I recently finished a book called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. His message is simple and attainable for all of us, but it takes consistency. It is that we each have the ability to be our best, and getting there is a matter of simple choices we make each day.

You may wonder how this relates to Northminster, so I’ll share my theory: When each of us strives to become the best person we can be (this, I think, will always be a work in progress), we create a ripple effect around us. The ripple can have a positive effect if we make the right choices, but it can just as easily create a negative effect if we make poor choices.

If we work toward a positive future and carry on our work as a congregation in small, but consistent ways, I believe we can make a positive ripple in the community. As our efforts grow, so will the ripple, creating a stronger, more powerful and prosperous effect on those we touch.

If you have ever seen the ocean as high tide starts to move in, think of that, and you’ll get what I mean. The waves start out small, washing softly over your feet, but as the tide moves closer to shore, the waves grow larger and more powerful with each ripple. If you chose to stay in that same spot where you originally are, letting the tide wash over your feet, and you choose not to move further onto the shore, by the end of high tide, you will most likely have been consumed by the waves and possibly carried out to sea.

We each have our own ways of creating a wave in the ripple. I write. To me, it seems like a small, though somewhat ardent task. I spend a lot of time wondering what I can say that will make a difference, hopefully to each of you, but I will be happy if it is to only one. As our search team continues with the task of finding the right interim minister, I hope to somehow try and give us a monthly dose of hope and encouragement to keep moving forward.

We are very fortunate at Northminster to have an extraordinarily strong, talented and faithful community of members. I feel blessed to be among you. I’d like to share with you some of my favorite points made by the Olson in his book:

  • You have complete control over the direction that the rest of your life takes.
  • Your philosophy creates your attitudes, which create your actions, which create your results, which create your life.
  • Only 5% achieve the level of success and fulfillment they hope for. The other 95% either fail or fall short.

The secret to the 5%’s success is always in mundane, easy things that anyone could do. People don’t consistently do those simple things for three reasons:

  1. While they’re easy to do, they are also easy not to do;
  2. You don’t see any results at first; and
  3. They seem insignificant like they don’t matter. But they do.

Time is the force that magnifies those simple daily disciplines into massive success.

  • Success does not lead to happiness, it’s the other way around; more happiness creates more success.
  • Everyone wants to know that they make a difference in the world — that their lives matter.
  • A single thoughtful, committed person can change the world.

Developed by psychologist and happiness expert, Shawn Achor; Olson suggests we too add the following to our daily routine.:

  1. Every morning write down three new things you’re grateful for.
  2. Journal for two minutes a day about a positive experience from the past 24 hours.
  3. Meditate daily for a few minutes.
  4. At the start of every day, write an email to someone praising or thanking them.
  5. Get fifteen minutes of simple cardio exercise a day.

Let’s make 2017 a year of endless positive ripples!