live simply, live radically: making friends

All of you are prob­a­bly famil­iar with the hit work­out pro­gram P90X. Well they’ve come out with a new pro­gram called P90X+ for those who are ready to go beyond the orig­i­nal pro­gram for a greater chal­lenge. Liv­ing sim­ply is a stretch for some peo­ple but if liv­ing sim­ply isn’t rad­i­cal enough, I have some more chal­lenges for the “élite”.

Remem­ber, every­thing on this site is to help you live more ful­fill­ing lives that are extra­or­di­nary, break­ing the sta­tus quo. Do I have life fig­ured out? No, but do what you read, and it is guar­an­teed to work.

Meet strangers

I hear it all the time from friends that they strug­gle with mak­ing friends, find­ing peo­ple to do things with. Plain and sim­ple, they’re lonely. These are cool peo­ple, they’re not socially inept, but social­iz­ing just isn’t work­ing for them. It’s almost as if they expect rela­tion­ships to just hap­pen. Here’s the truth, 9 out of 10 times it’s up to you to make rela­tion­ships happen.

The major­ity of our rela­tion­ships are formed through com­mon activ­i­ties such as church, school and sports teams. The prob­lem with those rela­tion­ships is they’re usu­ally formed around one par­tic­u­lar inter­est, and those peo­ple you meet in those venues don’t usu­ally have much more in com­mon than that one interest.

So, get out there and start meet­ing peo­ple out­side your nor­mal venues. Wher­ever you go (ie gas sta­tions, cof­fee houses, restau­rants, etc) seek to engage peo­ple on a deeper level than the typ­i­cal transaction.

Peo­ple are wired to be self-​​centered (if you don’t believe me, than you’ve obvi­ously never spent much time around a 2yr old). To make friends you need to view oth­ers as more impor­tant than your­self and look at oth­ers inter­ests as more impor­tant than your own. I know you want a friend but you first need to be a friend before you can have a friend. When I meet some­one and engage with them, I treat them like we’ve been best friends. It’s not the cul­tural norm how fast and aggres­sively I pur­sue rela­tion­ships, but it works.

Take risks with strangers

When I meet some­one that I think has poten­tial, I make sure to get a num­ber, send them a quick text so I’m in their phone, and within a cou­ple days try to set up a lunch date or activ­ity. I love being gen­er­ous, so I always pay at our first meet up. It may or may not go any­where from there, but that’s ok. Some friend­ships last a week and oth­ers for years. It’s impor­tant to take life one day at a time and squeeze the most out of it. Don’t try to live a ful­fill­ing life for 10yr, strive just for today.

Remem­ber, treat strangers like they’re your best friend. To me that seems like how Jesus would’ve treated peo­ple. So share what you have freely with every­one, it’s not yours any­way. God gave it to you and he can take it away just as fast.

Don’t be afraid to invite strangers over to your house. Lis­ten, if you really want to be used by God and you say that you’re will­ing to be sent any­where, then this shouldn’t be an issue. How do you expect to be will­ing to be sent to the Mid­dle East with your fam­ily to preach the Gospel if you’re afraid of hav­ing strangers around your home and fam­ily here in the US?

Be con­sis­tent

Meet­ing strangers is a good prac­tice, but some­times hav­ing famil­iar­ity is good also. After all, one way to meet strangers is for friends to intro­duce you to their friends. So, become a reg­u­lar. Even if it’s 2mi out of the way, go to the same gas sta­tion. Even if you don’t feel like cof­fee one week, hit up a local cof­fee shop regularly.

Be con­sis­tent with ini­ti­at­ing activ­i­ties. Don’t invite some­one you just met out to lunch once and then expect them to ini­ti­ate the next activ­ity. With social media on the rise, it’s an undis­puted fact that peo­ple are get­ting worse at know­ing how to social­ize. Some­times we need to give peo­ple a lit­tle help.

Here’s the for­mula for mak­ing a best friend. Treat the per­son like they are your best friend, inter­act reg­u­larly and serve them.

Don’t be picky

I’m the worst at this. I want friends but I’m super picky about who I want to be friends with. You have to have the right looks, be on my “level”, be well con­nected, etc. I know, sounds pretty super­fi­cial, right? I’m just being hon­est and work­ing on it.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my brother, Jonathan. He is the man. Peo­ple flock around my brother, and it’s almost like he doesn’t even try. Here’s my the­ory about him. He shows no par­tial­ity to peo­ple. He’s kind to every­one (which I am too) but he goes beyond that and includes/​hangs out with the “unpop­u­lar” kids even though my bro ranks high on the cool kids meter. That says a lot about his char­ac­ter and I think other peo­ple notice and it makes him a very attrac­tive person.

This is an off the cuff blog post. It’s not meant to rank high on Google, but I hope it at least gives you some things to chew on. Set goals. Meet 1 new per­son a week, fig­ure out where you’re going to hang, etc. Now get out there and make some friends.

6 people who taught me how to be happy

I had a friend recently com­ment that I seem sat­is­fied and happy with every­thing in my life. I responded by say­ing it wasn’t always that way, but through life expe­ri­ences I came to a place a cou­ple years ago where I am truly happy. It made me start reflect­ing on some of the most influ­en­tial peo­ple that have brought me to that point. Here’s my list.

Ricky Hill — “Don’t worry”

This was my col­lege room­mate who hailed from St. Vin­cent. He embod­ies the laid back cul­ture of the Caribbean. We’d have long dis­cus­sions in our room about life and per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity. He walked around cam­pus seem­ingly with­out a care in the world. I use to despise that atti­tude until one day it hit me that life is what it is and there’s lit­tle you can do about it, so don’t worry.

Jacques Paganel — “Enjoy it!”

Jacques Paganel is a char­ac­ter in the old Dis­ney film “In Search of the Cast­aways.” Don’t know why but there’s a scene that’s stuck in my mind. They were in this huge tree and trapped by flood waters. Jacques begins singing a song enti­tled “Enjoy It” which talks about see­ing the sil­ver lin­ing. Here’s a few of the lines, “A hur­ri­cane comes your way, enjoy the breeze. You’re stranded in the jun­gle, enjoy the trees. Voila, that’s life, enjoy it!”.

William Bor­den — “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets”

I read this guy’s biog­ra­phy in mid­dle school. It has had a pro­found affect on my life as I learned about a man who had incred­i­ble ambi­tions in life and died at the age of 29 before accom­plish­ing what he set out to do. In his Bible he penned, “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” Was he per­fect? No. I resolved a long time ago never to have regrets but to real­ize that expe­ri­ences, good or bad, are all good ulti­mately, depend­ing on what you do with them. I have no regrets. To me, what doesn’t kill me, only makes me stronger. One of my tag lines is, “Life is what you make it to be, and I choose to live extraordinarily.”

Mary Pop­pins — “Make life a game”

Another Dis­ney char­ac­ter we all know well. If you know me per­son­ally, you might have heard me say that life is a game or one big joke. It’s not to say I don’t take life seri­ously but I try to be light hearted as I make my way through life. Mary Pop­pins taught the chil­dren a les­son one day while they were clean­ing their rooms how to make it a game. I’ve tried to employ that prin­ci­ple by mak­ing the most out of what I do and make it fun.

Reepicheep — “This is an adventure!”

Another char­ac­ter who’s atti­tude has affected me is Reepicheep from the Nar­nia movies. His high spir­its and knack for adven­ture have become some­thing I try imper­son­ate. I try to look at life as one big adven­ture, never know­ing what the next turn will bring. I’ve come to appre­ci­ate the lit­tle things and get excited about them whether it be meet­ing a new friend or hav­ing a new expe­ri­ence. Every­day is an adven­ture because every­day is a blank canvas.

Paul (the apos­tle) – “I have learned in what­ever sit­u­a­tion I am to be content.”

Paul is an awe­some exam­ple to me. My favorite book in the Bible is Phillip­i­ans and it’s writ­ten by Paul who is in jail. He says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every cir­cum­stance, I have learned the secret of fac­ing plenty and hunger, abun­dance and need. I can do all things through him [Christ] who strength­ens me.” That’s ulti­mately the “secret” to my hap­pi­ness. I have Christ and he is all I need.