The Perilous P-Word! (Diet for Dreamers)

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We seldom consider all of its potential consequences, and yet, it’s a bad habit that frequently results in loss and regret. In certain areas of life it’s considered socially unacceptable behavior. The Bible admonishes us to avoid it, because it has the ability to ruin relationships, destroy career opportunities, and rob us of success. In fact, it’s the silent killer of dreams. Were the Surgeon General to issue a statement regarding this habit, it would read “Warning: _________ may be hazardous to your goals.”

What are we hinting at? Something we intended to discuss before, but which, for various reasons (excuses?), we put on a back burner. Shall we explore this bad habit now … or perhaps wait for a better time? Later? Or now? Or should we just think about it for awhile? Maybe even sleep on it.

We won’t make you wait. The horrible habit we’re alluding to, the thief of dreams, is … and we can hardly bring ourselves to type it … the ugly P-word … PRocRAsTiNAtIOn!!

In his novel David Copperfield, Charles Dickens wrote, “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” But the habit of procrastinating can rob us of far more than our time. True, when we put things off, we’re gambling with life’s greatest commodity, time — the “currency of dreams” — but the worst aspect of procrastination is often the unforeseen consequences of our actions … er, inactions.

When we have lots to accomplish or deadlines to meet, putting things off till tomorrow can result in last minute mad dashes to finish projects, needless stress, poor quality in our work, and sometimes the complete failure to get the job done. In Strategies for Success in Career Development (2007), Karen Lamb writes, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”

People procrastinate for a variety of reasons: to indulge in laziness; to avoid a difficult task; or simply because they’re counting on having more time. Regarding the last reason, time has an uncanny way of running out on us, and “life” often interferes with our best laid plans. You’d think we’d have learned our lesson in high school. Remember those late Sunday nights spent cramming for an exam? Nevertheless, people have a natural tendency to postpone — even the inevitable. Some even joke, “Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.”

Scooby Doo: “Mystery? Ret’s rolve it rater.”

Tomorrow, by its very definition, never comes. To quote song lyrics from the Musical Annie, it’s “always a day away.” At some point, though, we do reach the end of the line. We look back on the goals we failed to achieve, the unfulfilled dreams, the still broken relationships we intended to mend. We say things like: “I was planning to visit…”; or “I was going to make more time for….”; or “I intended to take care of that….” But planning and intending to do something only count as excuses. We’ve all heard the expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Like any bad habit, putting things off only leads to further procrastination. And, like any bad habit, procrastination can destroy relationships. That’s why God admonishes us NOT to put off resolving disagreements or making restitution. Ephesians 4:26 states, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry….” (NLT)  In other words, don’t put off addressing an issue or repairing a relationship until tomorrow, because tomorrow might never come.

Abraham Lincoln wrote, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Do you have a goal to achieve, a task to perform, a relationship to mend, or a problem to address? Start now. Do you want to pursue a dream? Start today. Don’t let the bad habit of procrastination steal your time and opportunities. Your future — and all your tomorrows — begin today. So don’t  delay.

“Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT)

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Chilly Challenges and Slushy Situations (Diet for Dreamers)

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Dairy Queen serves a cold concoction guaranteed to create an addiction. It’s called a Mocha MooLatté, an icy blend of strong coffee, intense chocolate, and fat-saturated cream. NASA would be wise to jettison orange-flavored Tang in favor of this slushy drink. Having future astronauts consume a Mocha MooLatté right before liftoff could save taxpayers tons of money in rocket fuel. In fact, our astronauts might even be able to reach Mars without a spaceship!

When we bought our first Mocha MooLattés, the lady behind the counter at DQ warned us, “You’ll be soooorry!”

Really? How come? “Because,” she laughed, “you’ll be back tomorrow for another one! And the next day and the next.”

Visions of begging on a littered street corner suddenly filled our heads. We imagined ourselves pleading with passersby for spare change, all so we could buy just one more Mocha MooLatté. Oh please!

But the pusher at DQ — excuse us, the nice lady at DQ — was wrong. We had no intention of returning the next day. After we drank our slushy drinks, we got back in line immediately! Even she was surprised! Combining all that sugar, chocolate and caffeine can definitely create an addictive rush, but the real danger in consuming this rich, delicious concoction … this refreshing, invigorating … incredible, absolutely divine drink — gasp, we need help! — is the dreaded side effect that comes from careless and wanton consumption! Sigh! BrAiN fReEZe!!

spock-brain-freeze
Even Vulcans can get brain freeze!

Brain freeze is that sensation you get — that feels like your head is about to explode — when you drink something really cold really fast! However, as we previously discussed, there’s another kind of brain freeze, which makes you feel like your head is about to explode; and it can freeze you dead in your tracks while in the pursuit of your dreams and goals. It’s caused by the iciness of loss, disappointment, and despair; too many rejections, dead ends, closed doors, missed opportunities, setbacks, weaknesses and failures.

As we stated yesterday, the solution to brain freeze is to change one’s perspective on life, problems, and failures; and to foster a CAN-DO attitude. We need to look at our adversities as the perfect environment for personal growth; at setbacks as opportunities for comebacks; our problems as invitations for innovation; and a closed door as a sign to simply keep on knocking. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention.

Have you been frosted over by life’s frequent frustrations? Here’s an anecdote to help thaw your mind: In the late-1950s, Omar Knedlik, a WWII veteran who owned and operated a dilapidated Dairy Queen in Kansas City, created another iconic frozen drink by sheer accident. Knedlik’s restaurant equipment was always breaking down at the most inopportune times; and after his soda fountain finally gave up the ghost, Knedlik was faced with one of those potentially brain-freezing problems.

With customers to serve, each expecting a cold soda to wash down the burger and fries, Knedlik had to improvise: he loaded his freezer with bottled pop, which created a new problem. Knedlik couldn’t get the hang of knowing just when to take the sodas out, so usually the bottles of carbonated liquid were partially frozen. And yet, his customers seemed to like the slushiness of these icy soft drinks, and would typically ask Knedlik if they could have one of the “pops that were in a little bit longer.”

Knedlik immediately realized his troubles were blessings in disguise. Using the air conditioning unit from an old car, he built a machine in the back room which mixed and partially froze flavored waters and carbon dioxide, to create a slushy, fizzy drink he called Icee.

Most of us know Icee by another name: Slurpee. In fact, if you’re like us, you might imagine that Icee (with its polar bear mascot) is a copycat of the more famous drink sold by the 7-Eleven chain. Not so. Icee is the original, but when Knedlik licensed the product to the convenience store chain, he asked that the name be changed so as not to limit further marketing deals. Now that’s what we call fully thawed thinking!

Life is fraught with slushy situations and chilly challenges, but as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph….” (2 Corinthians 2:14 Jubilee Bible 2000)

Out of adversity come change, growth, and innovation. Understand this and you’ll start viewing any circumstance, any problem, any setback as a new opportunity. Dear dreamers and fellow creators, every experience, good or bad, provides a new opportunity to seek God, to ask for His wisdom and direction — and to press onward. And if you’re a writer or an artist (in drama, music, or graphics), these experiences are just more material for your work. If you’re an innovator, every new challenge is grist for the mill, because the Lord is able to turn every curse into a blessing! (Deuteronomy 23:5)

Yeah, I know this looks bad, but I gotta plan.
Yeah, I know this looks bad, but I got a plan.

So, if you want to avoid brain freeze, then drink plenty of Slurpees (and Mocha MooLattés in moderation), but keep this positive perspective. Train yourself to NOT allow your problems, weaknesses, failures, setbacks, disappointments, dead ends, closed doors, or rejection to freeze your personal growth or progress as you pursue your dreams. Always remember, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God….” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

Cultivate this positive, victorious mindset, as well as a CAN-DO attitude, and you’ll never have to worry about getting brain freeze.

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