Biblical Life Deep Waters Podcast – Episode 6: Kingdom Productivity 3
We need to realize all that we lost when Adam fell in the Garden and how Jesus came to demand it back because He loves us so much. In fact, love is the very reason God created the Heavens and the Earth – to build a house for His family. In this episode, we discover what we lost and how to get it back through the completed work of Messiah! Become a Mountain Mover or a Mountain Taker in 2014!
Biblical Life College and Seminary
PO Box 588 | Marshfield, MO 65706-0588 | USA
Phone: 417-859-0881 | firstname.lastname@example.org
With this podcast, Dr. Lake begins a new series entitled "Kingdom Productivity." This new series is a unique blending of Kingdom and Spiritual Warfare principles drawn from God’s Word and best practices within the field of productivity to take you to a new level of effectiveness in your studies, ministry, and God’s Kingdom. This episode provides a foundation as well as investigating the reality of resistance to God’s will in the earth.
A Routine Examination
By Michael K. Lake, Th.D.
I have been dealing with nontraditional theological education for over thirty years. During those years, I have seen students progress through their programs smoothly from start to finish, others do well for a while and then stall out, and finally others that never progress beyond opening the box of materials once they arrived in the mail. My heart has always been to move all of my students to the first category of smoothly moving through the materials from enrollment to graduation. In this process we have rewritten our materials, produced extensive audio lectures (which our students love), and finally begun filming on DVD. While the depth of insight into the Word of God and spiritual transformation has greatly increased for those that move smoothly through the courses, the overall percentage of completion has only increased by about 5%.
During the same period, I have become very interested in personal productivity. If you were aware of all of the various aspects of Biblical Life (our local congregation, the college & seminary, and publishing – whether in book form or video), you would understand why I am so involved with the concepts of productivity: both personally and professionally. Without the concepts of productivity that I have learned and implemented over the years, I could not have kept up with the seminary, much less a congregation and publishing ministry.
Observing from the viewpoint of being involved in education for over three decades and now productivity for a little over two, I am convinced that the difference between the students that move smoothly through the programs and those that don’t progress is the result of positive routines and habits.
You may be saying to yourself: “But you don’t know all that is happening in my life – all the demands and chaos.” The truth is that we are all swamped with demands, and (whether it is home life, ministry life, or the work place) chaos is usually status quo.
I recently finished a new book co-authored by someone that I respect in the field of productivity and the creative mind, Scott Belsky. His book entitled “Making Ideas Happen” has become the “go-to” book for those working in creative fields. His team at Behance developed a new book entitled, “Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.” In this book, he made two very profound statements:[i]
"It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility. While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal. Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it. Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen."
"You can surrender your day-to-day and the potential of your work to the burdens that surround you. Or, you can audit the way you work and own the responsibility of fixing it."
Did you catch that? Let me repeat just one sentence from Scott’s forward to the book that is paramount to our decision: “Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it.”
So let’s rule out learning difficulties and extreme family emergencies regarding the studies of our students – which is a small percentage. The difference between those students that made progress and those that did not continue is their individual practices. I believe “individual practices” can be defined as our daily routines and habits.
Routines and habits may sound like the same thing, but they are not. Before I examine what routines are, I want to take a look at habits.
Habits can be defined as an action or series of actions that we do automatically. In other words, we have done them so many times that we now have to give little thought in their activation or completion. Some habits are good and others are bad. It is kind of alarming to realize that we can have habits that are bad for us that can activate without conscious thought and be carried out without our realizing it! One could compare bad habits to what gathers on the bottom of ships as they navigate the ocean: barnacles. As those barnacles increase on that which is unseen (the bottom of the ship in the water), it impedes progress on that which can be seen (the upper part of the ship above the water).
One of the great mysteries of life is how to get rid of bad habits? The truth is that you can’t. You can overwrite them with new habits. For many, trying to find a way of replacing bad habits with good ones is like playing the lottery: millions will play, but few win. At least that is the way it seems until you add another factor to the equation: routines.
Every single habit we have (good or bad) is the result of our environment and our reaction to it. A specific environment will trigger a habit response. The environmental trigger can activate habits of defeat, procrastination, distraction, etc., in our lives. Therefore, the first step in overcoming bad habits regarding our studies (or any other area) is to modify the environment through an examination of our routines.
I want to focus specifically on dealing with education in this article. So let’s look at what happens when a student attends a traditional college. The student is placed into an environment in which learning, studying, and completing assignments are the main focus. Everyone is going to classes, using the library, and spending their evenings in study and writing. The environment facilitates and reinforces good habits regarding learning.
Our challenge is to systematically modify the environment in our homes or pastoral offices that facilitate and reinforce good study habits, which produce marked results in moving through the programs you are taking at BLCS. This may seem overwhelming, but it can be simplified.
In the book I have already quoted from, “Managing Your Day-to-Day,” I discovered that many famous authors use routines and their environment as triggers for productivity in their given profession. Here is a list of what some of them would do as a part of their established routine to write:
1. Clear off the desk or table of everything, and then lay out only the things needed to write.
2. Listen to a particular song or album. (Always the same – to create a specific environment.)
3. Have a cup of coffee in a specific cup. Maybe include a cookie or something small and enjoyable.
4. Study and write for one to two hours.
If they wanted to study and write daily, they would go through this routine every single day without fail. If it was to write on Mondays and Thursdays, they did it every week and never missed.
At first, very little will happen. You go through the routine and stumble or get little done. Over time, the mind understands what you are after. Within is few weeks, the moment you start clearing off your desk or table, you will feel a switching to study and writing mode within your mind. You have established a new environment through a routine that activates a new habit of study.
This understanding has helped me greatly. I have always been about to study and development sermon/lecture notes. I struggled in the area of moving from developing outlines to writing. I guess I use different mental/spiritual muscles to develop outlines than I do in writing. For me, writing required some type of inspiration. A certain mood had to hit me before I could write. The problem was that sometimes the mood only hit me three or four times a year. The result was that I could write and do it well a few times a year.
While reading and meditating on the concept of using routines, the light finally came on. I do something similar every week with sermon preparation and delivery (funny thing about being a pastor – the congregation wants to hear something inspired, new, and anointed every week whether the mood hits me or not). I realized that I have little routines during the week that create the environment to hear from God. Then there are other little routines that help trigger the research and review. Finally, every single Saturday morning I am up by 6 AM to type out my sermon notes (which I will deliver at 10 AM that morning to my congregation). This is so strongly embedded in me that even when I travel to speak and have all of my lectures notes prepared beforehand, at 6 AM on Saturday I am up reviewing that morning’s session to see if God wants me to make any adjustments.
I now have some newly developed routines for writing. I have been working with them the same time, on the same days each week. The result is that I don’t have to wait for the mood to hit me; I am creating a new environment that triggers the mood or inspiration. In fact, I am kind of shocked at how quickly I have moved into a routine of writing. It is really exciting for me. I have already developed several new articles and begun outlining a new book. Some of the articles may never see the light of day. Others may be amalgamated into other projects. But the block is gone, and the creativity has begun to flow.
What routines have you developed that produce successful study times for your coursework from BLCS? Maybe you don’t have any, and that is the reason you are waiting for the mood to hit you to study and move forward. The good news is that through the power of routine, you can establish a new environment that facilitates good study habits.
Maybe it’s time for a routine examination in your life (i.e., examine your routines). If what you are currently trying isn’t working, change the environment and look for things that create the atmosphere for progress!
[i] Glei, Jocelyn – General Editor. Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Amazon Publishing, Las Vegas, NV. Copyright 2013. Forward. Kindle Edition.
Michael K. Lake, Th.D.
Dr. Lake is the Chancellor and Founder of Biblical Life College and Seminary, the Director of Biblical Life Publishing, and the Senior Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly. He has been involved in the education of aspirants of ministry for over thirty years. He also serves on the International Board of Restoration Fellowship International.
It seems that it is encoded into our Western DNA – the secular New Years is a day to make nearly impossible resolutions, only to be disappointed twelve months later when none of them were accomplished. Truth be known, God has a better way.
The Many Cycles in God’s Calendar
God’s calendar, the biblical one, does not start until Spring. It is right before Passover. Scripturally, it is tied to the ripened barley harvest. The New Year is directly connected to the Passover Lamb and the redemptive work of God. It is a sign to us that the only true, new beginnings come through the Blood of the Lamb – anything else is just another day with no power.
In God’s Cycles, there are:
· Yearly Cycles
· Monthly Cycles (tied to the New Moon)
· Daily Cycles (God’s mercy is new every morning)
If we really want changes, we need to move into God’s cycles. We also need to move from outrageous wishes to strategic review and planning! Neither faith or the power of God can move through wishful thinking, but they can move through strategic faith!
In the Know
The first thing that we must do is to be “in the know.” What is God speaking to the Body now? True words from God are always strategic, insightful, and implementable!
At Biblical Life, God has been having us teach prophetically regarding 2013. In this article, I do not want to reiterate what was given in those three messages. I do ask that you would go to our YouTube channel and watch those videos now. http://www.youtube.com/biblicallife
After viewing (or even reviewing) them, proceed with reading this article.
Prov 24:3-6 TLB
3-4 Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts. 5 A wise man is mightier than a strong man. Wisdom is mightier than strength. 6 Don’t go to war without wise guidance; there is safety in many counselors.
Time to Get the 800 Pound Monkey Off Your Back
Failure among believers is at an all-time high. Failure in ministry, failure in business, failure in family, failure in health – do I need to go on? It seems like there is an 800 pound monkey on our backs that we cannot define. Well, it is time to define and eradicate this monkey! God used Dr. John Benefiel at the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network to provide the Kingdom Intelligence we needed to bring this monkey down – it is the Spirit of Baal.
Satan has done an outstanding job of paganizing Christianity over the millennia. But he does not stop there; he has equally paganized secular society, governments, and anything else he could sink his claws into. He wanted to make sure that Baal worship was embedded throughout all of Western culture. Baal is the Strongman over America, and this spirit is what has been pulling you down at every turn!
Binding the Strongman Over America DVD and Book Set
Dr. Benefiel has produced a three-part DVD and book set that will give you the information and prayers you need to divorce Baal and break his hold on your life. It will be the best $45.00 investment you have ever made. (This series was also highlighted on Sid Roth’s show “Its Supernatural.”)
You can either purpose the set from Sid Roth’s Ministry or directly from the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network (www.hapn.us).
Watch the videos, read the book, and do some of your own research. God is calling us to cast off every element of Baal’s influence in our lives. Be thorough! You cannot have Baal’s stuff in your life and try to divorce him at the same time! Baal’s influence runs through all of Western society: from secret societies to so-called Christianized pagan holidays to pornography. They all have their origins in the mystery religions of Babylon.
Once you have researched, cleansed your home and life, and repented, then pray the two prayers include with the materials: (1) Divorcing Baal and (2) the Writ of Assistance.
These two prayers are powerful. You may need to pray them every week for a while. The Spirit of Baal will not give up easily, but the truth is that he is already defeated through Jesus. Be consistent in both watchfulness and in your prayers.
Now We Can Move on to Obtaining and Maintaining
Now it is time to use wise planning, to use wisdom, and to keep abreast of the facts in your life. In 2013, God wants to show you how to obtain His blessing and also HOW TO MAINTAIN IT! For some, the obtaining is easy – the hard part is maintaining. This is why God’s cycles of review are so powerful: daily, monthly, and yearly.
I believe 2013 can be the greatest year of Kingdom Advancement in your life!
I am not saying that it will fall like ripe cherries off a tree. You are going to have to pray, study, evaluate, adjust, and BE CONSISTENT in your Kingdom implementations. Unless you are ready to do that, you are still in wishful thinking and not Kingdom functioning!
This is the year to throw aside complacency, apathy, and spiritual laziness. To really move forward, you are going to have to roll up your sleeves and do the work: prayer, research, reflection, and consistent application. I cannot stress this enough! This is the time for you to cross your Jordan and learn how to fight and dispossess the enemy. It is time to stop wandering in your wilderness and to move into your possessions in the Kingdom.
Are you ready?
I want you to choose several primary areas in your life where you need God’s Kingdom and blessing to come. For the next twelve months, these areas will become your Kingdom assignments and spiritual/physical focus.
I want you to get out a notebook and divide it up into sections. At the start of each section write the title of one of the areas you want victory over. Every day you are going to pray over those areas and then start looking for God’s wisdom on how to overcome them. I want you to move from the “wandering in the wilderness” mentality to the “possessing the land” one. God wants to work with you, NOT for you.
As you daily pray and review, the Holy Spirit will show you things to repent of, things to change (from absolute abandoning to slightly tweaking), and will place within your hands new information that will provide insights for overcoming and new implementations to release your faith into. Write them down in the appropriate sections of your notebook. Daily review what God has shown you, as well as a daily review of how you put them into practice (implementation). Be truthful with yourself. Where did you excel and where did you stumble? Work to overcome your personal stumbling blocks and to make the areas you excelled in even stronger. Remember, it took you a while to walk into these situations, and it will take some time to walk out. In every situation you can learn truths: both of what to do and what not to do.
Some areas you will really need to examine daily. These are the hard areas to change. Stubborn bad habits can really be strongholds in your life. Identify them, and then overcome them through prayer, fasting, and obedience to Christ.
Daily, weekly, and monthly – God will counsel you, provide insights and wisdom, and give you the grace (divine empowerment) to overcome the workings of the enemy and to consistently do what He shows you. If you stumble, don’t get into either self-pity or self-blame: both of these are head-games the enemy loves to play with us to keep us under his control. Identify, repent, and seek God’s power to do better the next day. If you do this every day for a month, you will be surprised at how many strongholds you will pull down and gain victory over.
Now select a special color pen to write down victories (even minor ones) in each section. These are the ones that you will need to go to when you feel down or disappointed. It will serve to remind you of just how far you have really come! Why is this important? Because the enemy’s lies are that you haven’t moved at all. He will place lying feelings on you to accompany his temptations to give up. The only thing that will overcome these feelings are the facts – facts written in your own handwriting! Open your notebook to that section and read every victory out loud for both you and the enemy to hear. You would be amazed at how quickly your feelings will change!
Just in case you think this is something that I am just writing about and not doing, here is a photo of my 2013 Strategic Journal. (That’s a good name for it, don’t you think?)
If you will do this consistently in 2013, you will find it will become one of the most successful and blessed years you have ever experienced!
Identify – Research – Pray – Plan – Implement – Review
When you don’t plan to succeed, you are planning to fail!
wants to release a fresh anointing into your life for the days ahead! In the following articles and MP3 teachings are Kingdom resources to help you get out of neutral and moving forward in God!
Understanding Kingdom Assignments
As of late, I feel that I am in the Holy Spirit Advanced School of Learning. It seems that each day God is teaching me things that I did not know the day before. In our local congregation, God has been having me teach a series called “Foundations of Biblical Prosperity.” From the title, you may think you already know what I am teaching. I can assure you that you don’t. I have been waking up in the morning teaching things out of my spirit in ways I could not have imagined. In this series on Biblical Prosperity, the very last thing you will hear about is giving. Giving is only one component. Without adding all the rest, giving can be in vain. This is why many have gone bankrupt while they were tithing! These powerful messages are now available on MP3 CD along with a professionally printed study guide through Biblical Life Publishing (www.biblical-life.net).
God has also been teaching me about Kingdom Assignments. This is really something that I have never heard of before. I have heard about Kingdom Destiny, Kingdom Authority, Kingdom Power, etc., but assignments were not in the mix. So when God began speaking to me about them, He had my attention.
The Power of Paper
Over the years, I have tried about everything available for planning, goal-setting, and project management. In my earlier years, I tended to be a gadget freak. I used PDAs, which predated the PalmPilot. I have used the Psion 3a, the Casio, various versions of the PalmPilot, various versions of the PocketPC, smartphones and enough software for my personal computers that I could have run NASA. I have settled in on Outlook, PlanPlus for Outlook by Franklin-Covey, MindManager Pro by MindJet and Microsoft Project for my basic recording (once it is developed) and keeping up to date with plans and projects. Now don’t run out and purchase all of these because you may be surprised to find that I use an extremely low tech method of brainstorming and planning: pen and paper! With more years experience than I care to count, I have found pen and paper to be the most powerful medium ever developed.
Redream to Redeem
The past several months have been a very powerful time at Biblical Life, both with the Seminary and with our local fellowship. Little did I know when I started the “No More Compromise Series” at our fellowship what God had in store for us. The past several months have been a time for divine realigning with Heaven. In these few short months, we have seen:
• The birth of the mentoring program, to include the Mentor’s Tips.
• A breakthrough for writing that I have never experienced before (a real answer to prayer).
• The prophetic increasing in our meetings with a new level of anointing to bring to pass what was spoken quickly (sometimes instantaneously).
• God is beginning to realign the lives of both members of our congregation and students as they enter into what God is doing.
• Financial Breakthroughs: One family even experienced a miracle with being released from the mortgage of their home. We have also seen many other financial turnarounds.
• Many students have seen breakthroughs in their studies, families and ministries.
This past week as I was preparing my message for our congregation, the Lord was so gracious in giving me a missing piece as I was watching TBN. Bishop Mark Huskins was on the short segment that I was watching. He said one statement that exploded in my spirit and was the missing piece for my message: “You have to redream before you can redeem.” Locally, we have been dealing with Ephesians 5:11-16. In Mentor’s Tip # 5 (Living Life Awake), we also dealt with part of that scripture. In the midst of coming back awake spiritually and realigning ourselves with Heaven, the next question is: “How do I redeem the time?” The answer is in redreaming.
The Power of Discipline
In this article, we are going to be dealing with the power of discipline. I also want to deal with the conundrum that many believers find themselves in when trying to balance discipline and spontaneity. This will take a little bit of time, but if you will bear with me, you will understand where we are headed.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NKJV)
In many of Paul’s epistles, he uses both soldiers and athletes to teach on the necessity of discipline. In a society with Greek influence in athletics and Roman soldiers everywhere enforcing Rome’s peace, there were strong visual illustrations for this apostle of God to use.
The Power of Biblical Order
Genesis 1:1-3 (NKJV)
Reading Between the Lines
There is so much in the first chapter of Genesis. I have been told by many scholars, both Evangelical and Rabbinical, that one could spend their entire lives in study just to properly understand the first three chapters of this powerful book. To properly understand what God is revealing here, we will need to take a look at the Hebrew in verse two.
A Call to a Life of Fasting
To start this article by saying I am perplexed is an understatement. It only takes a split second of contemplation to realize that something is wrong. Maybe it is the fact that words “integrity” and “ministry” are seldom used in the same sentence anymore. Maybe it is the fact that our television ministers stress far too much on “giving” your way to a miracle rather than “living” your way to one. Maybe it is the fact that I recently had a disciple warned not to stress a strong, biblical male presence in the home because it does not fit with social norms in the situation he is currently involved in. Maybe it is the reality that the “feel” of Babylon and Egypt is all around us and Zion is a fleeting memory. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then I am not writing to you. I am writing to those that yearn to see the true Kingdom of God expand and for hearts to burn with a holy passion for God and a love for the Word of God, justice and the transformation of mankind. I want the fire of true, biblical revival – not the razzle-dazzle of emotional hype. I am tired of seeing services where we “party” all night (for Jesus) and there is no hunger for the Word or hearts broken over sin.
Do I believe in giving – absolutely. It does not replace biblical, holy living. Do I believe in miracles – always. Hype does not produce them, but a living faith in God does! I want something to cut through the Hollywood that has permeated the Church and has created spiritual zombies. My cry is with the Apostle Paul when he said:
Between Vision and Realization
Proverbs 29:18a (KJV)
Over the past decade, many people have entered the dialogue of the need for vision and vision casting. I remember a time when few spoke of it, even fewer had it and no one realized the power of it. The paradigm has changed greatly within our leadership models; therefore, vision, vision casting, and mission statements are as common place as bibles in our churches.
One of the things that the Holy Spirit has impressed upon on me lately is that there is more to seeing a vision accomplished than having a vision and having faith. To be honest, getting the vision is the easy part. The hard part is the research, study, discipline and diligent effort that must be added to the vision to see it fulfilled. I believe part of the dilemma that many of us face is that we treat a vision for ministry from the LORD the same way we treat true prophetic words. Somehow we have the misconception that if they are from God, they will come to pass . . . almost effortlessly. We think, “Hey God is in it, so everything will go smoothly.” That sounds great until you read the Bible! I cannot find one individual, to include Jesus, for whom everything went smoothly or the vision came to pass easily! Actually the opposite is true. If they heard from God, the enemy was sure to resist their efforts. Faith is not “hoping” something will happen. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and working hard with God to MAKE things happen that are in-line with God’s will and purposes.
Understanding How to Overcome the Kingdom of Darkness
I have always been amazed at the depth of the God’s Word. The more I grow, the more I discover wonderful truths in the Word I have never seen before. In this article, I want to share some things the Holy Spirit has been sharing with me about the battle we are currently in.
The Kingdom of Darkness is made up of many types of angels and demonic forces. The Apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of them in the Book of Ephesians:
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
The Power of the Threefold Sanctification
A Call to a Life of Fasting
Overcoming a Hindering and Buffeting Spirit
Next Level Living
by Jocelyn K. Glei
[Note from Dr. Lake: Thought everyone would find this interesting.]
Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco
In the late ’60s, Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel performed a now-iconic experiment called the Marshmallow Test, which analyzed the ability of four year olds to exhibit "delayed gratification." Here’s what happened: Each child was brought into the room and sat down at a table with a delicious treat on it (maybe a marshmallow, maybe a donut). The scientists told the children that they could have a treat now, or, if they waited 15 minutes, they could have two treats.All of the children wanted to wait. (Who doesn’t want more treats?) But many couldn’t. After just a few minutes or less, their resolve would break down and they would eat the marshmallow. But some kids were better at delaying gratification: They were able to hold out for the full 15 minutes.
When the researchers subsequently checked in on these same children in high school, it turned out that those with more self-control — that is, those who held out for 15 minutes — were better behaved, less prone to addiction, and scored higher on the SAT.
Recounting Mischel’s research in an excellent New Yorker article (that this piece could not exist without), Jonah Lehrer writes that, after observing hundreds of hours of videotape of the children, Mischel concluded that the kids who resisted temptation used "strategic allocation of attention":
Instead of getting obsessed with the marshmallow — the "hot stimulus" — the patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek underneath the desk, or singing songs from "Sesame Street." Their desire wasn’t defeated — it was merely forgotten. "If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it," Mischel says. "The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place."
It’s not difficult to see how self-control would be predictive of success in certain spheres. It means trading short-term gratification for long-term goals, skipping the temptation to go to the movies and working on your novel instead. But that’s a relatively simple example — one that makes the decision to exercise, or not exercise, self-control easy to see.
In reality, we are faced with hundreds of these "tradeoff decisions" within the span of a single day. As the thoughtful blogger James Shelley has written, very often when we talk about the skill of "productivity" what we are really talking about is "self-control" — the disciplined ability to choose to do one thing at the cost of not doing another (perhaps more tempting thing).
Very often when we talk about the skill of ‘productivity’ what we are really talking about is ‘self-control.’
As the hierarchy of the traditional workplace breaks down, we are all gaining more freedom and flexibility. More and more, we can set our own long-term goals, we can determine our own work schedules, we can work at an office or at a coffee shop, we can make our own decisions about what we focus on today, and what we focus on tomorrow. But this "freedom" also brings responsibility — a responsibility that, I would argue, demands a vastly increased capacity for self-control.
In essence, Twitter is the new marshmallow. (Or Facebook, or Foursquare. Pick your poison.) At any given moment, a host of such "treats" await us. Emails, social media messages, text messages — discrete little bits of unexpected and novel information that activate our brain’s seeking circuitry, titillating it and inciting the desire to search for more. Our ability to resist such temptations, and focus on the hard work of creative labor, is part and parcel of pushing great ideas forward.
And yet: Self-control isn’t the whole story.
Intrigued by what qualities would most accurately predict outstanding achievement, Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth picked up where Walter Mischel left off. As she outlines in this TEDx talk, Duckworth found that self-control is an excellent predictor of your ability to follow through on certain types of difficult tasks — staying on your diet, studying for a test, not checking your email — but it’s not the most important factor when it comes to predicting success at "extremely high-challenge achievement."
Duckworth was also suspicious of qualities like talent and intelligence as reliable predictors for remarkable achievement. And with good reason: Way back in 1926, a psychologist named Catherine Morris Cox published a study of 300 recognized geniuses, from Leonardo Da Vinci to Gottfried Leibniz to Mozart to Charles Darwin to Albert Einstein. Cox, who had worked with Lewis M. Terman to develop the Stanford-Binet IQ test, was curious what factors lead to "realized genius," those people who would really make their mark on the world. After reading about the lives of hundreds historic geniuses, Cox identified a host of qualities, beyond raw intelligence, that predicted "greatness."
Studying Cox’s findings, Duckworth isolated two qualities that she thought might be a better predictor of outstanding achievement:
1. The tendency not to abandon tasks from mere changeability. Not seeking something because of novelty. Not "looking for a change."
2. The tendency not to abandon tasks in the face of obstacles. Perseverance, tenacity, doggedness.
Duckworth boiled these two characteristics down to a quality she called "grit," defined as "the perseverance and passion for a long-term goal," and set about testing it as a predictor for outstanding achievement. Here’s a recent New York Times article summarizing Duckworth’s research:
People who accomplished great things, [Duckworth] noticed, often combined a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take.
She developed a test to measure grit, which she called the Grit Scale. It is a deceptively simple test, in that it requires you to rate yourself on just 12 questions, from "I finish whatever I begin" to "I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one." It takes about three minutes to complete, and it relies entirely on self-report — and yet when Duckworth took it out into the field, she found it was remarkably predictive of success. At Penn, high grit ratings allowed students with relatively low college-board scores to nonetheless achieve high G.P.A.’s. Duckworth and her collaborators gave their grit test to more than 1,200 freshman cadets as they entered West Point and embarked on the grueling summer training course known as Beast Barracks. The military has developed its own complex evaluation, called the Whole Candidate Score, to judge incoming cadets and predict which of them will survive the demands of West Point; it includes academic grades, a gauge of physical fitness and a Leadership Potential Score. But at the end of Beast Barracks, the more accurate predictor of which cadets persisted and which ones dropped out turned out to be Duckworth’s 12-item grit questionnaire.
Duckworth carried out a similar "success study" with kids who competed in spelling bees. Again, it turned out that grit — in this case, the ability to persist and passionately pursue your goal of winning the spelling bee whatever it takes — was the best predictor of success. Verbal IQ scores were a factor, but they were inversely related to the grit scores. In essence, the smarter kids just didn’t try as hard, but still did pretty well sometimes. Self-control was also an influential factor, but not as reliable a predictor of success as grit, and not a completely necessary factor. That is, there was a subset of kids who had poor self-control but a lot of grit, who still performed very well.
If it was ever in question, we can now rest assured that dogged hard work is the cornerstone of remarkable achievement. That said, Duckworth’s findings still raise some nagging questions: Is grit an inborn ability, just like intelligence or talent? Or, can grit be cultivated?
We’ll continue to examine the innerworkings of remarkable achievement in Part II of this article series. In the meantime, you can take Duckworth’s Grit Scale Test here.
What Do You Think?
Can we develop our capacity for grit? How have you done it?
Jocelyn K. Glei is the Editor-in-Chief of 99%.
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Biblical Life Power Tip for June 2011
By Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.
Over the years, I have studied many productivity methods: from Dave Lakhani’s, “Power of an Hour,” to David Allen’s, “Getting Things Done” (and several dozen books in between). My mountain to climb has always been that I could think up more in an hour than I could do in a year, so I need all the help that I can get! The book, “Making Ideas Happen,” by Scott Belsky has been a real help recently. Scott has studied those with creative personalities. Creative people always have more ideas than time and find it hard to (1) keep track of all their ideas and (2) bring any of those ideas to fruition.
In all of these works, I have found one constant: you must formulate a plan of action and then work the plan! “Hope to,” “someday,” or “under the circumstances” are never phrases used by the movers and shakers in the world or in the Kingdom! Failing to plan is planning to fail.
The concept of developing a plan of action (which includes action steps) is essential to anything that you want to do in life: from completing your education to developing or expanding a ministry. The skills you must develop to successfully complete your studies at Biblical Life are the exact same skills you must use to build any ministerial endeavor. Avoid or ignore them at your own expense and the expense of the ministry God has called you to.
Counting the Cost
Luke 14:27-33 (KJV)
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
1. Being 100% Sold Out to Jesus: This is not a popular message in the twenty-first century church, but it is the only way to really be a part of His church! True discipleship is giving our all to the One who gave His life for us. Too many Christians today are not Believers because they are riding the spiritual fence – half in the world and half in the Kingdom. The truth is that they are not even in the Kingdom; rather they are only half way through the door that gets you into the Kingdom.
2. Jesus also uses important words in this teaching:
- Disciple (one who disciplines his life)
- Counting the Cost (project management)
- Building (must have a blueprint)
- Making War (strategic planning)
Counting the cost to complete your education or build a ministry is more than just reviewing your financial situation. It means so much more. You must:
Develop a Plan of Action (having a blueprint for success): How much time, energy, and finances will it take to complete this project? Just enrolling or just vision-casting is not enough. What daily, weekly, and monthly actions must be taken to successfully accomplish the project? Are your family and associates on board to provide encouragement and accountability?
Being a Disciple: In other words, are you disciplining yourself to successfully accomplish your daily, weekly, and monthly actions? Are you letting the enemy entice you with other things that take you away from your goals? Stop waiting for someday. A thousand “somedays” lead to nowhere. A thousand action days lead to the fulfillment of a dream! Discipline is required for anything worthwhile in life: especially the Kingdom of God!
Plan for Setbacks: This may be a shock to most, but there will be resistance to completing things in the Kingdom! Do you think that the enemy will allow you to complete something vital in life or the Kingdom without coming against it?
God told Adam something in the Garden that we all miss somehow:
Genesis 3:17 (KJV)
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
When Adam had no resistance to the things he needed to do in the earth, he fell into temptation. Pushing through the resistance produces personal growth: emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Individuals that will not plan and push through seldom grow in any area of their lives! The Word even tells us that Jesus was made more perfect by the things He had to suffer (or push) through. (Hebrews 5:8-10)
When You Stumble, Get Back Up: Pity parties have no place in the lives of doers! We all stumble and fall at times. Champions look at what made them stumble, develop a plan to overcome it, and THEN GET BACK UP!
Proverbs 24:16 (KJV)
16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Seven is an interesting number; it refers to the plan of God. God will allow you to fall at the right times to learn what you need to know in life. Those lessons learned will prepare you for something ahead in your life that you really need to overcome. Here is God’s formula: falling down + learning + GETTING BACK UP = victory!
Jesus – the Man of Action
Each of the Gospels has a particular focus. The Gospel of Mark was written for the Romans and Jesus was portrayed as a man of action. You will find Mark constantly using the words, “immediately and straightway.” Mark wonderfully displayed the discipline, decisiveness, and authority of Jesus. On every front Jesus overcame resistance, schemes, arguments, and even plans for His demise. In every instance, Jesus took command of the situation and gained the victory. He is our example! What you do not take command over will take command over you and stop you from completing your mission, vision, or task.
Isn’t It Time to Work Out Your Plan of Action?
“Hope to” and “someday” are not going to cut it in your studies, in ministry, or in the days ahead. Develop a strategic plan of ACTION. A plan of action includes daily, weekly, and monthly steps of action that systematically move you forward. Make the plan and work the plan. When you stumble, learn from it and start moving again. God is calling you to be like Jesus – a person of action!
© Copyright by Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E. All Rights Reserved.
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