

Rhetoricals: Is there anything that you have been planning for awhile now? Is it time to take some action? What assumptions are you making in your plans? Which assumption is the most critical to your plan succeeding? What is the smallest action you can take to learn whether or not that assumption is correct?

Actives: What do you think a good balance between taking action and planning is? Any helpful books, takeaways, stories, lessons learned on the subject?