Todd Bailey Ministries

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Living Life Smarter, Not Harder - Part 2

Todd Bailey

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In a previous article, I wrote about how we can live life smarter, not harder.  In that article, there were four practical steps to help us to achieve this lifestyle:  (1) Asking the Holy Spirit to get involved, (2) Asking for Godly wisdom, (3) Taking action and (4) Being thankful to God.

I would like to further expound upon this topic and offer some additional ways that I trust will help you to live life smarter, not harder.

(1) Have mentors in your life.

The word mentor in the dictionary actually means, "A wise and trusted counselor or teacher." Mentors can be of any age and profession.  Mentors can help you in many areas of life and may help you develop your talent or gift, make money, save time, improve relationships and so forth.  In my personal life, I have surrounded myself with mentors; individuals that I can trust and that have my best interest at heart.  Sometimes, they speak a word of correction or warning into my life, but they will always be apt to speak a word of encouragement or priceless advice when needed.  The lives of my mentors are examples and inspirations to me.

Most of my mentors are older than me. I am not sure why, but I tend to be drawn to older people.  I enjoy listening to their life experiences and situations that they have encountered throughout the years, and how they dealt with those situations and circumstances.  They, in turn, will tell me how I can do something similar to what they achieved in life in a quicker and more efficient matter. Some may say, "That's having an advantage and you’re taking a 'short cut' in life!"  That may be true, but I’d rather learn how to accomplish something or resolve a problem in five days, instead of it taking five weeks or five months.  I realize that individual experiences and personal advice isn't the best source of teaching, because I believe the Holy Spirit is.  However, the Lord can use individual life experiences and personal advice given to us by individuals to fulfill His will on this earth.  We must acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is our number one Mentor and main Advisor. The Bible also refers to Him as our Teacher, Guide, Standby, Intercessor and Counselor.

I have many mentors in my life, including my wife, her parents and grandmother, my mother, my brothers and sisters, my aunts and uncles, cousins, former teachers, fellow ministers, friends and so forth.  But as I said earlier, I really enjoy being around older individuals. I usually go over to their homes, call them on the phone or just take them out to lunch, ask a few questions and then listen.

Of all the individuals just mentioned, there are too many to share with you.  But I will tell you about four individuals that I have had the privilege to glean from as mentors.

One of my mentors has been in the ministry since May 7, 1937 and still pastors the church he pioneered on Sept. 21, 1958 .  This year he will turn ninety-two years old and still ministers every week!  He and his wife just recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.  I have known this particular minister since I was a young man, and he has always given me the time to talk with him.  I call him from time to time and ask how he and his wife are doing, ask him a question or two and then just let him talk.  Sometimes after our phone calls, I end up with a few pages of notes.  Someone may ask, "Why take notes?"  Simply because I want to remember dates, experiences, quotes, sayings, or something he may have spoken directly into me.  Besides, listening to people like him is often better than going to a bookstore to read a book about a person's life.  Why do that when I can talk to the "author" directly?

Another mentor to me is a lady that is close to eighty years old. I have come to know her in the past few years.  She was ministering at age twelve in front of audiences of 12,000 or more.  She was the Valedictorian of her class at age 15 in one of most noted bible schools in America at that time.  Between her grandmother, mother and herself, they have helped establish over 200 churches.  After talking to her on the phone, she always reminds me by saying, "Brother Todd, I want you to call me at least once a month and let me know what you are doing."  I am sure you have mentors like this too, so don't take for granted the people around you that have allowed you access to their counsel and insight. 

Thirdly, my mother has been a lifelong mentor to me and is still to this day.  She doesn't preach behind a pulpit, nor does she possess an expertise in a professional field, but she does have some valuable insight.  Even though I travel around the world, I purpose to call her 2 or 3 times a week just to ask her how her day was or what she has been doing that week.  And from time to time in our conservation, without her even knowing it, she will say something to me that I will be able to use for the rest of my life.  Folks, don't become too familiar or take for granted your family or parents, because many of them have "been there, done that" and have watched you live life from day one. Just take the time to ask them for counsel or advice and listen. They can certainly make living life smarter, not harder.

Fourth is a gentleman that I meet about 1993.  I was a manager of a food franchise and was doing some marketing in the area next to the University.  I decided to visit the person in charge at the school to see what we could work out to promote the University and our franchises.  When I showed up, the man that I wanted to see wasn't there, so I was referred to this gentleman who has become a good friend to this day.  The more I got to know him, the more I realized how he was an example of making the most out of what you have.  My friend was a College All-American in Football and went on to play nine seasons in the NFL.  He was recently voted into the Seattle Seahawks'  "All 30 Year Team."  This team is comprised of all the best players at each position for this team's 30 year history.   What I have learned from him is how his mother was a support to him, like my mother, and how his brothers were more talented in football than he was, but he was the only one to make it to the NFL.  He wasn't bragging about his success, but how he made a decision to learned from mentors and do what they said, day after day after day, until he reached his NFL dream.  Besides, being a success in the NFL, he has carried those principles he learned into his business and family life.  My friend has been an inspiration to me. 

Let me give you a few scriptures that I trust will be a blessing to you in the area of mentors.

Proverbs 11:14 (AMP) “Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Proverbs 15:22 (AMP) “Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished.”

Proverbs 15:22 (NASB) “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.”

Proverbs 19:20 (AMP) “Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.”

Proverbs 19:20 (NASB) “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.”

Proverbs 24:6 (AMP) “….and in an abundance of counselors there is victory and safety.”


Have you ever heard of the saying, "A stitch in time saves nine?"  Over the years of my life, I have found that taking care of the little things has helped me live life smarter, not harder.

I have engrafted these two sayings into my daily life. They are, "Don't put off tomorrow, what you have the opportunity or ability to do today." and "Do what you can, with what you have, where you’re at."   Little things not taken care of over time can become "bigger" things.  In other words, "Don't let the mole hill become a mountain."

I have heard people tell me, "Todd, don't sweat the small stuff." I agree, some things in life will actually take care of themselves over time, and you shouldn't be fretting over them, but some of the "small stuff"  needs to be dealt with sooner than later.

This is one area that I really struggled in, because sometimes it is easier to procrastinate than take care of something right away.  Speaking of procrastinate, here is the dictionary meaning of this word: "To put off doing something until a future time. To postpone or delay needlessly."

After years of procrastinating, I began to make a conscience decision to "Not needlessly put off tomorrow, what I have the opportunity or ability to do today."

First, I had to understand that procrastination is a subtle thing. It is like a small leak in a pipe that starts under the kitchen sink. It starts out with a drip and then another, and another, and another.  Eventually, small drops of water over an extended period of time can have devastating effects. Instead of tightening a pipe with one turn of a wrench, now you have to replace the kitchen cabinets under the sink, kitchen floor and if you have a basement -- the ceiling downstairs. The same applies to our spiritual life.  Even as a little fox can spoil the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15 ), so "little things" can spoil or cut off the fullness of the life that God intended for us to live smarter, not harder.  Therefore, don't get caught up in telling yourself,   "I can fix that tomorrow."  "It's not that bad yet, I can take care of it in a couple more days."  I have learned that listening to the Holy Spirit has been the major key in dealing with taking care of the little things in life.  Sometimes we just "blow things off" because we have too many "bigger fires" to put out.  Well, those "bigger fires" may have started as a result of a "little fire" that wasn't taken care of in time by not listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to deal with the situation.  He will prompt you when and how to deal with the little things that need attention and to not fret or "sweat over" those which are not pertinent at the moment.

Here are a couple scriptures that have motivated me in to take care of the little things.

Proverbs 10:4 (NASB) 
“But the hand of the diligent makes rich.”

Proverbs 10:5 (NASB)
He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely…”

Proverbs 21:5 (NASB)
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage…”

I must say, over the years, I have learned (and am still learning) how to take care of the little things. I don't have to have everything perfect in my life, but my life isn't hindered by these little things anymore.  Sure, my garage is a little cluttered and maybe I could organize our storage space in the basement a little neater, but I can still get to everything just fine and my wife has plenty of room to park her vehicle.

I have given you two more practical steps to live life smarter, not harder. They have been a blessing in my life and I pray they are a blessing to yours.  I encourage you seek out and utilize those mentors that are in your life.  And don’t forget to take care of the little things that need attention. Choose to have a life you enjoy living – doing it smarter, not harder.