Our ambitions determine the kind of person we become, and the kind of person we become determines what we will do in life. And since what we do in life can have lasting—even eternal—results, it’s no surprise that many of us strive to reach our ambitions. Yet while we can be consumed with pursuing worldly, secular ambitions for career and family, our spiritual ambitions are too often left to chance as we drift through life.
Tom agreed to an interview. Enjoy! Let’s begin. Please tell the readers a little about yourself.
My name is Tom Schutle. People have told me I am a deep thinker over a wide range of topics, and an observer.
You are an author. When did you publish your first work?
What is the Title?
Spiritual Ambitions, (How rich Do You Want to be in Eternity) is my first book, published in January of 2018.
What do you do?
I was the environmental steward for an incinerator. I am currently retired, spending my time volunteering for the Red Cross, working in a jail and prison ministry, and writing.
Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences.
I am absolutely not athletic, but rode in the BP MS-150 bicycle ride, and successfully rode from Houston to Austin (172 miles).
I also won the District 68 toastmaster evaluation contest in 2016
What are your greatest professional strengths?
I bring a creative focus to every problem, looking to the basis to resolve them. I am also very eclectic, being well read in my field, and able to bring greatly different subjects to solve seemingly unrelated problems. I also have a high level of integrity, which has put me in interesting situations.
I get so focused on what I am working on that I tend to come across as aloof and intimidating.
Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?
The organization I support the most is the Gideons International, because their mission is to put the Word of God in as many places as possible where people are hungry.
What do you think you have had to overcome to be who you are today?
Tough question. I grew up in a place where I had to work fields all day. As a result, I have trouble socializing at most levels.
What is the last book that has made you cry?
If a fictional book is such that I would cry, I generally put it down. I am touched by true stories of people who gain success in spite of terrible circumstances and the huge cost they incur.
I just finished “Hope for the Caregiver” by Peter Rosenberger, published by Worthy Inspired. I recommend it for those that are either a primary caregiver, or soon will be.
I’m working through a book by Donald Frazier, “Greek Nuggets” published by Tate publishing.
What’s your dream job?
Since I am retired, I can choose my job without worrying about hours or pay. I am getting close to living my dream job, with my efforts in prisons, and writing.
What is your definition of success?
After I die, hearing Jesus say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Would you say, while on earth now, you are successful and if so, in what ways?
I can never say I am 100% aligned with my definition of success. But, I am more so today than yesterday, and plan on being less today than tomorrow.
What are a few of your greatest professional achievements?
I have a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve, and a Masters in Engineering from the University of Louisville. More important than my degrees is the life-long attitude of continually learning. I have completed the creative writing specialization – Wesleyan University, through Coursera. As an engineer, I was once the president of an associated trade association. My writing will far eclipse that, and hopefully, will be more impactful.
Thank you for that! Do you have long-term goals that you can share with the readers?
Spiritual ambitions really are goals that are moving targets. No matter how close you come, the target is always just out of reach and still a viable goal.
In many ways, Spiritual Ambitions describe my overarching life goals. I believe that our spirituality determines almost the rest of our life. Because of this, concentrating on my relationship with Jesus will positively impact the lessor parts of my life.
In a more specific sense, A second book, The Last Leaf, will be released in two months.
I have four more projects scheduled for 2018, which are:
- “The fire in my belly,” about the journey of an immigrant family told from the perspective of his furnace, which is in polish edit
- “Is the Holy Spirit a Liar,” discussing why we don’t see more changed lives after salvation and what we should, individually, do about it, is about half-finished
- “Examples of Sin,” This tentative title addresses examples of sin from scripture, with the objective of putting a mirror to ourselves, is about a quarter finished
- “Why doesn’t God hear me?” This tentative tile addresses, scriptural, reasons why God doesn’t answer prayer, is in outline form
In 2019, I’m planning another book, “The Lazy Man’s Way to a Successful Marriage,” which is at the conceptual stage.
I work best by working on the first one, then, when stuck, switching to the second, and so forth.
I have other goals (the typical lose weight, exercise, blah blah), along with reading the Bible through, participate in two exhaustive Bible studies.
That’s very good! So, if a youth walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
God has created you for a purpose that only you can accomplish. If you don’t, that purpose won’t get done. No one else can take your place. Your challenge is to discover that purpose, which starts with a practical relationship with Jesus. After that, He will guide in that purpose. I have observed many situations where people have a good concept, but somewhere, fall down in the execution. If it really is a good goal then one should research that goal, asking for advice from those that have done the same thing or similar.
Typically, people don’t seem to reach their goals because they haven’t “counted the cost” or in other words, have not determined the resources (time, skills, and money) to accomplish the goal.
Using my book as an example, I soon found out I don’t have a lot of the needed skills to bring it to market. I could have learned the skill, settled for a lessor goal, or hire the work. I don’t want to learn the skill nor settle for an inferior product, so I chose the third option. My belief is these decisions will give me the best chance for my goal to be successful.
It is very hard to create. I am unable to do more than about two hours of creative thinking at one time. Much of the writing effort is “grunt” type work, such as reviewing for grammar, sentence flow, etc.
I am currently frustrated by how the seasons flow in “the Fire in my Belly.” It is important that certain things happen when there is snow, and others in summer, yet the way people age makes this extremely difficult to get correct. The difference is minor to the reader, most might not notice the issue, but I am striving to do the best I can and I know when it isn’t my best.
Finally, be very careful whom you admire. You begin to become like those you admire.
How do you go about reaching goals?
We make time for those things important to us. The key is to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. I personally like the acronym SMART when setting Goals
S – Specific
A – Attainable
T- Time goal will be accomplished.
It sounds like I am very organized, but I am not. Reaching goals is a major struggle for me, which was one of the reasons behind developing “Spiritual Ambitions.”
I want to point out that I have written a detailed, twelve-page plan for “Spiritual Ambitions.” As I move through the process and learn more, I continually revise this plan.
A quote I like is “Plans are worthless, planning is invaluable.”
It is important to write goals down, and then look at them. Goals that you don’t keep and set before you to see are monuments for good thinking, not practical living.
Monuments belong in cemeteries.
I have learned one major fact from my writing effort. The amount of resources – my time, energy, cost, and the time to bring the book to market – is far, far more than I anticipated.
Have you ever created a vision board?
No. However, I use other tools which accomplish similar objectives, such as mind maps, etc.
I love quotes! Do you have a favorite motto that you live by?
I have two
1) Seek first the kingdom of God
2) If everyone agrees with you, you are probably wrong.
By the way, the kingdom of God is His complete governing rule in my life.
If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???
The book’s web site is www.ThomasVictorSchutle.com
Through email –firstname.lastname@example.org