When You Realize You’re Living in a Bubble

The following is an excerpt from the Foreword I wrote for Jeff Goins’s new book, Wrecked. It’s an excellent book that I recommend you pick up. At the end of the article, I’ll tell you how you can get over $158.00 worth of free resources if you buy it this week.

In 2009 my wife Gail and I traveled to Africa at the invitation of Rich Stearns, president of World Vision. It was our first trip to “the dark continent.” We had always wanted to go to Africa; we just never seemed to find the time.

Woman Relaxing in an Outdoor Jacuzzi - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/najin, Image #17995564

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/najin

Like Truman Burbank (played by Jim Carrey) in the movie, The Truman Show, we pretty much lived in a “constructed reality.”

I had a beautiful wife, five amazing daughters, and a great job. We were prosperous and comfortable. I didn’t realize I lived in a bubble.

We spent a week in rural Ethiopia. The poverty was astonishing.

We met people who survived on a few dollars a month, others who walked ten miles a day just to get water for their family, and children who had become orphans when their parents had died of AIDS.

Despite all of that, the Ethiopian people remained joyful in the midst of unrelenting hardship.

My friend Max Lucado, who was traveling with us, commented, “There are more honest smiles among the poor of Ethiopia than the shopping malls of America.” So true.

A Woman, a Hut, and a Smile

On the last day of our trip we visited a small village and met Wosne, a beautiful woman with a tragic story. Her husband had died suddenly, leaving her with four children in a one-room hut.

Without a husband, she had no way to support herself. She grew discouraged and desperate. She prayed God would take her life. Thankfully, God had other plans.

World Vision found sponsors for two of her children. This gave Wosne just enough margin to begin eking out an existence. Over time, she bought some chickens, sold the eggs, and bought more chickens.

Eventually, she was able to buy a cow. She sold the milk and bought more cows.

Then, with the help of her children’s sponsor, she was able to buy a modest four-room house. It wasn’t much by American standards—just a few walls on a dirt floor with a tin roof.

The day we met Wosne she was radiant. Her children encircled her and quietly sat as we spoke through an interpreter. She shared her story of hardship yet beamed as she recounted God’s provision for her family.

She had become so prosperous, in fact, she had adopted two other children in the village. She even had a couple of pieces of used furniture and electricity—a single bulb hanging from the ceiling.

By our standards, she was still living in abject poverty. By the standards of her village, however, she was one of its wealthiest citizens.

Max was so moved by her story—and how much she still lacked—he asked, “Wosne, if you could have anything else, what would it be? How can we help you?”

Her answer stunned us.

“Nothing,” she declared. “Nothing at all. I have everything I need. I am the happiest woman in the world.” And she meant it.

Several of us started weeping. In the space of thirty minutes, our entire worldview was turned on its head.

Wrecked—And Transformed

On the flight home, I was pensive and quiet. So was Gail, my wife. We couldn’t get two sentences out of our mouths without crying. Our experiences in Ethiopia had profoundly impacted us.

We were, in a word, wrecked.

I didn’t know what my experience in Ethiopia would mean for our future. I didn’t know if I should quit my job and move to Africa, sell my possessions and give the money to the poor, or stay put. Most of all, I didn’t want to be sucked back into the bubble of a comfortable life.

Over time, we worked through the implications of this experience for our lives. Not that we have it all figured out. We don’t. But we are working hard to make decisions that are counter-cultural and require courage.

In short, being comfortable is no longer enough. We want to make a contribution—in time and for eternity.

An Invitation to Be Brave

I want to invite you to what my friend Jeff calls the “wrecked life”—one that is shaken up but transformed by confronting the world’s most difficult challenges.

This requires sacrifice, but the sense of significance you get is well worth the cost. And if you’re ready to do this—to live the life you’re afraid of—here’s what you need to do next:

  1. Admit you’re living in a bubble.
  2. Step out of your comfort zone.
  3. Put yourself into a situation that will require courage.

Then see how you grow. You might be surprised at just how alive you feel.

Question: Have you ever felt like you were living in a bubble? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    The vast majority of us here in the U.S. live in a bubble.  We look down on people who are in poverty here, who would be wealthier than Wosne.

  • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

    Michael, thank you so much for sharing your experience and emotions so transparently. I highly appreciate your heart. I realized I was living in a bubble in my own town in California while going to bible school. We studied how the love and power of God could impact cities and nations every day and would then go back to our comfortable homes. At the same time unemployment was above 30% and the crime rates were some of the worst in the US.

    I couldn’t stand it anymore so I decided to pack up and move into the worst neighborhood in town and open my house for the anyone who wanted relationship. I’d pray for God to lead me to those who really need Him and He did. Within a couple of weeks my living room as crowded with drug dealers, people the trailer park, criminals, children, teenagers and even witches every thursday night for free dinner and a short bible study. As my friends and I just started spending time them and extending God’s love through practical friendship we saw the most radical transformations of lives I’ve ever witnessed. A men got off alcohol after 20 years of addiction, we got jobs for 12 people, 6 dealers left the drug scene and began telling their friends of what Jesus had done for them. Entire families god reunited. The news were spreading and complete strangers would come knock on my door with tears in their eyes saying “I heard of what you do, help me change my life!”. What I learned with all of this is that people really don’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care. I believe the most impactful and supernatural thing we can ever do in this world is to become representatives of God’s love. Not just talk about it in theory like it’s an abstract solution somewhere out there, but actually become it.In His love,Daniel 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That is an amazing story, Daniel. So inspiring! Thanks for sharing it.

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        You’re welcome :)

    • http://twitter.com/quirkycity Heather C Button

       “What I learned with all of this is that people really don’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care.” Well said. I will take that with me.

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        Glad you found something to take away from it Heather.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Wow. What a story! Thanks for challenging all of us, Daniel.

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        Thanks Michele, I like to challenge myself as well ;)

    • http://www.inspired2ignite.com/ Denise

      I loved your story Daniel!  You practiced what you were preaching and people noticed!  Impressive and inspirational!

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        Denis, thanks for the feedback. I’ve always been kind of “radical” when it comes to seeing how what I believe in manifests in reality. Every now and then I hit those times where the gap between what I know is possible with God and the reality around me gets so big that I decide to either try everything to close it or change my beliefs. I can’t live ignoring the fact that what I believe to be true isn’t manifesting around me. 
        I’ve gone through many moments of “holy frustration”, but overall it’s worked out pretty well so far. God always showed up, oftentimes even supernaturally. 

    • http://www.joybuilders.org/blog Christy Osborn

      Thanks, Daniel and Michael! Your stories are both inspiring. Redefines poverty.

    • Jim Martin

      Wow!  Daniel, your story is so inspiring and encouraging.  Glad I read this today.

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        Glad to read my comment blessed you, Jim! 

    • http://www.margaretfeinberg.com/ Margaret

       I love how strangers would come to you to ask for help–news of kindness and truth spread and they were so hungry for it. Thank you for sharing your story!

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        I know I was actually amazed by it. Especially because it was the night before that I told God I’d love to not just go to the hungry (we would go around the neighborhood visiting people and taking care of the sick),but actually see them coming to me. The very next day (no kidding) the first man knocked on the door, tears covering his face. He actually gave his life to Jesus that same day and his wife followed a few days later. Soon after they started their own house church :)

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Daniel, a challenging personal example for us all. Thanks for sharing your story.

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        You’re welcome :)

    • http://www.communicationartistry.ca/ Marnie Hughes

      Thanks, Daniel, for illustrating so well that we can make a world of difference in our own back yard. Yes, intense poverty exists around the world but by helping people at home you are inspiring more people to reach out and help others. That’s how you fix a broken world :)

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        Yes! One person at a time :)

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    What a blessing that you not only got to hear about true happiness from Wosne, but that you allowed it to work in your hearts and change your lives. It’s one thing to visit an area pummeled into poverty by the capricious nature of weather or politics and return home with just pictures; it’s quite another to bring those images into your heart and allow them to change how you live  and give in your everyday life. 

    Our youth group has always done workcamps and our church hosts one every three years. We got involved and have been irrevocably changed because of the experience. As I wrote on my blog, “You can’t help but tear up as you see God’s love shared in beautiful and practical ways, as hearts and homes are made new.”

    Thanks for putting your heart on your sleeve so folks can be encouraged to step bravely out of their comfort zones into a needy world, whether in their own neighborhood or across the world.

  • http://www.dannykofke.blogspot.com/ Dannykofke

    Wow – thank you for a great post Michael.  I am in the process of possibly changing careers.  This change would require me to move my family to another state and, thus, would have to step outside my comfort zone and have courage to do this if this job is offered to me.  It would be the job of my dreams but would also be scary with the change that would come with it.  This post was so timely for me – thank you so much!

    • Harpsign, Colleen

      Jump Danny…God has wings He will sprout and give you flight!  

    • Jim Martin

      Danny, please keep us posted on what you do with this transition in your life.  This sounds like such a rich opportunity for you.

  • Timothy Fish

    I’ve said before that the true measure of wealth is out ability to give it away. Wosne feels wealthy because she knows she has more than she needs and is able to use what she has to help others.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      So true, Timothy.

  • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

    For many of us, the bubble forms without our  knowing it. It’s not intentional; we just don’t see it until situations like  you described pop the bubble. The bubble has benefits and drawbacks, to be sure.

    Thanks for giving Jeff’s book a solid plug. He’s a great writer and offers much to many.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Wayne. I appreciate that.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I agree, Wayne. It’s happens unintentionally, without us knowing. The key is to be thankful for the blessings, the gift of our circumstances and, at the same time, be intentional and generous in sharing it and stepping out of it.

    • Jim Martin

      Wayne, you make a good observation here.  I agree.  The bubble is unintentional and we may not even realize the degree to which we live in one until we are challenged to step out.

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

    What a powerful story.  I’ve notice the same genuine smiles on mission trips to the DR.  On my first trip, I will never forget the lady who wanted to give us a gift for giving her rice and beans.  What did she give us?  Bananas.  She was giving us her food!  We didn’t want to take it but she insisted.  It is so humbling to see people who are living joyfully and selflessly despite their challenging conditions.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      We saw that kind of thing repeatedly in Ethiopia. I have never met a more generous people.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I had the same experience in South Africa. After spending the day with a family in a squatter’s camp, the mom pulled out a single jar of peaches. It was their only food besides tea and corn meal, and something they’d likely been saving for a year or more. But they opened it and served it to us. I tried to eat it slowly, as if it was worth a million dollars…because it was.

  • Agatha Nolen

    I was living in a bubble too. Successful in business, a husband and step-children and then I was diagnosed with cancer. It made be step back and look at my life and I realized I’d been settling for “good” instead of “best”. I made a church trip to South Africa in 2007, met Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the joyous people of Kagiso1 and my life has been changed forever. I’m now living “best” in God’s hands instead of the “good” that was my own making. I’ve been back 3 more times and will travel again in March 2013 to be renewed by the spirit of people in South Africa who are joyous throughout the goodness and the pain of life.
    Agatha Nolen
    http://www.agathanolen.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing your story. This is exactly the kind of things Jeff shares in the book.

    • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

      wow so glad to hear your new perspective has brought new joy!

  • http://sheridanvoysey.com Sheridan Voysey

    What a moving story, Michael. Truly moving. And beautifully told.

    I’ve had many similar experiences visiting the developing world. One particular trip to Haiti (told here: http://sheridanvoysey.com/haiti-we-have-what-they-need-and-they-have-what-we-need/ ) was most poignant. I had just returned from visiting families who slept in half-dilapidated homes, who prayed all day for something to feed their families and believed their prayers had been answered when they’d found a single potato to eat, and then I flick through the SkyMall magazine on the plane home where us wealthy folks were being hocked foot spas and luxury mattresses for our dogs. The contrast was staggering, and concerning. And yet the faith of the Hatian Christians was so powerful. It put much of my flabby spirituality to shame.

    It was then I realized that we have the material resources the Hatians want, but they have the faith those of us in the developed world need. A wake up call.

    I hope Jeff’s book does really well.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       I’ve been to Haiti twice, and you’re exactly the right, Sheridan. The contrast is staggering. At first I’m convicted by how much “stuff” I have. Then I realize the greater travesty is how poor we are in faith and community as a result of our wealth. We think of their poverty, and, in the process, we miss our own.

      • http://sheridanvoysey.com Sheridan Voysey

        So true, Michelle. My first trip to the Philippines in 2007 had me scraping every last bit out of the toothpaste tube on return. It’s immoral to waste when you see what our developing world friends live on.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          True. When I returned from Haiti, I couldn’t buy bottled water anymore. The beaches were littered with trash, so much unnecessary garbage. I hadn’t realized how wasteful I’d been. Amazing how one experience can change much.

    • Jim Martin

      Sheridan, your comment itself is a wake up call.  What a contrast!

  • Mleahy

    Michael, I love this article. Very moving. But then, it’s followed by this totally inconsistent and callous offer in the inset: “If you buy Jeff’s new book this week, he’ll send you six gifts worth over $158.00.”  Really!?!

    Didn’t you or anyone on your staff see the glaring contradiction here? You just spoke of how we live in a bubble and essentially have much, much more than we need, and are far less happy as a result of it. So, of course, what we all REALLY need is to buy this guy’s book so we can adorn ourselves with the six free gifts he’s offering that we don’t really need and would never miss, and whose value could feed an entire village for a week!?!

    Wow! What a missed opportunity. Why not get him to commit instead to spare us the junk mail and give that money (or at least the cost of the 6 gifts) to the women and orphans of that very same village in Ethiopia that you and Gail visited? You really missed a great opportunity to put a powerful exclamation point on an otherwise inspirational story.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Jeff’s book is all about motivating people to live wrecked lives where they get out of their comfort zone and make a contribution. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with motivating them to buy the book, because I am confident it will make a difference in their lives. The $158 worth of gifts are free, just for buying a $10 book.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hi Mleahy. Thanks for the feedback. I see your point, and it’s a good one. Without trying to justify myself, let me explain the thoughts behind the giveaway:

      The book is about generosity and doing hard (but good) things. The six gifts promotion is just ONE of the ways we intend to give back. 

      I don’t see any inconsistency between writing a book about generosity and then encouraging people to buy it by giving away a bunch of stuff we could charge for. All of the products are digital, so there are no ongoing production costs. 

      We’re also discussing other opportunities to give back, but if the book’s message doesn’t spread, they will be short-lived. Book publishing is funny in the sense that if a book doesn’t do well the first few weeks, it can be hard to get people to notice it later on.

      I’m trying to give my book the best chance it has to succeed — not so that I make a bunch of money (that’s not really how book publishing works), but so this important message can spread

      This is my first print book, so I’m learning as I go here. I know I’m not doing things perfectly, though, so I appreciate the comment. It was helpful.

  • Tara

    I live in Tanzania full time, working with volunteers from developed nations. It’s so refreshing to read that you didn’t just go back to your bubble after your time in Ethiopia. So many people are truly moved in the moment, but don’t let that moment shape the future differently. The world is a better place for people like you who refuse to get back into that comfortable bubble. Thanks for this blog. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I have to admit, it is tough. To switch the metaphor, the gravitational pull of bubble life is strong!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Loved reading your comment, Tara. I’ve been to Haiti, South Africa and elsewhere and each time my life has changed—for the better. But it’s tough to keep those images and experiences front and center once I’m back home. Any suggestions for resisting the pull of the bubble?

    • Jim Martin

      Tara, thank you for this reminder.  It is helpful to hear this reminder from your vantage point.  Thanks!

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    Thanks for your transparency.  Bubbles are funny things.  Easy to recognize from the outside; harder from the inside looking out.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Well said, Thad!

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    Upon our return from a family mission trip to Uganda, (We spent our time at Watoto Church in Kampala working with the orphanages they run) I asked my son what stuck out to him the most.  

    His reply:  “They have so little yet they all smile.  In the US we have everything and we are all unhappy.”  Wrecked by the words of my then 12 year old son.  It is true.  I realized that if I really believed all I needed was Jesus,then I could be happy living like the Ugandans we met.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      So true. We made the very same observation. BY the way, my oldest daughter and her husband adopted to little boys from Uganda. I tell people I am now a proud African-American grandfather. ;-)

      • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

        That is awesome.  I did not know that!  I encourage anyone interested in a ministry doing it well in Africa to look at the model Watoto is using to care for orphans.  It is a great model and a great ministry.

  • http://www.wadeoradio.com/ DJ Wade-O

    This one of the best stories and challenges I’ve read on your site Michael. This was very moving.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks so much!

  • http://letsgrowleaders.com/ Letsgrowleaders

    I recently ran into an amazing woman on the train.  She was doing legal work to support women in dire situations… crazy stuff, slavery… and other horrid things. I was impressed, but than astounded that she was helping people who were coming to her from Baltimore and DC.  This stuff is happening here… in our bubble.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Oh my.

  • http://www.leahadams.org/ Leah Adams

    I freely admit that I live in a bubble. I’m not proud of it, but I also am thankful for the blessings God has given me. I do try to help the poor, but I know I could do so much more. I sponsor two little girls in Tanzania through Compassion International. What a blessing to me!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am so grateful for organizations like World Vision and Compassion. They give us the opportunity to help in tangible ways.

  • Gina Holmes

    A post after my own heart. Thank you for this. I’m so grateful my eyes have been open. May they never close again! 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Amen, Gina. I feel the same way.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Yes!

  • http://www.myrkothum.com/ Myrko Thum

    I think everybody is living in a bubble. Even the people in Ethiopia do. What you mean is of course the harsh difference in wealth that is shocking to witness. But still they are able to be more joyful and have meaningful life. If there is suffering, the question is what can you and I do?

  • http://www.daninfocus.com/ Dan Stratton

    Great story, Michael. I needed that one this morning. I had allowed myself to become confined to my bubble AND wrapped around the axle. You recommended Margins a few weeks ago and I am working through that book. Now you recommend Wrecked and I just ordered it. Thank you for feeding my library in this direction. I appreciate your walking around with a pin and a Band-Aid. You are my favorite read of the day.

  • http://twitter.com/mortond David N Morton

    Thanks for this Michael.  This post came in the middle of prayer and decision making time on the first step of getting our or my “bubble”.  These decisions seem odd to the casual observer but are part of a bigger plan that I am not the author of.

  • http://ubtransformed.com/ Monica T. Smith

    Michael;

    For five weeks this summer, I cared for my nephew who is high functioning autistic while his mother went to South Africa for a teaching project.  The longest I had ever cared for him was four days, so five weeks was a stretch.

    For someone who is single, never married and never had children, I was no good.  I adore my nephew and would die for him and my sister.  I have to say, never did I expect to have my world turned upside down and never did I realize how comfortable I was living.  It was no longer about me and all about him.  I now understand what dying to self really means, especially when there is no guarantee of a good night’s sleep, the rearranging of my schedule to make sure he has everything he needs and that his routine is as close to the same as possible.

    Yes, I was wrecked and broken of my view that I was on my way as a ministry leader, life coach and spiritual director with a Masters degree in Practical Theology.  This was tougher than three years of seminary and like seminary, I would not trade it for anything.  God stretched me to the point of understanding that all that I am, do and have is because of Him and He is the only One that can provide everything I need.  Life is to be lived moment by moment completely dependent upon God.

    There are days when I look at my nephew and see Jesus.  Over those five weeks I lived with Him and ached as He broke me of my comfortable lifestyle.  What I learned is that ministry will always be necessary as the needs of humanity never end.  The question for me to answer now is will I still go for Him?

    Monica

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing this, Monica. SO powerful!

  • http://twitter.com/JulieSunne1 Julie Sunne

    Thank you for your transparency and vulnerability, Michael. For the most part, those of us living in the “developed” world are living in a bubble. It is difficult to relate when our most difficult days are still so much better than the best days of those living in the third world. Even when we truly want to help, the overwhelming need can paralyze us. I’ve struggled with the questions you did on your flight home (and I haven’t had the opportunity to visit another country yet).

    How do we reconcile our plenty with others abject need?
    It is a question each of us must wrestle with if we want to remain outside of the bubble.

    • Jim Martin

      Julie, I really like your last two sentences.  They are really important.

      “How do we reconcile our plenty with others abject need?  It is a question each of us must wrestle with if we want to remain outside the bubble.”

      • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

        Thanks, Jim–wrestling away!

  • http://twitter.com/MLSchwienD Michele Schwien

    I first found Jeff Goins when I was trying to ignore the bubble. His work helped give me the courage to face my cognitive dissonance. I thought I was a decent instructor and public education was doing the best it could given the economic conditions. Then my son was diagnosised with autism. I prevailed in due process and my son now has an appropriate educational placement. After the battle was over I wanted to go back to my easy life. But I am “WRECKED.” The CDC announced this year that 1 in 88 (that number is 1 in 54 for males) people are on the autism spectrum. There is much work to be done. I have been given much. I am responsible for joyfully giving back.     

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       What a great testimony, Michele. Thank you for your courage!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Wow, Michele. I’m honored!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I’ve often wondered what the average American is pursuing in life. We often say it is happiness, yet we complicate our lives with stuff and go into debt to buy it. We find ourselves broke, sad, and surrounded by junk. Sometimes people say it is meaning, yet we can’t seem to pinpoint what that is. Others say it is community, and surround ourselves with thousands of Twitter followers and hundreds of Facebook friends, yet we don’t know our next door neighbor. I have been guilty as charged on all three counts. 

    It’s when we take a step back, and travel outside of our comfort zone that we find something different. You don’t have to travel far. It may be at the local homeless shelter, or just across the border in Mexico. There are so many people in poverty that need our help. And in a strange way, we need their help.

    It is stories like Frank and Harry who I met at a shelter in Pomona http://goals4u.us/N4XIIF or the families in Ensenada, Mexico http://goals4u.us/HAjn7r that have changed my perspective. 

    They have “wrecked” me.

    Jeff’s book will open your eyes and challenge you.

    If you read it, you won’t be the same.

    It’s a dangerous book…

    Tread carefully!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, John!

  • Kyle Shultz

    Jim Davis Hicks (founder of Thirst Relief International), told me a story once about arriving home with his family after their first trip to the poorest of the poor.  Jim, his wife, and his children all arrived home and sat on their couch in their living room of their very upscale house.  He recalls: “All we could do was weep.  And not because we had so much.  But because we had so little.” 

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      That is precisely my experience after returning from S. Africa. I was grieved by our own poverty of spirit and faith.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

     What a great story and example of perspective. I too was at a point in my life, March 2006 at age 35, praying for death with some dignity, ready to give up. In a moment of clarity and grace, I recalled a small post-it note my mother had hid in my luggage prior a month long trip to Russia my senior year in high school:

    Take your time and count to five…
    Keep yourself always safe and alive…
    The greatest gift a child can give…
    Is that their parents they outlive.

    I surrendered and turned my will and life over to something greater than myself. As you mentioned it was having the courage (out of desperation for me) to try something different. Completely out of my comfort zone. I thank God every day for the strength to try once more and the willingness to concentrate on learning and growing spiritually and emotionally.

    It truly was like winning the lottery and made stepping outside my comfort zone much easier. Nothing was too uncomfortable to try since my life depended on trying everything and setting ego and pride aside. Luckily I’ve been able to write about it, even recently self-published, and I too share the concept that, “if it’s uncomfortable, then it’s working.”

    I certainly lived in a bubble for many years. One of narcissism and slave to the self-serving ego. Not a bad person, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. Unfortunately for most, severe emotional pain is the catalyst to do something uncomfortable enough that will initiate long-lasting positive change.  But then that’s also what makes it so beautiful and meaningful.

    I heard your recent interview with Cliff on Podcast Answer Man and I was so in-tune and agree with one particular message you shared, “that people often quit right before they hit the inflection point.”

    In the recovery movement, that’s referred to as “not giving up before the miracle happens.” That is so true in life and personal/spiritual transformation as well. It’s why the reward is so great and beautiful.

    Thanks for all you do and this great article and story.

    Blessings.

  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    This story really hits home for me. One of my very best friends from high school just adopted an Ethiopian toddler to join her husband and three biological children. The joy on their faces (parents and new daughter) are absolutely priceless. Now I see this post.

    I loved the last point – Put yourself in a situation that will require courage. Too many of us who are “normal” probably never really do that. We may think we do, but we really don’t. Moving excerpt, Michael. I’ll have to check out the book.

  • Mona

    This is one of the most inspiring posts I’ve read in a long time. I am incredibly blessed to have the life I do. My husband and I are freelancers, which means it is feast or famine. Mostly famine these days!

    But in the last few months, I’ve felt stuck.  And longing for more than I have.  Reading your post in bed this morning got me up at a very unusually early hour to walk my dog on our local train, and thank God for my wonderful clients, health and my supportive husband.

    Thank you so much for all you do Michael Hyatt.

    • Mo

      “Trail,” not “train!”

  • http://twitter.com/quirkycity Heather C Button

    Oh, I needed to hear that today. Your words brought tears to my eyes, and reminded me of all the times I’ve sung the words to Jars of Clay’s Worlds Apart. Thank you for re-formatting that vision for me.

  • Jujube

    No one who’s conscientious about anything will have FIVE children no matter how gorgeous you think you are!

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

      I’m one of 5 and we are all trying to make the world a better place :)

      • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

         I am last born in a family of nine :)

    • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

      I think this comment can either be ignored or removed. I’m one of four children, and we have all become happy and productive members of society. 

  • Bfield

    Michael, thank you for writing and sharing your experience in Ethiopia.  That country is near and dear to my heart.  I have four children and my third was adopted from Ethiopia.  We spent the Summer of 2010 in Ethiopia with our two older children finalizing the details to bring Elias home.  I am convinced that my two older children as well as my wife and I will never be the same since that trip.  Our eyes were opened and we are now actively working with Children’s Hopechest to support The Greenlight Ministry – http://www.hopechest.org/community/greenlight/

    My close friend and I have started a yearly mission trip to Ethiopia to serve the children at Greenlight and at another center in Adama.  If anyone is interested in joining us our next trip is scheduled for February 2013.  You can contact me at bfield@meetingresult.com

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

      Bfield,
      Children’s Hopechest is a remarkable ministry. Used to be a part of the same church with Tom Davis in Co. Springs, and I’ve been impressed by how he leads his family. My sister and brother-in-law have also adopted from Ethiopia and it’s been transforming experience. They took their 11 year old daughter with them and it’s been a key element in giving her a bigger story. 

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Love those guys. Tom’s a good friend.

  • Anne

    I am from Africa, the beautiful continent of choice. I am glad you had a chance to visit Ethopia . It is amazing what great wealth we have within apart from our material possesions that may blind us at times. Keeping it real and welcome again to Africa!

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    We felt like we were living in a bubble when faced with taking in three more children while  on the verge of empty nest. NOT an easy decision. I wanted (still do!) the simplicity and ease of the empty nest life. It takes a wrestling of my will and focus every single day to wake up and do this hard thing with joy and conviction.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I love honesty and obedience expressed in this story, Michele. You’re truly living the message of this book, and that’s a good (but not easy) thing. 

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        For the record, we’re not always living it well. :) But one day at a time, one day at a time …

  • http://www.inspired2ignite.com/ Denise

    What a great reminder!  My biggest ‘aha moment’ was when I went on a dental mission trip to Mexico many years ago.  We did extractions without any running water or electricity.  These people were so grateful just to be out of pain.  A free toothbrush nearly brought tears to their eyes.

    We have been sponsoring children through Compassion and ICN for many years now. Just this week we received a thank you letter from ‘our’ boy in Peru.  He was so grateful for the birthday money we sent.  He gratefully used it to buy jeans and a T-shirt.  He also asked for our prayers for his mother, who ‘has a sore arm’.  ‘Our’ boy in Uganda was beyond thrilled when we sent money to purchase a mattress, blanket and pillow.  This growing teenager had been sleeping on the floor for too many years.

    Despite regular reminders I do live in a bubble, I can easily forget how lucky I am.  Thank you for the gentle, yet timely, reminder.

  • Ray Haakonsen

    Hi Michael, I have been following your blog for a few months now and also purchased your book (with the freebies) the first week it was published. I am learning so much from your work and life. I am also about to purchase the EBook titled”Wrecked” by Jeff Goins. (Postage to South Africa is crazy or I’d get the “hard book”.) 

    My wife (Sue) and I are originally from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and have been missionaries in Southern Africa for the past 24 years, following a radical conversion I had to Christ. The last 10 years we were privileged to obey God in establishing a ministry called Beautiful Gate Lesotho, with the purpose of rescuing, caring for and finding homes for abandoned and HIV/AIDS affected babies in the tiny mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. We began this work with no money in the bank nor clothes or food, and were given a tiny house to accommodate 7 babies (5 of whom had been tested HIV+). As we took this step of obedience we saw God move mightily, and 10 years later, when we felt God tell us it was time to “let go”, we handed over the ministry to a couple from Zeeland, Michigan who had fallen in love with the ministry the first time they came out.

    In the 10 years we saw this ministry develop into a R16 million ($2 million US) care centre, with a current monthly budget of $24000 . We had rescued and cared for over 350 of these vulnerable babies, with over half going to adopted families in 7 different countries, many returned to families and we lost 33 to illnesses related to AIDS.   There are currently about 60 children aged between 1 month to 7 years in the centre either awaiting adoption or placement to families etc. 

    My main reason for writing though is to tell you that whilst its obviously been a privilege to have been used by God to create this amazing Oasis in a country reeling from the effects of poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, there has been an incredible “by-product” from my point of view. As God has led us to Christ-followers world wide on behalf of these children, I’ve had the amazing privilege of being used of God to talk to, challenge and motivate, literally thousands of people over the past 10 years to get involved in this ministry. The challenged hearts and responses from these folks, the large majority of them (but not exclusively) Americans, has been a highlight for me. The term Jeff used for his book title I have called in the past  “Spoilt for the ordinary”. Watching the responses of people who had never ventured out of their countries, save for vacations to gorgeous places, and having their worldviews rocked by what they saw, has been awe-inspiring. Men in their 60’s who were elders in their church and had been born, bred and lived within 15 miles of their place of birth, coming face to face with the desperate, yet smiling children who are innocent victims of this killer disease, has been incredibly emotional. The couple who have taken over from us were two youngish people (mid 30’s) with 3 young children, who dared to respond to a call to get out of their comfort zone and care for orphans in Africa. He was an accountant, she a housewife, but they could not say no to God when He called. 

    May many others, when they read books such as “Wrecked” respond to God’s call to us as His people to be involved, either by going, giving or sincerely praying for the ones Jesus spoke about….the least of these! God bless you for using this public and well followed site to challenge God’s people to become “Jesus” to a broken world.
    God bless you, Jeff Goins and the many others who work with you to make a difference in this fallen world.

    Ray Haakonsen
    http://rayhaakonsen.com/ 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Ray!

  • http://www.changevolunteers.org/ Change Volunteer

    Michael, after reading this post, I honestly feel, this is like God is working for us! This is like God has made you write this article for us. We are trying to do our bit for Africa. I wish you could know more about Dr. Kenneth Acha, he was an underprivileged child in Africa, dropped out of school due to poverty, but determined and talented, has become a doctor in America. Having faced the worst times, he has made his mission to help the orphans in Cameroon, Africa and sees a bigger dream, not the American dream, but to help the underprivileged all over the world. God bless you for sharing the story. He is one the persons I can say that does not live in a bubble. Just for you to take a look : 
    http://www.changevolunteers.org/about-us/

  • http://longingsend.com/ Michael Kimball

    Such a timely post, Michael. What is life but home schooling at Father’s hand that we might learn how to love. And love, real love, takes courage. The kind of courage Wosne exemplifies. She appears to meet the curriculum each day brings with grace, courage and persevering faith, standing as an inspiration to us and a glory to God.

  • http://www.JeffDrummer.com/ Jeff Jones

    Micheal, our band went to Tanzania in Feb. with World Vision and we were reminded of that as well.  We are so “American” that a couple of our members brought a portable toilet and a 12″ battery operated fan in their suitcases.  Let’s just say, I was the cool one!  Needless, to say, we live in a bubble.   If we are not careful, others around the world can appear to be a page on a National Geographic magazine that is easily turned and soon forgotten.  We are so busy building up our little kingdom on this earth that we often forget about others that are just a short 20 hr plane ride away.  Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

    Wow, there is a book just in the stories being shared here. Thanks to all of you who have posted.
    Some of my friends are constantly bursting my bubble doing work in Juarez, Mexico. You might find the video inspiring, and bubble bursting.
    http://www.amigosministries.org/projects/carmens-cocina/

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      agreed

  • http://twitter.com/lornafaith Lorna Faith

    Inspiring story Michael…still wanting to go on a missions trip with my family to somehow be able to help. Having lived homeless ourselves, we do have small glimpse into the homelessness that is everywhere around us and try to help out in whatever way we can….still want to do more. Thanks for sharing your heart …I’m posting this one!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Wow, Lorna. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/Changeshifter JLThomas

    I know this to be true as I too have had this ‘wrecked & transformed’ life.  Thank you for sharing your story with us Michael. It is powerfully told and completely explains why your writing has always resonated with me.
    I have a radically different, far better life now. It is hard work and not without its costs but that alive feeling is so wonderful, I no longer even find that so-called ‘comfortable bubble’ enticing.  I now playfully challenge and befriend the fear knowing it is an important traveling companion if I want to keep moving forward.

    JLT
    @Changeshifter 

  • http://twitter.com/MattMcWilliams2 Matt McWilliams

    With all conscience that many, if not most, Americans don’t enjoy the luxuries that I do, I am pretty sure 99.9% of America lives in a bubble.

    Our bubble is created by affluence, microwaves, television, headphones, overwhelming proximity to healthcare (ha! we think ours is “broken”), indoor plumbing, clean water, and much more.

    We are more shut off as a people than ever before. We “connect” with Facebook friends in lieu of engaging our closest friends. We spend minutes per week with hundreds of people and not much more with our children and spouses and lifelong friends. We watch a YouTube video on hurting people and think that “sharing” it on Facebook is “doing something about it.” Worthwhile causes join reality TV drunks for their 15 minutes of fame and we move on. 

    Outside of our shuttered, headphoned bubbles, there is widespread death and hurting and we either cannot or choose not to hear it. And when we do, there is always a dancing cat to take away the pain. 

    That bubble is my own bubble. 

    The end of my world? It’s a microwave breaking and lunch taking 15 minutes longer, while many struggle to even find food. 

    It’s not getting “my 8 hours” because I worry about retiring early, while many are awakened by mortar shells.

    It’s waiting in the ER for 15 minutes with a bloody nose, while…

    Yeah, I have a bubble alright. And I know that I will never feel truly alive or fulfill God’s will until I break out of it.

  • Jim Martin

    Leslie, would you check this link again?  I would like to read your post.

  • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

    Jeff, I can’t wait to read the book – I just ordered it! 

    Mike, this is your best writing yet. Incredibly moving and inspiring!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Awesome, Shannon! I agree. I loved this story and style of writing from Mike.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Shannon.

  • Webfoot985

    1.  I have not seen poverty in the US.
    2.  I have seen extreme poverty in some parts of the world.
    3.  Our most important team members as we minister to the poor are wealthy Americans who give generously to God’s work.
    4.  The American bubble is not a bad one.  It is full of opportunities to minister to the poor and to be the answer to prayer for many of God’s people.
    5.  I pray that the whole world would be able to live in a bubble like ours. 
    6.  I get tired of being told that I am not happy when I am shopping. I am. I am doing good to many people when I buy their products and help give them a job.  That gives me joy, as well as the products I am purchasing.
    7. I was living in a bubble where I was taught that capitalists are bad.  It took living in a developing country to change my mind about the value of free market capitalism and the blessing it is to the world’s poor.  That was quite a shock to this grand daughter of a Wobbly, and daughter of radicals. 

  • Yodit

    Very nice article, since I am Ethiopian it gave more sense to me. “There are more honest smiles among the poor of Ethiopia than the shopping malls of America.” Very true, he said it well, indeed. But Ethiopia shouldn’t be always mentioned in relation to poverty, it is true that we still have very poor people but we also have many more good things after all we have 3000 years of history even before Christianity exists.Thanks

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Very good point. Thanks for mentioning this.

  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com/ JD Meier

    Beautiful story and such a deep reminder that life is so much of what we make of it … and what we can make of it.

    Growing up, a few little adages always played out in my mind:
    – The rich get richer
    – Life’s not fair
    – It’s all relative

    I promised my Mom I would lift others up and do my part in the world to leave it a better place than I foudn it.

    Growing up, I saw a pattern that people who already had it all, kept getting more … the best jobs, the best training, the best healthcare, etc.  I realized their was a cycle to it.  If you weren’t already on the cycle, getting on the cycle was tough.  And some people did fall off, and then couldn’t get back on.  (I see this even more now, as jobs end, and people are forced to find their way in the new digital economy.)

    I hated what seemed like unjustice with the world.  The gap between haves and have nots was far and wide … and cuts deep.  I wanted every underdgo that could not afford an education to have one.  I wanted every person with a passion for more from life, to have a fighting chance.  I wanted every underdog to be able to change their lot in life.

    Nothing is worse than seeing the mind willing, the body able, and yet watching people fail or flail at life because they didn’t have the right strategy, or didn’t have the right support, or didn’t have the right models and mentors.

    Nothing is worse than watching somebody scramble on the streets for scraps of food to survive another day, or trade shelter for food, or trade food for health.  Survival and scarcity do not bring out the best in us, and it’s a night and day difference from an abundance mentality.

    While I hated that life wasn’t fair, I also realized so much really was relative.  On my worst day, I could always find somebody in a worse situation.  Anybody can.  So that taught me an early attitude of grattitude.  It also taught me so many things about treating others as you would like to be treated, and help those who can’t help themselves, and lift others, and what goes around, comes around.

    At the same time, the injustice lit my fire.  I decided that the very best thing I could possibly do is learn how to survive and thrive in the game of life, and share whatever I learn to help lift others up.  I wanted to empower people with serious skills to flourish in life.  I’m a fan of the idea that giving people fish only helps so much, and the best way to make lasting change is to teach people to fish.  Knowledge is power, and education is a game changer … but getting the right education, sadly, is often only from the school of hard-knocks.  I wanted a better way.

    I wanted to put into every underdog’s hands, the best knowledge and skills in the world to give them a chance at a better life.

    I want people to flourish.  I want people to live their dreams.

    When people ask me why my books on the Web for free, I tell them it’s because I want everybody in the world to have it (yeah, that’s lofty.)  I wanted to help every underdog make the most of what they’ve got … and, I believe that we are all underdogs at some point in our lives … and it’s all relative.

    Who is the underdog now that Wosne has everything she needs, and she is the happiest woman in the world?

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Great perspective, JD.  Excellent closing question!

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    I loved opening the book and reading this Michael, it really made me want to read more. I was honored to be on Jeff’s team and get an advanced copy. I read the book on a flight to Australia and I thought I understood until I got to Sydney.

    Sydney is such a modern city but one thing that stood out were all the homeless people. We have them here of course but they’re so obvious, in the middle of everything there. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone so I gave a few bucks and started to talk to a few. To hear some of the stories made me realize how blessed and in a bubble I was, I definitely got wrecked!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      very cool, Kimanzi!

  • http://twitter.com/liveabundantly8 Living in Christ

    Loved this! My heart longs to do all that I can to make a difference…My husband and I have made the decision to adopt an orphan (older child) from Uganda.  I am 47 and my husband is 50 years old. Our oldest biological child is 22 years old. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it!? But we know without a doubt that God is calling us to do this.

    Thanks so much for writing this beautiful story.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      If it sounds crazy to us, it’s more likely to be from God.  If you could do it on your own, He wouldn’t get the credit!  Congrats on answering the call!

  • HeatherGoyette

    Thank you for sharing. I came to realize that I was living in a bubble about a year ago. The bubble is not just about how much “stuff” or money I have, but also how I utilize my time. It’s so easy to fall into a cycle of more and more activities, especially with a young family, that you lose sight of what is truly important. We go and go and do more and more, living each day in blurred chaos, that when I look back I wonder what was actually accomplished.

    I have found that breaking free of that bubble needs to intentional. To daily look around me, and look for ways to show God’s love to others. Some days I do a better job than others. I especially want to teach my children this. They are not spoiled but definitely lack for nothing! My husband and I are taking our oldest two children (ages 9 & 11) to the DR in October on a mission trip. I’m hoping it will be a life changing trip for them…for all of us!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Heather, what perfect ages to take your kids on a foreign mission trip!  It will certainly “wreck” their future for the good!

  • http://twitter.com/erintarr Erin Tarr

    headed to Liberia in January … great post to help me prepare.  Already ordered #WRECKED – on backorder everywhere though.  THanks Michael … great post as always! http://www.erintarr.com

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Erin. Should be getting some more copies soon!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    When we lived in Russia in the mid-90’s, I recognized that we had a safety net the Russian people didn’t have–a steady income from outside the country. At that time our Russian teacher friends received $15 a month for their work. And their paychecks were about 5 months behind. How the Russian people survived their situation still amazes me to this day. They were resilient under such harsh conditions.

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  • http://twitter.com/StuMcLaren Stu McLaren

    My experiences in Africa (particularly Kenya) mirror yours @mhyatt:disqus .  My takeaway as an entrepreneur was that “it’s ok” to want to make more money.  In fact, it’s “ok” to want to make as much money as I possibly can.

    The reason:  When you’ve made the money, you have the ability to channel it however you please (and that’s one of the big reasons my wife and I started our charity http://worldteacheraid.org).

    My “wrecked” experience was a new sense of responsibility as an entrepreneur to use my gifts to make more money and inspire others to channel their same gifts towards causes they too are passionate about (through our experience in Africa, we have dedicated our efforts there).

    That’s why my new mantra became:  Make More.  Give More.  Live More.

    I hope more entrepreneurs have a similar experience because it is life changing and tremendously rewarding.

    The book sounds great and I look forward to it’s release.

  • Pmpope68

    And one need not to go to Africa for the experience.  I say this because some people’s immediate reaction is to say that they can’t go to Africa.  One could visit a poverty-stricken area right within their own city; spend time volunteering in a homeless shelter or batter women’s shelter; just listening, REALLY listening to another’s story (something we don’t do enough of) might reveal a poverty we didn’t know existed that isn’t necessarily financial in nature.  I contend that opening our eyes, ears and hearts to all that is around us, can profoundly change our outlooks and perspectives.    

  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    THIS is why every believer (every person for that matter) should go on a missions trip to serve in a different cultural environment.  It is singularly transforming.
    Trips to Russia taught me generosity…always.
    Trips to Brazil taught me to celebrate people, not stuff.
    Trip to Kenya taught me the simple Gospel is enough. 

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  • http://lesdossey.com/ Les Dossey

    I’d like to offer some perspective that I didn’t notice as I read through the 300 or so comments.

    It is easy to get distracted by emotion (guilt), opinion or outward circumstance if we don’t guard our hearts and minds. Look to Christ who often dismissed the circumstances and opinions of others choosing rather to stay laser focused on fulfilling what God was leading him to do.

    God created each of us with a specific purpose and mission and we are to be led by God (not emotion, opinion or outward circumstance) in fulfilling it.

    Christ was led to the cross, which is exactly where God is leading us. 

    Ford to the manufacturing of automobiles.

    Al Gore to invent the internet. (smiling)

    Jobs to i-everything.

    Hyatt to build a platform.

    Each person created by God (all of us) should ask – What has God created me to do? Where am I being led, not by my emotions or the opinions of others or by outward circumstance, but by God?

    Then once you know be as vigilant, dedicated, caring, faithful and excellent at fulfilling it as Michael Hyatt has and is-in fulfilling his.

    Thank you Michael for being led to do what you do. My life is better because of you. Change, but only that which God leads you to change and like Christ dismiss (guilt free) with grace that which might distract you. 

  • Susan Wilkinson

    Bar none, my favorite post of yours, ever. :) 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Susan!

  • Michelle Colon-Johnson

    Michael, Thanks so much for the post. This very morning I struggled with a choice to make. I have lived in a different kind of bubble than what you described above. I have not seen my father for over 10 years and because I was not raised by my father I thought I would not feel the impact of his missing presence.
     My brother recently reached out to me and invited me to share a visit with him in Puerto Rico, where my father lives. You see my father is getting up in age, and is 89. I at first declined the invitation… But my brother being the kind/wise man he is expressed to me that I might not get a second chance to make peace. This left me thinking how short life truly is and being a 5 time stage 4 cancer survivor I surprised myself that I did not recognize the importance of the here and now. So reading your post made me purchase my tickets to join my brother and other siblings in Puerto Rico, in November for Thanksgiving. I am taking that leap of faith, even knowing that things might not turn out how I hope– but I at least will not have to live with wondering if they would have. I am sure many growth lessons will come from this experience.Wishing you many blessings! ~Michelle Colon-Johnson

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com/ steveborgman

    Michael, until we travel out of the bubble, it’s very difficult to really understand what’s on the other side.  I’m curious as to what practical changes you’ve made in your life since this trip?  I ask because I wish to reflect on these same things in my own life.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s a whole other blog post that I am considering. Frankly, it’s difficult to write this kind of stuff without appearing that I am bragging. Suffice it to say, we have worked hard to simplify our lives and reduce our expenses, so that we have more to give—both time and money.

      • http://www.personal-success-factors.com/ steveborgman

        Thanks, Michael.  I grew up in Brazil, South America, and I was highly sensitized to poverty.  But that was over 20 years ago, and I’ve become insulated once again.  Simplifying, giving, and continuing to get out of the bubble in service to others seem to be some starting solutions. 

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  • http://leftrightorg.wordpress.com/ Brittany

    Thanks for this. Speaking from expereince, I can tell you that the problem with a bubble is that the light gets distorted and the oxygen eventually runs out. We think that the world inside this bubble is cush and enlightened but in fact we’re missing out on the greatest adventure God has to offer us — a life lived in the trenches, alongside people that aren’t just like us, expressing God’s love in all sorts of wonderful and often unpredictable ways.

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  • http://www.stuckinnewyorkcity.com/about Ramon B. Nuez Jr.

    Michael, thanks for such a moving story. And I am not ashamed to say that teared-up half way through your story.

    It’s just comfortable to live in a bubble. It’s that security blanket we all had as children. And to live or even explore life outside that protection is difficult for many. 

    But as you have mentioned in this post and a few others — stepping outside of that comfort zone is the only way you will grow. And actually begin to live your life.

    My wife and I are not religious (but we was raised Catholic) — which at times I think is a disservice to my family. And as I have read about 7 of your posts — I can’t help but see the spiritual fulfillment.

    In you, the people you touch, your community leaders, guest bloggers, etc. Truly  moving.All I can say is thank-you. And I just went to Amazon to purchase Wrecked :-)

  • Lola

    Dear Michael,

    I generally benefit from reading your blogs and this one reinforces a life lesson we should all have close to heart, however I think it is inappropriate for you to refer to Africa as the dark continent. It was an old name for the continent when large parts had not been discovered and gradually grew into a term of insult.

    I am African, we don’t call it that and personally, I think it is offensive when people do.

    Regards,
    Lola

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  • toddstocker

    BUBBLE can be my life!  As a Pastor, it’s easy to spend my day/month only rubbing elbows with those like me.  Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://www.worldwidewonderings.net/ Aaron Sebesta

    Thanks for the recommendation on “Wrecked”, Michael – I picked it up today and am already half way through it – its a great set of stories and insight from Jeff.  My wife and I just recently returned from nearly 5 months in South America, so I can definitely relate to feeling “wrecked” and now searching for how best to take our new paradigm and use it to the fullest.  I’ve been getting caught up on your posts this week (for the record I agree with your decision to scale blogging back to 3 days a week) so I missed Jeff’s free give-a-ways, but am just glad to have the book as a confirmation that it’s a common feeling we’re having, and for the inspiration to keep pushing on. 
    Thanks again Michael and Jeff.

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  • Rami B.

    I ‘stumbled upon’ your article, incredible. I swear it inspired me since I am living in a bubble and literally started hating my life. Let’s hope I’ll be able to step out of my comfort zone…

  • StEwPiD_MoNkEy

    Interesting Story. As someone of ethiopian descent, I understand a little bit of what goes on there. My family is from Sidamo.
    My bubble broke in the military. They took a kid from the projects of the bronx NY and threw him overseas and allowed him to play with 30 million dollar aircraft.
    For instance, no one talks about the street gangs of poor children that run the streets of Naples Italy. Or roving bands of violent youths in England.
    anywho. I am a firm believer in you cannot give what you don’t have yourself. I take my kids to soup kitchens, we work with mentally disabled adults in homes and do things like sign up to different charities that use our home network to run simulations for AIDS, Cancer and other disease cures.
    I have no belief in god(s), so I cannot speak upon that and don’t find it relevant. We should have the need or a “creator” to understand that if we treat others with respect and love, the better our lives are.
    Keep up the good work sir.