I’m scared to death of snakes and spiders. I don’t squeal like a girl or run away or anything like that. In fact, I’ve killed more than my fair share of both. I just don’t like them, and when I get to Heaven, I’m going to ask God why He created them. And then I’m going to ask Him where the Chick-Fil-A is.
I’m scared to death of telemarketers. Okay. Scared is a strong word, but I don’t like them, and I will do just about anything to get out of talking to them. For that matter, I’ll do just about anything to get out of talking to anyone on the phone. I don’t like talking on the phone. Please don’t call me on the phone.
I’m scared to death of being late for things. Not really scared, per se, but I hate it. It’s rude. Sometimes, life happens, but when it happens regularly, you’re just being inconsiderate to other people. I was late for something the other day and almost had a panic attack. I’m serious. It isn’t funny.
Those are three things that I’m halfway scared of, and for the most part, I’m able to joke about them. But, I have some other fears that aren’t funny. And, I’ll be honest, sometimes, they keep me up at night.
I’m scared to death of anything happening to my kid. I love him fiercely. I have bad dreams sometimes about someone breaking into my house and me not being to do anything to save my son. It’s probably crazy, but when those thoughts hit me, I’m a total wreck.
I’m likewise scared to death of my wife dying before I do, at any point in time. I hear about young guys who lose their wives way too soon. It doesn’t sound a whole lot more easy to swallow when it’s older men who lose their partners. I love my wife. She’s my rock. I couldn’t do what I do without her. I’d like for Jesus to come back before either of us die.
I’m scared to death of losing either of my parents. I’m lucky to still have both of them alive. In fact, they recently moved in with Kim and me. This would be rough on some people, but I’m close with my parents, and it’s exciting. They’re starting to get a little older, and I simply cannot the bare the idea of ever losing them.
I’m scared to death of being a failure. What if I never end up making more money? I was able to stave off the creditors and keep my house this go-round, but what if I run out of do-overs and eventually lose my home? It keeps me up at night. I want to do right by my wife and son. I want my son to have this house. I want his son to have it after him.
That’s just me being real.
What are you scared to death of?
I was torn between several things to write about today.
Then, I was watching a replay of ESPN’s “The ESPY Awards.”
During the award show, they played a segment of a famous speech made by former college basketball coaching great, Jim Valvano (aka: “Jimmy V”).
“Jimmy V” was dying of cancer when he made his acceptance speech for the “Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award” in 1993.
His words will forever be remembered in history of one of the most inspirational speeches of all time.
This was but a small portion of those words:
“Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left and I have some things that I would like to say. Hopefully, at the end, I will have said something that will be important to other people too.
But, I can’t help it. Now I’m fighting cancer, everybody knows that. People ask me all the time about how you go through your life and how’s your day, and nothing is changed for me. As Dick said, I’m a very emotional and passionate man. I can’t help it. That’s being the son of Rocco and Angelina Valvano. It comes with the territory. We hug, we kiss, we love. When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
I think that really puts things into perspective. I hope you find the message to be uplifting and something that motivates you today.
Here’s the video of Valvano’s entire speech:
The other day, I got my 11 month old son up from the crib, where he’d been sleeping.
He was ecstatic.
He was enthusiastic.
He was rested and ready to move on to the next thing.
And it didn’t matter what the next thing was. He was just excited to be awake and to have the opportunity…to have opportunity.
He has so much to learn. He’s in the process of learning to walk. He’s learning the names of animals and the noises they make. It’s all new and exciting to him, and he always want to learn more.
As I processed it all, I was struck by something.
Why am I not that excited to wake up every day? Sure, I can competently walk and talk (most of the time), and I’ve mastered most of the basic “being a human being” skills — but am I so learned and experienced that I can’t dig deeper?
I speak English and a remedial amount of Spanish. Why am I not fluent? Why haven’t I tried to learn other languages? Why am I not memorizing Bible verses, left and right? Why am I not getting in shape? Why am I not teaching myself how to work on my car, so that I can fix things myself?
Because I’m lazy sometimes.
Because I’m worn out by life.
Because I’m intimidated of stepping out of the boat (and my comfort zone).
But I could learn a lot from a toddler.
Proverbs 3:12 says, “The Lord disciplines those He loves.”
Some of us spurn that correction. We try to hit fast forward on the discipline.
It sucks. Nobody wants to suffer.
But when we bring it on ourselves, there’s little choice but to eat humble pie, and to learn the lesson.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ve done some straight up dumb things. And one thing I’ve learned through all of it, is that God will keep bringing me correction until I submit to the lesson He has for me.
When we screw up, especially publicly, we lose the privilege of being proud. We usually lose other privileges as well, if only but for a time.
There is a consequence to sin. There is always a consequence.
In James 4:6, it says: “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”
When we resist His correction, we exhibit pride.
But there are worse things than God’s correction.
He could ignore you.
I’ve never been a morning person. I’m angry when I first wake up. Always. Every time. If you have to wake me up, for some reason, you should wear a helmet.
I just have never enjoyed getting up early. It’s all irritating to me: The birds chirping, the bright light, the people who want to have conversations.
Awful. Just awful.
It doesn’t help that there’s always been a stigma attached to getting up early, for me, anyway. What I mean by that, is that getting up early has always equaled forced imprisonment. It meant punching a time clock, being at a pointless meeting on time, morning commutes — all soul-sapping terrible, miserable things.
And that was my life for 17 years.
So, that’s part of it.
But the truth is, I’m just not productive in the early morning hours. It takes me a long time to dust off the cobwebs. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed, 6am is an ungodly hour for me.
I’ve never been in a race to beat the sun. He can win every single time.
So why is any of that important?
Glad you asked.
The reason any of that matters is because it all goes against cultural norms and conventional wisdom. Think about it. Think about everything you’ve been told since you were born.
“The early bird gets the worm.”
It’s an axiom that was fed to your father and your grandfather and his grandfather’s grandfather.
And there are some fields/professions and some respects in which it does hold true.
But it isn’t all the time true. It is absolutely not a universal application that can made.
Maybe it’s a weird thing to be upset about it, but I think it goes hand-in-hand with a lot of the self-discovery I’ve been making within the last year.
It’s 2013, and we’re just now figuring out that we are not all the same. We don’t all function and excel with the same set of circumstances.
We have different triggers, different sweet spots, different likes and dislikes.
I’m tired of being told I’m less spiritual because I don’t wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do my devotions. I can assure you that God isn’t interested in what I might have to say at that hour, because it will be insane nonsense. I’m also afraid of what I might think God is saying to me. I’m miserable that early, and forgive me if I’d rather not be miserable during my time with God. You can have 4:30. It’s all yours.
Recently, I bumped into this again, when I joined a Facebook group started by famous Quitter, Jon Acuff. The group is called “The START Experiment,” and it’s full of entrepreneurs and dreamers who are trying to chase down their goals together. It’s inspirational, really, and Acuff is a solid guy for setting that up to help people he doesn’t even know.
However, Acuff also started another group. It’s called “The 5AM Club.” The idea behind it is noble. Basically, they host many virtual and real-live, in person meetups that occur at 5am. They’re “hustling.” I get that. People don’t want to get up at 5am. They’re working harder than the average person in some ways. Point taken.
The issue is that some of the enthusiasm from the 5am group (which I’m obviously not a part of) has started to spill into the group that I am a part of.
The enthusiasm has turned into a kind of peer pressure, where the members who don’t give high fives at 5am are made to feel a little inferior, and that maybe it’s just something they can work towards and eventually get better at.
(Author’s edit: In no way has this pressure come from Jon himself. It’s an attitude given off by some of the members.)
The banter has included members giving suggestions for how to wake up earlier: “Go to bed earlier.” “Wake up a little earlier each morning.” “Watch this podcast by this guy who gets up this early.”
Tim Ferriss is globally known for his productivity. He’s also very vocal about the fact that he sleeps in. He says that he sleeps until 10 or 11 a.m. every single morning. The difference is two-fold:
It’s not about 5:00 a.m. There’s nothing magical about 5:00 a.m. It’s about finding YOUR 5:00 a.m. It’s about finding the “when and where” that you can you be the most productive.
We’re not all the same, and it’s time that we embrace our differences, and stop trying to make every person fit inside the same mold.