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

You Can Only Achieve What You’re Willing to Change

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

I think it was Mark Twain who said everybody complains about the weather, but nobody is doing anything about it. I thought about that yesterday as I drove for six hours through varying intensities of rain, only to arrive at our destination in time for the tornado warnings to go off. And I did pretty much the same thing everybody else does when that happens. I hunkered down and prayed.

And the whole time, I was thinking about family and friends in the great white north, battling blizzard conditions on top of a bed of ice. It sure makes the rain a little more palatable. In fact, if it were a little warmer, I might have gone outside to dance in the rain. I’m kidding. Anybody who has ever seen me dance knows how that would end. “Group, this is Dave. He’s going to be here awhile.”

But, back to the original issue – we complain about the weather, but we never do anything about it. You know, except complain more. “It’s too hot! It’s too cold! It’s muggy! I’m freezing! Who can drive in this stuff?” Whine, whine, whine. And we’re good at it, too!

The point Mark Twain was trying to make is that there’s nothing we can do about the weather. I beg to differ. We can move. Having lived in two completely different climates, I’ll take hot over cold any day. Never once have I had to go outside and shovel sunshine. Besides, that’s why God made swimming pools.

Yet, when you suggest that to somebody who’s miserable in their current surroundings, they can immediately come up with a laundry list of reasons why change isn’t practical. “This is where my roots are. I hate my job, but it pays the bills. The house is too small, but it’s all I can afford. Besides, the kids …” Yeah, if all else fails, blame it on the kids. They’re not listening anyway.

Change is hard. It’s scary. It’s stressful. It takes planning, and preparation, and accepting the possibility of failure. “What if I end up worse off than I am now?” That’s a very real fear, and not without basis. Failure doesn’t just happen on its own. We have to try something first, and sometimes we crash & burn. That’s all part of it.

Would a new job offer better possibilities than the one you have today? Maybe. Could the company decide to restructure and get rid of all the new folks? Yep. It happens every day. The same is true of just about any change we decide to make, whether it’s moving to another state, taking a promotion, starting a business, or buying a car. All you can do is roll the dice and hope for the best.

Change never comes without risk. Get over it. If you want safe & sound, just keep doing what you’ve been doing. At least you can count on that, right? Until the company shuts down, the market crashes, a tornado wipes out the neighborhood, or somebody pretends to be you and cleans out the bank. I don’t worry about that one. If anybody ever steals my identity, they’ll give it back. Trust me.

Sure, change is scary. Almost as scary as staying the same. The most successful people in the world have dreams, things they’d like to achieve or some change that would make life even better. The difference is, they’ve already embraced change, which is why they’re so successful to begin with. Success isn’t a talent we’re born with. It’s a mindset we develop over the course of a lifetime.

Success is nothing more than some level of dissatisfaction with the way things are, and a willingness to do something about it. Every modern convenience was borne of somebody’s dissatisfaction with the status quo. Every job was created because somebody saw a need and did something to fill it. And every beach house was built because somebody said, “That’s where I want to live!”

If there’s something you want, some change that would make life more enjoyable, what are you waiting for? Do something about it! I’m not suggesting you just chuck it all, abandon the house, and go live on the beach. But if living on the beach fits your dreams, then make it happen. Save some money. Start a business. Find a better job. Put the wheels in motion today. That part you can control.

Change makes all things possible. Roadblocks turn into speed bumps and obstacles become launch pads. We may not be able to choose the changes that are required, but we can decide which ones we’re willing to make. Embrace change, and destiny is no longer a matter of fate – it’s whatever we want it to be.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Just Look Ahead – Look Forward

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

It’s hard to believe this year is almost over. I read a post last night that said the way this year has gone, after 11:59 pm tomorrow, the clocks will change to 11:60 and just keep going from there.  It’s like all those butter-tub leftovers in Mom’s refrigerator. Some of those things are NEVER going away.

On the other hand, woe be to the person who dares to open one up, especially if the lid is bulging. You take those things straight to the dumpster, in tongs, at arm’s length, and still wear protective clothing. I think that’s the way 2020 will be. Throw it out and don’t dare take a peek to see what you missed. You can thank me later.

It’s been said that there’s a reason the windshield is a lot bigger than the rearview mirror. I guess that means what’s coming is more important than what’s passed. Besides, if there’s a semi with no brakes coming from behind, it’ll fill that mirror soon enough. And when you stop spinning, whatever was in the rearview may be in the windshield. Then it’s important again.

On the other hand, I once rode a rollercoaster where the trains on one track were facing backward. A mirror sure would have been nice there. Not that it would have done any good, because once you start up that first hill, you’re just along for the ride anyway. Oddly enough, it was a smoother ride not seeing what was coming. Facing forward, I always got beat up.

Sometimes, not seeing the future is a blessing. If we knew everything that was going to happen long before it does, we’d just spend that time worrying about the bad stuff and trying to make the good even better instead of just enjoying the ride. Oftentimes, I’ll ask my wife what she wants for dinner, and she just says, “Surprise me.” Okay, I only fell for that once.

There’s that part of us that needs to have a plan and know what to expect. It’s especially true with men. I think women are a lot less rigid about that, because they can always blame us. But statistics show that women, on average, live longer than men. Could it be that all the worry and planning and anticipation not only takes the fun out of life, but shortens it as well?

Besides, if you knew exactly what was going to happen, what would you do to change it? What could you do? I guess that depends what’s coming. If it’s a bill that’ll come due next month, you can spend that time trying to earn a little extra money. If it’s a tornado in the next county, all you can do is hunker down and hope for the best.

It all goes back to the serenity prayer. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom always to know the difference.” Powerful words. Yet it’s something we never seem to fully embrace, because we want the power to change everything. You know, so we can screw that up as well.

Knowing what to expect every minute of the day means you don’t have to put any thought into what you’re doing now or what you’ll do next. And the moment we stop thinking, creativity goes right out the window. Sure, you know what’s coming. You have a plan. And your plans never change because you know the outcome already. Boring!

Some of life’s greatest moments come when we least expect them. A race car driver learns to steer out of a sideways slide in one instant of unexpected drama. A chef creates a masterpiece recipe by substituting one ingredient when they run out of the other. And businesses learn a whole new way of marketing when a virus closes their stores.

Sure, one day the race car driver looks like a hero and the next day they spin out of control and hit the wall. Sometimes the chef creates a legendary recipe, and sometimes it can’t go in the trash fast enough. And, sometimes new ideas change the face of business forever, and other times it’s like the “New Coke.” I’m betting a few executives lost their jobs over that one.

But as long as we straddle the rails on the known path, we never push ourselves to try anything different. We take life exactly as it comes, with no thought of changing anything. And yes, change is scary. Sometimes it leads to disaster. But life’s greatest successes came as the result of somebody stepping off the rails and trying something new.

Look ahead, not to see everything that’s coming, but to see the opportunity that’s waiting. Embrace obstacles. Learn from every mistake and gain from every loss. You already know how the story ends, so don’t let the bumps and dips spoil the ride.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Unless You’re Changing, the Results Stay the Same

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

This is the day we normally ask, “what are your plans for the weekend?” Well, apparently my plans will involve figuring out the new Facebook, because no matter how many times I’ve tried reverting to the “classic” look, they just keep jamming it down my throat. Now they’re telling me to stop whining and take the hit. Lovely.

Change is hard. Sometimes it’s necessary, like telling us to cover our face when we’re out in public. Nobody likes it, but we can at least understand why. But in the middle of all this, with everything that has happened this year and what we’re facing in the coming months, Mark Zuckerberg decides to throw one more thing at us? Thanks! You’re a true patriot!

Okay, I’m done with my little rant. I wrote all that to make a point. We don’t like change. If you read yesterday’s post about the contents of my closet, you already know that. I guess men are especially resistant to change. That’s why the men’s clothing department takes up one small corner of the store, and women get an entire floor.

I can’t remember the last time men’s fashions really changed. It must have slipped through at some point, because the mullet hairstyle has somehow gone from high fashion to a stereotypical joke. It didn’t happen overnight, like the consensual ban on white dress shoes and leisure suits. Yes, I had ‘em. And I probably wore them a little beyond their expiration date.

When it comes to clothing, we’re still wearing what we wore twenty years ago. Okay, to an extent. In my time, if a teenage boy went to school with rubber sandals and colorful socks, he’d get pounded. According to my grandson, that’s what all the cool kids are wearing. You know, when it’s too hot for the Air Jordan XL2500s with the pink swoosh and neon green laces.

I remember taking him to a theme park during the summer, when all the girls his age were wearing short shorts and skimpy tops. Do you think he noticed? “Hey grandpa, look at that kid over there. That’s the KD-9s he’s wearing. And they’re only $600!” I told his mom not to worry about grandkids any time soon. His attention was otherwise focused.

But when it comes to men – adult men over the age of 20 – fashions are pretty much limited. I can send my wife to the store to buy a pair of pants and she only has two questions: Dress or casual, and what color? Because no matter what, they’re only available in bone, tan, blue, and brown. And if you’re lucky, some shade of olive drab.

Since the mid 1960s, the world’s population growth rate has dropped steadily every year. We’re not procreating at near the levels we did during the baby boom years. I blame that on two factors – HIV, and men’s fashions. One was thrust upon us by forces unknown, and one we readily accepted because we’re too lazy to change. Ladies, am I right?

Think about it. You’re out in the club and a young lady catches your eye. You smile and she smiles. So, you saunter over, looking all suave and debonair, and start laying down your best moves. You see one of the hottest creatures on God’s green earth. You know what she sees? Her dad, twenty years ago. And why not?  You’re dressed just like him.

Resistance to change is normal. We like knowing what to expect from one day to the next, even if it’s something we don’t like. This is why people with no savings continue to make poor financial decisions. It’s why people at the bottom of the corporate ladder seem content to stay there. And it’s why women in abusive relationships are so reluctant to leave.

Change can be a little intimidating. Even with something as simple as clothing. You think the manufacturers never tried anything new? They did. And every time, the new line was an utter failure because no man wanted to be the first to go out looking different than everybody else.

I get that a lot in my business. “Sure, it looks easy enough, but what if everybody else laughs?” That could happen. In fact, it does happen. It’s all part of having the guts to step out and do something a little out of the ordinary. And if you’re not willing to risk that, then just keep doing what you’ve been doing. No problem.

But remember, the same approach will always yield the same results. To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Change isn’t easy. It takes purpose, focus, and commitment. You have to be all-in. But once you get past that initial reluctance, a whole new world opens up. Dreams become possible, and success becomes a way of life.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Sure, it’s What You Do … But is it Getting You Where You Want to Be?

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

Yesterday, my four-year-old grandson decided he didn’t need a nap. After all, he’s “almost five!” Never mind that his six-year-old sister was on the couch next to him sawing logs. You don’t have to tell that little girl to take a nap. She looks forward to it. And woe be to the person who tries to wake her up. With that little lady, you let her come around in her own sweet time.

Naturally, by early evening the lack of sleep was starting to manifest itself with horns and a forked tail. I even warned him that would happen. “What happens when you don’t sleep? You get tired, and then you start doing things you shouldn’t, and then you get in trouble.” His solution for that is pretty simple – look the other way. Then everybody’s happy.

It’s all about habits, or what we’re used to doing on a regular basis, often without even thinking about it. I touched on habits yesterday. It was easy getting into the habit of getting up a little earlier and writing a morning message. And it was just as easy getting into the habit of sleeping a little later and saying, “maybe tomorrow.” In fact, that one didn’t take any effort at all.

Habits are like that. They don’t even care if you’re doing the right thing or not. They just care about doing the same thing the same way, every single day. And not for any good reason other than, “That’s what I do!” As a business analyst, I constantly challenge that kind of thinking. Do you do it this way because it’s the best way, or because that’s the way you’ve always done it?

When I quit smoking, my first thought was, “What will I do after dinner?” I always had a cigarette. Well, that one was easy. I just never stopped eating. Twenty-two years later, the proof is hanging in my closet. A friend suggested I’d be equally lost for something to do after … you know. Let’s just say that one doesn’t work like eating. Believe me, I tried.

I’ve suggested in the past that habits are easy to form and even easier to break. But I guess that depends on the habit. If it’s something good you need to start doing, those can be the hardest habits to form. Likewise, if it’s something enjoyable you need to stop doing, those are the hardest habits to break. On the other hand, I stopped talking back to Mom in one try. I had help.

You can form (or break) any habit in 21 days. That’s not to say the behavior will become so ingrained in you that you can’t possibly do anything else, and there will be days when you still struggle with it. But in a matter of three weeks, you can repeat a behavior often enough that it becomes the default response to a given situation. After that, it becomes easy.

I’ll be writing more on this in the coming months. In fact, I may write a book on it. Because the one thing that stops us from modifying our habits is fear. How will I ever do this? It’ll take forever! Well, when we put fear aside, great things happen. Unless somebody triple-dog dares you and your response is, “Hold my beer!” I’ve seen those videos. They’re not pretty.

But that aside, if there’s something you want to change, all it takes is 21 days. Or less if my Mom is the motivating force. All you have to do is decide what you want to change, and why. Get that firm in your mind, and the rest is easy. And you can do anything for three weeks. Almost. Once those three weeks are over, it’s a simple matter of lather, rinse, and repeat.

Which habits are keeping you from reaching your dreams? Which habits would bring you closer? If what you’re doing now isn’t getting you where you need to be, then something has to change. Don’t let that change alter your dream. You can accomplish pretty much anything you want, if you want it badly enough. Start with the habits and let’s check back in a few weeks.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Moving Forward or Running Back?

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

It’s the first day of May and, according to some loosely defined timelines, today is the day things start to get back to normal. It’s not an official day of change. It’s more like when your mom said, “Maybe someday in a month or two …” That automatically becomes the first day of next month. I learned to tell my kids it’ll never happen. That saved a lot of whining later.

I can appreciate all these people marching on the Capitol, telling the world they want to go back to work. We do need to work. Only problem is, I’ve seen a lot of these people on the other side of the office doors. It’s like those idiots racing through traffic every morning. You know they’re not that energetic once they get there. They just want the first cup of coffee.

We went to the store last night, and it’s disheartening how many people are completely ignoring the recommendations of preventive health. It’s like this never even happened. The rules of social distancing are out the window, and masks are seen almost as a sign of weakness. It’s like trying to get teenagers to wear a seat belt. “Not me! I’m Superman!!!”

I think every parent has had problems with that, especially when it comes to toddlers. They watch how the seat belt works, and then it becomes a conquest to see how quickly they can open it up. It’s not even about freedom – it’s about proving they can do whatever they want. I solved that problem fast. I carry a staple gun in the car and dare them to even try.

It’s too bad we can’t do that in the grocery store. A six-foot baseball bat would drive home the message. Same thing in traffic. I always wondered if we could replace the airbag in a steering wheel with a spring-loaded boxing glove. Do something stupid and a light starts flashing. Do it again and it beeps. Strike three, you’re out. Wham!

My car has lane change assist, interactive cruise control, and rear blindspot detection, among other things. Basically, the car watches the road for me so I don’t have to. With all those added features, I guess I couldn’t complain if it whacked me in the face for being stupid. So, I just let my grandson drive. He deserves a good punch.

The RV, on the other hand, doesn’t have any of those features. It has a horn – a really loud horn. And 24,000 pounds that says I make the rules. People don’t jump in front of me and slam on their brakes. And if I drift out of my lane a bit, they move. Oh, I get the finger every now and then, but I’m used to that. Only difference is, they wait until they’re safely out of reach to do it.

Yes, life is slowly starting to get back to normal. As normal as it’ll ever be, that is. Parents will be back to work, kids will be outside playing, and grocery shopping will be more like a road rally than a game of dodgeball. And in exactly three weeks, people will be calling in sick, kids will be whining that there’s nothing on TV, and grocery shopping will turn into a demolition derby.

Why? Because no matter how badly we want things to change, we fight even harder to get back where we were. There was a book titled, “Who Moved My Cheese?” I’ve never read the book, but apparently it’s an amusing account of our resistance to change. We spend half our lives chasing the rainbow, and the other half trying to get back.

Before I left for the Navy, my dad told me the two best duty stations in the world are the one you’re going to, and the one you just left. Oh, we want change. Until it happens. The vast majority of lottery winners go bankrupt in a just a few years. One day they’re multi-bazillionaires and the next day they’re posting “his and hers” Lamborghinis on eBay.

We all want change. We want to be happier, we want nicer things, and we want a more comfortable life. Yet, no matter how badly we want those things to change, we have a certain level of comfort in the way things are – knowing what to expect and how to deal with it when it happens. We want everything around us to change, as long as we can stay the same.

Well, change is coming. Some of it will be good, some will be a challenge, and some will be a boomerang ride back to where we started. With every crisis comes opportunity, the chance to come out a little better than we went in. It’s what we make of that opportunity that counts. You can move ahead, or simply go back to where you were. And decision time is here.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Persistence – The Art of Winning By Wearing Down the Gods

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

Have you ever tried a dozen different ways to accomplish something and then finally realized the gods are just working against you? Take weight loss, for instance. That seems to be the topic of the day. Everybody is complaining about eating too much and not being able to get out and work it off. Not that I was working anything off before, but at least now I have an excuse. Right?

I think I’ve tried just about everything short of surgery and diet pills. And believe me, in 24 years of fighting this beast, that covers a lot of ground. It seems every year, there’s some new miracle diet or food item that just magically melts away the pounds. I guess it goes without saying that most of the studies behind those claims are paid for by the people trying to sell those foods.

With few exceptions, I’ve tried it all. First there was the one that said eat cereal three times a day. Okay, I never really tried that one. Once the little marshmallows are gone, the rest is just soggy oats. I did try the Atkins diet, and lost a few pounds. But I knew I was in over my head the day I looked at a piece of communion bread and thought, “How many carbs are in that?”

Then there was the one that said don’t just eat three meals – eat all day. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what it said, but that was the message I got from it. I gained ten pounds and my A1C went up six points. Then there was the three-day cleanse. I lost a few pounds but three days later the weight was back and we were out of toilet paper. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take right now.

I even tried some supplements. I mean, come on … all it takes is concentrated grapefruit to melt away the pounds? I can do that! After all, it’s just like eating M&Ms. I’m pretty sure that’s what got me this way to begin with. Then I read the fine print on those bottles. You know, the part that comes after the asterisk. “When combined with proper diet and exercise.”

Are you kidding me? Even I’m not stupid enough to fall for that. ANYTHING can make you lose weight with proper diet and exercise, including diesel fuel. In fact, that one may help you take it off even faster. I’m not sure the doctor would approve, but so far his advice hasn’t done much for the cause.

“It’s simple Dave … just lose one pound a week.” Right. It’s simple Doc. Just grow one new brain cell a week. Then go stand on a scale, because that plan sure as hell isn’t working for you. And why is it that the doctor’s scale is always calibrated eight pounds heavier than mine? Care to guess why my blood pressure was so high? Try checking it first, and THEN put me on the scale.

Okay, I’m having a little bit of fun with this, but the truth is, there’s nothing really fun about being overweight. I had to get down on the ground to open a water valve on the RV and I almost didn’t get back up. I’m pretty sure the neighbors thought I was drunk, because I fell three times. And the only thing that can make me run is an ice cream truck. Then I’m faster than the kids.

We all have something about ourselves that we’d like to change. It’s not enough to know we should change, or even that we have to. We have to want to, more than we want whatever it is that’s holding us back. I have a full assortment of meal replacements that would help me lose weight. They taste good and don’t leave me hungry. The problem is, I like cheeseburgers. A lot.

It all comes down to one simple fact. Nothing changes until we change. Whether it’s weight, physical fitness, learning a new skill, improving our financial status, or just about anything else, we have to take the first step. That’s the easy part. What’s hard is doing it again and again and again until we finally reach our goal, no matter how long it takes.

Nobody likes to swing and miss. It’s even harder when you do it over and over and over. But unlike baseball, you can keep swinging until you get on base. Sure, a home run would be nice, but a single still puts you in position to score. And once you cross home plate, it doesn’t matter how long it took to get there. The scoreboard still reads the same.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Change Itself Isn’t Good Or Bad – It’s What We Do With It That Counts

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

Not long ago, one of the television channels showed an episode of the Jetsons. It was fun reminiscing at all the things the show’s creators thought we’d have at some distant point in the future. Personal robots, spaceports, flying cars that fold into a briefcase. And phones that fit in your pocket. Who saw that one coming?

I still remember one of the greatest breakthroughs in communications technology … phones that came in different colors. Until then, you had three choices – black, black, or black. Next came long cords that could reach any room in the house, and then the old rotary dialer was replaced by buttons that could play Mary Had a Little Lamb. I’m not sure whose phone rang on that one, but I’m betting it was long-distance.

Sometime in the 80s, we got cordless phones. Big, bulky things with a pull-out antenna on the top, just like your old transistor radio. Remember those? You had to set the dial just right to hear your favorite channel, and then every time a good song came on, a plane would fly over, and you’d lose the signal completely. Ah, those were the good old days!

Back then, if you wanted to change the channel on the TV, you had to get up. That’s not to say we got a lot of exercise, because there were only three channels to begin with. Channel surfing was like a rodeo – it lasted eight seconds. And if the antenna wasn’t pointed just right, you got snow. That’s how teenage boys learned to watch digitally scrambled cable channels. You know the ones.

We’ve seen a lot of changes in our lives, even if you’re only 30. Think about it. Thirty years ago, people still carried pagers. Long-distance was a costly service, and cars still came with a clutch. Want to throw a teenager into a tizzy? Put them behind the wheel of a car with three pedals. And then, as some on social media have suggested, write the instructions in cursive.

Yes, we’ve come a long way. Some changes have been better than others. Personally, I like not having to budget the cost of calling somebody in a different county. But I do miss the days when you could get on a plane without a full-body scan and six episodes of the same stupid questions. “Did you pack your bags yourself?” Yes, but I did ball up my underwear. Will that be a problem?

Let’s face it, technology is changing our world even as we sit here enjoying our morning coffee. I read an article a few months ago about how some of the major retailers were moving toward a model of stores without customers. Instead of an attractive storefront, you’d have a warehouse with robots roaming the aisles. Place your order online and it gets delivered to your front door.

Which sounds great, unless you’ve ever seen my wife inspecting produce, or me looking for a pack of bacon where all the pieces are straight. Besides, who’s gonna squeeze my bread to make sure it’s fresh? At least you’d know if the robot did it for you. Right in the middle of the loaf, you’d have four slices shaped like an hourglass. No thanks.

But it’s coming, folks. And in a way, it makes sense. Stores are expensive. They have to be decorated, brightly illuminated, and kept reasonably clean. Items on special promotion have to be displayed instead of just moving them to the home page. Besides, it’s the only way they can sell the stuff nobody would buy if they saw it first. Soggy grapes? No problem. Order #34872.

Sometimes, fate has unexpected consequences. What was unacceptable a month ago is standard procedure today. And that won’t stop when this virus goes away. A lot of the changes we’ve seen are here to stay. That may be good or bad, but it won’t change the inevitable. Corporations learn fast. And once you’ve got a foot in the door, it’s that much harder to slam it shut.

We’ll adapt. We may complain a little, but in time these new ways will just become a part of life. I hope that new life doesn’t involve masks and a ban on hugging, but some of the changes may not be so bad. Let’s face it, curbside liquor delivery is pretty convenient. Maybe it’ll replace the ice cream truck. Wonder what song they’d play? Jimmy Buffet, perhaps?

The key to thriving in a changing world is to change with it. Technology is only part of the equation. The biggest challenge lies somewhere between our ears. We can accept change and go along for the ride, or we can embrace it and take the wheel. Change is inevitable. The only question is, will you make it work for you?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The More We Adapt, The Faster We Grow

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

Well, it’s the last day of the month. If you live in my world, that means a whole new set of bills to pay. Those things just never seem to go away. I’ve paid for my house twice already, and still owe half of what I borrowed. I’m apparently in the wrong line of work, because when I earn a paycheck, I only get it once. I think it’s a scam. They just keep sending a bill until you catch on.

This is also the time when we measure our accomplishments for the past month against our goals. And if you need a hand with that, the boss is more than willing to help. Somehow, they don’t quite understand the concept of “almost.” Then comes that loaded question – “Do you remember when I asked you to (insert missed goal here)?” Don’t answer. It’s a trick.

But how about those things you were planning to do for yourself? Okay, you may get a pass on that if it involved getting out of the house and spending time with people. Today. But what was your excuse last month? How about the past several years? “Well, there may be a pandemic out there waiting to happen, and just to be on the safe side, I had to put my plans on hold.” Right.

Okay, enough about pandemics. I guess if somebody has actually been using that as an excuse, they can finally rise up and loudly proclaim, “I told you!” The rest of us have to come up with something better. And the truth is, there is nothing better. Or worse, for that matter. The bottom line is we’re still just making excuses. If that was your goal, congratulations. You win.

A friend often says that success has no regard for the validity of your excuses. Okay, so right now, we have a good one. And it still doesn’t matter. Because, while we’re complaining about the raw deal we’re getting, other people are adapting and moving forward anyway. You play the hand you’re dealt. A pair of twos can still win, especially if the other guy folds.

Right now, companies around the world are doing something they’ve never considered – paying employees to work from home. All those big, glamorous office buildings are sitting empty while we work in our PJs. And yet, the job is still getting done, sometimes better than before. Why? Because that’s our only choice and the job still needs to be done.

I read a story once about a frog that tried to hop over a deep rut in the road and came up short. He tried and tried to jump out, but the rut was too deep. Another frog came along and tried to help, but it was no use. Finally, the second frog went for help as the first frog sat at the bottom of the rut and cried. “I’ll never get out of here!” I think we’ve all been there.

Well, the second frog couldn’t find anyone to help and, as he was going back to deliver the bad news, along came the first frog, happily hopping along. “Wait, is that you? How on earth did you get out of that rut?” The first frog replied, “I had to – there was a truck coming.”

When the chips are down, we find ways to adapt. Hopefully this isn’t the new “normal.” But what we’ve come to know as normal has changed forever. And the tricks we learned now, when we had to jump just a little higher, will take away some of those excuses that have been holding us back. The question is, will we make the most of new opportunities, or make new excuses?

Whether you’re able to work from home or not, this is where the rubber meets the pavement. We can adapt and move forward or sit around and accept whatever fate throws our way. The company’s goals will be met, whether that’s now or later. But what about your own goals? Will they survive?

A new month is about to begin, and in 30 days, we’ll be right where we are now, with a fresh set of bills and that nagging question in the back of our mind – did I make the most of the time I had, or am I still making excuses? This is one bill we can pay early. And the sooner we get started, the easier it’ll be to pay.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Find Your Spare Tire Before You Need It

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

Yesterday morning was a jolt to the system. After 12 weeks of being able to start my day at my own pace, I found myself in unfamiliar territory – two rug rats who were a lot more awake than I was, and a tight schedule to get dressed, eat breakfast, and leave for work. Okay, “leaving” means climbing down a flight of stairs to the basement, but it counts.

Abrupt change is a shock to the system, even if it’s something you want. I have to be honest. I wasn’t heartbroken at the prospect of spending a few weeks at home in January. It was a taste of what retirement might be like. The verdict is in – I’ll survive that just fine when the time comes. I never resorted to leather sandals and black knee socks, but the rest felt pretty good.

Still, in the back of my mind, I knew it was temporary. Any time that fact slipped my mind, I had my wife to remind me. Women worry about these things a lot more than men. I knew we’d be okay. I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy most of the time. Any time it starts looking empty, I just pour it into a smaller glass. And a shot glass is still technically a glass. I’m just saying.

Thankfully we had some things going on the side before my job went away. Not enough to live on, but every little bit helps. It’s important to have something to fall back on while you still have the ability to stand. Because sooner or later, something will come along and kick your feet out from under you. And trust me, that ground gets a lot harder with age.

When that happens, our first reaction is usually some level of panic. Then we start to think a little more rationally. Finally, creativity slips in and we start looking at things we’d never considered. The only problem is most of those creative ideas require a little time to start generating an income. If only you’d started six months ago. Sound familiar?

And what happens? The crisis ends, and we go right back to what we were doing before. Only this time, it’ll be different. Because we said so, that’s why. And if the same thing happens again, we’ll be a lot better prepared. Only next time, it won’t be the same thing. It’ll be something you’d never anticipated. Like now. Who would’ve ever dreamed of something like this?

Well, you know what they say about doing the same thing and expecting different results. It’s delusional, at best. My street has two ends. They never change. I can drive from one end to the other, and I’ll always end up in the same place. It doesn’t matter how I drive, or what kind of car I use. The destination is always the same. Unless the brakes fail. Then things change real fast.

That doesn’t mean what you were doing before is all wrong. But if what you were doing left you high and dry with nothing but a savings account to fall back on, you may want to consider a different approach moving forward. And the time to get started is now – before the need arises.

Cars have a spare tire you hope you never need, but potholes happen. And when they do, they can literally knock the wind out of your tires. That’s pretty much true with most things in life. Things will never be the same as they were, and they won’t always go the way we’d planned. The question is, do you have a spare?

Dad always used to remind me to check the air in my spare tire. You see, it’s not enough to have something on the back burner, forgotten until the need arises. A spare tire needs an occasional shot of air, fire extinguishers need to be recharged, and fallback sources of income need to be running above idle. At the very least, keep some gas in the tank. Good stuff.

Change affects us all in different ways, and preparation helps to minimize the impact. Hopefully you were ready for this crisis. But could you do it again next year? It could happen. You can save yourself a lot of sleepless nights by finding that spare tire today. Hopefully you’ll never need it. In that case, it’s just money in the bank. And who couldn’t use a little of that?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved