Get ready to go to bed! —“Sleep Smarter” book review


My apologies, in advance, for the long set up on this, but I think its really important that you “get it” as to my focus in writing today’s post—its about “being ready”.

Think about the confidence you have when you have prepared for every possible scenario you can think of  for the upcoming meeting.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome at that meeting?

Think about the confidence you will have to face your opponent this weekend after an in-depth week of studying film and  multiple practices designed to take advantage of your team’s strengths, and your opponent’s weaknesses.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome for your team at this weekend’s game?

Last one, this evening, you are going to have a talk with a friend over a very troubling matter that has brought tension to your relationship for many months.  Tonight will be a time for you to hopefully work through it with this person.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome for you if you prepare your heart and mind to what you need to say, and how you should say those things?

The common issues in all these three of these scenarios is that preparing ourselves ahead of time will increase our chances of success.  Who doesn’t want success?  We all do, but how many of us are willing to do the things we need to ahead of time (I’m talking putting in hard work, establishing good habits, and making adjustments) and then follow through with those practices to experience, over time–some kind of victory?

All these thoughts come to mind after reading the book, “Sleep Smarter” by Shawn Stevenson.  There are some books that I’ll work my way through.  The read is fairly enjoyable, enough to hold my interest, but I need to labor through.  This was not one of those books.  It ranks up there with books like “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull, Patrick Lencioni books, or “Winning” by Jack Welch.  I couldn’t wait to read this book.  I was absorbed in it.

I have heard that sleep is important, just like I understand that exercise and eating fruits and vegetables are also important.  However, this book blew me away with its thoroughness on bringing up data to support sleep’s importance.  I wasn’t aware that having a better diet affected the quality of my sleep, or putting away electronic devices can help me have a better night’s rest, that good sex can help me have a better sleep, that waking up early can help me sleep better, etc.

I also appreciated Shawn’s presentation of his content.  I never felt like I was a child being scolded and admonished about getting more sleep.  Rather, I felt like I was being coached by someone who cares for me and wants me to be successful.  Making adjustments in my life to get better sleep, I’m now convinced, will help me enjoy a better life.

Without a doubt, this is a book, I would highly recommend reading.


As a help to being your best in the area of Personal Health, please check out my Life Management App and consider using it with a friend:

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

or go to the Google Play Store-


Is there a danger in focusing on results?


Being a goal-oriented person, I understand that performance matters.  What benefit does it bring to a situation if all that is really going on is mere talk?   In most situations where a committee is involved, my experience has shown that there is too much discussion and not enough getting things done.

However, try telling your boss, or those who follow your leadership,  or your investors when you missed your organization’s goals that results don’t really matter.  You might as well turn in your 2 – week notice at the same time.

Achieving results is about initially having a vision and then with laser-like focus working to meet that goal. It’s a destination you want to reach and work for.

But two  key questions are “Do we have the right focus in mind?”  and “What is our response when we achieve our goals?”

The context of this post today comes from my recent reading in 1 Chronicles 21 where I read that King David gave way to Satan’s temptation to carry out a census of the people.  It appears that the root of this temptation for David was pride.   After defeating many opposing nations, David seemed invincible and his wealth and fame continued to skyrocket.    This is where the problem of success happened for David.   Similar to the pride demonstrated by a foreign king, years later, King Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel, chapter 4 as he reflected on his kingdom,  (“30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’), David too, took pride in all his success.

Hear me out on this:  while David, earlier in his life,  was concentrating on the process of his obedience to God, depending on Him for all his decisions and looking to honor Him in everything he did, things went well.   However, when David paused to reflect on all his success, it was though he got off on a highway exit that  brought judgment from God.  When David camped out on thinking about all his success,  he succumbed to Satan’s deception and rather than acknowledging all of God’s favor and praising Him for it,  David patted himself on the back and thought about what a great king he was.  For David to request that a census be taken was just a further effort to puff himself up for seeing tangible numbers on how vast his kingdom had become.

We too, can do that — can’t we?

Pastor and church leader, have you ever just stopped and looked at the number of people in your congregation and patted yourself on the back for your great leadership?

Business owner, have you ever walked through your office and patted yourself on the back for how many employees you have and how successful your bottom line is?

Individual, have you ever stopped to look at your latest 401K balance and marveled at how much money you have and patted yourself on the back for what a wise investor you are?

Friends, let us be careful with this very subject of results and drive.  Again, I get it that results matter.  I am not naïve in thinking they don’t.  But what I’m getting at is that I think there is a better way to get and handle results than we see demonstrated by King David in this particular situation.   I believe this better way is for us to concentrate on our efforts, the process, if you will,  and then leave the results  and recognition to God.

For example, take an issue like getting a driver’s license–that is, the goal.  But what gets us to accomplish that result is not wishful thinking or mere talk– it’s doing certain things like reading and understanding the rules of the road.  Getting a license also requires having a certain amount of supervised  hours behind the wheel and getting actual experience.  In that process, it means being focused on doing things well.  It means reducing distractions while you are driving and completing the practice hours so you LEARN how to drive well.

After you do all these things, you should accomplish the goal of getting your license. But, at the risk of getting into a future accident, don’t ever lose sight of what helped you initially get your license in the first place; it was having an opportunity to do so in the first place,  it was getting instruction from others, it was learning to excel in the process of being a good driver.

Besides this example of getting our license, I could have also mentioned other examples, like getting a certain job position,  reaching a financial retirement number, getting to a certain weight goal, or achieving certain sales goals.   The result or goal gives us a vision for where we are needing to head, but I believe our focus should be on excelling at our responsibilities in the process of accomplishing these things.

And when that time comes when we reach a destination point, how should we handle meeting that goal?   I believe our first attitude and action should be that of being grateful to God and others for their contributions in our life.  Towards God, we should be thankful for His goodness in helping us have the opportunity to be involved in reaching this goal. We should be grateful for our health, the physical and mental abilities to work at the task.   We should also be appreciative for the help and contributions from others in supporting us in numerous ways.

With all that said, where does personal pride come in?  Displaying personal pride is a distasteful thing to others, and an offensive thing to God.  Patting our self on the back and telling our self we are great is the last place we want to go to.  As the Bible so clearly tells us: “don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought”

Meeting a goal and accomplishing a certain result is not though a destination, but merely a rest stop to see where you are, and then to chart out what more needs to be done.  As  1 Thessalonians 4:1 and verse 10 tell us, “excel still more”.  You can always learn more and do things better.   That is the process.  That should be our focus.  Let’s be faithful in doing our part, and leaving the results (and honor) to God.


As a further help to you in striving for excellence in all your own individual areas of responsibility, please check out my Foundations Life Management app (and do it with a friend):

(If you have downloaded the app and are using it, I would so appreciate you telling a friend (s) about it.)

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

or go to the Google Play Store-

Too much thinking, but not enough …


Some times, I find that I can make things too complicated.  In other words, I can over think things too much and even get into that “analysis paralysis” mindset.  When this happens internally in my mind, nothing happens externally in my actions.    How about you–can you relate?

For instance, one area that I am really being challenged these days is with a simple command given by Jesus for all of us as Christians– “go and make disciples”.

Matthew 28:18-20 esv

18 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I think for the most part that’s pretty straightforward–don’t you?  But, here’s the sobering question that I must deal with (and so must you)—“how focused am I  in acting on Jesus’ command?”

Let me share with you one additional set of verses, this time from the Apostle Paul  (I think he got it).  Read what he says:

Colossians 1:28-29 esv

28 “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

In this day and age when across this world, mission statements and vision statements  hang on company walls and in organizational literature, how about each of us as Christians not only embrace this vision internally for our life, but live it out with passion so that others will see it demonstrated externally?

“Are you really giving your ….?”

One of the fascinating things I enjoy about being a reader is the common things that tend to surface.  For instance, hard work, having a “serving others first” mentality,  and perseverance are just some that come to mind.
Another great lesson that is often seen in great leadership is to emphasize focusing on the job at hand (our responsibilities), rather than on results.  Too often, whether it’s on a sports team, or a business there can be such a focus on short-term results that excellence and long term health are sacrificed, often at great peril. Do the right thing–today!
With that in mind, I love this quote from John Wooden, hall of fame coach with UCLA’s men’s basketball program:
“STRIVE to always  bring a winning  attitude and steady effort to practice and competition. Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result  of self-satisfaction in knowing  you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming”.
Get the idea here?  If you are doing all you are capable of doing, what more can be expected of you?  Regardless of what others might think, you have the peaceful satisfaction of knowing you gave it your all.   The challenge for each of us though is, are we giving it our all?   Are you really giving your best to become the best you ?
As a help to being your best, please check out my Life Management App and consider using it with a friend:

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

or go to the Google Play Store-

“A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but …”


“a gold  medal  is a wonderful thing , but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it”,  explains   John Candy’s character in the movie  “Cool Runnings”.

What a great line!

What “gold medal” currently defines your life?

How about this question, “what dream or ambition do you have  of fulfilling that is so important to you that if you haven’t, or don’t, or can’t have it, then you find yourself in a depressed and frustrated mindset?

Be on your guard to always make a distinction between the “real you”, and the “role you” (in other words, how well you perform in the different roles of your life).

going through challenges–get in a small group and lead by your mind, not your…


Currently, I am involved as a leader in a soul care/Hope Group kind of volunteering effort at my church.  I understand groups like this are popping up all over.  Maybe you are involved, even right now in one.

The idea is to come together for a period of time with a small group of people, say weekly for 1-4 months and learn together principles to help shed light on gaining a healthy perspective dealing with conflict and root issues of our problems.  These groups  offer encouragement, support, and accountability to the weekly attendees.  Personally, I have benefitted so much personally, just my involvement in this ministry over the past few years.

For those currently in groups like this, or even to those who are going through a time of difficulty let me encourage you to keep just a few things in mind:

  • realistically, your area of hardship will not go away overnight–adjust your expectations on when things will get better
  • wishing your situation will get better on its own without any changes by you will just not happen
  • Try to get an understanding on how your behavior needs to change (avoid the mindset of “well, they need to change also…”)–do what you need to do to improve
  • it’s all about making consistently the right choices–learn what are the right choices to make and why and then strive to make adjustments in your life to do them>>>>>>make the right choices because you know mentally it is the best thing to do, even though you might not feel like it…Lead by your mind, not your emotions
  • as hard as it might be if you are going through a tough time and want to see the day when everything is all better—-turn away your thoughts from the future and FOCUS on today.  What “details” of your attitudes, actions, and motives do you need to get consistently better at?   If you persevere in a continuous improvement mindset, the results you long to see happen have a greater chance of coming true.


“Ugh, …how about if I start 3-4 lines higher up?”


Recently, I was at the eye doctor for an appointment.  At one point, the eye doctor said, “go ahead and read the bottom line.”

“Ugh”, I said, “how about if I start  about 3-4 lines higher up?”  Without stating the obvious, the doctor knew pretty quickly that  have some eye sight troubles.

Speaking of eye sight and vision, I have begun to notice some interesting things about the topic of vision.

Currently, I am in my mid-50’s and besides recognizing that my physical eye sight is worsening (nothing that glasses can’t fix), I’ve also noticed a change in the perspective of my vision.  What I mean is this.

When I was younger, it was hard for me to focus on thinking wisely about what I was currently doing.  This verse from the Bible describes well my foolish ways at that time:

Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. (proverbs 17:24 nasb) bold font added

That was me.  I thought long-term.  Similar to what so many politicians do, I was in the habit of “kicking the can down the road”.  I was living for the moment, catering to my many selfish desires, not thinking about or concerned about the consequences of my actions.   I daydreamed a lot and thought that there was always something better for me “out there” (or in California  , as I grew up in the Midwest).

However, today, I find myself thinking much more about the moment, not from a self-centered, “what’s in it for me” kind of attitude, but a “how can I experience each and every moment in a God-honoring kind of way.   I find myself being very focused on trying to make wise decisions now and I try enjoying each and every moment.

I think a verse like the following describes me more today:    “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  – Matthew 6:34 -esv bold font added

I tend to find myself not wanting tomorrow to come to fast because there is so much to experience today.  It’s not that I fearing things in the future, or getting stressed out about all the “what if’s” that could happen, or even being anxious about good things I would like to see happen in the days ahead.

I just find myself focusing more and more on those things that are happening right now. To be honest, it’s very cool.   I find myself being very grateful for noticing that I have 5 senses that are functioning well, that I have a roof over my head as I go to sleep tonight, that I had food on my table tonight for dinner, that I have a loving wife who made that dinner, that I don’t fear leaving the house tonight and going to the store, that I can take a walk with my wife after work, and that I can talk about our faith in God with her…  I believe you get the point.

Tomorrow will be here before you know it.  Please don’t miss out on appreciating the presence of loved ones around you, right now.  Please don’t ever take for granted the breath of life in you, even as you are reading this post.    Enjoy this very moment because by the time you get done blinking, it will be gone.