Get thee up into the high mountain.—Isaiah 40:9
Our knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing one of your favourite mountains. When you are at the base you see but little: the mountain itself appears to be but one-half as high as it really is. Confined in a little valley, you discover scarcely anything but the rippling brooks as they descend into the stream at the foot of the mountain. Climb the first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath your feet. Go higher, and you see the country for four or five miles round, and you are delighted with the widening prospect. Mount still, and the scene enlarges; till at last, when you are on the summit, and look east, west, north, and south, you see almost all England lying before you. Yonder is a forest in some distant county, perhaps two hundred miles away, and here the sea, and there a shining river and the smoking chimneys of a manufacturing town, or the masts of the ships in a busy port. All these things please and delight you, and you say, “I could not have imagined that so much could be seen at this elevation.” Now, the Christian life is of the same order. When we first believe in Christ we see but little of Him. The higher we climb the more we discover of His beauties. But who has ever gained the summit? Who has known all the heights and depths of the love of Christ which passes knowledge? Paul, when grown old, sitting grey-haired, shivering in a dungeon in Rome, could say with greater emphasis than we can, “I know whom I have believed,” for each experience had been like the climbing of a hill, each trial had been like ascending another summit, and his death seemed like gaining the top of the mountain, from which he could see the whole of the faithfulness and the love of Him to whom he had committed his soul. Get thee up, dear friend, into the high mountain.
“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” – Author George R.R. Martin
I read to keep my edge. I get especially excited about books rooted in psychology because they apply to anything. While the following three books are not technically business books, they have each both inspired me…
1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
“World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea — the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success — but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.” –Amazon.com.
Do you truly believe that the future is what you make it and that success is linear, rising and falling with your efforts? If so, you have what Carol Dweck calls a growth mindset. This productive way of thinking says, “What I am currently doing equals what I am currently getting. If I improve what I do, then I will improve what I get.”
A fixed mindset, on the other hand, says that your efforts don’t matter, that success is just up to the gods who either shine down on you or don’t. When we operate in this mindset, even subtly, we lose the opportunity to pursue greater goals. In short, we become the victim, not the victor.
To strengthen your growth-mindedness, celebrate the process. Carol Dweck’s motivational book will help you remember that success is linked to mindset.
2. The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership
“Bill Walsh is a towering figure in the history of the NFL. His advanced leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst franchise in sports to a legendary dynasty.” –Amazon.com
This is my favorite leadership book, told by Bill Wash, one of the greatest coaches of all time. He believed that the greatest coaches are teachers, and he focused on what he called “teaching the gap.”
For example, if Joe Montana was doing something incorrectly, Walsh would say, “This is how you’re supposed to do it. Here’s how you did it. Do it again.” His simple, yet powerful, approach yielded great results. The same has been true when applied in the business world.
Walsh shares that we actually win more (in sports, life and business) by focusing less on the win and more on the process. He celebrated every well-executed play, whether or not that play resulted in a score or a win. It’s the same for us as business leaders. The more we focus on winning, the more stressful and less productive the environment becomes. Focusing less on the win and more on the execution of winning plays (the process) creates a stronger environment. This mindset shift leads to huge gains in the workplace.
3. The Talent Code: Unlocking the Power of Skill
“What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople — and everyone else — with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others.” –Amazon.com
This motivational book challenges your thinking and shows how skill is learned, not inherited. Although the author’s work is based on highly technical brain research, his book is straightforward and relatable, whether you’re a parent, an athlete, a business person or anyone in between. He identifies and explains three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts: practice, ignition (motivation), and master coaching.
Entrepreneurs’ lives are packed full of checklists and appointments, but these books, by the experts, are worth the time. Their words will both empower and inspire you as a business leader and as a leader in your family and your community. Our minds are too powerful to waste. Let’s take every opportunity to keep our edge.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap.
Without sap the tree cannot flourish or even exist. Vitality is essential to a Christian. There must be life-a vital principle infused into us by God the Holy Ghost, or we cannot be trees of the Lord. The mere name of being a Christian is but a dead thing, we must be filled with the spirit of divine life. This life is mysterious. We do not understand the circulation of the sap, by what force it rises, and by what power it descends again. So the life within us is a sacred mystery. Regeneration is wrought by the Holy Ghost entering into man and becoming man’s life; and this divine life in a believer afterwards feeds upon the flesh and blood of Christ and is thus sustained by divine food, but whence it cometh and whither it goeth who shall explain to us? What a secret thing the sap is! The roots go searching through the soil with their little spongioles, but we cannot see them suck out the various gases, or transmute the mineral into the vegetable; this work is done down in the dark. Our root is Christ Jesus, and our life is hid in Him; this is the secret of the Lord. The radix of the Christian life is as secret as the life itself. How permanently active is the sap in the cedar! In the Christian the divine life is always full of energy-not always in fruit-bearing, but in inward operations. The believer’s graces, are not every one of them in constant motion? but his life never ceases to palpitate within. He is not always working for God, but his heart is always living upon Him. As the sap manifests itself in producing the foliage and fruit of the tree, so with a truly healthy Christian, his grace is externally manifested in his walk and conversation. If you talk with him, he cannot help speaking about Jesus. If you notice his actions you will see that he has been with Jesus. He has so much sap within, that it must fill his conduct and conversation with life.