Often Zhan

4 minute read

This past year has been tough, but this was a year where God grew me. All the advice from everyone who invested in me began to sprout. I truly believe I am a better man because of all that I experienced and all that I had to overcome.

Here are some of the major paradigm shifts distilled into a few words that I learned this year that have changed how I live my day-to-day life:

Do not worry about what is out of my control.

Summary: There are many outside influences that directly impact my life, yet the ones that I should be concerned about are the ones that I can directly influence. I should not worry about the weather or slander against me. Rather, I should focus on my attitude and approach to any and every situation that comes in my life. How do I prepare for when rainy weather occurs? What should my response be if people are talking I’ll of me? Are they correct, even in part?


Everyday, I begin by saying, “Today is the best day of my life.” I begin each day with enthusiasm and with the intent to grow, learn, and appreciate whatever God throws at me. Many of my most life-changing moments were my mistakes, but only if I learned from them. When something truly sad happens, I should mourn, truly mourn. If I become sick or in pain, then I should find a way to use that “thorn in the side” as an opportunity to glorify God whether in public or in private.

Moral Dilemmas should not be confused with lack of communication or misunderstandings.

A moral dilemma is defined as a conflict between two moral principles. To decide whether-or-not to casually steal an expensive camera from an electronics store is not a moral dilemma. A moral dilemma could be when someone is deciding whether to kill one man to save a hundred. In less extreme terms, should a concerned employee tell a boss a rumor about a secret relationship that could potentially harm the company?

Half of Maturity is the development of Habits and Disciplines.

Habits are important. They take up around half of one’s day. They are the unconscious thoughts and decisions that our brain puts on “auto” so our mind can focus on other tasks.

We should build and strengthen our good habits; and we should minimize and remove our bad habits. Shouldn’t we want our habits to be working for us, not against us?

Podcasts and Audiobooks are amazing.

I am able to do other menial tasks while listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Also when I listened to deeply engaging audio books and podcasts, all my dirty laundry and dishes somehow ended up getting clean.

Writer’s Block is a Workflow Issue, not Mental Constipation

When you think of a creative person that you know of, the reason why that person seems creative is because he’s actually able to make his ideas a reality. Even if someone does not have many ideas, good ideas take time to expand upon, plan out, and complete. Imagination is only a small part of creativity. The ability to create something to completion is the true mark of a creative person.

Fullness, not Balance

Our mindset should not be balancing our life because that assumes that our work life, ministry life, family life, and social life are separate and at odds. Rather, we should be a person of integrity. We need integrate these areas of our lives together. Our mindset should be on fullness in all areas of our life. The only way that can be accomplished is through some sort of overlap between these areas. Also, we need a clear direction and strategic boundaries to ensure that we are not being overused.

This year had a lot of ups and downs. But that’s OK cause it led to today. And today is the best day of my life.

- Often

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