How Big Are Your Dreams?

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

As most of you know, my wife and I drove across the country a couple of weeks ago to attend a motivational conference. When you’re on the road that long, you pass pretty much every type of vehicle known to man, and possibly a couple I’d never seen before. In some of those states they have rigs where one truck is pulling three trailers. At highway speed. In a crosswind. Need I say more?

We always used to look at other cars and, sooner or later, we’d see one and say, “That’s what I want someday!” Well, I can honestly tell you that doesn’t happen anymore. We’re really happy with the car we’ve got. It’s comfortable, reliable, roomy, and easy on gas. And when the snow falls, it’s got all-wheel drive to brave the elements. I can’t imagine anything much better than that.

Maybe that’s because we’ve outgrown the days of always wanting something nicer (and more expensive). Maybe it’s because we’ve reached that age where a car is transportation – a means of getting from one place to another. And maybe it’s because we did our research and bought the car that matches our needs completely. That would be a first.

But mostly, I think we’ve grown to an age where cars just aren’t that special anymore. At least not the new ones. Now, give me a 70s vintage muscle car, or a pickup from the early 50s, and I’d be grinning from ear to ear. I like old cars. Especially cars that are just a little older than I am. I see one on the road every now and then, but it doesn’t happen very often.

On the other hand, our eyes were immediately drawn to just about every motorhome we passed on that trip. My wife would ask what kind it was and, more often than not, I could give her an accurate answer. I’ve done my research. When I turn on Facebook, it automatically pops up RV ads. Sure beats the days when my computer thought I needed pills to correct an unwanted male condition.

I have to be honest. About a month ago, I was ready to go shopping. For RVs, not blue pills. And not just shopping, I was ready to buy. But deep down, there was this nagging thought that we would be settling for something a little less than what we really want. My wife, on the other hand, thinks I’m shooting for the stars. Somewhere in between those two is where we’ll eventually end up.

As I mentioned yesterday, there’s this nagging issue of my job. It could end in a couple of months, and that would make those monthly payments a bit of a nuisance. But that’s just a technicality. The bank may not see it that way, but they don’t have my sense of adventure. What’s really stopping me right now is that we still haven’t decided exactly what we want. We’re still in the dreaming mode.

And make no mistake, it’s easy to let your imagination fly when you’re enjoying the scenery on cruise control and a 45-foot diesel pusher motors past pulling a “dinghy” that’s bigger than the car we’re driving. Some of these rigs have price tags nearing a million dollars. I guess you’d have to enjoy the road a lot more than I do. Besides, until they build a bridge to Hawaii, I’d eventually run out of road.

Still, somewhere between what I was ready to buy and a rig like that, there lies a realm where my dreams continue to exist. I don’t want to settle for something less than what we really want. And I don’t want to buy something now, just to pull into the campground and look at every other motorhome around us wishing we’d waited just a little longer.

One of the things they stressed at our conference is that, if you’re going to dream, dream big. Reach for the stars. That doesn’t mean you have to dream of the biggest and best, but don’t settle for a pup tent just because it gets you out of the house. Because odds are, until that pup tent wears out, you won’t be able to justify anything bigger. And pup tents never wear out. They last forever.

When you dream, take time to define exactly what it is you want. Not what’s available at the moment, or what you think you can afford – dream of what you really want. If something is worthy of your dreams, it has to be worthy of your effort. And if you’re going to put in the effort, you don’t want to settle for second-best.

A big dream doesn’t take any more effort than a small one. It may take a little more time, but you’re going to be working anyway, right? So, why not work for what you really want? Dream big. There’s no limit to what you can achieve.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Take Life at Your Own Pace – You’ll Enjoy the Ride a Lot More

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

In yesterday’s post, we talked about making the most of our time. Normally, that presents an image of somebody who’s up and running, working from morning till night, cramming something into every minute of their day. And for some people, that works. It suits their personality and gives them energy to do even more. But there are times when we need to slow down and just appreciate the world around us.

The movie Dirty Dancing has been on several times lately. I think the program directors in some of these broadcast stations pick three or four movies for the month and just put them on a loop. During the holidays, there are a few that’ll completely dominate the airwaves. “Hey kid – you’re gonna put “your eye out!” (That was strictly for those of you who love “A Christmas Story.”)

At the end of Dirty Dancing, the owner of an exclusive summer retreat comments that kids don’t want to go to camp with their parents and take foxtrot lessons. “Trips to Europe – 14 countries in three days!” I actually remember a time when travel agencies offered such trips. It sounds like fun until you think about what that means. “Get back on the bus!  We’ve got a schedule to keep!”

When I was in the Navy, we made a port visit to Naples, Italy. I really wanted to see Rome, so I bought a tour ticket. It was only $20 and included everything from the train ride to a full day of sightseeing in one of the world’s oldest cities. I was really looking forward to it.

But at the time, I had a real problem with oversleeping. I couldn’t wake up on time if my life depended on it. And, as luck would have it, I overslept that day. By the time I woke up, the tour had already departed. I was heartsick. I had breakfast and reluctantly decided to go ashore for another day of walking, cheap wine, spaghetti, and negotiating with street vendors for cheesy souvenirs.

But I still had that burn – I wanted to see Rome. So, I went to the USO and asked about getting there. They told me which train to take and suggested taking bus 61 to the USO in Rome, where I could get a map of the city and see the sights on my own. And I had a day I’ll never forget. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted, but I saw most of it.

At the end of the day, as the tour group was on the train headed back to Naples, I was sitting in St. Peter’s Square watching the sun go down. It was the most peaceful moment of my entire life. Sitting at the base of the Vatican Obelisk, a tall spire that likely inspired the Lincoln Memorial, I was captivated by a feeling of complete ease. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.

I was on the move most of the day, simply because there were so many things to see. But I got to see them at my own pace, taking time when I wanted and moving on when I was good and ready. Luckily, bus 61 ran past most of them. And as I think of that day, it stands in complete contrast to the stressed bustle of attempting to see 14 countries in three days.

When we talk about making the most of our time, it doesn’t mean we have to be on the move all day. Sure, you make hay while the sun shines, or so it’s been said. But there’s something to be said for quietly enjoying what’s around us as we plan what we want to do next. It’s hard to focus on your dreams when you’re up to your elbows in work. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is slow down.

It’s in those moments of quiet reflection that we’re able to think more clearly and visualize not only what’s right in front of us, but what we want it to be. It’s a lot easier to imagine a life on the ski slopes while you’re relaxing on a beach than in the middle of your best day at work. Find those quiet moments and let your mind take you where you want to be. When you know the destination, you’re already halfway there.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Wishbones and Backbones

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

Yesterday, I was reading a post where the writer quoted a long list of things we should teach our sons. I agreed with just about every one of them, because I’ve always believed we need to do a better job of passing strong values on to our kids.

One particular item on the list stood out, because of its sheer simplicity. “Don’t grow a wishbone where the backbone is supposed to go.” I did a little research and found that this quote originated from a writer named Clementine Paddleford, and it was written for daughters, not sons. “Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”

It’s not uncommon for sentiments such as this to be misquoted, or even re-directed. Still, I think the message remains strong, whether we’re talking about sons, daughters, or even ourselves. But, like many other such quotes, it’s easy to take it out of context and miss the meaning entirely.

“Don’t grow a wishbone.” Those four words, taken by themselves, have some pretty strong implications that fly in the face of what I’ve been promoting all this time. I talk about the importance of dreaming, and how it drives us to bigger and better things. And the closing words, “where the backbone ought to be,” could be misinterpreted as well. It would be easy to read this entire statement as, “Don’t dream of the things you want – stand up and demand them!”

And, to be honest, there are people in this world who live by that mantra. If you want something, take it. To the victor go the spoils, and everybody else can just live with their loss or grow a backbone of their own. We’ve all met people like this.

And, the problem with that line of thinking is that it assumes every gain in life must be balanced by a corresponding loss. I’ve been in business a few different times, and something I’ve never understood is the concept of a balance sheet. I guess for accountants, it’s pretty simple. But the notion that assets and liabilities must always balance out to a sum total of $0 is beyond my comprehension.

I read another post this morning, in a comedy forum of all places, that said “A rising tide raises all boats.” Now, there’s something I can understand. And, we’ve talked about this before – the concept that, by elevating those around us, we elevate ourselves as well. When the collective total increases, so does the individual average.

In accounting, balance sheets make sense (I guess). But in life, dreams are not a limited resource, nor are the things that enable our dreams. Money is a renewable resource. So are fancy homes, boats, airplanes, RVs, vacation packages, and just about anything else you can imagine. Winning yours doesn’t mean somebody else has to lose. There’s more than enough to go around.

So, let’s assume Ms. Paddleford wasn’t suggesting we don’t dream, or that we should “grow a backbone” and take what we want. I think the statement goes much deeper than that. To me, it says don’t let your ability to dream overcome your will to achieve. If there’s something you want in life, and you want it badly enough to wish for it, then have the guts to pursue that dream.

In terms of dreams, having a backbone means standing in the face of adversity and saying, “You can make things tough on me, but you can’t make me quit. I’ll stand against you day after day until you give up or just move on to somebody else, because I have already decided this shall be, and there’s no turning back. So, give it your best shot. I’ve got this.”

I doubt you can point to very many things in life that you achieved without any resistance whatsoever. Okay, people who have won the lottery may not agree, but that aside, just about every worthwhile thing you’ve accomplished in life came with some challenges. But determination and commitment carried you to the goal. Simply stated – you didn’t quit.

Should we grow a wishbone? Absolutely! And, unlike the one that comes with our Thanksgiving turkey, we need to make sure our own wishbone isn’t quite so brittle. It needs to be strong and resilient, something that can be bent, but never broken.

And that, my friends, takes commitment. It takes an unwavering belief in our ability to reach the goal, and a determination that nothing will stand in our way. Starting to sound a little like a backbone? I like the way you think!

A wishbone by itself can’t accomplish anything except pipe dreams. A backbone by itself can’t accomplish anything except standing in the way. But when you make the two work together, there’s nothing you can’t do, no goal you can’t achieve. At that point, the world is your playground, just waiting for you to enjoy whatever your heart desires.  

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

© 2018 Dave Glardon

The Time is Now

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

Before I launch into today’s message, I want to thank my good friend Mary Sanders for her messages of inspiration while I’ve been laid up. I know the commitment it takes to do this each day, and I can never thank her enough. Hopefully she’ll continue to share her thoughts with us, because she’s touched each of us more than she will ever know. Please be sure to send Mary your thanks.

My recovery is going really well. It’s hard to believe you can have brain surgery and then go home two days later. The healing has been fast, and right on schedule. But I’m learning why they call this a recovery period. Healing is only part of the battle. Recovery takes a bit longer.

The night before my surgery, my wife and I went out to dinner and had a pretty serious discussion about things we don’t often talk about. You know, the kind of things people our age should have discussed a long time ago, but something else is always more important. Besides, we’re going to live forever, right?

It amazed me how easily the conversation flowed. She asked about some of my preferences, and I answered. No sighs, no tears, just an honest, open conversation. And, as many of our conversations do, it led us to tropical beaches where the water never gets cold.

Both of my wife’s parents made their wishes known – they wanted to be cremated and have their ashes spread at their favorite beach on Florida’s Gulf coast. So, that’s what we did. The whole family had to travel from other areas to get there, but that was their final wish.

And, it occurred to me that we can always find a way to get to those locations after this life is over, so why is it so hard to get there while we’re still alive? Why do we wait for our loved ones to take us on that one final trip instead of being able to enjoy it with them?

We talk a lot about dreams and different ways we can work to achieve them, but something we never really talk about is the concept of “now.” It’s always “one of these days …” And you know what? That’s not a goal. That’s not even really a dream. It’s just a passing thought. Passing, because it’s gone as quickly as it pops up, only to be replaced by a reality that dictates what we can do, and when.

I have a picture of a motorhome over my desk with the words, “If not today, when?” Okay, I checked my bank account and I won’t be sitting in the driver’s seat any time soon. But if I set aside that dream until my bank says it’s time to go shopping, it’ll never happen. I have to get started now.

It’s easy to dream. But committing to that dream means making a conscious decision, followed by action. It’s even more than setting a goal. It’s making a statement that “this shall be.” Not “I want …” or “one of these days I’d like …” If you describe your goal in those terms, you’re still just dreaming.

“This shall be” is a commitment. And it changes your whole mindset. No longer are you worried about how you’ll make it happen. You’ll find a way, because you’ve already decided what the end result will be. Once you’ve made that commitment, nothing can stand in your way.

When a baby decides it’s time to walk, the end result is inevitable. They’ve made up their mind, and no amount of setbacks or obstacles will keep them from their goal. We’re all born with that determination. We use it all through our lives to master new skills, to overcome challenges, and to get the things we want.

And, just as a child learning to walk, once you commit to your dreams … fully commit … the end result is predestined. It’s no longer a matter of if, but when. Suddenly, the impossible becomes not only possible, but inevitable. Roadblocks become detours. Obstacles become speed bumps. And inaction becomes unacceptable. Because you’ve decided “this shall be.”

This isn’t rainbows and unicorns, and it’s not just Dave spreading positivity. If you look back over your life, every worthwhile accomplishment came as the result of commitment, followed by action. It works, and it works every single time. We never fail until we stop trying. And anything you haven’t accomplished yet is still out there waiting. All you have to do is make it happen.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Sure, work is part of the equation, but it’s not everything. Get out there and live. Build memories. Don’t relegate your dreams to your last will and testament. Make time for them now. Make the decision and commit to it. And don’t let anything stand in your way.

That’s all for now. Have a fantastic day and an awesome weekend!

© 2018 Dave Glardon