Auto-Alert: Being Ready Anytime, Every Time For Anything

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Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2

If you’re not ready for everything, you’re not ready for anything– Paul Auster

Regret’s Hard Lesson
This year I have one very important resolution: to be ready for anything at all times. It essentially is a strategy for helping me fulfil my life motto. There is nothing worse than realizing what could have been because it is already gone, the moment is already past. Someone could say, “Yeah but you can always relive the moment,” except the truth of the matter is, some moments cannot be recreated. You cannot make someone feel about you the way they did at the time they did so, before you gave the wrong impression about yourself through you making a fool of yourself, whether that was intentional or not. Losing dignity and self-honor-especially in the eyes of someone you care about-is most shameful and heart-wrenching. Now granted, the possibility of unknown circumstances bringing out the wrong side of you-more so prior to the time preceding your predicament-could be an underlying factor, unfortunately even if you were in a bad mood or had the wrong words slip out, you were responsible of your emotions and actions and therefore can really only blame yourself. Know what I mean?

The Appreciation Mentality
I cannot stress the astronomical importance of gratitude. They say that you only realize the value of what you have always had once you’ve lost it, right? On the other hand someone else may say that the real truth is you have always known what you had except were too proud and naive enough to think you would never lose it. On the one case, the former leads a passive life by growing a passive relationship because the time spent with the individual/s is not valued. The party/ies involved are therefore taken for granted. The latter case also has some passivity to it but with awareness added to the picture. In other words the first case loses time spent in the relationship, while the second wastes time. We never know how long the people who are in our lives are there for, so it becomes more than imperative that every encounter with each person is held in high regard. The person you shape yourself to be is heavily influenced by such experiences.

Composure: The Essence Of Self-Control
This one is actually a very serious step. It requires being extremely and brutally honest with yourself: How much do you really love yourself? I am not completely talking about self-esteem but I am referring to a crucial part of it. What you think of yourself determines how you behave in certain situations. Should anyone say something inappropriate about you or to you, they will undoubtedly receive something from you. Now depending on a few factors such as the individual, location, atmosphere, your reputation and mood, the degree to which you react will leave the recipient in for quite an experience. Your actions in any and every given situation will obviously bear consequences that you will need to be ready to face. With that said, pumping the brakes and driving slow, breathing in and out a few times, and literally taking a step back for a good perspective of what is before you, is the wisest course of action.

Measure Your Growth
Sometimes I wonder how much I have grown over the past few years. Not so much in stature but rather in character. Have I become someone who is more caring than before? If I were to be honest with myself, how patient am I really? It would be a good idea to write down the person you think you are or know yourself to be and who your closest friend/partner or spouse sees you as. Then after each month, write another list without looking at your previous one then compare. This is the simplest way to tell just how far you have come from the person you used to be. It is especially important if you are looking to change who you are now.

Every Season Is Your Season
Paul was encouraging Timothy to be ready to preach the gospel both when it was convenient to do so and when all things turned out to seem unfavourable. The urgency to spread the message was what outweighed the conditions necessary to do so. In essence, Timothy had to create those conditions. Just like him, we too need to be ready for anything that we can do for anyone at any given moment. We must not neglect opportunities to give, creative ways to love, decisions to mature during disagreements, and the need to do what we know is right and might hurt as well at the time. The key in gaining and maintaining the art of being auto-alert, is not so much a security mentality where we take precautions to protect our valuables and loved ones, that goes without say, but rather how we handle the discomforting, depressing and disappointing times where naturally anyone and everyone would expect us to react in a typical manner. If we can do the opposite of what is conceived and perceived to be understandable and expected, basically be unpredictable and yet beneficial, then we are one step closer to living life and not merely existing.


Perspective: Seeing Things Differently

A very passionate person on Twitter, Kari Joys, stated something very interesting: “Let the warm glow of the setting sun kiss life’s hurts away.” ~Anon

I have often heard of similar sayings like, “The grass is always greener on the other side and The night is darkest before the dawn. Everyone interprets these differently and each of them have an effect on the way an individual generally looks at life. For me I have often said that life is a movie, in that each of us have a story and we all have those situations that seem impossible to overcome but can be done, and often approach us just as we are about reach and achieve our goal. Our story is something we tell each day and everything that happens to us, happens for a reason. The outcome of that and the way we feel about it is determined by the choice we make at that particular moment in time, in other words, how we choose to see it.

If things are great for our coworkers and they always seem to be doing much better with each passing day, whereas you are experiencing the complete opposite, the impact of such events will determine the kind of person you become. Will you be reactive and throw away opportunities for growth by complaining and being angry, stressed and unproductive, or will you take it a step at a time, think about, analyze and compare what they are doing to what you are doing so as to locate the missing link? The difference in each case is outlined by perspective.

Flip A Coin
I remember in primary school how we settled small but very significant disagreements. Usually the idea of flipping a coin would be to determine who starts something, as is the case in sports, however, in order to solve a case where conflicting points were brought up by both parties, we would flip a coin to see who had the better ability to calculate the probability of the coin falling on the side they thought had a higher likelihood.
Since there are two sides to every coin, each saying has a different meaning to each person. The sunset in general is a very beautiful thing but it can be disheartening if the most painful memories took place during sunset. If the individual were to look at the other side, so to speak, they would see that the beauty of the sunset and the impact it has is determined by them. Will they see the dark side or the bright side?

Beauty In The Eye Of The Beholder
When a person takes a look at a painting, say of a woman running out of a door looking back with a face that seems as though she is wondering if the event has taken place, everyone would see it in their own way. Is she running from someone and hoping she has escaped? Is it from something? Could she be concerned that she forgot something and could not help but take a quick glance? Is there a relief that whatever was tormenting her will not be part of her life anymore? Is she saddened by the thought of leaving a life she embraced so much that with everything she has in that split second, take it all in?

As all these feelings and more take place in your head there is one underlying question: What is so beautiful about that? I like to think it is the element of uncertainty that keeps you lost in a world you create yourself. It all comes down to the way you choose to look at it.

What Is Life?
When my brother came back from doing a film school course in Boston, I asked him what his observations were concerning people’s outlook on life. He mentioned a number of interesting things but then kind of bounced the question back to me. I told him that life is beautiful and it is very good. Personally for me it is a journey mapped out by our decisions. I then went on to mention how most people have the wrong perception of life. The way they see it is based on their current or dominant circumstances. If they had a terrible background, and they are not always heard or understood, they do not perform the best even by their own standards, life becomes dull, boring, pointless and worst of all: unfair. On the other hand if everything was smooth, had a brilliant upbringing, did excellent in school, had a great relationship and a loving and caring family and friends, life is viewed as amazing as a whole. This, unfortunately, is the wrong way to look at life. It must be seen, rather, as a gift that is given to us. A privelege and honor to have. What have you learned from terrible circumstances and how can you use them to encourage someone else through a similar kind? How can you celebrate both yours and someone else’s success and push each other to greater heights? How can you lift yourself up (during your ordeal) through embracing someone else’s success and vice-versa?

My personal life motto is: See what no one else sees. Not in the freaky ghosts and supernatural beings kind of way but more like possibilities for doing what I have never done before, whichever way that comes, and intentionally appreciating what no one else would. I start off that process by always recognizing that no matter how bad they get things can always be worse. In the end they are never really as bad as we lead ourselves to believe.

What do you see?

Faith creates doors of opportunity whereas doubt creates walls of confinement.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

This is what faith does:

This is what doubt does:

You do not want to be that! It delays progress in life! Even if you doubt for a little bit, it can affect you greatly.

When in doubt, don’t– Benjamin Franklin

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd– Voltaire

Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms– Khali Gibran

James 1:5-7

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hitherand thither and tossed by the wind.

 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,