Living Well

June 3, 2010

Moving Right Along

Filed under: Uncategorized — dlneidert @ 6:45 pm
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“Moving Right Along.”  That is the cheerful song found in the first Muppets’ Movie from some time ago.  My kids were little and I sported a darker hair color.  But times have changed.  My children are now in their late twenties and early thirties.  They have moved along….and so must I.

I am not going far, but I am moving…to a new blog site.  That blog site is connected to my brand new personal web page.  On that site I will be continuing my Living Well blog ideas as I try adding value to those following me on the internet via Twitter and Linked In.  All of this to say I am moving to 

Moving Right Along…good days are coming still.  I hope you will join me there for expanded resources and all the things that a more mature writer has discovered over the years.  Looking forward talking with you there.


May 16, 2010

Two Sides of Computer Technology

Really, I am a novice when it comes to computer technology.  I don’t fully understand all the do’s and don’ts and how it all actually works.  I spend time every day with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other avenues of the computer age that are of help to me, but still don’t fully grasp it or all its applications.

I do, however, understand its value as well as how easily we can be swept into its Black Hole of poor use, abuse, addiction and self destructive behavior.  The convenience of computer technology, for me, has allowed me to share with friends worldwide, keep current with news happening in the furtherest reaches of the planet, and find thousands of educational articles and resources that enhance my life, teaching and being fully human.  This marvel of our age has also helped me understand the business environment and how the web is essential for today’s commerce.  Computer technology, no doubt, has helped me to live well, engage colleauges everywhere, and live a more informed life than ever before.

The other side, however, is that the convenience of our computers can become a Black Hole with power to suck us into its more unseemly side.  There are many places on the web that are of the most unsavory and morally degrading places we can go.  These places beckon us to the most inhuman and morally flawed places of human existence.  But this technology can also simply just suck away our time; time from doing good work, advancing relationships, or merely spending energy in quite meditation on the blessings of life.  Technology can make us merely spectators to life, never engaging or really living it.  Computer technology, for all its good, can suck us into passivity and ambivelance to what is happening everywhere.

The two sides of computer technology.  We are forced to make ongoing decisions about it daily.  And that, to me, is where character, mission, and personal choices step in to guide us.  Over many months of blogging, I have tried to lay out the items that help us to live well.  In the end, it all comes down to choices we make based on our character and who we really hope to be over our lifetime.  It all comes down to whether we will be only observers to life or actively engage life with all our energy and passions.

No ranting or raving is embedded in this blog about the evils of computers and technology in general.  My post is simply about choices; choices we have to make every time we click our mouse on the computer.  I encourage you to make choices that help you to live well.  Always know that both choices lay at the end of your index finger.  Blessings, grace and peace as you make that daily conscious decision on the side of living well and engaging the best computer technology has to offer.

David Neidert

February 17, 2010

Behaviors Good Anywhere in the World

Filed under: Personal Leadership,personal mission — dlneidert @ 11:43 am
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There are a gargantuan number of behaviors that are illegal.  It is easy to create a list of illegal behaviors, such as murder, rape, kidnapping, or theft.  If you were pressed, you could add to this list a host of additional violations, like espionage, fraud, abuse, or trafficking.  We might have a list of hundreds we could pen if we were given enough time.  But were you aware that the legal canon of the United States has over 260 volumes?  Additionally, there are over 16 volumes of IRS codes and 168 volumes of Supreme Court decisions.  Can it be any wonder there are so many lawyers (625,000 at my last check) for defending or litigating regulations?  Now, add to this international law and the laws of other lands.  And if you think those international laws don’t matter, read the fine print of your Passport which in essence says you are bound by the laws of the country you are traveling in.

There are behaviors, though, against which there are no laws, as the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians.  Personally adhering to these attitudes of the heart could actually make life more fulfilling and transforming.  Living with integrity, honesty, sound speech, gentleness, self control and others keeps us within boundaries that seek the best for all involved.  These attitudes, when lived out, do not intend to harm but rejoice in the good we can experience as human beings.  These behaviors not only enrich us, but they also invite others to measure themselves against universal principles of excellence.

I know we live in a social structure that tells us we have personal rights and no one can tell us how to live or act.  We make life relative to our own situation….our behaviors are determined by our decisions and what feels right to us.  But as a student of ancient wisdom, I know that some of the greatest literature in the world for 3,000 years tells us that personal character is not a license to freely live, but to live free.  These ancient voices beckon us to live nobly, civilly, and with self-control.  Living well means incorporating these universal principles of attitude and character against which there are no laws.  Living with a high sense of character not only has benefit now in how we live, but is replicated in the lives of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the communities in which we live.

I am not naïve to believe there should not be laws.  They are essential for bringing some balance of justice in the world, as well as protection when necessary.  However, I do believe that the plea of ancient writers to live with universal principles of excellence could change most, if not all, of our personal, corporate, community, and societal relationships.  I have personally been told while traveling internationally by my hosts that I have a “heart for their land and people.”  While I do read extensively about cultures, customs, and history of the lands I visit before I travel, I also just try to live universal principles that command the highest good from me.  The combination of these two behaviors allow me to have a heart for all those I will encounter during my travel.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what would unfold if we personally—and collectively—began living to the cadence of these ancient voices of civility and nobility?

In the blogs ahead, I will explore a number of character attitudes and behaviors that I believe can change us and infuse our relationships with hope, peace, grace, and living well.  Blessings for this day.  Grace and peace.

David Neidert

January 20, 2010

The Prudent Think about Their Lives

Daydreaming can carry a person away to a carefree existence, where tantalizing images of what could be float willy-nilly thorough one’s mind.  The good life unfolds on the movie screen of our eyelids as a panoramic 3-D motion picture moves with pristine houses, effortless romance, or a series of endless vacations.   These fanciful pictures may even elicit our energies for a few days as we attempt to convert these dreams into reality through some work or plan.  Unfortunately, daydreams often remain pleasurable illusions, giving us a few moments of euphoria before we resume our daily chores and attend to our mundane routines.

Henry David Thoreau, however bleak, captures the prevailing resignation for life when he wrote that the masses of people lead lives of quiet desperation.  Even those who may expend energy creating contentment at times find themselves randomly moving through life ending up in places they do not desire nor anticipated.  While it is seemingly fruitless to attempt anything more that our lot in life, there is a millennia old voice beckoning that we can live well and with purpose.

Living well starts with focusing some attention on the reason for being alive.  It is seductive believing that endlessly sipping tea while watching a crystal blue sea from a snow-white beach will bring us ultimate satisfaction.  In reality, it is only by spending time considering our life purpose that a person begins a journey of living wholly and with contentment.

I had just finished graduate school two years earlier.  It was a stressful seven years for me both personally and academically.  The intense work and study demands nearly snapped my family relationships.  I thought that this continued training would give me the identity and sense of purpose I was looking for in life.  But to my dismay, all I found were more questions and more longing to live with meaning.

In the fall of 1989, I read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  As I devoured the pages, I realized that if I wanted to live well in all spheres of my life, I must give some thought to who I was and where I might be going during life.  I began asking questions about my existence, my identity (who I really was), and what I was going to do during the “four score” years promised to me by God.  Covey’s work became a tool in the journey of discovering who I am.

Through that journey I wrote a personal mission statement.  My mission is “to invite people to abundant life by choosing God’s best.” While it is not stunning to most, it does define who I am and how I make choices every day.  When we know our personal mission, we can set in motion the goals and life that will bring us to satisfaction as we express who we believe we are internally (not defined by what we do externally).  That statement allows me to make choices that give me meaning in life.

The book of Proverbs invites people to consider what brings wisdom.  In Proverbs 14:8 it is written, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thoughts to their ways.”  Satisfied, purposeful living begins taking shape when we start giving thoughts to our ways.  So much of what we attain in life becomes lackluster over time unless we have some sense of life meaning and purpose for what we do.

Try writing the answers to these questions: What will bring me satisfaction over my life?  What do I want my life to count for during and after my earthly existence?  Am I satisfied with my current work and where it is leading me—why or why not?   What would I really like to do in life that will help me find purpose and meaning?  Why do I believe I am here?

These are tough questions, but ones that will start a journey toward living well.  There are more questions to ask, more thoughts to consider, but this is a place of beginnings.  TODAY may actually become the first day of the rest of your life.

Blessings for this day for those who begin the journey.   Grace and peace.

David Neidert

January 19, 2010

Crafting your Owner’s Manual

Filed under: Uncategorized — dlneidert @ 11:52 am
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Everything I buy has an owner’s manual.  Each manual tells me how to set up the appliance, how to operate it at some basic level, how to use the item at some advanced degree, and how to troubleshoot the appliance when it isn’t working well.  Everything I have ever purchased or used came with an owner’s manual, except for one thing—my own life.

I don’t have an owner’s manual telling me how to set up my life, how to operate at a basic level, or how to use any advanced functions for living well.  There isn’t any manual my parents received when I was born that would tell me how to deal with all the good and bad of life.  Nothing came along with my birth certificate telling me how to troubleshoot what would happen along the way.  Nothing gave me instructions for living well—wholly—during my proposed life expectancy.

Often, I have figured out how to live well by watching others, immersing myself in formal education, reading mounds of books, or by just walking through all the personal experiences that came my way over time.  Learning how to live well—to operate at some modicum of success—has come by trial and error and learning something from my mistakes, but not always from setting life purposes or plans in advance.  I have to admit that in the first thirty years of my life, I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how to live well.

But about 25 years ago, I began taking seriously that I had all the tools available to begin sorting out my life in advance, for making some decisions that would lead to living wholly in many venues in the here and now.  My own personal work would eventually place me in front of thousands of people who were also looking for the ingredients that would help them live well.  People tell me consistently that they are seeking physical health, successful relationships, meaningful work, and enjoyable leisure among many other areas.  They are, in effect, trying to find some meaning and purpose for life.  How they perceive these areas of life motive them to make the choices they do; to undertake the adventures they believe will bring some level of joy in life. 

The problem is, too many of us do not make the choices that point toward living well.  We just simply float through life.  And there are moments that come in life—involuntarily—that jolt us into examining or facing life’s tough questions.  These involuntary moments may be the loss of a job, health problem, broken relationships, spiritual experience; the death of a loved one or our own suffering.  These often force us to face life and ask questions that will demand some answers.  And since none of us comes with an owner’s manual at birth we are left to troubleshoot or find answers for these dilemmas in the experiences of others, personal reflection, or just taking whatever comes our way and living through it.

My intent through this blog and future posts is to help anyone interested and willing to take some time to read them and work on the provided activities to build a successful life with some goals and clear paths that will help them to live well.  I personally have read hundreds of books both ancient and modern, taught these lessons to thousands of people, but also lived with those moments in life that sometimes jolt us, like cancer and sudden injuries.  All these experiences have helped me forge an owner’s manual that I would like to share with you in the posts ahead.

So my encouragement—get a journal for recording your answers to questions I will ask in future posts and begin writing your own manual for living well.  There a lot of opinion types of blogs on all kinds of subjects.  That is not my intent in this blog.  In all the blogs you will find helpful insights and a series of questions that if you answer will help you build a life that is whole and meaningful.

This blog may or may not be right for you.  If not, thanks for reading my first post.  But if it feels right, I invite you to craft your own owner’s manual over the coming year.  Blessings as you choose in 2010 to become what God intended you to be.  And thanks for letting me help you live well NOW and for the rest of your life.

Grace and peace.

David Neidert

An Invitation

Filed under: Uncategorized — dlneidert @ 1:12 am
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Living well.  That is an ancient invitation.  Living well considers all life’s journey.  It sees life as a whole made up of our experiences, what we learn, and who we are becoming.  Living well means to live wholly.  My hope is that you will find words of wisdom in these posts; ideas and challenges that will help you live well, to live with purpose and intention.  That is my invitation….I hope you accept!

In the time ahead, I hope you will discover encouraging words and wisdom in the posts.  These are all things I have wrestled with and have found purpose in.  I do intentionally try to live well–wholly–every day.

There is a lot of frustration in the world and a lot of opinions.  My aim in these posts is to provide you materials that work…I know they work because I have trained thousands of people in them over the years, from civic organizations to the university classroom.  I hope you will try to live well through the comments and the suggestions made.

I am also looking forward to hearing from you.  What are your testimonials?  How have you tried living wholly?  Life is not for spectators.  It asks us to get engaged every day.  I hope you will live it well in whatever time you have been given.

So, here we go.  Blessings for each day of your life.

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