Categories
Devotions

Wait, What did You Mean by That? The Second Nature of Second Guessing

“Just to clarify…” If I had a dollar for every email I sent with those words, I don’t think I’d have to send them anymore. I’d invest those dollars and retire. I am frequently second guessing my understanding of things. Can you relate?

I have noticed that people seem more distracted and less prepared lately, me included. Those qualities do not make for clearer communication. I frequently want to interject “Wait, what did you mean by that?”

And sometimes, even with our best efforts and preparation, our words land with meanings which are different than we intended. It can be a good thing when someone second guesses their first inclination about what we meant. Written words are especially prone to misinterpretation.

The texting world is a great example. I think emojis are intended to help me understand the spirit with which a message is sent, but still I second guess. Apparently, each emoji has an assigned emotion, but I don’t know what they are. I have to interpret the face and let’s be real, a wink could mean a lot of different things!

I saw something like this the other day. I have recreated it as I remember it.

Font matters: Wait, What did You Mean by That?  The Second Nature of Second Guessing...
Words alone aren’t always enough to convey a message!

When I saw the graphic, I read the two notes to myself in very different voices. It was second nature to me to assume one was a promise and the other a threat. Contemplating this brought to mind two other instances I’ve encountered lately where I second guessed the meaning of a message and its implication.

The first was when someone told me that I seem very content. I smiled and thanked them, because it made me feel good. But then I second guessed their motives. Had that been a compliment or an accusation? What did they mean by that? I am happy with what I have and who I am. But did they mean it to say that I should driving and striving for improvement? I’m still not sure.

The other thing was something Jesus said. And it wasn’t so much a matter of not understanding what He meant. His words are living and active (Hebrews 4:12), meaning they hit differently, depending on the condition of my heart. This is what He said:

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Matthew 6:6

If I read these words during my quiet time, with my Bible open and my heart pure, they are sweet, aren’t they? They reassure me that, even when nobody else can see me doing the right thing, God sees. It makes me feel like I don’t need anybody else’s recognition or praise.

But yikes! The words here say that God sees what I do in secret. What if I’m doing something sneaky and naughty? This verse takes on a whole different meaning under those circumstances, doesn’t it? Suddenly, it is anything but reassuring. I feel like a deer in the headlights, second guessing what I think I’m getting away with.

To be honest, I don’t think we can ever get away from misunderstandings entirely. Maybe we all do well to cultivate a second nature of second guessing. But I want to focus mine to be more productive.

Instead of fussing with insecurity and obsessing over what was meant by the little comments people make, I want to use my second guess to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes, believing the best of someone will literally mean I need to wait and find out what they meant. Other times, it will just be a decision I make in my heart to believe the best of them. After all, God knows the truth and He rewards what nobody else sees. And I never have to second guess His word!

Are you a second guesser? Do words return to your mind with an uncertainty as to what they mean? Or maybe you are characterized by confidence and rarely think twice about things. I guess we all have a second nature inclined one way or the other. What is yours?

Categories
Reflections

Buy Buttons: How Understanding Them Will Make and Save You Money!

Have you ever left the mall with spontaneous purchases? Do you wonder why you bought those items? Or maybe the opposite is true for you. Do you work in sales and struggle to meet your quotas? These things may seem out of your control, but don’t get down on yourself just yet!

Please keep reading, my friend. Understanding buy buttons will make and save you money! This information can give you an edge over other shoppers and retailers this holiday season and forever!

I recently had a conversation with Elizabeth Wickham on her bleuwater blog post about the depth of character, both fictional and real life, that is created when wants and needs are defined and understood. She writes about thought-provoking subjects. If you don’t already follow her, you really need to check out her site! This post about buy buttons was prompted by the discussion she and I had in relation to her article.

Understanding buy buttons will make and save you money

What are buy buttons?

I am using the term “buy buttons” for this post. The phrase for the idea might be coined by me, but the concept is certainly not. I learned these principles in a sales class I took decades ago. It has been so long that I don’t remember the exact terminology used, but I have banked (pun intended) on this information for many years and utilized it repeatedly to both make and save me money.

Buttons to press: Understanding Buy Buttons Will Make or Save You Money!
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
When your buy buttons are pressed, you are more likely to spend money.

Buy buttons are the triggers which prompt you to open your wallet. They are wired to the needs and wants you have, both physical and emotional. Let’s back up and differentiate between needs and wants.

Needs

Needs are things you must have to survive. These are basic but crucial. Examples of needs would be air, water, food, shelter, and a means by which to obtain them. New shoes can be a legitimate need, if you must wear them to work and your old ones have fallen apart.

Wants

Most of what people call needs are actually wants. Anything over and above what is needed to survive is a want. There is not necessarily anything wrong with desiring more, nicer, and newer things, but be honest about what they are. Needs and wants are too often confused. You might think you need a new pair of shoes to match a new belt, but that is a want if you have other shoes to wear.

Where are your buy buttons?

Your buy buttons lie in the areas where you are most likely to make spontaneous decisions with your money. They are where your wants feel most like needs. Below are 5 pressure points upon which buy buttons may be found. The order of their importance varies from person to person. You may favor one or a combination of them. As you read, try to identify where yours might be.

A button labled "Buy": Understanding Buy Buttons Will Make or Save You Money!
Know what presses your buttons!

Urgency

The buy button of urgency has a time sensitive component. Do phrases like ‘last-chance’, ‘limited-time-only’, and ‘1-left-in-stock’ quicken your pulse? When you decide to sleep on a purchase decision, do you lie awake all night wondering if you missed out? If so, you have a buy button which is triggered by the perception of urgency. And you’ll want to hurry because, today only, I’m waiving the membership fee on the Back Porch! (Just kidding, it is free to follow this blog, so please subscribe!)

Bargain

If you simply cannot pass up a bargain, then you probably favor this buy button. A great deal is prey of the bargain hunt. Do you get a rush from haggling at a garage sale or using double coupons? Are you giddy about clearance racks and bargain basements? Does it bring you joy to find out you paid less for something than your neighbor did? Then you have a bargain buy button.

Security

Do you pursue things that make you feel safe? You know you tend toward a buy button related to security, if you value things like solid construction, high safety ratings, and gadgets for emergency preparation. Your fences are sturdy and you have the best home alarm system you can [almost] afford. If you are consistently willing to go over budget on purchases to include the newest proven safety features, you have a buy button related to security.

Prestige

You might suspect this buy button is a main one for you if you like to have the best. Does it make you happy when people admire the things you flaunt? Are you motivated to purchase items more for the prestige of ownership than because you are excited to use them? Are you drawn to things that are advertised as ‘rare finds’ or ‘one-of-a-kind’? If terms like ‘unique’, ‘custom’, and ‘elite’ catch your attention, the buy button of prestige is one of yours.

Sentimentality

Are you sentimental? Do you hold on to the past and enjoy refurbishing old things? Will you invest in quality workmanship which should stand the test of time? An activated sentimentality buy button will compel you to pull out your money to remember the good ole days or to create something unforgettable for the future. If antiques and nostalgia are precious to you, and you can’t put a price on making memories which will last, you have a sentimentality buy button.

Dollar bills arranged in the shape of a brain: Understanding Buy Buttons Will Make or Save You Money!
Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash
Our buy buttons are triggered by the things we value

Knowing about buy buttons can make you money

When you sell, you can rely on buy buttons. Whether you are trying to resell a single item you have, or you own an entire store, knowing about buy buttons can make you money. Once you identify a customer’s buy button, you can tailor your pitch to steer them toward a product that will trigger it. You make the sale and they feel good about their purchase. It is a win-win!

Let’s take a gym membership for example. If you work the sales desk and a potential customer mentions living in the gated community across the street, you should find out more about that. Do they live there for prestige? For security? Those would be the most likely assumptions. But don’t assume!

I live in a gated community. And believe it or not, my input on that decision was driven by bargain. The house was the most affordable in the area which met the needs of my family. If you were trying to sell me a gym membership according to the prestigious club or the secure facilities, you would not likely get my money. I don’t quicken toward either of those buy buttons. But, if you could convince me that you have the best prices in town, you might hook me. And that brings me to my last point.

Knowing your buy buttons can save you money

I love a good bargain. I have a daughter who is hopelessly sentimental. I have a son who enjoys prestige and a husband who wants his family to be secure. We know this about ourselves, and it has saved us money!

When you know your buy buttons, you will realize when a salesperson is pressing them. Also, you will understand your compulsions and be able to anticipate and manage them. Exercising power over your buy buttons will save you money.

I have developed self-talk in relation to my primary buy button. When I pass bargain counters and clearance racks, I remind myself that if I didn’t need those items at full price, I don’t need them at their sale price either. If I purchase an unwanted item worth $100 at a sale price of $5, I didn’t save $95, I wasted $5. Knowing my buy button has saved me an inestimable amount of money!

What are your buy buttons?

Have you learned anything about yourself? What triggers your buy buttons? Do you understand some of the curious purchases you’ve made? Have you thought of new angles for selling products to others? How might an understanding of buy buttons make and save you money?

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

Proverbs 21:5
Categories
Reflections

1 Meaningful Thing I Learned From the Garage Sale without Signs

So many of my posts start with an idea hatched while I was out walking. This one is no different. I love to walk and talk to God and have time to hear Him respond.

On this day, I walked up to an intersection and looked down the side street. There appeared to be a sale in one of the driveways, or maybe they had just moved stuff out to clean the garage? I looked around for the typical, brightly colored signs to indicate a sale, but saw none. Curious, I turned the corner and went to check it out. I’m glad I did, because God had something meaningful for me to learn.

As I neared the property which had caught my attention, a neighbor pulled up in a truck. He got out and addressed the couple in the driveway by name.

Sale Table: 1 Meaningful Thing I Learned From the Garage Sale Without Signs
Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

“Hey, I thought I saw you guys out here selling when I left for the store, but I wasn’t sure. I looked for signs on the way back, but I never saw them.” His words phrased a statement, but his face was inquisitive. The woman turned to her sale partner, who said “Yeah, we didn’t make any signs. It seemed like a lot of work.”

I had reached the area, quickly perused the sale, and turned back toward the route from which I had come. But his words rung in my ears. “Didn’t make signs”? “Too much work”? How did they expect to sell what they had painstakingly taken the time to arrange outside if nobody knew they were selling it?

Granted, they may have put an ad in the paper or advertised in some other way. But around here, a trail of brightly colored signs leading traffic from the main road to your house is expected. It is part of the fun of a garage sale.

Garage Sale Sign: 1 Meaningful Thing I Learned From the Garage Sale Without Signs
Noticeable and Direct

I was amused. I walked a few blocks away. The words were still in my head, and I was still smiling. And then I asked God about it.

“Lord, did you have me notice and approach that garage sale just to overhear that comical conversation? It sure made an impression on me. I can’t shake the feeling that You want me to learn something from it.”

It was just a few steps later when I felt God nudging my thoughts. “How successful can a sale be, if nobody knows you’re selling?” And then He was more direct, “What are you selling?”

Jesus loves you: 1 Meaningful Thing I Learned From the Garage Sale Without Signs
Photo by Chris Dixon on Unsplash

“I’m promoting the Gospel”, I thought in response.

“What signs have you put up to draw people to your sale?”, He asked. I thought back over the past few days. There were a few fresh faces around. I’d been to a new hair salon and met a couple of my kids’ friends. And you know what? I hadn’t put up any signs.

Well arranged yard sale: 1 Meaningful Thing I Learned From the Garage Sale Without Signs
Photo by Donatella D’Anniballe on Unsplash

Sure, I’d put my wares on display and tried to arrange them attractively. I’d used buzzwords like “blessing” and “prayer”. I’d been kind and compassionate. But I hadn’t made signs to lead people from where they were to the saving grace of Jesus.

How would one make a sign selling salvation? Just like a garage sale sign, it would have to catch attention and give clear direction. I’ve seen the quote:

“Preach the Gospel at all times; and if you must, use words.”

Author Unknown

I think we must use words – the words of God, whenever possible. We need to live so differently than the world that we catch the attention of the people around us. And then we must tell them Who we emulate and why.

The 1 meaningful thing I learned from the garage sale without signs is that if we want to offer Jesus to others, we need to point the way.

We need to be the signs!

What do you think that looks like? How can we be clear and direct signs which people can follow from where they are to the arms of Jesus?