Invest Your Time Wisely and You’ll Have More to Spend Later

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

I’d ask what you’ve got planned for the weekend, but I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of shopping, cleaning, and laundry. Or, what the boss affectionately refers to as “rest.” I’ve never quite understood that. We work all week so we can take two days off and work even harder? I think somebody’s been spiking the Kool Aid.

I try to do laundry during the week. I work in the basement anyway, so it’s not really any extra trouble. Yes, I said that out loud, with full knowledge that my wife may actually read this. That’s okay. She cooks and vacuums and sprays air freshener every time I walk through the room. I’m beginning to think that has something to do with me.

I don’t see how single people do it. I mean, yeah … there’s only one person making a mess so there’s only one person to clean up after. Half the people, half the mess, right? Wrong! That logic completely overlooks the dust that collects on every surface, upside-down or right side-up. I get how dust settles on tables and shelves. But how does it “settle” on the bottom of the bed?

And while we’re at it, how do windows get dirty when nobody is touching them? My grandkids leave fingerprints now and then, and the cat licks the front door glass. Don’t get me started on that one. But I’m talking about places they can’t reach. Places I can’t even reach. I think it’s the residue from all that air freshener.

Okay, I have absolutely no idea where I’m going with this. My weekend will largely consist of ordering components to attach to the new car so we can tow it behind the RV. Which means taking a set of tools to a brand-new car to install those components. Those tools include a drill and a saw. Don’t ask. My wife isn’t allowed to be home while I do that.

Don’t get me wrong. She knows I can do the work. I’ve done a lot of work on our cars over the years, and never once has she actually hit anything as a result. Still, there’s something about hitching a brand-new car to the RV using brackets that I installed at home, and then dragging it halfway across the country. Hopefully, “dragging” is a metaphor. That could be bad.

So, there’s a really busy weekend in my future. The instructions say it’ll take three hours. That’s three hours for a body shop mechanic with a lift that goes up and down on a whim, and a chest full of air tools that never break. For me, it’s six days. I learned my lesson when I decided to do a bathroom remodel “over the weekend.” That was ten years ago, and it’s still not done.

Thankfully I have another car out front that I can drive to the hardware store fourteen times while the new car is strewn across the driveway in pieces that will inevitably get stepped on or lost. And I’ll end up buying a whole new set of tools by the time it’s finished, one tool at a time. Over the years I’ve collected enough tools to build a space shuttle. I just can’t find them.

I remember announcing a few years ago that I’d never crawl under a car again. Then I saw the estimate to have this done professionally, and that sentiment went right out the window. Besides, there’s something to be said for knowing how it was done. You know, in case I ever need to go back later and fix what wasn’t done right the first time. Like that ever happens.

I’ve had a little fun with this, but you get the idea. Sometimes, a job is the reprieve we get from all that resting the boss thinks we do every weekend. Unless you’re independently wealthy, keeping up a home and car takes work. And even with your best effort, something will come along and mess things up when you need it the least. That’s life.

All we can hope for is to keep the major chores to a minimum and maintain as we go. Yes, maintenance takes time. But it takes less time to polish than it takes to refinish. Mopping is easier than scrubbing, and oil changes are easier than rebuilding an engine. Sure, it’s still work. But it’s less work. And all that extra work gives you more time down the road.

More time for what? Well, hopefully there are some things you’d like to do for yourself. You have goals and dreams, right? But you never have time to do anything about it? Well, now you do. Put in a little extra effort today so you’ll have a little more time tomorrow. Then spend that time on yourself. You’re the one who earned it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Your Limitations Are Somebody Else’s Strengths – Team Up!

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

It’s hard to believe December is finally here. This has been the longest year ever, I do believe, and not just because it had one extra day in February. That was just icing on the cake. I’ve always said that when you skip a Monday at work, you get four more to make up for it. I’m not sure if that explains 2020, but I’m willing to consider all possibilities.

Normally by now we’d be getting in the holiday spirit. Houses would be decorated, trees would be up, department stores would be bustling with shoppers, holiday music would dominate the airwaves, and in the parking lots people would be giving one another the finger as they battled for the last “good” parking spot. Okay, that’s pretty much all year.

My outdoor lights have been up for a month, but we just turned them on last week. That’s not as much about preparation as a fat guy who isn’t safe on the ladder anymore, a day of decent weather, and a grandson who needed money. You play the hand you’re dealt. Besides, he’s young and bounces easier than I do. If I hit the ground, things break. Like underground pipes.

I decided one day that I needed to inspect the seals on our RV’s roof. The book says that needs to be done twice a year, and I’m all about preventive maintenance. Yes, I’m really that old. Only problem is, inspecting the seals means getting up there where you can actually see them. On a rounded fiberglass roof. Twelve feet off the ground. With an asphalt safety net. No thank you.

I’ve always been able to fix just about anything. I learned these things out of necessity. When you can’t afford a mechanic, you figure it out. With each success, I became more confident. There were setbacks. Like that time I replaced my brakes and five miles down the road the pedal went to the floor … with a Cadillac stopped in front of me. That’ll get your attention.

But I learned something from each mistake. A fraction of the air it takes to stop a semi will mess up your whole day in a hydraulic brake system. Go figure. And we won’t even talk about the time I repacked the rear wheel bearings on my VW Beetle and later that night my left-rear tire went bouncing across A1A in Key West. Oops!

My greatest challenge was acknowledging my limitations. And there was really only one. I had no fear of tearing an engine apart, but I’ve never seen the inside of a transmission because transmissions are the automotive version of Mouse Trap. I have this vision of removing a single screw and twelve springs go flying across the room. “Transmission broken?” It is now.

But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to recognize those limitations a little better. It’s not that I can’t do the job. I could climb under a car just as easily today as I did forty years ago. It’s getting back up that’s a problem. That, and this knuckle on my left hand that likes to lock up any time I bend my finger. So, I have to keep that finger perfectly straight. Don’t take it personally.

There are things we do really well, and for each of us, those things are different. Can I open a clogged drain line? Sure. Am I the best person to do it? Not in a million years. Tell me to wire a new switch, and I’m completely in my element. But when it came to brain surgery, I paid somebody else to do it. My wife pretty much insisted on that.

There’s no shame in admitting our shortcomings. Whether related to age, ability, agility, or just a general willingness to do the job, there will always be some things we do better than others. And for those things we can’t do quite as well as we’d like, there are others who can do the job with their eyes closed. At least that’s what my surgeon said.

It’s the same when it comes to our dreams. If we’re the expert on how to achieve those dreams, why are we still dreaming about it? Sometimes, we have to throw a question out there and listen to the responses. They don’t all have to make sense. They don’t even have to be something we wanted to hear. But all too often, the most insane answer is the best.

Have you ever found something you’d lost, and then proclaimed, “It was in the last place I looked!” Well, duh! But that’s pretty much true of all the things we seek. Learn where they can be found and how to get them, and it’s simply a matter of doing the work. You don’t have to be an expert. You don’t even have to hire one. All you have to do is open your mind and listen.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Really Don’t Have to Prove Your Age

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

Here’s a lesson for today. If you have a new car and haven’t figured out all the buttons yet, and that car has an electric sunroof, and that sunroof is covered with snow, and you’re at the grocery pickup, and you want to use the electric liftgate feature, but you’re not sure which button to press … DON’T PRESS ANY BUTTONS!  Unless you want a lap-full of snow, that is.

My wife found that one out the hard way. It wasn’t really her fault. All those little icons they put on buttons that we’re supposed to be able to figure out, if we can even see them without a magnifying glass, are not nearly as intuitive as the design engineer thinks. Or maybe they know exactly what they’re doing, and somebody in Detroit got one hell of a good laugh yesterday.

This car has buttons in places you can’t even see, like on the back of the steering wheel. On one side, they control the radio volume, and on the other side they change the channel. And they have braille nibs on them. Okay, let’s get one thing straight.  If you’re sitting behind the wheel and you can even understand braille, get out of my car!

On the other hand, I went in this morning to renew my driver’s license and, when I did the vision test, I sounded like a preschooler trying to read the numbers. “Um … eight … six … nine … no, eight … no, three … um … four …” You get the picture. And the scary part is, I passed! Four more years of driving without glasses. You may want to give me a little extra room.

I’ve often said aging isn’t for the faint of heart. Things don’t work like they used to, except the pain sensors. They’re on steroids. There’s not a day in my life that I don’t wake up hurting somewhere. And it happens six or seven times every day, because I couldn’t stay asleep all night if I went to bed drunk.

Last week I was looking at my Fitbit sleep report, and my five-year-old grandson asked what it was. I explained to him that dark blue is deep sleep, and the red spikes are when I woke up. The other day he asked to see my sleep report from the night before. He looked at it for a few seconds, then shook his head and said, “That sucks!”

But it’s all part of aging. That’s why old people go to bed so early. It’s not because we need any more sleep. It’s because we have to get a running start. That and there’s nothing good on TV anyway. It’s also why we wake up so early. By the fourth or fifth time, you just cut your losses and get up. There’s still nothing good on TV, but at least it’s quiet.

Some people brag about aging gracefully. All that means is the dementia is kicking in early. They’re in a state of denial. Aging gracefully is simply keeping it to yourself. Well, that and hair coloring. “Only her hairdresser knows for sure!” Remember that one? Nice try. If you’re over 90, your makeup has wrinkles, and your hair is any shade of brown, you’re not fooling anybody.

But we try. I don’t think it’s as much about how we appear to other people as the reflection in the mirror. We want to hang onto any shred of youth as long as we can, because once that’s gone we have to accept the obvious – the train is about to pull into the station. And that’s something none of us wants to admit.

But aging is what we make of it. No, I can’t run around the block anymore. I can’t see those stupid numbers on the vision test, and there are features on my phone I’ll never understand, much less learn how to use. And my grandkids have learned one of life’s greatest truths – if Grandpa gets down on the floor to play, he’s not getting back up anytime soon.

But you know what? I do still get down on the floor sometimes … on purpose. I sing stupid songs like Henry the Eighth and the theme from the Addams Family. I laugh, I joke, I play pranks, and every now and then I can still sucker them into pulling my finger. Act my age? Not on your life! I’m just getting started.

And that, I believe, is what aging gracefully is all about. Yes, we’ll misread the directions or press the wrong button from time to time. We’ll creak and pop when we stand up, and we may not move as fast. But we’re only old to the extent that we let those things define us. Age isn’t about a number. It’s about your zest for life. Keep that, and you’ll stay young forever.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Happiness is Waiting … Are You?

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

A friend in Florida posted this morning that she needed a light jacket and closed-toe shoes to go out. I looked outside at the covering of fresh snow that snuck its way in before we could get away, and my first thought was, “Wah!”  And yes, I know, people north of us have a lot more snow, but they deserve it for living there in the first place. So, what does that say about me???

Yes, we moved here on purpose. Actually, it was my idea. Well, my sister’s. We were living in Fort Lauderdale, and jobs in my career field were hard to find. That was before I learned to write. My sister got the wild idea to move back to Ohio (our childhood home) and I remember thinking, “There’s a lot of industry in Ohio. Surely I can find work there!”

So, I loaded up a U-Haul and hit the road with nothing more than a notion of what I’d be doing next. I found a job, and ended up staying there just shy of ten years. A co-worker asked me why I would move away from Florida, and I distinctly remember saying, “When it’s hot and you’ve stripped off everything the law allows, that’s as good as it gets … you can ALWAYS warm up!”

Okay, so I guess I deserve it. Trust me, it only took a few years for me to regret ever saying such a thing. Yes, you can warm up. Eventually. But two laws of nature never fail idiots like me who think snow is pretty. First, every gas station is a wind-tunnel with a chill factor of 96 below zero. And second, the lower the temperature, the more likely you are to need gas.

And I know some people really love this stuff. There are also a certain percentage of people who were dropped on their head at birth. Coincidence? I think not. I once did a dead-of-winter comedy show in northern Wisconsin. The next morning it was 18 below zero and the parking lot was full of snowmobiles warming up for a run across the lake. Brain damaged!

Yes, I know. The grass is always greener on the other side. No, the grass is greener someplace where the sunlight can actually touch the ground without freezing. But still, I’m reminded of that first winter when we moved from sunshine to snow. I was like a little kid, romping around and eating snow. White snow, thank you. But in my defense, I also drank a lot back then.

Do I miss Florida? Every single day. Yes, it gets hot there and the humidity is horrendous. That’s why God made pools. It beats shoveling snow. And they get hurricanes down south. Okay, we get tornadoes. Hurricanes at least announce their arrival long before they show up. Tornadoes rip the door off and then ring the bell.

So, why am I still here? It’s not like northerners aren’t allowed to move south these days, and my job can be done from pretty much anywhere with reliable internet. But, as much as I hate cold weather, we have roots here. We have family and grandkids. We have a house. And we have friends. Leaving would be easy enough but we may find it a little harder to stay away.

When we bought the RV, we picked a floorplan we can live in long-term. Permanently? I don’t know. There are two sides to everything. Sure, you get a change of scenery any time you want. There’s a lot less to clean, and no grass to mow. But there’s also a lot less room for groceries, and you have to take your entire home in for an oil change.

Life is a series of compromises, and everything comes at a price. The key is figuring out what you absolutely must have and what you’re willing to live without. And that applies whether we’re talking about homes, jobs, relationships, or going out to play in the snow. The grass is greener on the other side. What we have to decide is which shade of green we can accept.

As I’ve grown older, my metabolism has slowed to the point that I’m cold just about all the time. My wife and I have this running battle over the thermostat, because she thinks 68 degrees is hot. The one thing we can agree on is living someplace where it’s warm outside, with a touch of salt in the air.

We may or may not end up in such a place. But as long as we keep that dream alive, our odds of achieving it are that much greater. What are your dreams? Where would you like to be? Life is short, my friends, and every day we spend in an existence we don’t enjoy is a day we’re not living life to the fullest. Dare to dream. Then make it happen.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Win a Little Less

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

First, I’d like to thank everybody for the warm birthday wishes on Friday. I won’t say how old I am, but I’ve been assured it’s at least a year older than last year. Okay, I’ve made 63 full trips around the sun. And the whole way, I kept hearing this voice from the front seat saying, “You should have gone before we left!” Thankfully, there have been a few rest stops along the way.

We bought a new car yesterday. There was nothing wrong with the old car, except it can’t be towed behind an RV. We knew that when we bought it, but that was three years ago when we didn’t know if we’d ever own an RV. Well, dreams do come true. And one thing we’ve learned about camping is there’s never a grocery store in walking distance. Not if you walk like we do.

I used to sell cars in a previous life. I was pretty good at it. And, having been through the gauntlet one more time, all I can say to those of you who have ever bought a car is, I’m sorry. I feel your pain. It’s a game of holding one hand over your mouth and the other over your wallet as your new “best friend” tries to take you for every penny you’ve got.

And the thing is, I tell every one of these guys I used to sell cars. The more intelligent ones read that for what it is – “Dave knows the games, and he’s not going to play.” That accounts for about a fourth of all new car salesmen. To the rest, it’s a challenge. “He used to sell cars, huh? Well, game on!” That was the first dealer I visited.

I often said it’s about seeing who can hold back that one card long enough to keep from showing their hand too soon. My daughter once told a salesman she had to buy a bigger car because she had another baby on the way and all three kids wouldn’t fit in the back seat of the car she was driving. The salesman went to Hawaii that year.

First you negotiate a great price on the new car. Or so they tell you. Then they take a look at your trade-in. The “used car manager” looks disapprovingly at your car, shaking his head and mumbling inaudibly to the salesman. “Well, we really don’t know if we can even sell your car, but you remind me of my favorite uncle, so we’ll do you a favor and take this beater off your hands.”

Then come the add-ons. When I sold cars, it was rustproofing & undercoating. Never mind that the car came that way from the factory. We’d have our body shop guy spray a light mist of something you could get for an additional three dollars in any automatic car wash, for the bargain price of only $359. Give or take $100. It’s all profit anyway.

Now it’s all about paint & fabric protection. “We put this protectant on all of our cars when they come in, free of charge. But just in case we did a crappy job of it, I’ve taken the liberty of adding this $1300 warranty to cover any incidental damage except damage we don’t cover, which means most damage, but we don’t tell you that until you file a claim.” I’m not making this up.

Long story short, the local dealer I visited first wanted that trip to Hawaii with one sale. He assured me their final offer was their best and asked if I needed to go home and discuss it with my wife. I said, “No – I can make this decision myself. Watch.” And I left. Forty miles away, another dealership saw the bigger picture.

Buying a car is like a lot of things in life. You have to go into it with the realization it’s a game that can only be played by two. It’s all about negotiation. We do it in our jobs, in relationships, and in our everyday life. And the best negotiations are the ones where neither side really wins, but both come away with enough to make any concessions worthwhile.

According to an old Kenny Rogers song, every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser. It’s not about the cards in your hand – it’s how you play them that counts. Play with integrity, respect, and fairness. You may not win it all today, but you can always come back for another round.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Remember the Good Times, and Always Give Thanks

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

For those of us in the United States, today really isn’t the middle of the week, because tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving. Most of us are off work tomorrow, and a large percentage of us don’t have to work Friday. You know what that means? A day of stuffing ourselves with more food than we’d normally eat in a week, followed by a day of gas. Woohoo!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Family, food, and football, and I don’t have to go anywhere near the kitchen. Which is fine with me, because I’ve seen what my wife does in there, and let’s just say I stand with my back to the wall as she’s making stuffing. Even then, after the bird is cooked, she scoops that stuff back out of its behind and expects us to eat it?

We won’t actually be celebrating with a huge meal tomorrow, because my daughter (the nurse) has to work. So, we’re putting off the meal until Saturday. And I know, we shouldn’t be getting together at all this year. But we babysit the little ones after school, so it’s not like we haven’t been sharing germs all week. I don’t think one more day will make that much of a difference.

Besides, Thanksgiving isn’t really about seeing how quickly we can retire another pair of pants. It’s a day of giving thanks for the blessings we enjoy every day. It’s a day to appreciate family, friends, good food, good health, and a job that we hopefully don’t have to go back to until Monday. And believe me, with the year we’ve been through, we’ve earned it.

We all have our own traditions for Thanksgiving. In years gone by, it meant a 10-hour ride to Grandma’s, where dozens of other family members would pile in and share a three-bedroom country house with a tin roof and one bathroom. As kids, we slept in cars most of the time. That’s not all we did outside. Let’s just say there were never any weeds in Grandma’s shrubs.

You never knew which of our extended family would show up, and it was always a treat to see a cloud of dust coming down the dirt road as somebody else drove up. And you know, with all those people crammed into a small house, and all the hubbub of making dinner and homemade pies, I don’t recall any animosity or cross words at all. Everybody just got along.

The thing I remember the most was the smell of Grandma’s kitchen as the turkey slowly baked, desserts were whipped up, and we were recruited to churn butter, peel potatoes, and snap green beans. Dinner was an all-hands effort, and it was some of the best food ever. Or maybe it wasn’t. I can’t really remember. All I know is it was some of the happiest times of my life.

And for that, I’m thankful. I wish everybody had a Grandma like mine, with ten kids and God knows how many grandchildren. I have cousins I’ve never met, or if I have it was only once. We all came from different places and lived different lives. But somehow, we got along. We laughed. We played. We shared. And the memories of those times were the greatest gift ever.

Okay, I’m probably forgetting some of the inevitable conflict, but those are the things that tend to fade over time. Our brain can only hold so much, so it’s natural that we hang onto the good memories and set aside the bad. That’s what being thankful is all about. It’s about not just forgiving, but forgetting, and filling that vacuum with memories worth remembering.

So, wherever you are, whatever your plans for tomorrow (or any day), take a moment to think of the things for which you’re thankful. Think of somebody who has blessed your life in ways you may not have ever expressed. Then reach out and let them know. It may not be a big deal to you, but it may mean the world to them. And think of how good it’ll make you feel.

Thankfulness is a state of mind. It doesn’t mean we don’t want a little more or wish things could be a little better. It’s simply an acknowledgment that things really aren’t so bad and that, no matter what our station in life, we’ve all been blessed with a little more than we may deserve.

Inner peace comes from a simple acknowledgment of those blessings. You can’t do it if you’re carrying around baggage full of regret. If something needs to be fixed, fix it. If somebody needs forgiveness, give it. Today, tomorrow, and every day. That’s my wish for you, my friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You’re Willing to Try Anything, You Can Accomplish Everything

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

There’s an ice cream commercial on TV asking a simple question – what would you do for a Klondike bar? Okay, first I’d have to drive to the store, because we don’t have any and the Klondike delivery guy hasn’t been around lately. My guess is he ate all the inventory. That’s what I did. Of course, his freezer is a lot bigger than mine.

I remember when I was in my twenties, I would do pretty much anything to make a little extra money. Well, you know. Anything moral and at least mostly legal. Over the years, I’ve always had a second job. I delivered pizzas and newspapers, worked for a moving company, drove a semi, and did custom woodworking. All this was in addition to my day job.

Back then, if you asked me what I would do for extra money, I had a simple answer. “I would skin-dive for Roto Rooter!” A little disgusting, maybe, but after three years of spending my nights on the receiving end of a few dozen bowling lanes, clearing pin jams and dealing with drunk bowlers, there wasn’t much I wouldn’t try.

My grandson is a lot the same. He just wants to make money. He’s done construction, landscaping, remodeling, and demolition. He’s done oil changes, driven a forklift, worked in a lumber store, managed a coffee shop, and made pizzas. And he’s only 20. Let’s just say he moves around a lot.

But the point is, he’s not afraid to work. He’ll do pretty much anything if he thinks he can do the job, and somebody is willing to pay him. I’ve seen him work three jobs at a time. Chip off the old block? Yeah, I’d say so. His mom is a hard worker as well, so I guess she gets at least some of the credit.

But I’ve never heard this kid say, “I’m not doing THAT for a living!” It all comes down to a simple question of opportunity … I need a job, and you need somebody to work. Let’s do it. And as a result, he’s gained a lot of skills that most kids his age will never have. If I were to list all the different jobs I’ve had, you’d think I was making it up. The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Because I’ve done all those jobs, because I put need ahead of ego, there aren’t too many things I wouldn’t at least attempt today. I can do some pretty complex car repairs if needed. I can fix plumbing, though I’d rather not. I can do household wiring, carpentry, basic construction, and even gutted & remodeled our bathroom. I started twelve years ago and finished last week.

A little exaggeration, maybe, but you get the point. People who are willing to try anything can do anything. Success is a simple matter of making the decision to do it. That’s not to say there won’t be setbacks along the way, and the end result may cost almost as much as hiring a professional. But there’s something to be said for doing it yourself.

In my business, I seek out people with needs. Those needs may be self-imposed or thrust upon them by circumstances beyond their control. They may be financial, health-related, or simply to make the most of the things they already have. But the bottom line is, something needs to change. They dream of a better life and will do anything to achieve it. “Except that.” Really?

Well, then maybe the dream isn’t as strong as you think it is. I doubt many people, when asked in second grade what they wanted to be when they grew up, enthusiastically replied, “I wanna be a Wal-Mart greeter!” But you know, when the need is there, you do whatever it takes and worry about your ego later. And who knows, you may work your way up to cashier someday.

It’s easy to make a list of the things we want, and it’s just as easy to make a list of the things we’ll never do to get them. And that’s okay – life is about choices. You can choose not to do anything to achieve your goals, and life can choose to reward you by leaving you right where you are while somebody else gets the golden egg. Somebody who wasn’t so picky.

It’s hard sometimes to see beyond our immediate objections when opportunity knocks. It may appear too complex, or too difficult. You may think it’s a little beneath your dignity, or that others may laugh. The question is, how strong is the need? How powerful is the dream? If it’s something you want badly enough, there really isn’t much you won’t do to achieve it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Every Success Begins with Courage

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

Over the weekend, there was news of a retiree in Florida who was walking his puppy along a body of water when a small alligator shot up on the bank, grabbed the puppy, and ran back into the water. The elderly man jumped in the water, dragged the alligator to shore, and wrestled the puppy from its jaws, all without losing his cigar. I’d say he gets the badass of the year award.

The story had a happy ending. The puppy escaped with a minor injury, the man had a few lacerations from the alligator’s teeth, and the alligator is back in the water, a little more leery of anything that’s tough enough to strut around on two legs. I’d say that’s a win all the way around.

I was listening to a motivational CD last night where the speaker quoted a line from a movie that summed up this story perfectly … “All it takes is twenty seconds of insane courage.” Okay, in this case, I’d say it was more like a half-second, which makes it all the more insane. But you don’t always have time to think. Where alligators are concerned, that’s probably a good thing.

Some of you probably remember that quote as coming from the movie, “We Bought a Zoo.” The line was spoken by Matt Damon as he encouraged his son to throw caution to the wind and express his affection to the girl of his dreams. As one who’s been there in years gone by, I can certainly relate. Trust me when I say I crashed & burned on that one several times.

But the premise holds true through a lot of things in life. Fear is the greatest obstacle holding us back from accomplishing a lot of our dreams. Even if that dream is simply to get the landlord to accept a late payment, it takes a mountain of courage sometimes to pick up the phone and make that call. But it takes twenty seconds (or less) to dial the number.

I’ve never been good when it comes to the phone. I’ll do anything to accomplish my goal without having to talk to anybody. And those who know me probably find that really hard to believe, because once I start talking, I never shut up. But real people don’t respond with, “Press 1 to listen to obnoxious music for an hour while we decide whether to answer your call.”

Of course, they do this with repeated assurances that your call really is important and will be answered in the order in which it was received. And don’t dare bump a button on the phone or mutter soft curses out of sheer frustration, because it’ll respond with, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t understand your request.  Please check your attitude and try again later.” And then it hangs up.

Okay, I’m drifting way off topic. We were talking about courage. Specifically, how twenty seconds of courage is all it takes to begin moving toward your goal. Courage to do what? That depends on what you hope to accomplish. But regardless, until you take that first step, nothing happens, good or bad. A year from now, you’ll still be thinking about it.

And the problem with that is we don’t always have a year to debate and build courage. When an alligator grabs your puppy, you have microseconds. Other problems may leave a little more breathing room, but sooner or later you have to take the plunge. There is no other option if you want anything to change.

Thomas Jefferson once said if you want something you’ve never had you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. There’s no other way. That may mean asking a friend for help, inviting a customer to your store, sharing a business presentation, taking a new job, moving to a new city, or a hundred other things. And they all begin with twenty seconds of courage.

If you’ve been putting off that conversation with the boss, schedule the meeting. If you’ve been thinking of asking somebody on a date, dial their number. If you want to share a business idea with a potential partner, make the invitation. It takes twenty seconds to initiate action on any of these goals, but once you take that first step, it’s that much easier to continue.

We all like to think we’re fearless, or at least not too easily intimidated. But the thing we fear most is whatever our mind conjures up in the moments before we need to take action. It may be as real as a hungry alligator, or as imaginary as a trusted friend waiting for the opportunity to humiliate you. But until you muster up that twenty seconds of courage, you’ll never know.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Method May Change, But the Answer is Always the Same

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

If you’ve ever tried to help a first-grader learn the basic art of addition … as taught by teachers who seem to think the old way of simply adding two numbers together is outdated … you can truly appreciate the impact of what the world has come to not-so-affectionately refer to as “2020.” There’s no other explanation.

As I tried showing my granddaughter how to simply count up on her fingers, my wife informed me that this isn’t the way they’ve been taught to add. If the sum goes above 10, you have to subtract, add, subtract again, add again, and do the hokey-pokey with a marshmallow stuck to your nose. I kid you not.

Let’s take a simple equation: 8+5. To me, it’s simple … starting with eight, count five numbers higher, right? No. First you determine the difference between 8 and 10 (subtraction). Then you add enough numbers to reach 10. Then you determine how many are left over (subtraction), then add those numbers to 10 to reach the correct answer. Wow, what could be easier???

So, the equation turns into 10-8=2, 8+2=10, 5-2=3, and 10+3=13. I may be missing a step or two, but you get the basic idea. And to think I’ve been doing it wrong all these years! I sure am glad this new generation of educators came out with the “correct” way of doing something kids mastered in just under two seconds on an abacus.

It reminded me of a time years ago when I was helping my youngest with a math problem. I can’t remember the details, but the bottom line is she had the wrong answer. My slide-rule proved it. But she insisted I was wrong. “In the ‘new math’ this is the answer!” Seems I’ve heard that one before. I may have even tried it myself.

So, for the next ten minutes I tried (unsuccessfully) to explain to her that, for any given equation, there is only one correct answer. Always and forever, every single time. It doesn’t matter how you arrive at that answer, which “new math” technique you employ, or how many sheets of paper you fill up, there’s still only one correct answer. All the rest is fluff.

And it occurred to me this morning that we hamstring ourselves in the same way all too often. We see a goal – a dream we’d like to achieve – and think there’s only one way to get there. Of course, there’s only one way. It’s the same way everybody before us has done it, and they must know something we don’t, right? Just follow the same travel-worn road.

So, what if the road is closed? Do you turn around and go home, or do you break out the map and look for a detour? I’m laughing right now, because I’m NOBODY carries a map these days. That’s so “old school.” Now we turn on the GPS. The one that’s in our phone that we carry in our pocket so we can look at pictures of whatever our friends ate last night.

But the point is, we don’t just quit. There’s still only one correct answer, and for whatever goal we have, it’s called success. If you can’t get there the way you’d planned, you find another way. It may take longer, you may burn more gas, and you may even find yourself in very unfamiliar territory. But the goal, the one and only correct answer, never changes.

That is, as long as we stay focused on the goal and reaching the one correct answer. If we allow ourselves to accept whatever pops up as the “new math,” we’ll never achieve our goal. When obstacles stand in the way, look to the right and left instead of beating your head against a brick wall. There’s an easier way. It may not have been the desired way, but it’ll still get you there.

It’s good to have a plan and to know how you think you’ll reach your goal. But situations change, and sometimes there truly is a more desirable path. Don’t limit your thinking to only what others have done, and don’t be so smug as to think your original plan was the best and easiest way to get things done. Be willing to adapt.

There are lots of different ways to solve an equation, and there are just as many ways to achieve your dreams. Find one that makes sense, but open your mind to other ideas. Some may seem so simple you’ll wonder how they could possibly work. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how you got there as long as the answer is still the same.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

That’s It! I Want My Dessert!!!

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

Today is a new day. A fresh start. A chance to spread a little cheer and find a little for myself. No, I’m not drinking. I make it a point never to do that before breakfast. Aaannnd, I just finished my breakfast, so all options are on the table. Boss, if you’re reading this, I’m just kidding! (wink-wink).

Okay, my past few posts have been pretty heavy. Life works that way sometimes, and every now and then we need a good shot of reality. We’ve been there. I read this morning that today marks 5 years since 2020 began. I think we can all relate. So, excuse me if I get a little silly for a change. I’ve been accused of that once or twice, usually by my pastor.

Of course, he’s the guy who says we can’t just jump straight into Christmas. We have to observe Advent first. I never really knew what that meant, but let me explain what I’ve picked up over the years. It’s winter. It’s cold. It’s snowing. And before we’re allowed to celebrate the coming of Christ, we have to immerse ourselves in the drudgery that came before him. Got it?

Well, as much as I love my church and my pastor, here’s a novel idea. We’ve been through Advent for the past 10 months. Can we give ourselves time off for good behavior and find something to be happy about? I think we’ve earned it.

Sure, there’s something to be said for acknowledging life’s challenges so you can better appreciate the good stuff. It’s like eating Brussels sprouts before you can taste dessert. I get it. But there’s a reason I didn’t gain a lot of weight as a child – I didn’t get a lot of dessert. Some things just aren’t worth it, and those pungent green cootie-heads are at the top of the list.

But there’s also something to be said for stepping around the mud on your way into a party. Just because it’s there, that doesn’t mean we have to wallow in it. Not alone, anyway. I’m told mud-wallowing with friends can be a little … shall we say … exhilarating? But you still come out smelly, and nobody wants to be around that.

So, we look beyond the obvious and find something a little more enjoyable to occupy our time. Like dessert. Yes, I know, vegetables are loaded with vitamins. And I haven’t found a single vitamin since childhood that I want to taste. But I’m told there’s a whole industry for those of us who don’t like the flavor of vomit, so they make these things we can just swallow instead. Voila!

But this isn’t about vitamins or leafy green, semi-edible vegetables. It’s about finding a little joy. It’s about happiness. It’s about getting past all that surrounds us every day, the chains we can never seem to fully escape, and immersing ourselves into a world where people smile and laugh and sing. But no dancing. That’s where I draw the line. If you’d ever seen me dance, you’d understand.

Sometimes, my friends, we have to turn off the news, shut down the computer, and escape into an alternate reality where things like hope and victory prevail. We have to dream, to envision a more fulfilling existence, and plot … I mean, plan … a strategy for achieving it.

We can’t change the world around us, but we can change its effect on us. We can’t control circumstances, but we can control our reaction to them. We can’t change what has been to this point in life, but we can influence what is to be. And it all begins in that magical part of our brain where anything is possible.

Sure, at some point you come back to reality. At least I hope so. As much as I love the vision of traveling the beaches of the world, there are things right here that require my attention. Important things, like my job, the house, a leaky faucet, this mess in the basement … damn.

But here’s the point I want you to take away from this message – without dreams, none of the rest even matters. Work is important, but only if there’s something you’re working for … something other than a bill next month that’s not doubled because you couldn’t pay it this month. There’s more to life, friends. A lot more.

We don’t need any reminders that 2020 isn’t over, and 2021 isn’t shaping up very well, either. We can’t escape the challenges that surround us, but we can work our way around them. And it all begins with a dream. Okay, and letting ourselves sing happy songs right after Thanksgiving. Put up the tree, turn on the lights, and skip right to the good stuff! You’ve earned it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved