PurposePursuit

GROWTH

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Do you remember MR NIGER D?

That was the acronym we were taught to illustrate the seven attributes of living things. For any organism to qualify as a living thing it must demonstrate these features of movement, reproduction, nutrition, irritability, growth, excretion, respiration and death. Don’t worry, this is not a post about biology, my focus actually is on the issue of growth.

Growth refers to the process of increasing in size, amount, value, or importance, developing physically, mentally, or spiritually. Growth is a natural expectation of life. It is the process by which life is expected to multiply in ability and capacity. Thus, when an organism is not growing, we say there is a problem, as if to say it has failed in the function of exhibiting life because growth is the mark of life’s supreme beauty.

The interesting thing about this however is that growth is never automatic. It is always the result of a process. Yes, growth and time are relatives, but their relationship is that of quality and not quantity. We can measure growth vis-a-vis time, but we cannot force growth because of the uncontrollable nature of time’s quantity. The point is, an organism does not grow because of a change in the calendar. On the contrary, it grows because of an intentional investment of time and resources in its development. This is why nutrition is very important to growth. A child that will grow needs food not a wrist watch.

Let me bring this home. There is an expectation that is placed on us who do purpose to grow in our capacity and capabilities. At the end of every 365 days, we roll over into another year, but how much newness do we experience in our realities? Just like a child can continue to celebrate his birthday even though he has not been able to talk despite his advancement in age, our growth is a process that depends not on the quantity of time we have used but on the quality of investments we have put into getting better.

Now, there are two kinds of growth. The first is what I call downward or internal growth which is the kind of growth that is hardly noticeable yet incredibly fundamental. It is the kind of growth by which a tree grows its root and by which human beings develops their internal organs. The second is the upward or external growth. It is the kind of growth people easily see but its quality depends on that of the internal or downward growth.

Jesus told the story of the farmer whose seeds fell on the rocky ground and sprouted immediately. The external/upward growth was quick but it didn’t last under the scorching sun because the internal/downward growth was imperfect. This is the major lesson among others, that I hope you glean from this post. Our Growth must first be downward before it is upward if we will survive the scorching sun and triumph over the drenching rain.

How far do you desire to go in the pursuit of your purpose? How high do you desire to rise? If you really want to go far and reach beyond the skies, I beg you to pay attention to the depth of your roots. Be intentional about your growth especially as it relates to your capacity and capabilities. Invest in your personal development. Keep it in mind always, that growth is never automatic. It is a process. Today and always, I pray God helps us to embrace that process. Amen.

I call you blessed.

PurposePursuit

INTEGRITY

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There is a story I read recently about the man Henry Heinz. He started a business selling horse-radish, but in 1875, a national financial collapse drove the young company into bankruptcy. Despite the legal freedom bankruptcy gave him, Heinz regarded each of the company’s outstanding debt as a moral obligation and personally paid back every penny. He later went on to found the H.J. Heinz Company with its 57 varieties and became a leading American businessman. A devout Christian, he was known for the generous treatment of his employees and his generosity to Christian causes and throughout his life, Heinz conducted his business and personal dealings with the same integrity that led him to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars he technically did not owe.

Heinz’ story illustrates how important a man’s integrity is to the kind of impact his life will be known for. Indeed, the quality of the impact of your purpose pursuit will ultimately be defined along the lines of your integrity, competence and charisma. So, I’ll like to share some thoughts on how you can become a person of integrity. The list is not exhaustive. I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me when you finish reading mine.

  1. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY AND SAY WHAT YOU MEAN

One of the fastest ways to demonstrate your integrity or lack of it, is by things you say, the promises you make and the commitment you pledge yourself to. So, to develop a reputation of integrity you may want to adopt the James Solution: To be quick to listen and slow to speak. Think very hard before you make any promises knowing that your integrity is at stake and it is easy to lose. Don’t make any promises you don’t intend to keep and count the cost of every commitment before you use your tongue to break your hand.

  1. LIVE BY PRINCIPLES NOT FEELINGS

People who have committed themselves to the ideals of sexual purity are able to keep up with the integrity of their positions because they are committed to principles and not how they feel. Most sexual purity advocates can tell you about how sometimes their feelings go wild, yet they keep them under because they live by principles not feelings. Same goes for people who are punctual to every meeting. They certainly don’t always feel like getting out of bed, but they realize that time is the currency of life and they live by this principle always. The reason why many people lack a reputation of integrity is because they lack any form of creed by why which they live their lives. If you have not identified your core values and life principles by which your life will be guided, it may be difficult to become a person of integrity.

  1. WALK WITH PEOPLE WHO MODEL INTEGRITY

Integrity like every virtue, can be imparted by the act of modelling. If you walk with the wise, their wisdom will rub off on you. If you walk with people of integrity, their integrity will subconsciously become your aspiration and then your reality. So, identify people in your circle of influence who have demonstrated a record of unflinching commitment to integrity and intentionally commit yourself to stay round them more often. You can easily tell people who have integrity by paying attention to points 1 and 2 above, check if their words mean the world to them and if they walk by principles and not how they feel.

I’ll close with these words of former American President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. They have inspired my commitment to a life of integrity, I hope they do so for you too.

“If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. A leader’s first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”

Blessed? Let me know in the comment section.

Today and always, I call you blessed!

PurposePursuit

ATTITUDE

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Background image by Viviane Berty via flickr.com

There is a story about how the noted English architect, Sir Christopher Wren was supervising the construction of a magnificent cathedral in London. A journalist thought it would be interesting to interview some of the workers, so he chose three and asked them this question, “What are you doing?” The first replied, “I’m cutting stone for 10 shillings a day.” The next answered, “I’m putting in 10 hours a day on this job.” But the third said, “I’m helping Sir Christopher Wren construct one of London’s greatest cathedrals.”

Do you see how attitude can make the most difference in how we assess our experiential realities? The three workers were doing the same thing yet they approached the work differently. The three workers were doing the same thing but because of the difference in their attitude you can expect a difference in their outputs. Attitude may not be the most important determinant of success, it is however, an important factor- important enough to make all the difference.

When I think about how attitude is important in our pursuit of purpose, the story of Paul always comes to mind. The book of Acts chronicles stories of different occasions of persecution and pain to which the Apostle was subjected to. Yet, in all of his letters, Paul communicated a joyful attitude that I believe is worthy of emulation. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul repeatedly instructs his readers to rejoice and be thankful. (Phil. 4:4) This was despite the fact that he himself was in prison when he wrote the letter.  Somehow, the Apostle had learnt to choose joy in every situation. He had learnt to cultivate an attitude that does not depend on any external factor. I love what Viktor Frankl said that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.  I am certain the Apostle understood this and every single time, he chose a joyful attitude over despair, love over hate and grace over bitterness.

Of course, having the right attitude is not only about being joyful when things are not very comfortable. It is important to maintain the right attitude irrespective of times and seasons. Apostle James espouses that the right attitude is always a function of the right knowledge. (James 1:2-3) When we have become convinced about who God is and what He has undertaken to achieve through us, an attitude of hope, joy and delight is stirred in us because of the beauty of that knowledge.

I’ll like to close with the story told by Harry Emerson Fosdick about how as a child, his mother sent him to pick a quart of raspberries. Reluctantly he dragged himself to the berry patch. His afternoon was ruined for sure. Then a thought hit him. He would surprise his mother and pick two quarts of raspberries instead of one. Rather than drudgery his work now became a challenge. He began to enjoy picking those raspberries not because the job had changed but because his attitude had. We too can have a tremendous increase in the output of our pursuits of purpose if we cultivate the right attitude by thinking positively, keeping company with people with the right convictions and living our lives based on the changeless truth of God’s Word rather the ever-changing circumstances in our environment.

God is helping us. Amen.

Blessed? Let me hear your thoughts in the Comments Section and don’t forget to share this post with people in your tribe so they can be blessed too.

You matter to me always.