I started and finished a great little book today called Enjoy the Ride, written by Steve Gilliland. The book becomes a concise tour guide for life in its 102 pages, and while brief, it has some very excellent principles that everyone should follow if they want to be successful. Here are a few of the items that stood out to me:
- “Our success is not determined by external resources but rather our willingness to create a life according to our highest passion and belief in ourselves” (pg. 27). Many people will point to their circumstances and blame them as the cause of failure or inability to carry out life dreams and goals; however, we’ve all seen athletes and even other people with great physical handicaps who have risen above their difficulties to find success. Therefore, it’s time that we not keep blaming everything or everyone else for our lack of accomplishments. It’s time to accept what we have and begin to move forward.
- “The ride you take in this lifetime will be so much more rewarding if you define your own worth and just be who God intended you to be” (pg. 72). My decision to move into creating film was very slow, since it potentially has me stepping out from “full-time ministry.” In Christian circles, just about anytime someone leaves the ministry, it’s considered a bad decision. I needed to come to grips with this and to begin to take the direction God wants me to go, being willing to accept the potential negatives in favor of God’s blessing. Many people, maybe even you, have decided their life path based upon what others thought they should do and not what they felt they would find fulfillment in doing. At the end of life, they merely end up with regrets. Why not change direction and begin to take the steps to complete the mission God designed you to tackle?
- “When you let someone else, or something else, decide your worth and your destiny, chances are you will never master yourself” (pg. 74-75). What defines you? Do people think of your car, your home, your family? What is it? What are you pursuing in life? Why? Will all the things you seek to earn really bring fulfillment in the end? Living for the stuff around us only brings a desire for more stuff. There’s no real happiness in that. However, if you have a life that is built around meaningful relationships and impacting others, then you will gain a sense of fulfillment and the respect that many others simply crave or demand because of their societal status or their paycheck earnings. Be bigger than what’s around you. Simply, be you, and don’t give in to external pressures to perform or to earn things that won’t mean a thing in the long-run.
- “To thoroughly enjoy the ride you must first learn that you can’t make the trip in a day” (pg. 80). Expect to hit bumps in the road. Know that problems are lurking just around the bend ahead. It’s life. Likewise, unless you’ve used these principles all of your life (I know that I haven’t), it will likely take some time for you to build the courage to change and then to ultimately take the steps to get to where you find your greatest fulfillment. Few people have the financial backing to quit their job and to start their own business overnight. Be wise. Plan. Seek counsel. Be patient, AND, stay the course. Remember, this is a marathon, not a mad dash to the finish line.
- “Never let the urgent get in the way of the important” (pg. 85). Chapter six really hit me hard. Being a creative individual, I’m not always the best at organization – though I’ve got it all figured out in my head. My ability to juggle multiple tasks, though likely looked down upon by more organized folks, is a great asset, since I can jump from conversation to conversation or project to project and pick-up where I left off. At the same time, I have a really bad tendency to forget the regular things in life that may not necessarily be screaming for my attention – my family. Ugh! Family is so important, and I need constant reminders to keep them as #1 in my list. I should be willing to say no to a last-minute project so I can spend my time with my family, even if it doesn’t earn me the Hero Badge when I walk in the door to my home on time. My regular investments in my family are more important than any other project I could ever do. So, the chapter provides a way for you to determine the top five priorities in your life and then challenges you to keep the focus on them. Again, for me, it was a big wakeup call to me, yeah, even in titanic proportions, to see that while I put God and family first on my list I am spending so few meaningful hours each week with them.
- Find joy in the sunset (pg. 94-95). When’s the last time you got out of your car to go in the house at night and you stopped to look at the stars? When you wake up and look out the window to see the yellow sun peering over the horizon and are warmed by its rays, are you affected? Several years ago now, I was traveling home on a business trip, and there was a massive storm cloud to the starboard side of the plane. Lightning flashes where immense, and I could not help but stare at the awesome sight. I leaned over to the gentleman next to me and mentioned that it was pretty cool; he wasn’t so interested. Be careful that owning the next iPod version, wearing the newest clothing fad, listening to the hottest singing group, or even owning the nicest car don’t consume you. They’ll all pass, but finding joy in simplicity – it’ll allow you to see so much more in life than things can offer.
Life. You’ve been blessed with it, and you have a decision on how exciting and rewarding it will be. Make the choice. Enjoy the ride.