Walking the Shoreline

The journey of someone just like you, on a journey just like you

Category: Leadership (page 2 of 5)

8 Pros and Cons of New Beginnings

It seems with another new year, everyone is ready to start again. But is that such a good thing? Here are 8 pros and cons of new beginnings.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve made it into the most reflective portion of the adult calendar. The advent of another new year. 2017 approaches.

Most of the feedback I’ve heard on 2016 has been that it was a pretty terrible for people. It’s certainly been marred with a lot of unfortunate passings, including the recent passing of Carrie Fisher. The Republicans won the Election, Pokemon Go came and went, and Harambe was and still is a thing. Continue reading

I’m Just A Man (2016 In Review)

There’s been so much to happen across this year…. but I’m just a man. Here’s a very open look at my 2016.

Walking the Tweed river/ocean shoreline

Walking the Tweed river/ocean shoreline

Continue reading

Why Are People So Immature?

This is definitely one of the biggest complaints that people have for the opposite sex, for coworkers, for so called friends and for those gone by. Why are people so immature?

Why Are People So Immature?

Source: Disney

I think it’s always interesting to consider how there are two sides to every story. If you know two people who are having a disagreement or a falling out, chances are, like me, you end up hearing the complaints on both sides of the fence. He says that he wishes she would just grow up and stop playing so many emotional games. She says that she wishes he would stop being so immature and starting taking responsibility like a man. He’s annoyed that he can’t demonstrate any sort of consistency in his behaviour. She’s annoyed that her friend seems to still act like she’s 5 years old.

You ever been there? Probably. That’s probably how you ended up here. The truth is, we’ve all been in this place before. Continue reading

My Problem With Christian Conferences

The massive venues, the steep price tag, the lights and the world class speakers… Here’s my problem with Christian conferences.

My Problem With Christian Conferences

Source: Bethel

It seems like every month there are more and more Christian conferences popping up. Usually launched by churches, but also sometimes by organisations and partnerships, the options nowadays are unreal. From any denomination and any country, there’s something out there for you. Pastors & Leaders Conference and MegaFest at The Potter’s House, Hope and Life Conference at Lakewood, The Gospel Coalition featuring faces such as John Piper, the various events Jesus Culture of Bethel Church puts on, just to name a few, with more and more every day. Some of the hallmarks of these conferences are as follows: Continue reading

My Struggle: A Logical Mind in an Emotional World

Driven by what seems to make sense, but in a world of feelings – here’s a look at one of my biggest internal struggles in life: Being a logical mind in an emotional world.

A logical mind in an emotional world

A shot from Sai Kung, Hong Kong. A bunch of people said this photo looked contemplative, but really it was me just trying to see a stingray that was in the water

For as long as I can remember, I have taken a very structured approach to life. From the earliest ages, my family assured me that I was born 40. Not like Benjamin Button style, but in terms of how I interact with the world. I enjoy good conversation, I like having my ducks in a row, I try to be organized when it comes to events or career, and I don’t usually enjoy unnecessary lead times or standing idle when there’s something that needs to be done. Not always the sort of approach you expect a young child to have, but even in those younger years and into this point of life even now, it’s the approach that others would regularly encounter me taking. One of my older female friends refers to me as “a bit of an old soul”.

To me, in a lot of ways, every issue has a root cause, every end has a beginning, and every decision can be traced back to the ones that came before it. “a + b = c”. I live in the analytical left and I’m probably one of the most logical types of people that my friends know.

So what’s my struggle? It isn’t with the logical aspect of life necessarily, but rather with how this sort of mind interacts with a world that isn’t always logical. Where other people are seemingly driven by factors beyond those that “make sense”. In short, my struggle is being a logical mind in an emotional world.

A track record of success

I think I’ve got to acknowledge firstly that there is a strong reason why I have maintained this approach to life over the years. And the reason is this:

It works.

No, it really does. And it’s rarely actually off the mark.

Let’s take my career for example. I work in IT. I’m a software consultant. Throughout my entire career, I have made a living out of successfully negotiating various logical paths in computer software to help produce some pretty fully featured things. Different services, websites and products, formed of an extended set of logic that drives every decision the application makes. I’ve now been a consultant in this world for a number of years, and have been involved in running and/or advising teams of people around creating and maintaining software, and all the decisions around it. Even outside of the software itself, many problems in the business world can be solved by following a logical train of thought. If a project is starting to blow its budget, then there’s a cause for it. There is some problem with either the way we estimated the project, with a team member’s direction or skill level or morale, or with part of the business process we are following. 100% of the time, following this thought process through produces a helpful and usually profitable result.

But beyond that, I have found that logical approaches also work with people. While not everyone always wants to be reminded or is aware of it at the time, there is usually a root issue behind whatever the surface issue is. For instance, I’ve seen people blow up at other people “out of the blue”. Is it because they suddenly had a lapse of judgment and lashed out for no reason? No. If you probe a bit further, you’ll find that there has been something happen to them earlier in their day, or even earlier in their life, that has come into conflict with whatever situation has been presented to them. When someone’s behaviour is entirely destructive, it’s usually because the heart of the person is frustrated or lost. When there is a negative feeling of loneliness or frustration, it’s usually because of someone’s continued thought patterns down a certain direction, or a continued pattern of isolation… which also has its reasons for being. Just ask any psychologist and they’ll let you know their main job is to guide people towards the right decisions, but also in helping them recognize their true triggers and sources of doubt or difficulty.

I find the truth is much more matter of fact than it is emotional.

My source of feelings

That’s not to say I don’t have feelings. I actually have massive feelings. I feel both good and bad experiences in a massive way. In fact, you wouldn’t even believe how big the feelings are I’ve had while writing this. I just find that my feelings follow my decisions. For instance, if I see an event happening at work, my logical mind will find the situation, examine all the reasons why the situation is good or bad, and based on my internal assessment, I will find myself gleeful in celebration, or quickly building anger or frustration and going to have “one of those” sorts of conversations.

In my relationships, even moreso. I think about a number of the people I’ve pursued in my life, and it has always started with a logical train of thought. I’ll see a person, spend quite a bit of time with them (intentionally), allow myself to see them for who they are in all their qualities and seasons and interactions, consider whether or not we enjoy each other’s company and are heading in a similar direction, and make a decision on suitability. I find once I’ve thought it through and made a decision either way, my feelings grow in that direction.

Not just romantically, but friends, family, work relationships, all the rest of it. It’s the same thing. Assess, process, feel. Usually in that order. I don’t usually allow my feelings to go first – to me, I believe any feelings that I have are already following whatever decisions I’m making, whether consciously or otherwise.

If it makes logical sense, if I’ve sought all the advice and spent a suitable amount of time processing whatever it is, my heart will follow soon thereafter.

The point of conflict

If you’re not this type of person, you’ve already seen a point of conflict with what you’ve read so far, and if you are this sort of person, you can relate. Either way, both types of people know where my struggle lies, and that is in interfacing with others who aren’t as structured or formatted as I am.

That’s not to say I don’t get along with people. Quite the contrary – I love people, and I strive for peace with all men and women. I know there are definitely people who don’t like me (I could even name some of them), but for the most part, my interactions with others are pretty pleasant. I’m a big believer in grace and forgiveness – in giving people chances to grow and become all they’re meant to be.

And yet in my own life I’ve had to balance all this with the inner frustration of running into decisions that you could deem “illogical”. The ones that don’t seem to make sense. When someone’s initial words or behaviour go one way, but then the follow up goes another. In a similar vein, people in these sorts of boats find me frustrating because I have set my formulaic approach that is not playing nicely with their approach where a + b might equal c, but it doesn’t mean c is the answer. In fact, I can think of several big conversations in different areas of my life that have literally started with another person (or a few people) saying, “It is logical, but…”

Factors beyond logic

But maybe it’s not that their behaviour is illogical – perhaps it is that there are factors beyond logic that are more important in their decision making process. Namely, feelings. Ironically, I understand this very well, as my personality type is actually feelings heavy. The conflict is that my personality type seems to be a contradiction of itself. But what do you do when logic says one thing, but your heart says something else?

And my logical mind would continue to go down this train of thought with a few different answers to that question. First of all, how can you understand a situation when you can’t even understand yourself? I think most of the worst decisions we all make in our lives are around a failure to understand or face what’s going on within our own hearts. I think back to times I’ve snapped at people or locked myself in a world of anxiety, and it’s been because I haven’t properly allowed a deep enough understanding of myself to develop. I haven’t been in touch with my own decision making process and led myself into a place of feeling trapped (even inducing panic attacks in one particular work situation). As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.

Another thought that comes to mind is that the heart is deceitful above all else. This is probably why I don’t usually follow mine unless I’ve done the due diligence of working it through. Or rather, as described above, I find my heart following the accepted train of thought in my mind. And there are so many examples of really terrible or nearsighted decisions being made by listening immediately to the feelings of the heart on their own. Relationships that shouldn’t have started because there were so many factors that would lead to a dead end… or relationships that should have started, but didn’t for lack of the actions that lead to intimacy and developed trust. Fights with friends over stupid small things that were actually triggered because of a bigger feeling in the heart. Walking away from truth because of an immediate sense that it doesn’t seem to be working out right now. And yet on the other side, the desires of our heart can be very directional in leading us into the path we should take.

The final thought is that we have to learn to live with the decisions of others, whether logical, illogical, or some combination in the middle. Whether it be that the path of logic leads us against each other, or our feelings are incompatible, we have to learn to negotiate life with others in the event we reach the point of conflict. At the crossroads of our disagreements, where will we go from here? Will we adhere to a common path, or decide to go our separate ways? Will we allow ourselves to be challenged, or will we accept our current train of thought or emotional state as the final word?

What’s the right answer? Yes. No. Maybe. All of the above.

And I’m sure you can relate. We all face this in our approach to life. Head or heart, logic or feelings, reason or intuition. I think faith lives in both. In some ways, faith is the most illogical choice you can make, but since it’s always the right one, it’s also the most logical choice to make.

I guess we are all on our journey, trying to find our path. Where do we go from here? The answer, my friend, is up to you and me.

Thanks for coming on this little introspective ride with me. I’ve done quite a few of these sorts of posts and people always tell me in person, comments or messages (yes I see them all!) that these sorts of posts resonate with them, so hopefully this one resonates with you too. How about you? Do you find yourself driven by logic? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum and in regular conflict with people like me? Would love to hear from you.

6 Reasons Our Dreams Haven’t Come True

Sometimes what you want the most seems so far away. Here are 6 reasons our dreams haven’t come true.

The sunset on my way home tonight

The sunset on my way home tonight

What is it that you want most in your life? Do you already have it? Or does it still seem far away? Continue reading

Matt Answers ANYTHING

You asked, I answered. From the Lego Hair on my head to why I talk about relationships so much, here are the honest answers to your questions. Here is where Matt answers anything.

Matt Answers Anything

So a while ago I put it out to my readers to ask me whatever they wanted. Last week, I had a number of people come up to me and ask, “Hey Matt, you haven’t answered my question yet”. Looking at it, it’s actually been months since I originally put the challenge out there, so… sorry it took so long.

This one is for you.

These questions come from readers all around the world. Those who know me in person, and those who don’t. Hopefully this is a chance for you to get to know me better, and just to have some fun. Any topic was up for grabs. Here we go!

Continue reading

8 Ways To Not Suck at Time Management

Procrastinating, always feeling flat out, never enough hours in the day, running behind… here are 8 ways to not suck at time management.

How To Not Suck At Time Management

Source: DPC

When I was in high school and early uni days, some of my friends were compiling a document simply entitled “How To Not Suck”. The intention was that it would be full of great adventures and interesting characters. I remember reading some parts of it and thinking, man, if they keep this going, they may eventually come up with something that would make some hilarious memoirs. Unfortunately, I believe the document no longer exists and has died a slow death.

Now whenever I hear talk about not sucking, I hear it in relation to time management. Continue reading

6 Reasons We Don’t Say What We Mean

Where words and reality are two different things – here are 6 reasons we don’t say what we mean.

Reasons We Don't Say What We Mean

Source: DPC

I dunno about you, but a word that has been really publicised lately has been the word regret. I was talking to some people the other day about the songs that are out the moment, and they were saying a couple of the biggest songs are Hello by Adele (which I wrote about recently) and Sorry by J Beibs. It’s interesting that both these songs are anthems of regret and reconciling the past. I recently saw a viral video done by APlus in which they put a blank chalkboard in the middle of New York, saying “Write your biggest regret”. Dozens of people wrote on it about different missed opportunities or things they wished had turned out different, all with a common theme of things not done, more than things that were. You can check that one out here. Continue reading

I Can’t Compete With Myself

I can’t compete with myself.

I Can't Compete With Myself

Me in Osakajo

For those who know me, I can be quite an introspective little soul. I constantly find myself looking at my current behaviour, situations, thoughts, dreams… pretty much everything really. I usually find myself asking for feedback and trying to understand myself and others better, almost to the point of annoying others about it. And so I thought it was time for another one of those types of posts, where we just go right into it. I always like to share my heart, so here it is. Continue reading

6 Things I’m Grateful For In 2015

It’s been a year of highs and lows. With the arrival of 2016, here are 6 things I’m grateful for in 2015.

Wow. 2016 is here. That means the 20s are almost back (also known as the Twenty Twenties). You know, a lot of people at this time of year comment on how quickly the year has gone by. For me, it definitely feels like a year has gone by. Can you believe all the stuff that happened in 2015? Continue reading

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