“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
It might sound morbid, but I think about death a lot. I never forget that “a man’s days are numbered.” (Job 14:5) When I think about death, I feel more alive. The reality of my mortality staying at the forefront of my mind provides urgency to live today to the fullest. (My wife wrote an awesome blog about Living Like You’re Dying [click here]. If you want to read this as well).
“Memento Mori” (remember you are mortal)
You’ve probably experienced the same feeling at a funeral. It’s like a wake-up call. You even think about all the ways you’re going to change, how you’re going to stop being angry or stop worrying so much, how you’re finally going to go big in life, or how you’re going to be in the moment and appreciate your time with your loved ones more.
But then a few days later, what happens?
The feeling fades.
For thousands of years humans have been fighting the same fight: how to be in this world but not of it (John 17:14-15), how to stay vibrant and alive, how to stay energized and motivated to be good stewards of the life they’ve been given. I’m convinced that game-changers who manage this dynamic well are passionately disciplining themselves to stay inspired daily.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We all have default mindsets and behavior patterns. How do we break them? With daily practice, a burning desire in your heart to get better, and constant and consistent immersion in positive principles, productive time spent, and powerful people. Say that three times fast!
I’m also convinced that no matter how far you get in life, as soon as you stop staying inspired daily, we can easily fall back into our old ways. I’m a completely different person than I was 14 years ago. But I can easily see after a few days without my daily practices, the tendencies and temptations could gradually arise again.
How many of you know that grouchy feeling when you didn’t workout one day? Or how many of you feel the foggy absence of the spirit when you’re not into the Word on a regular basis? That’s what I’m talking about.
When we talk about not conforming to the patterns of this world and constantly being transformed by the renewing of your mind, you need to engage in regular, daily practices. Here are five that I personally preach and practice myself:
5 PRACTICES TO STAY INSPIRED AND IGNITED DAILY
#1: FILTER THE NOISE
I tell my kids all the time, what you listen to, what you watch, who you hang with, will affect you. There’s just no doubt. You have to filter what you soak into your brain. It has a major influence on who you are as a human being, the choices you make, and how you act. If you listen to explicit music, watch. You’ll start swearing more. If you hang with negative people, watch. You’ll either jump on the bandwagon or in the least bit, your energy will be drained. If you watch immature, dramatic people on television all the time, watch. You’ll start thinking that’s normal.
You have to choose what you expose yourself too. Does it mean you can never expose yourself to any of the above? Absolutely not. But once you become conscious of how each affect you, you’ll be better at selecting which areas you expose yourself to and especially in only small doses.
Over time, once you experience the renewing transformation, you’ll choose the good stuff way more.
#2: READ GREAT BOOKS
I used to never read books. The first book I remember reading was my third year in college. Then one day over three years ago I challenged myself to read one book every week for the entire year. I read over 52 books that year and it drastically changed my life. So much so, that I haven’t stopped since.
Why did I do this? Because I felt that urgency, after thinking about death regularly, to stop wasting a single second of my life. I wanted to know as much as I could about my four life pillars, so that I could become the best I could in each area, so that I could greatly impact all those around me, so that I could be the best steward of the life God gave me.
My four life pillars are faith, family, fitness & health, and mindset. You can learn so much about what you personally believe in and why, when you read about others’ opinions, experiences, and philosophies. And obviously my personal favorite is the bible. You can learn about any aspect of life, all the standards God has set for you, when you immerse yourself in universal, timeless, and biblical TRUTH.
Reading is so important that I consider it part of my job as a leader. I can almost justify paying myself to do it! In fact, I pay my kids when they read books. I truly believe it’s that great of an investment to one’s personal and professional development.
#3: WRITE IN A JOURNAL
Last year I was scrolling through some old journals. I found one from nine years ago, right when my wife and I were drawing up visions for this company. In it I wrote, “I want to create a place one day that kids never want to leave.” If you ever come hang out at one of our kids’ classes, watch what happens at the end. Parents have to pull their kids out the door.
There’s something extremely powerful about putting thoughts on paper. Think about what’s happening with this Wolf Pack challenge. Just the mere thought of tracking your weekly performance holds you accountable. Then when you write down your progress, it motivates you to want to step it up a notch the next time.
I make notes constantly. If a great idea comes to mind at night, I wake up to write it down! Write out your thoughts, your emotions, your ideas, a letter to your wife and kids, a note of forgiveness and resolve to a tense family member and watch how healthy it is for your soul and theirs.
#4: WATCH POSITIVE VIDEOS
My time is limited. Owning a company means you’re never really ‘off.’ If I ever do have time to sit down and watch something, it’s either a documentary, a sermon, or a TED talk. I know it’s weird. My wife tells me all the time! But I didn’t pay attention for seventeen years in school, I have a lot of catching up to do!
Does it mean you can never watch mindless videos when you just want to veg out? Absolutely not. It just means that most of the time you’re choosing to infiltrate your mind with the good stuff. Just like nourishing your body, you need to fuel your brain properly if you want to enhance, and not damage, your perspective on life.
#5: HANG WITH GREAT PEOPLE
The famous actor Will Smith came into an after-school program I used to run for at-risk kids. He told them a powerful quote, “Look at the five closest friends you’re hanging with. That’s who you are. If you don’t like it, then get new friends.” I think he paraphrased it from Confucius. But nevertheless, it stuck.
I know Jesus wants us to be influencers for people who are lost and confused. But he cautions his disciples and followers multiple times throughout the bible about being careful who you hang with. In Luke 9:5, he tells them to go spread the Word in nearby towns. But, “If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Go in. But don’t wait too long. If people don’t receive the Spirit, get out.
Remember people won’t change until they want to. To move forward in life, sometimes you need to stay clear of toxic people. Either hang with them in small doses or eliminate them completely from your life. As Paul writes, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Cor 15:33)
Therefore, no matter who you hang with, you better find a group of great people who lead with great morals, values, and habits in life, that you hang with more. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
Hang with people who care about health and you’ll start caring more about health. I see it all the time when new members join the gym. It’s a new way of life and slowly new members change their perspectives and their ways simply because they’re around a new group of likeminded people. We all want to belong and choosing the right group to belong to makes a big difference.
Before I sat down to conclude this devotional, I locked myself out of the house before my 5:30 am workout. I shut the door not realizing I never grabbed my keys. I thought to myself, I could either sit here until someone wakes up, or I could just take off and start running to the gym. So I started running.
I came over the interstate overpass and there I go again with a death-thought, “how could someone jump off of a bridge?” Life is so precious. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take advantage of it. And then suddenly, my energy peaked, and I started running faster.
Our life on this earth is like vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (James 4:14). To make the best of it we need to remember that. To remember that keeps us inspired daily. To be inspired daily means we can make a far greater impact on others and the world around us.
It’s just my opinion. Don’t take my word for it. Try these five inspirational practices today. And it might just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.