Last year, on this day I offered “42 Things I Learned at 42.” This year, I thought about adapting the list to consider the age of 43, but it seems necessary to make a different list for a different year.

I have not written much this year because it has been hard to write over the past three years. My thoughts seem more scattered than ever. I want to write more, but you often wonder who is reading it and how it is affecting their life.

Today I share with you a few thoughts as I think about what affects me the most each day. If you want to read them, go right ahead. I am not responsible for what chaos occurs.

Here they are…

#1 – Where Are You Going?

Often a favorite question of parents to their teenagers as they are walking out the door, but it is a relevant question at any age. While one may know where they are going physically, I would ask, “Where are you going in your life?”

The hope and dreams we have as children were probably squashed by the reality of life. We heard too much of “you can’t” and “that will never work” that we became accustomed to following the status quo. Instead of creating business and being the employer, we maintain business and become the employees.

The question, “Where are you going?” should be examined on a life-long scale. Consider three other questions:

Will your life be great at the end? Will you start to close your eyes for the last time, will you have any regrets? Many times in life we say we will want to live a life of no regrets but are you living it? As said by many people, “You cannot go back and make a new beginning, but you can start today and make a new ending.”

What are you working toward? Every day, I look forward to where I am going. When I walk into my office and say, “Echo, what is my flash briefing?” it tells me the news highlights of the morning and every time I long for a better world.  I know where I am going and sometimes I want to get there a little faster. (By the way, I am talking about Heaven. I hope you are going there too.)

Who are you taking with you? The greatness of any success is not achieving it alone, but taking someone with you. It has been said by many successful people that “it is lonely at the top.” Taking someone with you to your success not only decreases the loneliness, but it aids someone else in their goals. Who are you taking with you?

 #2 – Who Do You Love?

About 14% of people started singing the song “Who Do You Love” by Bo Diddley, 53% of people started singing the George Thorogood version, and the other 33% are googling “Who Do You Love” by Bo Diddley on their phones.

As I read the topic of love, I find it is constantly filled with fully, huggy garbage instead of what true love is and can be. True love is the other person, not about you. It is about how you act, react and respond to the other person. I believe it was Josh McDowell who said that love is “when someone’s emotions, thoughts, and actions become more important to you than your own.”

To whom do you show love? Love is not just words; anyone can speak words. Your love is shown to others in actions…your actions toward someone else. Love is more than holding hands, hugs, and gifts. Love is sleepless nights worrying about a teenager or college student. Love is doing things behind the scenes knowing no one will ever see. Love is letting someone else take the rewards of success because they need it more than you. Love is expressing hard words and actions to someone else, so they can do better than you ever have.

Love listens. Remember, love is more than words. Love is listening. It is listening to voice tone, to breathing and life. Listening is more than hearing; it is focusing on the other person no matter what you want to say.  It is holding your thoughts until you understand the other person’s point of view. Love is asking questions when you do not understand. Love is uncomfortable. It is hard to listen and not say a word, but love does. Love responds with compassion and hope for the individual. Love listens.

Love is not perfect. Before we venture any further, to my religious friends, God’s love is perfect; it is our love that needs work. Love is a lifetime or work. It is work because people change and when people change our thoughts and feelings toward them change. Love allows you to look at the person and go through the changes with them. Those changes are where love is uncomfortable. Love does change; either for the better or the worse.  While love is not perfect, that does not mean we should not strive to love more every day.

#3 – Maybe You Should Stop Caring?

A few years ago, I decided not to care anymore. I got to a point where I realized I could not make people change their minds, no matter how hard I try. As Jim Rohn said, “I told myself I would die trying, and I almost did.”

I got tired of trying to live up to other’s expectations and start living the life I was meant to live. Each of us is unique. We are different but unique means “one of a kind.” You should realize that you were created like none other and you need to be living like you were meant to live.

Seriously, What Matters? Too many people focus on what others think instead of what they need to be doing. At the end of your life, will it matter how many Facebook Likes, Instagram Follows or Snapchats you had? Not one bit. In my choice of opportunities, I have been there when people have died, and not one wished to work more, send another status or criticize more. Do you not what they want? They want their family to know they love them…that is what matters.

Build Yourself Up. Spend more time growing yourself than you think. Do not let your education stop with a degree, but let it continue with wisdom. Take your experiences and learn from them. Do not let the opportunities to build yourself up in the present sit idly by, but take advantage of them. Stop spending hours in the blackhole of Youtube videos of idiocy and watch ones which will help you become better. To build others up, you must first build yourself up.

Care for Others.  I know I said to stop caring, but do not stop caring for others. You cannot care what others think, but that does not mean to stop caring for others. There is a difference. As blessed people, we have a responsibility to care for others. We live in one of the richest nations of all-time. When we realize our blessings, it becomes necessary to bless someone else. First, care for your family. Your family is where your caring starts.

#4 – Stop Whining and Start Living

Do you know what whiny people turn into in a year? More annoying and whinier people.  Seriously, experiment with it and see if I am right.

Focus on the Excellent. Stop focusing on the good and focus on the excellent.  Average people will focus on average things. I am not sure you are meant to be average, but you are meant to be excellent. Now, not everyone will be excellent as the world pictures excellent, and that is because the world is wrong. Yes, I said it, the world is wrong. The stereotypes of the world are chaotic and wrong. We are all created to be excellent, find your excellence. I believe Martin Luther King said it best, ““If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Spend More Time Complimenting. Spend less time whining, criticizing or what have you and more time complimenting someone. For many years, studies have shown people respond to a compliment or a suggestion than they do a negative word said with a negative attitude. Momma always said “there is good in everyone; you just have to dig deep enough to find it.” Find it and tell them about it.

Live a Mature Life. The world is full of too many Al Bundy’s. You remember Al, right? The man living in his past all the time on the non-family show “Married with Children.” He always talked about the “glory days of high school” and the “great high school football years” instead of achieving greatness in the present. There are too many people in the world living in one past success and not creating greater successes. Grow every day.

Bonus:

Can I offer another one? Laugh. Just laugh.

Final Thoughts:

I hope my short bits of wisdom help you out today. Maybe in the future, there will be a few more cycles of thought put into writing and stretched across these pages. I appreciate your time today.

Just some thoughts,

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