Back to School: One Habit That Should Stick With You Forever

A new school season started this week. Families and teachers have been busy getting ready for the year ahead. Perhaps you, too, are shopping for clothes, shoes, and school supplies. It is a busy yet exciting time. We learn many habits in school and one of them, in particular, is a key to lifelong progress. Are you still dealing with the same issues you were 5, 10 years ago? Wonder why you’re not making progress? Ready to throw in the towel on your aspirations and dreams? Don’t! It is never too late to move forward so today I am going to share with you the one powerful habit you can use to make definite progress towards your goals.

Before you moan and groan, let me reassure you, this is not something new you have to learn. In fact, you probably already do this at least once a day. Some use electronic gadgets, others use whiteboards, and others, like yours truly, use a good old pencil and paper. But first, let’s take a trip down memory lane, back to our school days. What was your favorite school supply? Mine was the notebook. I loved choosing from among all the colorful covers. Teachers back then were very particular about what kind of notebook to have and how to divide it up by subject or topic. Then they came out with the 5-subject notebook which I loved because it saved me running back and forth to my locker to switch notebooks for different classes. The purpose of notebooks was – to take notes, of course!

Whenever someone was out sick, they would come to me for the notes, because even back then, I took good notes. And what is the purpose of taking good notes? To be able to remember what is important! Good note taking is simply this: jot down the important facts you want to recall at a later time. With everything on our schedules these days, sometimes the most important ideas can be forgotten if we don’t write them down.

Experts say only 10% of what is read is remembered. This skill comes in handy in daily life as well. I bet many of you make grocery lists, create goals on the job, and have daily to-do lists, yes? Billionaire entrepreneur, Richard Branson, even recommends this habit .

If we want to make progress in any area of life, we need to get in the habit of taking notes. This one simple habit we learned in school can help us stay on top of things in all these important areas of life:

1) our finances
2) our fitness and health goals
3) our diets
4) our personal growth
5) our spiritual growth

So while we’re on the topic let’s talk about spiritual growth for just a minute. How many times do you go to church or your favorite spiritual place, and forget the message before the day is over?
We get distracted. We barely pay attention. We fall asleep. As soon as we leave, we start thinking about where to have lunch or what we event we are headed to next. Taking notes is not only a good way to stay focused and attentive, it also helps us remember and apply what we’ve heard so that we can move forward. Where would the world be if such people as Aristotle, Confucious, Augustine, and Camus did not write down their thoughts and ideas?

What one area of life do YOU want to make progress in? If it’s diet, start taking notes about what you eat every day. If it’s finances, start tracking what you spend every day. Get the idea? Nothing is impossible and this one school habit can make the difference! Where else do you use note-taking? How has it helped you?

Until next time, do leave a comment. Love to hear your feedback. Keep the faith and keep looking up!

Ariel

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Can I Just Get a Little Peace & Quiet?

Ever heard yourself mutter these words? We all want peace and quiet from time to time, don’t we? Why, then, is it so elusive to find? Could it be because we are looking in ‘all the wrong places?”

As summer winds down and ads remind us of the beginning of school season , many are realizing their summer has flown by. As for me, I have enjoyed the days but trying to find peace and quiet at the pool has proven to be a bit more challenging this year.

It appeared to be a perfect day to relax at the pool. It was a Monday and only a handful of people were in attendance.

“Ah, this is going to be great,” I thought as I settled into my lounge chair and pulled my wide-brimmed hat over my eyes. But oh no. It was not meant to be. First, the guy next to me starts playing music on his phone, despite the sign that says “No audible electronic devices without headphones.” 

Grrrrr.

“Ok, maybe this is a test then.” Don’t you love these tests the Lord gives us? Kind of like a pop quiz back in high school. You never know when the teacher is going to spring one on you.

“I am going to stay calm, peaceful, and relaxed, despite this distraction.” I put on a set of earplugs to help muffle the sound and settle in. A few minutes later….

The maintenance guy starts mowing the lawn with his extremely loud whatever it is.
Grrrrr. Grrrrr.  I turn up the volume on my ipod nano.  “That’s two,” I’m thinking I’ve got this test aced. Until….

The garbage truck starts to unload the dumpsters! By this time, I was at wit’s end as they say.
I sat straight up in my chair and said “What do I do now, Lord?” albeit a tad frustrated. You know what I did then? I burst out laughing! Yup. The devil just hates it when he has done everything he can think of to get our goat and we laugh at his antics.

Laughter is one of our greatest weapons against frustration and losing our cool. When the back of my neck starts to tighten up, I know it’s time to lighten up and not take things so seriously. In my book, “The Power of Faith”, I have a quote that says “Laughter is the sunshine that chases winter from the face,” by Victor Hugo.

Moral of the story: we can search the world over but peace is always found in the Lord. Jesus promises us ” My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives” (John 14:27) because he knew we would never find true peace in this chaotic world of ours.

Where are you looking for peace? If it’s not working, may I humbly suggest you try Jesus? He is the REAL THING! Until next time, keep smiling and keep looking up!