Practical. Informative. Inspiring.
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy is a quick read. It is a compilation of wisdom from many gurus of time management, self-management and motivation. The subtitle is “21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.”
If I have one beef with the book, it’s that he doesn’t attribute his ideas to the original authors. But, the content is gold.
Simple and profound. So why isn’t everyone doing it? Because it’s hard. At least, it’s hard to start.
He does tackle the psychological side of motivating yourself to do difficult things.
It is a book full of action points, laced with a few stories to illustrate the effectiveness of the principles he advocates.
The whole “eat the frog” analogy comes from Mark Twain who said that “if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”
Talking ourselves into doing difficult things instead of avoiding them gets us ahead.
One thing I’ve struggled with personally is how goal setting fits into God’s plans. I feel uneasy with the idea of setting goals and then asking God to bless them. And how to you deal with unmet goals? Was it not God’s will? How much better to set the goals that God wants. But, the problem is, how to know for sure. God has the habit of revealing only step at a time in front of us. He very often doesn’t give us the long view. How then do we make long-term plans? And how in the world can we set ministry goals for what God is going to accomplish in the hearts of willing people? God and other people. Impossible to control. So how do we produce the metrics for the people who are looking for a “bang for their buck”?
Tracy makes some good points in chapter 4, Consider the Consequences. For example, the rule, “Long term thinking improves short-term decision making.” This applies beautifully to ministry decisions. Thinking more long-term than even Tracy is anticipating– thinking eternally. But, to bring it back around to goal-setting again. How can we set long-term goals on what God will do? Is it right to even put ministry into the machine that was set up to sell more widgets? Think for a minute. What if I set a goal for how many Bibles Studies per year that I will conduct? For how many people outside the church that I will visit? For how many people will be baptized this year? For what the church budget will be? For how many new people come to church? How about for the number of minutes I will spend in prayer every day? And what about any of these goals if my heart isn’t right? Won’t it just be like a clanging cymbal?
What can be our goals, then? What if our goals were to increase in faith, hope and love? What if our goals were not to bring people in, but to send them out? How do we reconcile having long-term goals with “Abraham going out, not knowing whither he went”? How do we reconcile having long-term goals with the Israelites following the pillar of cloud and fire, of the way God often seems to work, showing us only the next step?
Is it possible to apply “the laws of the widgets” in some areas, say exercise or a reading program, but not in other areas, such as number of new believers or new leadership positions filled at the church?
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