3 Things Candy Crush Taught Me About Life.

candycrush

It consumes you.

For those of you with the app ominously hanging on your phone screen, Candy Crush has been the cause of your procrastination and the lord of your unaccounted time among other things.

Nevertheless, this game was my constant companion during my recent flight to California. The colorful combinations of candies coupled with the soothing snore of my neighbor, drifted me into a mode of reflection from whence cometh these thoughts.

What did Candy Crush teach me about life? Here are three lessons:

1) Do not underestimate the power of choice.

The objective of the game is to advance each level by revealing the allotted number of hidden objects present in each “candy-scape.” This is done by aligning similar candies alongside each other using single uni-directional strokes (left, right, top, bottom). In a way much similar to Tetris, each stroke has the power to break three candy formations or more depending on resulting alignments. I have a limited number of choices I can make in the game and one stroke can be the difference between a win or a loss.

Every stroke is a choice. I can choose what to move and where to move it. And just like in life, each choice I make – whether for the good or for the bad – has its consequences. Every choice I make in this life can either move me closer to a win or take me farther from it.

The greatest power in the universe is the power of choice. Even God doesn’t mess with it. 

It is so powerful that it even affects the lives of those outside my circle of influence. The game helpfully illustrates this as each stroke could blast candies that are even beyond a three-candy radius resulting in a sweet win or a not-so-sweet loss.

Make your choices carefully. For your choices will make you.

2) The toughest vices are usually the tastiest.

Desserts are the worst.

They are annoying impediments in the map which prevent candies from breaking. More often than not, a certain number of these desserts need to be broken to advance to the next map. The game starts you off with just innocent, scrumptious cupcakes. But as the levels advance in difficulty, the deserts get tastier, and harder to break.

The toughest desserts to break are the tastiest.

Coincidentally, sometimes the things we struggle with most in life are those that are the most appealing to our senses. We tend to struggle with them precisely because they are appealing – grabbing our attention and energies while distracting us from the best possible existence. Someone once mentioned that the things that keep us from living to our fullest potential are not the bad things, but the good things that are not good enough. While desserts are good, they are simply not good enough. The more they capture our senses, the harder it is to part with them.

What are your “desserts?” What are those things that keep you from achieving the best?

3) Success comes rarely to the swift, but surely to the steady.

Candies can be destroyed in more than one way. One way is to align triads of similar candies and break them repeatedly. Another is to resist the temptation of breaking a triad, waiting to align four or more candies to create candy bombs. When strategically partnered with certain candies with a single stroke, these candy bombs can rival the impact of Nagasaki, sending thousands of candies to their sugary graves.  Success is ensured by waiting to create the right explosive.

I wonder how many times I’ve sacrificed long term success to bask in short-term wins.

Impatience, I’ve learned, can be a deadly friend in the pursuit of lasting success. Consistency and grit, on the other hand, can be excellent ones.

What if true success is less about how quickly you reach a milestone and more about how steadily you go from one milestone to the next? This way, the pressure of reaching a larger milestone is relieved by the pleasure of achieving smaller ones, which may eventually lead you to the larger milestone in due time.

Just a few thoughts.

Now excuse me while I get to finishing this level.


 

photocredit: http://media.gamerevolution.com/

5 Life Lessons I Learnt From Being a Wedding Emcee.

Destination_weddingFebruary 22nd , 2015 was a big day.

My friends Russell and Chloe Lewis said “bye” to bachelorhood while Kevin Wilson almost said “bye” to his sanity.

It was my first stint as a wedding emcee.  And I was terrified.

But after some reflection (and repentance), I realized that not all was lost. It actually turned out to be a fun evening! At any rate, here are some life lessons I learnt from being a wedding emcee. Hopefully you can resonate with them as well.

1) It’s not always about you.
Probably the most important lesson of the experience. The day is about the newlyweds; not the emcee. I can’t recall the number of times where I thought that I was the main event of a team meeting, a ministry, or a classroom discussion. Heck, I still struggle with that!

It’s both terrifying and liberating to realize that it’s not always about you. Terrifying, because you are not in control. Liberating, because you don’t always have to be.

2) Know your role.
If I had not done some research beforehand, I would have gone to the reception dinner thinking that the emcee’s primarily role was to hype the crowd up. Although that was a small part of the role, it certainly was not the heart of it. The main role of an emcee – I found out – is to effectively lead the wedding participants through the program. As the “Master of the Ceremonies” I had to know the schedule in and out to do this. Not rehearse jokes.

What is your role in your area of influence? Is it entertain or explain? Speak up or shut up? Knowing your role alleviates personal pain and defuses public angst.

3) Simple is best.
An inevitable result of knowing the schedule is the simplicity in which it is communicated. I found this out the hard way when I was unsure about certain details of the programming towards the close of the day. As a result, I felt like I was overcomplicating simple directions. When I was aware and prepared, however, I realized that my communication became simpler.

Albert Einstein once quipped, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you haven’t understood it yourself.”

People like simple. Understand it well to make it simple.

4) Be yourself.
The first thing I said to the audience was a joke. It sounded good in my head, but when it came out of my mouth, I could literally hear groans of dejection echoing across the hallway. No one laughed. It was terrible.
Fortunately, I said this only to the first group of guests who had been waiting to get into the reception hall so the damage to my pride was minimal.

Even though it sounded funny to me, it certainly wasn’t something Kevin Wilson would have said. So I gathered myself from the floor, reintroduced myself to all the guests, and decided to be myself.

I was listening to a podcast and this guy defined authenticity as giving up who you think should be for who you really are.

Floored me. Hope you resonate with that as much as I do.

5) Affirm yourself.
I don’t about you but it’s easy for me to focus on the negatives and get bogged down by the things that did not go well. But since last week I’ve been trying this new thing of verbally affirming myself. On my way home from the reception, I congratulated myself for a job well done and it felt great.

Kevin Wilson needs to hear Kevin Wilson say good things to him more often. I realized that one affirmation from Kevin Wilson in front of the mirror packed more punch than a dozen from others.

As a result of affirming and appreciating who I am irrespective of others’ opinions about me, I have found it increasingly easy to affirm and appreciate others irrespective of my opinions about them!

Those are some of the takeaways from the experience. Which lesson did you resonate with? Leave a comment below!

What I Learnt When I was Fired From a Summer Camp ( and why I’ll be taking a break from writing )

Last year, I worked as a camp counselor at Pine Springs Ranch Christian Camp (PSR). My experience at the camp was cut short due to a forest fire which significantly affected the camp. Due to considerable damage to the sewage plant and other facilities, the camp was cancelled for the summer.

So I was fired. quite literally.

But during my few weeks there, I jotted down the following “lessons” for the sake of my own memory.

1) There’s nothing more important than calling kids to Jesus Christ.

2) There are very few things that are more valuable than a Christ-like character.

3) Humility opens doors to many good things.

4) People are always watching you. Especially when you think they are not. 

5) You are capable of giving your personal best at all times. Your best will be inevitably different from someone else’s.

6) Take care of your character; your reputation will take care of itself.

7) “There is no limit to where a man can go if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” : President Reagan.

8) “Seek first the kingdom of GOD and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” : Jesus

9) Be thankful for the things that you take for granted; like your own bathroom and the sphincter muscle (look it up).

10) There is so much power when young people are united in Christ.  

It’s been a year since the fire happened. But I’ll be heading up to the same camp tomorrow morning to start my service as camp chaplain for the summer. 🙂

This will be a new experience. I don’t know what to expect.

But I’m going to record as much as I can. Soak in as much as I can. And be inspired as much as I can.

So I will be taking a break from writing till August. I pray that God will use me in any way He sees fit during the next few weeks.

Adios!

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus – Philippians 1:6