An Excerpt from My Upcoming Book, As I Finish It
Here’s an excerpt from my book. This is not like most excerpts, probably, because it’s still a rough draft and will likely be improved and re-done before the final version.
I wrote this section a few days ago and I actually don’t yet know where it fits. I tacked it on at the end of the chapter it is relevant to, but that chapter is already mostly done and this brings together some of the ideas from it in a different way. The reason I’m posting it here is because it is largely self-contained and because of the fact that I now have to figure out where it goes (and if it will go in at all)!
So, this gives you not only a sample of the book, but a window into how books take shape.
Here’s the excerpt:
Don’t Wing It!
Just a quick final word on the importance of personal management. The last thing I am advocating is an ultra rigid approach to life. That would be massively boring and, frankly, makes you look mean. I am a fan of discipline, but I am not a fan of strictness. So, be flexible.
But don’t only be flexible. In fact, being flexible implies that there is something to flex — some type of structure and discipline to your life. You need to have that. Different people will have it in varying degrees, and the place where you set the needle is up to you. But you need to do something. Don’t wing your life.
Don’t wing it because, first, it doesn’t work. Scott Belsky points out that even among creatives, who are known for winging it, it doesn’t work:
This book aims to take pie-in-the-sky notions of how the creative process unfolds and bring them down to earth. Creative people are known for winging it: improvising and acting on intuition is, in some way, the haloed essence of what we do and who we are. However, when we closely analyze how the most successful and productive creatives, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople truly make ideas happen [and to his list I would add pastors, non-profit leaders, and many more], it turns out that “having an idea” is just a small part of the process, perhaps only 1 percent of the journey.
And, second, don’t wing it because it’s not biblical. The Bible speaks very highly of discipline and planning: “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Proverbs 10:4). “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son [note: there is an intentionality here (“in summer”) -- not randomness], but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame” (Proverbs 10:5). “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3). “Whoever gives thought to a matter will discover good” (Proverbs 16:20). “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Perhaps the most forceful verse, though, is Proverbs 21:5: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Note that not planning is analogous to being hasty. Don’t be hasty — don’t live your life by the seat of your pants. Give thought to what you will do with your days and weeks and years.
Don’t be overly rigid (see above) and don’t make your plans independent of God. But do have a measure of thought and intentionality to how you go about your life.
(Note: the next several chapters after this one then go into various practices for improving your productivity and managing your life more effectively, in a biblical and creative way.)