What does it take to be a hero?

In truth, not much. 

Sure, there are elaborate heroes who do things to change the world.  But you don’t have to change the whole world, all you have to do is find someone in need, and change their world.

If a child asks you to come play ball, or Barbies, or jump on the tramp, or swing them, or read them a book, or tell them a story, and you stop and do it… you’re their hero.

If you see someone at the checkout counter who didn’t bring enough money, and you step in and make up the difference… you’re their hero.

If you see someone on the side of the road and help them change their tire, or jump-start their car, or pull them out… you’re their hero.

If you see someone having a bad day, put your arm around them, give them a smile, and offer some encouragement… you’re their hero.

If you’re always the one to look on the bright side of things, to point out the positive, to provide energy and spirit to those around you… you quickly become their hero.

If you see someone new in your neighborhood, in your school, in your church, or in your office, and you take the time to get to know them, ask them questions, make them feel welcome, and be their friend… you’re their hero.

Being a hero doesn’t always require heroic effort, just the right effort at the right time.  And usually the amount of effort required is vastly disproportionate to the impact you have.  Sure, there are big things that you can do (and big things that need to be done), but more pervasive are those little opportunities that constantly surround us where we see someone in need, step in, and help.

Our environments are composed of hundreds of opportunities such as this.  The building blocks of heroism. 

So look around you, and be a hero.

Rusty

You’re number 288! Please, be personal.

The other day I was in Cutlers, a small sandwich shop here in Utah (they’ve got an amazing turkey and avocado sandwich, by the way, and crazy-good sugar cookies).   

It was early evening and they were about to close.  I walked in and placed an order for a dozen sugar cookies (no, not all for me… although I could have eaten them all).

The gentleman at the counter took my order and my cash, gave me my change, and declared with an I’m-bored-out-of-my-mind voice “You’re number 288”. 

 “No, I’m Rusty” I thought.  But then he handed me a little sheet of paper on which was scrawled the number 288, as if he’d read my mind and wanted to prove me wrong.

I looked around me.  There was one other person in the shop, and she’d already gotten her order.

I laughed out loud, which earned me a quizzical expression from my little helper, and to which I replied “Never mind… thank you.”

Clearly, he didn’t understand the importance of being personal. 

But it made me wonder at my own interactions with people, how often I must take on that same robotic approach.  How often do I forget that the person I’m talking to is a person?  That they’ve got a life, and right now it might not be going so well.

We all have areas in our lives that, due to repetition, cause us to be a bit too calloused in our interactions with people.

How would you feel if you drove up to the McDonalds window and the gal (instead of just reaching out for your money), looked at you in the eye, smiled, and said “Nice to see you, thanks for coming to McDonalds”, or “have a great evening, and enjoy your meal.”

Interacting with people can (and should) be one of the most regularly enriching aspects of our lives.  Sometimes they’ve got a bit of spare energy, or humor, or wisdom that you can glean from.  Sometimes it’s the other way around.  But whatever it is, as you become more aware of the person to whom you’re talking, you’ll find that good things happen.

If we all tried to be just a bit more personal in our dealings with others, we’d find the world would be a better place.

Rusty

P.S.  Email, as well as other mediums of digital communications tends to exacerbate this problem even more.  If your interactions with others are primarily digital, you’ll need to be extra vigilant, because you lack those visual cues that would otherwise guide your interaction.

Rededication, overcoming entropy in your personal life

I love New Years Day and the turn of the new year, largely because it’s a time where we all take the opportunity to reevaluate our lives, assess where we’ve been, and plan where we’re going.  It’s a phenomenal event, pivotal, and magnificent.  I hope you all take the time to do it.

As for my assessing ’08 I found that I’d been so greatly blessed.  I had a splendid year, nearly incomparable in fact.  Even in spite of such tough times.  The brief time I’ve taken to reflect has surely manifested the Lords hand in my life, for truly, I’m unworthy of such blessing, and certainly incapable of creating such a great year autonomously.

The realization of that reflection caused me to rededicate my life in many respects (illustration of my post “Gratitude, the key to righteous desire“).  One of those areas of rededication is with my blog.  I felt strongly (as I mention here), that this was an endeavor the Lord wanted me to undertake.  He’s blessed me with the talents to do it, and it’s my duty to use those talents appropriately, leaving room for the Spirit to magnify my efforts so that they’ll be of enduring value.

But the whole process of reflection upon the past with the perspective of today tends to call out the starkest instances of entropy experienced in our lives (which I explain here).  Those areas where we’ve let slip the most.  Those are the areas we need to proactively rededicate ourselves to. 

Life is not casual.  Life is engaging, and requires us to be engaged with it.  Spend too much time as a bystander, and you find your life is filled with more regret, than accomplishment and opportunity.

I love New Years Day and the turn of the new year, largely because it’s a time where we all take the opportunity to reevaluate our lives, assess where we’ve been, and plan where we’re going.  It’s a phenomenal event, pivotal, and magnificent.  I hope you all take the time to do it.

As for my assessing ’08 I found that I’d been so greatly blessed.  I had a splendid year, nearly incomparable in fact.  Even in spite of such tough times.  The brief time I’ve taken to reflect has surely manifested the Lords hand in my life, for truly, I’m unworthy of such blessing, and certainly incapable of creating such a great year autonomously.

The realization of that reflection caused me to rededicate my life in many respects (illustration of my post “Gratitude, the key to righteous desire“).  One of those areas of rededication is with my blog.  I felt strongly (as I mention here), that this was an endeavor the Lord wanted me to undertake.  He’s blessed me with the talents to do it, and it’s my duty to use those talents appropriately, leaving room for the Spirit to magnify my efforts so that they’ll be of enduring value.

But the whole process of reflection upon the past with the perspective of today tends to call out the starkest instances of entropy experienced in our lives (which I explain here).  Those areas where we’ve let slip the most.  Those are the areas we need to proactively rededicate ourselves to. 

Life is not casual.  Life is engaging, and requires us to be engaged with it.  Spend too much time as a bystander, and you find your life is filled with more regret, than accomplishment and opportunity.

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness”. 

Doctrine and Covenants 58:27

 

Rusty

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

Bookmark and Share

Living simply, living now

In regards to the concept in this post how by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.  I offer the following practical encouragement.

As a parent, consistently fulfilling the simple “can you play with me”, “can you read to me”, or “can you lay by me”, means more to that child, builds more love, as well as closer and more lasting relations, than any grand plan you’re likely to set in motion.

In business, consistently and successfully tackling the opportunities at your doorstep will generate more revenue, build more good will, and give you more traction than all of the big ideas that never come to fruition.

As a boss, the maximizing the little chances you have to build up an employee, encourage a peer, empower a worker, recognize effort, provide context, and share your vision, will do more to build morale and boost productivity, than nearly anything else you could have planned to do.

As an employee, consistently taking all of the little opportunities in front of you to go the extra mile, to take just a little more responsibility, to share the recognition, to add one more layer of refinement to whatever your doing, will do more to move you forward in your career and build fulfillment than most anything else you can do.

As a child of God, the little opportunities right in front of you to choose the right, to lift your standards just a little, to say no when you should say no, or say yes when you should say yes, to repent, to be just a little more humble, a little more compassionate, a little more understanding, and a little more proactive, will give you more spiritual elevation than you can imagine.

As a spouse, it’s consistently taking the immediate opportunites to say “I love you”, or tell them how nice they look, or recognize their efforts and achievements, to validate their concerns, to just be quiet and really listen, to communicate, to go on a date, and to be with them that will bring you the most enriching, fulfilling, and wholesome relationships.

In whatever you do, live in the present, and the future will shape itself.

Rusty

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

Bookmark and Share

Small and simple things

mother_teresa1

Mother Teresa, a truly inspiring woman who dedicated over 45 years of her life to ministering to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while proselytizing Christianity, once offered the following words of wisdom:

“In this life we cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great love.”

How very often we tend to look for the “grand plan”, the big things we can do to make a big difference, all while the small opportunities that are ever-present ever pass us by.  We look beyond the mark.

But big plans seldom work out, and big ideas seldom take off, whereas the little things, the more achievable things, the more straightforward things, the more immediate things, those things that are right in front of us, are those things that really matter and really move us forward.

It’s great to dream, it’s better to do.

After all, it’s usually the cumulative effect of so many little things, done persistently, and done well, that creates greatness.

“By small and simple things, are great things brought to pass.”  (Alma 37:6)

In our lives, whether in business or as parents, as we pay closer attention to making the most of the little opportunities that lie right in front of us, we will move naturally towards the dreams that matter most.

Rusty

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

Bookmark and Share

Is “anti” contrary to Christianity?

You can be “non” without being “anti”. 

I’m not a protestant (I’m Mormon), but that doesn’t make me anti-protestant.  The two are mutually exclusive.  And there’s a big difference from being “non” (like being non-Mormon), and being anti.  One is innocent, without malice, while the other is focused upon criticism and destruction.

I recently commented on another post, that as I study the life of the Savior, what I find is not a pattern of him being “anti” anything.  He didn’t seek opportunities to refute others.  Instead, he demonstrated a life of building, creating, of going around teaching the gospel, creating truth and testimony, performing miracles.  The times when he DID become more hostile or accusatory are when others sought him out to refute him, or to persecute him.  They were the “anti’s”.  Instead, His life was one of tolerance and love, understanding and empathy.  His conversations were not crammed with criticism.

Such were the teachings of Rabbi Gamaliel of Tarsus as described in Acts who counseled Saul and others against persecuting the saints.  Acts chapter 5 describes an event where Gamaliel encouraged moderation, saying “take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men… refrain from these men, and let them alone:  for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:  But ifit be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against god.” (Acts 5:38-39)

This is wisdom.  This is the character of Christ, whereas “anti” is an attribute of the adversary.  The one is centered around moderation, love, patience, kindness, tolerance, and understanding, the other centered around destruction, negativism, criticism, and judgement.

Theodore Roosevelt said it well:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbles, or how the doer of deeds might have done them better.  No, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again…  Who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

If you’re going to be “anti”, be anti about principles and morals, things like “anti-abortion”, “anti-dishonesty”, “anti-drug abuse”, but don’t be anti about people or religions, for such is not the character of Christ.  As the Lord taught Peter, we must have compassion, and forgive all men their trespasses.

 

Rusty

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

Bookmark and Share

Marriage and Family Today, prophetic perspective from 1978

In association with my recent post “Don’t abandon your children”, and my upcoming answer to the question “Why do Mormons support Proposition 8”, I give you the following inspired and prophetic instruction and counsel of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Apostle.

This was given all the way back in 1978, but just listen to the shockingly accurate portrayal of our day.  It’s titled: 

“Meeting the Challenges of Today”

 

Rusty

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

Bookmark and Share