Tag Archives: Wednesday Wisdom

Self-Destruction is Often a Slow Process

We all know the story of the frog in the pot. If you drop a frog into boiling water, it jumps out immediately.  At the same time, if you put that same frog in a pot of cool water, and warm it up slowly, it will stay in and you get yourself a nice lunch of frog legs.  I honestly don’t know if that is actually true as I’ve never sought to torture frogs, but we can all see the point.  It is a general rule about life.

One of the incredible things about creativity is that there has to be a right mix of newness and oldness. If something is too old then it isn’t something that catches the eyes of the people, but if it is too new then people shun it and are often afraid of it.  The same is true about society. In the book of Judges, you’ll find as one of the last stories being told,  a man’s concubine is raped and left for dead at his doorstep.  He gets up the next morning, takes the dead body home, dismembers it, and drops off the pieces at various spots throughout the twelve tribes.  This abhors the people and they go to war.  While this is one of the last stories told (Judges 18-21), chronologically, it goes at the beginning of Israel as a nation.  What once abhorred people, all the decadence and debauchery, the carelessness of life, would eventually describe Israel and Judah as a whole.  They would sacrifice their children to false gods. Sexual immorality was running rampant. And eventually the people out of desperation turned to cannibalism.  How did it get there? It was s slow boil.  The people were acclimated to just a little bit more evil.

Solomon made an observation one day as he walked around town. He came across a man’s home. It was pretty dilapidated.  The weeds were grown up, the walls were broken down, and everything just look horrible. How did this happen? In wisdom, Solomon was able to figure it out. He knew that this mess did not happen over night; it happened because day after day, week after week, the man put off what was necessary. Time and again, the man decided to sleep in. He decided to do what was comfortable over what was difficult.

I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:30-34, ESV

What is the general principle, the general rule? If we keep putting off that which is necessary and difficult, one day life will be a bunch of weeds and thorns. If we cease to be diligent in what we are called to be and do, one day our world will come crashing down.  It will happen as quickly as a robber. It will take everything from us.  We were created for rest, but we were also created for work. If we lose the balance of work and rest, we eventually will boil in our own sin of restlessness or laziness.  In the case of this proverb, we are being warned of the dangers of sloth. We are in the middle of a work week, only three days to go. Let us not slumber or fold our hands to rest as it can easily become a habit, but let us press on to the end.

“Work Smarter, Not Harder” is a Biblical Model for Life & 5 Ways to Make it Happen

We’ve all heard the saying, but many of us don’t heed the wisdom of “work smarter, not harder.”  Yet, let me assure you that this is indeed a biblical model for the way we conduct our lives.  King Solomon, writing under the pseudonym “The Preacher,” wrote, “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed,” (Ecclesiastes 10:10, ESV).  It is not hard to see what the preacher meant.  If one is chopping down a tree with an ax that is dull, he has to swing harder and harder in order for it to ever cut through.  If he were wise, he’d sharpen his ax.  At the same time, the person who is dull of thinking must work hard as well.

What Solomon advocates here is that one should seek to sharpen his intellect as well as his skills.  This tends to be a problem for many people as it means making an extra effort initially and getting into new habits.  Rather than coming home and plopping in front of the television, or going straight to bed, one must discipline themselves to sharpen their intellectual acumen as well as their skill-set.

Here are 5 ways you can do this:

  1. Take every opportunity your employer gives to grow in your field.  That may mean having to take personal days, go on your off-days, or use vacation time and pay in order to go to a conference or training seminar that they are offering.  Initially, the investment is heavy, but in the long-run it can certainly pay off.  You are not only sharpening your knowledge and skills, but you are also showing your supervisors and employer that you care about their company and your performance.  When it comes to reviews and promotions, you are likely to be receiving high marks, new responsibilities, and a raise.
  2. Read books.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “If we encounter a man with rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”  This will mean being auto-didactic (self-taught), but that’s okay.  You don’t need a certificate or a diploma if you end up practicing and speaking on what you know.  The paper may get you in the door at times, but it is the sharpened mind and skillset that keeps you in. This would include audiobooks that can be used on your commute, but nothing is like having a physical book with real pages in hand.
  3. Listen to podcasts. There are thousands of podcasts in this world. Download a podcast player like Stitcher or use Apple’s podcast player and search for podcasts dealing with your field.  If you’re a construction guy, you should be able to find some quality podcasts. The same would go for gardeners.  There is just about a podcast for every profession.  If you can’t find one for your exact profession: 1) find one that is of similar profession, 2) listen to those that deal with where you want to be, not where you are.  If you want to be a leader but are currently a grunt-worker then listen to leadership podcasts and learn how to be one. If you’re tired of working for someone else, start listening to podcasts now so that later you may be able to be an entrepreneur or come to realize that it is better for you to stick with working for the man.
  4. Go back to school. This may mean getting your HSE (formerly known as the GED), or it may mean going to night-school or taking courses online.  There are a plethora of ways to get a general or college education.  No one needs to tell you that statistically speaking college grads make more than high school grads and high school grads make more than those who dropped out.  But it doesn’t have to be college. If you’ve been in your field for a while, you might want to go back and brush up on the new technology that affects your expertise by going to trade school for a semester or two. Again, this might be offered by your employer, but it may not be. Make the extra effort yourself.
  5. Learn online.  A little known fact is that YouTube and iTunes (as well as other players) have free college courses.  You receive all the instructions through video or audio, but have none of the homework.  Again, there is no diploma or certificate, but you get the knowledge, the sharpening and honing of mind and skills.  You could also take courses from www.greatcoursesplus.com. You have to pay for these, but they are top notch classes.

There you have it, on this Wednesday Wisdom I would encourage you to work smarter, not harder; it is the wise and biblical thing to do.  No man, woman, or child should purposefully allow their minds to dull; may we always seek to sharpen and hone them.  If you have any other ways to stay sharp or get sharp, please comment below. I would love to hear from you.