Damaged goods

Do you feel like damaged goods?

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My eight-year old laptop got damaged recently. I placed it behind a door after completing my tasks and when a teammate opened the door, it pressed my laptop against a wall. Now, my laptop has a dent and its lid can no longer stay closed.

Because of the damage and its effect on my laptop, its resale value has surely gone down.

Yet, its value to me remains the same. It still allows me to get things done at work, to do some web development, and to write.

And then, there’s my laptop’s sentimental value. After all, it’s the same laptop that I used when I started working, when I shifted careers, when I started my blog, and when I started doing web development. My laptop has been with me through trials and triumphs in my career, through fulfilled dreams and disappointments, and through joys and tears.

My laptop may be damaged goods for others. But for me, it remains priceless. I’ll never sell my laptop (but I think I’ll get the SSD and the upgraded RAM that I installed when I decide to upgrade).

Maybe like my laptop, you feel like damaged goods. Maybe you feel that in the eyes of others, you are no longer brand new or in pristine condition.

Maybe you failed or committed an irreparable mistake that you feel that you are no longer good enough.

Maybe, like damaged goods, you feel worthless. Or maybe you feel unworthy of being loved.

I have made a lot of mistakes and continue to make some of the same mistakes. I know I have done some irreparable and irreversible mistakes. And sometimes, I feel like damaged goods.

Yet, if I, someone who is imperfect, value my damaged laptop, a mere tool, how much more can God, the One who is perfect, value me, His child?

Maybe you feel like damaged goods, but God’s love for you never changes. He sees your worth despite your damages.

Maybe in the eyes of others, you are damaged goods, but in His eyes, you are always brand new. He makes all things new.

Behold, I make all things new. (Revelation 21:5)

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Courage muscle

Courage is like a muscle. It grows stronger when you use it, but becomes weaker when you don’t.

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When I started blogging in 2013, I left my day job to pursue a writing career. I submitted guest posts to some publications. I wrote how-to guides and short ebooks, which, reading them now, make me feel a little embarassed of how I used to write. I joined communities of writers and freelancers online and offline. That year was my most courageous by far. After all, I didn’t have a steady source of income. I had no choice but to be brave.

My experiences back in 2013 helped me get to where I am right now. By starting and maintaining a blog, I learned how to do some basic web development which helped me get the job I have right now. By having a blog, I also landed a job as a writer in 2016.

But I am no longer doing many of the things that I used to do like guest posting and meeting new people. And I am no longer brave enough to try and learn new things. Sometimes, I feel afraid to take the necessary steps that will take me to where I want to be.

For the past few months, sometimes I ask myself, “Where did my courage go?”

Of course, my circumstances have changed. I am now married and have a toddler to feed. But quitting my day job is not the only way to exercise my courage. I can write guest posts again or share my work on social media (which I don’t have) or reach out to a subscriber or join groups and communities. Anything to practice my courage and not let the muscle atrophy.

Most importantly, I have to exercise my courage for a purpose. To share my faith, to be the best that I can be.

I guess all I really want to say is, I want to be courageous again.

How about you? How are you exercising your courage muscle?

Practice courage every day.

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You only need to see the next 200 feet

You don’t have to figure out all the steps that you need to take and try solve all your problems at once.

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From Jack Canfield:

Life is like driving in the dark. Your headlights show you the 200 feet in front of you and as you move forward, the next 200 feet are shown to you. You don’t need to see the entire path in order to reach your destination. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to see how to get to your end goal, you just need to decide what you want and take the step that is directly in front of you. The next steps will be revealed to you as you go.

When you are chasing a dream, it’s important to know where you are going. But, you don’t have to figure out all the steps that you need to take and try solve all your problems at once. You just have to take the next immediate step and solve the problem that is in front of you.

What are you working on right now? What’s the next step that you need to take?

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The building blocks of drawing

If you can draw shapes, you can draw anything.

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I just resumed the short course on drawing that I’m taking.

One of the things that the instructor said stuck to me: if you can draw shapes, you can draw anything.

Shapes are the building blocks of drawing and illustration. If you learn how to draw shapes, you can learn how to draw anything.

The same principle applies to developing habits, building relationships, starting a business, or any endeavor that you wish to take. 

Once you learn the basics, you can do anything.

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Playing to win vs. playing not to lose

When you play to win, you are not afraid to lose.

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The desired outcome is the same. Each is a strong motivator. Yet, the difference is great between the two.

When you play not to lose, you stick with what you know. You play to your strengths. You stick with what is proven and tested and has brought you success in the past. 

There is a level of excellence when you play not to lose because you try to play perfectly. You strive not to commit mistakes. You are careful and cautious and calculated with your every move.

When you play to win, you also play to your strengths. But, you are not afraid to try something new, to take risks, and to make mistakes. Because you understand that, sometimes, winning requires more than your best effort or your one hundred percent. Sometimes, you need to throw a curveball to win or take a risky and difficult shot.

When you play not to lose, You are motivated not by the rewards of winning, but the consequences of losing: the hurt, the self-inflicted shame, the regret, or the loss of the potential reward.

You play because of fear. That’s why you play with fear as well.

When you play to win, you are motivated by the possibilities, the opportunities, the excitement, and the rewards of winning.

When you play to win, you are not afraid to lose. You also do not play with fear. 

You are not afraid to take the shots. You are not afraid to deal with the consequences. 

During an interview for the ESPN magazine back in 2013, Stephen Curry said:

I'm not the guy who's afraid of failure. I like to take risks, take the big shot and all that.

Six years later, Curry is a two-time MVP and a three-time NBA champion. 

After he missed the potential game-winner and the opportunity to tie the series with the Toronto Raptors, Curry said:

The shot was one I take 10 out of 10 times. And we ran a play that was kind of, we got a decent look off of kind of a bobbled catch, and I could see the rim, so I shot it. I'll live with that. We always talk about that, myself and Klay, in terms of shots that we take, you live with it. I would shoot that shot every day of the week.

In the defining moments, you only think of the possibilities. Whatever the outcome is, you live with it. And you live without regrets.

Do you play to win or do you play simply not to lose?

P.S. How do I know all this? Because I play not to lose — whether in a basketball game or in this game of life. But, I’m trying to change that.

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