When I had the time between one point and another, I would pass on the On Repeat playlist I have on Spotify and fire up YouTube downloads; lately I’ve been listening to Andrew Schulz and Mr. Beast on the former’s podcast Flagrant, and I must say that I’ve been learning things.
The first observation that comes into mind is how Mr. Beast appears to have relinquished any hold he has on money, even before he started on YouTube. But when he did, you’d see him spend thousands of dollars on this gimmick or that idea, only to make more money, and then spend that much on another project or endeavor. He’s had that Squid Game video making what I’m assuming is more money than the original Squid Game series – or at least when you factor in the lengths of the videos versus the overall money made. He talked about Beast Burger and his chocolate line exclusive to Walmart, Feastables. I’m sure that he already has even more ideas to implement, and the money follows by flowing in. That’s an amazing cycle: Large profit, spending it all on implementation, and then getting a return on the investment, or in most cases, make way more than was put in the first place.
Kind of made me think of my own projects, gimmicks and ideas. Whereas I see Mr. Beast’s endeavors making immediate impact and therefore raking in immediate returns, it’s as if I’m playing a long game with what I have going on. The Ministry. The Visual Arts. Those seem to be the two major things that come into mind. But that’s the thing, before listening to the podcast I was looking at them both and feeling pretty down, as if that’s all I had to show for my life, and there isn’t much in terms of results. And to be perfectly honest, I made it sound as if I intentionally play the long game, but the truth is that I probably haven’t been putting as much effort and research and implementation as I should, so any results would naturally come delayed.
Nevertheless, the simple notion to think of them as projects already opens my mind to thinking, and realizing that hey, I could do more, and I could dish out more impact, and faster. Or, well, at the very least, I’m brought to think of these activities from a ‘project’ viewpoint, and to analyze them as such, instead of thinking of them as stuff I just do.
And with that, the questions pop up: How long have I been in Ministry? What have we accomplished so far? Are there new things to do? What’s working? What isn’t working? What needs to be added? What needs to be taken out? Is our entire philosophy wrong? Do we need an overhaul?
Maybe I need to answer some of those questions, or all of them at once. I’ll probably extract some sort of guidance as I keep on going down this road of recalling lessons.
The second thing I picked up on was that Mr. Beast didn’t just choose to be focused on YouTube and all its bells and whistles; no, he was more than just focused; in his words, he was obsessed. He claims that in the earlier days he had no idea that the platform would blow up, but he still made the active decision to study what engagement and everything else to make it work. And what’s more, even if people were making fun of him for his obsession, he still kept at it.
At first I was sort of stuck trying to think about what I was obsessed about, beyond video games. In fact, I wasn’t as obsessed about these things, because I began to notice, in my being in too deep, that there were probably better things to do with my time. Funny as it sounds, I actually felt my conscience bother me even as early as when I used to play, oh, Starcraft, or Fallout 2, 6 hours at a time – and my body seemed to follow suit, as if it was raring to go outside and run and do what normal boys do instead of staying indoors all day.
And I’m not sure if you can count the porn as an obsession, but I will say, beyond what I recall was the initial shock to my system, it latched on to my mind and got me thinking about those explicit images more than anything else… and it’s not as if I refused it; no, I welcomed the replays.
As I’ve decided to be all Mister Open and Honest here again, let’s talk about replays: It also popped into my mind that I also have this habit of watching downloaded TV series, again and again and again. For the record, and off the top of my head, these include: The Office, Arrested Development, Billions, Cooking Master Boy, and right now I’m also at season 6 of Everybody Loves Raymond, averaging 2-3 episodes a day.
This is slowly becoming a list of bad habits. I suppose they’re to be differentiated from obsessions – or, healthy obsessions, at least. With that said, what I’m really obsessed at is still something I’m figuring out. I remember Pastor Miles MacPherson telling us how we can figure it out – well, not our obsessions, but his intention was for us to have some headway in figuring out, in his words, what gifts we have from God. He asked, ‘What’s something that you can enjoy doing all day, every day, without getting paid?’; And sure, though that may have helped a couple of people, smart-alecky me thought, but didn’t really say out loud: sex and sleep. Oh, and photography. And I suppose I’m still doing that to this day, so that question got me somewhere.
Mr. Beast left another little clue for me to consider, though. If I’m asked what I used to be made fun of, I can only think of one thing – my speaking English. See, that was the only effective way for me to communicate, fresh out of Elementary level education from a school with a public reputation of being one for the ‘rich kids’ (when the reality was I was blessed to study there at a huge discount because my mom worked there). With that target on me, it didn’t help that I spoke primarily in English, in a previously English-phobic environment and community as I grew up.
Okay I’ll be even more honest. It’s not that I gained any sort of notoriety, but speaking in English and not being as fluent at least in Tagalog brought some uncomfortable attention – well, enough for me to feel threatened anyway. And that was enough. What these bullies didn’t realize was that all they needed to do was to say one phrase or one joke… and the brain can go so many ways, but one common route I’ve seen it take is to fester on what other people have said about them, no matter how vague it was or how it may have been devoid of any intention.
Anyway, I’m veering off point here. The main point in all this is that if we were to find something to focus on, and not only to focus on but to be healthily obsessed over, then we could consider what other people have ridiculed us for… for most often than not, these folks only wish they had what they assault us for.
Looking at the one ‘project’ I have, which is the Good News Aces Ministry – there’s a lot of English to be communicated there. There are speaking arrangements, and I’ve given some folks at least some training of their own, in speaking and also in typing articles and captions that meet up to my standards without necessarily copying me. There’s also typing involved with the Omniscapes project (but to be honest I don’t know if I want to keep calling it Omniscapes – I need something which expresses more or integrates more to my belief system to cover the entire spectrum of Visual Arts).
I suppose these supposed 1000 words a day are part of another project as well. But for all three of these endeavors that I have to show for myself, well, I don’t see significant return of investment – well, at least in as much as currency is concerned. I guess that’s the question to ask, eh?
‘What’s something you can keep on doing, not only for an entire day, but for weeks and months, without getting paid, or without getting any direct feedback as to your progression?’
As I write that question I figure I could fix that last item by way of directly asking people if they’re blessed… but I guess my mind is still trying to learn how to extract maximum pleasure from folks who make it a point to tell me how they’ve been blessed with whatever I had to say.
We’re back to the mental mandate, that of not putting more focus than is necessary on feeling good before doing something, and the rewards there are after doing something. I must admit that it is pretty tough for us (well, so far) to finally see the actual doing as pleasurable.
And the more we’re being pulled into these sorts of cycles that would have us back at square one, well, for those of us in Christ, I suppose it’s not too much of a stretch to our renewed minds to continue to be grateful, even when we feel completely drained and deprived.
That’s what I talked about with the kids this morning. I told them about Squanto and the Pilgrims as I planned, and I told them that in what was eventually known as the first Thanksgiving, they could have avoided the fellowship of English and Indian entirely, they could have just went to a meeting, they could have outright complained and fought against each other… but, no, they chose to pray, feast, and more than that, to give thanks.
Tears For Fears had that one line – ‘When people run in circles, it’s a very very mad world’. I agree. This world can drive us utterly insane… And yet, in the midst of all this, no matter what we listen to, no matter who we look up to, no matter what we’re going through… we who are in Christ will always have something to give thanks for, and in so doing, we find ourselves secure, standing while the rest of the world is shaken.
At the beginning of all this I mentioned one thing that I was amazed with Mr. Beast – His uncanny detachment from money, and naturally, its potential to corrupt us. From observation we can see that the more he gives it up, the more it comes back, but the more is achieved. I suppose, in our own giving thanks, we’re also determining what still has an attachment to us. In our giving thanks, not only are we expressing gratitude for something that’s already been done or given to us, but by giving thanks to God for all that’s going on, we’re entrusting it to the Lord – giving it to Him, so we can also achieve more.
In thinking about this, I realized that it’s not a matter of us harnessing what we’re being made fun of, according to our finite thinking – well, we can try, and we could succeed… but in these moments I would give thanks, and I would personally give thanks to my Dad, who, even in the final months of his physical being here in this reality, chose to share that one verse from the Proverbs: ‘Commit your ways unto the Lord, and your thoughts shall be established’.
I guess my collective and final point in all this is that, if you want some sort of success, you don’t have to look too far. You start by giving thanks, and in so doing, commit your thoughts and all that’s bothering you or encouraging you up to your Good Father, that all you do, whether you’re made fun of it or not, would be established under His watchful eye.
I didn’t expect to wrap all of this up this way, but I’m thankful I was led to this.
I hope you’ve had a great day to be grateful and to engage in thanksgiving. I will say that I am grateful to you, dear reader. I am thankful for your trust, and your patience in navigating through all I’ve had to say.
Until the next post, God bless you.