Sunday, August 31, 2014

Golf and Leadership: Guest Post from Mark Miller

This guest post by Mark Miller was originally published on 
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 

I had the opportunity to play in a golf event to raise money for a good cause. The course was amazing, the weather was perfect and I was playing with my son. What could be better? The only thing missing was a consistent golf swing.

When I was younger, I played a lot of golf. Then, after my children were born, I played almost none – it was too time-consuming and too expensive. Now, as I’ve gotten older, I’m trying to play more. In part, because of my son’s desire to play. I do love the game. I find it both maddening and sublime.
Those who don’t play have no idea of how hard it can be. Let’s face it, it doesn’t LOOK hard – as someone told me once, “The ball’s not even moving like most other sports…” Ugh!
As I hit one errant shot after another recently, I was reminded how many parallels there are between golf and leadership. The one idea that came to mind most often – leadership and golf are both games of recovery.
What are you supposed to do when you hit a bad shot? For those non-golfers who may be reading this: I’ll answer the question for you, because I think the same principles apply when you and I hit a bad shot in our role as leader.

Don’t make it worse by doing something crazy. The only birdie I had today came after a lousy tee shot. After my drive, I was about 240 yards from the hole on a par 5. Rather than try a heroic shot over the creek to a heavily bunkered green, I hit a layup shot. My third shot, with my wedge, stopped 6 inches from the hole with the tap in remaining for a birdie. Now, what I almost did was play the 1 in a 100 shot with my 3 wood from 240 yards out. That would have been crazy. Don’t follow a bad leadership move with another one.

Don’t beat yourself up. This is harder than it sounds. When I missed an 18 inch putt today, hitting the ball 3 feet past the hole and then missed the putt coming back, it was hard to have a good attitude. 3 putts from 18 inches out!!! However, if you can’t let your mistakes live in the past, they will poison your future. Let it go.

Learn from your mistakes. In golf, there’s an old saying that has always helped me: The flight of the ball never lies. Translated, if you look at the flight path of the ball, you can be assured of where the club face was at impact. This provides a huge opportunity for learning. I never want to waste a bad shot – I try to learn something from every one. The same goes for my leadership mistakes; I don’t want to waste an opportunity to learn.

Focus on the next shot – not the last one. Just recently, someone asked me if I knew the most important shot in golf. I didn’t. They said, the next one. What’s the next leadership move/decision you need to make? After you’ve learned from your last leadership shank, move on to what’s next. Learn from the past – just don’t live there.

Golf is a mental game. Bobby Jones said,

Competitive golf is played mainly on a course 5 ½ inches wide… the distance between your ears.”
Leadership is played on that same course. Don’t let your thinking lose the game for you.

Mark Miller, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Chick-fil-A, believes that leadership is not something that’s exclusive; within the grasp of an elite few, but beyond the reach of everyone else.  In the tenth anniversary edition of The Secret, Miller reminds readers of a seemingly contradictory concept: to lead is to serve. With more than 600,000 books in print, Mark has been surprised by the response and delighted to serve leaders through his writing.

The 10th anniversary edition of The Secret will be released September 2, 2014. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Almost Perfect

We have just returned from our annual family vacation to the beach and have unpacked and started to think about jumping back into the flow of things tomorrow. We took a different approach this year and spent the entire week together as a family while fasting from technology. As much as we enjoy seeing our friends we chose to hang out together instead. We simply wanted to focus on the five of us as we start to see that time together dwindling as our kids get older.

While nothing is ever completely perfect, this week away with my four lovely ladies was about as close as it can get. It was a wonderful blend of fun activities, good food, laughter, sunrises, sunsets, salt air, and reading as many fiction books as possible. I am grateful for the vacation time, good friends who watch our dogs, and the continued blessing of generous friends who allow us to use their condo each year. This is an important week of refreshing for me, but it is even more important in the life of our family to have this time together.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Self Check-Up

Be the change you want to see.

This is usually used when we talk about making an impact in the world by identifying an issue and then being part of the solution. I think it also applies to us on a personal level. Instead of complaining about other people and how we don't like the way they are acting, perhaps we should take a closer look at ourselves to see what needs to be changed first. I've discovered that the very qualities we find most annoying in other people are usually a reflection of an issue that we struggle with ourselves. If we spent more time working on shaping our own character we would find that other people are not the true source of our discomfort.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Trivial Trivia

Jayson Stark is a baseball writer and reporter for ESPN and appears on the Mike & Mike show each week with a tough trivia question. I think he takes great delight when they get it wrong and always asks great questions that have me thinking too. He asked one this week that I pondered for a few minutes and then spoke my answer out loud. When I checked back later that day I saw that I was correct. Needless to say, I was pretty pumped that I had figured it out. I'm not sure how impressive it actually is, but it certainly revealed the trivial knowledge I have in my head.

The truth is that I get a lot of trivial things right. The question I really need to ask is if I am prayerfully focused enough on God's message to get the big things correct too. Otherwise it really isn't going to make too much of a difference in how I live.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Statute of Limitations

Telling someone to "get over it" doesn't sound like the most kind or helpful advice. Obviously it can sound dismissive in tone and make someone think that you simply don't care about the way that they feel. There is great truth in the principle behind it however. I've learned that sometimes it's healthier to use that philosophy instead of holding on to our emotional wounds.

When we refuse to let things go, we will permanently damage relationships as we become collectors of pain instead of being distributors of mercy. We even do this with small things as they pile up and become collectively more poisonous than they are individually. As harsh as it may sound, we need to learn to let some things go before they destroy our relationships and erode our emotional and spiritual health.

Decide to exercise a statute of limitations and let some things expire that need to die out for the sake of our own survival.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Personal Return

What's in it for me? 

No matter what we are offering to people they want to know the answer to this question. If we expect people to make an investment in a relationship, to be part of a church, or to purchase something from a local business, they want to make sure it brings some level of personal reward. If we believe there is personally redeemable value in the next step we are more willing to take it. If we don't see how it brings us benefit we will walk away or refuse to engage.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Just because you see the problem doesn’t mean you understand the problem. Carey Nieuwohf

We see poverty, but we don't understand the poverty mindset. We see disconnected families, but don't understand how they arrived here or how to help restore them. We recognize wandering souls, but are clueless on how to help them find their way. We can be part of a community in disunity and yet be clueless about the years of mistrust that brought us here.

Pointing out a problem is not the same as grasping the root cause of it. If we can gain understanding we can begin to find a solution. A drowning person doesn't need us to point out their lack of swimming ability. They need us to throw them a lifeline.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Personal Tension

I feel safe in saying that each of us will reach a point of frustration with our current circumstances and wonder what the next steps should be. Too often we respond by radically changing our external structure: ending relationships, having difficult conversations, and changing areas of discipline. While these might be needed at some point in this process, it's best to look internally as the first step in transformation. Check yourself spiritually and increase your intimacy with God before making widespread personal changes.

The tension you are feeling might be more closely aligned with your individual relationship with God than with other people and processes.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

All For One All the Time

It's admirable how people rise up to help others in times of need. We rally around disasters and tragedies and come together by setting aside personal issues and agendas. Prejudicial lines are erased as we share resources and energy while working for a common goal of restoration. Far too often however, that unity quickly dissipates once the immediate emergency is over and we retreat back to our personal zones of isolated safety. I believe that the emotional investment was real, but the cause that we rallied around was short lived so we move on.

Are we going to be unified only around circumstances or around a vision? An expressed vision for unity moves beyond a present situation and helps us align ourselves consistently. It doesn't negate the togetherness in times of need, but will heighten it as a reflection of our continual synergy.

Unity focused on a vision will endure when our current situation will change in a day or two.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Drop a pebble in the water; just a splash and it’s gone; 
But there’s half a hundred ripples circling on and on and on, 
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea. 
And there’s no way of telling where the end is going to be. 
--James W. Foley 

Whether we choose to admit it or not, our lives will have an impact on people around us. That impact will be more directly felt by our immediate family, closest friends, and colleagues, but is more widespread than we might believe. An act of kindness, a well-timed phrase, and a note of encouragement can provide long-lasting and far reaching positive influence. A sarcastic reply, a rude gesture, and a selfish attitude can be just as impactful, but far more negatively. It may seem like a throw-away moment to us, but it can create a ripple effect of impact for others. I don't think it means that we have to live like we are walking on egg shells, but we should at least consider the impact of the way we choose to treat others.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Replicate It

Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character. Coach John Wooden

For those that don't know who John Wooden was, he was the coach at UCLA and won 10 national
championships in a 12 year period. This is an unparalleled run of success that reveals the power of positive coaching, effective recruiting, and teamwork.

Coach Wooden's quote isn't just about winning championships though. I think it is also about our ability to replicate positive actions and successful endeavors. Many people have talent that can create a win one time, but it takes a different level of character to create sustained positive momentum. It reflects our ability to work hard, be strong in the face of adversity, and work positively with the team around us.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Expiration Dates

We had to dump out a full gallon of milk the other day since it was no longer good. That's never usually an issue at our house as we tend to go through milk fairly quickly, but the expiration date was obviously not accurate. It was a brand new gallon that had an expiry date of August 26th, but it was clearly spoiled. I hated to waste the money (and good milk), but it serves as a reminder that everything comes to an end at some point.

That had me thinking about expiration dates in other areas of our lives too. We obviously all have a life expiration date although it is not necessarily known by us. There are other more short-term areas too: employment venues, some relationships, careers, opportunities, and tough (and good) seasons. While we tend to think of this in only in a negative fashion it might help us to realize the end of something isn't always a detriment to our health. We can learn from how things come to a conclusion and hopefully improve our next season. We can begin to anticipate when those moments will take place and prepare to handle them in a more balanced fashion.

There is no way to completely halt these times, but we can decide to be prepared so that we are not caught unawares and left with a sour taste in our mouths.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Slow Recovery

I remember being ghastly ill once when I was in high school. I had a severe cold/flu that knocked me out of commission for a couple of days. It was all of the usual nasty stuff: congestion, fever, aches, dizziness, etc. I woke up feeling better one morning and decided that I should probably go back to school. I remember walking down the hall of our house and turning to go into the kitchen and suddenly realizing that I was falling to the ground. I knew that I was falling, but there was nothing that I could do about it. I distinctly remember slamming into the wall and knocking our cat's food and water bowl across the room as I laid there. I really had thought that I was feeling better, but apparently my equilibrium was still off.

Have you ever felt like that after a big, tough event in your life? You believe you're feeling better and might be starting to recover then suddenly lose your balance and find yourself falling over. It happens to us spiritually, emotionally, and mentally after we've dealt with loss and sudden changes in life situations. Falling down reminds us that healing is a work in progress and that sometimes the pace is slower than we would like it to be. When we hit the ground it's wise to take a moment before we gently get back up. We may not be healing at the rate we thought we were so we might need to take it a bit more slowly and give ourselves the time we need to recover. It's wiser to ease our way back into things instead of repeatedly crashing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Finish Line

At my age I hope that I am far from the finish line of life. As I get older however, I still find myself thinking about that time and the legacy that I will leave. My focus is obviously spread over several areas in my life: Christ-follower, marriage, family, ministry, friendship, and leader. While my specific objectives will be different in each one of these, it is safe to say that I want to be able to finish well in all of them. 

I don't know exactly where my finish line is, but I can focus on finishing well along the journey. If I am committed to this principle through each day, week, month, year, and season of life, then the exact timing of the end is less relevant. Finishing well becomes my philosophy in each important piece of who I am. A lifelong commitment to excellence that is lived out daily will lead to the legacy I hope to leave.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Not So Good

I am an avid New York Mets fan. People often ask me how I could possibly follow the Mets since I grew up in Daytona Beach and have no family connections to New York. It's actually a result of us getting the old TV station that played the Mets games out of New York on our television. I started watching in the mid-80's when they were bringing up some great young talent and I haven't abandoned them since. Sadly, there have been many more disappointing seasons than successful ones, but I still follow my team. I have some collectibles in my office and the only sports gear that I wear are Mets hats and t-shirts. Through all the years of poor draft choices, terrible free agent signings, and bad management, I have maintained my allegiance.

I don't know what this says about me as a person, but I think it speaks to my desire to be loyal. I actually believe that we all want to experience loyalty. We want to know that people will stick by us even when we aren't at our best. We want to know that if we are willing to endure rough patches they will do the same in return. It's an affirming principle that strengthens our relationships and reminds us that things get better when we stick together. My loyalty hasn't resulted in better play from my favorite baseball team, but it has helped me in the rest of my relationships.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Changing Gears

When I was a kid I rode my bike everywhere-school, the beach, the library, my friend's house-basically anywhere I needed to go. As long as I had the energy, my local destinations were almost unlimited. My ten-speed bike wasn't fancy, but it fit my needs. While riding I very rarely changed gears, but just relied on my legs to power me down the road. I suppose that I could have made it easier on myself now and then if I switched gears, but I was usually just focused on the ride and not so much on changing speeds.

Life doesn't operate at one speed either. Different seasons place different demands on energy, personal focus, creative thought, and community interaction. There are circumstances that call for an increased work load and investment in other people. If we learn to develop different gears of leadership we can make these times flow more smoothly. If we aren't able to do this we find ourselves expending tremendous amounts of energy to find success when there are more efficient ways to get things done. It's the principle of adjusting to the pace of life and being able change gears when necessary. Otherwise we'll exhaust ourselves trying to keep up.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Community Minded

If you want to have an impact on your community you need to be part of it. You need to get out and walk through crowds and spend time where the people are. Find a place to volunteer and give up a chunk of time to make a difference. Invest your resources in organizations that are working to reach people and provide opportunities for growth. Coach little league sports, read in nursing homes, help hand out food, mow a lawn for an elderly neighbor, and buy someone a cup of coffee. 

It doesn't always take a lot to make a substantial difference, but it starts by deciding to have an active presence in your community.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Looking Ahead

I meditate often on a quote from Andy Stanley where he asks a focusing question. "Will you be where you want to be five years from now by doing what you're doing today?" It's a daily reminder that is written on one of my whiteboards. When I read it it serves as a reminder of the importance of what I am doing today and how it is building part of my future.

It might seem obvious to most people, but that question is really only effective if you have some idea of the kind of person you want to be in five years. If you don't have any objectives or even a directional goal, then it really doesn't matter what you are doing today. If we want to be forward thinking, holistically healthy people then we need to develop some concept of where we are headed and then work each day to get there. Our positive daily habits will fuel our future success.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Big Voice

I've always had a big voice. In fact, my voice changed early in life which took some of my teachers by surprise. To be honest, it took me a while to figure out how to use my voice properly. I knew that I had some power, but it took an 8th grade English teacher to help me develop it. She taught me how to use modulation and inflection to make a difference at the right time. I've had to work since then to learn the best method and time to use it.

Not everyone has a loud, deep voice, but all of our voices are important as long as we discover the right time and situation to raise it. If you are always speaking loudly, people will eventually tune you out. If you never speak up, you will miss an opportunity for influence and a chance to be a catalyst for change. 

Can we figure out the best method, time, and place to use our voice? I think it's absolutely essential if we want to have an impact that lasts.      

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You're Not Alone

I was truly saddened by the news of the passing of Robin Williams yesterday. I recognize that his suicide has drawn more attention because he is a celebrity, but it also brings to light to an area of darkness that we are far too silent about. His tragic choice has temporarily raised awareness of the dangers of depression and the consequences of isolation and mental illness. Sadly, unless you have been in that dark place of contemplation or have directly been affected by suicide, this awareness will fade.

If I had the chance to talk with anyone who is struggling with thoughts of self-harm I would simply say this: don't be quiet about your pain and don't believe the lie that no one cares. I know that it seems too much to handle alone and you're right. Know that there are people who care deeply for you and want to help.

For everyone else I would say: Don't ignore people around you who are quiet and seem troubled. Make the effort to stand with them and let them know that the darkness isn't the final answer. Take the time to listen to people's stories. Listen beyond their words and have the courage to help. We might feel that we aren't qualified to help, but sometimes we just need to let people know that they aren't alone and that we care enough to listen.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Calm Yourself

Anytime an athlete I was working with was injured and panicking, my first priority was to get them to calm down so I could assess the situation. I would ask them to close their eyes, breathe in slowly through their nose, and then breathe out their mouth. This simple act of regulated respiration would help them to focus and find peace in the middle of their pain.

This meditative exercise is helpful even when the stress we are feeling isn't physical. Our circumstances can threaten to overwhelm us and we might feel that things are spiralling out of control. It's in these moments that we need a reminder to slow down our breathing and find a place of peace. A worship song by Matt Redman poetically describes how God wants to help us in these times. The lyrics simply say, "I'm breathing in Your grace and breathing out Your praise." That is exactly the reminder we all need when we feel harassed and helpless.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Don't Hesitate

Difficult decisions don't become easier to make when we keep putting them off. Practicing avoidance won't do anything but allow the dilemma to become over-inflated and much more complicated.

If there is a conflict that needs to be resolved or an issue that should be addressed, it should be done without procrastinating. When we refuse to handle a problem it will only continue to build up until the solution is more drastic than it should have been in the first place. I don't say this from a position of superiority, but from poor personal experience.

As a wise friend and pastor is fond of saying, "You can't aim a duck to death." Recognize what needs to be dealt with, prayerfully consider the the right response, and then take action. It might be difficult, but it will be more beneficial for our relationships and personal maturity in the long run.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


What do we do when we feel that people have done something to hurt us? Do we take these perceived injustices and hold onto them or do we forgive people and let them go? We can choose to count up each slight and keep a running tally of the wrongs of others or we can choose the path of forgiveness and wipe the slate clean.

The combined weight of those slights (both real and perceived) is too heavy a burden for us to carry. If we let them accumulate, we will cause incredible damage when we unleash it on those close to us. It's far healthier in the long run to practice forgiveness and erase our record of wrongs than to wield unforgiveness as a weapon.

God offers a fresh start to us each day. Can we do no less with others?

Friday, August 8, 2014

It Matters

Everything we do matters even if we sometimes feel that isn't true. It might feel like a mundane task isn't making a substantial difference or that our daily routine isn't having an impact. The truth is that even our smallest conversations or seemingly minimal objectives are part of the larger scope of our environment. The key for us is to make sure that we are doing what matters most

Can we recognize what needs our attention in this moment? Are we able to accurately assess where our focus should be and then take action for that specific need? This might lead to a change in daily schedule, unplanned quality time with family, an increased focus on community, conversations with a good friends, or a shift in day-to-day responsibilities. Some changes might last for a season of needed focus while others may be an immediate need on that day. 

The key to our effectiveness is in recognizing that need and then quickly taking action. When we start doing what matters most we will find greater personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, 
for which we are accountable.

What will be the defining mark of our generation? The mistakes that we have made through our efforts or the people that have been neglected because we have failed to take action? We will answer for both, but hopefully our mistakes will teach us how to be more effective. The other alternative condemns those around us because we were afraid to try something to save them. It's okay to try something and fail as long as we are making an effort.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

One Vision

We were on another school campus this morning with
breakfast for their teachers. I was able to hear
conversations about the orientation the night before, preparations for students arriving on Friday, technology issues, and certification for coaching. No one was bothered by what needed to be done, but were focused and anticipatory about the upcoming year. There was a palpably strong bond in the staff as they look forward to the challenges and successes of the upcoming school year. Their passionate enthusiasm centered around the bond of unity. They will excel this year as they strive forward together with the same vision as their aim.

The strength of any team is found in their unity toward a common goal. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It Costs

We took our new puppy to the vet today for a checkup and yearly shots as part of his ongoing care. I knew we would spend some money on the visit, but was not expecting the final tally of $200. My wife texted me to give the warning on the final bill before I got home. Even though it was more than I was expecting to spend today we both came to the same conclusion: our Moses is worth it.

The things that matter most to us will come with a price tag: money, energy, humility, patience, sweat, tears, and sometimes even blood. The cost might seem steep at first, but when it brings something of great value we are good with the trade-off.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Make It Better

I think that people have always complained about things and I have certainly contributed to the stream of grievances. It might seem like the level of ranting has increased, but I really believe it's a reflection of the increased exposure we have to each other's opinions. The truth is that there has always been circumstances that are less than satisfactory and have caused unrest. Instead of adding to the criticism however, imagine what would happen if we resolved to do something about it.

If we are uncomfortable with the emotional health of our family, the state of our community, the lack of positive role models, divisive attitudes in churches, and other unhealthy practices, why don't we do something about it? If we are unwilling to make an effort to create positive change then we are forfeiting the right for our opinion to be considered valid. Criticism that is not accompanied by compassionate action simply adds to the noise of a divisive community.

It's acceptable to see something that isn't right and to say something about it, but let's make sure we're ready to do what's necessary to improve it.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Legacy of Faith

We continued in our series, The Story, here at Northridge this morning as we looked at the story of
Abraham. He's an interesting man of faith who obviously trusted God with his future and even with the life of his son. There is a passage in Genesis 22 where God tells Abraham to go to a nearby mountain and offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Abraham is obedient and gathers the necessary material and heads off with his teenage son. The drama builds to the moment where Abraham has tied his son Isaac to the altar and has a knife in his hand when God stops him and offers another sacrifice. It's a great picture of God providing a perfect solution for us and the reward found in our trust in God.

While we often tout Abraham's obedient faithfulness, I wondered what Isaac was thinking during all of this. The passage tells us that Isaac did ask his father a question about what was happening, but it still ended up with him tied up on the altar and his father prepared to offer him in sacrifice to God. The only thing that comes to mind is that Abraham had modeled a deep trust of God for his son and that is what brought him peace of mind during all of this. The legacy of faith that Abraham had built for his son was enough to trust that God was up to something bigger than they could currently see.

I have no desire to be tested at this level, but I do pray that I am building a legacy of faith for my daughters. I hope that they see that I am flawed, imperfect, and sometimes doubting, but that I trust God above all else. If I teach them nothing else through my life but that they can and should trust God, then I can be assured that they are on the right path for their own lives. I certainly don't have all the answers they are looking for. I just pray that they will see that a life of faith in God will not disappoint.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

On Mission

I believe that we always need to be missionally minded. This means that we are constantly aware of the influence we want to have on our community and are continually looking for opportunities to further that mission. If we interact with the people around us with that mindset we will see our mission have the impact on our community that we desire.

I had two poignant reminders of that this week. We were serving breakfast to teachers at a local high school and had two dozen biscuits left over. One of our staff took a bag to the local police department to let them know how much we appreciated them. As the rest of us left the school, a prison detail showed up to mow the grass. We checked with their supervisor and were able to give them each breakfast and have a word of prayer with them before leaving. It was a powerful moment for us and I hope that these prisoners were blessed as well.

I was also out picking up some fresh catfish at my favorite local fish market this week. As I was talking with the owner she introduced me to a customer who is heavily involved in a neighborhood revitalization effort. Our church has actually partnered with her before and we were able to share a vision for a new project she is beginning. Before I left we had agreed to work together on another community project that will involve some of our men investing in the young men in this area.

When we realize that being on mission isn't a burden, but a privilege of community-minded Christ-followers it changes our perspective. We can then eagerly anticipate the new opportunities we will find to make a substantial difference simply by looking for those moments in day-to-day life.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Avoid the Negative

I wrote yesterday about a quote by Kevin G. Harney ("Small shifts in our thinking can redefine the way the way we live.") and how that can be a step of positive growth. After I finished writing, I realized how that can also negatively impact us if our thoughts shift in a darker direction. 

If we allow our thinking to start down a negative pathway it will create a harmful change in our self-perception, invent a rift between people close to us, and limit our ability to grow. This is a potential hazard for all of us and we have to develop the awareness to keep us from this slippery slope of destructive meditation. Over time (and through experience) we learn to set up mental alarms that awaken us to the negative drift. We can also humble ourselves enough to give key people the freedom to speak into our lives to help redirect. Developing these protective measures will ensure that our shifts in thinking are more positively influenced instead of the alternative.