235 – Excellence in Craft

The work we do is a reflection of who we are as the Image of God the Creator. In being careful and thoughtful in whatever you make or whatever service you perform, you are demonstrating the good character traits of a Divine Image. Angels will watch what you do in order to understand God; even though they have known Him for thousands of years, they will learn more about Him by watching humans perform tasks with excellence. Even when we are not careful, animals see our craft and know that we do things they never could. When we do whatever we do with excellence and care, we bring justice to the world around us.

No one died because bridges were made too well or because paper held it’s form. While wicked men exploit tools for wickedness, their wickedness would continue without quality work. But, if the bridge holds, then people can cross in safety and we can come to the rescue of people who have no hope. If paper holds its form, messages and ideas can make their ways through the world, helping humanity to understand each other and progress.

When you don’t do a good job, you create cleanup work for others, thus taxing their time when they have done nothing wrong. Such is not the justice of God. Having your work finished properly, well-assembled, robust, and suited for its purpose, other people can focus on their own tasks and needs, having their work been helped by whatever part you finished well.

No matter how insignificant or boring, your work explains God and dispenses justice to everything around you. Work and effort are like a shining light, but traveling through the presence of tools and pathways rather than through photons.

Rightly so, God will judge every one of us for how we perform our work much more than whatever work it is that we do. If you drive a car, drive it with skill, speed, safety, and respect for other drivers on the road. If you clean toilets, minister to every visitor of the lavatory by granting them the cleanliness of Heaven. If you govern, help the efforts of the skilled people you serve.

115 – Charm, Wit & Tact

Never fall for the motto of the Georgian rhetoric psychopath, “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” It’s why you say it.

Tact and charm begin with genuine live in your heart. Without that, all other advice on charm and tactfulness will only make one come across as a deceitful snake. However, once you have love…

Some things are obvious, evident. Those are things you should never say because, well, they “go without saying”. If you state the obvious, people will think something is wrong with you, either that you are hiding something or don’t know about life or are just trying to flatter.

Other things must be said. Especially in English, we communicate with the assumption that we all expect new ideas. If one person knows what another person mans to say, there is no point in conversation because there would be no progress, whether in exchange of ideas, technology, business growth, or anything else worth discussing. When you do indeed need to communicate an idea, provide enough detail that people know what you mean. For example, don’t overuse pronouns to a point where the listener doesn’t know where the pronouns point to. My mother would often say, in many occasion, “I know that you know what you are talking about, but I haven’t a clue. Start over, but don’t begin with the word ‘they’.”

There is a time to presume what is evidently self-evident and a time to state the idea that no one considered; know the difference. This is a knowledge you will never stop learning.

You can say almost anything if you have a twinkle in your eye and a sheepishly childish grin in your face. When wrong or in those times you accidentally step on toes, be humble. When you cause an injury, own it. When you don’t, be the Good Samaritan who helps someone else’s victim.

When you must confront someone, twinkle, grin, and be the large, gentle giant in charge. If people love your results, and you break neither skin, bones, nor feelings, it won’t matter which silly protocols you may have to break. You don’t even need to smile if you have enough love.

1 Corinthians 13

107 – Planning Makes Satisfaction

Of all the skills and subjects of school to learn, the most important lesson is the ability to control one’s time and schedule. My friend once blurted in the car, “My family doesn’t plan anything, but it’s not because we don’t know how, but because we don’t want to be committed if something better comes along.” His parents are divorced, so is he. It’s a problem for him and he says so more than I.

Good things come along from time to time. You can only catch them if you are ready. But, the best things in life can only be planned because they require preparation. Your children will live the type of life you do. If your family lives a free-spirited life, they will always be happy, but they will never be satisfied. They will hunger for something better, but they will always be chasing the next wave—always chasing the wind, yet never learning to soar—because the very best things in life can only be planned.

Parallel to planning is spontaneity. About half of God’s gifts come along without warning and if you reject everything that you don’t plan for, you will miss God’s best. Planning is not about locking down the future in your scheduling calendar, but about preparation. Preparation includes the unforeseen.

The secret to living effectively with planned spontaneity is think like a homing missile or a game of golf. First, know your general direction and stay on the fairway. If it’s a par 5, the second step is to get to the green. Third is the hole. But, you’ll never be able to “birdie” a hole unless you get years of regular practice. That means saying no to last minute movies and getting out of bed—or boogying after work—to the driving range.

Even the best golf courses offer rain checks, but no strong, healthy, toned body happens without exercise and diet being the priority. If the practice doesn’t get done, neither do the results; it doesn’t matter the excuse. “Flex days” smartly prepare spontaneity—the exception, not the rule. You must rule your time, otherwise others will rule you because they ruled their own time first.