With the transformation of seasons, what’s on your radar these days? Though these three subjects might seem random, there is a common denominator to tie them all together.
First, when I mentioned Kmart, what did you envision? When I think of them or Walmart, I think light. In most cases, you can go there 24/7 and the lights are on. Without even closing your eyes, you can see that kind of light.
The same is true with computer and cell phone screens. They are light sources. Not only that, from what I’m told they both emit blue light. That’s not a bad thing, first thing in the morning, when you wake up. After all, that’s the kind of light the sun provides up until early afternoon. It lets your body know that it’s time to wake up and get moving.
Do you see the problem? If you’re constantly looking at a screen all day up until you go to bed, it’s effecting your sleep patterns. Maybe you’ve wondered why you can’t sleep lately. That may be the problem.
Now if you’re sleeping just fine, great. But if not, you need to make some changes. What if you limited your use to late afternoon/early evening. That wouldn’t mean you have to go without mental stimulation. You could listen to your podcasts or music at this time. Use it as a chance to improve your listening skills. You might even start getting ready for bed earlier and winding down. Light a candle, turn off cell phone notifications, etc. If you’re not getting it done during working hours, extending your workday is only going to make things worse.
The fact is, if you don’t tell your body what to do, it will tell you what to do. Erecting some walls will help you give your life some more definition.
I’ve been painting with oils lately and every day is a learning experience. While there are places in a painting where blending is required, paintings are really powerful when there are sharp distinctions and contrasts. Blend too much, and you end up with mud. The same is true in life, if you don’t make distinctions, you’ll end up with a muddy canvas. The good news in life and oil painting is that any mistake can be fixed. Instead of going through the motions and not expecting much from life, change your mindset. Changing how you think, changes what you do and life was meant to be more than a mudslide.
From Blue Light to Reading Retention
As a leader, one of the best ways to grow is reading. Not just anything, but subjects that will help you tackle some of the challenges you’re facing right now. Instead of trying to fix everything, pick the area that needs the most attention. Guess what? As you begin to attend to the areas in need of attention, your whole life will improve.
In fact, reading is a great way to spend the time you were spending on the computer and phone every night. As the adage goes, ‘Readers are Leaders!’. Not only is it effective, it’s one of the least expensive ways to educate yourself.
But obviously if you’re going to spend lots of time reading, it makes sense that you’re going to want to retain what you learn. Filing a book you’ve read for future reference is wonderful, but to really take your leadership to the next level, it will pay to work on your reading comprehension and retention. Then your powers are more than within arms reach, you’ll have them stored in your memory whenever they’re needed.
If you want to retain what you’ve read, stop highlighting so much and jotting notes in your margins. These aren’t bad practices by any means for future reference, but what you’re really telling yourself subliminally is: I’m not going to remember this, so I’d better write it down! There’s a better way.
Instead of highlighting and taking copious notes, write a question at the end of each chapter. Not just any old question, but one in which the required answer is a summary of the whole chapter or important ideas. As you go through the book, go back and answer the questions you wrote down. If you can’t, it’s obvious you’re not mastering the material. I discovered this idea while reading an article by Scott H. Young.
Do you see the progression from blue light to reading retention. There’s a difference when you mindlessly surf and when you make it a point to distill the information you are learning. If that sounds uncommon, it should. You aren’t looking to be just an average leader, you’re looking to go the distance and to go the distance, you have to stand out from the crowd.
Beyond Blue Light and Reading Retention to The Art of Empowerment
You may not realize it, but you are a very powerful leader! That’s not just flattery, it’s the truth. However, your power is of no value unless you use it.
I’m not an engineer or the son of an engineer, but I do know that power companies have vast reserves of power for the taking. As you can imagine, this power is worth a fortune. However, their power is worthless unless they share it with others.
But people have to pay for it. Of course! It’s a beautiful thing. You can purchase something that cost someone else a fortune to produce for a small investment.
Now of course there are two ways of looking at this. As a leader, you have vast reserves of power. That’s why they say you’re ‘in power’ as a leader. However, unless you share that power, it’s of no value whatsoever. Think about that.
SO what are you doing to give away your power? The tendency is to keep all of your power and do everything yourself. Like they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself. But that’s not how leaders do things. Maybe your Dad or Mom said that, but if you take a moment and reflect, were they influential leaders?
The second way of looking at this is to look at it through the eyes of someone who serves a leader. If you’re a leader and you have no leader, there is a problem. Any way, although servants may not pay their leader with money, they do end up paying them. Their payment may take the form of respect, service, dedication and more. These things are just as valuable if not more than money.
So be like a farmer and fork out your power like manure and you’ll have a huge harvest. They more you shovel out, the greater the return. Yes, you need to have discernment, but in most cases the people around you are dying to be part of something bigger than themselves. So empower them to actively use the gifts God has given them and your influence and impact will soar!
The Thread that Runs Through Blue Light, Reading Retention and the Art of Empowerment
So what do blue light, reading retention and empowerment all have in common? Stewardship. At the end of the day, you’re in control when it comes to going the distance in your own life. You’re in control of your body, your mind and your leadership gifts. So why not maximize them for the glory of God? They’re all gifts. Use them well and God will give you more. In the meantime, what question do you need to write down that’s going to help you remember the key idea in this article? Please be sure to share it in the comments section below!