Saving money puts you in control when things go bad.

There’s a really interesting scripture in the bible where we can learn about the importance of saving. It’s Pharaoh’s Dreams in Genesis 41: 15-57. Check this out…

15…Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.”

16“It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.”

17So Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. “In my dream,” he said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River, 18and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass. 19But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, scrawny and thin, come up after them. I’ve never seen such sorry-looking animals in all the land of Egypt. 20These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows. 21But afterward you wouldn’t have known it, for they were still as thin and scrawny as before! Then I woke up.

22“Then I fell asleep again, and I had another dream. This time I saw seven heads of grain, full and beautiful, growing on a single stalk. 23Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were blighted, shriveled, and withered by the east wind. 24And the shriveled heads swallowed the seven healthy heads. I told these dreams to the magicians, but no one could tell me what they mean.”

25Joseph responded, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. 26The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. 27The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine.

28“This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. 29The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt. 30But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten in Egypt. Famine will destroy the land. 31This famine will be so severe that even the memory of the good years will be erased. 32As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen.

33“Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. 34Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. 35Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. 36That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.”

39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. 40You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.

47As predicted, for seven years the land produced bumper crops. 48During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities. 49He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure.

53At last the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end. 54Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt there was plenty of food. 55Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.” 56So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. 57And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.

For Egypt, there were good times of abundance and bad times of famine. Conveniently for Egypt, God gave Pharaoh a heads up. Through the dreams Joseph interpreted, Pharaoh knew there were bad times ahead and so they prepared by saving 20% of their crops during the good times.

It was only through having prepared during the 7 years of prosperity that they were able to survive 7 years of famine. But not only did they survive, they also managed to feed many of the surrounding countries as well.

It’s extremely important to be prepared for the bad seasons.

God doesn’t always give us the same kind of advanced warning of bad times ahead that he gave to Egypt, however it’s safe to assume that seasons come and go and at some point there will be bad seasons ahead that we should prepare for. Just like Egypt, we know we will have good times and bad, good seasons and bad seasons.

Looking as Australia’s financial situation, a BT Australian Financial Health Index survey in 2016 found that ONE in three Australian households is living pay cheque to pay cheque and many would not be able to cover a major emergency if it happened.

The survey, which was conducted by Ernst & Young, also found:

ALMOST one in five people would not be able to find between $500 and $1000 if they needed it in an emergency.

56 PER CENT of people say they are unable to save as much as they would like to.

48 PER CENT of people say they rarely or never make contributions to a super plan.

A THIRD do not believe they will have a financially secure retirement.

Only 35 PER CENT of people have developed a sound plan to help them achieve their goals.

(Source: Adelaide Now)

The reality is if we are not prepared, bad situations will be more difficult than they need to be.

About 20 years ago when I had my first job I was catching public transport to my workplace. My car was parked at the train station car park during the day and one particular day I returned to find my car had been broken into while I was at work. The thief smashed the locks and ripped half of my dashboard out trying to get my stereo. They took about $400 worth of my CDs and made a huge mess. I claimed it on insurance but the insurance company wouldn’t give me my car back until I paid the excess which I unfortunately didn’t have at the time. I hadn’t saved any money and I wasn’t prepared. It was an unnecessarily stressful situation that could have been avoided if I had savings.

I was reading a book recently called the Barefoot Investor. At the beginning of the book the author Scott Pape tells a story about how his house burnt down in the Black Saturday bush fires in 2009. I can only imagine how difficult that experience would have been.

While Scott wasn’t expecting his house to burn down, he had savings put aside in a separate bank account specifically for emergencies such as this. He also had insurance and within days of their house burning down he was able to pay the excess and received a full insurance payout for his property.

When Joseph ordered the people to bring in 20% of their crops Egypt embarked on one of the biggest savings plans the world has ever seen.

There were significant benefits to having saved so much food.

• They survived the famine. There was enough food for the whole of Egypt.

• They had so much food they were able to be generous. They didn’t just feed Egypt – they fed other countries too.

• People came from all around to buy their grain. Because they were prepared Egypt was in a position of power and had control of their situation. Having saved so much food, Pharaoh and Joseph weren’t looking to others for help. Others were coming to them.

The scripture and Josephs example are such a contradiction to what our society teaches us. Our society is very materialistic and impatient. The world says “Why save up when you can have something now?” and “You need stuff… and you need it now. Don’t worry if you don’t have the money. Just use a credit card or get a loan.”

But who’s telling us this? It’s usually banks, financial institutions and retailers. Our banking, finance and retail sectors like to be Joseph and Egypt. They like to have the money and in turn the control. They like us to be dependent on them but we know from scripture that we’re meant to be the head not the tail.

The banking, finance and retail sectors are more interested in what they can draw out of you rather than genuinely looking after you despite their marketing and advertising claims. Their primary purpose is to generate wealth for their shareholder.

We are increasingly relying on credit. A reliance on credit makes you dependant on banks and financial institutions (not to mention adds to the cost of your purchase) and in a way you put yourself at the mercy of they institution. You could say you become a slave to them – locked in for the term of your finance regardless of your situation.

It’s important to live within your means and avoid credit as much as possible.

As we saw with Joseph… when you save, you not only have yourself covered for a rainy day but you are in a much better position – you have the power and control of your situation. It’s not left to external people or organisations such as banks or financial institutions.

In Proverbs 21:20 it says “The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.”

Spending is a barrier to saving and we are addicted to buying stuff.

According to Moneysmart – the average Victorian spends $1225 per week.

 It might shock you to learn that Environment Victoria says the vast majority of what we buy will end up in landfill within 6 weeks of buying it. (Source: Barefoot investor)

Think about it… Everything you spend will at some point end up in landfill.

If the vast majority of what we spend ends up in land fill we could be wasting as much as $60,000 a year just by throwing stuff out.

I’m one of those not so common guys who actually enjoys shopping. It must be a hunter gatherer thing. I also hate waste. I found the idea that the vast majority of what I spend will end up in landfill very confronting. Thinking about this concept has kind of ruined shopping for me. I question myself much more before I make a purchase these days. Do I really need this? How likely am I to use this? Is this a good investment or use of my money? Will this purchase end up in landfill soon? Am I wasting money?

We can’t avoid spending completely but we can be wise with what we spend.

What’s more, if we can get our financial affairs in order, it not only puts us in a better place for the bad season, it also puts us in good stead for the good seasons.

In Matthew 25:23 it says:

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’”

It’s important to be prepared and to manage your finances well. 

There’s a couple basic things you can do to get your finances in order and be better prepared for the inevitable bad seasons before they happen:

• Have a simple budget.

• If you have debts or credit facilities, pay them off as fast as possible and close them down. Get rid of credit cards. Pay them out and close the accounts and use a debit card instead.

• Pay extra off your mortgage to get rid of it as soon as possible.

• Use your own money, live within your means and limit unnecessary spending.

Be a serial saver. Save for emergencies, big purchases and to invest in your future.

Its time to take control of your finances. What can you do to be better prepared financially?

References:

The Bible.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/one-third-of-australian-households-have-no-savings/news-story/238931033919717be3bd1a8b1d9f046f 

https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/budgeting/spending/australian-spending-habits 

Book: “Barefoot Investor. The only money book you will ever need.”  – by Scott Pape.

What’s so good about the Melbourne Tourism Industry Leadership Program?

Life changing. That’s the best way to summarise my Melbourne Tourism Industry Leadership Program (MTILP) experience.

By the end of 2014 I had been working in my dream job for quite a few years but I was torn. As much as I loved my job, a lengthy and somewhat torturous restructure process was taking its toll (perhaps a little more than I had realised) and at the same time I felt like my career had started to become stagnant.

I was frustrated, fatigued, emotionally drained, unclear about my long term career direction and starting to wonder what my next dream job might look like. I knew something needed to change and I was ready to explore and embrace new ideas and opportunities.

On 9 December 2014 I found out I’d been accepted into MTILP for 2015. It could not have happened at a better time. It sounded like a great opportunity and was something to look forward to for the year ahead. Little did I know just how impacting MTILP would be.

Initially I didn’t know much about MTILP other than it was not ‘leadership 101’ and it would give me an opportunity to learn, grow and explore who I am as a leader and how I could potentially further my career longer term.

Curious to learn more about what I was getting myself into, I spoke to a couple people who had previously completed MTILP. They all spoke very highly of MTILP and said I was in for an incredible year but articulating what to expect seemed to be somewhat of a challenge. I soon discovered none of the previous ‘MTILPers’ could describe what MTILP actually was in a clear and succinct way. My anticipation was growing but despite my best efforts to find out more about it, my expectations were still quite vague.

12014982_10154279087278916_8742546822486834828_o

The before shot – MTILP class of 2015. That’s me on the far left.

Finally the first day arrived. We started a 2 day residential workshop at the Bowls Club in Flagstaff Gardens. Anxious but full of anticipation, 20 new MTILPers including myself embarked on an epic journey of discovery.

I started day one hopeful that by the end of MTILP I was going to get answers to some very serious questions in my mind. What is my next dream job? How do I thrive as an introvert in an extroverted tourism industry? How can I be a positive influence on my organisation? How can I be a better leader? What do I actually want from my career?

It didn’t take long to work out I was really going to enjoy MTILP. One of the first things I remember our facilitator and trainer Mel Neil saying was not to expect pointless group activities masquerading as content. Fantastic. Great start. I can’t stand time wasting workshop activities. From there things kicked into gear very quickly and I soon discovered that MTILP is meaty… very meaty. In fact it’s so meaty that it’s quite a lot to take in.

After the first day I had so much information percolating in my head that I was still awake at about 3am that night trying to process it all. Thankfully MTILP is spread out over a year. There’s no way I could have taken it in all at once.

The content presented is well tested and researched science based leadership principles and tools. It is deep, insightful and sometimes quite confronting on a personal level. MTILP is definitely not ‘leadership 101’ and it is not a series of untested leadership theories, opinions or trends.

One of the great highlights of MTILP is the series of inspirational high caliber guest speakers who share their own personal leadership insights and stories. We heard from people such as former Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon and ARIA award winning singer/songwriter Clare Bowditch as well as key tourism industry figures and leaders. Presenting to such an intimate group allows each speaker to bring something different and leave you with unique personal perspective and stories that you wouldn’t usually hear.

12027341_10154279078373916_5053763417190086149_o

One of my post MTILP workshop moments of reflection.

It’s been more than a year since I graduated from the program and I’m still amazed at how many times I reference and use what I have learnt. I got so much more out of MTILP than I ever anticipated.

I can honestly say that MTILP has changed me.

I now have a new tool box full of practical and effective leadership tools that have helped me become more effective in my job and also my family life.

I’ve found a new confidence like I have never had before. I have a clear understanding of who I am, my values, how my values influence the way I respond to situations, what energises or de-energises me and even how to handle conflict more effectively.

I have increased my influence and ability to lead in my current role within my organisation and more broadly in the wider tourism industry.

I now have answers to the questions I had on that first day. The answers weren’t even necessarily part of the content but the MTILP experience includes the light bulbs that illuminated the answers. I have a clear idea of the direction I want to take my career which has enabled me to make decisions to progress my long term career and has influenced how I approach my current role.

I have a much deeper understanding of the tourism industry through exposure to my fellow MTILPers and the many challenging discussions we shared plus doors have opened to a number of new tourism networking opportunities.

I gained an instant network of tourism colleagues who shared my MTILP experience and one of the biggest things I didn’t expect was they’ve also become close friends.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. (MTILP pun intended)

12003361_10154220700883916_3722118545778701678_n

One of our MTILP workshops was at Eureka Skydeck.

I understand now why MTILPers find it difficult to articulate what MTILP actually is. I now share their struggle. It’s like trying to explain what an apple tastes like to someone who has never eaten an apple before.

I’m going to give it a shot though… here goes…

MTILP is a tourism flavoured journey of self discovery that empowers you with a bag of leadership tools and inspirational experiences designed to help you be your best self and to influence a stronger, more effective organisation and tourism industry.    

…and that’s not even close to doing it justice.

MTILP really is incredible. I can not recommend MTILP enough and I would strongly encourage anyone involved in the tourism industry in Victoria, Australia to seriously consider applying. It’s absolutely worth the sacrifice and commitment required and it truly is a life changing experience.

Details for MTILP are on Destination Melbourne’s website here: Melbourne Tourism Industry Leadership Program

12189499_10154296922463916_7494540026851241267_o-copy-2

10 things you need to know before your first overnight hike

12971034_10154757769118916_4784326845047541722_o

It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. I’ve done a few day hikes before and I’ve camped in my favourite national park quite a few times over the years but until recently I’d never done an overnight hike. When a good mate of mine suggested we do a long hike in my favourite national park I knew it was finally my chance to make it happen.

We started planning a hike at Wilson’s Promontory National Park in Victoria, Australia that covered about 40km of walking tracks over three days with two nights camping. I was really excited about the hike but the closer it got the more anxious I started to become as the reality of what I’d committed myself to started sinking in.

Thoughts and questions started playing on my mind. Am I going to make it? Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Are we going to have enough food? How am I going to carry all that gear and hike up and down mountains? Will my hiking buddy be sick of me after 3 days? What on earth are we going to talk about for that long? Have I got the right gear? What happens if we get injured? Will the weather be ok? What could go wrong? I had so many questions about what was at that time an unknown experience for me.

We did the hike and I survived. I was sore and stiff for about a week afterwards but it was one of the best things I have ever done. There was absolutely no regrets and we are going to plan another big hike soon. There’s something incredible about getting connected to nature and the digital detox was a bonus.

If you’re thinking about doing an overnight hike here’s a few tips based on my first overnight hiking experience:

1) Don’t go alone. It’s much safer going with someone else and in the hopefully unlikely event that you hurt yourself, get lost or something unplanned happens you will be able to help each other or get help. It’s great to have someone else there for moral support. There were moments where I really felt like I was done. My hiking buddy encouraged me to keep going and sometimes I was encouraged simply because he was there. I’d put one foot in front of the other and a couple steps later I had momentum again and forgot about quitting. I’d also highly recommend hiking with someone you get along with really well. It makes a huge difference to your overall hike experience and for me it became a really powerful bonding experience because we got along so well.

2) Plan your trip in detail. The better you plan and prepare for your hike the more enjoyable your experience will be. Think carefully about your basic needs like food, water and shelter.  Think about what could go wrong, where you are going, how long it will take to get there, what facilities will be at the overnight camp sites and how long it will take you to walk each section of the hike. Use detailed maps, seek out local information and look for advice from people who have already experienced the same hike. It really helps to know the park well and do a hike that is popular and likely to have other hikers on it. Share your plans with someone at home including where you are planning to hike and make sure you check out the local weather and conditions before you leave.

3) Buy or borrow a really good quality hiking backpack. I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow a really good 80 litre hiking backpack from a mate of mine. I was worried about carrying so much gear during the hike but having a well designed hiking backpack made carrying our gear quite practical and much easier than I expected. We were carrying about 10kg of gear each and although you could definitely feel it was there, after a while you got used to it. The biggest issue I had was getting the backpack on and off. There’s a trick to it. You need to lean forward, put the pack on, do up the waist straps while you are still leaning forward and then stand up. If possible, find a backpack that accommodates a hydration bladder for your water.

4) Buy a hikers hydration bladder. I was almost going to use water bottles to store water but I’m so glad I didn’t. The hydration bladders have a pipe with a tap mechanism and a squeezable cap that allows you to drink while your hiking without having to open you back pack each time you need a drink. If your backpack accommodates a hydration bladder it will also mean your water is significantly easier to carry. Make sure you check whether there are local water source options at your campsites for refills. If there is a water source you may need to treat water either by boiling or with a chemical treatment. If there is no was source you will need to carry all your water in. I carried about 3 litres of water for drinking which covered me for about 6-8 hours of hiking in mild temperatures. We also used additional water for cooking and cleaning dishes.

img_3990

5) Pack as light as possible. Look for ways to lighten what you take with you. The total weight of your gear starts adding up very quickly once you start packing and you’ll thank yourself later if you do all you can to minimise the weight of your gear. Little things like removing excess packaging from food or cutting your toothbrush in half make a big cumulative difference which will make carrying your backpack just that little bit easier. Where you need to buy equipment for your hike look for the good quality lightweight options. You will also discover that you don’t need everything they sell in hiking/outdoor stores. Only pack the essentials and avoid the temptation to pack spare clothes.

6) Use good quality sleeping gear. Sleep is important for the exhausted camper. Make sure you have a good quality sleeping matt, sleeping bag and hiking pillow to ensure you have a great nights sleep. Your sleeping bag should have an appropriate temperature rating and a good sturdy lightweight hiking tent will also help you sleep well and keep you dry if it rains.

7) Plan your food carefully. Plan out a menu of what you are going to eat for the whole trip. There are some key things to keep in mind when planning your food. Think about light weight food, what will keep without refrigeration, how will you open packaging (i.e. will you need a can opener?), how are you going to cook hot food, does the park you’re hiking in have restrictions on fires, will there be facilities to cook on at the camp sites, if you’re looking at packet meals do they need other ingredients like cream or milk and how much rubbish will you end up having to carry home after you’ve consumed the food. Keep your meal plan simple. There are lots of great ideas for hiking meals on the internet. We found the dehydrated hiking meals in outdoor/hiking stores were really good because they were light weight and only needed minimal boiling water. They cost a little more than some other options but it was worth paying a little extra for them and they actually tasted pretty good after a long day hiking.

8) Wear good hiking shoes. Your feet will bear the brunt of your hiking expedition so it’s important to make sure you wear proper hiking shoes that support your feet well, are tight (but not too tight) around your feet and have good grip. The difference between good shoes and bad shoes will be the difference between blisters and black toe nails. My shoes weren’t quite as tight fitting as they needed to be and so I ended up with blisters on the soles of my feet from sliding around in my shoes. I’ll definitely be getting hiking shoes before my next hike. If you buy a new pair of shoes make sure you wear them in before you go. Also make sure you trim your nails before your hike to reduce the chance they will rub against your shoe and turn black or fall off after your hike.  A good pair of hiking socks will also make a huge difference.

9) Wear shorts during the hike. Assuming you’re not hiking in the snow or somewhere really cold it is much more comfortable hiking in knee length shorts than long pants. We hiked in mild Autumn temperatures that peaked at approximately 23 degrees Celsius. I thought I’d be cold in shorts but I was actually too hot in light weight long pants. You can buy hiking pants which convert to shorts by unzipping the legs. They would be a practical option that helps keep your backpack weight down. Make sure you pack warm clothes for nights though as once you’re settling into camp for the night you will cool down quickly and temperatures will drop significantly overnight. Make sure you pack cameras or other devices away overnight as the battery on my camera didn’t handle the cold well.

10) Think about post hike recovery. We worked out we walked more than 50km over the 3 days. I was sore all over, I had blisters on my feet and I was pretty exhausted. I had a spa when I got home which was very soothing. Almost a week later I ended up going to a physio as I was having issues with a sore back that wasn’t recovering quick enough but it was ok and a quick massage and some stretches helped. I also used a heat balm to rub down my muscles for a few days. As much as I was sore for a few days it was a small price to pay for such an incredible experience and I still say it  was well worth it.

If you’ve never been on an overnight hike before and you’re considering it I would definitely recommend it. These tips will hopefully help you prepare and get the most out of your hike. If you plan and prepare your hike well you will have a fantastic and memorable time. You’ll be so glad you did it and if you’re anything like me you’ll be planning your next hike as soon as you finish your first one. Enjoy!

img_3994

My Secret Happy Place

There’s a particular spot on this great big blue and green planet of ours that holds a special place in my heart. When I’m there I can’t help but feel content. There’s something about it that is simply great for my soul. It’s truly my very own secret happy place.

When I’m there I’m filled with generous portions of joy, peace and serenity all at once. It’s the place I feel closest to God and it’s a place where I’ve experienced significant personal milestones and created life changing memories. When I’m there, something about it feels like home.

If I want to lift my spirits or get a glimpse of happiness I just need to picture it in my mind or look at a photo I’ve taken there. It’s not a place I can get to easily. In fact I could count the number of times I’ve been there on my hands and still have spare fingers to account for future visits.

It’s not very easy to get to my secret happy place. There’s a bit of a journey required. I don’t live near my secret happy place so the journey starts with a long drive. Once I arrive, there’s a rather challenging hike up a steep mountain. It’s hard work but it’s worth it.

Perhaps that’s one of the things that makes me appreciate it so much. There’s a real sense of anticipation on the climb and a feeling of achievement when you get there. Then there’s the view. Sigh… oh the view. It is simply spectacular. I could stare at it for hours. There’s ocean as far as the eye can see and some of the most picturesque coastline in the world. It’s God’s spectacular creation in all it’s splendour. 

A few years ago I had an opportunity to go to my secret happy place with a group of work colleagues. When we returned one of my colleagues said to me “You had a real spiritual experience up there didn’t you? There was almost 20 people there and somehow you were there all on your own.”

Another time when I was camping with friends at the bottom of the mountain, I could see my secret happy place from afar. I was so close but at the same time so far. I looked up at my secret happy place on top of the mountain and said to a very good friend of mine “One day I’m going to propose to my future wife up there.”

True to my word, a few years later I found myself down on bended knee in my secret happy place as I proposed to my soul mate. My secret happy place didn’t let me down. As we shared our romantic moment we were surrounded by intimate cloud cover before my secret happy place put on a spectacular show for the two of us. We’ve never seen nature put on such a spectacular performance like we did when the sunset burst through and illuminated the sky above the clouds.

There is no other place like my secret happy place. Nothing compares to sitting on the rocks on top of Mount Oberon at Wilson’s Promontory National Park in Victoria, Australia.

Mt Oberon

Being Limitless In God Requires Ignition

Limitless - Copy.jpg

If you have absolutely no restrictions or limitations and you knew beyond the shadow of a doubt there was no way you could fail – what would be your most audacious goal?

Let me tell you a story… it’s a true story… maybe you’ve heard it before.

It’s 25 May, 1961. President John F. Kennedy stands before the US congress with a bold vision. He asks congress for $531 million to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade… a seemingly impossible dream. To put it in context, that’s 3.5 trillion dollars in today’s money ($3,512,258,367). History tells us… congress said yes.

Fast forward seven years…  It’s now December 1968. The research, testing, and preparations up to this point have been immense and not without issue but NASA believe it’s time to make a bold decision and send Apollo 8 all the way to the moon with astronauts on board. It’s the first human space flight to leave Earths orbit and enter a different orbit around the moon.

Step forward a further 7 months and it’s now 16 July 1969… a little over 8 years since President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon.

Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins are once again sitting at the top of a rocket at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre. Apollo 11 is a three-stage 111 metre tall rocket (363-foot) that will use its 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel them into space and into history. As the astronauts prepare to launch Apollo 11 they narrate their procedures to space command.

At 9:32 am, the engines fire… “Houston… we have ignition.”

Space command begin the count down… “Apollo 11 Prepare for launch in T minus 10, 9, 8…”

The astronauts are anxious as the countdown continues… “3, 2, 1. We have lift off!”

Apollo 11 clears the tower and rockets into space. About 12 minutes later, the crew is in Earths orbit. After 1.5 orbits of the earth, the crew receive confirmation to begin their mission. After 3 days they enter the Lunar orbit. A day after that, on 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin climb into the lunar module they’ve affectionately named the Eagle and they begin the descent towards the moon.

During the final seconds of descent, the Eagle’s computer is sounding alarms which is worrying for all involved. It turns out to be a simple case of the computer trying to do too many things at once.

When the lunar module finally lands on the moon there is only 30 seconds of fuel remaining. Neil Armstrong radios back to space command – “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again.”

With more than half a billion people watching on television, Neil Armstrong climbs down the ladder and proclaims those historic words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It’s an historic moment and an inspirational story. Without limits man threw away convention and launched into space. They did the unthinkable… a man actually walked on the moon.

There’s one key ingredient of this story that I want to bring to your attention and that is IGNITION.

To walk on the moon… a destiny beyond our greatest limitations… man put himself in a rocket. To see the very dream of walking on a moon become alive… it took IGNITION.

I’ve been stirred a lot this year about how God is limitless and through the Holy Spirit that we too can be limitless in Him.

Matthew 19:26 says: “Jesus looked at them and said, with man this is impossible but with God all things are possible.”

Nothing is impossible for God!

Ephesians 3:20 also says: “With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.”

They key to being limitless is God. We are human. We are limited. All things are only possible with God involved. So often we try to do things in our own strength or like Frank Sinatra… ‘my way’. That’s not how being limitless works… it’s God’s way, in His strength and with His plans. We are but flesh and blood but He is the God Almighty.

Acts 2:17-18 (NKJV) says: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.”

The bible tells us that God will pour out His spirit and we will see dreams and visions. Life without limits thinks beyond normal. It dreams beyond the status quo and sees visions beyond the current reality around us. When our dreams and visions come from the God of ‘all things are possible’ they are bigger than us and bigger than impossible.

Being limitless is a nice idea, but there’s more to being limitless that just dreaming about it. You need ignition.

When you think about it… if it wasn’t for ignition the Apollo 11 rocket would have never left the ground. Without ignition there’s no movement, progress or advancement. Without ignition rockets are grounded.

Without ignition the stars are still out of reach. Without action… Limitless becomes limited.

Sometimes we look at the mountain that is before us and we think it is way too big. How can I do that? I’m just me? Or I’m not good enough.  Why would God choose me to do that? There’s so many other people out there who can do this better than me? What if I fail?

We are full of excuses but why do we allow ourselves to become limited?

One of the biggest barriers to IGNITION is inaction.

Neil Armstrong did not just wake up one morning and decided ‘today is the day I’m going to walk on the moon.’ Someone had a dream. Then a lot of work was required.  Apparently there were 1000’s of people involved in preparation for the Apollo 11 rocket launch. When you think about it there was planning, training, manufacturing, research, testing and a massive amount of administration. The work behind the scenes would have been phenomenal.  But they had a dream and they took the required steps to make it happen. The thing is they had to start somewhere and it all started with a first step.

Sometimes the vision or the dreams that God puts before us are huge. They might even seem completely impossible. We ask how on earth can I do that?

You’ve heard that saying… ‘how to you eat an elephant?’ The answer is one bite at a time.

We often get distracted by the size of the dream or vision that God puts before us but we need to take it one bite at a time. The important thing is to make sure we take that first bite. The first bite is often the hardest. It’s the ignition point. Without it nothing will occur.

Once you’ve taken the first bite, then you can take the second bites. And then the next and the next… and before you know it you’re well and truly on your way to your moon landing and the dreams and visions you have received will start progressing.

There’s often more than one elephant in your life. God sometimes gives you multiple dreams or visions and there’s also many areas of our lives such as work, family or friends which are in some ways competing priorities. However if you take a bite from each one of your elephants then often then you can eat more than 1 elephant at a time. If you break it down to the next most important task for each one of your elephants you can make a huge leap forward in your dreams and visions and several areas of your life all at once.

Another barrier to ignition is doubt.

Doubt can come from from a wide variety of places. It can be triggered by people close to you, a comment from a random stranger, something you see or hear in media, previous life experiences and sometimes it even comes from within you. Everyone experiences doubts.

It may surprise you to know that not everyone was confident the mission to the moon was going to succeed.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin got in that rocket… there was a very high chance they weren’t coming back.  When you think about it, the astronauts were either very brave, very stupid… or perhaps they just had the faith to believe the mission would succeed.

Which ever way you look at it there was always doubt the mission would succeed. Did you know that President Nixon had a speech prepared just in case the 1969 mission to the moon failed?  I’m not just making this up… I have proof.

Here’s the speech that was prepared:

Letter1Letter2

You would hope they didn’t show this speech to the astronauts or their families before the rocket launch. It’s a frightening thought but there was such a high level of doubt that the Apollo 11 mission was going to succeed that they prepared a speech to announce the failure to the world. The presidents office even spoke of their wives as “widows-to-be”. There was doubt. They prepared for it but it didn’t stop them from making the mission a reality.

It’s time to turn on the ignition and put all the doubt, fears and excuses behind us.

There is a song that has inspired me all year this year. It’s a song called ‘Limitless’ by Colton Dixon. I have listened to this song repeatedly because it has some really powerful faith building lyrics.

The bridge of Colton Dixon’s song says: “Doubt sees a mountain, no way around it, Faith sees a victory, no doubt about it. Fear sees a ceiling, hope sees the stars. Love (God) be the light inside of our hearts.”

The song is on youtube if you want to look it up here:

For us – as men and women of Faith – God is going to ask us to do things that are impossible. People will say “are you mad? That’ll never work. You’re going to fail at that for sure!”

We are taught to ask “what if we fail?” … but our God is limitless…. so shouldn’t we ask “what if we succeed?” instead?

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT) says: “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

We can go beyond our limitations in God. Imagine what will happen if we understand the power of God and what He can do in and through us. The God who is completely without boundary, completely without limit, the very God for whom nothing is impossible is alive in us and we can overcome our own limitations through Him.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the  Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

God has great plans and purposes for you. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what anyone says, no matter what you think yourself – there is something incredible before you. God wants you to engage with Him… to seek Him wholeheartedly… that He may be with you and within you.

We have access to the ultimate rocket fuel…. Holy Spirit rocket fuel. God doesn’t want us sitting idle. He built us like an car… to go places. We need to fuel up on Him, switch on the ignition…. rev those engines, put the car into gear and get moving.

Maybe you already have big visions or goals… Let me challenge you to dream bigger – to see a greater vision.  You might think you’ve got the biggest vision in the world… but your God is limitless. His vision, His dreams, his plans are greater. God has more for you.

Isaiah 55:9 says “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Maybe you don’t feel like you have a plan or a purpose. Maybe you haven’t yet seen the dreams or visions. Let me encourage you to ask.

In Matthew 7:7 it says: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

Earlier this year I was painting our fences… all 80 metres… two coats with my Aldi spray gun. It was the most boring 4 days of my entire life. During that time I asked God ‘what is it you want me to do?’. That night I had a dream. God speaks. He hears you… He WILL speak to you. You just need to ask.

Perhaps you have dreams or visions and a clear idea of what it is you’re meant to be doing – but for whatever reason you haven’t done anything about it yet. It’s time to turn the key. Start the ignition and press the accelerator. Now is the time to take the first step.

Ignition is lighting the flame, it’s starting the engine, it’s firing up. It’s putting action to the vision, dreams, plans and purposes that God has for you.

Remember…

  • It’s the power of God alive in you that makes you limitless.
  • If you think you have a big dream or vision… it’s time to stretch… ask God for more.
  • If you don’t feel like you have a clear vision or dream ask Him to give you dreams and visions. Believe He will speak.
  • If you need to do something with the dreams and visions… make a commitment to God right now that you will do something about it.

It’s time to pick up our swords, go forward in faith and be limitless in God knowing He is within us.

Whether you know it or not – you are a leader.

By Jarred Parsons

3441317A5E

Every person on this great big blue planet is a leader. Yes – that includes you.

‘We can’t all be leaders’ I hear you say. After all, a leader needs followers and if there are followers those followers are not leaders. This assumes that a leader is always leading and that a follower is always following. However, life is a little more complicated than we sometimes like to believe. The reality is leaders don’t always exclusively lead and followers don’t always exclusively follow. We all do a bit of both.

Leadership is influence. When you influence someone you lead them. Some of us lead more than others. Some of us lead better than others. Never the less – we all lead in some shape or form.

A simply act of sharing your opinion can influence how another person thinks about the topic of discussion. That’s a result of leadership.

Leadership can be big. Leadership can be small. Leadership can be positive. Leadership can be negative. Leadership can be obvious. Leadership can be completely oblivious. Leadership can be deliberate. Leadership can be accidental.

For almost 15 years I was involved in leading youth and young adults groups through my church. It was an incredible season of my life and along the way I established the foundations of my leadership skills and discovered a lot about who I am. It was also a very rewarding and impacting experience.

During part of my season I was lucky enough to have an awesome youth pastor by the name of Ps Louis Fife who was very passionate about leadership and growing/developing leadership in others.

Ps Louis taught us a lot and his leadership has shaped much of mine.

My all time favourite leadership quote came from Ps Louis. “Leadership is empowering (young) people for greatness.”

Our world tends to be very self centric. From an early age we’re told we need to get a career and make as much money as possible and buy a good house and do all you can to be successful and wealthy. It’s rare that someone will tell you that   empowering other people is a measure of success.

Empowering people for greatness is a very powerful approach to leadership. When we deliberately choose to build people up, to empower them and help them grow in their own leadership we create a leadership phenomenon called multiplication.
When you build and empower other leaders, they tend to take your influence and spread it further. Instead of just you leading, it becomes you and another person leading. And if you’re empowering multiple people who then go on to influence others your leadership suddenly has the opportunity to influence more people and to spread further than had it just been you on your own. And if you train your initial leaders to develop leaders your influence spreads even further again.

Structurally – a true leader doesn’t necessarily need to climb a corporate ladder to grow their influence. A true leader grows influence by drawing followers and increasing the numbers they influence rather than taking an increased positional authority over people to gain more influence. Sometimes we think because someone has a position or a title they are a leader but this is not always the case. There’s a big difference between leadership and management and many people in positions aren’t leaders but rather managers with a title. They manage what they have and they don’t tend to grow more influence outside their current situation. Their influence is positional. If they stepped out of that position they may find their influence dissolves almost instantly but a true leader can carry a high degree of influence even without the title or position.

The key to being a really great leader is having clear purpose and a destination goal in mind. If you’re going to lead… you need to know where you are going, why you are going there and why someone else should follow. It’s easy to lead without vision and purpose but the results are usually haphazard and fleeting. A leader with a clear vision and purpose is working towards a destination point… a visible end dream. Most followers are happy to be led when they can see clear vision and purpose and the bigger the vision the more inspiring it is likely to be.

You may not feel like much of a leader right now. Or maybe you feel like a great leader. Either way… you can grow your current leadership skills and increase your influence. Identify a clear vision and purpose, understand the power of your influence and empower people for greatness. With positive leadership and influence you can help make this world a much better place.

The Pursuit of Happiness

161H

By Jarred Parsons
A few years ago I returned to work after a well-earned break to discover I had a new manager and was about to be relocated to another office as a result of an internal restructure. I’d be lying if I said I was happy with the changes but being a ‘glass half full’ person I tried to make the best of my new situation. It didn’t take long to realise that not all change is good change and it certainly wasn’t for me on this particular occasion.

Shortly after the changes we had our first child. Unfortunately I was one of the unlucky 23% of parents who have babies that don’t sleep well. For the first two years our daughter didn’t sleep any longer than about 45 minutes at a time.

Things got really hard really fast. What followed was by far the most difficult years of my entire career. I was operating on no sleep, struggling to keep on top of increased expectations and extra pressures directly resulting from the new structural arrangements. I kept going as best as I could however I felt like I was on a train in a very dark tunnel with no light at the end.

I’m not sure why I never really thought to talk to God about it. Perhaps my mind wasn’t clear enough for such a logical thought. It was probably more that my world was so hazy that I didn’t really see my struggles. It wasn’t until I had a moment where things really felt like they’d hit rock bottom and I got so desperate that the only thing left for me to do was call out to God for help. That night was a real turning point as God released me from much of the burden I’d been carrying. 

It was a horrible season but with the benefit of hindsight I have learnt a lot from it.

During this season I had a friend who had been diagnosed with severe clinical depression. We weren’t quite sure how we could help but there was a session about depression and anxiety at the staff conference that year which I thought might help me learn more about it. The presenter put 16 symptoms of depression on the screen including not eating properly, difficulty sleeping, dramatic changes to your circumstances outside your control, feeling helpless, difficulty concentrating, loss of energy and loss of interest in daily activities to name but a few.

As we went through the list I realised I was experiencing 14 of the 16 symptoms right at that moment in time. It’s then I realised I was suffering from a mild depression. I’d always been known as ‘Mr Happy’ so it never occurred to me that I would ever experience depression myself.

I’ve reflected a lot on that season as we’ve been going through the latest restructure at work. In the midst of change depression and anxiety can sneak up on you. You may not even realise it’s having an effect on you. It’s worth taking some time out to honestly ask yourself “Is it possible that I’m currently experiencing depression or anxiety?”

It’s ok if you are. The vast majority of us experience a form of depression or anxiety at some point in our lives. If you ask enough people you will find others who have also had similar experiences.

One of the best things I did at the time, apart from praying, was to find a couple of key people in my life that I could talk to openly and honestly about where I was at. It was important that they were trustworthy, good listeners and that they could provide encouragement and wise advice where it was needed. Starting the conversation empowered me to start looking for the tools that helped find the lights in the tunnel.

If things don’t feel so good right now please talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Whether it is a trusted colleague, a pastor, a friend or even someone anonymous from a help line – it makes a huge difference.

I’m currently taking part in a leadership program where we recently explored a really interesting world-wide scientific study on happiness. Surprisingly many of the poorest countries rated among the happiest which really makes you think.

All things considered in the many countries across the world where the study was conducted, the scientists discovered there were three major factors that contribute to your happiness:

50% of your happiness is determined by your genetics. It’s predetermined and you can’t change it. For example – If you come from happy natured parents then you are likely to also be happy natured.

10% of your happiness is a result of your circumstances which includes what happens to you, your financial situation, your health, your job (including restructures), where you live and who you have around you.

The remaining 40% of happiness is determined by your intentional activities or decisions. This is where you have the greatest influence over your happiness. The research determined there were 12 main types of intentional activities that have a positive impact on personal happiness:

  • Avoiding over thinking
  • Social comparison
  • Practicing acts of kindness
  • Nurturing social relationships
  • Developing strategies for coping
  • Learning to forgive
  • Increasing flow experiences (Inspirational or adventurous activities requiring full immersion or concentration)
  • Savouring life’s pleasures
  • Committing to your goals
  • Practicing religion and spirituality
  • Taking care of your body through physical exercise and meditation
  • Acting like your happy

When you partake in any of these 12 activities regularly in a positive way they build up your resilience to negative influences on your happiness. They may not necessarily prevent you experiencing a period of non-happiness (for example if a close friend or relative dies you will still be sad for a period of time) but they do help lessen the negative impact and improve your general long term happiness.

Whether you are in a happy place right now or struggling with life, these 12 tools will improve your situation. With 12 proven tactics now up your sleeve, what can you do to increase happiness in your life?

Why I called my blog ‘The Red Log’.

cropped-deathtostock_slowdown7.jpg

By Jarred Parsons

When I first decided to start a blog I found myself confronted with a very difficult decision. What on earth should I call it?

A name is significant. It speaks volumes about purpose, identity and personality. The right name can generate interest and curiosity and connect the reader with the author of the blog.

Knowing a name represents so much, I wanted to choose a name that has meaning and purpose and a little bit of creativity. At the same time I didn’t want to pigeon hole the identity of my blog. I’m not sure where my blogging journey is going to take me and there are so many topics I can write about. I’ve got a whole range of thoughts on a whole range of subjects I’d like to explore.

After putting my thinking cap on I put my first idea into WordPress only to discover the name wasn’t available. I tried a second, third, fourth and fifth name. All taken. I began to wonder if all my great ideas had already been thought up by someone else. As I started putting in ridiculous names, even they were taken. I was beginning to think I would need to make up a word like Kodak when I finally stumbled upon a name that was available… The Red Log.

I paused. Is this really what I want to call my blog? If a name is so important it’s got to be right and this name was a desperate random thought while trying to find a name that hasn’t already been used in WordPress. I wanted to be sure I could live with this name longer term and more importantly that it was a name that represented not only who I am but also what I’m hoping to write about.

As I started to ponder the name ‘The Red Log’ I began to discover that my random frustrated thought actually had a little more depth than I’d initially realised.

At first the idea behind The Red Log was a simply variation of “read my blog”. I dropped the ‘a’ from read to create my favourite colour red and not wanting to use the word blog in my title I dropped the ‘b’ from blog to form the word log. It was a fleeting thought with no real purpose or depth behind it or so I thought.

I began to explore what ‘The Red Log’ could possibly represent and explored the idea that it was a variation of ‘the read blog’ meaning the blog is being read. The word ‘log’ was of particular interest to me. One of its meanings is a collection or record of events. In a way a blog is like a diary or a log of your life. While many blogs are about topics or subjects, my blog will definitely include some documentation of events in my life just like a log book.

My pondering continued in a more visual direction. What is a red log? Is there even such a thing as a red log? I wondered if there were trees somewhere in the world with red stumps. Then it dawned on me. Almost every grey led pencil I have ever owned was red and made of wood… a red log of sorts.

In days gone by a writers most important creative tool was his pencil. A pencil is the instrument that takes the ideas, thoughts and creative expression from the artists mind and translates them into a format that can communicate, inspire, challenge and entertain people. The pencil represents the birthing of ideas into a tangible form of communication – just like a blog.

school-93200_1280

All my thoughts up to this point were relevant and good but the picture that popped into my head next was by far the most significant in terms of purpose, meaning and what it represents to me the author.

In my mind I saw a picture of a roughly textured and very chunky piece of wood. As the eyes of my mind scanned over it I saw it was attached to another similar piece of wood. Then I began to see what looked like red paint beginning to dribble over the wood. It was the crucifix of Jesus Christ slowly beginning to be covered in His blood.

The most significant event in history and the most significant person from that event who also happens to be the cornerstone of my faith is symbolically recognised across the world by the red logs. That was the moment I knew I had the right name for my blog.

My faith in Jesus was an unexpected turn in my life journey but He is now by far the most significant part of me and all I do. My view of the world turned completely upside down when I first encountered God and that will show as some of my blogs unfold. I can only hope my blog is a worthy reflection of Jesus Christ and representative of His salvation, hope, love and compassion.

It’s nearly impossible to find a name on WordPress but thankfully I found The Red Log. Hopefully The Red Log will stand the test of time and its multiple meanings will serve me and my blog well.

The Red Log begins…

By Jarred Parsons

I’m a writer at heart. It’s a form of creative expression I used a lot when I was growing up.

English was one of my best subjects at school and unlike most of my friends I could quite happily spend a few hours writing in addition to our school work.

When I was in my early teens I had as many as 10 pen pals that I’d regularly write to around Australia and across the world. 10 is a lot of pen pals. Perhaps I’m showing my age a little here but the reason I had so many pen pals was because I grew up in the days before email, facebook and the internet. Sometimes it could take weeks for an exchange of letters to occur via the postal system (especially overseas) and having more pen pals meant I had a much more regular stream of opportunities to write. I didn’t just get an opportunity to write though. I also learnt a lot about the people I was writing to and the states and countries in which they lived.

One of my pen pals was a girl called Kylie. Unfortunately Kylie had a really serious car accident and ended up in hospital for an extended period of time. Living so far away there wasn’t much I could do to help but I decided a hospital bed would be a pretty boring place to live for several months and there had to be something I could do to help. I soon realised there was one really obvious thing I could do… I could write to her more often to help keep her entertained and help kill some of the boredom. I made it my mission to write the longest letter I could. I wrote about 38 pages for the first letter I sent her in hospital. Now that’s a really long letter but it didn’t take that long and it wasn’t really that difficult because it was something I really enjoyed.

When Kylie received the letter she was still very physically drained from the accident and her injuries. She said it took her a few days to read in small bite size pieces but she got through it eventually and she really appreciated the entertainment it gave her. With so much time to kill Kylie ended up writing a letter back that was almost as long as the one I’d written and so the conversation continued back and forth regularly with long letters as she continued on her journey to recovery.

It never really occured to me that I loved writing so much until my Year 12 English exam. We had to write about one of the books we’d studied for an hour an a half. That was quite daunting but as I picked up the exam booklet and started to write the words flooded into the exam booklet. I was writing at such a pace that about half way through my exam I had to ask for a second booklet because the first one was full. Talking to a few mates afterwards I discovered that many of them struggled to fill even half of their exam booklet and all but one had not asked for a second booklet at all. They were stunned that I had filled two booklets by the end of the exam. I don’t think they really believed me at first but evidence that my hand was really sore from writing so much and still quite red from holding the pen so intensely gave it away.

Recently I’ve been thinking about writing more. The thought of starting a blog has been cycling through my mind for quite some time. A blog seems like such an obvious outlet for me. Despite the appeal to my inner writer I’ve resisted the idea. I’ve felt a great reluctance deep down… so much so that it’s kept me from taking the blogging plunge.

The biggest barrier to starting my blog has definitely been social media. People are so brutal on social media these days. There’s a disturbing tendency for people to shout down and attack other people online just because they put their thoughts or opinions out into the world. The attacks are often posted without any genuine attempt to understand the others viewpoint and more often than not without any respect for the idea that the person is actually entitled to have a different opinion. Too many get offended on the basis that it’s ok to have an opinion ‘as long as it’s the same as mine’. In all reality we live in a mostly democratic world. It’s actually ok to have a different opinion.

It discourages me to see so many words posted online that would otherwise be classified as bullying if they were said face to face. Our shallow self righteous sense of right and wrong fails to look deep enough into posts on social media. I’ve seen so many examples of posts on social media where people jump on a negativity train and start casting irrational judgments based on assumptions, bias, false perceptions and misunderstandings.

We forget the iceberg principle which suggests you’re only seeing 10% of the story and we make a judgement without seeing or understanding the other 90%. There’s more to the person posting than the 140 characters tells you. Even worse, we seem to have developed a disconnect from the impact of our words. Words can hurt people deeply if they’re not used sensitively.

I’ve really questioned whether I’m really prepared to expose myself to such unbridled criticism for the sake of a writing outlet.

The reality is there are people who will disagree. It’s inevitable. There are billions of people on our planet and our values are so varied and diverse that it’s inevitable that we will have differing opinions, thoughts and perspectives of the world we live in.

The Red Log is the result of a decision I’ve made not to let the fear of foolish words stop me from doing something I enjoy and it’s something I know will grow and inspire me and hopefully also readers of The Red Log.