If You Want to Win, You’ve Got to Play

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

There was once a young man who was convinced happiness was his to behold, if only he could win the lottery. Years went by, but luck never fell his way. Finally, he turned to prayer. “God please! It doesn’t even have to be a mega-lottery! Just enough to make my life better. And I’ll even donate some to charity!” We always throw that one in there for good measure.

Well, this went on for several more years, and still no luck. And his frustration was beginning to show. “What’s up, God? The Bible says, ‘ask and ye shall receive.’ So, when is it my turn? When do I receive?” As he settled back into a corner to sulk, this booming voice came down from the Heavens. “Help me out here, Jim … buy a ticket!”

We’ve all met people who seem to have all the luck. Everything they touch turns to gold. Success is attracted to them like ants to a picnic basket. They walk around all the time with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. They live in the nicest house, drive the nicest cars, and vacation all over the world. It’s enough to make you sick.

And you sit there watching in amazement, certain that sooner or later, luck will come your way. It’s the law of averages. Sit in one place long enough and sooner or later the bluebird of happiness will land on your shoulder. It has to land somewhere, right? And a moving target is harder to hit. Yeah. Tell that to the pigeon that just flew over as you were walking into church.

Okay, I’m just gonna throw this out there. Luck is absolutely a factor. It’s a huge factor. In fact, most success would never come without a certain element of luck. Surprised? All this time I’ve been telling you that you can accomplish anything, and now I’m saying it only happens if you encounter some good luck? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

But you can’t hit a home run from the dugout, and you can’t catch the winning pass from the grandstands. Luck plays a part, but first you have to be in the game. You have to step up to the plate, bat in hand, and stare down a fastball. You have to plow through a line of blockers and run down the field to … okay, that’s why I never caught the winning pass. I don’t run.

And, in all honesty, there’s a little more to it than that. I never really wanted to run. While the star hitters were at batting practice, I was riding my mini bike. While the football team was in the weight room deadlifting Volkswagens, I was drawing pictures. Oh, I got to play. League rules, you understand. But my position was usually tackling dummy. Wonder why?

You see, merely stepping onto the field isn’t enough, unless you’re hoping a fast pitch will accidentally hit your bat and ricochet over the center-field wall. You also have to be ready for that perfect pitch and know what to do when it comes. It takes muscle to swing the bat that hard, not to mention a well-developed eye-to-hand coordination. It takes practice.

I can’t remember who said this first, but success is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. We all think opportunity is the hard part, but it really isn’t. Anybody can try out for the team, or apply for a job, or start a new business. Opportunity is the easy part. But unless you’re ready to capitalize on that opportunity, it’ll just move on to somebody who is.

The two things you can control – the only two things – are stepping up to the plate and taking a swing. Sure, your swing has to be good, but that comes with practice. You know, stepping up to the plate and taking a swing. The rest largely relies on factors beyond your control – the speed of the pitch, the curve of the ball, the dryness of the pitcher’s hand – and just plain old luck.

Success in any endeavor relies largely on luck and it won’t always go the way you’d planned. Jobs will come and go. Customers won’t always want what you have to offer. Kids will eventually follow their own path. But the longer you stay in the game, the better your odds of scoring a hit.

Opportunity is the game itself – to capitalize on opportunity, you need to get in the game and play your best every day. The more times you step up to the plate, the more passes you throw, the better your odds of success. Luck will still play a part. You can’t change that, but you can stack the odds in your favor. Control what you can. The rest will work itself out.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

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

The weekend is over and it’s back to the old grind. You ever notice how, when we want a new job, we’ll do anything and everything to get it? We send out resumes, we dress up, we interview … we’d rub ourselves down with alcohol and jump through flaming hoops if that’s what it took. But once we’ve got the job, all we think about is the alcohol. Go figure.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Or, as Erma Bombeck so eloquently observed, the grass is always greener over the septic tank. I’m sure there’s some hidden motivational gem in there – I just haven’t figured it out yet. But I have noticed several clumps of bright green grass in my back yard that coincide with the dog’s potty habits. Move on, Dave.

We always want what we don’t have, and when we’ve got it we want something else. That’s human nature. It begins not long after we first open our eyes and realize somebody else has something we don’t. It could be a scrap of toilet paper, but it’s the most awesome and fun-looking scrap of toilet paper on the planet. And if we get our hands on it – in the mouth it goes.

This concept is on full display with my two youngest grandchildren. Okay, they’ve stopped eating toilet paper, but if one has a toy – any toy – it becomes a conquest for the other to get it away from them. They know the rules of sharing … it’s yours until you put it down. And if the other yawns or scratches their nose, it’s gone. Not very quietly, I might add.

And as soon as that toy is gone, the one they were playing with swaps hands, and the cycle repeats itself. They both strut around with their new treasure, until the other looks away from theirs for just a second. It’s their first lesson in legal justice – possession is nine points of the law. And if all else fails, it simply comes down to which one can throw the best punch.

You’d think we’d outgrow that as we get older, but we really don’t. We want what’s in front of us until it’s not in front of us anymore. Oh, we’re proud of our accomplishment and we revel in it for a while. Until something shinier comes along. Then we immediately launch a plan to get it. Thankfully, biting and pulling hair isn’t part of the plan. Most times.

And you know what? That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful, or that you’re never satisfied with what you’ve got. It simply means you can still dream, and you’ve still got enough inner drive to achieve even greater goals. Okay, it means you can wish for it. Sometimes, we’re a little lacking when it comes to motivation. And that’s what stops most of us dead in our tracks.

In business, I hear people all the time saying, “I could never succeed at something like that. It’s just not who I am.” Fair enough. But you know what they say … behind every successful man is an astonished woman. So, let me ask you this. How many times in your life have you succeeded at something to the point that you shocked even yourself?

If you have a job, you succeeded at something most of us don’t really enjoy, where the odds of success are stacked against you because there are several, maybe hundreds, of other people trying to knock you out of the running. And they may not punch and pull your hair, but they’ll do anything possible to stack the odds in their favor, because only one person can win.

But success is not a zero-sum game where one person has to lose in order for another to win. And even though you may keep score, nobody else does. Oh, maybe if they think they can laugh at you for still being in the hunt. You know the quickest way to shut people like that up? Quit. Give up. They’ll stop talking on the spot, because now you’re just like them.

Now, if the message you took from that is to stop trying, we need to talk. Nobody’s opinion matters besides your own. And in chasing your dreams, you’ll encounter lots of other people with the same goal. But unlike that one position the company is hiring, any number of people can achieve the same dream. Unless the dream is to beat everybody else, and then you’re on your own.

It’s fun to win, but winning means somebody else has to lose. And sometimes, that somebody is you. Find something where there’s room for everybody, where there’s no hair-pulling to hold you down, and give it all you’ve got. Success is easy once you learn how to create your own.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What On Earth Are You Eating???

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

I like food. We’ll just get that out there right now. If you could see my belly, that’s all the proof you’d need. And so, it stands to reason that I might spend a little time checking out online recipes. Especially since Red Lobster decided the world no longer needs its coconut shrimp bites. Thanks a lot! But, as it turns out, there’s an excellent copycat recipe online. So there!

Lately, I’ve been focusing more on healthy eating. That’s not to say I actually do it – just that it’s something I think about. But it’s the thought that counts, right? My wife always says that as she opens her Christmas gifts, so it must be true. Now, if somebody could just explain that to my bathroom scale.

The problem with healthy eating, in my opinion, is simply a matter of taste. Well, sometimes you have to get past the smell first. There is no green leafy vegetable on earth that smells good when you cook it. God didn’t invent one. If you’ve ever wondered what a wet diaper would smell like in the microwave, just steam some broccoli. The two are about identical.

But God has a sense of humor. I love a nice cold beer. Problem is, we can’t just drink beer all day. I’m sure I read that somewhere. Broccoli, on the other hand, is supposed to be one of nature’s most nutrient-packed foods, right up there with liver and spinach. Plus, you can never eat too much broccoli because it tastes like turpentine. I’ve done the research.

Yet, as I look through row after row of whacked-out flavors of potato chips, it occurs to me that corporate chemists can replicate just about any flavor. I have my doubts on that, but I’ve never actually tried the vinegar & pumpkin spice, so for all I know they nailed it.  And if that’s the case, answer me this – why hasn’t anybody figured out how to make broccoli taste like beer?

America is one of the richest, most technologically advanced nations, yet we are among the most mal-nourished people on the planet. Notice I didn’t say under-nourished. We’re eating plenty. Too much, in fact. But what we’re eating is about as nutritious as those Styrofoam peanuts in the Amazon box. Don’t laugh. I’m pretty sure they’re on the keto diet.

And, being the land of opportunity, there is an entire industry based on helping us spend our hard-earned money on weight-loss products that promise to make us lose weight while we sleep and taste like those Styrofoam peanuts with a dash of powdered almonds. Nobody loses weight, because nobody actually eats that stuff. Not without fries.

Well, the good news is you can get used to anything if you give it enough time. I’ve seen kids in other countries eating grasshoppers without pinching their nose, so I know it can be done. And I hear they’re loaded with protein. Yeah. So is peanut butter, and it goes a lot further on a piece of toast.

To be honest, there are some meal replacements that taste great, have a pleasant consistency, and provide all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. “But they’re so expensive!” Really? Compared to what? A Big Mac? Take another look. And take another taste while you’re at it. They’ve come a long way over the years. The meal bars, that is.

I think the biggest problem with some of these products is in our own mind. You drink a shake that has all the vitamins and nutrients you need and enough fiber to hold you over for at least a few hours. You’re satisfied – not full, but no longer hungry. And then your brain kicks in. “Well, that was my drink. Now what’s for lunch?” Willpower is still a factor.

I’ve found a brand of meal replacements I really like. I don’t care for certain flavors, and none of them taste like steak. But you can always get vanilla and mix it up the way you want. Nothing says we can’t get creative. Just don’t load up your breakfast smoothie with candy bars and caramel syrup. It kinda defeats the purpose.

We can only cheat the system for so long when it comes to our health. Nothing says you can’t have that cheeseburger, and we should enjoy the things we eat. But balance it out with something healthier. Whether that’s broccoli, smoothies, or meal bars, find what works for you and stick with it.

Good health is one of those things we think about later in life, after we’ve made all the wrong decisions and are living with the consequences. We’re in the middle of a global health crisis that isn’t getting any better. Nothing can prevent us from getting sick, which is why it’s all the more important to be healthy at the outset. You can only take out what you put in. Make it count.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

In Your Quest for Success, Don’t Overlook the Classics

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

I read a post yesterday that said, “if the only thing you can think to say is ‘good morning’ we can’t be friends.” Wow. That cut deep. Guess I’ve been doing this all wrong. I mean, okay, that’s not your typical greeting in a funeral home, but can you cut me some slack? It comes from the heart.

I’ve often wondered if it bothers anybody that the first two words of my daily posts and the last eight are always the same. If you don’t know, you’ll have to read to the end to find out. That’s what corporate America calls suggestive selling. “Want some fries to go with that bucket of paint?” Well, you get the idea.

Okay, first things first. You don’t EVER have to ask me if I want fries. That’s like asking if I want cheese on my cheeseburger or a fork with my soup. Both have happened. It’s like, “Yeah, I want cheese, but on the side.” Here’s a tip – don’t ever tell them you want your cheese on the side, because that’s the one thing they’ll get right. And it’ll actually be melted.

Wow, that went off-course fast. Back to my original train of thought – saying good morning. I guess I understand the sentiment behind that meme. It’s like seeing an old friend on the street and saying, “Yo, how’s it going?” How’s what going? And do you really even care? Or are you just uttering a few blank words to get them to acknowledge your presence?

“Can’t you think of anything a little more original?” That’s a rather brusque way of saying, “I’ve heard that one before.” Well, aren’t you the perfect example of worldly knowledge? Heard that one before, huh? Maybe more than one person wanted to wish you a nice day. Oh, the horror! Can just one person blow a raspberry in my face and kick me in the shins as they walk past?

We like originality. It shows a creative spirit, not to mention the little bit of extra thought that goes into crafting a more personalized greeting. But, come on. How many times have you watched the same movie? If you watch cable TV, you do it all the time. Especially this year when Covid has all but shut down Hollywood. We’ll be seeing reruns for years.

And sometimes, the old classics are still the best. To date, nobody has tried to do a remake of Gone With the Wind or The Sound of Music. Want to know why? They were awesome the first time around, and they’re just as entertaining today as they were fifty-plus years ago. And any attempt to make them better would likely result in a box-office flop.

The same is true of a lot of things in life. Like advice, for instance. Look both ways before crossing the street. Don’t take candy from strangers. Don’t golf in a lightning storm. And always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident. Okay, that last one was more for mom’s self-esteem, but you get the idea. Old ideas don’t always go out of style.

Yet, when somebody says they have a dream, and in order to achieve that dream they need a little extra income, what happens when you suggest one of the time-proven classics? “Oh, I’m not doing THAT! I had a cousin who tried that one. I want to come up with something on my own. Or maybe I’ll take your idea and make it even better!”

There’s nothing wrong with originality. It’s what got us to where we are today – somebody looking at the status quo and saying, “There has to be a better way.” But you know, all these centuries later, round wheels are still the best and heartfelt greetings are still a good way to start the day. Some things are just fine the way they are.

The question, then, becomes whether we’re willing to stick with the tried and true when it best suits our purposes, even if others think it’s lame. There are lots of roads leading to any destination, but there’s always one that’s faster, smoother, and easier. And odds are, you won’t be the first person to discover it. But what’s more important? The destination or your ego?

Don’t look past opportunity because you didn’t dream it up. Most opportunities in life are somebody else’s idea, and you may know several people who tried and failed. Thomas Edison knew a few. So did Madame Curie. They succeeded where many others had failed. And it wasn’t because they invented something new. They just made the most of what was already there.

If others have found success in something, so can you. Sure, you can blaze your own trail and name it after yourself when you get there. Or you can follow a path others have laid out for you and enjoy the destination that much sooner. The choice is up to you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Define Your Own Limitations – Don’t Let Them Define You

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

Have you ever thought about the advice we give kids, about how they can conquer the world and be anything they want if they only work hard enough? “There’s nothing you can’t do!” Then they try to climb the refrigerator shelves to reach the cookies purposely placed out of their reach, and the rules suddenly change. So much for ingenuity.

All through our lives, we’re told to dream big and aim high. I saw a sign on somebody’s desk once that read, “Aim for the moon – even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Well, if you think there are stars orbiting the moon, maybe we’re getting at the root of the problem.  That’s not to say you’re doomed to failure, but a Mensa scholarship probably isn’t in your future.

We all have limitations. Some we were born with, and some we’ve developed along the way. Sorry, but that’s just a fact of life. If you’re three feet tall in high heels, odds are you’ll never be a star basketball player, no matter how badly you want it. And star football players know all too well how quickly certain injuries can end their career or seriously limit their ability to compete.

So, aside from natural ability and devastating loss, what stands between us and the goals we so strongly desire? Why can’t I, at the age of 62, become an avid runner and win the Boston Marathon? Well, first of all, I can’t find anybody who’s willing to chase me that far with a snake. The motivation has to come from somewhere.

But let’s be honest. The real reason I’m not a marathon runner is because I never wanted to be. As a kid, I despised basketball and soccer because there’s too much running. And that carried into my adult years. A friend once asked me to join him for a 5k run. I said, “Why would I run that far when I can do it faster in a car and smell decent when I get there?”

And let’s be honest here – if my parents had told me that I could accomplish any goal in life if I’d just run every day, I think I’d have chosen Door #2. It was never my thing. On the other hand, my parents did encourage my artistic side, both in music and in writing. That was my passion and, apparently, it’s also my strong suit. The writing, not the music.

In our jobs, there are things we need to do well just to stay employed. We need to be even better if we hope to advance. That doesn’t mean you have to be the absolute best. It just means you have to be better than average. And no matter what you do (for a living or otherwise), if you have the basic skills to do the task, you have the ability to do it better.

Having gotten a taste of what it’s like to live in an RV, I think I can do it better. In fact, I’d like to become one of the best campers on the planet. That’s my goal. But so far, nobody is offering to pay me to camp, so I have to get good at something else along the way – earning an income on the side. And building a decent campfire without gas. Just keeping it real.

I have all the tools in place to live my dream, including the side income. Well, the ability to earn that income. But there are things I need to do to develop that ability and become better at it. I don’t have to be the best – I just have to be better than I am today.

And we all have that ability, whether it’s our job, a business, a hobby, a relationship, our physique, or even the way we sing. It’s okay to focus on the dream as long as you also focus on just doing a little better along the way. Instead of shooting for the moon, aim for that next step. Being the best is awesome, but it’s more important to be your best.

There are limitations to what we can accomplish, but find those limitations yourself instead of letting others dictate them to you. If there’s something you want, go for it. Give it everything you’ve got. You may still come up short, but isn’t that better than not coming up at all? Do one thing better each day and your dreams will make up the difference.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

News Isn’t a Bad Thing – Taken in Moderation

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

Feels like it’s been forever since I last wrote. There are times when the mojo takes a detour and finds somebody else to spend its time with. That’s what happened with me last week. I wish I could blame it on work or household chores, but the truth is I wasn’t any busier than normal. Sometimes the brain just needs a break. Of course, some brains need a little less than others.

I’ve learned a couple of things about myself over the past several months. I know, at my age, you’d think I’d have it all pretty much figured out by now. After all, it’s not like I’ve taken on a new identity. But I’m not the same person I was even a year ago. Keeping up with me is like shooting moving targets in a carnival arcade game. Crooked gun and all.

I’ve always felt it’s important to at least stay abreast of current events. People say ignorance is bliss and if that’s true, my oldest daughter should be the happiest person on the planet, at least when it comes to the news. Two hurricanes could hit the Gulf coast in the same week, and she wouldn’t have any idea. I’m not exaggerating. It happened just a few weeks ago.

But you know, there’s something to be said for that. Sure, it keeps you in the dark to a degree, and if you live anywhere near the Gulf coast, that could be an important tidbit of news. But there’s a certain mental relief in not dwelling on things you can’t change that won’t affect your life in any meaningful way over the next few days. Like tonight’s dinner. Does it really matter?

I’ve always felt a need to stay abreast of current events. Not necessarily that I can do anything about them, and I’m certainly not one of those people who changes his 401k investment strategy based on today’s gas prices or who won last week’s debate. I’m not that smart. If I tried playing the market, I’d lose big. Well, not “big” … you have to start big to do that.

Still, I like to know what’s going on in my world. Not for anything more than a sense of being informed and being able to form an educated opinion that nobody still wants to hear. But I’m learning that, the more news I consume, good or bad, the more it weighs on my sanity. And sanity is not one of those things I can afford to spare. Again, you have to start big.

I guess the news itself wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for all the “informed” commentary by people who think we need their opinion to help decipher what we’ve just read or heard. I laugh every time I see a headline that says, “How to watch this week’s debate.” Um … turn on the TV and watch? Duh! Maybe I’m not as smart as I thought I was.

And just in case you missed the real thing, social media is overflowing with opinions on who said what and the underlying “truth” everyone else seems to have missed. Only problem is, most of those “opinions” are somebody else’s – people see something that speaks to their own beliefs and pass it along as gospel to anybody looking for “facts” to support their own opinions.

There are two problems with this. First, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. That’s a direct quote from Abraham Lincoln. I’ve even seen his picture with those words. And second, you don’t have to know everything about everybody else’s life in order to live your own. It’s reality TV without the script. At some point, you have to seriously ask, “How does this affect me?”

If the answer is simply that it informs you, then put it in perspective and get on with life. If it’s something you can’t possibly change, stop agonizing over it. No amount of worry or anger will make a difference, except to your own mental well-being. And make no mistake, we are in uncharted territory right now, and we need all the marbles we can hold onto.

Being informed is a sign of intelligence. But too much information can clog the pipes and keep you from focusing on what’s really important. Get what you need and move on. Because, one thing you can be sure of, when the dust settles and this is all behind us, you’ll still be left with the life you put on hold in the process.

Remember the Serenity Prayer. There’s a lot of wisdom in those words. Focus on the things you can change and find a way to accept the rest. Storms are an inevitable part of life. But a clear mind and healthy body are your best bet for making it through to the other side.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Truth According to Who?

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I think summer is just about over. It’s a lot cooler here today, by about twenty degrees. You know what that means, right? Global warming is gone!!! We can go back to leaded gas and aerosol sprays, and cows can once again break wind without fear of ending up on somebody’s dinner plate as punishment. Hallelujah!

Okay, I wrote that completely tongue-in-cheek and I still feel even more idiotic than I sound. Of all the things we can do with computers, nobody has ever invented a sarcasm font. Seriously? I guess you’re supposed to just read the words and accept them as truth without applying any thought of your own. Sounds a little dangerous to me.

In a previous life, I was a technical writer. My job was to take technical matter and express it in words the average Joe can understand. And the industry must not know any really smart guys named Joe, because they told us to write everything at a sixth-grade level. Think about that the next time you read a toaster manual.

I wasn’t so smart about all those things that I could just write the manuals. Okay, maybe toasters. But for anything more complex, I had to rely on subject-matter experts – people who knew the topic inside-out and could give me enough information to let me write the book. Which is why most user manuals have big mistakes. You’re getting it second-hand.

Over my desk I had a sign – “Garbage in, gospel out.” It was a not-so-subtle reminder that I would write what I was told to write. I’d ask questions and get clarification on anything that didn’t sound quite right. But in the end, the person giving me the information was the source of truth. If they forgot something important, it didn’t go in the instructions. Kaboom!

Worse yet, most people would follow those instructions blindly because they were under the mistaken impression the book was written by somebody who knew what he was talking about. It’s one thing when you’re talking about burned toast. But if you bypass the wrong sensor and accidentally raise an airplane’s landing gear while it’s on the ground, that’s gonna leave a mark.

Which is why most instruction manuals, especially those that deal with more complex and dangerous procedures, have a disclaimer at the front that says, “If these instructions aren’t clear, get help.” Find somebody who knows a little more about the topic and make sure you’re not about to drop an airplane on somebody’s head.

That said, as a writer, I tend to take things pretty literally. Like those billboards that say, “Illiterate? Call today!” I’ll just leave that one right where it sits. My favorite was one of those seat-back emergency procedure cards on a passenger plane. At the end it said, “If you cannot read these instructions, ask a flight attendant for assistance.” Got it!

In a world of 24-hour news and social media, it’s become far too easy to just read what somebody else thinks and accept it as a source of truth. After all, “they couldn’t write that if it weren’t true!” Well, yes … they can. And believe it or not, they do. Why? Because somebody will take it as gospel and spread it around. Before long, everybody’s talking about it.

Some of this even originates from “news” sites. And we all know, journalists are held to a higher standard of reporting the truth, right? No, they’re not. Besides, a lot of these “news” agencies consist of a couple of trolls sitting in a dark corner of their mother’s basement, making up stories as they go. And if you tried to identify them, your search would likely end up overseas.

Then there are the stories that appear as if they came from a reliable media source. They even have the right logos and background colors. It has to be real! Well, if a hacker from Nigeria can mimic your bank’s website well enough to fool you into sharing personal information, it’s not that difficult to copy an international media webpage.

Sure, we should all pay attention to what’s going on in our world. But consider the source. If it’s so outlandish you can’t believe such a thing could ever happen, trust your instincts. Do a little research. In the same time it takes to spread a story, you can verify its authenticity. And while some pretty outlandish things have been happening, don’t believe everything you read.

It’s hard to know the truth sometimes, especially when we let our own preconceived beliefs influence what we take to heart and what we automatically discard as lies. The truth rarely lies at the ends of that spectrum – it’s usually somewhere in the middle. If you want to be informed, then inform yourself. Don’t ever let somebody else tell you how to think. Least of all, me.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Well, How Did Those Plans Work Out?

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

As I sit here in complete peace and quiet, my wife is at our daughter’s house getting her kids ready for school. One is in kindergarten, one is in first grade. Oh yeah, and they have a 20-year-old brother. Don’t ask. I told my daughter she did that completely backward. I’ve tried calculating her age when these two get into their teenage years. I ran out of fingers and toes.

I remember when our oldest was born and people would say, “You’re so young to be starting a family.” Okay, I was 22, my wife was 18 – they were talking to her. And my response was always the same. “We’re doing this now so that, when we get older, our kids will be grown and moved out and we’ll have all that time to ourselves.” Read that again. Now you can laugh.

Oh, she moved out. On her 18th birthday, as we were putting candles on a cake, she was packing her bags. It wasn’t a pretty day. But in a little over a year she was home. A year later we became grandparents. At least she did it while we were young. By the time he grew up, we’d still have plenty of time for ourselves (more laughter).

Meanwhile our youngest graduated high school and took off to college. We were so proud. A year later that excursion ended. Well, the actual college part of it. I was still paying for those classes five years later.

All the while, we were doing the parent thing for a third time. My grandson was my best buddy. We did everything together – amusement parks, trips to the “guy store” (Sears), basketball in the street, and his first rock concert. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my grandparents, and I wanted him to have a different experience. Then he grew up.

I knew it was coming the first time I took him to football practice and, as he was getting ready to get out of my truck, I said, “Hey! Where’s my kiss?” He looked at the team assembled in front of us, then looked at me like, “Are you nuts?” The look in his eyes said it all. I settled for a half-hearted hug and accepted a sad reality. Grandpa wouldn’t always be the center of his universe.

Life changes. And yet, the more it changes, the more it stays the same. I’ve lost count of how many times our daughters have moved back in “for a week or two.” Since the first one moved out in 1998, we’ve had an empty nest for a total of about five years. And just about the time our oldest granddaughter was feeding herself, along came two more.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans. Forty years ago, I really thought we’d be out traveling the country by now, retired and wealthy, flying back to see the kids whenever we started missing them. Okay, forty years ago I still thought I’d be a rock star. Yeah, that never happened.

Now, as we plan what I hope will be a long winter escape in the motorhome, I think of the life we’d be leaving behind. The kids, our house, family dinners, babysitting, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, trash night, the neighbor’s dogs … uh huh. I won’t even be looking in the mirror for semis.

But I know that, about a month into that trip, we’ll start missing home. A month later we’ll wonder why we ever left. Two months later we’ll come home and immediately start planning our next trip. Because that’s what life is about – planning the next trip and reminiscing about the last one. Or figuring out what went wrong. That one seems to happen a lot.

I’ll never forget what my dad told me right before I left for the Navy. He said, “The two best duty stations in the world are the one you just left and the one you’re going to.” Okay, he told me a few other things as well, but we won’t go there. Suffice to say most of Dad’s lessons were pretty much on the mark. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

No matter what plans you’ve made, life will have a say in their execution. And even when things go just the way you’d planned, you find that it’s not always what you thought it would be. But as long as we continue to dream, nothing is ever permanent. The outcome can be whatever we want it to be. And even that can change.

Life isn’t measured in years – it’s measured in the experiences we have and the memories we make. Nothing ever goes completely according to plan, but there’s beauty to be found in those diversions. Just keep your eye on the goal and never give up. And when you get there, just think of all the extra stories you can tell.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Shouting Louder Won’t Make You Any Easier to Hear

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I was thinking yesterday about what led me to start writing these (hopefully) inspiring posts each day. Okay, most days. And yes, I was thinking about it on a day when I didn’t write anything. I spent the morning in my cardiologist’s office and they wouldn’t let me use their computer. Apparently, that’s not a “covered service.”

I’ve written blogs and online columns off and on for 21 years. It started with straight humor – wacky observations about the world around us. Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry gave me the inspiration to think I, too, could make people laugh. And by the end of round 1, I had readers across six continents (I never could quite crack Antarctica).

My writing has changed over the years, and this time around I wanted to try something completely different. Instead of making fun of all that’s wrong in the world, I wanted to focus on what’s right. And my inspiration this time around is one we all know really well – social media.

I had fallen into a pattern of reading controversial posts and offering my own insight. Not that anybody really wanted to read it, but you know – some things just need to be said. And when people post something they know is a complete distortion of the truth, they surely expect someone like me to call them out and set the record straight. Right?

Well, it occurred to me that if I was going to spend another moment trying to change somebody else’s thinking, I wanted it to be something constructive that might actually make their life better. There’s enough wrong with our world. And there are thousands of people out there doing everything they can to prove it. I want to build hope.

I try to stay out of controversial topics for one simple reason – nothing I say will change anybody’s mind. Every now and then I’ll share my thoughts, but I’ve found that the more I focus on the ills of society, the more it wears on my sanity. And for what?

As a comedian, it was common for club owners to set some boundaries on our material and language. Most didn’t care as long as it was funny, but some were a little more discerning. And believe me, nothing would send the rookies wailing on social media faster than a club owner telling them not to use a certain word. “It’s my constitutional right! They can’t tell me that!”

Well, yes – they can. All the First Amendment says is that we can’t be jailed for the things we say. And even then, there are limits. But nowhere does it say you can’t be reprimanded or even fired for using certain language in the workplace. The same applies to public forums where you’re easily associated with your employer. Believe it or not, employers have rights, too.

As many of you know, I’m in a business that involves interacting with the public every day – people I may only know through the internet, and others who be seeing my name for the very first time. And every time I share an opinion online, even my motivational posts, there will be some who don’t want to hear it. That’s just the way it is.

And the more controversial and polarizing the opinion, the more I risk alienating people who could become a friend or business associate. Not necessarily because we disagree, but possibly because they’re tired of being bombarded with unsolicited opinions. Nobody even asks, “Would you like to hear what I think?” They just blast it out there for the world to see.

And make no mistake, most prolific opinioneers (I just made that word up) don’t care if you want to know what they think. They don’t care if they offend somebody else with their rants. It’s not about making new friends or building an alliance of like-minded people. It’s about flooding the internet with their own opinion in the hope of drowning out somebody else’s.

I’ve often said email programs should all have a feature that, when you click “Send,” a message pops up … “Are you really, really sure you want to do this?” Think about it. What is your goal in sending the message (or post)? What do you hope to accomplish? And is this really the best way to do it?

Odds are, whatever it is you’re posting will get a “hurrah” from your closest friends. But you’re not really changing anybody’s thinking – you’re just rallying support from people who already think like you. If validation is what you need, have at it.

But realize that for every person who jumps to your side, two others are turning away. One will never think like you in the first place, and the other just has better things to do. And that person, my friends, is the one who can truly help you grow.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Time to Pick Up the Pace

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

I woke up feeling reasonably rested for a change. My Fitbit’s sleep tracker doesn’t think I slept all that well, but what does it know? All it does is look for movement and track my heart rate. The only time I’m not moving at night is when I’m wide awake and trying to get back to sleep. And my heart runs really slow all the time. All I care about is how tired I am in the morning.

Several years ago, I was in the hospital overnight with “unspecified chest pain.” Let me tell you, if you want to skip the lines at the emergency room, walk in pointing to your chest. You’ll go straight back to a room. It’ll still be an hour before you see a doctor, but at least you’re not out in that germ incubator they call a reception area.

Well, I skipped the lines that night, and I also got a warm bed to sleep in. That’s the other thing about chest pain – you’re not going home. All through the night, this alarm kept going off next to my head. The nurse said it was a low-pulse alarm that goes off any time my heart rate drops below 50. Which, incidentally, happens EVERY SINGLE TIME I fall asleep..

My doctor says it’s not a problem, but apparently it was enough to keep me awake all night. I don’t know what causes it to run so slow. They say it happens with athletes and people who exercise a lot. Yeah, that’s not me. I think my heart is just pacing itself. You know, like a runner who’s in it for the long haul. And I’m really in no hurry to reach the finish line anyway.

Of course, we can take that to an extreme sometimes. It’s one thing to start everything like a jackrabbit and peter out halfway through the first lap, but it’s easy to start off so slowly we never really get in stride. Sure, everyone else is taking a breather because they sped off too quickly, but they’re still way ahead of us. At some point, we need to pick up the pace.

As we’ve discussed in a lot of topics, it’s not hard to pick up the pace at work. You’ve got somebody standing behind you (literally or figuratively) expecting you to do the job in half the time anyone else could, and they control the paychecks. We know the consequences of moving too slowly. Nobody needs to spell it out. But what about when it’s something for you?

In my business, some things take a little practice. You practice until you’ve got the steps committed to memory, and then run with it. Or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But sometimes we get so caught up in dress rehearsals that we never actually take the stage. We’re still just “getting good at it.”

Ever heard of analysis paralysis? It’s what happens when we sit back and analyze something to the point we never actually step out and start doing something productive. Oh, we know exactly how we’ll handle any situation that arises. That’s committed to memory. The problem is, situations never arise because we’re still sitting there thinking about it.

Then, when we finally do get started, we feel that overwhelming urge to take it slow. Why? Because, according to our analysis, it’s only a matter of time until something goes wrong. We have to go slowly so we don’t blow right past it. Mistakes must be corrected. They taught us that in kindergarten. Slow and easy wins the race. Remember that one?

Well, slow and easy keeps you pretty much in pace with everybody else around you. You take a step, they take a step. Everybody takes a step. We’re all moving, but nobody is getting ahead. And even if it’s not a competition to see who can get there first, you already know what happens when you stick with the crowd. By the time everybody gets there, all the good stuff is gone.

The only way to step ahead of the crowd (and that much closer to your dreams) is to pick up the pace. Sure, do some analysis. Practice. But put a date on the calendar and commit to it – “No matter what, I will get started on this day. I don’t have to be perfect, and I don’t need to plan out every contingency. I’ll do what I need to do and handle challenges as they arise.”

And once you get started, get moving. Set a pace – a steady rhythm of doing the things you need to do every day to bring you closer to your goal. You may not beat everybody else to the finish, but you’ll get there just the same. And odds are you’ll pass a lot of dropouts along the way.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved