28 Mar


By Ron Price … I will be the first to tell you, even if others might not agree, that I am very easy to get along with. Even though I just ended a sentence with a preposition—which everyone knows is not to be done—I really am an easy person with whom to get along. I make this claim because I only place two requests (demands?) on others. One is that they do things my way, and two, that they do so according to my strict timeline.

While I write those words with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek, so to speak, you likely know people who do strive to live life on those terms. Imagine now, for a moment, that you belong to a church comprised of self-centered people, each of whom believes everyone should do things their way. Well, truth be told—you do.

In the vast majority of churches, most members can put their personal preferences aside for the overall good of the body. Unfortunately, however, most churches also have members who do not choose to make that decision. When that latter group becomes the majority, or at least the vocal, powerful minority, that church is well on its way to becoming irrelevant and anything but God-honoring.

Several years ago, I heard an illustration from motivational speaker Eileen McDargh about two people who were in a rowboat in the middle of a lake when a leak developed in the front of the boat. The person in the front saw the problem and responded by baling as fast as possible. Meanwhile, the person in the back of the boat saw the problem but simply folded his arms and said, “I’m glad that hole is not on my side of the boat.” Wouldn’t it be something if the old saying, “We’re all in the same boat together” was the standard operating philosophy of every church?

So, you may ask, am I implying that we should all be docile people-pleasers who dare not ever “rock the boat?” I certainly hope not! In that same presentation, Ms. McDargh also asked us to consider one person in a rowboat rowing with just one oar and continuously going round and round in circles. I hope what I am saying is that as we all row (and grow) together, we are far more likely to stay on target and reach our destination.

Since churches are comprised of FHBs (fallible human beings), it is a given that divergent ideas and preferences will always be in play. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Unity does not necessitate or even thrive with uniformity. It is how those differing viewpoints and preferences are handled that determines the outcome they will have on the church’s overall health.

The founders of the Adventist church were willing to challenge the status quo, and they welcomed divergent thoughts to hopefully arrive at Truth. They sought the greater good and put their ideas, beliefs, and preferences in submission. Am I the only one who fears we have, to a large degree, lost that aspect of our pioneering spirit? We seem to have devolved to a church, a culture for that matter, where if you disagree with me, you must be my enemy, and I cannot accept you as you are.

So how exactly should we as brothers and sisters deal with our family’s differing viewpoints and preferences? Well, since you asked, I have three suggestions to consider.

First, please always keep in mind that it is not your church, as we read in Ephesians 1:22-23: “God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is His Body; it is made full and complete by Christ, Who fills all things everywhere with Himself.” When tempted to request/demand that a particular matter be handled according to your wishes, please run it by the Lord before running it by the church leadership. Ask Him to show you your heart and reveal your true reasons for bringing up the matter. Depending on how controversial your thought, you may want to run them by a trusted prayer partner before you even bring it to the church.

My second thought stems from a sermon I heard several years ago titled “51 One Anothers.” Though I have not taken the time to verify, the speaker said there are 51 “one-another” verses in the KJV which tell us how God wants us to treat each other. You’ll find texts such as “Love one another,” “Pray for one another,” “Confess your faults to one another” and so forth. Search as you may, I doubt you will find “Criticize one another,” “Find fault with one another,” or “Ridicule and demean one another” though we, unfortunately, see these behaviors when brothers and sisters disagree with one another. Since I am nearing my word limit, please put this down and read Philippians 2:1- 11, if not the entire chapter. It will give you a wonderful picture of how we are to act with each other.

My third suggestion is to consider the difference between principle and application. A principle is universally true. By that, I mean it applies to every person at any and all times. Principles are unwavering. You may try to go against them if you wish, but you will do so at your own peril. Applications are how one puts a principle into practice. These, by definition, will vary widely and dramatically from person to person. All too often, it seems conflicts arise due to differing opinions on how to apply a principle. Somehow, an image of the Pharisees just popped into my mind, but we won’t go there.

I doubt that any faithful church member would want to see our denomination become just a loose association where anything goes, and all practices are welcomed. I heard the other day of a church that boasted they had “fun worship.” It’s not my place to judge, but is that really the purpose of the church to have fun? On the other hand, I also doubt any would want to go to the other extreme and insist that everyone toe the “company line” or they must be shown the proverbial door. There simply has to be a middle ground, doesn’t there?

Let’s strive to be a church where divergent views are welcomed and encouraged, so long as they are presented in love and with the body’s best interests in mind. Let’s strive to be so secure in our beliefs that those of others are not viewed as an attack on us. I say we should use our diversity to grow the church and hasten, as much as possible, our Lord’s return. What say you?

–Ron Price is a member of the RMC Executive Committee and lives in Farmington, New Mexico. Email him at: [email protected]

28 Dec


By Ron Price … Several years ago, I heard a speaker at the Western Slope campmeeting state that he always tried to be conservative when leading his own life and liberal in allowing others to live theirs. That stuck with me over the years and, while I often fail, it is a life strategy I consider well worth pursuing.

Am I the only one who believes that most of our secular society does not often adhere to this philosophy? Unfortunately, we see the lack among our church family as well. We seem to have devolved to a point where we can only like, love, and associate with someone if he or she holds the same views of life that we do. That practice must come from the scripture where Jesus instructed us to “…go make disciples of all those who agree with you in everything.” Please don’t waste time looking for that verse. It simply isn’t there. You might want to reread Matthew 28:18-20, though.

To the contrary, our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that we are to “…love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Mt 5:44). It would not be a stretch to add “love and appreciate those who act or view life differently than you do” to that list.

I find it helpful to realize that had I been born and experienced life as another person, I would likely hold to the views they espouse. The verses found in Matthew 7: 1-5 seem appropriate here – something about a speck and a plank?

Certainly, it is a common human trait to like to hang around with people you share similarities with- people who see and do life much like you do, or more importantly, think “correctly” about how life should be lived. I’ve seen this  practice of tribalism de-fined as “the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group.” Tribalism is not inherently negative, unless it gets to be exclusionary and creates an “us versus them” mentality. When that happens in a church it is a recipe for disaster.

For the past 18 months I have met weekly with a group, most of whose members have darker skin pigmentation than I do. That experience has often forced me out of my “comfort zone” and I promise you I am a better person because it did. I have viewed life through a lens I never could have had I lived solely within my own tribe. As a result I have come to appreciate differences in others rather than just tolerate, or mistrust them in any way.

So what am I proposing – that our church should become like a country club where so long as you pay your dues (tithe) all views and lifestyles are welcome? I hope not. I am suggesting, however, that we would all benefit by seeing each person as a child of God for whom Jesus gave His life. To that end, it would behoove us to become totally comfortable in that reality for ourselves. So long as I confidently know that God loves and accepts me, I can all the more love and accept those who differ from me in various ways.

–Ron Price writes from Farmington, New Mexico. A member of the Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church, he is also a member of RMC Executive Committee. Photo by iStock

26 Aug


By Ron Price … I went to the dentist a week ago. I had endured terrific pain for about three years and decided enough was enough. The week prior, I visited my mechanic because my truck had been running poorly again for about three years. I must be in the mood to get things fixed as I also recently called a plumber to fix a sink that had been clogged, you guessed it, for about three years.

I think I know what facetious means, and I’m pretty sure I just gave you an example.  If you believe any of those statements, you likely should question my sanity and wonder why you should care what I have to say – or write.

I’m happy to say those experiences were all made up, but please get the point I want to make. Researchers have determined that most couples in a distressed marriage endure their pain about three years before they reach out for help. I can think of various words to define this behavior, but none I care to use in public.

All relationships will endure periods of discord and distress from time to time. To expect otherwise is foolhardy at best. So if you find yourself in a challenging marriage (or other relationship), please do not hesitate to do whatever it takes to get you to a better place. And, contrary to apparent popular opinion, sooner is far better than later.

Relationship guidance, support, and help are plentiful and easy to find in our internet age. To prove my point, here’s a link to a brief (6:07) video I made that will help you prevent ugly confrontations from getting out of hand https://vimeo.com/561815827/d2adf8eee9.

I can think of lots of lousy excuses for failing to seek help for a troubled relationship, but few, if any, good ones. Please, don’t wait.

— Ron Price MA writes a regular column on www.RonPrice.com.  He is the owner/operator of Productive Outcomes, Inc., and has spent the last 30+ years as a mediator, helping people resolve their differences with others. He provides in-person and virtual training on a variety of life skills. He is a member of Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Farmington, New Mexico and a member of the RMC Executive Committee. For more information, visit www.RonPrice.com. To add your name to his weekly mailing list, please send him an email at [email protected]. Photo supplied

This article was reprinted with permission

04 Aug

Commentary: Where’s your focus?

By Ron Price — How often would you say you feed your body? It’s a safe bet that your answer is daily. Now, if I asked how intentional you are about feeding your body, that might call for a different answer. Fortunately, I do not intend to meddle in that area of your life – at least not in this post.

I’ve been thinking lately though about how strained relationships can be when one or both parties are not operating in peak, or healthy form. Tensions have always existed in our lives, and that is not likely to change any time soon. The case could surely be made, however, that with all we have been through in the past several months, tension in some relationships is at an all-time high.

It is so easy in times of relationship stress and turmoil to focus blame on the other person. Since the other person is indeed a fallible human being, he or she likely does deserve some of the blame, or credit for the negative state of the relationship. But, please don’t try to convince me or anyone else that the fault is solely in their corner.

So that leads me back to my introductory question. How mindful are you about the fuel that you put into your body? And while you’re pondering your response, how about your mind and your emotions?

So often we tend to put our lives, and our relationships, on auto-pilot. That might work well in some circumstances, but not many, and not for very long.

You’ve heard the expression “you are what you eat.” There’s likely some truth in that, but I believe it is even more true that you become what you repeatedly think and feel. To me, that can be good news or not-so-good. Again, it is not my place to tell you or anyone else what you should eat, what you should think, or how you should feel. It is my place, however, to challenge you to give those matters some focus and consideration.

After three decades as a mediator, and two as a life coach, I firmly believe that relationships could be so much healthier if the people in those relationships were individually healthier. Now, before you say “duh”, please do take some time in the coming days to reflect on your precious gift of life. As you have heard, life is fragile, handle with care.  Do that, and I believe you will enjoy more peace and contentment, with far less stress and grief.

— Ron Price MA writes a regular column on www.RonPrice.com.  He is the owner/operator of Productive Outcomes, Inc., and has spent the last 30+ years as a mediator, helping people resolve their differences with others. He provides in-person and virtual training on a variety of life skills. He is a member of Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Farmington, New Mexico and a member of the RMC Executive Committee. For more information, visit www.RonPrice.com. To add your name to his weekly mailing list, please send him an email at [email protected]. Photo supplied

This article was reprinted with permission

29 Jun


By Ron Price — On occasion, I have had the privilege of coaching couples through difficult stretches in their marriage. After a recent coaching session, I received an email containing what you are about to read. I was impressed with it and asked permission to share it with you. Obviously, permission was granted. I took the liberty to change the name of the husband, but little else. By the way, I do not personally know anyone named Buford, but it has long been my favorite substitute name for a person I do not wish to identify.

When Buford and I first got together, he had a plant that his last partner had abused. So, I took the plant and nursed it back to life. Like our relationship, it was growing and producing new leaves and vines. But, after a while, it started not to look so good and was droopy. So, I clipped some of the dead leaves and vines – the stuff on the surface that I could see.

It continued to die. I then decided I needed to check it out further to get to the root of the problem (pun intended). I soon discovered the plant was waterlogged. The pot was not allowing for the old water to drain.

Buford suggested that we get a bigger pot and replant it. So, we moved the sickly plant from the little pot to a new, larger one. But we had not addressed the previous damage from having been waterlogged. The plant continued to die.

Buford said, “it’s dead; throw it away.” I told him I based our marriage on how the plant is doing and that I was determined to save it. He said the plant had nothing to do with our marriage, that it was dead, and we should just throw it away.

I looked him in the eyes and told him, “I am going to save that plant, and you are going to see what I mean.” So, I took what was left of the very sickly vines and put them in a mason jar. Little by little, it started to grow roots. It was sitting on the window sill, neglected and pretty much forgotten. It was not getting any attention, and the water was almost gone.

At this point, Buford and I separated, and it brought me back to the plant. I clipped it and added some freshwater. I started babying it – giving it the attention it needed. Buford and I started marriage counseling. We started working on our “root” problems and let the old water (bad feelings) drain out of our pot. Our plant had good roots now and was ready to repot. Buford wanted us to put the plant in the big pot immediately, but I explained to him that it needed to grow and strengthen before it was ready for the big pot.

You see, this plant needed to be nursed to a point where it was able to withstand another shock to its root system. So, I repotted the plant back into a smaller pot where it was contained and held close so that it was comfortable and able to produce more roots.

If we forget about this plant or only look at the surface, we could risk losing it once and for all. Right now, the little plant looks amazing. It is bright and growing new leaves.

You see, this plant had problems of its own before it became mine, as did my husband and myself. If we work together to fix our marriage as we fix this plant, we too will grow new roots and leaves. One day we will be ready and comfortable to move into a larger pot. Some things take time, patience, love, and attention. God is helping us grow new roots and reminding us to let the old water drain and not hold onto the things that will continue to cause harm.

 I hope you enjoyed the sentiment expressed in this message. While not all marriages can, or should be, saved, I do believe many could succeed with some effort, attention, and help. What say you?

— Ron Price MA writes a regular column on www.RonPrice.com.  He is the owner/operator of Productive Outcomes, Inc., and has spent the last 30+ years as a mediator, helping people resolve their differences with others. He provides in-person and virtual training on a variety of life skills. He is a member of Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Farmington, New Mexico and a member of the RMC Executive Committee. For more information, visit www.RonPrice.com. To add your name to his weekly mailing list, please send him an email at [email protected]. Photo by Unsplash

This article was reprinted with permission

23 Jun


By Ron Price … A cowboy rode into town on Friday, stayed three days, and rode out again on Friday. How did he do that?

To those of you who came up with the answer, congratulations. For the rest of you, stay tuned.

In this column, I intend to challenge your thinking without giving too much direction on what your thinking should or should not be.

Some years ago, I saw a statistic that said 21% of atheists claim they believe in God. Say what? That got me to wondering what percentage of Christians believe in God, and whether their lives give evidence of their belief?

How many professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists for that matter, are intentionally walking with, living for, and serving the Lord Jesus Christ? How many would describe their Christian experience as joyful and an integral component of their lives?

Lest you fear this will be a Seventh-day Adventist-bashing read, let me assure you that is not the case. We all have seen or heard of “Christians” from many denominations whose lives indicate their profession is shallow or misguided. Or we know of others who seem burdened by their faith rather than buoyed.

I believe this problem is due in part to two main factors: how people view God and how they view themselves.

Do you view God as a supernatural tyrant who must be worshipped or else? Perhaps you see Him as a scorekeeper who jots down your few successes and numerous failures? Do you view God as a big buddy in the sky who only wants you to live in complete peace, joy, and happiness?

In my opinion, neither of these views is correct or justified. They will, however, profoundly impact how you worship and follow Him. False beliefs of God should come as no surprise since our common enemy has spent millennia seeking to distort, minimize, and degrade His true nature.

Have you heard the song “I’m just a sinner saved by Grace?” I don’t believe that is true. Oh, it is undoubtedly true that I am a sinner and in need of God’s grace. But, since I have accepted that grace, by His definition, I am now a saint and no longer “just” a sinner saved by grace. I can walk in joy for the “joy of the Lord is my strength” (Neh 8:10). I may now revel in the Truth that I am not condemned (see Rom 8:1).

As a believer in, and follower of, the Lord Jesus Christ, it is now my privilege to come boldly and confidently into His presence and find grace and comfort to help me in my journey (see Heb 4:16). I do not ever need to think that I am a bother to my Heavenly Father or that He is not interested in me or my concerns. I have ample proof from the Bible and my personal testimony that this is just not the case. And, I dare say, so do you!

It is not sufficient to know these truths. We must accept them and apply them to our lives regularly. I say it’s time we take God at His Word and believe that He wants us to experience love, joy, peace, etc. I say we can believe Him when He says we are His “masterpiece” (Eph 2:10, NLT).

We do not need to grovel and ask God to love and lead us. We just need to accept the reality that He does. Then we can live in continuous communion with Him each day. We can read His Word with joyful expectation and pray to Him as though He genuinely cares about us and our concerns.

I fear that as Seventh-day Adventists, we sometimes focus on how imperfectly we obey God at times and therefore condemn ourselves as a result. If our walk with God is focused on guilt for failing to measure up, our witness will be severely curtailed if not eradicated altogether. Such an attitude will also limit our prayer life and connection with Him. As Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, says, prayer should be our first line of offense, not our last line of defense.

We are in a battle with an enemy who only seeks to steal, kill and destroy. But praise God, Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly! (John 10:10)

By the way, the horse’s name . . . was Friday.

–Ron Price is a member of the RMC Executive Committee and lives in Farmington, New Mexico. Email him at: [email protected]

29 Mar


By Ron Price … I believe Adventist doctrine appeals to the intellectual mind. Being a member of the Mensa Society, what other church could I possibly consider joining? (Side note: If you do not know what the Mensa Society is, please Google it so you will get my humor, and no, I am not a member.)

Seriously, our message is so grounded in Biblical Truth and makes such rational sense that we sometimes expect people to accept it on that basis alone. But, aye, thars the rub. Especially these days, perhaps, people are not focused solely on rational thought. With the stress and strain of life, other matters typically take precedence. The state of the dead, vital as it may be, simply does not matter to one who is hungry, or grieving, or struggling to stay alive. Nor is it significant to someone who has been hurt or mistreated by a church member, but that is a matter for a separate column.

While I would never suggest we veer away from or somehow cheapen our message—make that God’s message—I do believe we need to be more focused on meeting people’s felt needs before we seek to bring them to a knowledge of “the truth.” Yes, Truth is essential and should always be a component of our mission, ministry, and outreach, but without love, we will come across as a clanging cymbal (see 1 Cor 13:1-4).

For too long now, we have relied on the Truth of our message to win souls for The Kingdom and to fulfill our part of the Great Commission. Maybe that is working at your church, but I doubt it is working everywhere. Some people will respond to a flyer they receive in the mail, but I dare say the vast majority will not. Many more are likely to respond favorably to an invitation from someone they know cares about them and has their welfare in mind.

The planning for an evangelistic series of meetings cannot begin with designing and purchasing a flyer. It must start with building relationships and showing people we genuinely care about them. We could do this through a series of non-religious outreaches. Our church has a plethora (I just love that word) of resources to help people in every area of their lives. Our health message is without comparison. We have programs that any church could deliver to help people meet their relationship needs, financial awareness needs, mental/emotional health needs, dietary needs, etc.

The 20th century English economist John Maynard Keynes said: “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping old ones.” I doubt he said that with our present-day church in mind, but he could have. We have been following a model of evangelism for so long that some might believe it comes straight out of the Book of Acts.

I am a product of the church’s evangelistic outreach, so I dare not be too critical. But that, I have to say, was 40 years ago. I hope I am not the first to tell you that things have changed a bit since then, but our methods not so much. Of course, that is not a universal indictment of our church or our “movement”—I haven’t heard that term in a while. I’m certain many churches have adapted to the times and are reaching out in new ways to reach a new world.

One outreach I recently became aware of is found in The Inviting Church by Mitchell L Williams. In it, Pastor Williams provides a model for loving your neighbor before you witness to them. Or better yet, you witness through your love and service before you witness through your knowledge of the Truth. That sounds like a great idea to me—what say you?

–Ron Price is a member of the RMC Executive Committee and lives in Farmington, New Mexico. Email him at: [email protected]

18 Mar


By Ron Price* — My 105-year-old mother-in-law, who lives with my wife and me, has seen a few changes over her life span. As I near my 70th birthday, I can say the same for myself. Not all the changes I have seen would I consider favorable. This seems to be especially true of the rapid societal changes I see or hear about today. No doubt, some changes are necessary and positive, but I have a hard time accepting the “cancel culture” that seems to be so predominant on the news-–at least that’s what I hear.

So, since I want to fit in and not be an oddball, I thought I should give you seven reasons why you should cancel me, unfriend me, or simply unsubscribe from my email list.

I was born and raised in the Jewish faith. In this part of the country, it is safe to assume that you likely did not. Therefore, according to the prevailing custom, you and I must not have anything to do with each other. On the chance that you are Jewish, you must know that I am now a Christian and a follower of my Lord Jesus Christ, so feel free to write me off on those grounds.

Perhaps you, too, are a Christian, making you want to accept me back into your circle of acceptance. Before you do that, however, you might want to know that I am a member of the Seventh-day Adventist faith, so of course, unfriending is your only reasonable option.

I doubt there are many people left still reading this post, but I will continue, nonetheless. I describe myself as a moderate conservative in terms of my political leaning. While I am happy to dialogue with any who tend toward the more liberal or more conservative view of life, I realize that is simply not allowed today. So, while I will miss you, I fully understand that you no longer care to know what I have to say.

Still there? I have been married to the same woman for more than 40 years, and I believe that “marriage” is an institution for two people of opposite genders. I have no problem with civil unions and affording people equal rights based on lifestyles that do not infringe on other’s rights, but that view is not to be tolerated, so again, I wish you well.

Did I mention that I was born and remain a member of the Caucasian portion of the human race? I don’t like the term “white” because as I look at something that genuinely is white, it does not look like my skin tone. If I see you, I will still greet you as warmly as possible if your skin does not match mine, but I will accept the chance that you will not return in kind.

We all know that it is only permissible in today’s culture to associate with people who look like us, think like us, vote like us, believe like us, etc., so again I understand why you would want me out of your life. Well, at least I’m trying to understand, but to be honest, I’m having a hard time doing so.

I have some other thoughts to share on this matter, which I will plan to address next time. I guess it really won’t matter, though, will it? Since I am the only person on the planet with whom I can relate, I will be the only one who reads it. I sure hope I’m not too critical of what I write.

*Ron Price MA writes a regular column on www.RonPrice.com.  He is the owner/operator of Productive Outcomes, Inc., and has spent the last 30+ years as a mediator, helping people resolve their differences with others. He provides in-person and virtual training on a variety of life skills. He is a member of Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Farmington, New Mexico. For more information, visit www.RonPrice.com. To add your name to his weekly mailing list, please send him an email at Ron@RonPrice.com. Originally titled, “Seven Reasons Why You Should Unfriend Me,” the article is reprinted by permission.

07 Jan

Commentary — Will this be the year?

By Ron Price — I cannot recall ever welcoming a new year more than I do 2021. Somehow, I do not think I am alone in that regard. Someone recently said that 2020 will soon become a common expression in our culture to describe anything tense, unsettling, discouraging, frustrating, etc. I could go on, but please do not be surprised to hear in the coming weeks, months, and years something negative described as a “2020 thing.”

For many of us, 2020 was a nuisance and great inconvenience. It was, however, devastating for some of you, and my heart goes out to you if that is your case. Hopefully, this new year will be a vast improvement.

As with all trips around the sun, a new year inspires us to choose goals or different living ways.  So, have you yet made your new year’s resolutions? As I write this, we are on day five, so I must also ask if you are still keeping those you made? I do not know the statistics, but the vast majority of us abandon our hopes and aspirations quicker than we like to admit.

While there are numerous reasons why this failure is so common among us, I want to focus on a couple of hints that might help you stay the course and accomplish what you decide is essential in your life.

My source for this post is Jon Acuff, a fabulous author who offers wise counsel in living life well. The first point I’ll share is what he calls “the day after perfect.” When you set out to bring about a change in your life, you are typically highly focused, motivated, and determined. The first day or two is a proverbial piece of cake. But sooner or later, you will have a day when you miss your target. You fall back to your old ways and do not live by your new desired standards.

That day is “the day after perfect.” Up till that point, you have enjoyed success and the fruits thereof. You’ve been on a roll and feel a great sense of accomplishment. And then the crash comes, and you face a critical decision. All too often, that decision is “well, I blew it, so I might as well eat the whole cake,” or “smoke the whole pack,” or “drink the whole bottle,” or you fill in the blank.

That’s why the day after perfect is so important. If you can somehow refocus and marshal your energy to resume the effort, you will be well on your way to success. When attempting to bring about any change, please expect setbacks, and determine in advance that they will be momentary stumbling blocks, not deal-breakers.

On a side note, as a former smoker, I noticed that whenever I abstained from cigarettes for any length of time, after my first smoke, I would invariably increase my normal usage for about that same time to sort of balance out what I had missed. This was not intentional, I promise you, but it seems to be a common fact of life that when we stay away from a destructive habit we increase our usage after we relapse. Hopefully, that can provide you with some incentive to rejoin the battle quickly after a setback.

The second tip from Mr. Acuff – and he has plenty more in his book Finish, is to cut your goal in half. He suggests two ways to do this. One is actually to cut it in half. If your goal is to have $1,000 in the bank by a specific date, change the goal to $500, which is more achievable. Since success breeds success, you will likely be motivated to go on and reach the full destination of $1,000.

The other way to cut a goal in half is to double the time required for its achievement. Again, if you desire to have $1,000 saved within 30 days, give yourself 60 days to complete it. Doing this should increase your chances of success and spur you on to go after other pursuits you desire.

Nobody ever said life is or should be easy. However, I believe the harder you are on yourself; the more manageable and more enjoyable life can be. Also, please remember that you are worth the effort. Though it is a cliché, the statement that there is not another just like you anywhere on the planet is also true. And the rest of you are counting on you and pulling for you to succeed.

— –Ron Price is a member of RMC executive committee from Farmington, New Mexico. Email him: [email protected]; photo by pixabay

15 Sep

Commentary: Look for the Good

By Ron Price – Farmington, New Mexico … “I have never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.” Paul Harvey

Stop what you’re doing and get a pen and some paper. Jot down two or three criticisms of a co-worker, or family member. Just take a moment (by the way, the official definition of a moment is 90 seconds) and list two or three of their imperfections. Now list two or three aspects which you find noteworthy and commendable of them.

I’m curious. Which list was easier to compile?

I guess that depends on the overall quality of your relationship with them. If your relationship is good and you get along well together, the second list was likely the easier, although the first list is always doable. I believe developing the habit of looking for and focusing on the good in others can transform a challenged relationship into a successful and healthy one, and keep a good relationship thriving.
It is a psychological principle that what you focus on tends to grow.

When we focus on the negative aspects of life, of which we all have at least a few, our thoughts tend to gravitate toward the negative. Focusing on the positive aspects of life will not make the negative ones disappear, but we will find they have less power to influence our mood and thoughts during our day.

Remember that everyone we interact with is a human being who, by definition, is going to have faults and who is going to act in ways that annoy us at times. Unless we consider ourselves to be other than a human, we might not want to be too quick to pass judgment.

I appreciate this Zig Ziglar quote: “Some people do really find fault like there’s a reward for it.” It’s so easy to find fault, and so many of us do. What’s ironic, however, is that those times when we are most critical are usually the times, we’re most upset with ourself. Since we’ve got to live with ourself and our thoughts, we can only take so much self-abuse and criticism. After a time, we will naturally look for another outlet to blame for our state of being upset. All too often, that other outlet is going to be someone at work or at home. That may be a common and normal practice, but it’s not right, and it’s certainly not conducive to a healthy life.

So what am I saying? That we should never tell a family member or work associate when something he or she is doing is upsetting us? Not a chance. But there is a right way and a wrong way to express our displeasure. The former is likely to result in voluntary behavior adjustment. The latter in World War 7,235.

In the book PLAY NICE in Your Sandbox at Work, I describe the XYZ technique developed by folks at PREP Inc., which gives a method to voice criticisms in a manner which will be well received and addressed.

Let me challenge us to throw away our list of others’ faults and add to our list of their positive attributes. It would not hurt to spend a few moments each day looking over that list to help you remember to maintain a positive, accepting attitude towards them.

A benefit of being grateful for what you have is that it protects you from becoming overly selfish and self-serving—both of which are dangerous in any relationship. We can admit that as humans we tend to be self-centered but interacting well with others is an excellent opportunity to minimize that condition.

By focusing on the positive aspects of others, we will be more inclined to consider how we might bring happiness to them.

Do that and you will find more happiness.

Not sure you believe that? Try it for 30 days and find out for yourself.

–Ron Price is a member of RMC executive committee from Farmington, New Mexico. Email him: [email protected]; photo by pixabay