Thursday, October 31, 2019

Leaders, Don't Seek for Great Things for Yourself

I fully recommend Oswald Sanders' Spiritual Leadership
J. Oswald Sanders, the missionary statesman and Bible teacher who for many years directed Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), once wrote about a time when he wanted a particular position in the Christian world very much. Having friends in positions of influence, he was about to see if some strings could be pulled to turn the job in his direction. He was toying with the idea of doing a little lobbying, just like some of today’s Christian leaders. 

But while walking down the main street in Auckland, New Zealand one day, turning the matter over in his mind, as he walked past His Majesty’s Theatre, a verse of Scripture came to his mind with tremendous authority and powerful conviction: “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it!” (Jeremiah 45:5).

“The words came just as though it was God speaking. There were crowds all around me, and no one else heard the voice, but I heard it all right!” Sander later said. He continues, “I believe that was a real turning point in my service to the Lord.” As a result, he did not seek the position, but in later years it opened to him on its own in God’s good timing. Wow! In the same ways, leaders shouldn’t seek position and power but faithfully leading where you are now – even without a position – and when the time comes, God will give you the position… or not. No matter what, in God’s business – “Don’t do it!” Be faithful and fruitful anyway.


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Why Does God Let Us Get Old?

Picture of late Robertson McQuilkin
Robertson McQuilkin, former esteemed president of Columbia International University, South Carolina, once drove an elderly friend on an errand. She moved slowly and painfully, being crippled with arthritis. “Robertson,” she asked as they drove along, “why does God let us get old and weak? Why must I hurt so?” 

I’m not sure,” McQuilkin replied, “but I have a theory.” “What is it?”

He hesitated to share it, but she insisted. This is what he said: “I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical. But the strength and beauty of age are spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary, so we’ll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty which is forever.”


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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Cure for Leaders Who are About to Burn-Out: Abiding (Not Striving or Struggling) In Christ

Connected with Him in His love, I am more than a conqueror; without Him, I am nothing. Like some railway tickets in America, I am ‘No good if detached’”
(Corrie Ten Boom)
Missionary Pioneer J. Hudson Taylor of China was working and worrying so frantically that his health was about to break. Just when his friends feared he was near a breakdown and burnout; Taylor received a letter from fellow missionary John McCarthy that told of a discovery McCarthy had made from John 15 – the joy of abiding in Christ. McCarthy’s letter said in part: “Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power… this is not new, and yet it is new to me… Christ literally all seems to me now the power, the only power for service; the only ground for unchanging joy.”

As Hudson Taylor read this letter at his mission station in Chin-kiang on Saturday, September 4, 1869, his own eyes were opened. “As I read,” he recalled, “I saw it all. I looked to Jesus, and when I say, oh how the joy flowed!” Writing to his sister in England, he said:

“As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. The last month or more has been perhaps the happiest of my life, and I long to tell you a little of what the Lord has done for my soul… When the agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw the light before I did, write (I quote from memory): ‘But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith but by resting on the Faithful One.’ As I read, I saw it all! …As I thought of the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured into my soul!”


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My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired (2018) by Benjamin Spall & Michael Xander, Book Review

My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired (2018)
by Benjamin Spall & Michael Xander

This book is a paradox of who I am and who I want (to experiment) to be. I'm a night owl. In Daniel Pink's latest book When: The Scientific Secret of Perfect Timing (2018), I'm a classic "owl" even before the rise of social media addiction that ‘creates' more night owls nowadays. The words "morning" and "routine" are two words that I don't feel comfortable with. Morning devotion and morning run are some of the activities that I have tried but never stick to. I need double alarms to ensure that I wake up early if need be such as to catch a flight or early meeting or hiking with my friends. My greatest insight and creativity often appear at around 11.00pm to 3.00am. And the word ‘routine'? Yuck! I'm an INTJ or The Mastermind or The Architect, so, I easily get bored when it comes to routine. I might change or twig it for the sake of improvement but probably do no good since I'm going to abandon it when it becomes rigid. So, why I read My Morning Routine? Well, because it doesn't say My Early Morning Routine. My morning can be 10.00am and I still can learn from this book.

"The way you spend your morning has an outsized effect on the rest of your day," write the authors. I agree. "The choices we make during the first hour or so of our morning determines whether we have productivity and peace of mind for the rest of the day, or whether it will clobber us over the head." Regardless of whether you're an early bird or a late riser, our ‘morning' starts when we wake up. That first hour or so upon waking up is the most crucial period. "Your morning sets the stage for the rest of your day." Knowing this fact, I find that this book is immensely important for me even though I hate the words ‘morning' and ‘routine.' For this book, Benjamin and Michael, founders of, interviews 64 of today's most successful people such as Biz Stone, Arianna Huffington, Marie Kondo, General Stanley McChrystal, and three of my favorite authors, Maria Konnikova, Austin Kleon (most creative interview reply) and Ryan Holiday about their morning routines. At the end of every chapter, there are Over to You section where they offer advice on creating a custom routine of our own. They give very helpful tips and suggestions that we can try to suit our personality, profession, and preference.

I appreciate their desire to show as many examples of morning routines from different people and background but I have to admit that the questions (and most answers) are repetitive. At least for me, repetitive is equal to boring. So instead of selecting 5-9 individuals for each chapter, why not just 3 and then write remarks or notes for any variations and other ideas. However, I love the intro and Over to You section in every chapter. The illustrations are awesome too! Well done Elisabeth Fosslien! Here are my 5 takeaways ‘routine' that either I've implemented all along and need some modification or new ones that I like to try and improve over time:

#1 Make Your Bed. "Making your bed in the morning is one of the simplest things you can do to help wake up your mind and gets you ready and prepared for the day ahead. It also reduces your chances of climbing back into it." I always, always make sure – however busy or rushing – that I make my bed. I feel incomplete and messy if I don't do it. If I do, I feel a small achievement where I start my day with a task completed. Come to think about it, this is probably my most consistent habit (I recommend reading Admiral William H. McRaven's Make Your Bed).

#2 Don't Check Your Social Media (and Email) First Thing in the Morning. "For most of us, checking our email or social media accounts first thing in the morning spell disaster for our early morning productivity… When you check your email first thing upon waking, you're stressing your brain by jolting yourself awake to the realities of the day ahead." I can tell you that I've mastered the art of not checking email early morning. Email is the worst form of communication if you want to communicate with me. But social media is another story. About one year ago, I'm very addicted to social media. So, I counter that bad behavior with digital sabbath or technology detox. Every Sunday, I will off (with very few exceptions) my data from morning to 6.00pm and I always put my phone on plane mode when I'm about to sleep. These habits make sure that I'm proactive instead of reactive to the needs of others. "Be proactive in the morning, not reactive. You'll still be getting emails when you're dead."

#3 Have a Morning Stretching. "Working out is akin to doing a good deed for your body and making an investment in your future health. Not only does working out have positive physical effects, but it should also be valued as a meditative exercise that can help bring comfort and clarity to your day every morning." As a night owl, I don't do active workouts like Zumba or running early morning. I do, however, have simple stretching exercises and half-jog down and up the stairs while waiting for the water to boil to prepare my coffee. I normally exercise in the evening for walking, running and weight liftings.

#4 Get Enough Sleep. "Most of us require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. Of the several hundred people we have interviewed about their morning routines, their sleep times have averaged out at 7 hours and 29 minutes per night… If you're consistently trying to get by on less than 7 hours of sleep it will catch up with you, likely sooner rather than later." For my body (I've tested it), I need 7-8 hours of sleep for optimum mind, body and soul well-being. Right after wake up, before having my morning coffee, I make sure I drink 2-3 glasses of water to rehydrate and refresh my body. Good quality sleep helps me to focus, increase productivity, lessen stress and reduce my pimples (smile). "Getting enough sleep is the best productivity hack I know," writes Dan Counsell.

#5 Read Book Before Going to Sleep and Upon Waking Up – and Listen to Podcast or Audiobook Too. In the book, there is a chapter on Morning Meditation. I don't do meditation early in the morning. I daydream, that's what I do! But when I realized that there are many forms of meditation, perhaps, when I read a book early in the morning – inspirational books and sometimes the Bible – I do engage in some kind of meditation. I don't believe in emptying your mind (can you do that?) but I wholehearted believe that you must fill your mind with empowering, positive and uplifting words (that's Biblical). Besides reading in the toilet or on my bed for at least half an hour, I also love to listen to a podcast while I'm cleaning the room, sweeping or mopping the floor and preparing for my coffee and breakfast.

…but some other days, I don’t do all or any of these 5 ‘routines’ (except for Make Your Bed and drink coffee). Manuel Lima rightly notes: “Routines are like any set of rules. They can be helpful in giving up a sense of constancy, but at times, breaking them can be extremely liberating. Being a slave to a single routine can prevent spontaneity and unexpected discoveries.” Amen.


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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership (2009) by Timothy Irwin, Book Review

Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership (2009)
by Timothy Irwin, PhD

Derailment means "off the rails." To be a derailed leader means to fall short of inner character that result in outer disaster. Maybe it's better to say that a derailed leader is not a ‘leader' after all. In the second section of this book, Irwin, a consultant on leadership development, shares about six famous leaders who greatly derailed, namely: Robert Nardelli, Carly Fiorina, Durk Jager, Steven Heyer, Frank Raines & Dick Fuld. Irwin doesn't shame these six high profile leaders because their derailments are known to the public and were reported from respected media. In their cases, fraud was not the reason. "What ultimately caused the derailment of the individuals profiled in upcoming chapters was a failure of character!" write the author. "The big lesson is that no matter how brilliant, charming, strategic or commanding in the presence a leader is, the consequences of a failed character are extraordinary disabling and will bring down even the strongest among us."

But ultimately, this book is not about them… it's about us – you and me, especially we who are in a leadership position and/or authority. It's about how we can avoid derailment and recognize the early warnings of it. As Patrick Lencioni, the author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, warned, "No one is immune from the derailment." I take the message of this book seriously and I thank Irwin for making it clear, urgent and essential for aspiring leaders like me. I've been to the dark valley of my character flaw. I went to prison because of it. A minor crime, I assure you, but a serious lack of character issue. If Irwin knew me (and if I'm famous), I can have a long profile chapter in this book! How did derailment happen? First, we must understand that it's a process. A slow but sure progression. Stage 1: A Failure of Self/Other-Awareness > Stage 2: Hubris, Pride Before the Fall > Stage 3: Missed Early Warning Signals > Stage 4: Rationalizing > and then, of course, Stage 5: Derailment.

Why did derailment happen? As Tim Irwin already says: a failure of character. Most good leaders have high IQ but most fallen leaders have low CQ (Character Quotient). "Character is the foundation of great leadership. We have to get this right to stay on track." There are three (3) tests of character: 1) Does the leader have a strong moral/ethical guidance system that functions well in ambiguous situations? 2) Does the leader make decisions just for expediency? And 3) Does the leader handle adversity with grace? To "stay on track" is an exercise of character. Tim Irwin outlines four character-based qualities that can help leaders to do just that:

#1 Authenticity (My strength that can be my weakness too)
#2 Self-Management (Very essential. Leader leads him/herself first)
#3 Humility (remind me of Lencioni's values: Smart, Hungry and Humble)
#4 Courage (I love the story of his father, Jim Irwin)

In the last section of this book, Irwin shares some practical suggestions, tips and axioms. He lists Five Critical Lessons In Leadership and Five Critical Habits of the Heart. To know about it, you have to read this book. It's worth the price and your time (by the way, I bought it during the sale for only RM10!). I fully recommend it. Although for me it comes in a bit late – remember I shared with you about my derailment incident – I'm glad that I learned from it quickly. I resolve by God's grace and guidance that I want to improve my character personally and as a leader. As Tim Irwin closes this book: "We must keep intense light on our character as well as continue to become more and more competent at what we do."


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Friday, October 18, 2019

Spartan Up! A Take No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life (2014) by Joe De Sena, Book Review

Spartan Up! A Take No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life (2014) by Joe De Sena with Jeff O' Connell

"Healthy foods, healthy attitude, healthy relationships, healthy mind, and healthy body together define a complete Spartan lifestyle – the Spartan code in action," writes Joe De Sena, a co-founder of the Spartan Race. I'm pumped up when I read this book. I started to be aware of the food that I eat (avoid carbonated drinks and fast foods at all costs, except for pork burgers with lots of mayonnaise). I either hike to the hills/mountains or hit the gym or just walk for miles daily because I said to myself, "That's what a Spartan does." Life is a movement. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. My dream body is not bulky, but muscularly-lean. As Joe says, "Spartans need muscular endurance more than they need huge muscles." I believe in the spirit-mind-body connection. Spiritual fitness is essential. Fit mind without a fit body, die early. Fit body without a fit mind, stupid. Fit mind in a fit body is living a fuller life. Spartan up!

Not everyone can do what Joe De Sena does. He is a legend in endurance and adventure racing circles. In only 1 week he completed the 135-mile Badwater ultramarathon, raced the 140.6 miles of the Lake Placid Ironman, and finished a 100-mile trail run in Vermont! I'll be dead. It fits because his mantra is: "Give me the hardest thing you got." You and I don't have to do what he does. Joe (read about why he did it in the book) might be a bit of extreme, but what he tries to shows and write in this book is that IT IS POSSIBLE. "We are all destined for the grave," Joe writes as a matter-of-fact, "but what a tragedy to arrive there without any scars, without any mark to show that we tried to do something amazing." I translate that as – push yourself to the limit or at least make much of your life. Two more chapters before I finished reading this book, I watched the movie 300 (2006) again for the fourth time. Dilios says about the King of Spartan, Leonidas, "For he did not wish tribute, nor song, nor monuments, nor poems of war and valor. His wish was simple, ‘Remember us. Remember why we died.'" Do something amazing. Spartan up!

There are 5 Key Lessons that I learned from this book:

#1 Toughen Your Will (or Push Yourself Out of Comfort Zone). Where there's a will, there's a way. A cliché but true. Old runner proverb puts it this way: "You run the first half with your legs, the second half with your mind." When you wish to watch Netflix or YouTube all day long, it takes a tough will to go out of the room and exercise instead. When you desire to eat fast food because, well, it's fast to prepare, it takes a tough will to choose a healthier meal. When laziness strikes you hard and the bed or chair is warm and comfortable, it requires a tough will to get up and put on your running shoes. "It sounds hard," writes Joe in the chapter Confronting the Greatest Obstacle: Your Will, "but I think everybody needs to suffer a little." Toughen your will and you'll build "obstacle immunity."

#2 Change Your Mindset (or Change Your Frame of Reference). "The hardest part of all of us is convincing our minds what our bodies are capable of." I witness this a lot: many trains the body but forget to train the mind. To win every battle, one must first win on the battlefield of the mind. This means mastering your emotions, decide what's important beforehand (Joe have this "the upside" priorities, read it), and focus by resisting distractions and temptations, especially avoiding the short-term satisfaction temptations (the cookies or marshmallows test). Setting your mind to, "It is possible, I can do it!" and do it is what separates the Spartans and the ordinaries.

#3 Exercise Regularly (or Be Physically Active). "Exercise is the best defense you have against anxiety, stress, depression and a whole host of other diseases." I might not agree that every disease is related to the lack of exercise, but as Joe says, "When it comes to exercise, the rich grow richer." Yes! Exercise is as much a mindset as it is a motion. Often, when I went to the gym that is in the 3rd-floor building, most people rather use lift than stairs. I thought, "Are you coming here to exercise?" It is good to keep in mind that to exercise is to be physically active. It means taking every opportunity to move your muscles. Also, do as much outdoor exercise as possible. Hiking, walking, running, swimming, etc. You'll breathe fresh air and a lot more challenging than predicable gym equipment.

#4 Eat Healthy (or Change Your Diet). Honest to say, most healthy food is expensive. I eat oat a lot but rice is much cheaper. Fresh fruits can be costly too. I don't drink nutritional dairy products such as milk and protein shake because I have lactose intolerant. And one other factor: it's expensive. But there are less expensive ways to eat healthily such as drink enough water, avoid fast foods, be intentional with sugary items intake ("You want to get a runner's high, not a sugar high"), choose vegetables and don't do emotional eating! I like Joe's advice: "Eating clean today is for tomorrow. Clean food helps you recover from hard work and high stress alike… lead the charge in crushing obesity."

#5 Welcome Pain (and even Failure). This requires grit. Grit refers to "an indefatigable will to overcome obstacles… Grit emerges out of the force of will that manifests action. Grit is execution. Grit gets shit done." Most people – including me – when encountered with pain, we tend to quit. The pain of not reaching goals, that's why we don't set goals anymore. The pain of a tired body, that's why watching TV on the couch is more desirable. The pain of criticism, naysayers, and lavish-caring can stop us before we even try. But if you embrace the lifestyle of Spartan (which I'm convinced that I should. Thanks Joe!), you don't see the pain the same way again. It will not be a stopper but a pusher. Joe encourages us: "Being a Spartan is about giving your best effort, proving your doubters wrong, and getting it done when other people are sitting at home watching TV."

As I'm writing this, 18th October 2019, Spartan Race will be held tomorrow, 19th – 20th October 2019, at Semenggok, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Kuching is my birthplace. One of the ‘marketing' strategy that Joe De Sena does in this book is to encourage the reader to sign up for the Spartan Race all over the world. At first, I'm a bit irritated by the ‘marketing' bombarded messages throughout the book. But after I finished reading it, it all makes sense for two reasons: 1) The Spartan Race is one of the ways for me to test my commitment to the Spartan lifestyle. It's easy to make a decision, but it's another way to commit to it… Do I have what it takes? and 2) Be honest, if I sign up for the Race, it good for Joe's business. I'm not going to sign up, though. Not yet. I know about the Race only recently. I will sign up for next year! Meanwhile, I will train myself hard, Spartan up!



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Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Power of Positive Leadership (2017) by Jon Gordon, Book Review

The Power of Positive Leadership
: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World (2017) by Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon is famous for his bestseller, The Energy Bus, his first book about a man whose life and career are in trouble until he learns great lessons from a unique bus driver and colorful passengers how to overcome adversity and be positive in his outlooks, leadership, relationship, and teamwork. The Energy Bus’s main character is based on Jon’s own life, and if you already read that book, you’ll appreciate this one because The Power of Positive Leadership is a book about how to turn from a negative zombie to a positive leader. As a leader, we will surely face obstacles, failures, and test daily and there are times when it seems as if everything in the world is turning against us. But take heart, we don’t have to be bitter and become losers. We can choose to be positive. “We are not positive because life is easy,” writes Jon Gordon, “We are positive because life can be hard.”

I love this one: “Positive leadership is not about fake positivity. It is the real stuff that makes great leaders great. Pessimists don’t change the world. Critics write words but they don’t write the future. Naysayers talk about problems but they don’t solve them. Throughout history, we see that it’s the optimists, the believers, the dreamers, the doers, and the positive leaders who change the world.” So true! I read lots of leadership books and dozens of biographies of the great (and worst) leaders and I never read about negative leaders who make the world a better place. There is no need for me to share what the research says about how positivity affects leadership, relationships, business, workplace, teamwork, emotional health, and productivity. The question is not WHY positive leadership is important, but HOW to be a positive leader. And so, with compelling stories (there are many good stories here), practical ideas and practices, Jon Gordon shares 9 Frameworks on how we can utilize and implement his positive leadership principles into action:

#1 Positive Leaders Drive Positive Cultures. “Culture is not just one thing. It’s everything” (Jon Gordon)

#2 Positive Leaders Create and Share a Positive Vision. “It is important to have a compelling vision and a comprehensive plan. Positive leadership – conveying the idea that there is always a way forward – is so important because that is what you are here for – to figure out how to move the organization forward” (Alan Mulally)

#3 Positive Leaders Lead with Optimism, Positivity and Belief. “The most important characteristic of a leader is optimism” (Bob Iger)

#4 Positive Leaders Confront, Transform and Remove Negativity. “Being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed but being negative will guarantee you won’t” (Jon Gordon)

#5 Positive Leaders Create United and Connected Teams. “It’s the leader’s ability to unite and connect people that truly creates great teams and organizations” (Jon Gordon)

#6 Positive Leaders Built Great Relationships and Teams. “Leadership comes down to taking care of the people in your organization and making them the best they can be, not giving up on them and never failing to be there for them” (Pete Carroll)

#7 Positive Leaders Pursue Excellence.People think you have to choose between positivity and winning. You don’t have to choose. Positivity leads to winning” (Jon Gordon)

#8 Positive Leaders Lead with Purpose.We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it” (Jon Gordon). This is my favorite quote!

#9 Positive Leaders Have Grit. “The number one predictor and factor of success is not talent, title, wealth or appearance. It is grit!” (Jon Gordon)

When I first read the title of this book, I think of Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. While positive thinking will help me in my personal life, positive leadership will not only impact my own but also others’ lives such as my family, friends, Bible Study group, team and organization. As Jon Gordon ends this book, he writes, “When you become a positive leader, you will not only make yourself better, but you will also make everyone around you better – and that’s a great place to start!” I fully recommend this book not only to professionals and business leaders but to anyone who wants to be 1% more better every day. I also recommend that you subscribe to Jon Gordon’s Positive University Podcast too.  


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Monday, October 14, 2019

You Can, You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner (2014) by Joel Osteen, Book Review

You Can, You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner
(2014) by Joel Osteen

"There is a winner in you. You were created to be successful, to accomplish your goals, to leave your mark on this generation. You have greatness in you. The key is to get it out," writes Joel Osteen, a beloved smiling pastor and also a controversial preacher of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. I first encounter with Joel Osteen while listening to his sermons through Podcast a few years ago. I like it because his messages are very uplifting and encouraging. They are great to listen to during my walking exercise. With his southern slang, I can hear his sincerity, positivity and love for the people. Joel is very consistent in his speaking and writing. Because I listened to Joel on YouTube too for a couple of times, I can hear his intonations and imagine his movements when I read this book. I enjoy reading it.

Long-Note: Let me share with you what I think about Joel Osteen because there are people – both well-meaning people and pure haters alike – warned about him and labelled him as preaching the health and wealth gospel or simply known as the prosperity gospel. Is it true? YES. As Christians, we all should be alert and guard ourselves against false teachers and false teachings. I'm not in ignorance, I fully aware of it. But I have this principle in my reading: Read widely and apply critical thinking (I've read half a dozen of books on atheism, but I'm still a Christ-follower today. I learned a great deal from those books). When I read and listen to Joel Osteen, I'm not coming to him for Biblical teachings and the Word expositions. I consider him as motivational speaker, period (the Lakewood Church might call him ‘pastor' and ‘preacher' but I don't call him with these titles). Not everyone can do it, I admit, but I'm very good with compartmentalizing each book/author into categories. Joel Osteen, to me, is in the same category as Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, etc. In short: Joel Osteen is a good Christian motivational speaker but a bad gospel preacher. His message is more like Napoleon Hill rather than like Andrew Murray. If you're a Christian, I would like to suggest that you treat this book as an inspirational or motivational or self-help book and I can assure you that you can learn some valuable lessons from it.

Okay, about the book, You Can You Will, Joel Osteen believes that we are all a winner. "Winning is in your DNA," he writes, "and it's about to come out in a greater way. You may have had some victories in the past, but you haven't seen anything yet." To reach your potential and achieve new levels of success in your life, he outlines Eight (8) Qualities that Every Winner Must Have, namely:

#1 Keep Your Vision in Front of You. Dare to dream big dreams. This might trigger theological alert, fairly so, but I share this quote anyway: "If you keep the vision in front of you and don't get talked out of it, but just keep honouring God, being your best, thanking Him that it's on the way, God will supersize whatever you're believing for. He'll do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond." If you keep your vision in front of you, you'll move forward.

#2 Run Your Race. Focus on your unique course and goals. "The scripture talks about those who loved the praise of people more than the praise of God. One of the tests we all have to pass is when someone in our lives that we respect and look up to – a boss, a friend, a colleague, a relative – wants us to go to one direction when we know in our hearts that we should take another path." Be secure enough in who you are that you don't live to please people says Osteen. Run your race.

#3 Expect Good Things. Anticipate great opportunities. Read this motivational quote: "Our expectations set the limits for our lives. If you expect little, you're going to receive little. If you don't anticipate things to get better, then they won't. But if you expect more favour, more good breaks, a promotion, and an increase, then you will see new levels of favour and success."

#4 Have a Positive Mindset. Take control of your thoughts and attitudes. "Daniel and Joseph were good people, but they had bad circumstances," explains Osteen. "Unfair things happened to them. They were mistreated and faced huge obstacles. If you study their lives, you'll find one common denominator: They were always positive. They had this attitude of faith… they started each day with their minds going in the right direction, knowing that our God is well able."

#5 Commit to Excellence. Do your best and maintain high standards. "When you have a spirit of excellence, you do your best whether anyone is watching or not. You go the extra mile. You do more than you have to." I love the story when Joel struggled to either pick up trash that flew about 15 feet away due to the wind or left it there. He chooses to pick it up and little that he knows that there were people watching the whole thing. "When you are excellent, your life gives praise to God. That's one of the best witnesses you can have. Some people will never go to church. They never listen to a sermon. They're not reading the Bible. Instead, they're reading your life. They are watching how you live… You're representing almighty God." 

#6 Keep Growing. Be proactive, be intentional, build on your gifts, and continually improve. This is powerful: "Young people often get caught up in trying to be popular instead of trying to be their best." Decide to grow in some way every day.

#7 Serve Others. This is one of my favourite chapters! Invest yourself in others. "Jesus pulled out His towel, bowed down and washed [the disciple's] feet one by one. He gave us His example of service to others so we would know you're never too important to be good to people. You're never too successful. You're never too high to bow down low and serve another person." Love this phrase: You're never too important to be good to people.

#8 Stay Passionate. Light the fire within and approach life with enthusiasm. "If you want to stay passionate, you have to stay productive. You have to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. When you're not producing, you're not growing. You may retire from your job, but don't ever retire from life. Stay busy." The word passionate is similar to the word enthusiasm which comes from the Greek word ‘entheos.' ‘Theos' is a term for ‘God.' So, when you're enthusiastic, you are full of God!


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