Last year, I gave up caffeine for Lent and found it a surprisingly difficult task. Firstly, I had no idea how many drinks contain even trace amounts of caffeine. Secondly, I had no idea that I was so dependent on the stuff. This year, I also gave up an unusual addiction because I love Jesus more: electronic games. That included X-Box, iPod Touch and all Facebook games – cold turkey! Indeed, it was a difficult forty day period but I did see a marked increase in productivity. In fact, I rediscovered a number of ways to effectively to use my time and have permanently divorced a number of those time wasting games in the process. It is my sincere belief that we have a responsibility to improve ourselves at every opportunity. These have worked for me in the past and I’m sure will work for anyone:
As long as we can read, there is nothing to hold us back from expanding our understanding of the world. There are many good books and magazines that can educate us and enrich our lives. I love my Nook Color from Barnes and Noble. Even without an e-reader, bookstores are everywhere. However, if money is a problem, public libraries are well stocked with the latest titles. Some of the most brilliant people I know didn’t have a high school education; but their insatiable thirst for knowledge was quenched by reading almost everything they could get their hands on. As long as we know how the alphabet works, we can make our lives better. We’ll never know unless we try.
2. Formal Classes
If one searches earnestly, there are classes available to suit every desire. From computer literacy to car repair, art, dance and cooking classes with your seat vacant. Granted there’s often a cost involved but it’s a much better usage for our spare time than to stay home and do nothing. Sometimes these classes are the key to our dream job, or at least the next step in our careers. Employers have been known to offer financial assistance to part-time scholars. We’ll never know unless we try.
3. Teach yourself
I’m a firm believer in self-education. There are many books and online tutorials that can teach us to use specialised software, musical instruments and a multitude of other skills. Just last week, I started knitting with nothing more than a book, a pair of needles and skein of yarn. It was a challenge but that’s the point. A few years ago, I learned how to touch-type using a Mavis Beacon CD-ROM. It took a lot of practice but that ability helped me in a new job and even now as I’m writing this blog. If we use search engines for something besides the latest celebrity gossip and cyber-stalking, free courses can be found as well. We’ll never know unless we try.
I didn’t call you a fatty but just think about it. You could flip TV channels, only to watch a movie that you’ve probably seen before, then fall asleep or go to bed dissatisfied with your evening’s activities. Or you could go for a run or bike ride. You don’t have to change your clothes if you have a treadmill or exercise equipment at home. Heck, I’ve run a mile in my jammies on more than one occasion. Even play a Wii or Kinect game, do whatever you need to do, but get active. One hot shower, you’ll have the best night’s sleep in a long time. Then wake in the morning, refreshed and ready to face a new day. There’s nothing like it, and who knows? You might find increased endurance, stamina and all round good health. We’ll never know unless we try.
5. Do something you really want to do
Two words justify this one: why not? Life is short, terribly short and no one wants to face twilight years filled with regret. Except for the laws of God and man, there is nothing to hold us back. In my twenties, I studied kickboxing. Not because I wanted to beat people up but because I had the time and it was something I always wanted to do. It not only took me to my peak fitness level but was an endlessly rewarding experience. Isn’t there something you’ve always wanted to do? It’s usually something we don’t pursue for fear of what others might think. However, we have to live with ourselves and our choices should not be based on what we think people will think. Even if we know for sure, how can we deny our true purpose because of envious naysayers? “To thine own self be true” but we’ll never know unless we try.
Please don’t wait for tragedy to force introspection. Take a chance. Look past your fear, swallow your pride and leap in faith. Even if we fail miserably, at least we tried; and that’s worth more than something. It’s worth everything.