Deep work or more work? by Tyson Pop

Productivity isn’t about doing more in less time.

You could be forgiven for thinking it was.

Our culture has told us that as long as we’re the hardest worker in the room, we’re a better chance of better results. Of course the problem with this theory is that we can work hard on the wrong things and completely waste our valuable time. If you truly want to be productive, consider eliminating the excess from your schedule. The stuff you do to make you feel as though you’re working when you’re not…

Checking your emails again

Checking LinkedIn again,

Checking Instagram again.

This will free up your time for deep work.

And deep work is better than more work.

Consider ignoring how our culture tells you to be productive.

You might get more important work done.

Perspective. by Tyson Pop

It’s the reason you’re seeing it the way you are.

Two people can see the same thing and leave with a very different understanding of what it means. Your understanding of the event has more of an impact on you than the event itself. With a slight adjustment in how you choose to see the event comes a massive opportunity for change.

Look at it from another angle.

You might see something you haven’t noticed before.

Trust your struggle by Tyson Pop

Trials are an essential part of our progress.

In a culture that has largely forgotten about the power of religious stories, we now see the trials in our lives as a hindrance rather than the early stages of something much bigger being built. Instead of acknowledging the events we’re finding hard to deal with, we hide behind the facade of ‘we’ve got it all together’.

We’ve settled for convincing others (and ourselves) that we’re ok, rather than letting the process of transformation take place. We struggle to find meaning in the chaos and can’t even imagine there is a way for us to escape.

But there is.

If you can see beyond the difficulty that lies immediately before you, you will notice an opportunity to grow. The discomfort you may be feeling is simply your character being stretched. This idea is beautifully covered in what Julian of Norwich said - “First there is the fall, and then there is the recovery from the fall. Both are the mercy of God”.

Don’t forget, before a muscle grows, it hurts. The same is true of your character.

You’re not unique in your struggle.

You won’t be unique in your success.

You need the latest iPhone… by Tyson Pop

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.
— Bob Dylan

Buy a bigger house!

Update your phone!

Work hard now and enjoy your retirement!

Wear this cologne!

Wear these shoes!

Change your fashion, change your life!

These messages have swept a generation of millennials right off their feet. As we attempt to take the short cut to ‘destination success’ we sacrifice that which really bring us any joy at all. Things like family. community. relationships, health, contribution and faith are completely ignored. We know it, but we refuse to admit it.

We’ve lost our minds a little bit.

How long are we going to buy into this bullshit?

Until we understand that our joy will not be influenced long term by our shoes or boat or house or car, we’re going to be running around in circles. Start taking time to look at what the happiest people in the world are doing, and make changes to your lifestyle based on that. Because until you understand that no amount of money will satisfy that longing for more that you have…

You’ll never be content.

Think about what you think about by Tyson Pop

What we think about dictates how we feel.

How we feel, reinforces what we think about.

Give time to the thoughts that are valuable. Let go of the ones that aren’t. Like any habit, it may feel difficult to do at the start. Over time, however, it will become the norm.

Consider it a gym workout for your mind.

Creating a meaningful life by Tyson Pop

Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.
— Victor Frankl

Prescribing a pill, is easier than addressing the cause of the pain.

While a headache can be dulled with a tablet, it’s rarely the lack of a tablet that caused the problem. Maybe you’re dehydrated or stressed or maybe the noise level in the room you’re in is too loud. Though that sounds like common sense, for many of us when we’re feeling low, we run to a tablet. Tablets promise that we’ll not need to look at any areas of discontentment in our lives. We can just dull the pain and keep on moving.

So what do we do when we’re feeling low?

Before we assume it’s a tablet we require, we need to address the source of our pain. Maybe we’re grieving, or we feel lonely or we’ve just been through a relationship breakdown or the loss of a job. I’m not saying tablets don’t have their place, I’m just saying that should be our first point of call. Whist it’s sometimes a chemical imbalance in our brains which maybe causing the distress in our life at this time, it’s far more rare than we’ve been led to believe. If we were to start addressing the real cause of why we’re not ‘feeling ourselves’, pharmaceutical companies would lose a lot of money with their ‘quick fix cures’.

I wanted to offer a few suggestions about some practical ways to improve our health, by addressing some often overlooked areas of our lives. It’s a little more work than trusting a tablet to cure it all.

  • Create meaningful work Your day job might not lead you to feel a great deal of meaning in your life, but you don’t need to let that stop you from spending time on something that adds value to the life of others around you. Maybe you have a passion for art or writing or sports or photography and you haven’t taken any steps towards investing in those areas because you can’t earn any money through it. Rather than waiting until that work that brings you to life is earning you money, you should start taking small steps towards making it a part of your day. Creating meaningful work helps us add value to our community which in turn gives us a sense of purpose in our community. You could also start looking towards changing roles or jobs and doing something more in line with what lights you up. Don’t let familiarity and security of your ‘normal’ stop you from making a change.

  • Connect with other people It wasn’t too long ago that without community, we’d be dead. One of the reasons that humans were so successful in taking down big animals when we were still living in the wild, was because we learnt to work together. Being alone often meant being vulnerable so it seems that we’re almost wired to connect with other people. But in the hustle and bustle of ‘progression’ in our culture, we often forget about the value that comes with being connected with other people. Community is an essential part of human flourishing. It doesn’t have to be your neighbourhood. Maybe you can find it in your sports club, your work colleagues or your church. Community helps us expand our horizons from looking our just for ourselves, to looking at for those around us. It is valuable to not only us, but to those around us.

  • Monitor your thoughts If we ignore our physical health, we very quickly lose shape. If we ignore our thought life, naturally weeds will grow. Don’t trust every thought that you have. Instead, learn the benefits of cognitive behaviour therapy and the power that comes with challenging faulty thinking and replacing those thoughts with positive alternatives. At first it may not feel like you’re making progress, but over time, your program will start to alter your thinking habits which will lead to more powerful thoughts.

  • Look at where you’re discontent When an athlete is continually getting injured, it’s not just because they’re ‘genetically predisposed’ to injury. Whilst that may be one issue, it’s rarely the main problem. If they’re injured, it’s recommended that they take some time to look at their training load, the technique and whether they’re neglecting recovery. If you’re unhappy, it’s not just because your ‘brain is broken’. The discontent might just be saying that you need more people in your life, more connection, more purpose, better health. Maybe you need to lose some weight or quick drinking or join a social sports group. Don’t just assume you’re broken. It’s just an oil light reminding you that something has been neglected and needs to be topped up.

Whilst this list is not exhaustive, it’s certainly a great step in the right direction. If you’re after a more in depth look at how to improve the quality of our lives, I highly recommend you read ‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari.

The 'Self-Help' Lie by Tyson Pop

The big lie of the self-help scene is that pain can be avoided.

It’s not true and it shouldn’t be our goal.

Rather, self-help, when understood correctly, helps us navigate our pain. Helps us understand that there’s a purpose in our pain. That strength and hope and life and joy are on the other side of our pain. That pain is not the end point, but a transition into a bigger, wider and deeper life.

Before a muscle grows, it's must first be broken. The same is true for your soul. If you avoid the breakdown, you can’t reach the build up. That’s why pain overcome is far more powerful and life-giving than pain avoided.

Stay strong.

Listen carefully to what your pain is saying.

Be patient.

Your pain is not the end of the story.

The Daily Dozen by Tyson Pop

Lacking time is not our problem.

Lacking clarity on what we value most that is.

Just because you’re busy, doesn’t make you productive. You need to use your time well for productivity to take place. In fact, it’s busyness that has become our greatest form of laziness which stops us from focussing on what we value most. And with only 24 hours in each day, it’s important to take time to consider what we’re committing those hours to.

Enter The Daily Dozen.

The Daily Dozen is a list of the twelve tasks that we’re committed to completing each day. It’s a list that we can look to at the end of each day to help us clarify whether we’ve committed our time and energy to the things we say we care about, or whether our day has been frittered away by unnecessary detail.

It will take some time to clarify what is most important, but it’s time well spent.

Here’s a look at my daily dozen.

  1. Exercise - A combination of strength, flexibility or cardio.

  2. 8-hours sleep - An effort to give my body the best chance to recover.

  3. Meditation - AM & PM - Because you can’t argue with the benefits of this practice.

  4. Journal - A form of release, clarity and time to listen to what’s going on within me.

  5. Thought Monitoring Forms (1-3) - To create powerful thinking patterns.

  6. Reading - 30-60 minutes - Because there’s a lot of smarter people than me to listen to.

  7. Family time - They’re the most important people in my life.

  8. Phone a friend - Life is better with deep relationships.

  9. New City Catechism - As a reminder to why I exist.

  10. Prayer - Because God knows better than me.

  11. Work - Because I’ve been called to use my gifts.

  12. Daily Questions & statements - For clarity and confidence.

What would your list look like?

Stop playing the victim by Tyson Pop

Eventually, you need to take responsibility.

Whilst there are always excuses to justify the position you’re currently in, more often than not they’re just reasons you use to stop you ever needing to take action. When you can own the fact that there’s an area of your life you’re unhappy with, you can begin to make change.

Stop blaming your friends, family and difficult childhood for the fact that you’re overweight, less intelligent, more anxious or overwhelmed. It won’t help you. Rather, start taking practical steps towards improving it.

Ask people who have overcome the struggle you’re trying to overcome.

People have done it before.

You can too.

8 books for young men and their mentors by Tyson Pop

As we make the journey from boys into men, it’s important we’re equipped with a map of the land to help us to better understand where we are on our journey.

Books serve as a great map.

Below is a list of 8 books to encourage, inspire and equip you or those you lead on your journey towards becoming men .I’ve included the book descriptions found on Amazon to give you a little insight into each book.

  1. Adam’s Return - Rich Rohr

    Based on decades of work, travel, and experience, Rohr, a Franciscan brother and best-selling author, unearths the complexities of male spiritual maturation and helps us to understand the importance of male initiation rights in both culture and the church.

  2. Tribe - Sebastian Junger

    Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today's divided world.

  3. Falling Upward - Richard Rohr

    In Falling Upward, Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up." Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as "falling upward." In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness.

  4. The Road Less Travelled - Scott Peck

    Confronting and solving problems is a painful process which most of us attempt to avoid. Avoiding resolution results in greater pain and an inability to grow both mentally and spiritually. Drawing heavily on his own professional experience, Dr M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, suggests ways in which facing our difficulties - and suffering through the changes - can enable us to reach a higher level of self-understanding. He discusses the nature of loving relationships: how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become one's own person and how to be a more sensitive parent.

  5. Mere Christianity - C.S Lewis

    In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for ChristianityChristian Behaviour, and Beyond PersonalityMere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.

  6. Man’s Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl

    Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl laboured in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

  7. Habit’s of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey

    The 7 Habits—Be Proactive; Begin with the End in Mind; Put First Things First; Think Win/Win; Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood; Synergize; and Sharpen the Saw—are so famous and have been integrated into everyday thinking by millions and millions of people for one reason: They work. Covey offers life-changing advice on everything from leadership, time management, and teamwork to success, love, and taking control of your life. In taking his advice, you’ll discover how the priceless wisdom of the 7 Habits still holds true after twenty-five years.

  8. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

    Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognising opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

Fix it with a pill by Tyson Pop

We use pills to fix everything.

When we’re stressed.

When we’re fat.

When we can’t sleep.

When we feel sad.

When our muscles are sore.

When our kids have too much energy.

Sometimes pills are part of the answer. But sometimes they’re an excuse for us not to address the actual issue. It’s not hard to see why we love them. They offer quicker relief than having to actually work to see improvements take place. Plus, tomorrow we need to go back to work so we really don’t have the time to be sick.

We need a more holistic approach to our health.

An approach which allows us to take half a day out of our schedule to address the issues that keep coming up for us and considering how we can adjust the way we’re living in order to improve the health we’re experiencing.

So, before you immediately run to a pill, ask yourself if it’s something that diet or exercise or friends or a new job or a better way of thinking about the situation might be able to fix.

It’s a little bit more work than a pill, but it might just be the answer.

Take the long road by Tyson Pop

Quality should be your priority.

In a world that thrives on more ‘likes’ and followers, it’s more important than ever to focus on creating excellent quality work. Whilst attention and noise can be exciting, it’s a hollow foundation to build upon.

Too many of us are trying to draw attention to an average product because more followers looks more impressive. As a result, many of us have thousands of semi-fans that don’t really care about what it is we offer.

The long road is where true value is found.

The long road is the one where we create excellent value over a long period of time and attract loyal followers who are aware of the great quality of our product. These are the followers that are excited about what we do and want to be a part of it.

They’re not just there because of a brilliant marketing scheme, but because of your brilliant product.

The best way to prolong your pain... by Tyson Pop

Is to ignore it.

Ignoring a sore tooth only lasts so long. Eventually you need to get it treated.

The same is true for every other area of your life.

Stress. Anxiety. Fear. Sadness. Disappointment.

Listen to what it’s trying to tell you.

It’s the quickest way to treat it.

Some common sense organisation skills by Tyson Pop

  1. Allocate yourself a maximum of 60 minutes online each day.

  2. Put your phone away

  3. Turn off every notification on your phone

  4. Don’t email after hours

  5. Write down what’s most important

  6. Give yourself a daily time structure

  7. Clarify priorities and eliminate the excess

  8. Play The Minimalists game

  9. Plan for tomorrow tonight

  10. Worker smarter, not harder - more hours doesn’t equal more efficient

  11. Leave earlier than you think you need to (it will take you longer than you thin)

  12. Turn the television off

  13. Have a daily ‘cut off time’ for ALL work

  14. Read ‘Getting Things Done’

In the belly of the whale by Tyson Pop

Stumbling blocks are a necessary tool for growth.

They come in various shapes and sizes and arise through many different experiences. A stumbling block is found when the way we once navigated our way through life doesn’t function as well as it once did. It’s in these moments that we find ourselves in the belly of the whale to use biblical language.

We’re lost.

In darkness.

Disoriented.

Confused.

In these moments it’s easy to assume that this will be the new norm, rather than a temporary refining experience. There’s a better option when it comes to these situations that just freaking out. Instead, we can ask ourself a question:

If this really was my new normal, what could you adjust within yourself to make this ‘new normal’ tolerable?

When we take our attention away from all that is wrong, and start making changes to learn to adjust to the new, unpleasant experience, we’ll grow from it more quickly than resisting it would allow.

The two options by Tyson Pop

Option 1: We can fill our calendar with more and rush from task to task in an attempt to tick off all the jobs we’ve set for ourselves.

Option 2: We can stop the busy work, and focus on clarifying what is essential and getting those few things done at an exceptional level.

Where do you spend your time?

Mentors by Tyson Pop

You don't need to guess your way through.  

Life is easier to navigate when you have people who are more familiar with the map. 

Seek them out and ask them to guide you. 

An 8 step guide to build your mind by Tyson Pop

Step 1: Stop focusing on all the bad news. If your mind feels overwhelmed, change your focus. Look for the possibility and the opportunity, not everything that's broken. 

Step 2: Stop listening to dickheads. If people keep telling you you'll never amount to what you hope to, it will mess with your mind. Cancel them from your friends. 

Step 3: Read more books: Stop guessing your way through. Learn from people who have already been there, and can tell you the way out. 

Step 4: Stop eating crap food. If you're out of shape and overweight, your mind is too tired to operate well. Start eating good food. 

Step 5: Go to sleep: If you're tired, your mind feels tired. Everything feels more clear after a good sleep.  

Step 6: Be clear: Stop floating through each day. Give your mind a target to aim towards, and do your best to hit it. 

Step 7: Exercise: If you're always tired, it clouds your mind. Go for a run, do some stretches and lift heavy things. It will make you feel good. 

Step 8: Don't hide behind drugs or alcohol: If you're stressed or overwhelmed, don't apply a band-aid. Fix it.