Living a Good Life is Not as Hard as We Make it

Learning to Live Life from the Bible

Over the past couple of weeks, we been looking forward to Easter through a series of messages about Peter’s relationship with Jesus.

The first week was about Peter’s introduction to Jesus (John 1:35-42) by his brother Andrew. This simple act of introduction changed not only Peter’s life but the lives of those he met, as well as people throughout history and even still today.

Being introduced to Jesus can have this same kind of impact on us today and others that are introduced to Him.

Last week was about Peter’s invitation from Jesus (Matthew 4:18-20, Luke 5:1-11). Jesus invited Peter to follow Him and fish for people rather than fish.

Jesus invites every one of us to join Him. He gives us the direction of where to go and how to do it…whatever our “it” is.

This week we learned about Peter’s instructions from Jesus. A big part of learning is instruction. We all need it, but too often think we have it all figured out. Peter was no different.

In Mark 8:31-9:1 Jesus tells His followers that He is going to suffer terrible things, ultimately going to be killed and then be raised from the dead. This is not the kind of king the people were expecting, and Peter reprimanded Jesus for saying it.

Jesus then told Peter, “Get behind me Satan. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Jesus went on to tell the crowd that if they wanted to be His followers that they needed to quit focusing on their worldly thoughts and focus first and foremost on what He was telling them.

Just like the people listening to Jesus then, we need to be open to His instruction in our lives today.

We can get His instruction today through daily reading of the Bible, being a part of a Bible-believing church, and communicating with Him regularly through prayer.

Invitation, introduction, and instruction…a good way to live life.

Note Taking Done Right Is Like Having a Memory Filing Cabinet (part 2)

In Addition to Expanded Memory, it Can Also Serve as Meeting Preparation

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing the issues of note taking and how this can be an overwhelming and daunting thing.

We started out with the importance of determining the why before the how. Next, we discussed the struggle of deciding whether to do digital or use paper. Last week we talked about the additional memory storage that is available with notes and storing them in a way so they can be found.

Last week’s focus was on taking notes for learning – lectures, classes, webinars, podcasts, books, etc.

This week we’re going to look at meeting notes and how they differ from learning notes. Meeting notes are more about actions than learning notes.

They are about discussions during the meeting, decisions made in the meeting, actions that need to be taken, when these actions need to be completed, etc. Meetings should have an agenda. An agenda is a form of note taking prior to the meeting. If you’re responsible for the meeting, you’re responsible for the agenda.

There are two different motivations for meeting notes

  • Preparation of a meeting that you’re responsible for organizing
  • Taking notes in a meeting that someone else has organized

An agenda is a form of “preparation” note taking.

Like learning notes, I prefer OneNote for my meeting notes. This is a Microsoft note-taking program for information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It can gather notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries.

Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network. OneNote is available as part of the Microsoft Office suite; it is also available as a free, stand-alone app via the website and the app stores of: Windows 10, MacOS, iOS and Android.

If you’d like to know more about why and how I use it, you can open my toolbox and look at OneNote.

On some occasions I will use a Word document. This may be because some people in the group need it in this format or it is an agenda that someone else has prepared previously.

The most important thing to remember when preparing a meeting agenda is…WHY are we having this meeting?

Here’s an example of a simple meeting agenda in OneNote.

Just like last week, if you look at the upper left corner to see what notebook we’re in, you can see that we’re in the Business & Organization Notebook. The Section is the second one from the left, the Team tab. Looking at the right side of the screen you can see we’re in Sunny’s subpage entitled Daily Meeting.

Below the heading of Daily Meeting in the upper left, you can see the date and time of the meeting. This is created automatically when a new page is started. These can be changed at any time.

You will also see another date on the left side above the agenda. This is because in this format I take notes during the meetings and keep each one in the same OneNote page so that that can be reviewed later.

In this view you’ll see the previous day’s agenda with notes. There are two additional colors on this agenda. The blue is notes I make to myself as reminders prior to the meeting. The red are notes made during the meeting.

Here is an excerpt from a Word document meeting agenda/notes. This was prepared by the church secretary and sent out to people on the committee ahead of time.

If I am responsible for reports or if there are things I want to remember during the meeting, I will add notes prior to the meeting – blue. During the meeting I take notes on my tablet, these are in red.

This can seem like a lot of work, but for me it’s worth the effort.

There was a time years ago when I was a young chairman of a committee at the church and was asked a question.

I couldn’t answer it because…I forgot what was discussed in the previous meeting.

This was a traumatic experience for a young man just out of high school.

Situations like this are, in part, what has led to me being the note taking nerd that I am. For me it’s about being accountable to those who have given me the responsibility, whatever that responsibility is.

Next week we’ll look at note taking as a way to sort our thoughts.

Note Taking Done Right Is Like Having a Memory Filing Cabinet (part 1)

It’s Up to You to Determine If You Need the Additional Storage or Not

Last week I promised that we would look at my note taking system and how you can have a system that works for you.

Previously, we discussed the how’s and whys of note taking and the pros and cons of different systems. We talked about the fact that most people want a simple, “one size fits all” fix for note taking and there simply is no such thing.

But that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated either.

Note taking is relative to the level of organization and detail that you want to accomplish.

It can be as simple as writing it on a piece of paper or as complicated as you choose to make it.

The important thing to remember is…it’s your system!

I have been asking “note taking” questions of family and friends over the past few weeks. The answers I got were as wide ranging as the number of people asked.

The one thing that I don’t understand is why some people don’t take any notes.

All I can say is that either they have a lot better memory recall than I do or it’s just not important enough to put forth the effort.

There is just so much information that I want to remember or review later that I need a way to store it and then be able to find it when I need or want it.

Of the four different whys that I listed in the previous two posts…

  • Learning – lectures, classes, webinars, podcasts, books, etc.
  • Meeting notes – decisions made, actions to take, etc.
  • Sorting thoughts – pros and cons, cost comparisons, getting clarity, etc.
  • Preparation – outlines for presentations, ideas for sharing, agendas for meetings, etc.

We will look at learning today:

The foundation of my note taking system is OneNote. This is a Microsoft note-taking program for information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It can gather notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries.

Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network. OneNote is available as part of the Microsoft Office suite; it is also available as a free, stand-alone app via the website and the app stores of: Windows 10, MacOS, iOS and Android.

If you’d like to know more about why and how I use it, you can find that by following this link to open my toolbox and look at OneNote. There are a wide variety of similar systems, but this works the best for me.

Keep in mind that I’m a bit of a detailed organizational geek. I do love me some note taking.

Don’t let my system scare you off.

Here is an example of note from a Thrivable You course I took.

You can see in the upper left corner we’re in my Education Notebook. The tabs across the top are the different Sections in the notebook. We’re in the fourth Section from the left, Thrivable You. Looking at the right side of the screen you can see we’re in Session 23.

Below the Session 23 in the upper left, you can see the date and time of the class. This is created automatically when a new page is started. These can be changed if they need to be.

I usually take notes in an outline format, but this is just me. One of the things I like about OneNote is the ability to hide content (see the plus signs). This means there is more information there and I can open it by double clicking on the plus sign.

The Notes and Questions on the right side are things I think of during the learning and don’t want to forget but was not something that was presented as a direct part of the learning.

A great thing about OneNote and most digital systems is being able to search.

Notice the Search box in the upper right corner. Searching can be done by Page, Section, Notebook or the complete OneNote.

There is so much more about OneNote note taking that we could go into…but not today. If you would like more information and options about my learning note taking or OneNote in general, let me know in the contacts below.

Next week we’ll look at meeting notes.

Did You Know That It Really Wasn’t Curiosity That Killed the Cat?

It Was Worry, Not Curiosity, That Did the Poor Cat In

Last week I wrote about the why question and it not being asked enough. It seems to me, that as a society we’ve quit asking why. To much of the time we just drift through life accepting things at face value.

What happened to our curiosity?

Could it be that the phrase ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ is partly responsible for this loss? This saying makes curiosity sound pretty scary. Like, being curious could be life threating. Not asking questions leads to our blindly following along like a herd of sheep.

This zombie like meandering through life may seem easier, but it leads to nowhere in particular. If we’re not careful we might blindly walk off the edge of a cliff.

After a little research I found out that the saying ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ started out with a completely different meaning. It started out ‘care killed the cat’ in the late 1500’s in a Ben Jonson play. In this case ‘care’ means ‘worry’ or ‘sorrow’. Now were getting somewhere. Worrying rather than curiosity is certainly something that doesn’t add anything to life. The Bible is full of scriptures showing us to not worrying.

Learning leads to less worry.

Early in life I had big plans, when they didn’t work out…I became zombie like…just drifting through life. I gave up and gave in. That’s when God got my attention with a board upside the head. I woke up and realized it was up to me and I could do something about it.

I have control over my choices and decisions.

Since then, I’ve been reinvigorated in my curiosity. I ask why, I read, I learn, I think, I’ve surrounded myself with other curious people wanting more out of life than just floating along.

One of the ways that I’m learning is going through the Enneagram course of Donald Miller’s, Business Made Simple online learning. The Enneagram is an in-depth personality typing system. There are nine basic personality types.

  1. Perfectionist
  2. Helper
  3. Performer
  4. Romantic
  5. Investigator
  6. Loyalist
  7. Enthusiast
  8. Challenger
  9. Peacemaker

This system helps us to become more aware of who we are and why we naturally do things the way we do. Like the BMSU Mission Statement course my friend Shep and I are going through the Enneagram course together. We’re a few weeks in and I’m curious about what personality type I am. (I think I already know)

Remember it wasn’t curiosity that killed the cat…it was worry

How Can I Stop Using Learning as a Form of Procrastination?

First Thing is to Determine When Too Much is Too Much

I love learning! I want to be better than I am. I want to know more than I do now. I also want to learn how to build a great business that helps others find solutions for building their dreams.

There is so much that I don’t know. If I’m going to have that profitable business and be the best me, I need to learn how. Over the years, I’ve wondered if I was spending too much time and money learning, but really never came up with a clear answer.

So, how much time and money should be invested in learning?

What is the appropriate amount of either? According to Josh Spector there is a balance of learning and doing. Learning is valuable, but will never be as valuable as doing. He makes a great point when he writes,

“There’s a reason Nike’s slogan isn’t “Just learn it”.”

Time spent learning makes us feel like we’re working hard. There’s less risk with learning than doing. Learning is more internal. If we ‘do’ something and it doesn’t work…others can see that we failed.

There are learners and doers.

People naturally fall into one of these two groups. Learners don’t get as much done as they would like because they spend too much time learning. Doers don’t get as much done as the could because they don’t know of any other way to do it. Consequently, neither group gets as much done as it could if they would find a balance.

So what is the right balance of learning and doing? Josh recommends spending 80% of your time doing. He also says one of the best ways to learn is to do.

This caused me to think back over my construction career and how I learned all of the things that I now know how to do. These things weren’t learned from an online class or from a book. They were learned working along side someone who knew what they were doing and showed me how…and showed me how…and showed me how.

The important thing is to be clear about your goals, determine what is needed to accomplish them and begin to move in that direction.

Above all you need to know whether you’re learning to avoid doing or to give you the knowledge you need to move forward and accomplish your goals.

Doing is learning! Find the right balance for you.