Tag Archives: self improvement

Unload Your Truck!

At my core, I’m just an ole country boy. I love country cooking, country music and riding around country roads in my Dodge Ram pickup truck. I love my truck. It’s not anything fancy and it has a lot of rough miles on it, but it’s mine and it’s paid for. I’m not really sure how it happens, but every so often, I have to take some time to clean out and unload the back of my truck, which us country boys call the “bed” of the truck. Some how, trash, bottles, cans, tools and an assortment of other stuff always seems to accumulate in the bed of my truck and it drives me crazy, until I take the time to clean it out.

I have found that the very same thing happens with my mind. It accumulates thoughts, many of which serve no real purpose, other than taking up space, rattling around and making me crazy. I have learned that every now and then, it is important for me to take time clean out and unload my mind.

It’s not very difficult to figure out how this happens. We think one thought until another thought comes a long and takes it’s place. We don’t really release the first thought, we just throw it in the back with all the other thoughts that we think we have moved on from. The problem we face now is that we have all these thoughts rattling around, making noise, competing for our attention and sometimes this makes it very difficult to get anything accomplished.

So, every now and then, it is very necessary to take some time to unload the truck. The way we unload our truck/mind is by taking and making some time to meditate, pray, practice devotion or sit in solitude. This time allows us to take advantage of the tiny spaces located between our thoughts.

We have no real idea where a thought comes from. What we do know is that it comes out of silence. When we have a thought, there is a very brief moment between the letting go of one thought and grabbing hold of another. This brief moment is a time of silence and space. You can call it whatever you want to call it, the important thing is to realize it exists and offers us an opportunity to exercise some control, so that we might have a little more say about what comes and goes.

There is an old Zen saying that says: “It is the silence between the notes that makes the music.” We train ourselves to listen to the sound and usually ending up missing out on the power of the silence. This is why we need to empty the truck/mind every so often, so we can learn to hear, appreciate and learn from the silence. Music would be impossible without the silence and so life becomes impossible when we allow ourselves to be overtaken by our thoughts and all the noise they produce.

At the very heart of a thought is the act of creativity. The creativity happens in the silence, moment and space between our thoughts. You were created in the image of your Creator and therefore you are a creator yourself. So, I want to encourage you to take some time to get still, to find comfort in silence and discover your place of creation. Once you are there try to do these three things:

– Unload and clean out your heart, mind and spirit!

This does not have to be complicated. I like to use a journal, there is just something about pen and paper that help me to get my thoughts out and organized. It makes it easier to know what to hold onto and let go of. The important thing is to take the time on a regular basis to do the work. A little work every so often, saves you from a lot of work and usually some pain later on.

– Learn to enjoy solitude and silence!

For most people, taking time to get away from all the distractions and sit in silence is a challenging task. It’s not easy, but with a little practice, consistency and discipline, you can do it and you will be glad you did. Start with just five minutes a day, focus on your breathing and practice letting go of your thoughts by every time one comes into your head for attention, shifting focus off of the thought and back onto your breathing.

– Embrace your creativity and have some fun with it!

Once you begin to start unloading your truck/mind, you will discover what a difference it makes in all aspects of your life and you will look forward to the time and the creativity that it unlocks to flow from your life. You may want to use this time to write, draw, color, paint, work on some kind of craft or whatever? Just find some sort of output that allows you to express the creativity that has been freed up, because you will be amazed at how this will grow into a blessing for you and others.

The Bottom Line: This is your life, do what you have to do, what you want to do to enjoy it, because you were created for so much more…

Passed Down Blessings!

I give both of my girls a hard time, that’s part of my job as a Dad! 😉 Anyone who knows me, knows how proud I am of both of them and for so many different reasons.

I wanted to take a minute to brag on my oldest daughter, Gracie Harvell, because I see her do stuff like this all the time and this weekend, it just really made me think about what a blessing she is in so many ways to so many people and at the same time reminded me of how blessed we are as a family to have had ”good stuff” passed down to us.

On Saturday, Gracie got off work at 5 PM, came home, changed clothes and headed right back out the door to finish up a project she was working on at work. As she was heading out the door, she said: “I’ll take pictures!”, so I knew it must have been something important to her.

Around 7:45 PM, she still wasn’t home, so I thought, if it’s that important to her, then I need to go see for myself. When I got there, just before closing time, she was still working. She was doing a “reset”. Many people never stop to think about it, unless they’ve worked in retail, but the shelves and displays don’t magically reset themselves. And it’s not as simple as just throwing stuff up on a shelf or hanging stuff on a peg board.

Gracie could have left it for someone else to do. She could have assigned the task to someone else. She could have rushed through and just got it done, not concerned about spacing or presentation, but that’s not in her DNA. 🧬 She had to go back and was willing to go back on her own time, off the clock and finish what she started, because that is who she is and at the end of the day, she has to live with herself.

I totally understand and it reminded me of some principles that are a core part of who I am and how I operate. I am not a perfect person and I miss the mark in a lot of ways, but I am blessed to see that some of the things that matter to me, matter to my children as well.

And as I was thinking about all of this, I couldn’t help but think about parents and grandparents who passed this on to us, so we could pass this on to our children. Below are seven attributes that are important to our family and that have been passed along through the generations:

1. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!

2. Never ask anyone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself!

3. Go above and beyond what’s expected!

4. Do it right the first time!

5. Have fun and enjoy what you do – let your work fulfill you!

6. Never forget where you came from!

7. Always have in mind where you’re going!

Is It Worth It?

Questions have the ability to be very powerful in our lives if we are willing to use them in the right way. In order for us to use a question in the right way, we must first be willing to take the time to ask and answer the question and this will require some thought, which will cost us some time.

This morning I was thinking about my life and living through the years. I was thinking about some of the successes I have experienced and some of the failures I have survived. I started to think about what was it that helped me to succeed and what was it that caused me to fail? All of this thinking ultimately led me to a place of asking the question in my mind: “IS IT WORTH IT?”

And to be real honest, success or failure, it has all been worth it, because even when I have failed, I have learned something, survived something and the fact that it did not kill me is a great education. That does not mean that there are things that I wouldn’t change or do differently, because they most certainly are, but that choice is based on what I have learned and I may not have learned it, if I hadn’t gone through it, so???

There is great power in questions. And have you ever noticed how simple questions, often grow into complicated, profound and life changing questions, if we toil with them long enough? I mean think about this one “4 word question” and the power it has to shape our lives, if we would just use it consistently and honestly to evaluate the direction, purpose and decisions of our moment by moment daily living.

So whatever you are facing, if you really want to find fulfillment and experience happiness, I think this is a question we need to ask and answer in order to best guide the direction of our decision making. Here’s the question: ‘IS IT WORTH IT?”

I mean think about it and you will realize this question applies to about everything we will ever face or have to deal with. Should I eat the piece of cake after dinner? Do I give up on my dream relationship and move on to someone or something else? Do I take the promotion? Do we buy the house? Do I really need the car? Should I buy the outfit? And on and on we can go with all of the questions of life that are asked, but very often left unanswered.

“IS IT WORTH IT?” has the power to make us think. It has the power to make us take the time to process and really make a decision rather than just bounce through life like the little steel ball in a pinball machine.

I challenge you to take some time to think about some of the questions you need to think through in your life. In fact why not take out your journal and dedicate a page to writing down questions that you need to give some time and space to? With those questions in hand and in mind, now begin to ask yourself: IS IT WORTH IT? I think you will really be surprised at the clarity this will bring, if you will just be honest with yourself. And I think it’s much more effective to ask “Is it worth it?” on the front end, rather than “Was it worth it?” on the back end. Give it a try and see if it doesn’t make a difference, I mean – IS IT WORTH IT?