How Big Is Your Dream?

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

Ask any young child what they want to be when they grow up, and I can guarantee not a one of them says, “I want to work at Walmart!” And if you work at Walmart, keep reading because I’m just making a point. As kids, we have grand visions of how our life will be – much better than anything our parents ever imagined. I wanted to be a surgeon. Ask me how that turned out.

About the time I discovered girls, I noticed they had an affinity for rock stars. My sister had posters of every Teen Beat idol plastered all over her bedroom walls. Okay, none of them were technically “rock stars,” but at the age of 12, I could definitely see the potential. So, I learned to play a guitar and launched a lifetime career in musical stardom. You know how that turned out.

I’m willing to bet if you ask anybody you know what they wanted to be when they were five or ten, it’s nothing remotely close to what they’re actually doing today. And I’m willing to bet every one of our parents said the same thing. “You can do anything you want, sweetheart! Yes, you can!” Until the day they told us to get our head out of the clouds and find a real job.

If you ever wonder what happened to our ability to dream, there it is. As kids, we can imagine anything. I’ve been learning a song on the guitar that perfectly captures that imagination – Puff the Magic Dragon. Yes, I’m really that old. But the lyrics are a bit troubling, because halfway through the song, little Jackie loses his imagination and Puff is left all alone. He just grew up.

So, what is it about growing up that takes such a toll on our imagination? I think part of it is just the world around us. Let’s face it, others don’t always find value in our dreams of a better life. That’s especially true on the job. It’s okay to work hard and try to advance. Just don’t get too big for your britches! You still need this job. You always will. That’s part of the master plan.

And you can’t blame them. It’s like a father training his son how to run the farm, only to watch him run away and join the circus. Sure, the kid may be happy and living his own dream. But dad is left to find somebody else he can train in half the time. And preferably someone who will buy his own food for the next 18 years.

And even if nobody steps on our dreams, life happens. Bills come due, promotions go to the other person, and we find ourselves working two jobs just to make ends meet. It’s hard to even remember our dreams at that point, much less put any energy into them. And that’s when we need our dreams the most.

Albert Einstein once said that your imagination is a preview of what’s to come. Napoleon Hill took it a step further and said if you don’t see riches in your imagination, you’ll never see them in your bank account. Now, maybe that sounds a little too simplistic, but both of those men accomplished a lot. Is it possible they’re really on to something?

I was listening to a motivational speaker who said we’ll never leave where we are until we see ourselves where we want to be. Now, whether you believe in any of this or not, can we at least agree that it all begins with a dream? If we want something better, enough to work for it, we have to believe deep down that we can actually achieve it. Otherwise, it’s just work.

Believing we can achieve begins with seeing success before it ever happens. Experience success first, even if only in your imagination, and it becomes that much easier to attain. Do you have a dream book? Someplace where you not only list your dreams, but put in pictures to make them more real? Photoshop yourself into those pictures if you have to. You’re not breaking any laws.

And here’s the most important part – if you’re going to use your imagination, think big! It takes the same amount of energy to dream of a used car as a new one. And, oddly enough, it takes the same amount of effort on a daily basis to achieve it. One just takes a little longer. If you can do the work for a small dream, you can certainly do it for a big one.

When you already know how the story ends, getting there is that much easier. Focus on the destination, and the path will present itself. The road may not look like you’d imagined, but if you keep pressing, that road becomes a success story … yours. Make it a story worth telling.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

In Your Quest for Success, Don’t Overlook the Classics

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

I read a post yesterday that said, “if the only thing you can think to say is ‘good morning’ we can’t be friends.” Wow. That cut deep. Guess I’ve been doing this all wrong. I mean, okay, that’s not your typical greeting in a funeral home, but can you cut me some slack? It comes from the heart.

I’ve often wondered if it bothers anybody that the first two words of my daily posts and the last eight are always the same. If you don’t know, you’ll have to read to the end to find out. That’s what corporate America calls suggestive selling. “Want some fries to go with that bucket of paint?” Well, you get the idea.

Okay, first things first. You don’t EVER have to ask me if I want fries. That’s like asking if I want cheese on my cheeseburger or a fork with my soup. Both have happened. It’s like, “Yeah, I want cheese, but on the side.” Here’s a tip – don’t ever tell them you want your cheese on the side, because that’s the one thing they’ll get right. And it’ll actually be melted.

Wow, that went off-course fast. Back to my original train of thought – saying good morning. I guess I understand the sentiment behind that meme. It’s like seeing an old friend on the street and saying, “Yo, how’s it going?” How’s what going? And do you really even care? Or are you just uttering a few blank words to get them to acknowledge your presence?

“Can’t you think of anything a little more original?” That’s a rather brusque way of saying, “I’ve heard that one before.” Well, aren’t you the perfect example of worldly knowledge? Heard that one before, huh? Maybe more than one person wanted to wish you a nice day. Oh, the horror! Can just one person blow a raspberry in my face and kick me in the shins as they walk past?

We like originality. It shows a creative spirit, not to mention the little bit of extra thought that goes into crafting a more personalized greeting. But, come on. How many times have you watched the same movie? If you watch cable TV, you do it all the time. Especially this year when Covid has all but shut down Hollywood. We’ll be seeing reruns for years.

And sometimes, the old classics are still the best. To date, nobody has tried to do a remake of Gone With the Wind or The Sound of Music. Want to know why? They were awesome the first time around, and they’re just as entertaining today as they were fifty-plus years ago. And any attempt to make them better would likely result in a box-office flop.

The same is true of a lot of things in life. Like advice, for instance. Look both ways before crossing the street. Don’t take candy from strangers. Don’t golf in a lightning storm. And always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident. Okay, that last one was more for mom’s self-esteem, but you get the idea. Old ideas don’t always go out of style.

Yet, when somebody says they have a dream, and in order to achieve that dream they need a little extra income, what happens when you suggest one of the time-proven classics? “Oh, I’m not doing THAT! I had a cousin who tried that one. I want to come up with something on my own. Or maybe I’ll take your idea and make it even better!”

There’s nothing wrong with originality. It’s what got us to where we are today – somebody looking at the status quo and saying, “There has to be a better way.” But you know, all these centuries later, round wheels are still the best and heartfelt greetings are still a good way to start the day. Some things are just fine the way they are.

The question, then, becomes whether we’re willing to stick with the tried and true when it best suits our purposes, even if others think it’s lame. There are lots of roads leading to any destination, but there’s always one that’s faster, smoother, and easier. And odds are, you won’t be the first person to discover it. But what’s more important? The destination or your ego?

Don’t look past opportunity because you didn’t dream it up. Most opportunities in life are somebody else’s idea, and you may know several people who tried and failed. Thomas Edison knew a few. So did Madame Curie. They succeeded where many others had failed. And it wasn’t because they invented something new. They just made the most of what was already there.

If others have found success in something, so can you. Sure, you can blaze your own trail and name it after yourself when you get there. Or you can follow a path others have laid out for you and enjoy the destination that much sooner. The choice is up to you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Be Sure You’re Chasing the Right Dreams

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

Today marks the beginning of a new month. One in which many of us, especially in the northern climates, will see some change. Leaves will begin to turn brilliant colors and fall to the ground, temperatures will go from warm to brisk (and some days downright cold), and stores will begin to change their inventory from summer and back-to-school to holiday gifts, decorations, and treats.

Those treats get me every time. I’ve been trying to add one feature to our outdoor display each year, but there are three problems with that …. putting it up, taking it down, and storing it until next year. Ladders and I don’t get along so well these days. But treats? Yeah. I pick them up, I put them down, and storage is never a problem. Walking it off next year is another matter entirely.

Along with a new month comes a new chance to set and achieve new goals. If you’ve been following my daily ramblings, you know I’m in the midst of some changing priorities. The goals I had at the beginning of last month have changed, in some ways pretty dramatically. Life has a way of doing that. So, you adapt. You redirect, refocus, and get back in the game. Life goes on.

And that doesn’t mean we have to give up our dreams. They may change a little, and we may find simpler and more effective ways to accomplish the same objective. But the ultimate goal is still there. The journey isn’t over because one road closes. You break out the old map (remember those?) and find an alternate route. And then you listen to the GPS for the next twenty minutes – “Recalculating!”

I’ve often wondered why a GPS doesn’t have an option to initiate a detour. Or even to let you get off the highway to fill the tank and grab a bite to eat without those incessant reminders that you’re not following directions. There’s no “give me a break” button, or even a mute. It’s either on or off, and the whole time it’s focused on one thing – getting you to your destination the fastest way possible.

All too often, we go through life the same way. We’re so focused on that optimal path that we fail to appreciate the scenery along the way. And about the time we hit a roadblock, we just sit there waiting for it to go away. Because this is our path – this is the way we’ve always seen it transpiring, and anything else means taking a step back and admitting some level of defeat.

I imagine the early pioneers knew that feeling all too well. I’ve mentioned before flying across the country and thinking of all those people who crossed those mountains in covered wagons. On a good day with flat terrain, you might put ten miles behind you. But once you hit those mountains, it could take several months to find a way across. I’d hate to guess how many times they had to turn back.

But the goal was there, ever present in their minds. They dreamed of a new life in a new location, and that dream made all the hardships worth it. And I’m sure some of those cities between Oklahoma and California were settled because somebody said, “I’m sick of this wagon! Welcome to your new home!” It happens.

But for those who kept going, the ground went from dusty and rocky to lush and green, full of promise. And, here’s the important part. What separates the barren land of the desert from the greenery of the west coast is one final mountain range. Cross those mountains and everything changes. Stop one day short, and you’ll never even know it’s there.

With each new month comes a new opportunity to re-assess and re-establish our goals. It’s a time to look back at our progress so far and make sure the path we’re on is leading us where we want to go. It’s also a time to ask ourselves why that destination was so important in the first place, and if it’s really the destination we’re after, or simply the journey. Sometimes, getting there is the most fun.

We often find that what we really want isn’t necessarily waiting at the end of the road, but somewhere along the way. Buying an airplane would give me the freedom to go pretty much anyplace I want. But if travel is the ultimate goal, that same money will pay for a lot of plane tickets. Sometimes, what we think we want is simply a means to accomplish an even greater goal.

We all need time to re-assess our goals and make sure we’re chasing the right dream. The beginning of a new month is the perfect time. Make sure what you’re after is what you really want, and that the path you’re on is leading in the right direction. The only thing worse than being 100 miles from your exit is realizing you’ve driven 100 miles past it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When You Know the Destination, the Path Will Present Itself

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

Have you ever walked through an airport and seen people lined up for a plane going to someplace you’ve never had any desire to visit? In fact, you’ve never even heard anybody talk about going there. You think, “Is that the best they could afford?”

But what we never seem to think about is the fact that, for a good number of those travelers, the plane’s destination isn’t their final stop. It’s just a place to stop and change planes for someplace better. And, if you look a little closer, you can usually pick up a few clues. If they’re wearing short pants and sandals, it’s not likely they’ll be spending a lot of time in Detroit.

Sometimes, we find ourselves on a journey we never thought we’d take because it leads us to someplace better. I mentioned a while back that, when I was in high school, trash collectors in New York City were being paid $30 an hour. Now, that’s decent money today, but imagine how much it was forty years ago. It would be the equivalent of more than $130 an hour today.

Now, I seriously doubt that when the kindergarten teacher went around the room and asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up, that a single person said, “I want to drive a garbage truck!” More likely, they saw an opportunity to do a job most other people weren’t willing to do, and to make a lot of money doing it. Do that for a few years and you open up a lot of options.

Likewise, none of us took on our first job in high school with the intent that it would be our lifelong career. I made okay money bagging groceries, but it was more about having a little money in my pocket without having to cut grass in the south Florida heat to get it. It was simply a way to get closer to the path I really wanted to be on … you know, being a rock star.

Now, how exactly does bagging groceries prepare you for life as an internationally-acclaimed recording artist? It doesn’t. There were a dozen other jobs I could have done, from fast food worker (been there) to pumping gas at the service station (yes, I really AM that old). It was simply a way to get from point A to point B, with point B involving some extra money to buy stage equipment.

Along the way, my career changed. Several times, in fact. If anybody had told me as a teenager that I’d end up as a business analyst for a health insurance company, I’d have fallen down laughing. If they’d told me I would start that journey as an electronics technician, with detours in long-haul trucking and stand-up comedy, I’d have never believed it. Yet, here I am.

And you know what? This still isn’t the final leg of my journey. I love the job I have today, but let’s qualify that statement with, “If I have to get up and go to work, I’m very happy with the job I’ve got.” But it’s not what I want to do every day for the rest of my life. At some point, I’d like to step back, hand over the reins, and see what all these retired people are so happy about.

And you know what? It takes money to retire, just as it takes money to buy stage equipment. I’ve been building a business on the side so that, instead of having to divide my savings by the number of years I hope to live, I can maintain an income through retirement. Financial experts call that “diversification.” I call it survival.

And, if you’d told me forty years ago that, of all the businesses out there this is the one I’d have chosen, I wouldn’t have believed it. But when we’re looking at the destination, it’s sometimes hard to know the path we’ll take to get there. You go to the airport and tell the ticket agent you want to go to Tahiti. Next thing you know, you’re on a plane for Detroit. Who would’ve guessed?

If you know your destination, how you get there becomes a little less important. You don’t mind doing something you hadn’t imagined beforehand, as long as it takes you where you want to go. And, it’s not like anybody is asking you to ride in the back of a dump truck. There are lots of ways to get where we want to go in relative comfort and ease. We just have to pick one.

It’s when we close our eyes to possibilities that the destination becomes harder to achieve. The quickest path to that destination may be the last one you’d have considered. But once you’re on that plane, it doesn’t matter where you stop next. All that counts is where you’re going.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved