Expectations cast a vision.
In 2008, swimmer Michael Phelps won his seventh gold medal of the games by 1/100th of a second when he raised his expectations after he was challenged by a Serbian competitor. Expectations produce hope, and hope is that intangible thing that dreams are made of.
Expect the best of yourself. You’re first and foremost a beautiful, wonderful child of God. He has great plans for you – plans that go far beyond what you could dream. Dream big, and have the confidence that God’s calling you to something especially with you in mind.
Expect the best of others. 1 Corinthians tells us that love believes all things and bears all things. What you expect of other people will influence how you relate to them. Communicate sincere, positive expectations and watch as people reflect those expectations in return.
Expect the best of God. At times life will tempt you to despair. But circumstances always point to the reality that we live in a broken world. Trust the love and character of God, who chose to step into the brokenness beside us.
People who focus on gloom and doom see life in a certain way, and their expectations influence their choices and help create a “life stinks” reality.
Your expectations always influence your choices.
You can choose to cast a vision for God’s best or for something less.read more
Self-discipline is the the ability to funnel our desires and passions in a productive direction, for a sustained period of time in order to achieve our goals. It is the connective tissue that links ambition with achievement.
Mastering self-discipline takes us where we want to go faster and easier, and makes it possible for us to get more out of life along the way.
Self-discipline helps us synchronize our goals with our choices and keeps us moving in the direction of our vision. Self-discipline influences finances, marriage, parenting, career, faith, fitness, and just about everything else. No area of our life remains untouched by self-discipline.
Self-discipline is developed by deliberately moving forward one step at a time and creating momentum in small, productive, daily acts. It’s critical to recognize we are not slaves to our feelings. Despite our emotions, we can still make positive, goal-directed choices.
Lot’s of well-meaning people get tangled up in bad decisions because they don’t understand this truth. For all practical purposes, undisciplined people are at the mercy of their feelings, unknowingly dooming themselves to a life of self-inflicted mediocrity.
Self-discipline spurs us to do what we need to do when we need to do it, whether we happen to feel like it or not. Understand that future change is an illusion. Tomorrow changes only as a result of what we do today. I have observed that unhappy people tend to use the word “tomorrow” excessively. Because of their inability to act, they don’t show up for their own lives, and when they finally realize it, they must endure life with regret. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Tomorrow changes today!
Unfortunately, we live in culture where “now” is not fast enough. However, self-discipline helps us conquer impulsivity and the desire for instant gratification. Those who understand the value of long-term goals are willing to sacrifice something lesser today for something greater tomorrow. Underachievers overvalue the immediate pleasure of the moment, while high-achievers dwell on and are motivated by the greater value of meaningful outcomes. But the self-discipline of deferring pleasure requires practice. We must be willing to pay a price today in order to possibly receive a reward tomorrow.
Success or failure will most often reflect what we won’t do rather than what we can’t do. Once we learn to distinguish between the two realities, we find ourselves in a brand new world and on the path to amazing success. Remember, discipline happens…eventually. Either we take the lead and discipline ourselves or life will, at some point, step in and play the role of disciplinarian for us.
We all screw up, it is inevitable. Once you realize that it is a matter of “when,” not “if” you are going to make mistakes, then you will know that your response can make you or break you. When you make a big mistake or get caught in a big sin and have to face the consequences, I pray that those poor choices only create short term pain and do not cost a life, a dream or a close relationship. If you are fortunate, you may experience the negative repercussions as a rather private matter. But there is no assurance of this. Today, very few of our transgressions remain private or off limits to the rest of the world.
Many of you have asked when our next BIG Picture Parenting event will be held. I wanted to let you know that we are hosting one in Atlanta, GA this coming Thursday, January 31 at 6:30pm EST. It’s $20 per person or $30 per couple. Additional details are below. To register for the event, click here.
Together, Dr. Mark Crawford and I will help you navigate the short, but critical window of parenting opportunity. All attendees gain a better understanding of what it takes to raise kids who are emotionally healthy, personally responsible, and of the highest character.