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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Stop Six Thieves Before They Rob You

photo credit: angus mcdiarmid via photo pin cc

Today I want to do something a little different. As the new school year launches, it’s so easy to get sucked into the rat race again. Vacations are over, and the hectic fall schedule begins soon. I was musing about this recently, bracing myself for a fast-paced August and September. I often find I “lose” myself during this busy season.

I actually believe there are thieves that steal from us, when we get busy and don’t live our lives intentionally. May I remind you of the greatest thieves, the ones who sneak into our day and steal our passion for the work we do with students? Beware of these thieves in your life; in addition, warn your students about them as well:

 1. Procrastination is the thief of Opportunity.

Opportunity comes to everyone one of us; it may look different but each person faces some potential for good. Sadly, most of us miss that good because we delay preparation and action. Abe Lincoln wisely said, “Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

 2. Comparison is the thief of Contentment.

An intern told me that she lives a relatively contented life—until she gets on Facebook—and then, discontentment sets in. Why? Comparison. It robs us of being satisfied with what we have. Benjamin Franklin noted that if all our neighbors were blind, we would want neither fine clothes or fine houses. The same is true for them.

 3. Complacency is the thief of Love.

I no longer believe hatred is the opposite of love. Many times hatred can reverse its passion. Complacency is the culprit robbing us of acting on our compassion or generosity. When I’m complacent, I may feel something, but don’t possess the resolve to initiate anything. Note: the secret of getting ahead is getting started.

 4. Jealousy is the thief of Joy.

Thanks to my mother and my personal faith, I usually experience days full of joy and fulfillment. It’s that wicked emotion called jealousy that thwarts it. When I become jealous, I’m suddenly aware of what I lack, not what I possess; what I still need, not the blessings I enjoy. The jealous know nothing, suspect much, and fear everything.

 5. Self-absorption is the thief of Empathy.

Research tells us that empathy is dropping measurably in our culture. It’s not due to ignorance; we know the needs of our world instantly. It’s due to a narcissism that’s crept into our lifestyles; we care about others but not nearly as much as ourselves. I lack empathy for others’ needs because I’m too busy taking care of my own wants.

6. Fear is the thief of Commitment.

Finally, the greatest reason we fail to commit ourselves is fear: fear we cannot keep the commitment; fear that it’s the wrong commitment; fear that we might miss other options by committing ourselves. The fact is, the quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to a cause, regardless of their chosen field.

May you fasten a lock on yourself to prevent these thieves from stealing from you. Have you spotted any other thieves in your life?



  1. Jen C on August 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog since “meeting” you at FPEA convention in May. As a parent committed to launching from my home young people with an excellent foundation of faith, character, experience and work ethic (or die trying) I find your messages an encouragement and a resource to help me stay focused. I believe we as parents should be committed to intercessory prayer on our children’s behalf but that we also have a responsibility to persue personal excellence and mentor and encourage our children on the same path. Thanks for being a resource.

    • Tim Elmore on August 14, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Thanks so much for the encouraging comments! I wish you well in your parenting journey and hope that the resources here will be helpful along the way!

  2. May8 on August 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Lovely! Thanks for the tips. God bless.

  3. Pete on August 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Assumption is the thief of understanding. Often, I make quick judgments on people based on appearance or action and then have no interest in understanding what they really are because of a split second appraisal.

    • Tim Elmore on August 14, 2012 at 8:54 am

      So true! Great addition to the list. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

  4. Craig T. Owens on August 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Wow, great list!

  5. Ongky on August 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Great. Thanks

  6. CLP on August 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Wow! Powerful! So great to think about as we start a new school year in Fairfax, VA! Need this to be my computer screen! Really hope to get some of your materials in our district! So needed!

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Stop Six Thieves Before They Rob You