Spiritual Formation

Character building in times of transition

“Remind me each day that the race is not always to the swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed.  Let me look upward into the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well.”  – Orin Crain

Life can move so fast that sometimes it’s hard to actually slow down and ponder the decisions we make. Over the years, I’ve learned to slow down in times of decision to listen for the next step.  This is one of my favorite ‘go-to’ checkpoints by my favorite author Jan Johnson when we’re in the midst of making decisions…  I’ve found it helpful so many times over the years as we’ve made decisions.  I use it as a guide to gauge my wisdom, foolishness, and resilience.

Wise Risk Takers

Foolish Risk Takers

Float ‘trial balloons’ Easily distracted, unfocused or confused
Investigate long-range probabilities Think in details, misses big picture
Improvise easily – thinks on feet, trusts instincts Overthink/overtalk goals as a way of eliciting ‘don’t do it’ advice from others
Manage fear and indecision Want guaranteed outcome
Say no to short term gain to win long-term advantage Fear trying/hearing new ideas
Take high risks after close scrutiny of consequences and variables Easily discouraged, finds delays depressing
Tolerate delay Pass the buck, avoids accountability
Use error as feedback Need dominant experts or authority figures to give advice
Keep playing with solutions
Prefer own answers yet remains open to input, a natural ‘explorer’

Resilient people:

  • Are able to identify feelings
  • Apply what is learned in a positive way
  • Believe life is a process of growth rather than stagnation (or getting stuck)
  • Can vent painful feelings
  • Are flexible
  • Are hopeful
  • Are optimistic
  • Refuse to give up
  • Take things in stride
  • Search for meaning in experiences
  • View change as a positive thing
  • Are willing to work through even the most difficult events
From Living a Purpose-full Life by Jan Johnson, 1999.

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