Do This and People Will Listen

Do This and People Will Listen

I visited about twenty countries, learned to cook, made my first failed attempt at climbing Kilimanjaro, read over one hundred books, backpacked Australia and New Zealand and graduated college before I got my first camera or journal. There weren’t camera phones back then, so I have literally no photos of many of my greatest adventures. I have no written documentation of any of those adventures either.

Lately, I’ve begun to wonder if I actually did those things. If you do something cool and don’t blog or Instagram it, did it really happen?

I meet lots of young people who want to write books or blogs or speak. They have a cool website, the perfect filter on their Instagram, and somehow manage to tweet every waking moment of their life. Some even have good things to say but are frustrated because no one wants to listen to them. I usually direct them to one of my favorite quotes by Henry David Thoreau:

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

Here’s my advice. If you want to write a book, blog or speak – get out there and live. Travel, take risks, fail, do hard things. Do that for a while and you’ll have something to write about. An added benefit is that people will want to listen to you. You will have lived a life that makes people want to pay attention.

And that’s where you get to turn your platform into letting people know that it’s not about you. Once you’ve stepped out and lived a little you’ll see it’s about God’s grace taking you places you never thought possible. All you had to do was get brave and start living.

They say a man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with a theory. Sure, there are blogs that pop up overnight and keep our attention for a while. You can write idealistic, angry stuff and you might get a following with no experience. But that rarely inspires and it rarely directs people to Jesus. Unless that writer gets some experience their influence usually goes away. But you can write with authority once you’ve lived and experienced life. And you’ll inspire people.

Those are the people we like to listen to. We listen long-term to people who have lived and their story inspires us.

Get out there and live. Spend $1000 on a trip to Guatemala instead of the newest iPhone or DSLR. Save the memories in your brain. Make the experience just your own for now. Then in a few years, once you’ve lived a little, you can start sharing the stories of what you’ve done and what God taught you through it.

People will listen. Then direct them back to Jesus, the one who made your adventure possible.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10