The Power of Practice

It’s easy to assume that every star athlete is naturally gifted, and yes, to a certain extent that may be true. But there is typically a more important secret to their success. It’s called practice. Take Michael Jordan for instance, the year he returned to the Bulls after his brief stint in baseball, the Bulls were eliminated in the play-offs. Jordan learned a valuable lesson, saying, “You can’t leave and think you can come back and dominate this game. I will be physically and mentally prepared from now on.” Michael Jordan realized he couldn’t coast when it comes to being a basketball champion. He resumed putting in the hard work and practice, and the next three years the Bulls won the NBA title!
Yes, Jordan may have a natural bent or inclination toward being a basketball star, but he backed it up with hard work and dedicated practice. The same is true for you and me. As much as we wish gifts and talents would just kind of show up in our lives (or in our kids’ lives), success is built through hard work and determination, not simply natural giftedness.
The legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “I believe ability can get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there….It’s so easy to…begin thinking you can just ‘turn it on’ automatically, without proper preparation. It takes real character to keep working as hard or even harder once you’re there.” Solomon put it this way, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
Take some time this week to consider where you need to improve your skills, whether in business or with a hobby or even in a relationship. If you want to encounter excellence, it begins with hard work, perseverance and doing more than the average person is willing to do. Ask yourself, “What are my goals and what am I willing to do to achieve them.” Remember it doesn’t just happen.

The above quotes by Jordan and Wooten are found in the book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.


What’s Growing in The Garden of Your Mind


Every spring, my husband Curt creates a beautiful arrangement of flowers for our table on the back deck. He always chooses a lovely variety of plants that simply make me smile when I look at them. Isn’t it amazing how colorful flowers can lift your spirits?  I can’t help but draw a simple analogy for us personally – just as Curt has a choice of what he will plant in the garden, so each of us has a choice of the thoughts we will allow to grow in the garden of our minds.

Neuroscience now tells us that the brain is able to think new thought patterns and shift from old destructive thinking. That’s good news!  We don’t have to stay in the rut of thinking thoughts of despair or anger or bitterness. We can choose to shift our thinking and plant new healthy, hope-filled, life-giving thoughts instead.

This may be a new discovery for science, but the apostle Paul wrote about these same concepts thousands of years ago. In Philippians we read, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Obviously, Paul seemed to understand the power of the mind. He wrote to the Romans, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds! So let’s get rid of the weeds of fear, doubt, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger and despair, and replace them with faith, hope, love, grace, joy and strength.

Gardening is not easy. It takes hard work and constant care, but the end result is a beautiful bouquet which is a blessing to others and brings glory to the Father. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can change our thinking. Just as it takes 21 Days to form a new habit, it takes about 21 days for neurons to form new pathways.

Let’s begin our gardening by recognizing the negative thought patterns that need to go, and begin the process of asking the Lord to give us faith-filled thoughts, through the power of His Spirit and the reading of His word. This is another reason why I believe scripture memory is so powerful, because it fills our mind with what is true and good. (Click here for a short video on Scripture memory).

Let’s each ask the question personally, “What am I allowing to grow in the garden of my mind?”

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Romans 15:13