Break a Tradition to Find the Possibilities Hidden Inside

Good morning. It’s Friday! I hope your day is starting off well.

For many of us, this will be a weekend of religious observances, and a day with family accented by some traditional meals. For others, it’s just a normal springtime weekend to observe their own weekend traditions. Whatever your plans, I hope the weekend is just perfect.

It seems traditions work their way into our life, sometimes completely by accident. But once they become ingrained in us, it’s hard to deviate. But sometimes that deviation can lead to new traditions, or even a tradition of just seeing where life takes you. That can be fun as well.

Nearly twenty years ago when our girls were visiting a grandparent out of state, my wife and I decided to take a long weekend and go someplace. We didn’t know where we wanted to go – we just wanted to get away for a couple of days.

I remember as I was loading our luggage for the trip, I asked my wife, “So, which way are we going? North, south, east, or west?” She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know – pick one.” We hit the road, with no real idea of where we’d end up. And we had one of the most incredibly relaxing and enjoyable weekends ever.

Traditions can be great (not that we’ve ever had a real “tradition” for weekend outings), but they can limit your imagination and lead to a somewhat mundane existence. When we go to any of several familiar restaurants, I rarely even look at the menu because I already know what I’ll be eating. And sure, I get something I really like each time. But I always wonder what I may be missing.

Traditions are nothing more than habits, but with a more celebrated existence. Our family tradition of baked ham and macaroni & cheese casserole on Easter Sunday is a habit. One I really enjoy, mind you, but still a habit. And one that limits other possibilities. Like this year, when the menu will be traditional summertime cookout fare – hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato salad.

Notice how one tradition just slipped in there over another? Pretty sneaky, if you ask me. But it happens, because we’re all creatures of habit. We have routines that have become comfortable, and when decisions need to be made, we naturally gravitate to them. So, instead of a single tradition, we have a few. Then it’s just a matter of drawing one out of the hat.

And we follow this routine through much of what we do in our lives. I have certain combinations of clothing I wear. When I put on my blue pants, there are just a couple of shirts I’ll wear with them. And, most of the time, those shirts only get worn with my blue pants. So, the only real decision I make each morning, is which pair of pants to put on. From there it’s eenie-meenie-miney-mo.

In yesterday’s message, I stressed the point that we need to be willing to try new things. And sometimes those new things are so far outside the box, we’d have never thought of them on our own. When somebody suggests them, our brain immediately comes up with a dozen different reasons to resist. And if those reasons aren’t good enough, there are a dozen more behind them.

It’s simply because what we’ve been doing to this point in life is coloring inside the lines, following a pre-defined path that we laid out for ourselves. But if we want to turn the current picture into a masterpiece, we have to be willing to color outside the lines. We have to be willing to change those habits that have restrained us to this point and find some that will lead us where we want to be.

I’m not bashing traditions. We all have them, and there are some we have no desire to change. I could go to a Chinese restaurant for Easter – I just choose not to. And that resistance to something new will keep me from ever knowing what may have been. It’ll keep me in the same silo in which I’ve lived to this point in life. And in this case, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

But if there are traditions and habits that are holding you back, change them. If something new could lead you to where you want to be, do it. The mind is like a parachute – it only works when it’s open. Be receptive to new ideas, new habits, and new traditions. And then shut your brain down long enough to get past those excuses and examine the possibilities. What a difference it can make!

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When You Dream and Believe, Success is Inevitable

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’ve been meeting friends for the past couple of weeks, having lunch with a different person just about every day. The weather has finally gotten a little nicer, so we’re not as prone to just sitting inside all day. And it’s been great catching up with people I don’t get to see as much as I’d like. We should all do that more often.

We sit and talk about any of a number of things. Invariably, we’ll share some of our visions for the year, especially in terms of vacations. Nothing gets people excited more than the prospect of some time away from work, relaxing and seeing something they normally don’t get to see. And let me tell you, some of these people are really adventuresome! I need to hang out with them a little more.

In my business, that’s what we do. We talk with people. We find out what they do, we talk about family, and we share dreams. You may think you know the things somebody wants, until they look at you and say, “I want to sell my house and move to Switzerland.” Okay, I didn’t see that one coming.

For each of us, there are different things that motivate us. And, here’s a concept we don’t often talk about. Money is not a motivator – we may believe we get up each day and work for money, but what we’re working for are the things money can buy. Food, shelter, security, health, and the ability to enjoy a little more of what this world has to offer.

I have a friend who was giving a presentation in Mexico years ago and, through a translator, he told his audience they should put a picture of their dream on their refrigerator. All at once, a woman in the back jumped up and started yelling excitedly. He asked the translator what she was saying, and he replied, “She has a dream! She wants … a refrigerator!” Sometimes, you just never know.

But regardless of whether our dream is to take a European vacation, a beachfront home, or to simply own a refrigerator, it’s something that feeds our hope of a better future. The problem for many of us is that we allow our dreams to simply exist in the back of our mind, and only bring them to the surface when a nosy friend asks about them over lunch. The rest of the time, they just sit there.

I’ve quoted Napoleon Hill before in these posts, but in ten words, he says everything I’m writing about here this morning. “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Those are powerful words. It means if you can dream it up, and believe in yourself enough to go after it, your brain will find the way to make it happen.

I wish our schools would spend a little more time teaching positive reinforcement to our kids. Okay, I wish more parents would do that. When they’re little, we encourage every dream they have and celebrate every accomplishment. But somewhere in the teenage years, when family bonds mean all so much to them (insert sarcasm emoji here), that positive reinforcement seems to fade.

And that’s why it’s important as adults that we find a way to get it back. I don’t care how young or old you are, there is no point in your life when you should stop believing in yourself because there is no point in your life when you can’t begin to achieve whatever your heart desires. Success is simply a dream, belief, and a plan, repeated daily until the goal is achieved.

Dreams can get you up in the morning and make you do things you might not otherwise have done to achieve them. If your boss called you in tomorrow and said, “Give me an extra seven hours a week for the next two years, and I’ll buy you that beachfront home,” would you do it?

Then why not put in a few extra hours each week building something that will allow you to buy any home you want? To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. That may be putting in extra hours, going to a new church, starting a business, or simply having lunch with a different friend every day. Those little changes can be the start of something big.

Dream. Find something that makes you want to get up every morning. Then believe in yourself enough to work for it. Feed your brain with positive thoughts. Be willing to try something you’ve never done before. And, in those quiet moments of the day, listen to your mind. It’ll tell you what to do next.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Forget the Clouds and Focus on the Forecast

Good morning, and happy Hump day! I hope your day is starting off well.

Those of you who have been following my posts for a while know I’ve been trying to lose weight. The bathroom scale knows how well I’ve been doing in that endeavor. For a while it was smiling at me almost every day. But over the past week or so, it hasn’t been quite so gracious. I’m thinking it needs a new battery. Maybe a few.

One of the reasons it’s so hard to lose weight is because the feedback is both instantaneous and brutally honest. The scale isn’t out to ruin your day or make you feel like a big fat loser. It has one job – report the facts. And the fact is, our weight can fluctuate from one day to the next. That’s why it’s important to focus on the overall trend instead of the daily feedback.

It’s that way with a lot of things in life. A couple of years ago, my grandson and I built a shed with nothing more than a pile of lumber and my own imagination. And let me tell you, nothing very gratifying took place in the first few days. Turning over the ground and leveled is not fun work, and at the end all you have is a rectangle of dirt and some patio stones to show for your effort.

But over the next few days it began to take shape. And what sits in my backyard now is something worthy of all that effort. But there was enough frustration early on in the project to make us both question our sanity in taking on such a project. It happens.

In our business, things don’t always go according to plan. I’ll do the work that needs to be done, and nothing happens. I’ll fill my calendar with appointments, and the gods of destruction will swoop in and fill everybody else’s calendar with something else. People I need to call are not available. Customers need a little more time to decide. It’s all part of the game.

And any one of those setbacks could be enough to make a pessimist point to them and say, “See? I told you this won’t work!” But the overall trend tells a different story. It says, “You’re moving, and in the right direction. Just stick with the plan and you’ll get there.”

Setbacks are inevitable in anything we try to do. The boss changes requirements of the job just as you’re almost finished. Parts break. Pipes leak. Fuses blow and lights burn out. And that all-important tool you just can’t do without is nowhere to be found. Sure, it’s frustrating. But do we throw up our hands and walk away, or keep pushing forward?

When it’s our daily job, we don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. We mumble under our breath, let out a sigh of exasperation, and get back to work. We may even spend our entire lunch break checking the local job boards. But, short of actually finding another job, we do what has to be done.

So why are we so quick to give up on the things that matter most to us? There’s something you need to do toward your goals, but by the time you get home from work you’re just too tired. Besides, there’s grass to mow, bills to pay, dinner to eat – who has time? Excuses, excuses, excuses.

And it’s even harder in the very beginning when progress is that much harder to see. If I’d already lost thirty pounds, a week of bad news each morning would be a minor setback. But looking at the scale every day and seeing your original weight is a little harder to overcome.

The closer you are to the beginning of your goal, the harder it can be to see progress. My grandson and I spent a lot of time getting the ground leveled for that shed, and our only visible reward was a rectangle of dirt. The foundational work isn’t very gratifying, but it still needs to be done. Because, until we’ve built that foundation, we can’t begin to build on top of it.

As you define your goal, remember that every little step you take is a step closer toward your eventual success. But you have to keep taking those steps. Setbacks are simply a reminder that, if this was easy, everybody would be doing it. They exist to give us those gentle course corrections we need from time to time. And they’re a reminder that we need to keep going, to work past them.

Don’t let setbacks keep you from reaching your goals … on the job, at home, on the drive, or in your personal endeavors. Just keep doing what you need to be doing, and you’ll get there. It works every time.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

A Single Spark Can Change It All

Good morning! I hope you’re having a nice day so far.

It would be hard to write anything today without addressing the news of yesterday’s devastating fire at the Notre Dame. Thankfully the main part of the building was saved, as well as many of the important works of art. But the damage has forever left an 850-year-old cathedral permanently changed, and those who see it in the future will see a substantially different historical landmark.

It appears most of what was destroyed can be rebuilt and, to the naked eye, will retain its original magnificence. But I read an article yesterday that described the building’s huge oak timbers, cut from trees in the surrounding area that were saplings nearly 1200 years ago. Lumber like that just isn’t available anymore, and it’s just one more architectural feature that will never be the same.

As I read the news and watched video of the fire, starting in a relatively small area of the roof and rapidly growing to consume most of the skyline, it occurred to me that this is just one of the many historical treasures in this world I’ve never seen, and quite possibly would never again have the opportunity to see. It could have been reduced to rubble by this time today.

I spoke with a woman at work who’s traveling to France and Germany in a few weeks. The Notre Dame was one of her planned destinations. I thought of all those people who were planning to celebrate Easter in or near the cathedral this week. For many of them, this would have been their first visit. But, simply by virtue of this year’s Lenten calendar, they’re arriving one week too late.

All through our lives, we make choices. Most of us have some type of “bucket list” of things we’d like to see and do before our days on this earth are over. We make choices along the way, sometimes opting to set our dreams aside for another day. Those choices may be voluntary or imposed upon us by circumstances over which we have little control, but the net result is the same.

We always assume that, for whatever it is we want to do, tomorrow is always an option. We put off that vacation until the kids are a little older. Then we put it off until they’re grown. Then we put it off until we’ve saved a little more for retirement. Then we put it off until after we retire. Our intentions were sincere. But then one small spark changes it all.

Sadly, you hear that same story repeated over and over in the funeral parlor. Plans people had made to call or visit “sometime soon,” invitations they turned down or never extended themselves, that one big get-together they’d been dreaming about for years. And then, in an instant, those plans are forever changed.

The intentions were sincere. But intentions can’t be shared and enjoyed. They can’t build those memories that people will treasure for a lifetime. They can’t even motivate us to act on our dreams. They are simply a thought floating around in our head, occasionally reminding us of something we hope to do someday.

If there are people in your life you would miss tomorrow, call them today. Don’t just make plans to visit – do it. You can probably come up with a dozen excuses for putting it off until another day … time, money, your work schedule, other obligations … all valid reasons on the surface, but excuses that will haunt you for a long time if fate steps in with other plans.

If there’s something in this world you really want to see, whether it’s a cathedral, a famous theater, a redwood forest, or a bunch of faces carved in the side of a mountain, don’t wait for the perfect opportunity because things will never be perfect. Life has little regard for our intentions, and until we act on them, they’re little more than a checklist for our obituary.

Build that dream list and start checking things off instead of crossing them off. The best of intentions won’t mean a thing when the opportunity is gone. As we found out yesterday, it can all change with a single spark. So, let that spark come from within. And, once it’s started, never let that fire die.

Make time for the things you want to do in your life. Make time for the people you want to see. Someday is now. Today. Change the things you need to change and prioritize what’s important to you. If money is an issue, make some. If time is the problem, find some. If physical impairments are getting in the way, work around them. Other people do it every day. You can, too.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Do You Want to Be Good At?

Good morning, and happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

I spent a good part of mine doing my taxes. It’s a necessary evil that could be made a lot simpler with technology, but that’s not the case. I was pleasantly surprised to find the main form (1040) much shorter than it used to be. But that was just an illusion, because additional forms have been added this year. So, what used to be on one form is now on several. That’s what I call progress.

And it’s also what I call a perfect opportunity for an accountant to earn some of my money next year. I remember the last time I replaced a front spindle on my truck, I told my wife that would be the last time. My days of climbing under a car are over. And the same is true of taxes. There’s a reason other people get paid to do this. And I’m about to find out.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I’m willing to tackle just about any task. Okay, maybe even a little smug. I learned to work on cars because a basic set of tools is cheaper than a mechanic, and you can use the tools over and over again. I stuck my toe in the water with some oil changes and odd jobs like that. Then I rebuilt my first engine. It ran for almost a year after that. I’m just sayin’.

In that case, all of the repairs I did were done correctly. I just stopped short of removing the crankshaft to check for wear and, as it turned out, I should have kept going. So, you learn. But once again, I still remember the moment I decided that car had finally gotten the better of me. As oil poured from the top of the engine, I said those famous words … “That’s it! I’ve had enough!”

Well, you can add taxes to the growing list of things Dave won’t do again. Once upon a time, writing the checks was the hardest part. But there’s a reason judges don’t recommend that people represent themselves in court. There’s a reason airlines make us sit in the back of the plane. And there’s a reason hospitals won’t let you remove your own gall bladder.

There’s no job in the world that any of us couldn’t learn. It’s been said that we use roughly 3-4% of our mental capacity on a given day. That leaves a lot of brain power for learning new stuff. But learning it is one thing – getting good at it is another matter completely. That takes time, practice, and lots of experience making the same mistakes the rest of us would make.

I read something yesterday that said the only difference between the master and the student is that the master has failed more times than the student has tried. You could apply that same statement to the principles of success and say the difference between success and failure is the successful person has failed more times than the unsuccessful person will ever try.

As we learn new skills, mistakes are inevitable. In the pursuit of success, we will fail a lot. The difference is, failure is only temporary until we accept it as a way of life. Successful people just never made that choice. They have a goal that’s more powerful than any obstacle life can place in their way. And they glide over it like an Olympic hurdler. They make it look easy.

You look at them and think, “That person could go into a septic tank and come out with a pot of gold.” And, to a degree, that’s true. But it’s not a special skill they were born with. It’s simply the burning desire to find that pot of gold, no matter what. The reason they’re so good at it is because they’ve done it so many times.

There will be things in your life that are better left to the “experts.” You could learn to do any one of them, and if you put in the time to build those skills, you could be really good at them. The trick is deciding what you want to be good at, and what you’re willing to leave to somebody else.

As you drive past stately homes in “that” part of town, or see people getting on a plane for exotic locations you’ve only dreamed about, ask yourself a simple question – is this something I’m willing to leave to the experts, or is this something I want to take the time to learn? The answer to that question will shape the rest of your life.

Success isn’t a skill – it’s a choice. None of us can be great at everything, so be great at the things that matter to you most. And, once you’ve made that commitment, don’t let anything stand in your way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Did You Remember to Say “Thank You?”

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off well.

I’d like to tell you I’ve got some awesome plans for the weekend, but unless awesome begins with filing taxes, I guess I’d be lying. I don’t know why I wait until the last minute every year. It’s just become a tradition. Beyond that, I need to mow the lawn for the first time this year, set up a new computer, do some cleaning, and make breakfast sandwiches for the next month.

Yes, you heard me right. Once a month, I spend a couple of hours at the stove making sandwiches and burritos I can throw in the freezer. Then, each day before work, I grab one out and put it in my lunchbox. It saves money, and I know exactly what I’m getting. I can’t say the same for what comes out of the vending machine at work.

This habit started because our vending supplier at work didn’t seem to care that I was partial to one really tasty breakfast item. It was there for a couple of months, then they never stocked it again. I didn’t care for the alternatives, and when I asked about my favorite, he just shrugged his shoulders. So, I started making my own and now they don’t get any of my money. That’ll show ‘em!

We’re all creatures of habit. Okay, some more than others. When my wife and I go to a restaurant we’ve been to before, she could order for me because I usually don’t even look at the menu. I know what I’m having before we even get there. Sure, I probably miss out on some other delicacies as a result. But I’d also miss out on my favorite Buffalo wings or bourbon-glazed salmon.

Once we become accustomed to something being there, we notice when somebody takes it away. Especially if it was something we liked. But, here’s the question – did we tell anybody we liked it? Did we thank them for it? Did we show our appreciation on a fairly regular basis, or did we just complain the one time this month we went looking for it and it wasn’t there?

Whether it’s breakfast items in the vending area, a box of donuts somebody brings in on a Friday morning, or just a warm smile and greeting from somebody we don’t even know, people want to feel like it makes a difference. They need to know the little bit of extra effort taken to brighten your day in some small way is appreciated.

It’s the little things that count. A handshake your first day in church, a compliment from a co-worker, a warm greeting from a complete stranger walking down the street, or a little extra effort to stock my favorite breakfast item in the vending machine. Sorry, I just can’t let that go.

But the point is, if none of those efforts are rewarded with even the slightest expression of gratitude, people tend to drop the behavior and move on. There’s an old adage that says if every time I walk through a certain door I get punched in the face, it won’t be long before I stop walking through that door. I think we can all relate to that.

Every day, people in our life walk through that door, hoping to find a friendly face on the other side. Kindness is more than just an attitude – it’s an effort we make. It takes thought. It takes consideration. And it takes courage. Because, any time we put ourselves out there, we never know what the response may be. There are some people who just can’t be nice about anything.

Take a little time today to pay somebody a compliment. Thank them for the things they do that make your day just a little brighter. Let them know it makes a difference. And remember, what makes you feel better will often make others feel just the same. There is no copyright on kindness. You can plagiarize it all day long, and not one person will complain. Try it!

I don’t know how I got from breakfast sandwiches to acts of random kindness, but that’s just how my mind works. It’s early in the morning, and my brain is in full swing. Besides, you’re used to it by now. It’s not important how we got here – what’s important is where we go from here. You can make a difference in somebody else’s life today. Don’t miss that opportunity. It’ll brighten the day for both of you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

A Place Where Suggestions Become Reality

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’m getting a late start today, so this post may be a bit shorter than most of the others. And as I’m writing this, I’m hearing a loud chorus of “Woohoo!” in the background. I know I get a bit long-winded sometimes. It’s just part of my personality. I’ve never been known to be at a loss for words.

It means a lot to me that you folks take time to read these posts each day, and that some of you actually look forward to them. Not so much because you’re reading and commenting on something I wrote, but that you’re taking a few minutes each day to fill your mind with what I hope is a message of positivity and inspiration.

I’ve said this before, but our minds are like a sponge. When you put a sponge in any kind of liquid, it soaks it up. It may be the cleanest water, or the foulest-smelling spill, the sponge doesn’t care. Its job is simply to soak things up. And, regardless of what it is, the sponge will pretty much soak it up equally fast, and hold it a long, long time. Especially the nasty stuff.

There’s a part of your brain that creates conscious thought – it processes everything coming in to fully assess the situation, and then spits out its best-possible response. And that response is based on everything we’ve learned to that point in time, good, bad, or indifferent. Because everything we’ve learned over the years is there in your brain’s hard drive, just waiting to be used.

And much like a computer’s hard drive, there’s a part of the brain in which all input becomes a source of truth. If I were to misspell a word in this post (believe me, it’s happened), that word will be sent around the world exactly as I wrote it. If I’m lucky, the computer will put a red squiggly line under the word to let me know I made an error.

But the brain isn’t quite so gracious. The much larger part of your brain handles subconscious thought, and that’s the part where all those things we see and hear each day, the words we hear, the messages we read, and the things we experience, are stored away for instant recall. And every one of those bits of information, to that part of our brain, becomes a source of truth.

Have you ever watched a hypnotist onstage? It’s hilarious, the things they can make people say and do. And they’re not really “making” people do anything. All they’re doing is tapping into the subconscious mind, and then making suggestions. When you can bypass the conscious mind and go directly into the subconscious, every suggestion becomes real.

So, yes, it’s possible to filter out some of what goes into your subconscious if your conscious mind is actively on the job. The problem is, much like a magician’s sleight of hand, what you consciously see and hear is only part of the equation. They get you focused on one hand to keep your attention off the other. And that’s how negative thoughts slip unchecked into your subconscious.

So, be careful about the input you allow into your brain. You can’t control other people, or the things they say and do. But you can control the amount of time you spend around them, and the surroundings in which you choose to be. You control the things you read, the shows you watch, and dozens of other things that affect what feeds into your subconscious.

To the extent that you can control your surroundings, you can control what goes into your brain. Feed it with positive thoughts, and it’ll return positivity when you need it most. Control what goes into your brain. Garbage in, gospel out. You can’t filter out all forms of negativity, but you can certainly overpower it with the positive. And that, my friends, is the foundation of happiness.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved