The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline — a problem that largely goes away if you have the right people in the first place. Most companies build their bureaucratic rules to manage the small percentage of wrong people on the bus, which in turn drives away the right people on the bus, which increases the need for more bureaucracy to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline, which then further drives the right people away, and so forth…

Avoid bureaucracy and hierarchy and instead create a culture of discipline.

Jim Collins
Good to Great

I appreciate stories like “The Tortoise and the Hare.” It’s encouraging to be reminded that slow and steady wins the race. We get so caught up in the rat race of life that it’s rare to appreciate beauty, peace, and rest.

To what aspects of life does this concept apply? Money, travel, and personal growth come to mind.

I have read many books on finances and wealth-building. Nearly all of them focus on two main principles:

  1. Get out — and stay out — of debt
  2. Saving and investing money slowly but consistently

By living on less than you make, saving steadily, and the wonder of compound interest, anyone will become wealthy given enough time!

We often take for granted how enjoyable journeys are. We impatiently await our destination and miss the wonderful scenery around us. I would rather take longer to get somewhere than get there quicker and enjoy the journey less. This is part of why I love my motorcycle. It takes time to gear up and down on a motorcycle, and you have to stop much more often during a road trip. Still, there is something I can’t explain about getting places slower but enjoying it much more.

Imagine our joy if we consistently chose the scenic route over the shortest route.

And then there’s personal growth, which is often ignored. There is no shortcut; it requires daily investments of time, discipline, analysis, and learning. The best time for this is early morning. This means getting up much earlier than otherwise to have time to concentrate on growth. I remember reading long ago that author and speaker Dan Miller spends two hours every day on his growth. I’ve been aiming at a similar goal for many months, and the contrast between the past and now is startling.

The early morning plots your daily trajectory, so be intentional about it.

Slow and steady wins the race when applied to compound interest, the scenic route, and daily trajectory. What else?

Haters attack those who are making progress, those who strive to attain
success, those who are not complacent. I honestly can’t wait to be hated by
people, for that will indicate that I’m actually doing something. It
implies that I am creating something worth hating. It will be fascinating
that some people feel passionately enough about my efforts that they get
upset about them.

That’s an amazing thought. Here’s to future haters, because I’m ready to
start producing something worth hating.

The temptation, for whatever reason, is to try to please everyone. A
sensitive part of us squirms every time someone says, “I didn’t like how
you….” and it derails the compliments and encouragement we receive.

Well, here’s the deal. I didn’t begin to enhance efforts / write / blog /
ship / create / design / improve / play violin / develop software / mix
audio / produce / tinker with technology / solve problems / in order to
impress haters — nor will I do so now! I answer to God. He created my
shape and my quirks and my personality and my struggles and my passions.
Though I need to overcome a good number of my intricacies and change for
the best, some of them don’t ever need to change. In fact, I need to
embrace those and worship God by developing and living out as his unique
creation so that I can fit into his Andrew-shaped purpose.

When person A waltzes into person B’s life and expresses disgust at their
efforts, it shows a lack of perspective. What if you had a song stuck in
your head and I tell you it’s the wrong song? How is this any different?
Person B is not an idiot and is doing their best given what they
understand, whether person A respects that or not.

And you know what? It’s not about person A or person B — it’s all about
what God is up to. We can choose to participate or we can be an obstacle,
but either way, he’ll do what he wants.

It’s time to live out my unique purpose as designed by God, and to do so
boldly.

Haters welcome.

Wife and I have an inside joke we use to remind ourselves that we will
never be happy unless we are content. We say sarcastically, “… and THEN
I’ll be happy” after saying something we want to do.

For example:

  • “I really want to take another motorcycle trip. THEN I’ll be happy.”
  • “I can’t wait to get the computer fixed. THEN I’ll be happy.”

Then we chuckle about it, knowing that happiness is temporary and fleeting
compared to the lasting joy of contentment. God has already blessed us with
more than we can fully understand. Let’s be fully thankful for it all and
stop wanting more and more!

Strive to be thankful with and find joy in what you have and where you are
right now. “More” of anything will not bring you joy if you are not already
content.

“Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So
what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all
you need!”
— 1 Cor. 4:7b-8a

“It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting
something else.”
— Eccl. 6:9

Lord,
What is this emotion? It’s an odd mixture of joy, sorrow, and contentment, yet I can’t quite put my finger on it.

enjoyment + sorrow + contentment = ensorrowment

These are emotions I’ve never felt all at once before. I have no idea what to do with it, but I know that it all relates to how my experiences have brought me to where I am right now.

  • I feel thorough enjoyment when I look upon my past and find great memories, mischief, and realize that I soaked in the pleasantries God set aside for me. I am blessed to have so many moments that cause me to smile in reflection.
  • I feel utter sorrow when I look upon my past and find a wake of destruction, carelessness, sloth, and unintentionality. My heart breaks at the thought of years wasted.
  • I feel reassuring contentment when I look upon my present and witness the fruits of positive experiences and negative contrasts. Lord, you have shaped me through the friction of each sorrow and the blessing of each enjoyment.

All I can do with this emotion, Lord, is to embrace it and trust that it is from you. Please use this to change me and grant me wisdom. Salvage this moment.

When Robin Robins was the guest on Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Podcast, I remember her saying that she has spent around a million dollars on educational and sales materials over the years. This includes sales classes, lecture series, books, DVDs, audiobooks, and who knows what else. Can you imagine having that much — let alone spending that much?!

My take is that she realized several things while she was young and desperately trying to make ends meet:

  • She didn’t know much about sales, but she knew enough to learn from best.
  • She fully realized the need to invest in her own personal growth to succeed.

She understood that you have to constantly learn or else you limit your ability to win.

Before hearing this, wife and I had already begun adding a new line item to our budget: Education. It was a small pool of money dedicated to personal growth through any of the various forms mentioned above. We mainly used it for what I like to call “Growth” books. (Self-help is not our aim; personal growth is!)

We used up the money set aside for Education each month, too. It turns out to be easy to find a book well worth reading if you are yearning. So we began reading more and more. We will likely change the field in our budget to say Personal Growth to reflect the mindset of constant growth and learning.

Wife and I have discussed the need to increase that amount each month, now that we can look backward and see the effect of proactively, continually searching for wisdom. The benefits are tangible, even though we are still amateurs floating in a sea of experts, and will be for many years. We’re not wise, but maybe we will be eventually.

God has much to teach us in the meantime.

Most folks figure a true friend is someone who accepts them as they are. But that’s dangerous garbage to believe. The kid who works the drive-through at your local fast-food restaurant accepts you for who you are — because he doesn’t care anything about you. But a true friend holds you to a higher standard. A true friend brings out the best in you. A best friend will tell you the truth … and a wise best friend will include a healthy dose of perspective.

Andy Andrews
The Noticer

I’m not saying that you should live your life according to the whims of others. I am simply pointing out that if you are to become a person of influence — if you want people to believe the things you believe or buy what you are selling — then others must at least be comfortable around you. A successful life has a great deal to do with perspective. And another person’s perspective of you can sometimes be as important as your perspective is about yourself.

Andy Andrews
The Noticer

Give us Men!
Men—from every rank,
Fresh and free and frank;
Men of thought and reading,
Men of light and leading,
Men of loyal leading, Men of loyal breeding,
The Nation’s welfare speeding:
Men of faith and not of faction,
Men of lofty aim and action;
Give us Men—I say again,
Give us Men.
Give us Men!
Strong and stalwart ones;
Men whom highest hop inspires,
Men whom purest honor fires,
Men who trample self beneath them,
Men who make their country wreathe them
As her noble sons,
Worthy of their sires;
Men who never shame their mothers,
Men who never fail their brothers,
True, however false are others:
Give us Men—I say again,
Give us Men.
Give us Men!
Men who, when the tempest gathers,
Grasp the standard of their fathers
In the thickest fight:
Men who strike for home and alter,
(Let the coward cringe and falter,)
God defend the right!
True as truth though lorn and lonely,
Tender—as the brave are only;
Men who tread where saints have trod,
Men for Country—Faith—and God:
Give us Men! I say again—again—
Give us such Men!

Lead humbly but confidently. Once you’ve prayed, done your homework,
and prepared, don’t second-guess your decision if you receive negative
feedback. Humble confidence means we’re open to questions but won’t
change course just because someone disagrees with us.

Bob Kauflin
Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God