Ponder Your Life – Find Your Mission

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Before a person can truly make big changes in their life they need to take some time to explore themselves and discover who they really are deep down inside. They need to discover what their real life passions and desires are. This process can take a long time. It’s not easy. But with some guidance you can go through this in a day or so.

Time Alone

My suggestion is that you go off by yourself, take a day off work, go away from your normal surroundings, preferably up in the mountains or out in the country, somewhere where you are closer to nature, away from the things of the world, where you can almost commune with God, so to speak, with that infinite intelligence that’s out there, the creator; and sit down and think and ponder your life. Bring a note pad, bring a tape recorder, whatever is comfortable, but some way of recording your thoughts and feelings.

Begin asking yourself questions like: what is it your really enjoy doing, what are the things that you are good at? If you didn’t have to go to work today and you had all the money there was in the world or any of the pressures or demands to earn money, what would you be doing? Now don’t say, “I’d be traveling and visiting Europe.” I mean, okay, so you go on your vacation and you come back, then what would you do with your time? What would you spend your time doing? What do you enjoy so much that you would do for free and what do you do so well that people would pay you to do it? That’s what I think true success is, is to find out what that is.

Find the Real You

Really what we’re doing here is exploring to find out who you really are. I believe deep down inside every person is the real person, the missing person. I think when we were a child, when we were young, the passions, the dreams we had when we were in grade school, that’s the real you. But when we get older people tell us, “You can’t do that” or “You’ve got to do this” and we get buffeted and we get put down and our dreams get squashed and they get suppressed and after a while we forget about them.

That person, the true, real person gets pushed down inside of you and we put on all these fronts. The fake you is what people see. We put on an image of who we are. But that’s not the real you. The real you still exists down inside and you need to bring that real you out, that missing person. So, each one of us has to find out what the real, true desires of our hearts are. Those desires come from the real you.

Are You On the Wrong Road?

For example, I personally know people who have fantastic talents. I know a man who is a superb artist. When he was young there wasn’t anything he couldn’t draw. He could draw people, he could draw cars, he could draw architecture. He was a wonderful artist. Everybody thought he was going to grow up to be an architect or commercial artist, I mean he just loved to draw.

He’s about fifty years old right now. He has spent his career as a postal worker delivering the mail. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a postal worker. There’s nothing wrong with delivering the mail. Somebody has to do it. It’s an honorable job. But that’s not what he was sent here to this earth to do. That’s not his real passion, his real dream, his real desire and yet he spent his life doing something that he doesn’t enjoy doing.

Can you imagine if twenty or thirty years ago somebody would have sat him down and had him go through this process and realize he should be doing those things that he loves to do, the things wherein his talents and dreams and passions lie. What kind of a career would he have had? He would have looked forward to going to work. He wouldn’t even call it work, it would be play for him.

The Most Tragic Thing in the World

To me the most tragic thing in this world is someone who never realizes their dreams and passions inside of them that I believe God has given them. How sad for those who came to this earth and didn’t use those talents and passions and dreams inside of them, but merely brushed them aside or buried them.

So what am I getting at here? We’re talking about change and yet real change, overall change, of a person takes place when they discover who they really are inside and bring that person out, dust him off, wake him up, whatever it takes.

See the Future “You”

Now once you discover the real you, your desires and passions, then what? At this point I believe you need to get a vision in your mind of that person. See yourself one year, two years, three years down the road and where you’re going to be. What would this person do for a living? What would this person do from day to day? What would he or she look like? How would they dress? How would they act, talk and walk? What time would they get up in the morning? What time would they go to bed at night? How would they treat their spouse? How would they treat their children? Get a picture or vision in your mind of this and then move towards it. See yourself as that person. That is, I believe, when true change can take place inside of you.

When I say change it’s almost as if you are getting rid of the false “you” and revealing the real “you.” That’s when huge, positive things happen in your life.

So take the time to ponder your life, explore your true passions, develop a plan, create a vision, and move towards it.

Copyright © 2016 Gary N. Larson

Grow or Die!

Grow or DieGrow or die! I like that. The growing part, not the dying part. I guess a nicer way to put it is: If you aren’t improving then you’re standing still. That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

Have you ever met someone who is merely coasting along in life? They have it pretty good. They have a car, a job, a place to live, food to eat and cable TV. What more is there to life?

Okay, I think we all know people like that. They are not moving anywhere in their life. Nothing has changed in their life for the last ten years. They haven’t done a thing to improve themselves or make this world a better place. Most of their time is spent in front of the TV watching sports or the news or, heaven forbid, reality shows! They spend two or three hours a day reading the newspaper from cover to cover only to throw it away the very next day because just about everything in it is worthless. Each day they go through the same process. Life is just a big circle going round and round headed for nowhere. Each day finds them not one bit better than the day before. Each day they contribute nothing to better the world they live in. They are content and satisfied with the status quo.

I think that’s very sad. Life is for LIVING!

There is a woman that I know who is in her eighties. Right now she’s enrolled in college and working on a degree. She’s continuing to improve herself to make herself better. I think what a contrast between her and most retired people. How would it be if all the retired people in the world continued until the day they died to improve themselves, to learn new skills and worked every day to make this world a better place? Many do and I admire those people and I want to be like them. I hope I die when I’m 105 working on my pilot’s license and not lying in bed at an old-folks home.

If a plant stops growing, what is it? It’s DEAD! What happens when you stop growing? I think you get the idea. There seems to be a lot of people in this world who have stopped living. They have just delayed the funeral. Don’t be one of them. My challenge to you today is to continue to improve yourself, to continue to move forward, to move higher, to keep growing.

Myths of Money and Happiness

The myths of money and happiness are many. The general feeling in today’s society is that more money and things will make us happier. Because of this belief we tend to focus our time and efforts on acquiring more and more “stuff” to the point where we sometimes overextend our finances and resources and in the end achieve exactly the opposite result we intended.

Affluenza Epidemic

Rich ManA recent book gave a name to this affliction and in fact is the name of the book. It is entitled Affluenza. In the book affluenza is defined as “a painful, contagious, socially-transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” The book reported that Americans each spend more than $21,000 per year on consumer goods. Our average rate of saving has fallen from about 10 percent of our income in 1980 to zero today. Our credit card indebtedness has tripled in the 1990s and currently equals $2,293 in credit card debt for every man, woman and child in the United States. More people are filing for bankruptcy each year than graduate from college.

Many of us do very well with our finances and manage to stay out of debt and live within our means. However, there are too many that have fallen victim to the affliction of affluenza.

What is the True Source of Happiness?

Let’s think for a moment about happiness and where it comes from. First I want to do a little test to see how well your happiness prediction abilities are working. I want to present two different futures for you to contemplate and think about and then decide which one you would prefer.

The first one is of you winning the lottery to the tune of $100 million.

The second one is of you becoming a paraplegic – of losing the use of your legs and being confined to a wheelchair.

So which future would you choose? You may think that is kind of a stupid question. Of course you would choose winning the lottery – who wouldn’t? A person who wins the lottery would be so much happier than someone becoming a paraplegic. Right?

Strange as it may seem they have actually done studies on these two groups of people. They studied how happy they were one year later after either winning the lottery or of becoming a paraplegic. The fact is that one year later lottery winners and paraplegics are equally as happy with their lives. There is absolutely no difference in their level of happiness.

When I asked a number of people I know where they felt true happiness came from they, mentioned their families, serving others, doing what’s right, being out among nature, and someone even said living within your means. So happiness isn’t found in more and better things. It’s mostly found in the things of life that are entirely free.

Jesus Christ made this statement:

Beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (Luke 12:15)

Misery of Debt

When my wife and I were first married I tried to start my own business. After a year of trying to make a go of it we found ourselves deep in debt and behind on all of our bills. It was a horrible experience for us. Every time the phone rang we would hate to answer it for fear it would be a collection agency calling. We had had enough and finally decided we would do everything we could to pay everyone back and get completely out of debt.

We liquidated the business and I got a job making $4.25 an hour. For the next year all of my paychecks went to paying off debts. We lived like church mice. I drove a $250 car. We cancelled our phone. During the winter we heated only one room of our little rental house. There were times when it got so cold that the water in the toilet would literally freeze. It was a long and difficult year that we spent getting out of debt. But it was a glorious day when the last payment was made and we were completely free of financial bondage. It was a hard lesson to learn but we did learn! Today, my dear wife and I are completely debt free and love every minute of it!

Heber J. Grant said:

If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet.

Live Within Your Means

What I’m about to say is going to sound old fashioned and out of style. But I know the value of it because I have lived it and know it is true.

I urge each of you to honestly examine your own financial circumstances and determine now to live within your means. Prepare now for the future. Be modest in your expenditures. Save for those things you feel you need. Pay off debts as quickly as you can. Begin saving a little money on a regular basis. I promise you that if you will follow this counsel you will feel more secure and experience greater peace and happiness in your life.

Thank you.

Copyright © 2015 Gary N. Larson

Getting Yourself to Act: 3 Ways Commitments Give You Power


Are you having trouble getting yourself to act on your goals? Is your motivation, shall we say, pathetic? I was experiencing this recently until I did one thing: I made a commitment.

When I say I made a commitment, I don’t mean I made a decision. A decision is good but it lacks power. A commitment is something you do that is more tangible and real.

The commitment I made was to sign up for my 10th marathon. I spent the $80 and registered. Now I am committed.

Making that small commitment has had a great effect on my daily exercise program. I was having trouble getting out every morning to run or exercise. My motivation was anemic at best. I knew I needed something to motivate me to get out there every day. That’s when I decided to run another marathon. But that was just a decision. The commitment came when I actually put my non-refundable money where my mouth was.

I’m reminded of the story of General Cortez when he landed his armies in Mexico to fight the Aztecs. To insure victory, he ordered the burning of their ships so there would be no means of retreat. By burning the ships it gave the soldiers only two options: win the war or perish. Now that is what I call commitment!

There is great power in making commitments. Here are three ways commitments can help:

1. You have a goal to work towards.

When I was getting up each morning to simply go out running I had no real reason to do it. Sure, I wanted to be healthy but sometimes that’s not enough. When I committed to run a marathon it gave me a very clear-cut and definable goal to shoot for.

2. You will experience pain if you don’t follow through.

Let’s face it, we are all motivated to avoid pain. When I was trying to exercise each morning without a commitment, failure to do it wasn’t too painful. Now that I’ve made a commitment, failure to exercise each morning will result in a very painful failure, the pain and humiliation of not completing a marathon.

3. The decision is already made.

When you make a commitment, it locks you into a decision. There is no wondering for me each morning whether I should go running or not. The decision is made. (See article Decide to Decide).

My challenge for you is to examine your goals and find ways that you can make a real commitment to do them. Burn your ships, so to speak. Put your money where your mouth is. Commit!

Thank you.

Look Ahead and Never Look Back


I’m actually running on a trail right now as I tape-record my thoughts. It’s interesting that while you’re running along a trail you’re brain has the ability to look ahead and then plan where to place each foot. This seems to happen as an automatic function of the brain. I look ahead on the trail and take in what’s coming, whether it’s a rock or a stump or a curve in the trail. My brain processes that information and tells my body where to place my feet. I don’t have to think about every footstep. It’s an amazing process to me of how, by looking ahead, I know where to put my feet on the trail.

Yes, I’ve slipped up a couple of times and made some mistakes. It usually happens when I take my eyes off the trail and look in some other direction. My brain had insufficient information to tell my feet where to go; therefore I stumble and sometimes fall.

Can we relate this to life? I think so. We can’t just concentrate on what we are doing at the moment. We need to look ahead in our lives and see what’s coming and plan for it so when the time comes we’re ready. We need to process the information ahead of time so when the time comes we already know where to put our feet. The idea or concept is that of making future plans.

I like the idea and have seen benefits of sitting down on Monday morning and looking at my whole week, seeing what’s going on each day and thinking about it and planning ahead. If I see a presentation coming up on Thursday I know I can’t start on that presentation on Thursday. I’ve got to begin preparing and working on it ahead of time.

In this way I think trail running is like life. We need to look ahead and plan in advance in order for our feet to be planted properly in the here and now. You’re todays will go much better when you look ahead at your tomorrows.

I Have Quit!


Recently I read of a man who had tried for years to overcome his drinking habit. He knew his drinking was taking a toll on his life and was costing him many opportunities. He tried every way he could think of to quit and failed each time. Finally he developed a habit, whenever he was offered a drink or when temptation arose, to say firmly, “I have quit.”

It wasn’t “I’m trying to quit” or “I’m going to quit.” It was “I have quit.” End of discussion. There was no more deliberation or debate after that. The decision was already made that “I have quit drinking.” He didn’t have to think about whether he should take the drink or not. He simply said, “I have quit” as if it were a simple, ordinary fact of life. As a result of using this method, the man hasn’t taken another drink in twenty years.

You can use the same technique for a number of obstacles in your life that you are trying to overcome, whether it’s smoking, overeating, lack of exercise, cutting out fat in your diet, overcoming pornography or drugs or any challenge you are dealing with. You don’t have to deliberate or debate it any more. You can simply say, “I have quit!”