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I want to draw your attention to an insightful post on Plugged In’s blog that explores the growing view in today’s culture that, when it comes to sex, consent is the only thing needed to make a sexual relationship appropriate: “as long as there’s consent, there need be no other questions.”
In “Miley Cyrus Has Become the Poster Child for Consent,” Focus’ own blogger and movie critic Adam Holtz examines this troubling perspective by comparing it to historic Christian teaching on sexuality:
“To deal with the consent-only sexuality worldview that Miley Cyrus represents, we must ask a couple of simple but crucially important questions: What is the purpose of sexuality? And who gets to decide?
“Historically, Christian theologians have identified two primary answers to the first question. 1) The purpose of our sexuality is to create a union—“oneness,” the Bible calls is—between a man and his wife. 2) The purpose of our sexuality within that marriage bond is to produce new life when that is possible. Because those purposes are so sacred, so fundamental to human existence, God has placed protective parameters around sexual expression to protect us and to allow our relationships to flourish—which leads us to the answer for the second question. Our sexuality is beautiful, powerful and life-giving in its God-ordained context of marriage. Outside of that context and its divine origin, it can be a source of deep pain and vulnerability, not to mention the tragedy of creating new life without a loving, protective family to nourish it.”
It’s an important topic, so I hope you’ll head over to Focus’ media discernment website, Plugged In, and read it in its entirety.
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Passenger car and commercial vehicle radar and camera fusion systems help vehicle manufacturers meet regulatory requirements for safety systems. Fusing data from camera and radar every 30–40 msec helps confirm when situation warrants action from on-board systems, such as rapid braking via electronic stability control system for Automatic Emergency Braking. Radar suits range and relative speed measurement, while cameras suit lateral measurements and accurate object recognition.
Bonnie Ware is an Australian palliative care nurse who provides specialised medical care for people who are in the last 12 weeks of their lives. Whilst working with dying people, Bonnie recorded the dying thoughts of her patient on her blog Inspiration and Chai, which got so much attention the she wrote a book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. The top five regrets of people on their deathbed were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Reflecting on this list I would summarise Bonnie’s advice as “don’t spend your time living someone else’s life”.
These top five regrets, reflect the life lived by modern man, a life lived in response to the dreams, visions and goals of others. Living a life reacting to circumstances and events.
These regrets are the result of things you fail to do, these regrets are the result of apathy, the result of a life lived on auto pilot, the result of a life lived by default. When you live life on auto pilot you give up your dreams, sideline your friends, ignore your happiness and neglect your family.
To avoid having these regrets you need to make a new set of commitments. You need decide to live life deliberately and with intention.
- Decide to live your dreams whilst you still have your health.
- Don’t work too much. Get off the treadmill of endless work.
- Take time to express your feelings to those you love and to those who care about you.
- Cultivate friendships. Don’t let your friendships slip.
- Happiness is a choice. Make the decision to be happy every day
Copyright © George Ambler – George Ambler. Sign-Up for Actionable Leadership Insight. Delivered Weekly to Your Inbox.
In today’s fast paced world it’s critical for leaders distinguish between busy work and important work. I’m sure you’ve experienced days when you’ve been running around working hard, busy getting things done. Then at the end of the day it feels like you’ve worked hard, but accomplished little to achieve your goals. I’ve had this experience on too many occasions.
A leader who conquered busyness and as a result had a significant impact on the world was Dwight Eisenhower. Dwight Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. He served two terms between 1953 and 1961, he was also a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. If that did not keep him busy enough, consider some of Eisenhower’s accomplishments:
- He kept America at peace even as he was confronted with a major Cold War crisis every year he was in office.
- He ended the Korean War.
- He balanced the budget, not just once, but three times.
- He sponsored and signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 and gave birth to America’s interstate highway system.
- He sponsored and signed the Civil Rights Bill of 1957.
Dwight Eisenhower was a very productive president during an extremely difficult political and economic period of history. Despite this he was able to accomplish a significant amount of work. In addition, Eisenhower was able sustain his high levels of productivity over a number of decades.
Eisenhower’s Insight into Productivity and Effectiveness
The secret to Eisenhower’s productivity was the way he managed his time. He was careful to arrange his time so that the most important work received his attention. He did this because he found that important matters were seldom urgent and that urgent work was rarely important. Eisenhower’s productivity was grounded in one simple, yet powerful insight.
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower discovered that effective people spend most of their time working on important, rather than urgent work. He found that distinguishing between important and urgent work is essential for leaders seeking to achieve their goals. As such he always made decisions about what to work on based on two simple questions, “Is the work important?” and “Is the work urgent?”
Urgent work refers to those activities that require immediate action. Some of the characteristics of urgent work is as follows.
- Urgent work is focused on the short-term.
- Urgent work is focused on putting out fires.
- Urgent work is work that keeps us busy and makes us feel needed.
- Urgent work keep us you reactive mode, busy, defensive and narrowly focused.
- Urgent work leaves you drained and frustrated.
Most damaging of all is that urgent work is focused on achieving someone else’s goals.
The challenge that we all face is that we tend to focus on the short-term, living in the now and lose sight of our long-term vision and goals. When we lose touch with our goals, we struggle to make the distinction between what’s urgent versus what’s important. This happens because we mistake urgency for importance.
Important work is completely different. Important work refers to work that is important for you to achieve your goals in the long-term. Some of the characteristics of important work is as follows.
- Important work is focused on your long-term personal and professional goals.
- Important work is never urgent.
- Important work involves long-term thinking about the future and doing the hard work get you there.
When we mistake what’s urgent for what’s important we sacrifice our dreams and goals. Once we learn to identify which activities are urgent and which are important we’re able to overcome our natural tendency to focus on short-term busy work.
The Eisenhower Matrix
Based on his insight as to the difference between urgent and important work, Eisenhower created a matrix to help him prioritize. Know as the Eisenhower matrix, the matrix is a powerful tool to help keep focused on important work. Whilst the matrix was popularised by Steven Covey in his best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Dwight Eisenhower used the matrix long before Covey wrote about it in his book.
The Eisenhower matrix, as illustrated above, consists of four quadrants. The matrix is used to help you think though your priorities and determine which of your tasks are important and which are urgent. The matrix helps you to remain focused those tasks that contribute to the achievement of your long-term goals and helps you make effective use for your time. Let’s explore each quadrant in more detail.
Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent Work
This is the quadrant that contains your highest priority task, those tasks that are urgent and important. These tasks are those that contribute to your long-term goals, but they need to be done immediately. Urgent and important work are typically tasks you’ve left to the last-minute or are unforeseen emergencies, for example:
- Deadlines for clients
- Tax deadlines
- Car crash
These tasks should be a top priority and therefore go to the top of your to do list.
Whilst you’ll never eliminate all your urgent and important work, you can significantly reduce their impact through careful planning and by avoiding procrastination.
Your goal should be to eliminate as many of your urgent and important tasks as possible. So instead of waiting for the last-minute to get these tasks done, schedule time in your calendar to work on deadline driven tasks.
If you find that you are overwhelmed with important and urgent activities take some time to explore which of them you could have foreseen. Then think about what you could do to plan ahead so these activities don’t become urgent again in the future.
Quadrant 2: Important and Not Urgent Work
This is where you want to spend most of your time. This is work that helps you achieve your personal and professional goals. Work in this quadrant are is that focused on your future, improving yourself, planning, building and strengthening relationships. This is the work that provides you with a sense of meaning and purpose. Important and not urgent work include things like:
- Strategic planning
- Goal setting
- Relationship building
Since this work is not urgent it’s easy to delay. Most often you will find yourself spending time on your urgent tasks. The problem with this approach is that if you’re spending your time on urgent tasks, you make little progress on your important tasks.
Whilst this is the most neglected quadrant, work in this quadrant that most critical for your success.
The challenge we have with work in this quadrant is that it lacks urgency. Because this work is not screaming for our attention, we delay. We focus on doing urgent work, we tell ourselves we will get to the important work once we’ve completed our urgent work. However what happens is that the urgent work piles up and so we never get to complete our important work. The bottom line is that you will always have too much urgent work to be done.
The solution to this dilemma is to schedule time for your important work, otherwise it will never get done. The secret to getting important work done is to schedule it in your calendar. Important work only gets done when you set a deadline and schedule a time to work on getting it done. Getting important work done demands you set a deadline.
Quadrant 3: Urgent and Not Important Work
Urgent and not important work includes those tasks that require our attention, but don’t help us achieve our goals. Mostly this work originates from other people. Typically these tasks are interruptions, focused on the priorities of others, for example:
- Phone calls, email and text messages you receive
- Unexpected interruptions from co-workers asking for a favour
Since much of this work is focused on helping others, you may feel that it’s all important. Urgent tasks are important to others, but are mostly not important for you. These tasks often result in busy work.
“Being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” – Tim Ferriss
Urgent work is not bad, however it needs to be balanced with your important work. If you spend too much time working on urgent tasks you’ll fail to make progress on your own goals. You’re pleasing others at the expense of your own happiness. The solution is for you to become more assertive, to politely say “no” to this work, declining requests and helping people to solve their own problems.
You need to make a point of making decisions concerning this work as soon as it arrives in your inbox. Wherever possible avoid accepting work, but rather help people find another way of getting the task done. As urgent work prevents you from achieving your goals.
Quadrant 4: Not Urgent / Not Important
This quadrant consists of work that doesn’t contribute to your goals and is not urgent. These tasks are really distractions that gobble up valuable time, preventing you from completing your important work. Examples of these tasks include:
- Watching T.V.
- Aimlessly browsing the internet
- Spending time on social media site
Your goal is to minimise the tasks in this quadrant. One way to reduce these kinds of activities is to develop a clear structure for your day focused on your most important work.
How to Use the Eisenhower Matrix
Whenever I feel I’ve been running around putting out one fire after another, I know I’ve fallen into the trap of reactive work. In times like these I pause and ask myself “what am I working to achieve?” and use the Eisenhower matrix as a tool to help me refocus.
Use the matrix by first listing, then categorising all your current and planned work into one of the four quadrants. Once completed use the following strategies to guide your actions for each of the tasks:
- Complete your important and urgent tasks immediately.
- Schedule time to work on your important, but not urgent tasks.
- Delegate or postpone your urgent, but not important tasks.
- Eliminate tasks that neither urgent nor important.
Your overall goal is to find ways to increase the amount of time you spend on your important work.
The Eisenhower matrix is a great tool to help you gain clarity as to what work should be your focus each week. When making a decision, stop and ask yourself, “Am I doing this task because it’s important or just because it’s urgent?”.
Copyright © George Ambler – George Ambler. Sign-Up for Actionable Leadership Insight. Delivered Weekly to Your Inbox.
When it comes to America’s sovereignty, freedom has never been free. Dating back to the Revolutionary War, more than 1.3 million Americans have died in combat. It’s important to remember that each of these deaths is not an isolated incident; no man is an island. When a soldier falls, life within a family unit is irrevocably and permanently changed. Those deaths represent a lot of tears over the course of 235 years.
Yes, freedom in the U.S.A. has come at a very, very steep price. Nothing can compare with sacrificing one’s life in the service of one’s country.
Although to a much lesser degree, personal independence has always been expensive. Any teenager or newly minted graduate who has to write his first rent check or pay her first insurance bill will attest to that. The rising rate of boomerang kids — those who leave home but return to live with mom and dad into and during adulthood — also illustrates that for many, independent living is sometimes not worth the rate of return.
But I wonder if the very definitions of freedom and independence have been corrupted. And if so, how does that potentially alter the way we view the magnificence and miracle of July 4th?
Just because we’re free to be selfish, inconsiderate or indifferent doesn’t mean we’re liberated from the moral obligation to be just the opposite, does it?
We hear and read a lot about the freedom of choice, whether it’s abortion or physician-assisted suicide. Yet, we know that despite the opinions of seven justices in 1973, God does not give us the right to take innocent life.
Many of us came of age during the revolution of the 1960s, when many (not all) openly advocated for liberation from many of the cultural norms involving sex and drugs. Forty-plus years later, we’re still reeling from the effects of those newly exercised freedoms.
Any husband or wife has the freedom to walk away from a marriage or sabotage the one they are in. Sadly, many do just that — which is why millions of children will be celebrating July 4th this year without a mother or father in the home. Parents have the freedom to cheat or divorce — but do they have the moral obligation not to? Of course they do.
What gives? Is freedom not all that it’s cracked up to be? Is independence overrated?
But freedom and independence come at a steep price. Freedom is not only not free, but it’s often more difficult to manage than tyranny.
The late radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say that self-government won’t work without self-discipline. He was right. Until we can learn to control ourselves and our impulses, why should we expect others to do the same?
One of the best ways we can serve the Lord is by being the very best citizens of our great country. Managing our own tempers and emotions is a good place to start. But ultimately, true freedom, independence and liberty are only found in Jesus Christ. He is the only true Prince whom I can trust to liberate me from the tyrants of our day.
And so on the very day we celebrate the anniversary of our independence, we would be wise to also celebrate our dependence on the great God of the universe. Amen?
Happy Birthday, America!
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