I don’t know when you are reading this, but I am writing it in the middle of the night. That seems to be the proper time for a decision such as this. Most public figures would be counseled earnestly to avoid what I am about to do . . .
Let me begin by acknowledging that I am a public figure, certainly a minor one, but my career is largely determined by whether people buy and share my books and materials . . . or not. Therefore, somewhat like a politician, I am keenly aware that everything I say or do bears heavily on whether or not I am able to pay my bills. And as we all know, words tumbled into cyberspace, once entered, can never be lost, retracted, forgotten, or successfully re-explained.
I have wondered for a couple of years now just what the heck I am supposed to be doing. Isn’t that an odd thing to admit? Really! You and I are adults . . . aren’t we supposed to have a handle on everything? Confident, chest out, chin up, follow me, and all that . . .
From my point of view, day to day, doing the best I know how . . . I know I am supposed to write and speak. Okay . . . but what do I do? I mean, the world is changing quickly, my country has changed already and is in the process of changing everything for my boys, and their children, for a long time.
PAUSE . . .
I am thinking as I talk to you here—so bear with me. I am aware that I haven’t yet revealed the direction my life is about to take. Please be patient with my rambling on this blog. Here on this blog—and only here—I am not writing with a deadline or word-count in mind. I don’t have a specific blog-length calculated to attract the largest number of readers or a particular date figured on which to send this communication in order to make the biggest splash. This letter, between you and me, here and now, is to allow me to question myself about what I do and how I do it. You are being invited into this process that is usually quite private. And yes, I am fully aware that this single document will allow you to determine whether you care to continue to read what I write and whether or not you share my thoughts and books with others in the future.
Back to the Text . . .
During the course of our relationship, whether you are a new friend of mine or have been in for the long haul, you have heard me convey how necessary I believe it is for us to ask good questions of ourselves. In the past months, these are among the questions I have asked myself repeatedly:
To what degree has the culture in which I live . . . changed? Overall, am I content with the changes that I now face. Am I happy with schools, movies, my choices at the grocery store, my government locally and nationally?
Do I contribute enough to society?
Do I accept things and ideas and actions into my life and family that I would not have considered ten years ago? How have I changed with society? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? What will the world be like when my boys are in high school?
Is there a reason to insist my children respond “yes sir” or “no ma’am” to an adult? Have I been raised in an area of the country that made me feel one way or the other about that kind of thing? Is there a reason for “yes, sir” or is it an opinion—a preference—that one can let get in the way of more important things?
Am I producing this book or product just to make money or does it have another purpose? Would I read this? Do I wish I had known this information thirty years ago . . . or twenty . . . or ten? Will this product I have produced help someone who is hurting, who needs direction, who needs confirmation?
Is the limited time I have available in my life being used wisely? Was the 2 hours I spent with that one person at the request of a friend really what I was supposed to do with my time? Or should I have been with Polly and the boys? Writing? Praying? Reading? Fiction or Non-Fiction? How much should I sleep? Should I ever just . . . play?
Why am I so drawn to history? Is there something else I am supposed to find, to figure out in order to reveal to people? What do I think I can do anyway? Can I, one person, really do anything about our country’s direction or it’s ability or it’s culture? Is my work with Special Ops or Military or Government people a justifiable use of the time I give? Am I flying on this gunship to be cool and say I did it . . . or is there a reason for me to be here with these people? Should I be somewhere else?
Do I drive or fly? Business or coach? Is one client more important than another? Is Augusta National Golf Club (who paid for me to spend an entire day speaking to every employee) more important than the Rotary Club in Zachary, LA (who gave me a coffee cup)? I spoke to them because my friend Chris asked me to do so . . . and I had the hour open.
Should I attend the church supper on Wednesday nights? Is a football game worth 3 hours of my time? Do my clients think so? Do my boys think so? Does God think so?
These are among the many questions I ask myself . . .
So . . . what are we seeking? More importantly, if we want to ask a really good question:
What do our actions indicate we are seeking?
What difference are we making? What difference did we intend to make this morning? Do we even think about intending to make a difference?
The last few months have pointed me toward a specific search I am about to make in my life. It will be a search for
The Real Truth
about a lot of different things. If you and I have spent any time at all together, you are already aware that I do not consider myself a “motivational speaker”. I am not into encouragement. I am into proof. I want to live a principled existence . . . a life that demonstrates again and again
if I invest the time to do THIS . . . then THAT will occur.
Some decades from now, I intend to conclude a life of faith that will show evidence of what I have believed. I am fifty years old. I am old enough to have already proven some things and young enough to make an exhaustive search for the answers I still seek.
In The Noticer, Jones’ proof of hope to Willow Callaway are the same words the old man spoke to me so many years ago. Their urgent accuracy resonates now like a bell rung on a clear winter morning!
There is more! Now!
There is more to share, more to earn, more to become, more to learn, more to create. Real proof of hope demands we shake off the fear and rust and apathy and regret. It’s time to move.
So here is what I intend to do:
I hereby offer you a Backstage Pass into my life.
Over the next few years, I want to think with you, learn with you, write with you in mind, share my discoveries, joys, fears, and questions . . . with you. I am aware that I will be getting as much as I give. With your encouragement, ideas, direction, and approval, I will be lifted up, challenged, and taught.
For a long time in my life, I believed that to change the world, I should stretch as high into society as I could possibly reach, touching Presidents and Kings and CEO’s. There, I thought, was where the power existed to change everything. I now know for a fact that the power to change everything, my friend . . . lies with you and me.
Remember this: Whether President, King, or Governor, a politician is only an actor reciting lines and making moves according to a script that the audience is writing!
Most politicians make promises, react, vote, and shake specific hands according to the latest poll (script) they are given. You and I write that script with our voices and our votes.
Now before you think you know where we are all headed in such an all fired hurry, listen carefully to what I have to say:
If you had asked me a year ago whether I was a Republican or a Democrat, I probably could and would have answered you. But as my life has unfolded, I am increasingly aware that I am not an “us or them” kind of person. I am a “WE” kind of person. I believe there are “plumb lines” we can use and watch to establish right and wrong, forward or backward, yes or no.
You and I will search for guiding principles. I will put them into stories that will become books and recordings that you will be free to choose whether or not to use them in your search to create a team of people empowered to write what you believe should be the script for our next generation.
I invite you, whatever your age or technological ability, to learn to use Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet itself right now in order to join me and lead friends of your own to new levels of understanding and empowerment. We will strive to create better families, more successful financial incomes for you, and a voice of civility and reason that will be heard around the world.
I believe there was a time in our past when leaders understood how to disagree. They would disagree and argue points publicly, with humor and without the personal anger that serves only to divide their followers. These men and women disagreed, but they remained friends (and friendly) to each other.
Only a few decades ago, we lived in a world where we knew our neighbors watched out for one another’s children, and encouraged each other personally and professionally without fear of violence or lawsuits.
It is a fact known to historians that less than 10 percent of the population of the former Soviet Republic actively worked to move their society into a nightmare of paranoia, isolation, and genocide that devoured several generations. Accurate figures show that between 1917 and 1987, there were 61,911,000 lives lost to mass murder of their own people! This was done, remember, in an attempt to create a utopian society. Less than 10 per cent of the population was actively involved in creating the movement to power that caused this historical disaster. And 90 percent did what? Waited? Watched? Believed obvious lies?
I am not attempting to use fear as a tactic. History simply “is what it is”. Neither am I pointing fingers at any particular leader, media group, celebrity, or politician who might be in office or out of office at this time. Read nothing into what I am writing. At this moment, I ask you to think no further than these words:
Let us not be scared about the future, let’s just do something!
It is time to return to an era of civility and understanding. It is time to NOTICE the value of our fellow man and exalt him and his efforts. Our country must no longer be divided by color, or finances, or political affiliations. Our spiritual lives are important . . . our religious denominations less so.
Our children, our very world is waiting for us to move . . . to write the script that is right and good and necessary. It’s time to move.
Here we go!