If You Ain’t Growing, You’re Dying

I was recently attending a Grace@Work Bible study in a conference room at the ATDC. Cortney, my friend and facilitator, asked this simple question, “What do you practice?”

We had just read the third chapter of 1 John where John writes, “Do not make a practice of sinning.” Cortney asked this question to get us engaged and thinking about the word “practice” in a broader sense.

Practicing the Game

Mike, one of the attendees, said, “I used to spend a lot of time practicing golf.” And then he went on to explain all he did to get better.

I said, “I did the same thing after I joined Atlanta Country Club. I decided I was going to master the game and spent hours watching videos, chipping, putting, hitting balls, taking lessons, and playing. I did get better, but the commitment was not nearly worth the result.”

Then a few more folks spoke up. While they were talking, it hit me. I don’t practice anything with that intensity anymore. This means I am not actively working at becoming better at something. I was convicted once again, “You are getting lazy.” My nephew, Andy, who is always going non-stop, quotes me as saying, “If you ain’t growing, you’re dying.”

Practice, Practice, Practice

As I look back on my career, I see I spent a lot of time practicing many different skill sets. I practiced accounting, teaching, sales, programming, management, public speaking, investing, and being a good husband and father.

I was on it. I was constantly learning. The goal was to be better, to be competitive in anything that I chose to undertake.

So what happened to me? After pondering this question for a few days, I came to a conclusion. I stopped competing. When I competed, the stakes were high. After all, I could lose. And I hate to lose. Just hate it.

What Is Interesting

Now that I am sixty-four, I realize I don’t put myself in a position where I can lose. Where there is risk in not achieving the goal.

That is what made my life interesting.

What kept me interested.

What keeps me interesting.

As I get older, I see how easy it is to fall into the role of spectator.

Living On the Line

This is why I love entrepreneurs. They don’t sit around talking about what they did or what others are doing. They tell you what they are doing.

They are putting themselves, their money, and their reputations on the line every day.

They are full of life and full of passion. They live in the shadow of failure. Their job is to stay ahead of it and achieve success.

I Need Adrenaline

As an entrepreneur, God has given me five basic needs I must satiate.

  1. I need to get my juices flowing again.
  2. I need to give my body a reason to produce adrenaline again.
  3. I need to compete in something I care about winning.
  4. I need to put myself at personal risk.
  5. I need to test myself in the market.

This is how God made me. I must be faithful.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

5 thoughts on “If You Ain’t Growing, You’re Dying

  1. You have lived out “If you ain’t learning, you’re dying” better than anybody I know. It has been a great example for me and I am more successful and a better person for it.

    Thanks for the reminder that the adrenaline from the potential loss is part of the fun. It’s easy to forget that.

  2. I love the ethos. But you left me hanging – what’s your next act? How are you going to put yourself at risk?

  3. I am not sure if I enjoy the adrenaline part of this. What gives me laser focus determination is my desire to bless others through my work. There are many people in need of jobs. I will do my part creating jobs so that more families will have a life of dignity, which is having at minimum their basic needs met.

    • Angelica: You are the second person to make this very point. And, of course, you are correct. The work we do should be focused on serving the needs of others and to help prosper them. This is God’s economic plan and it has worked well from the beginning of time. If I came across as self centered in the article, you busted me. Thanks for keeping me straight!

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