When Faced With Dessert, Eat the Brussels Sprouts First

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend.

It’s the start of a brand-new week, and that means a whole list of things we need to do over the next several days. More likely, it means a whole list of things we didn’t get done last week that we have to do now before we can begin this week’s work. Can I get an amen?

More and more, that seems to be the way things go. There’s never enough time to get things done in the allotted time, and our reward for all that hard work seems to be adding even more to the schedule for the following week. Whether it’s your job, things around the house, or anything else that keeps you occupied, there’s always more than enough to do.

And it’s easy to skim off the top and take on the more pleasant tasks first. After all, it is Monday. Do they really expect you to just jump right back in? Do they not understand that it takes a few hours to shift from weekend mode into work mode, and you probably need a little time to unwind from two days at home? The nerve of some people!

Well, the reality is, whatever we didn’t get done last week probably needs to be done first. And there’s probably a reason it didn’t get done to begin with … it wasn’t one of those cherry-picking skim-off-the-top tasks that you can knock out in a few minutes. If so, it would have already been done. Along with all those other less-than-challenging tasks you knocked out Friday afternoon.

It’s hard to begin a major task late in the day, especially right before the weekend, because you know there’s no way you can get it done. But, by morning, something else usually comes along that has to be done right now because the assumption is that you show up for work every morning with a clean slate. And nobody wants to set the boss straight on that one.

So, the big task that you planned to tackle first thing Monday morning sits until Monday afternoon, and then there’s no time to get it done by the end of the day, so you resolve to just get it done Tuesday. Then Tuesday comes along with its own new challenges, and guess what happens? I could probably build a big list of those Monday morning jobs that never got done. Thankfully, most are at home where I can’t get fired.

And, believe me, I was a shining example of this concept over the weekend. I’ve got enough projects at home to keep me busy for the next couple of months, and they won’t wait forever. But one thing led to another this weekend, and there wasn’t really time to get any of them completed, so I sat in front of the TV instead. Smart, huh?

We’ve talked before about tackling the most unpleasant task first. When my wife puts broccoli on my plate, I tend to eat it first so I can get it out of the way and enjoy what’s left of my meal. And there’s a reason mom never let us eat dessert first. She knew there was no way on God’s green earth we’d have eaten those Brussels sprouts later. So, we learned this concept early in life.

Most of us will face work today that we’d rather not do, and some of that will be pretty significant in terms of effort. But work has a habit of staying right where you left it. You can spin your wheels all day, or take on a dozen other tasks, but whatever you’ve been avoiding will still be there waiting. Sooner or later, you’ll have to do something about it.

As you begin your day, take a few moments to assess what’s on your plate. Make a list if you have to. And take a guess at how long each job will take. Then double that estimate, because nothing is as easy as it seems. Then take the biggest or most pressing task first and dive in. You may not get it all done today but think of how much less you’ll have to face tomorrow morning.

It’s natural to avoid the unpleasant and anything that seems insurmountable. But if we knock those things out first, the rest of the day is just that much easier. And meanwhile, it builds your own confidence. You’re not only getting things done, you’re doing the impossible. And with that kind of ability, no task (or dream) will ever be too large. You can accomplish anything!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When Life Hands You Lemons, Squash ‘Em!

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

Yesterday was one of those days that could have gone either way, and it turned out to be another exercise in frustration. It happens, and especially when people with an ulterior motive decide to make sure it happens. But you know what? Today is a brand-new day.

We all have those times when things happen that shouldn’t. People get sick, people die, jobs are lost, homes are lost, friends are lost, or any of a hundred other things that leave you feeling completely hopeless. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, so all you can do is wake up the next day and move forward.

My mom always used to say that, once you hit rock bottom, the only way you can go is up. There’s some truth to that. And even at the worst point yesterday I was far from rock bottom. But after a few hours of sulking and just trying to make sense of the day’s events, we had dinner, exchanged some laughs, and found a renewed sense of purpose to set things right. It’s a good feeling.

And I guess a big part of the reason we were able to turn things around so quickly is because of the type of things I write about in these posts – dreams, visions of success, positivity, and the reality that our destiny is much more in our control than it sometimes appears. It may feel like we’re only along for the ride, but the steering wheel is very much up for grabs. You can take it any time you want.

Happiness and positivity are a frame of mind. We can choose to be happy (generally) or choose to be downtrodden. It’s all in how we view the little things around us each day. Walking outside to cold air and gray clouds isn’t what most of us would call a good start to the day. But we can either moan about it all the way to work or turn up the radio and sing along. It’s a choice we can make.

Much of life is about perspective. You can drive past a dilapidated home on a dirt road with rusted out cars in the yard, people sitting on the porch commiserating about their lot in life, and in the yard you’ll see young children running and playing without a care in the world. They all live in the same reality – they just see it differently.

And part of that is just age. When we’re young, our parents try to shield us from the negative factors in life, especially those we can’t control like money and bills. But there’s nothing sweeter than the smile on a child’s face as they invent new games to play, laughing and singing without a care in the world.

I have little doubt I’ll step outside to less than ideal weather. Somebody in traffic will try to put me in a bad mood, and something at work will go wrong. These things happen. And, to be fair, when enough of them happen all in the same day, it can pretty much wreak havoc on your general mood. But it’s our ability to handle those little things that makes us better able to handle the big ones.

If we allow the little things to get to us, there’s no way we can handle life’s real challenges. Our family suffered a blow yesterday, one that came as the result of somebody else’s misdeeds. It happens. But we were able to quickly shake it off and get back on mission. And I know it’s because we’re generally positive and hopeful.

Positivity, like many other things, is simply a habit. It’s a choice you make at some point that becomes a part of who you are. It kicks in automatically all through the day, and when you need it the most, it’s there to help you face challenges with a clear mind and the knowledge that you can rise above. It’s what makes the difference between happiness and despair.

So, as you go through the day, pay attention to the little things that bother you. Don’t dwell on them, just be aware of their existence. Then find something positive about the situation and focus on that. It only takes a few seconds to change your perspective. Then you can face the challenge with a renewed sense of spirit. Do that often enough, and it becomes a habit.

Buildings are raised a brick at a time, beginning with a strong foundation you can’t even see once it’s been covered. But it’s there, supporting the whole structure when the storm clouds blow in. Build that foundation within yourself – a foundation of positivity – and you’ll find there isn’t much in life you can’t handle. Each day is only as good as you choose to let it be. Make it count.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Perseverence (and Coffee) Can Make Everything Right

Good morning! It’s Hump Day! I hope your week is going well.

Every morning, as I make my rather large cup of coffee, I have to run it in two batches – the first is 12 ounces and the second is an additional 8 ounces. It’s simply because my coffee maker doesn’t have a mega-cup setting, and I’m not about to start my day without a mega-shot of caffeine. Those who work closest to me can fully appreciate that.

But after the initial 12-ounce run this morning, my coffee maker decided that was it for now. I waited patiently, and then not-so-patiently, and still it wouldn’t reset itself for an additional brew. I finally gave it the computer-style reboot (pulled the plug) and it decided to work, after I reset the time and all those other fun things. I hope this was just a fluke. I kinda depend on this thing to start my day.

It’s just part of my routine. We all have one. As I get dressed each day, my dog is waiting outside my bedroom door, just to be sure I’m not going back to bed. I go to the living room, sit in the recliner, and he props up across my left leg for a morning hug. Then it’s outside for him, and when he comes back, he gets his morning vitamin and eats his food while I make a mega-cup of coffee. Every day.

We do these things so automatically, we rarely even think about them. Unless the coffee maker decides to test my aging heart, in which case I have to improvise. Or panic. It could have gone either way. We improvise first, and if that doesn’t work, we panic. Can I get an amen?

When an animal does something without thinking about it, we call that “natural instinct.” Okay, I’m not sure dogs have a natural instinct to start dancing around at 7:30 every night because the human is supposed to give them a treat at 8:00. I’m not even sure it’s a habit. If you want my opinion, he’s spoiled. But I only have myself to blame for that.

And how did 8:00 become the official hour for a treat? Because the human (me) did it a few nights in a row at the end of a particular TV show. It’s funny how habits are formed. I didn’t intent do make that a nightly thing with him. It just worked out that way.

I think it’s a little amusing – it takes us about three weeks to form a new habit. If there’s something you’re desperately trying to change, do it consistently for 21 days and it’ll become a part of your life. But, since every years of a dog’s life equals seven years of a human life, that means it only takes a dog three days to form a habit. I walked right into that one.

So, what happens when I go to his favorite cabinet and the bag of treats is empty? He understands “all gone,”, but he doesn’t understand “Daddy forgot to buy some at the store last week.” It’s treat time, and there’d better be something in that magic cabinet. If not, then open the refrigerator. There’s cheese in there. He’s not stupid.

Sometimes we have to improvise. And that’s not always as easy as it sounds. It’s time to start cooking dinner and you realize the roast is still thawed. So, tonight we have grilled cheese. Problem solved. But when you get halfway to work and the car starts flashing that dreaded “check engine” light, you don’t have a lot of options. That’s when even the most devout atheist begins to pray.

As I stared at the coffee maker this morning, I began to wonder if I’d have to start my day with a half-cup of coffee, and how my wife would feel when she had to start her day without. We don’t have instant coffee in this house, so my only Plan B is to stop by the gas station on the way to work. And I’m sorry, but that’s just not a truly acceptable substitute.

Things will happen to mess up the best of plans. You’re on vacation and you hit a detour. The hotel you’d planned to stay in is full. You get a flat tire on the way, and finally arrive at Wally World only to find the park is closed. It happens to the best of us. But somehow, you find the resolve to keep going.

Anybody can breeze through an easy day and come out looking good. It’s how we handle those not-so-easy days that makes us who we are. Just take a step back, assess the situation, and re-focus on the goal. There’s always another way to get there. All you have to do is find it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved