Writing

Sovereignty

Control is such a fickle and elusive thing.
Our desire for it manifests in worry and anxiety and sleepless nights. We desire to have it over things we ultimately cannot.
These moments it’s healthy to remind ourselves of God’s sovereignty.
sov·er·eign·ty [ˈsäv(ə)rən(t)ē/]
noun; supreme power or authority.
Of course, we must be diligent to set our sails with right habits, right decisions and right relationships to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit. But God is sovereign. Nothing happens that he is not in control of. He’s written the story already and all paths lead to one end of this beautiful story of victory and love. We know how the story ends. And we can rest in that.
Teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in my desire, and desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.
– St. Anselm

Vocation: Original Selfhood

Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God…
We arrive in this world with birthright gifts- then we spend the first half of our lives abandoning them or letting others disabuse us of them. As young people, we are surrounded by expectations that may have little to do with who we really are, expectations held by people who are not trying to discern our selfhood but to fit us into slots. In families, schools, workplaces, and religious communities, we are trained away from true self toward images of acceptability; under social pressures like racism and sexism our original shape is deformed beyond recognition; and we ourselves, driven by fear, too often betray true self to gain the approval of others.
We are disabused of original giftedness in the first half of our lives. Then – if we are awake, aware, and able to admit our loss- we spend the second half trying to recover and reclaim the gift we once possessed.
From the book Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer (bolding mine)

Hidden Art & The Danger of “Some day”

(Remember, when talking about ‘art’ think: pursuing meaningful and engaging work. In our case – the craft of building world-changing and edifying businesses in a dignified way.)

Here’s an excerpt from Edith Schaeffer’s Hidden Art:

…a Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there. It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.

Does this mean that we should all drop everything to concentrate on trying to develop into great artists? No, of course not. [DAN: This is where Edith and my opinions diverge. If you define art as the pursuit of meaningful work – in our case business and entrepreneurship – then the answer to that question is ‘yes’ (and more often than not, as any entrepreneur will tell you, it’s a “bellz yes!”)] But it does mean that we should consciously do something about it. There should be a practical result of the realization that we have been created in the image of the Creator of beauty. Whether you are married and have a family; whether you share a house or a flat with one or a number of people; whether you still live with your parents; whether you live alone and have guests in from time to time; whether you are a man or a woman: the fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than a gradual drying up of creativity, and blindness to ugliness.

She goes on to talk about how looking at other great artists or studying art appreciation can leave us feeling discouraged. Any entrepreneur or starter will tell you of the emotional and manic-depressive roller coaster that is starting and growing something meaningful. It’s too easy to get mentally bogged down with doubt and dissatisfaction while looking at other change-makers doing so well. She continues:

We may thing ‘If only…’ – If only I weren’t so tied down with the mundane things of life. If only I had had a chance to go to [business] school. If only I had time to develop instead of being caught in this job. If only I hadn’t this endless round of housework and crying babies to overwhelm me. ‘If only…’ feelings can distort our personalities, and give us an obsession which can only lead to more and more dissatisfaction, as well as making us into ‘Eeyore-ish’ and uncomfortable-to-be-with people!

…it may be helpful to consider some of the possibilities all of us have of really living artistically, but which are often ignored. People so often look with longing into a daydream future, while ignoring the importance of the present. [DAN: a trap many ambitious and forward-thinking entrepreneurs fall into constantly.] we are all in danger of thinking, “Some day I shall be fulfilled. Some day I shall have the courage to start another life which will develop my talent”, without ever considering the very practical use of that talent today in a way which will enrich other people’s lives, develop the talent, and express the fact of being a creative creature.

(Underlining added by me.)

Stay gold,

Dan

The Welcome (or “Happy Birthday to Me”) Post

Welcome! I’m really glad you’re here.

This is *officially* the first post here at the recently overhauled blog, and I am incredibly stoked and grateful you’ve dropped by.

This site – in all its future glory – will have:

The foundation of RELEVANT Magazine, the tactical and motivating personal & professional development posts of The 4 Hour Work Week, with the unconventionalist-ness of The Art of Non Conformity. [1]

I have yet to find a blog or thought leader that has all of the below:

1. high-quality, highly-actionable content in the realm of business/marketing/entrepreneurship and personal development that left me on fire to go into the world and kick ass,
2. with a beautifully designed reader experience,
3. AND is written from a Christian worldview perspective and foundation.

That last one is the kicker. I’m a complete info-vore and have found countless personal and professional development blogs that are inspiring in design and content that made me insatiable for more content. Yet I have not come across one of these resources that paves the way from a servant-leadership perspective.

None aptly blend the excitement and practicality of business/career/personal development resources with the foundation of a Christian worldview.

We can all agree, as one of my favorite thought leaders on Christian worldview, Nancy Pearcey, writes:

“Our vocation and professional work is not a second-class activity, something we do just to put food on the table. It is the high calling for which we were originally created…our sense of fulfillment depends on engaging in creative, constructive work”

Pearcey continues, “…practical fields are not religiously neutral; they are shaped by fundamental assumptions about reality just as much as any other area of life.” [2]

Thus, “practical fields” like business and marketing should be viewed, not as a separate compartment of life, but as an extension of who we are as children of God.

I understand that this idea of Christian worldview is often polarizing, can tend to conjure images of intolerant picketers or stanch haters, but before you hit the back button or head back over to Buzzfeed – hear me out.

What if you don’t share the assumptions about the Bible being an authoritative revelation from God? Or better yet, maybe you appreciate the bible in some ways, but you don’t necessarily trust it on the subjects of “practical fields” like business, leadership, and marketing? I would encourage you to visit us again before you write this all off as right-wing-woo-woo mumbo-jumbo.

Statistically speaking, as an American, you do identify as a Christian or have your religious beliefs rooted in Jesus Christ [3][4], and I urge you to give us a try before you hit that unfollow button. :)

Over the years, weighing the experiences I’ve had, and through my own research and continued education, I am increasingly “convinced that biblical principles are not only true but also work better in the grit and grime of the real world,”[5] regarding matters of business, leadership, and personal and professional development. 

Chances are the content here will strike a cord, and will be of value to you – both tactically and spiritually. 


The When:

Starting in September 2014 I will be publishing posts every Thursday. 

The Why:

(more…)