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How to be a genius in the new year

I’m intrigued by things that promise to make me a better person.  I usually find out that it just isn’t that easy and that I have a long way to go.

I read an interesting article about the daily routines of geniuses.  Someone did a study of astounding minds and what their days looked like.  Sounded like something I wanted to know.  After reading the article, I decided there were some things I could incorporate into my life, and maybe, just maybe, I would get smarter along the way.  One can dream, can’t one?

genius

In the spirit of the new year and the goals and resolutions we tend to make and break, here are some activities I might try to incorporate into my day.

Minimize distractions.  I need this badly.  I am like a butterfly too often flitting from one thing to the next without completing the project I am currently working on.  Getting sidetracked.  My mantra sometimes is “stay focused” until I can finish and move to the next thing.

Distractions come in the form of disorganization, clutter, too many things on the list for one day, papers scattered on my desk.  I can start taking some control over these areas and remind myself to do one thing at a time.

A daily walk.  This should be easy, except when it’s ten degrees here in Kentucky.  But hey, tomorrow it might be 40 degrees and the walk not so intimidatingly frigid.  I do enjoy walking and always feel better afterwards.  Just the view of the world, quiet time to pray for my neighbors, thinking time is good for my brain.  And my body.

Accountability metrics.  It’s a bit of a confusing phrase but basically means determine a set amount of time to stay on the project.  Maybe only 20 minutes will accomplish it.  Maybe it will take several hours. Too often I expect a job to take less time than is reality so I get rushed and frustrated.  I need not expect I can build Rome in a day.

Determine important work versus busy work.  Do we all struggled with this occasionally, spending way too much time on things that don’t really matter?  It’s the difference between the temporal and the eternal.  Is what I’m doing really going to make a difference in eternity?  Sure, I understand that I need to wash the dishes and make up the bed in order for our home to be clean and pleasant, but sacrificing time with someone who needs me over busy work is not worth the exchange.

Stop when I’m on a roll.  This seems hard.  When I’m moving forward on a project, I’m supposed to stop before I’m done?  Seems counterproductive, but apparently it worked for those geniuses.  Perhaps it’s a matter of the creative juices flowing for just so long and when I’m tired it’s OK to quit and come back to it another day.

At this season of my life I’m not sure I have enough time to become a genius, but maybe I can just keep learning until the very end.  I think that would be a noble ambition.  Keep learning.  Keep trying.  Never give up.  Growing older is not an option but how I do it has a lot to do with my choices.

I will seek God’s wisdom.  He is the fountain of wisdom and gives it generously to His children who ask for it.  And I believe this is the greatest brilliance of all.

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Be it resolved

Resolutions.  Goals.  Lists.  They are part and parcel of a new year.  Perhaps the incentive is that we want change, something different from the last year.  We want it to be better and we want to be better.

journal

I’ve found that there are some goals I want as lifestyle resolutions more than a “been there, done that, check it off the bucket list” activity.

Here are some of my thoughts about goals for life.

  • Have a welcoming heart.  That means more than just inviting people into a spotless home.  It means opening my heart to people whoever they are and accepting them wherever they are on their journey.  It also means being honest about who I am, my success and failures, being open and vulnerable.
  • Live healthy.  Eat fresh as much as possible.  Exercise regularly by doing something enjoyable, like walking or gardening.  Sleep enough to be rested.  Enjoy chocolate once in a while.  Don’t obsess about the numbers on the scale or the size of my jeans.
  • Be in the moment.  Enjoy the process instead of being anxious to speed up, to hurry through it.  Listen intently to the one in front of me.  Focus on the present instead of fretting about the future.
  • Be still more often.  Sit for the sunset.  Watch the birds play and gather at the feeder.  Allow quietness to envelop me so I can hear the gentle Voice.
  • Leave ’em smiling.  Wouldn’t it be nice if people were glad to see me because I was cheerful and courteous?  Because I offered a smile or an encouraging word?
  • Allow for thinking time.  I’m a doer by nature.  Busy and active.  I must give myself time to simply contemplate, remember, process.  Preferably with a cup of coffee in hand.
  • Do the right thing.  Sometimes decisions would be easier to make if it was just a matter of “what’s the right thing here?”
  • Laugh a lot.  It’s healthy and good for the heart.  It is contagious.  When I learn to laugh at myself, I will have a continual source of entertainment.
  • Read good books.  Electronics are at our fingertips.  But there is still nothing quite so satisfying to me as holding a good book in my hands and relishing each word.  I get smarter, and perhaps more interesting, when I do.
  • Give grace.  Rather than taking offense too quickly, let me just give the grace I’ve been given so freely.  It would quiet my thoughts and help me let go.
  • Be teachable.  Growing older can mean being set in my ways.  I don’t want that.  I want to be open to new ideas, willing to change my opinion or way of doing things.  Quick to hear, slow to speak, always discerning rather than quick to judge.
  • Be more faithful.  To my calling, to the study of God’s word, to His mission for me.

Some tall orders when I think of it.  And really, how much ability do I have to change myself?  Self-help books have lined my shelves to no avail.

Instead, I will pray this, the words of Paul the apostle:

. . . that [my] love will keep on growing and that [I] will fully know and understand how to make the right choices. Then [I] will still be pure and innocent when Christ returns. And until that day, [may I] keep busy doing good deeds that bring glory and praise to God.

So I will put my confidence in the One who made me, the One who abides in my present and calls me to a higher place, being sure the this One provides grace enough and will keep working on me until the end.