Use What You Already Have

My sophomore year of high school, I traveled to Mexico City for a week on a mission trip. We were there to help out with a church, and while there, we met up with a youth group about the same age as us.

This was my first real exposure to international culture, and it was almost shocking how humble some of it was. While our churches have vaulted ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows that we can see from our padded pews, one of the churches we helped at had a homemade cross, a folding table at the front with an old tablecloth on it for an altar, and a clearly homemade cross at the front. The “pews” were rows of old used folding chairs, including the pastor's seat at the front. The whole thing was located in an old office building with broken tiles and dirty walls.

After a wonderful homemade meal welcoming us, the group wanted to go play volleyball. At this point, the best Spanish I could really work with in this group was, “Lo siento, tengo solo un ano de clase de espanol.” (“I'm sorry, I have only one class of Spanish.”) So I never really knew what was going on for a full week.

We started walking with the group carrying a volleyball, and I expected to come across some school gym or something, where we'd play on a volleyball court with a net.

Instead, we found our way to a grassy area with a few trees. I saw these high school kids walk from tree to tree, pointing and talking to each other. They seemed to be happy with two trees that they found, and then they proceeded to begin taking off their coats. Some of the guys took off their shirts as well. They lined up and began tying all the sleeves together.

Then they hoisted one end of the shirt/jacket train to one tree and tied it as high as they could reach. They did the same on the other end, and before long, we had a “net” for volleyball hung between two trees made out of their clothes.

We played volleyball and we had a lot of fun. We didn't need an expensive net. We had each other and we had a volleyball. That was enough for a great afternoon of volleyball.

You're using excuses.

I'd be a total hypocrite if I spent an entire blog post railing about how awful marketing is to the average American. However, it is true to an extent – even though I'm a copywriter, I have a hard time seeing what happens when the general public falls victim to a stupid marketing campaign that makes them think they “need” a certain gadget, app, or product to become something or achieve something.

It may be true if you want to take it to the next level, but in most cases, we're not ready for the next level. We're not ready to make serious money. We're not ready to lose serious weight. We're not ready to be a professional.

We just need to get started. We need to build the habits first. We need to prove to ourselves that we want it. Only then will doors start opening up for us.

We're also incredibly equipped already. Often, we look for the best equipment, but we already have everything we need.

  • Want to be a writer? You don't need the latest writing app or a better computer. Your computer has a word processor on it. At the very least, it has a notepad program. Even better, you have pens and paper. Maybe an old spiral bound notebook. Start writing.
  • Want to exercise more? You don't need fitness clothing or equipment or some stupid gadget. Go outside and start running. Do it barefoot if you don't have running shoes – it's better for you anyway. Start doing bodyweight exercises like pushups and situps and squats. Do yoga. Get some friends together and play a sport (like volleyball). Chip in a few bucks together and share a ball if you really need to, but I bet you all have something.
  • Want to be more educated? You don't need a class or expensive courses. Start Googling your topic. You'll find a wealth of information.
  • Want to save more money? You don't need a financial advisor. Start writing down all your expenses. Look for real, practical ways to reduce your expenses. Your bank has online banking where you can look over all your expenses. Here's a cool post on alternatives to spending money on stuff.
  • Want to nab a guy or girl? You don't need to spend money on looking better. Just dress decent, go out where people are gathering, and have a good time. Too broke to hit the bar? Just have water. Who cares? Be yourself, and be confident. Treat the other person well and engage in conversation. You'll find someone.
  • Want to start a business? You don't need an expensive business plan or equipment or whatever. Figure out the service you'd like to offer. Start providing it for people. You don't need an expensive marketing campaign – just start calling people who might need what you're offering.
  • Want to read more? You don't need a Kindle. You don't need to go to the bookstore and buy expensive books. Just go to the library. I don't care how “unhip” they are. It's free.
  • Want to have a better home life? You don't need a better home. A better home life starts from the relationships in the home. Spend more quality time with your family. Get a deck of cards and play something. Google some card games. Just spend time together.
  • Want to be happier? You don't need anything. You just need to do something. Do anything. Be productive. Be creative. Happiness doesn't come to you – you make it. And you won't make it sitting on the couch.

No matter what you want, you can get it. Heck, 95% of your power comes from the thing you're staring at right now. A computer can equip you to do more than you think. But you need to take the time to be creative and put a little effort into it.

Start tying your shirts together and make a volleyball net. It's not hard. And do it with a smile on your face because you can. You have the ability, and that's more of a blessing than you realize.

You have power. Go use it.