If you haven’t made a habit out of running, you’re missing out on benefits that could bring you that edge you need.
On my part, I choose to take a quick ~2m run around the neighborhood on a daily basis. It just clears my mind and provokes it to move as my body does. What Jim Kwik said is true: as the body moves, the mind grooves.
The following collection of thoughts was birthed from a single run. I forced myself to run a little longer and further than usual during that time, because I knew that my mind appreciates the clarity.
And I haven’t even begun talking about the physical benefits of running regularly. But you probably already know about that. -JB
We are all being constantly bombarded with data. With information, and with all sorts of flair – videos, pictures, text – all designed to steal our attention. What’s sad is that for the most part, we have given up trying to resist the pull of social media, where a whole lot of this data just flows from. Every single second we are being drawn to the algorithms of, say, YouTube, expecting the app to give us videos that we may like, based on our watch history.
The infinite scroll has replaced the remote control as our weapon of choice when it comes to hunting for immediate entertainment. No wonder more and more from the older conservative Christian generations are becoming so vocal in calling the smartphone the mark of the beast – or, at least treating it as such. And who’s to blame them? Even I see the kids’ eyes glued to portable screens, giving the devices more love than their parents.
Anyone else a huge fan of the ShowTime series, Billions? One thing I learned from binge-watching this awesome show is something that Russian oligarch, Grigor Andolov, had to say about our existence: We are all bodies of water with a given amount of saltiness, or undesirable traits. It was suggested that we should expand; how I understood this is that we would make more space for more water to kind of dilute the saltiness we have, so it isn’t noticed in us anymore.
I see one undesirable trait becoming more and more common among each and every one of us is our propensity to find the nearest dopamine hit. The more we deceive ourselves that this would fully satisfy us, the more we would do well to, indeed, expand our borders. The act of letting in more water in this regard would mean for us to simply open our eyes to more pursuits, to discipline ourselves by way of saying that we are no longer satisfied by these petty videos and the scrolling and the pull of Facebook, Instagram, etc.
An effect of finding full satisfaction from something as shallow as a bunch of likes in Social Media is a dramatic reduction in productivity – in my opinion, we’re satiated so much easier, so we no longer find a sense of urgency in finishing tasks which would keep us happier for longer, or simply just stuff that we need to get done.
Before we even start looking for instant and immediate gratification, we ought to get things done without even wanting to feel good about doing it first. We need to get things done without thinking, and one way to do this is by establishing routines. Routines, rituals, and habits have us getting daily, weekly, and monthly tasks out of the way, allowing our minds to invest thought on more important things.
We don’t only need action routines (making our beds, jogging a fixed amount every day, having a veggie/fruit smoothie after working out, etc), but we need creative routines as well. In fact, we would be surprised at what we could make – if we find the best time for us to write, shoot, read, or speak or sing on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be an award winner every time.
On a personal note, I’ve been writing up a storm about my own personal perspectives on Jesus Christ and His finished work. Now, with that said, Bible study shouldn’t be neglected. Sure, this all comes straight from the heart, and as real as it can get, but the bottom line (at least in this day and age) still remains that we must back up our testimonies with what is in the Bible. Something I still agree with, in the name of getting more and more people subscribed to how I can add value to their lives.
Consequently, studying, in general, shouldn’t be neglected. We shouldn’t stop learning. We should view education as an ongoing adventure, one we are in, in this life and beyond.
As a result of studying, I should output whatever I took in, whether it be the Bible, Kindle, Blinkist, Youtube, or whatever. Writing seems to be my personally preferred option. It’s my way of teaching, and I strongly believe in what Jim Kwik said about teaching – By teaching, you get to learn things twice.
Whether it be through Twitter or WordPress or Evernote, whether it be actually put up for broadcast or for my own personal consumption (handwritten in personal notebooks), I believe that writing is one thing that will never go away, at least for me. This is one definite creative routine that I will not abandon soon.
The writing, the routines… they’re all things that need to be put in place and implemented, maintained, and so on and so forth, in the name of productivity. I’m a stickler for getting things done. The thing is, I would love to go ahead and bash on how we are defaulting to what the world would want us to see, hear, and smell, but I would rather promote the truth that we could do so much better with our time.
It’s come to my recent attention that we really do need to establish systems. For far too long I have eschewed the ideas of having a vision, and making plans, especially since I’ve had bad memories of plans never even coming close to fruition. I can go ahead and recognize these bad memories as being the source of an automatic negative thought which states that I can never get anything started, much less done.
As to having a vision, well, blame it on people who make it their goal in life to force the idea of having a vision as the one ultimate thing in life.
The Toxic Lake / The Filthy River
Kento Bento of Youtube explained how Lake Karachay (Lake Karachai, Карача́й) in Russia is one of the most toxic places on the face of the planet. Long story short, scientists who didn’t know any better just kept on dumping drum after drum of radioactive waste into the lake, to the point that it would only take you an hour standing near the lake to get a lethal dose of radiation.
YouTube also suggested a video which elaborated on how filthy the Ganges River is. Apparently, everything makes its way through this holy river, from hospital waste down to the sewage off of millions of people.
People up to the top have tried to cleanse the river, but one man who was interviewed with a condescending tone by the host kept smiling as he explained something which was revolutionary for him, and apparently laughable by everyone else – That people can keep on dumping whatever they want into the Ganges, but if more and more water would just flow through, the river would ‘heal itself’.
Circulation vs Containment / Lakes vs Rivers
The thing is, as Christians, we don’t have a choice – I believe none of us are lakes. All of us are rivers, simply because we have an infinite source of water. We can choose to allow the water, the Life, to flow freely through us. We can choose to totally block the flow of the water, but since our Source is infinite, that barrier is just going to burst, and water, Life, will continue to flow. We can choose to constrain the flow of the water, but again, since our source is infinite, a breakout will happen, sooner or later.
The Life we have in Christ is life indeed, and I am led to believe that this is not just a life abundant according to our own limited perspectives of the word, ‘abundant’… no, the life we have in Christ is life everlasting, life eternal. Just as we are perfectly loved, so we have been blessed with life, through Christ. This is a life that flows like water, forever.
Considering this perspective of the life we have in Christ has us shifting in our way of thinking. We understand that even the largest of rocks will eventually move under the eternal flow of water. The river will never run dry. As the water flows, so the river lives, and thrives. And since Christ lives forever, the water flows forever. All that remains, and all that matters is the water.
Input – process – output (IPO)
From this, I am led to try establishing a system of thinking which is as a river. The information that comes our way, whether we like it or not, in this day and age… it comes to us as a massive source of water.
Sometimes it isn’t worth our time, so it flows out, outputted immediately, perhaps with the consideration that it may flow through some time in the future when it matters.
Sometimes, we would course it through, say, a dam – which we would refine, we would convert into energy, eventually letting the water run through.
Sometimes, we would store it, but it shouldn’t stay forever, lest it grows stagnant/bursts out beyond our control.
Regardless of how we process the water, we have to understand that it shouldn’t stay with us forever – no, the data and information flows through us, for other lakes and rivers to receive.
Input – Process – Output.
Given enough time with this structure and system, we would come to the realization that the flow of information comes to us through our senses. Input comes through our eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and skin. All other things contribute to processing – and processing happens in coordination with input and/or output, or independently.
For instance, our smartphones and devices can have us process input when we watch videos and surf. It can also have us process output when we blog and video stream.
For this reason, they’re called smartphones. You either work smarter with them, or with the lack of coordination, or with the absence of a system, they will outsmart you.
Sleek and sophisticated as they may be, these electronic devices are inferior in that they do not guarantee full coverage of the IPO system each and every time. Take conversations: good old conversations are perfect, full IPO in that we input, process, and output data and encourage those we converse with to do the same, each and every time; and admit it, though we can have conversations with our phones, smartphones are computers that have phone functionality.
In today’s day and age, we are certainly being bombarded from all sides by all players who want us to think the way they want us to think. Without a system in place, we would eventually grow tired of dealing with one and all pieces of data and information that come our way, individually.
The life that we have is certainly not static. It is dynamic in the sense that it flows in and through us, nourishing us and eventually others we encounter. And as this is one way for a Christian to view the salvation and life he or she has been given in and through Christ and His finished work, so it is also a system to consider when it comes to processing the vast amounts of information that come our way.
What is Input is what comes to our five senses. We process this information in countless ways, but ultimately for Output. Whatever we Output is received by five senses – our own and/or those of others.
Technology helps by amplifying input, processing, and/or output of data. While we would be fooling ourselves in ignoring the power of these devices, we would also be mistaken to throw away our fundamental ‘tech’ – face to face conversations cover the entire system, each and every time.
Life is a river, and rivers flow.
While a system in place would give us a degree of efficiency in how we handle life and information, it always helps for us to step back and appreciate the river for what it is (I wish Warren G sung, ‘The river is life, and life is the river’; it’s as true as seeing life as rhythm, but that’s another topic for another time).
To step back is actually a way to process the entire system, in that sense. A view from a higher point has us seeing parts of the river that we need to act on.
Diverting The Flow
Rivers flow naturally. If you force the direction of a river the cost and consequences are great.
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