You May Not Know How, But You Can Always Learn

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

How many of you watch those cooking shows on TV? They have special channels dedicated to cooking – several of them. They have shows for any style of cooking you can imagine, whether it’s baked, fried, broiled, boiled, steamed, barbecued, or just set out in the sun to cook itself. They even have special shows where junior chefs make us all feel stupid.

If there’s ever anything you wanted to learn to cook, it’s there. They even have special episodes dedicated to really tough dishes like French toast. Apparently, there’s more to it than eggs and stale bread. Of course, you can’t just have French toast. It has to be served with hand-drawn butter, Chantilly cream, and some type of alcohol.

I know this because my wife watches these shows a lot. Whether it’s the rancher’s wife making burritos, cake decorators making a full-size replica of a 747, or the guy who travels the country looking for diners most of us would drive right past, Americans’ preoccupation with food is apparently eclipsed only by our fascination with “Breaking News.”

If you’ve read this far, I can only assume you’ve seen at least one or two of these shows. So, here’s my question – do you record the shows or take copious notes so you can replicate those dishes on your own? Or is it more like watching khaki-clad idiots grab deadly snakes by the tail? “Fascinating, but you’ll never catch ME doing that!”

We all like to know how things work. Well, most of us. My oldest daughter doesn’t care what happens under the hood, as long as the car starts when she presses the button. “You mean it needs gas?” Okay, I’m kidding. She knows it needs gas. I think she can even identify a spark plug, in a line-up of tires and brake parts. Just don’t ask her to install one.

I can say that because she never reads my posts. But in complete honesty, she’s pretty handy with a set of tools. She just chooses not to use them unless there’s no other choice. But when she was a young single mother, I taught her how to replace her own brakes. She did the work herself, and the car actually stopped, which is the true measure of success.

I remember telling her when she finished that she may never do that again, but she’d always know she could. I’m pretty sure she only heard the first part of that sentence because, to my knowledge, she’s never done it again. But she doesn’t have to. She makes enough money to let somebody else do the dirty work. All she had to do is change diapers.

Give somebody the right training and tools, and there’s not much they can’t do. Even brain surgery is simply a matter of training and tools. Thankfully, we have laws on how much training that requires, and exactly what kind of tools you’re allowed to use. Even then, you have to carry malpractice insurance. That’s comforting.

But there isn’t much we couldn’t do if we set our minds to it. Could you play a guitar like Eric Clapton? Probably. Could you paint like Michelangelo? Maybe. Could you build a successful business and build the life of your dreams? Absolutely. If one person can do it, most anybody can. It’s just a matter of how hard we’re willing to try.

While one person may have a natural talent for something that sets them apart, at the end of the day it’s still a matter of process and practice – learning what to do and then doing it until we get good. This is why ten-year-olds are able to create gourmet desserts without a recipe card. It’s not a gift they were born with – it’s one they wanted.

More often than not, our limitations come from within. That may be intentional or coincidental. I’ve never learned much about plumbing. That’s by design. I don’t want to know, because if I do, somebody will invariably ask me to do it. On the other hand, I’ve never tried to learn anything about accounting. When assets have to equal liabilities, I’m lost.

Could I learn these things? Sure. Do I want to? Well, not so far but that can always change depending on the circumstances. But make no mistake, if anything can be done by anybody, you can learn to do it also. Maybe not as quickly or as well, but the ugliest birthday cake I’ve ever eaten was also the best.

If there’s something you want to do, then do it. If you don’t know how, find somebody who’s willing to show you. There’s nothing you can’t learn, and not much you can’t master. It’s just a matter of how badly you want it.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s Your Backup Plan?

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

There was a commercial on the radio where a banker called for a man and his young son answered. The kid told the banker his dad had gone fishing. He bragged, “My dad is the world’s greatest fisherman. And neat, too!” The banker was intrigued. “Neat?” “Yep! Every time he comes home the fish are neatly wrapped in white paper just like they do at the fish store!”

I was never that creative when I went fishing. We’d get back to the dock, open the cooler, and take out the few fish we’d caught. If my wife commented about how small they were, I had a standard reply. “They must have shrunk in the ice.” Hey, it’s physics … I don’t make the rules.

Whether you call it creativity, forward thinking, or just plain lying, there’s something to be said for having a backup plan. Things won’t always go according to plan, so there’s nothing wrong with making sure there’s a seafood market on the way home. And make sure it’s open.

In my early twenties, a business owner introduced me to a word I’d never used before – diversify. In simple terms, it means not putting all your eggs in one basket. Of course, yesterday that was the name of the game as kids around the world ran around picking up brightly colored eggs. At least those are boiled. If you drop the whole basket, all they do is crack.

But when it comes to life and finances, it’s not always that simple. Find a stock that’s performing well and sink all your money into that one stock. As long as it keeps growing, you’ll make money. But what happens if the company goes under or the product suddenly becomes obsolete? Then you’re left holding a stack of worthless paper.

It works that way in the job market as well. You get an education, find a great job, and settle back into a life of relative comfort. Well, as comfortable as work can be. But having been on the receiving end of a few “restructuring initiatives” (that’s what they call it when they send you home), it’s a lot more comfortable having a job than not having one.

But life happens. And whether you’re talking about employment or the stock market or pretty much anything besides dating and marriage, it’s good to be invested in more than one thing just in case something falls through. In this day and age, you can pretty much count on it. And according to a guy named Murphy, it’ll always happen at the worst possible time.

Now, I’m not a real fan of Murphy, and to be honest, I’m not even sure he’s a real person. But Murphy’s Law is well-known to most of us: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment.” It’s a little pessimistic for my taste, but reality says we need to be prepared for those times when things don’t go as planned.

If you’re an investor, it means spreading your money around a bit. Sure, focus on the one that is making you the most money today, but always be on the looking for something additional. In the job market, it means keeping your resume up to date and networking with others in your profession just in case.

And unless you’ve reached a point where you could retire today with no additional sources of income, diversification is even more critical. The days of company-funded retirement are long gone. Social Security appears to be relatively safe for now, but who knows what the future holds? And if you think your 401(k) is safe, we need to talk.

The closer you get to retirement age, the less time you’ll have to recover from an unexpected scenario that wipes out or drastically reduces your income. Success in the stock market is a long-term strategy. And retirement plans go bankrupt just like anything else. Could you withstand a shock this late in the game? Most of us can’t.

And if you’re younger, that’s both good and bad. You have more time to get ready for retirement, but you’re also that much more likely to be called into HR with unpleasant news at some point. That’s not a reflection on you, but on employment in general. Job security isn’t what it used to be, and that’s not likely to change in our favor.

Bad things happen when we least expect it. Having a backup plan can make the difference between survival and bankruptcy. What’s your plan? Could you implement it on a moment’s notice? Or would it take a little time?

Diversification is insurance against disaster. It doesn’t mean you’ll never feel the pain of income loss, but it can certainly minimize that pain. Do it right, and you can match or even exceed your current income. Then your biggest problem is where to spend it.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Working – But Are You Getting Anything Done?

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

Did you ever hear the story about the magic soup stone? An old woman goes to the door to find a tired traveler offering to share his stone that magically makes soup. All you have to do is put it in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. He’d show her if she’d share the soup with him. It seemed so incredible, she just had to give it a try.

Once the pot began to warm up, he said, “We should add a little salt. Soup needs salt.” So, she did. And pepper. Next, he suggested a few vegetables. You know, just for flavor. She complied and, to her amazement, it began to smell like real soup. Finally, he asked if she had any meat. A soup this good can only be better with a little meat. And he was right. It was awesome.

Of course, the moral of the story is don’t believe everything somebody tells you, and only half of what you see. Yes, the soup started out with a rock and some warm water. But if you put a rock in some warm water and add meat, vegetables, and a few spices, it takes on the flavor and aroma of soup. Then you take the rock out and eat. Voila! Just like magic.

It’s like those diet pills that promise to “melt away the pounds.” Okay, first things first – fat doesn’t melt. Not body fat. It turns into concrete and you have to take it out with a sledgehammer. And after six bottles of those pills, you notice the asterisk next to the weight loss claim … “When combined with proper diet and exercise.” Well, duh!!! I can do that with M&Ms!

How often do we try to accomplish something the easy way, only to find it doesn’t work unless you fall back on the tried & true methods you were trying to avoid in the first place? Or the task itself seems so monumental you never really get started, but realize later you’ve been going through the motions all this time and could have accomplished something worthwhile?

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a book for years. Okay, decades. But let’s be honest, that’s a pretty big effort. The thought of putting 50,000 coherent words together on the same topic is daunting, to say the least. First you need a topic. Then you need to figure out an approach and apply your own unique slant. Then you have to actually write it. I need a magic book stone.

But with all these morning posts over the past three years, I’ve written the equivalent of 9 books. Somehow, I found the time to do all that writing and a never-ending supply of things to write about. Okay, if you’ve been reading these posts for three years, you may have a differing opinion.  Still, you get the point. Sometimes it’s not the work as much as the focus.

How many times have you found yourself spinning your wheels, working all day just to stay caught up, when the same amount of effort would have accomplished one of your goals? Or you’ve tried every new gimmick that came along, only to find that none of them work and the same amount of effort would have done the job the old-fashioned way?

My business is a lot like that. It’s simple. Really simple. That’s not to say it’s easy, but it’s nothing that requires any special education or skills. All it takes is to follow instructions – duplicate what others have done. Yet every new person coming in has a “better” way of getting the job done faster. And in all these years, I’ve never seen a one succeed.

We all like to be creative and come up with our own twist on what everybody else is doing. And that’s a good thing, in moderation. Let’s face it, when Thomas Edison got tired of carrying around an oil lamp, our world changed. But in my relatively short lifetime, I’ve seen several attempts at improving on the light bulb. So far, only one has really worked.

It seems like we’ve covered a lot of territory in this post, but is there a point? I think there are a couple. First, nothing is ever quite as easy as it seems. There is no magic soup stone, and success still has to be earned. Also, if we apply a little focus to the work we’re already doing, we can achieve our dreams instead of just working.

Will I get that book finished? Yes. I have no doubt. Will it sell? That’s another story. But anything is possible if we consistently do what needs to be done. There may be easier ways, and some may actually work. But start with what you know works and then experiment from there. You may be surprised what you can accomplish.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Prioritizing Your Dreams?

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

It’s April 1, a national holiday for practical jokers and wannabe comedians. It’s a day when great deals really are too good to be true, and everything on the Internet is met with a little extra skepticism. And it’s the one day a politician’s word is as good as anybody else’s. I’m not sure that’s as good as it sounds.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, April is a symbol of hope. Winter is gone (mostly), flowers bloom, and small animals abound. Oh, they were there before. But now we can see what they’re up to, instead of wondering how much insulation and wiring they’ve destroyed in hibernation. It’s a good thing squirrels are so cute. Besides, one is barely enough for a sandwich.

April is also the time when we start to think about getting started on those projects we dreamed up over the winter. I didn’t say we actually start them – just that we think about it. But Mom always said it’s the thought that counts. Come to think of it, my wife says that a lot, too. I’m beginning to think that’s just a tactful way of saying, “Nice try.”

Planning projects is easy. You dream it up, figure out what it would take to make it happen, and then start listing all the things that are standing in the way. “It’s too cold right now. As soon as it warms up, I’ll get started. As long as it doesn’t get too hot. But I’ll have to set aside time to do the taxes. And then there’s graduation and summer vacation, and then … well, I’ll get to it.”

We all have good intentions. And I’m told they come in real handy for paving the road to perdition. Several years ago, I tore down our backyard storage shed to make room for a new one. But in the process, I stepped on a rusty nail and my foot got infected and then it got too hot to work outside and then winter came and then … well, you get the picture.

It was a year before my grandson and I actually built the new shed, and that’s a personal best for me. Notice I didn’t say we finished the new shed – we built it. I still need to put on the front and rear trim pieces and install soffits to keep the birds out. But it’s reasonably weatherproof, and that was my goal five years ago. Get the lawnmower in out of the rain.

And we haven’t even talked about the missing baseboards from new flooring that I installed twelve years ago, the cracked vanity top in the bathroom, the new faucet we bought for the kitchen, or all the clutter in the basement and garage. I told my wife it’s the thought that counts. She said the same thing about dinner. I guess two can play that game.

Home projects are one thing. Sooner or later, they have a way of prioritizing themselves and eventually you don’t have a choice. But what about all those other things you wanted to do? That business you wanted to start, the trip you planned to take, or the book you’ve been meaning to write? Well, maybe this winter when there’s nothing better to do.

The longer we put things off, the easier it is to do. After a while, it just becomes routine. Dream it up, put it off … dream it up, put it off. The boss has this stuff figured out. They dream it up and set a deadline. Otherwise, nothing would ever get done. Except coffee. They said “take initiative.” Isn’t that when we do something without being told? That’s a good thing, right?

It’s not that we’re lazy. Far from it. The problem is that life doesn’t stop just because we have other plans. It doesn’t even move out of the way. It’s like that old lady in the grocery store who parks her cart in the middle of the aisle as she searches the entire selection of canned soup looking for that one flavor the store doesn’t sell. And I didn’t even want soup.

Meanwhile, we wait for that perfect opportunity to get on with our own plans. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the perfect opportunity doesn’t exist. Sometimes you have to just push the cart out of the way and move on. Or do like the boss does – dream it up and set a deadline. Put it in writing and give it to somebody else so they can nag you till it’s done.

We can’t control life’s interruptions any more than we can control the weather. But unless our dreams take priority, they’ll never get done. Spring has begun. And another one is just a year away. The question is, will you begin the next one living your dream, or thinking about it?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Care Where You’ve Been

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

A couple of days ago, the container ship that had been blocking the Suez Canal was finally freed. Investigators will try over the next several months to determine how it got stuck in the first place, and attorneys will certainly offer their opinion. But I’ll bet nobody is as relieved as the guy who was standing at the helm when they hit the sand. “Starboard? Is that even a word? C’mon Captain … right or left???”

If you’ve never served aboard a ship, let me share some insight. The Captain doesn’t “drive” the ship. In fact, he’s probably never touched the steering wheel. It’s usually a junior crew member who didn’t have anything better to do at the time, so he got stuck at the helm taking orders from somebody else and will catch the blame the instant something goes wrong. “I told him hard to port!” Really? When?

A few days ago, there was a meme on social media showing a tiny excavator next to this massive ship, digging away handfuls of mud in an attempt to set it free. The caption said if you think there are unimportant people on this planet, remember that 12% of the global economy is in the hands of a guy who shovels dirt for a living. That puts it in perspective.

For every great feat of mankind, it’s the people in the trenches who make it happen. Elon Musk gets a lot of credit for electric cars and private spaceships, but I doubt he’s ever turned a wrench on any one of them. He comes up with an idea, pays others to develop the idea, and then pays even more people to do the grunt work. He may be a visionary, but he’s mostly just the rich guy at the top.

It’s said that 10% of the population controls 90% of the wealth. That’s true. In fact, it’s probably a little optimistic. And if you don’t believe that, look around you. Count the number of apartments you pass on your way to work, and then count the number of mansions. How many dump trucks do you see for every limousine? How many executives are there in your company? How many workers?

That’s why it’s so hard for those of us who spend our days in the trenches to imagine ourselves at the top. “Get an education, go to work, and climb the corporate ladder.” That’s the advice we’re given. And it’s good advice, if you’re a really patient person with dreams of mediocrity. But what happens when you realize your ladder is too short or is propped against the wrong wall?

A while back, I heard the story of a man from Central America who moved to New York City with barely enough money to live for a couple of weeks, and took a job parking cars while sleeping in an abandoned car every night to save money so he could eventually move his family to join him. He was a hard worker, but one of those people everybody overlooked. Until somebody found him sleeping in their car. I’m sure he moved a lot.

Still, he had a dream – he saw his family living with him in a home they owned. It was a simple dream, but one that burned within him every day. It got him up in the morning, prodded him to work hard all day, and gave him a reason to put his trust in a complete stranger who said, “I can help.” That stranger didn’t offer a handout – he offered a plan.

For most people, it would be hard to wake up every day in somebody else’s car and see ourselves living in a mansion. Especially in a strange country where we can barely speak the language. But that’s exactly how this story ends. He took a simple opportunity and applied it to his dream. Granted, that dream was modest at first – a home of his own. But in building that dream, he made even bigger dreams possible.

If you don’t think you have what it takes, you’re not seeing the big picture. Maybe you think you lack the education or skills. Maybe you’ve made some mistakes in the past. Maybe you were born poor, and on the wrong side of town. Or maybe you’ve worked your way up that ladder and think you’ve reached the highest point available to an “ordinary” person like you.

Ordinary people achieve extraordinary results. Success isn’t for the select few – it’s for anybody who has a dream and a burning desire to achieve it. It’s for those who will not be denied, who are willing to go that extra mile when everybody else is watching TV. Don’t define yourself by your spot on the ladder. See yourself where you want to be. Is it possible? Absolutely! Can it happen? Well, that part is up to you.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Always Get Better With Time

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

When people visit places they’ve never been, there’s usually some unique attraction, something in particular they really want to see or experience. In San Antonio, I wanted to see the Alamo. In New Orleans, it was the river. Okay, and Bourbon Street. You have to do that once, and once was enough. Now that we’re in Arizona, my wife’s greatest ambition is to see a roadrunner.

Yes, we could have done that in just about any zoo, not to mention Saturday morning cartoons. But there’s something about seeing one trotting alongside the road without a care in the world, not even the coyote. Yes, I watched way too much TV as a kid.

I’ve seen roadrunners on previous visits. They’re not like the cartoon. If that’s your only exposure, you’d expect something as big as ostrich and faster than Superman. They’re more like an anorexic chicken with abnormally long legs. Still, fun to watch as a dust devil approaches across the desert. I’ve seen them, too. Just not Taz.

I remember on the drive out here, as we were heading through barren mountains and desert, my wife commented that she didn’t know any place like that really existed. She’s seen mountains before, but they were covered with trees. She’s seen sand, but it was on a beach. And I’m not sure she’s ever seen a real cactus before. Not unless somebody planted it.

Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that mean the most. I remember driving through Yellowstone National Park, and an RV passed in the opposite direction. In the windshield, there were three kids sitting on the dash (yes, no seatbelts), their eyes alight with amazement. Right then, I decided I want to do that with my own grandkids someday.

Dreams begin at the most unexpected times. We see or hear something, and it sparks a flame. The more we focus on that experience, the stronger the flame grows. Do it enough, and it becomes a roaring fire. But like a fire, it has to be fed. We can’t just dream of something once and expect it to thrive. We have to keep adding fuel to the fire.

Part of that fuel is easy – imagination and pictures. Put those two together and the dream begins to take on a life of its own. Feed the fire, and it begins to feel real. It’s no longer just something you want to do, but something you can actually see yourself doing. Reach that point, and you’re one plan away from making it happen. All that stands in your way is action.

The problem then becomes, when? You know what you want to accomplish. You can see yourself doing it. You have a plan. You know what needs to be done. But when? A goal is a dream with a plan and an expiration date. Okay, a deadline. If you miss a deadline, you can always try again. Expiration dates are a little more permanent. Especially with yogurt.

And here’s the thing. Expiration dates aren’t always what’s printed on the packaging. Sometimes it comes a lot sooner than it was supposed to. Maybe you left it sitting out too long, or maybe the package wasn’t completely sealed. Next thing you know, you’re hugging the commode. Especially with yogurt.

It’s pretty much the same with our dreams. We always think there’s time, and it’s always after some life-changing event. “After I get a good job.” “After I pay off these student loans.” “After we start a family.” “After the kids are in school.” “After the kids are grown.” “After we pay off the house.” “After I retire.” Have I missed any?

Well, if we’re lucky, we get to make those choices. But life sometimes has plans of its own. One day you’re driving to work with that dream in the back of your mind, and next thing you know a dump truck takes your spot in the road. Or the doctor calls with unwelcome news, or your body just says, “That’s it – we’re old. Fake it all you want, I’m done playing.”

Some plans should be put on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them possible now. Besides age or time or whatever life-changing event you’re waiting on, what else needs to be in place to make your dream come true? Odds are money is part of it. And you can get started on that today. They have these things they call banks, and money has no shelf life.

And if there’s no reason for putting your plans on hold other than some sense of honorable self-deprivation, then make it happen. If you’ll enjoy something when you’re 65, you’ll enjoy it that much more now. You already have the dream. All that stands in your way is action. And unlike time or life’s twists and turns, that’s the one thing you really can control.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let the Door Hit You On the Way In

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

It was a year ago last week that I started a new job with a previous employer. I’d been with them for almost four years when my position was eliminated. “No hard feelings, Dave … it’s just business.” I wish I had a few dollars for every time I’ve heard that one.

And no, there weren’t any hard feelings. It was just business. Besides, the company was really gracious in the way they went about it. They gave me over two months of advance notice along with severance pay, and my managers tried hard to find somebody else in the company to take me. “Please, give this guy a job! He’s driving us nuts!!!”

Okay, that’s not exactly how it went down, but the point is they could have been a lot more unemotional about the way they handled it. Sure, at the end of the day, I was the one without a job, but that’s just the reality of business today. Long gone are the days when you went to work at the factory and left with a gold watch 40 years later.

Something I’ve learned over the years … it’s a small world, and bridges burned aren’t easily repaired. I love the memes about a person flipping off a frustrated driver as they swerved in front of him to swipe the only remaining parking spot, only to arrive at their job interview with the recipient of their middle-finger salute. Can you say karma?

It reminds me of my younger days when I routinely worked a second job to make ends meet. When I was stationed in Key West, a friend taught me how to work on bowling machines, a skill that earned me a fair amount of money over the years. And all those hours on the receiving end of 40 lanes provides a convenient excuse any time people question my ability to focus.

At one point, a new mechanic came onboard and immediately challenged my expertise. He’d been in the industry a while, and he wanted more hours. My hours. And what better way to pad his pocket than to convince the owner I wasn’t competent? Suffice to say we didn’t get along very well, and I didn’t mind. I was still there long after he left.

A year later and at a new duty station 1,100 miles away, I applied for a part-time job in the local bowling alley. As I waited to meet the manager, guess who I saw walking my way? My heart stopped. Then he spoke. “Dave! What are you doing here?” He introduced me to the manager with a glowing review, and five minutes later I was hired. You just never know.

I’ve thought about that several times over the years. I’ve seen people in their final days on the job doing everything they can to misbehave and create friction. “I don’t care! There’s no way I’ll ever work here again!”

Okay, maybe so. But how about that manager you’re going out of your way to irritate? Is it just possible she’s looking for a job also? Five years later in a completely different company, you’re minding your own business when the boss says, “Meet your new manager.” It happens.

Whether it’s jobs or personal relationships, emotions can run high as things come to an end. It’s tempting to speak our mind, put people in their place, and walk away feeling victorious. But all too often, our indignation is directed at the wrong people, or for the wrong reasons. And it has a way of coming back at the worst possible time.

Life isn’t always fair. Things happen that we don’t deserve, and there will always be some people who can only advance themselves at the expense of somebody else. It may feel good to give them a piece of our mind, but it rarely changes the outcome. And when it does, it usually makes bad matters worse.

“Before you speak, count to ten.” Sound familiar? Here’s another one. Before you send off that flaming email, shut down your computer and have lunch. Better yet, sleep on it. When you come back, if you still think it’s the right thing to do, then hit “Send.” But odds are you’ll realize your sanity is worth more than any cheap shot you could deliver in the heat of the moment.

I’d like to tell you the good guy always wins, but that’s not how it really works. At least not in the present tense. But over the long haul, the mindset that drives you to maintain a sense of dignity and decorum will serve you well. You’ll never regret leaving a job (or a relationship) on good terms. If for no other reason, do it for yourself. You’ll be living with that person a long time.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Are You NOT Eating?

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

Every morning I get up and take a handful of pills. Two are for blood pressure, one is for allergies, and one is for acid reflux. I blame my kids for that one. The rest are vitamins and supplements that keep me healthy. Yes, they’re a little pricey. But I still spend less on vitamins in six months than it would cost me to miss a single day of work.

My doctor isn’t a fan of supplements. On the other hand, she does rely on repeat business from people who aren’t completely healthy, so her opinion may be a bit clouded. “All you need is a good, healthy diet.” Okay, she’s seen my belly. I think we can agree that ship already sailed. I don’t eat healthy food, but I do eat healthy portions. In the sense that “healthy” means hefty.

Yes, I know. A little self-control goes a long way. And there are foods our body needs a whole lot more than the foods we take in. Okay, for most of us. I know a few people who actually try. They eat lots of green vegetables, avoid red meat, and snack on carrots. They even do it with a straight face, as if they actually like it. But deep down, I know they’re craving a Twinkie.

The problem is even worse when you realize there’s nothing you can buy in your local grocery store that will give you all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Nothing. Unless you throw that whole “healthy portions” thing out the window and use a dinner plate the size of a garbage can lid. Do that and you’ll be healthy as a horse, only slightly larger.

The problem is that, over the years, soil depletion from poor farming practices have left us with a selection of fresh produce that’s seriously deficient in nutrients. In fact, studies by USDA and several agricultural colleges suggest that, over the past fifty years, levels of certain nutrients in our produce have decreased by as much as 70%. How much do you need to eat now?

Granted, if you buy true organic produce, grown on certified farms, you get a little more for your money. But saying food is organic is like saying I’m educated. There are varying levels of each. And, to a large extent, you’re taking somebody you’ve never met at their word. Somebody who has every reason to convince you their product is better. Just ask them.

According to the USDA website, “Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.” That’s it. No artificial fertilizers or pesticides for three years. It could be withered and bug-infested, but it’s still organic. Yum!

On the other end of the spectrum, you have farms that follow true organic practices. They rotate crops, replenish the soil with minerals and nutrients, and use natural means of pest prevention, like planting trees alongside the fields that attract pests more than the plants themselves. And they’ve done it for decades, not just three years.

Two extremes, and both carry the same exact label – “Organic.” Yet, by comparison, one is nearly devoid of some nutrients due to soil depletion from years of poor farming practices. Which is which? Your guess is as good as anybody’s.

It gets worse. Have you ever wondered how you’re able to enjoy “fresh” fruits and vegetables that are completely out of season? Picture a ship coming from another continent, with huge bins of weeks-old produce under a blanket of pressurized gas to keep it from rotting before it reaches your dinner table. Organic or not, that’s what you’re eating.

If it sounds like I’m trying to wreck your appetite, I’m not. And I’m not trying to tell you to avoid fresh produce. It’s still a good source of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. It’s just not enough. Depending on your individual needs, there may still be areas where you need to supplement. Just don’t expect your doctor to be of much help.

Doctors treat symptoms and prescribe medicine. That’s their specialty. If you have a condition that’s easily traceable to a vitamin deficiency, they’ll tell you. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Most doctors believe store-bought vitamins are just a good way to make expensive urine. Yet, in the same breath, they’ll tell you to eat your veggies for the vitamins. Go figure.

My father-in-law used to say, “I eat to live – I don’t live to eat.” We all know the foods we need and which ones to avoid. Beyond that, we need to know what we’re missing and figure out how to replace it. Good food is a start. But, just as the right seasoning makes a stew taste better, the right vitamins can make good food healthier. I figure I’m worth it. How about you?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Have to Wait if You Get Started Now

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

Okay, I realize that for most of you it’s afternoon. It’s only 9:30 here. It’s not my fault Arizona decided to start the day so late compared to everybody else. Well, unless you live west of here. My workday starts at 5 AM. I don’t care where you’re from, that’s early. On the other hand, I get to knock off at 2 and head to the pool. So, there’s that.

As I look around, I’m surrounded by what was once a dream. Living in an RV, surrounded by palm trees, mountains, and a clear blue sky, and everybody who walks past either waves or stops to talk. Stress exists, but on a distant planet. You know, somewhere outside the front gate. This is what we’ve dreamed of. Well, except the scorpions.

People ask sometimes if it’s hard living in such a small space and moving from one location to another. I guess that depends on how you look at it. The view out our front window right now is awesome, and we can change it any time we want. Having the ability to move means you’re never stuck with the local weather. Don’t like snow? Head south!

For us, it was all part of the dream. Getting out and seeing the country (even west Texas), chasing the sunshine, sampling the local cuisine, and meeting new people every day. So far, most of that has come to pass. Okay, as it turns out, there’s still a Burger King on every corner, so I’m not completely convinced there’s any such thing as local cuisine. But we try.

Should we have waited a few more years instead of doing this now? Maybe. My bank statement could make a financial analyst cringe, but this was our dream, not theirs. And there’s something to be said for doing things like this before you’re too old to enjoy them. Okay, that ship already sailed, but you get the point. We’re not getting any younger. It was now or never.

We always think there will be plenty of time to chase our dreams, and that our financial situation will somehow be a lot better later in life. Well, ask somebody who’s made it past 50 how well that worked out. Sure, we may make a little more money, but expenses pretty well keep up. And your health doesn’t care what you had planned. It has plans of its own.

That doesn’t mean you just chuck it all and start living the dream. Depending on your situation, that can be a quick way to make the dream come to a premature end with little to no hope of ever reviving it. On the other hand, we see a lot of young couples living on the road, enjoying the experience before life forces them to put down a set of roots.

And let’s be honest – what makes it all possible is money. Not necessarily a huge bank account, but the ability to replenish it as you go – a source of income that doesn’t stop the minute you leave home. A friend once told me that when you can make money from home, then home can be any place you want. “There’s no industry there!” Awesome! Sign me up!

Maintaining that income is simple if you just open your mind to possibilities you never considered. When you’re the boss, you decide when and where you work. When you need more money, you work harder and give yourself a raise. If you want a vacation, you take one. And nobody tells you that you’re too young or too old, or that your job has been outsourced.

Find an income like that, and you open a whole world of opportunity. It’s not easy, but it’s not hard. You just have to be open to new ideas, and willing to take a chance on the one person you can count on the most. Sure, you have to ease into some of these things. But with that in mind, how long do you plan to wait? Rather, how old do you plan to be when you finally get there?

Nobody visualizes themselves at beach in a wheelchair or dragging an oxygen bottle through the streets of Rome. When we see the dream, we’re vibrant and healthy, living life to its fullest. Maybe you can’t start the dream now. That’s okay. But the sooner you take the steps to make it possible, the sooner it’ll happen. So, what are you waiting for?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are New Habits Covering Up the Good Ones?

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

I’m sitting here reading yesterday’s post, wondering how I went from headwinds and dust storms to income taxes and physical fitness. It was early, okay? Real early. I’m three time zones behind the rest of the folks at work, so I have to start my day while the roosters are still snoring. And that first day was a bear.

There was a time in my life when getting up this early was a roll of the dice where you need double 7s to win. If I had to be at the airport early, I stayed up all night to keep from missing my flight. Oh, I had an alarm clock. But when you’ve lived on an aircraft carrier, you’d be surprised what you can sleep through. General quarters? Call me back in an hour.

It’s been 20 years since I’ve used an alarm clock. That changed when I quit smoking. I guess there’s something to be said for the ability to exchange oxygen. Okay, I know … old people wake up a lot during the night. And when I reach that age, I’ll tell you how it works. For now, let’s just say I can wake up any time I want.

Throughout our lives, habits change. Some change because we made a conscious decision to change, and some just change on their own. Over the years, I’ve become a lot more mellow in traffic. My wife may not completely agree with that assessment, but I rarely flip anybody off these days. I save that for the absolute best of the jackasses. Is it my fault they still drive?

I don’t remember ever making a conscious decision to change that. It just happened. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and driving slower. Or maybe it’s because I finally realized I wouldn’t stand a chance in a real fistfight, and some people take this stuff way too seriously. I like to think I’m just learning to enjoy life a little more instead of focusing on the idiots.

Habits change when we stop doing something quite as often. That may start as a conscious decision, but sometimes we just let other things take up that space in our brain. I don’t have to focus on keeping my middle finger down if I simply wave at people instead. The new habit replaces the old with no real input on my part.

That’s good when it comes to habits we need to break. But what about the ones we should continue? You know, like kissing your significant other when you walk in the door. That’s an easy one to overlook, especially when you have a dog that greets you at the door wagging its whole body, just waiting for the chance to lick you in the face. Time to step up your game, dear!

Okay, I just took one for the team, because I’ll pay for that last statement. But you get the point. Sometimes, other things slip in and unintentionally obscure the habits we’ve formed. A good TV series comes on and takes the place of your evening walk. A new hobby gets in the way of your business aspirations. An early bedtime keeps you from reading a book (or writing one).

None of these were intentional decisions to eliminate a particular activity. Something else just came along and took its place. That’s when we need to re-examine our priorities and see how these new habits fit our current needs. And bear in mind, needs change. When you’re hungry, work comes easy. But when that stimulus check hits the bank, it’s just as easy to slack off.

It’s not hard to keep focus when we’re on the job. The boss frowns on watching daytime soaps in the middle of a team meeting. But when it comes to those things we do outside of work, the ones that are fueled by our own goals and dreams, there’s always something else competing for our attention. And that’s how good habits die.

So, take time every now and then to examine your habits. How have they changed over the years, or even since last month? Are the new habits getting you any closer to where you want to be? If so, then keep at it. You’re on the right track. But if other things have slipped in and obscured those habits you need to continue, then make the necessary corrections.

Habits can lead you closer to your dreams or keep you from them. Success is about forming and keeping the right habits, and filtering out anything that doesn’t fit. It’s okay to have a little fun along the way. Just don’t let the wrong habits sneak in and steal your dream. Prioritize. Make it count. You’re spending the time anyway, so why not spend it on something good?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved