Lives R Us


A view down the beer and wine aisle of a super...

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Do you have some time to run an errand with me? I want to run by Lives R Us and check out what’s hot for Fall. Come on, it’ll be fun!

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go to your local mall and wander down aisle after aisle of different lives in a box? I imagine it like a giant cereal aisle in a mega-grocery store. Each box would feature a descriptive and alluring picture and summary of what each life contained inside looked like.

You could stroll down the aisle and pick up a life box and read all the ingredients. Here’s “Suburban Soccer Dad” right next to “Lounge Lizard.” WOW! “Secret Agent” is on sale!

If you checked out the ingredients, one box might have 40% excitement, 40% love, 10% fear, and 10% boring filler. Another life box might have completely different contents. Everything you need to live the life you’ve always dreamed of conveniently packaged in one box!

WARNING: THIS LIFE MIGHT BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH!

Oh sure, most of the boxes would have really scary sounding warning labels in fine print disclosing and defining the risks and claims made on the box. WARNING: THIS LIFE MAY RESULT IN ACELERATED DEATH! Another might warn of unintended side-effects and potential unintended consequences, much like one finds on the statements that come with prescription drugs. It would be great to know up-front what nasty interactions might be caused by coming into conflicting lives being lived by others.

NOTICE: ALL LIVES ARE AS IS. NO REFUNDS!  NO RETURNS!

All of the life boxes would come with a complete lifetime guarantee. Unfortunately, there is a strict no returns and no refunds policy.

TIME IS MONEY! 

It’s kind of weird, but Lives R Us doesn’t accept cash, check, or plastic for payment. You simply hold up you watch to the scanner and it automatically adds or subtracts the right amount of time from your current life to qualify you for the new life you want to buy. You notice that some people’s watches almost smoke as they whirl round an accounting for a major life box.

If only it were that easy to get the life you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe it wouldn’t be easy at all.

BUYER BEWARE!

I’m somewhat of an impulse buyer and I don’t know that I would be able to trust myself to buy a non-refundable and non-returnable life. I don’t have enough experience.  I worry that would get a horrible case of buyer’s remorse as my watch unwinds my payment. So many decisions…so little time. Such is life!

Life isn’t so tidy. We add and subtract ingredients to our lives as we go. Some stuff get’s thrown in by others or by chance. It is amazing though, how much we each get to choose what goes into our life box. We do pay for our life with the amount of time we are willing to invest into living it.

EXPIRATION DATE 

There are two items listed on each life box that I suggest that you notice:

“Best if used by date: NOW

“Expires: —-”

Life doesn’t wait around for you to live it. It has a limited shelf-life, just like you do. We are not sure when each life box expires, so it’s best to use it up while you can.

IT ALL GOES BACK IN THE BOX 

Author and Pastor John Ortberg wrote a wonderful book that explores this topic much more eloquently and completely than I can. His book titled: “When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box.”

That’s the guarantee in life. We don’t begin it in a box, but most of us will end it inside of one. 

Play well this one and only life that you already have for as long as you can. Your life and freedom to choose it were bought for you at a very high price and given as a gift. It’s called your present. Keep looking inside your life box and you might be surprised at what you’ll find or can add along your way.

What can you add to spice up your life a little to make it taste good to you?

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Would the real me please tweet?


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Are you living your real life or are you busy creating a virtual life that you think is more interesting?

There is one AWEFUL part of reading an amazing book…finishing.  I am grieving the loss of the time spent with the vividly crafted characters of Robert Fulghum‘s massive (over 1000 pages) “Third Wish” two volume set.  We’ve spent a lot of time together over the past couple of weeks, as I became a witness to their epic adventures.  I must admit that I miss them. 

As an avid reader, I’ve been blessed with getting acquainting to many eclectic characters.  Some of the real breathing variety have even wandered into my real life from time to time.  I tend to prefer peculiar characters.  I guess it’s true that  birds of a feather do flock together.

Have you ever developed a literary crush on a fictional character, only to be shattered by turning  the last page?  Perhaps they are so different from you that you wish you could star in their life for a while.  Maybe they are so similar that they could perhaps make a better lead in your life.  What would “X” do in this situation you wonder?

Reading allows me to temporarily, vicariously, take a break from my own peculiarly ordinary life and walk in someone else’s shoes for a while.  It’s a refreshing break, but it is not real. My own shoes still need a little polish.

Virtually You

I dabble in social media.  Twitter fascinates me. One-way cave speak in 140 characters or less.  Followers and the Followed. Real and fictional characters in a semi-real/virtual world.  I get a kick out of reading Twitter profiles.  The world is full of gurus, divas, goddesses, experts and highly caffeinated narcissists.  Who knew?   Have we blurred the line between fact and fiction? 

In the virtual world, you can be anyone you want to be. You can carefully craft your image and develop a character that may be unrecognizable if you met him/her for a birthday party.  All is well as  long as we remember to be who we really are and do not become disappointed that we aren’t really our virtual self.

My sense is that some people are losing their true identity in an effort to keep up a virtual self. Deep down we know the difference between our true life and a fabricated life.  Fun is fun but real is real. Are you disappointed  even a little when you aren’t as cool as your profile proclaims? Some people even go so far as to use a stranger’s picture to represent themselves online.   You can lie to others, but you can’t lie to yourself and be sane.

Lord of Your Keyboard

Virtual character development and self-help are easy.  You just choose to leave out the stuff you don’t like about you and add in whatever you want.  All it takes to be god in a virtual world is a keypad and some time.  And on the first day, you typed let there be characters and there appears a whole world of your creation on your screen.  And you can say to yourself, it is good.  Our ego’s run wild.  False idol worship has a history of not ending well.

Expressing one’s creativity is AWESOME!  I try my best to do so at every opportunity.  What I caution is that there is a danger that we  can become so lost in our virtual character development, that we worship our own created image and fail to look in the mirror instead of into the computer screen.   We lose sight of who we really are.  The person who needs a hair cut, to lose a few pounds, has odd mannerisms and is prone to make mistakes.  The person your family and friends put up with and love anyway.

There is No Edit Button for Real Change

It’s harder to actually change for the better the person you really are into the person you feel called to be.  It takes hard work.  It takes failures.  It takes faith.  It’s much messier.  But it is real.

I hope you will reacquaint yourself with who you really are.  Maybe go out on a date with yourself.  My guess is that you are a peculiarly terrific creation as is, warts and all. You are  loved by your true creator, who does not make mistakes.  I remember Mr. Rogers saying on TV that whenever you meet someone remember that the person is just like you…one-of-a kind.  For a semi-fictional character, Mr. Rodgers had it right.

In the real world you can’t be airbrushed, edited, photoshopped or avatared.  You can be a lot  more of who you are!  You just have to choose to invest our time doing what we need to do to improve our strengths and minimize the influence of our weaknesses.  It leads to a real life that is really fired up! It will probably mean  spending less time typing.  You’ll end up a character none the less, although this one can really be hugged.  Also, meet your real friends for a real chat over a cup of coffee, the kind where you can smell each other’s coffee breath.  Don’t just “like” or “poke” them.

Keep it real! Oh,  if you happen to see the real me running around, would you please have him tweet me? 🙂

I hope you become a character of peculiar character! You’ve got the lead role in this one-time production of a terrific show called, “THIS IS YOUR LIFE!”

3 Steps to Fire Up Your Life!


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How can you live a life that is more passionate, fulfilling, meaningful,  on-purpose and satisfying?

Three Steps to Fire Up Your Life!:

1) Find ways that you can use your unique, God-given, strengths, talents, gifts and resources to serve others.

2) Serve others passionately, humbly and as anonymously as possible.

3) Repeat steps one and two daily.

Tom Rath and the wonderful folks at The Gallup Organization created “StrengthsFinder 2.0” to help you to learn about your natural, personal strengths.  Marcus Buckingham has written numerous books on how to put your strengths to work.  I wrote “Life Matches: Fire Up Your Life!” to help you to make living a strengths-based life a habit. Download my how to find your strengths exercises for free here:  Life Matches: Fire Up Your Life! Exercises.

There are three requirements to create fire:

1) Fuel

2) Air

3) Ignition source

If you want to fire up your life you need three similar essential elements:

1) Fuel=Passions, strengths, talents, gifts, knowledge, skills, and personal experiences.

2) Air=Time

3) Ignition souce=Other people, situations, circumstances and I believe, God.

You were uniquely designed for a purpose. Your life’s quest is to seek to discover and to serve your purpose. Your purpose will involve serving others in ways that only you can serve them.

Your service to your purpose may end up only being a percentage of your time, but it will be your most satisfying use of your time. Living on-purpose is the reason to live.

My life motto is, “Learn it. Live it. Share the spark!”  I believe that my purpose for being alive is to first learn new things. Then I live with them to personally prove that the new learnings are true and helpful. Finally, I get to enjoy the satisfaction of sharing what I have learned and how it has personally benefitted me in my life’s journey to hopefully  help others in their journeys.  I live to be an ignition source or as I like to think of it, a “sparker” of other people so that they can live their lives more “Fired Up!”  Each time I can share a spark with  someone it fuels me up to invest more time in sparking more people which helps keep my life matches burning brightly!  Sparking others is my passion and is now my habit.

I was not always a sparker.  I had to learn and do the three steps above.

Unfortunately, one tends to lose what one does not use.  Fire up or  fizzle out.  You get to choose.  I choose to live Fired Up!

Hopefully, by writing this, I have shared a spark with you.  Please let me know if this helps you to serve your life’s purpose and to Fire Up Your Life! Then you will be sharing your spark with me.

PS: I give all money I receive  from  the sale of  the book “Life Matches: Fire Up Your Life!” to CHADD, the national non-profit organization that supports people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).  Learn more about CHADD at http://chadd.org.  You can buy “Life Matches: Fire Up Your Life!” at http://www.booklocker.com/books/4765.html.

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