One Degree At A Time

One Degree at a Time: (Audio)

Okay. It’s inevitable. We reach the ending of a cycle and check over our shoulders to look at our path in reverse, scan ahead to the next marker and ensure we are headed the correct direction.

But what if you need to tweak your direction? What if the direction you need to take is just slightly over yonder!

Thinking through a personal process this month forced me to ask some questions that might be uncomfortable. Something we have all done at some point in our past.

Where do I stand on ______? (Fill in the blank)
Where am I going? What’s my next step?
How are my finances? My health? Family? Future? Past?
How are things between me and my bride?

In other words, it is time to use some phrases that I am very comfortable with that others struggle with. Let me share a couple of them with you.

Personal Accountability

Here’s the reality… I am accountable… To self… To God… To church… To family…  I have a number of irons in the fire that are challenging me to the next level of life of living and being. There are internal voices that keep my feet to the fire and my focus on my forward motion.

It is true that there are important things missing in my life, and I am fully aware of them, all the while scanning the horizon for solutions.  Some are simply holes that need to be folded closed, while some are additions that need to be added, questions to be answered, and decisions to be made.

You have to be accountable to self!

Status Check

The one thing I note is that my Status Check does not require major decisions! Most are simply common sense adjustments to what I already do. Most are easily changed from a slightly negative to a slightly positive. Most of these changes are a minuscule shift of the rudder of my life.

I use this scripture often because it really describes a process of making decisions based on the circumstances you find yourself in. And these changes are not always drastic.

Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.  (James 3:4 NKJV)

This has been digging deep into my thinking as I inch into my 60’s. I’m the pilot of my ship and am in charge of my rudder. What kind of rudder changes do I need to make, and how drastic of a change is needed for success? Part of the equation demands that I know where I am wanting to go, what needs to happen, and how much change is needed to get there, and when do I start the turn? Perhaps the why is a known answer, but it is a great thinking process to think out why you are needing this directional change!

Here’s a simple math formula that is not really true math. There are 360 degrees of possibilities on any compass. If you know where and why, then you need to know what and how, and the when comes depending on the time frame you have.

1 degree of rudder shift = huge differences 12 hours later.

One degree change might not seem like much, but if you know the time frame between here, and then, you can calculate when you arrive at that new location in the future.

It reminds me of 1974, the year my bride and I hitched our wagon for the future!

One day at a time sweet Jesus that’s all I’m asking from you
Give me the strength to do every day what I have to do
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus and tomorrow may never be mine
So for my sake teach me to take one day at a time.

What are you accepting/doing now that will have huge penalties/rewards tomorrow?

Sailing ships used a combination of rudder and rigging to amend their direction, hence arrive at the desired destination. The power of the wind propels the ship who has a proper sail set and rudder positioned. Powered ships can more easily adjust their direction when underway but many of those large vessels have computers to automate the adjustment. Easy to be exact, wouldn’t you say?

A minor adjustment today is not immediately seen, but look down the road a day, week, or year… Well. Consider this. If you want to, or need to, make a major change, how quickly must you start the change, and how hard of a shift are you required to make? Do you know how to do this successfully?

One Degree at a time.

Small shifts in direction, one degree at a time, will eventually get you to your destination without major changes that could overwhelm you. It’s analogous to something Benjamin Franklin said:

Watch the pennies and the dollars take care of themselves. ~Benjamin Franklin Click To Tweet

If your shift requires some changes that are uncomfortable, then small shifts by single digit changes may make the job easier! It’s like losing weight – aim for 1` pound. Daily exercise, try doing just 10 minutes at first. Creating a good financial picture is more easily done by the discipline of managing the small things like pennies!

Here’s my thought. You may be due for a major shift. We all reach these times of life where major changes need to happen for future success. I face this every year! I have several areas of personal change that are pretty major when you consider the time frame involved. Try first to be successful by taking the small adjustments to get to that place where the results are the change you need.

Come back tomorrow… I have somewhat more to say on this topic!


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