I asked a friend recently — one of the wisest people I know — what he’d learned since retiring. “The fundamentals matter!” he replied. “Just keep focusing on the basics. Everything else is application.”
“The key, though, is to figure out: what are the basics? The basics can absorb the pandemic, secularization, a lot of things. What are the 3-5 things that matter? We don’t need the latest trend or thing. What are your foundations?”
I shouldn’t have been surprised by his response. I quoted this same friend in my book How to Grow:
One of my friends is a former paramedic. When he began his training, the instructor told him that he would teach only three things: the basics of airway, breathing, and circulation, or the ABCs. “The physician told us he could teach a monkey how to be a paramedic in a week,” he says. Understandably, the students felt insulted. They’d just spent years studying to qualify for the program, and had paid thousands of dollars in tuition. Surely there’s more to being a paramedic, they argued.
The instructor agreed, sort of. There was more to learn—not more topics, but more about each of the ABCs. They would go deeper into the basics, but they’d never move beyond them. “All it takes is the basic skills,” my friend says. “But, he said, it would take years for us to learn how to apply them.”
This principle applies to every area of life, including our spiritual growth. The way to grow is to master the basics—a job that takes a lifetime. To grow spiritually, focus on … core habits. We never outgrow these habits, so keep coming back to them.
The best thing we can do is to figure out the basics and master them.
That’s why I want to invite you to the 8 Habits Challenge. It’s based off my book 8 Habits for Growth, but comes with a community so you don’t have to work through the material alone. (The book isn’t required, but it’s recommended to get the most out of the challenge.)
Each week of the eight weeks, you’ll practice one habit. I’ll provide video lessons and other resources. You’ll also have access to an online community for encouragement and support.
The goal is that you will build these 8 habits, not just for the 8 weeks of the challenge but for life. The last habit will help you customize them for your unique personality and circumstances so they’re sustainable for the long haul.
I’m excited about this challenge. We could all use some help in mastering the basics. We don’t need new trends or fads. We need to keep focusing on the few things that really matter and build them into our lives.
The goal isn’t really the habits. They’re a means to the ultimate goal. The goal is God. The habits are simply ways of repeatedly pursuing God with all of our lives, engaging in actions that draw us close to him.
Please consider joining us. Visit the 8 Habits Challenge page. Hope to see you inside the community.