You Can Only Achieve What You Believe

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

I read a quote yesterday that struck a nerve and made me think a little. Actually, I think it was the title of a motivational CD. I have a few of those. Like a couple hundred. I just like the sound of somebody telling me I can achieve greater things in life. There are certainly enough people out there trying to convince me otherwise. The title of this CD was “You will see it when you believe it.”

That’s a bit of a reversal on something most of us have said over the years – “I’ll believe it when I see it!” And all it means is don’t give me empty promises, give me results. The advertising world is full of empty promises. Only Fifth Avenue could come up with the concept of a better sex life by using a certain brand of dandruff shampoo. Well, I tried it for several years. Let’s just leave it at that.

So, with anything that’s even slightly beyond what we already know to be true, it’s natural to approach new things with a certain amount of skepticism. We want proof, or at least a decent level of confidence in the outcome, before we invest our time and effort into achieving the desired result. We want to see the result first. Only then will we believe it can actually happen.

Of course, it doesn’t quite work that way. You can get a glimpse of success by looking at the success of others, but that doesn’t really do trick. You can go to the RV dealership and take a test drive, but there’s still that nagging issue of having the money to drive it home. You can kick back in the boss’s chair after he goes home for the day, but tomorrow morning you’ll be back in your own cubicle.

Make no mistake, there’s something to be said for dream-building. If you never drove through a neighborhood of waterfront homes, it might be hard to feed the dream of owning one. And sitting in the driver’s seat of a new car can definitely fuel the urge to buy one. There’s a reason dealers are so eager to let you take a test drive. They understand the value of dream-building as well.

But unless you believe you can someday reach your goal, you’ll never put forth the effort to make it happen. If you knew you could never advance in your present job, how late would you work each day? But if you saw other people around you being promoted on the basis of competence and hard work, you’d probably be a lot more willing to put in those extra hours.

Armed with the belief that success could be within reach, you’ll work that much harder. And the harder you work, the greater your odds of success. But without that confidence, your efforts will be half-hearted and you’ll probably give up at the first sign of resistance. When we believe failure is the likely result, it’s not hard to find reasons to support that notion.

But when we believe we can succeed, we begin to find reasons to support that belief as well. We put in the extra effort and work through any obstacles that may come along. Before long, those obstacles don’t seem as prevalent. Things start going your way. You find yourself moving closer to your goal every day, and with each step closer your belief becomes that much stronger.

Success and defeat are not verbs. There’s no action involved other than the efforts we take to make them happen. They’re not even really destinations or outcomes. They’re nothing more than a frame of mind. And when we approach any new goal, the outcome depends almost completely on our frame of mind. Whatever outcome you believe is almost always the outcome you’ll achieve.

And we can believe just about anything if it’s what we want to believe. Religion teaches us to believe in something we can’t see. We go to work each day believing there will be a paycheck at the end. We raise our kids believing they will achieve even greater success than we have.

We could just as easily believe the opposite to be true. We could disavow any notion of spiritual guidance. We could work as if the company would cheat us out of our pay. And we could raise our kids with the expectation that they’d fail miserably in life. And the outcome would almost always be less than optimal.  

Believe in success and you will see success. Maybe not at the level you’d imagined, and maybe not as quickly as you’d hoped. But you’ll always achieve a higher level of success than you would have by accepting defeat. Success and defeat are just a frame of mind that sets you on a path toward an inevitable outcome. You’ll see it when you believe it. So, believe in something you really want to see.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

As Long As There’s Hope, The Dream is Still Alive

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

It’s hard to believe the weekend is here again. Or, depending on your perspective, it could seem like it took forever getting here. For myself, that feeling changes through the week, and sometimes even throughout the day. It just depends what kind of day I’m having. Can I get an amen?

We all have good days and we all have some pretty lousy days. Between the stress of work, bills to pay, errands to run, and chores stacking up, some days can try our very soul. Throw in kids testing our patience and the occasional (I hope) disagreement with our significant other, and sometimes it feels like we’ll never get back on top. Then along comes a good day to bring it all back into balance.

It would be nice if life worked that way but, for most of us, a good day here and there doesn’t really bring everything back into balance – it just makes it easier for us to endure those other days as we wait for another good one to come along. Or maybe even a few in a row. Wouldn’t that be something?

Hope is what gives us the strength to carry on through those tough days. Hope that we’ll get this project finished on time. Hope that we’ll mend our relationships. Hope that we’ll lose that extra weight or get through this current illness. If it weren’t for hope, there’d be no sense trying.

If you took a jar, filled it with fleas, and then put a glass cover on top, the fleas would try to escape. They’d jump up, bump into the glass, and fall back down. In time, they’d realize the cover was there and jump just short of it. At that point, you could remove the cover and the fleas would stay in the jar. They’d never jump out, because they’d never know they could. They’d just stay in that jar and die.

It’s the same with hope. If you thought you could never accomplish a goal, you wouldn’t even try. If you tried and failed enough times in a row, it would be easy to quit. And if you didn’t think all your effort would someday lead to a more enjoyable existence, you’d probably stop trying. Meanwhile, that glass cover may have been removed, allowing you to jump as high as you want. If only you knew.

Every night, my dog wants to get in bed with me. He doesn’t really want to sleep there – he just wants to snuggle for a few minutes. And before any of you “no dogs in the bed!” types get your feathers ruffled, it’s my dog and my bed. He gets a bath, and he’s never had a single flea. Besides, he’s not a pet – he’s a member of the family.

Anyway, every night he stands at the end of the bed and whines as he makes anywhere from three to ten false starts at the single jump that’ll put him where he wants to be. It’s like he’s looking up at that mattress, wondering how we keep raising it higher every night, and his little brain is saying, “I think I can, I think I can!” Finally, he works up the nerve and makes the jump. He does this every single night.

It’s cute, but it illustrates an important point. The goal is right where it was from the beginning. It hasn’t moved and it’s not like we’ve surrounded it with a moat and stone towers. It’s just as accessible every night as it was the night before. All that’s changed is an eight-year-old dog’s confidence in his ability to reach the top.

We’re not so different. We see a goal and decide it’s something we want. We reach out and it’s not quite close enough. So, we take a step or two and we’re still not there. Then something gets in our way and we have to deal with that. Then something else comes along, and something else after that. After a while, we don’t reach out quite as far, because we’re not quite sure we’ll ever get there.

But here’s the thing – the goal hasn’t moved. It’s still right there where it was. And, unless we’ve taken a step backward, we’re no further away than we were before. What stops us from reaching that goal isn’t the obstacles that pop up along the way – it’s simply our perception of those obstacles and the power we think they wield. It’s a lack of hope.

No matter what kind of day you’re having, your goals are still out there waiting to be achieved. They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. And when the sun finally comes up, you often find yourself even closer to your goal than you’d imagined. As long as you stay focused and never lose hope, you’ll get there. And just think how much better it’ll feel when you do!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Fear of Success Stand in Your Way

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

Years ago, I was working on an invention. It was one of those things that has eluded mankind for centuries and, if successful, would have revolutionized the world of machinery. Imagine, if you can, free energy – an engine that operates with no source of power other than itself. The idea was brilliantly simple. And, as it turns out, it was simply not possible. At least not in that form.

I remember my dad telling me that if it worked, I would be a billionaire. That’s a lot of zeros with a capital B. As I explained it to my daughters, along with strict instructions not to share that information with anybody, my youngest began to realize how our lives would be changed, even everyday things like going to a public park. And I’ll never forget what she said next.  “Daddy, I hope it doesn’t work.”

We talk a lot about dreams and success, and how fear of failure can keep us from taking the steps necessary to succeed. But there’s another factor that plagues us almost as much – fear of success. No matter how badly we want things to change, there’s a certain comfort in knowing what to expect each day.

Success means change, and that means moving into the unknown. It means moving toward a life we may be able to imagine, but with the realization that we can only imagine parts of it. The rest will unfold as we move closer to our goal, and there may be elements of that life we hadn’t considered. That may not deter us from chasing our dream, but it does add a level of uncertainty in the outcome.

It’s been suggested that, if you were to divide all the wealth in the world equally among every person alive, within five years all that money would be right back where it started. That’s a sobering thought. And I know what you’re thinking. “Not me! Give me that kind of money, and I’d be rich for the rest of my life!” That’s what people think when they win the lottery. Yet 70% end up broke within a few years.

Part of that is simply the concept of working for something, knowing you’ve earned it and the appreciation of that reward when it comes. In “The Miracle Equation”, Hal Elrod talks about entitlement, the belief that we deserve something we want for one reason or another. It’s often interpreted in the negative sense as the belief that the world owes us something more than what we’ve earned.

But entitlement also means focusing on a goal and working toward it relentlessly, no matter what results you may achieve (or miss) along the way, and knowing that because of all that work, you deserve whatever it is you’re working toward. It’s a sense of validation that we all need as we move toward our goal. Why do you deserve the life of success? Because you’ve worked for it.

As we move toward that goal, we’ll undoubtedly discover new things we’d never considered at the outset. It’s like taking a trip across the country. You map it out and can even visualize all the big cities and attractions you’ll encounter along the way. But the true magic of the journey is all those little treasures you never knew about until they were right there in front of you.

And make no mistake – you’ll have to go through a lot of detours and treacherous terrain to reach some of those treasures. But you get through because the goal is bigger than any immediate hazard. You know what’s waiting at the end, and inconveniences become little more than speed bumps. With every mile and every setback, you’re that much more resolved to reach your goal.

And it’s that resolve that carries you through the unknown – both along the way and once you reach your final destination. Success is rarely everything we thought it would be. And there will undoubtedly be some surprises once you reach that goal, some better than others. But it’s the experience you gain along the way that will enable you to deal with those issues once they arise.

If you put an indoor plant on the front porch in the heat of summer, it probably won’t survive. The change is too rapid, and the plant doesn’t have time to adapt. But that same plant, growing in an outdoor flower bed from springtime through the summer, will thrive all season long. And, depending on the type of plant, it may even survive a harsh winter and bounce back next year all on its own.

Success involves change. There’s no getting around that. But in making the changes necessary to achieve success, you prepare yourself for any unplanned changes that come as a result. It’s that gradual progression that enables you to adapt. And it’s the knowledge that you deserve whatever success you can achieve, simply because you were willing to work for it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Thoughts Are Just Words – We Dream in Pictures

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

I’ve missed you folks. I spent last week visiting my dad in what was supposed to be sunny Florida (more on that later). Normally I’d get up each morning on vacation and hammer out a few words, but this time I just let the vacation consume me every day. I guess I needed it. I hope you don’t mind.

It was nice getting away for a few days. I grew up in south Florida and, even though we weren’t quite so far south, there’s something to be said for palm trees and sunny days. And, though the sun did shine at least part of the time every day, afternoons were all about rain. It may have put a damper on my plans, but according to my dad they needed it. Old folks tend to think that way, you know?

We did get to the beach once. I succeeded in getting us lost on the way over, which is completely unacceptable to me. I should be able to smell salt air from a distance of fifty miles, but my sniffer let me down this time. By the time we got there, the clouds had caught onto our plans. We made it to one souvenir shop before the skies opened up.

But it was still enough to rekindle the dream. After a visit to the beach a few years ago, I told my wife we shouldn’t have done that because now I know how badly I’ve missed it and I want it back. We both grew up in south Florida, less than ten miles from the beach. It has a way of getting into your very soul, and it’s something that, no matter how far away you live, it never really goes away.

And that’s a good thing. Sometimes we forget how much something truly means to us, and we need that reminder. The smell of salt in the air, the warmth of the sun on your face, listening to the waves crash on the beach – if my preacher is even halfway right about the beauty of Heaven, it’s got one big, magnificent beach. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

And, in putting ourselves in those places, we not only remember how much we once enjoyed it, we allow ourselves to imagine having it back. Dreams are what drive us to do bigger and better things, to step outside the day-to-day routine and work for something better. And nothing feeds a dream like actually putting yourself in it – rain or shine, the effect is pretty much the same.

Another thing we learned on this trip is that, even though hotels can be pretty comfortable, there’s something to be said for knowing where you’ll sleep each night and having all the creature comforts close at hand. And I’m pretty sure the view through the mountains is even better through an 8-foot windshield. Our plans for buying a motorhome are that much closer to reality, simply from allowing ourselves to dream.

But dreaming alone isn’t always enough. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to experience the reality of attaining your dream. If it’s a bigger house you want, go on a home tour or visit some open houses. If it’s a fancy car, boat, or RV, go to a car, boat, or RV show. Sit in the driver’s seat. You’ll immediately feel the lure of the open road.

And, if all else fails, find some pictures of whatever it is you want. Thoughts are fluid, and we can dream up pretty much anything we want. But thoughts evaporate as quickly as they materialize. Pictures hang around as long as the tape holds up. And when that picture is right in front of you every day, it’s easier to solidify it in your mind.

There’s a reason you can get free brochures for just about anything you could ever want. The people who create and sell those things know one important fact about consumers that we sometimes forget – we think in pictures. There’s a reason you don’t hear many ads for resort vacations on the radio. The words may provoke thought, but it’s the pictures that drive you to action.

Make a list of your dreams and put it someplace where you can see it every day. Then start finding pictures. And don’t get too hung up on the “perfect” picture, because you may overlook a lot of even more perfect pictures along the way. Allow your mind to wander. And if you find something you like better, add it to the list. Voila!

It’s easy to focus on our current reality. It’s there every day, whether we want it or not. But when you allow yourself to dream, you imagine something better. And anything you can do to feed that dream brings it that much closer to reality. We only work for the things we think we can have. You have to believe it before you can achieve it. From there, anything is possible.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Earn What You Deserve, and You Deserve What You’ve Earned

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

So, the year is half over … how are you doing on your goals for the year? Yeah, I know. I didn’t even set that one up with a light jab. I just went straight for the knockout punch. But it’s a question we all need to answer if we want to accomplish anything worthwhile.

And I’m not even talking about New Year’s resolutions, because we all know how that went. According to Forbes Magazine, only 8% of us have accomplished our resolutions for the year. The rest of us gave up long ago. I made a resolution once to never again make a New Year’s resolution, and I even broke that one. Go figure.

I’ve made a little progress toward my goals for the year. Not nearly as much as I’d envisioned by this point in the year, but it’s a step in the right direction. And sometimes, that’s the hardest part. It’s easy to make a decision, to commit to making a positive change. Doing something about it takes a little more effort. And that’s where most of us fall short.

The problem is largely in our minds – we know what needs to be done, but maybe we don’t think we can actually do it. Or we blow it out of proportion and make it a lot more dramatic than it really is. After all, who wants to celebrate tying their shoes every morning? If I’m going to spend my time and energy on something, it’s got to be something BIG!

Another thing is that sense of entitlement, or the lack of it. We know what we want. We’re even willing to work for it. But do we really deserve it? After all, everybody around us is right about where we are in life. What makes us so special? Why should we have anything more than the people who are doing exactly what we’re doing every day?

Well, if we’re going to put forth exactly the same amount of effort as everyone else, then we haven’t really earned anything better. That kid who studies hard every day, puts forth their best effort, and turns in every assignment on time, deserves an A. And then there’s that kid who goofs off all day and would love to get an A, but knows deep down he doesn’t deserve it.

It’s when we question our entitlement to enjoy a better life that we find it hard to put forth the effort. We dream about it, but deep down there’s that nagging reminder that, for most of the people enjoying that life, they already put forth the effort. They did the work and now they’re reaping the reward. And here we are, still thinking about it.

What sets achievers apart from the rest of us isn’t heredity or education or upbringing or even blind luck. It’s the willingness to work for something better. It’s having a dream, believing in themselves enough to go for it, and following through until they reach their goal. And, just like that student in school working for an A, they’ve earned success. They deserve it.

And make no mistake, there will be some who scoff at their ambitions or try to take away that sense of entitlement for something they’re doing the work to accomplish. “Seriously? You’ve lived on this side of town your whole life! You never even went to college! What makes you think you deserve to live over there?”

And if nobody says that to us directly, we’ll fill in the blanks. Because our brain only knows what it’s been taught. Every bit of knowledge comes from something in our past – something we experienced, something we learned, or even something we saw somebody else try. And it’s hard to get our brain to think beyond what it knows.

But if you’re out there working for something you want, not letting anything stand in the way, you absolutely deserve the success for which you’re working. If that person sitting next to you thinks they deserve the same level of success as you, then maybe they should be out there working for it as well.

Dreaming is easy, and it’s really not so much of a stretch to believe we could someday achieve our dreams. But that element of entitlement, of knowing we’ve earned the success we desire, comes from putting forth the effort. The harder you work, the more deserving you feel, and that makes you want to work even harder.

You deserve whatever level of success you desire and are willing to work to achieve. Life isn’t always fair, but it tends to show a preference for those who earn what they desire. Take that first step. It’s really not as big as it seems. Just do the work and believe in yourself. The reward will be that much sweeter knowing what it took to get there.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Effort and Belief – It Takes Two

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

I’ve been reading a new book, The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod. If you’re into motivational books, I highly recommend this one. If you’re not, I highly recommend you give it a try. There’s none of the mystery or romance in a typical novel. Just a couple-hundred pages of info on how each and every one of us can make our lives better. You know – boring stuff.

That’s what you would think by the way some people react. “How can you read that stuff?” My response to that is, “How can you not?” We’ll read a recipe book. We’ll read an instruction manual on how to fix a car. For some people, romance novels are a “how-to” for their love life (or what they wish it could be). But we won’t read a few pages about how to achieve success in life.  Seriously?

What I like about this book is that it takes a detour from the beaten path and suggests a concept many of the others tend to leave out. While some authors put all their emphasis on self-confidence and focusing on a dream, this book suggests that believing in yourself (unwavering faith) is only half the equation – you may have to actually work for it.

The two, faith and effort, go hand-in-hand. Have you ever set out on a trip with no confidence you’d reach your destination? Okay, I’ve owned a few cars that made me say an extra prayer, but you get the point. If we had no faith in our ability to safely reach a destination, we’d never leave the house.

But, sitting around the house staring at pictures of the beach won’t make it materialize in your front yard. If you want to smell the salt air and feel the warmth of the sun, you have to put down the travel brochure and do something about it. You may even have to drive. A lot. And with each mile that passes, the closer you get to your destination, the more real it begins to feel. And the more real it begins to feel, the more determined you are to get there.

I talk a lot in my posts about dreams as the basis for action. I talk about how we’re all wired for success and are naturally driven to it. I talk about believing in yourself enough to know that you can accomplish anything. But something I don’t talk about much is the effort that makes it all happen. I guess I don’t like talking about work any more than most other people.

But work is an important part of the equation. In the popular children’s book, a little train engine sat there repeating “I think I can, I think I can!” But until it put forth the effort to start moving, nothing happened. It was the combination of faith and effort that made the little train move. We’re no different. We can sit there and think about it all day. But at some point, we have to take action.

In the past, I’ve quoted Napoleon Hill who once said, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I love those words, because they simply say if we can dream something up and have faith in our ability to achieve it, nothing can stop us from doing it. But it leaves out one very important part – we have to do the necessary work to make it happen.

And that begins with having a plan, knowing what to do and how to get the most from all that effort. A couple of days ago, a pickup truck next to me sat at a traffic light spinning its tires so fast they were smoking. There was a lot of “think I can” going on there, a lot of exuberance on the part of the driver, and a lot of effort (gas) being expended. But the truck wasn’t going anywhere.

We sometimes do the same in the excitement of starting on a new goal. The light turns green and we mash the pedal to the floor. As we’re sitting there burning through all our energy, the rest of the world calmly moves ahead. It doesn’t take long for us to realize we’re not going anywhere, so we back off the gas and try a different approach. Hopefully we still have some energy left.

On the other hand, too much planning can be paralyzing. It’s one thing to think about what you need to do. It’s another thing to just sit there and keep thinking about it. At some point, you have to take a leap of faith and get started.  You’ll know in an instant if you’re moving forward or spinning your wheels.

Belief makes things possible, but effort makes things happen. Believe in yourself enough to do the work, and work hard enough to justify your belief. Then do both for as long as it takes. The reward is worth it. And so are you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Every Failure Brings You That Much Closer to Success

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

You know that feeling when you’ve been working away at something day after day with no visible results? You know what needs to be done, and you’ve been doing it, yet none of it seems to have moved you any closer to your goal. For all practical purposes, it seems you end each day right back where you started.

I imagine it feels that way for software developers. You write line after line of code, for days on end, with a simple goal in mind – you want to turn on a computer, press a few keys, and see things magically happen. But until that last line of code is written, you have no way of knowing for sure if what you’ve done will yield any measurable results. Everything in between is just work.

It’s that way with a lot of the things we do. We work and work and work, and waiting for the visible results can seem to be an eternity. This is especially true with raising kids. You put forth the effort every day for years before you find out if you did the job well. Oh, we’ll get little indications of success along the way, but it can literally take a lifetime to see the full impact of our effort.

Still, every little thing we’ve done contributes in some small (or not so small) way toward the overall results. We may not see the results immediately, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. When you’re on a cross-country trip, you probably don’t celebrate every one of those mileposts along the way, even though each one is getting you closer to where you want to be.

But when the road is closed, and a detour takes you several miles out of your way, you breathe a big sigh of relief when all those twists and turns finally put you back on the highway you were on. The goal is that much closer, and you set the cruise control with a feeling of accomplishment at having navigated unfamiliar territory without getting lost in the process. You da man!

For the past several weeks, I’ve been putting forth a fair amount of effort in one of my personal goals without any visible results. It happens. My mentors, people who have been where I am and have gone far beyond where I hope to be, all keep telling me the same thing – just keep doing what needs to be done. Put forth the effort on a consistent basis, and the results will come.

Well, they were right. Over the weekend, some of that work paid off and I was able to celebrate a win. It’s a small win in the overall scheme of things, but one of many that will lead me closer to my goal. And, for that very reason, it’s a huge win. Because every step in the right direction validates not only the effort, but the self-confidence that got you moving in the first place.

As challenging as it can be to succeed, it’s even more challenging to work through those times when things just don’t work the way we’d planned. To be certain, some of those times actually put us further from our goal than we were to start with, and it takes that much more work just to get back to where we started. After a while, you begin to wonder if it’s even worth taking that next step.

But sometimes we have to find out what doesn’t work in order to find what does. Mom used to say there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and she was right. But for everything that gets the job done and brings you closer to your goal, there may be hundreds of approaches that won’t work. And in the very act of eliminating those that don’t work, we move closer to the ones that will.

Those software developers know exactly what I’m talking about. If any of them ever tell you they’ve never written a faulty line of code, and that every one of their creations worked exactly as planned on the very first try, don’t trust them in a real estate deal.

Creation, of any kind, is a process of trial and error. You have to be willing to fail in order to succeed. And when those failures come, you have to be willing to dust yourself off and keep moving. Because what you’ve experienced isn’t truly a failure – it’s just another step along the path to success.

Decide what you want and then put forth whatever amount of effort is required to get you there. Remember these words – I will, until. You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll experience setbacks. But as long as you keep doing the things you need to do the results will come. Stay focused and keep moving. Success isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved