Don't Wait For Luck – Make Your Own

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

A few days ago, I stumbled across a video montage of people who were involved in close calls that almost resulted in disaster. There was the guy walking down the street and a speeding car slid into a light pole inches away. Another person stumbled off a train platform and was pulled to safety with less than a second to spare. You know, the kind of videos that make you go, “WOW!”

Thankfully, luck was on the side of each of these people and they lived to tell the story of what could have been their final moment. Some would say they were the beneficiary of divine intervention, that it just wasn’t their time. I won’t argue either way, except to say something or someone was there to save them from certain death. And that, my friends, is the textbook definition of luck.

We tend to attribute lots of things to luck. One person just seems to catch all the lucky breaks, and another attracts nothing but bad luck. Casinos invite you to try your hand with Lady Luck. Game operators at the carnival call out, “Do you feel lucky today?” And what about the lottery, the ultimate test of luck? You put down a few dollars and wait for random numbers to pop up.

And then there’s the person who started out working alongside you in an entry-level position, but through several promotions and pay raises, now enjoys an office instead of a cubicle, tropical vacations instead of tent camping, and a home on “that” side of town. Meanwhile, you’re still struggling to pay the bills. Yes, some people seem to get all the luck.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but luck has nothing to do with it. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. It’s the result of recognizing an opportunity and being in a position to capitalize on it. That may mean learning new skills, taking a few classes, or simply going out of your way to meet the right people. But without that preparation, luck will simply pass you by.

Sure, we’ve all seen cases where somebody got a promotion simply because of their last name. The boss’ kids will always have some level of preference when it comes to promotions. But, in most cases, they have to be up to the task, or they’ll get passed by. Business owners don’t achieve success by putting imbeciles in positions of leadership. If they do, they won’t be successful for long.

More often than not, if we’re really honest, we can look beneath the surface and see a pattern of preparation that puts one person in a position to succeed while others around them feel left out. Sure, we have names for the people who come in early, stay late, and always have the report on the boss’ desk early. But when opportunity comes along, who do you think will get the first shot?

Success isn’t a matter of luck. It comes to the person who can spot an opportunity and is prepared to capitalize on it. Winning the lottery is luck. It takes no skill, and no preparation other than buying a ticket. Ever wonder why nearly 70 percent of lottery winners are bankrupt in less than five years? There’s your answer. Success takes a little more effort.

I talk a lot about dreams and goals, and hopefully you think about those things just as much. And make no mistake, the opportunities are there. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. But unless you’re prepared to capitalize on those opportunities, they’ll move on to somebody who is. And preparation begins with an open mind.

How many times have you seen somebody achieve incredible success in the most unlikely venture? Odds are, they weren’t the first to be exposed to the idea or opportunity. But they approached it with an open mind and put in the effort while others scoffed at their ambitions or simply looked away without a second thought. Was it luck? Or was there a little more to it?

For any goal you may have, or any level of success you wish to achieve, the opportunity is there. Find that opportunity and you’re halfway there. Maybe you’re ready today, maybe not. But once you know how to succeed, it’s easy to put the remaining pieces in place. Don’t rely on luck. Success comes to those who make their own luck. It’s there waiting for you. What happens next is up to you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You're Going to Think Anyway, Think Big!

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

Yes, I’ve been away again. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve undoubtedly seen the dozens of pictures my daughter posted from her trip to Orlando for my granddaughter’s birthday. Well, as you may have guessed, we went with them. For personal reasons, I don’t talk about these trips in advance, but we sure did have a good time. Got to visit my dad as well, so that was a pleasant bonus.

Okay, so eight days into 2020, what are your plans? The first thing on my list is to not repeat the stunt I pulled this morning. There’s nothing like a cup of hot coffee on a cold morning. And nothing quite like dumping the entire cup all over the dining room table, my computer, three light blue placemats, a stack of mail, and the motivational book I’m reading that’s teaching me not to cry over spilled coffee.

Hopefully I’ll be able to read the second half of the book, now that the pages are coffee stained. Oh well, some people pay extra to “age” photographs with a similar effect. Maybe my book just increased in value. Either way, I’ll finish reading it. Here’s a tip – any time travel includes flying, along with all the associated airport waiting time, take along a good book. It sure beats staring at the clock.

As a kid, I used to read everything I could get my hands on. Sometime in my twenties, I stepped back from that a bit. And once I started writing professionally, I stopped reading altogether. When you stare at words on a page (screen) all day, it’s nice to take a break from it in the evening. It’s kind of like cleaning toilets all day and then coming home to a mess in your own house.

But over the past few years, I’ve developed an affinity for motivational books. The one I’m reading now is one of the all-time greats – The Magic of Thinking Big. I know, thinking big is just dreaming big, right? Well, yeah. And a lot more. It’s about finding the value in yourself that allows you to succeed at anything you desire. Every one of us was born to achieve. But first, we have to dream. That’s how it works.

Since the beginning of time, people have watched birds soar through the air and dreamed of being able to do the same. The freedom of being able to go anyplace you want, over any obstacle, and with a view of the world unlike any other. And they tried. I imagine a lot of people met their demise at the bottom of a cliff, for one shot at accomplishing the impossible. Still, they tried. And tried and tried.

We all know how that story ends. As I boarded a plane in Jacksonville yesterday morning, our pilot announced that we would have a one-hour, eighteen-minute flight to Washington DC. He then told us that trip would be over ten hours by car. That’s the result of thinking big. It wasn’t enough to soar over a hundred feet of sand dunes in North Carolina. Our dreams took us higher, faster, and farther.

That’s the way dreams work. Anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. If you can imagine something better and truly believe not only that it’s possible, but that you can do it, your mind will fill in the blanks and show you how to make it happen. Every modern convenience we enjoy today began as a dream. And we’ve only scratched the surface.

As we basked in the warmth of a water park on January 2, I began to dream. That dream quickly turned to a burning desire, and then a commitment. I want this. I want the ability to do this any time I want. And why stop in Orlando? There are lots of warm places in January. The Caribbean, Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia … the list goes on. And the only thing standing in the way is me.

If you’re going to think anyway, why not think big? Forget all the negativity that holds you back and focus on the reality that you can accomplish anything. And, that being the case, why dream of small achievements when you can just as easily have so much more? This isn’t about material gain. It’s about maximizing your own potential. It’s about enjoying life on your own terms. It’s about success.

So, as you begin the new year, take a little time to dream. Then take those dreams a step further. Think big! The world is more than happy to let you know if your dreams are too grand. But remember, Wilbur and Orville Wright were told it was impossible to fly. Anything that can be built can be built for you. And if it hasn’t been built yet, then get busy and show the world how to make it happen!

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Forget the Resolutions – It's Time to Dream!

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

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve. Not only the last day of the year, but the last day of the decade. Twenty years ago we were all freaking out about global devastation as our computers mysteriously lost their ability to know what day it was. I wondered about all those poor souls whose lives depended on a computer-driven cardiac pacemaker. That had the potential to be a midnight we’d never forget.

By some estimates, companies spent today’s equivalent of more than $400 billion to combat the perceived threat of what was commonly known as the “Y2K bug.” For those of you too young to remember, it was pretty simple. Computers used to use a two-digit date format (e.g., “99” instead of “1999”), because nobody really expected them to last long enough to see a new century. They did.

So, all of a sudden, we were faced with the prospect of a device that was supposed to be smarter than a three-year-old suddenly thinking it was operating in the year 1900. It was kinda like that NASA probe that crash-landed on Mars because a bona fide rocket scientist calculated the descent speed in feet per second rather than meters. Oops!

Well, we rang in the year 2000 without any of the disasters that could have been caused by computers run amok. And a lot of the people working in the IT industry on programs to prevent those disasters were suddenly out of work. So, they went home and invented social media. And here we are.

As we ring in the New Year, our minds often turn to our hopes and dreams. It’s not like we can’t dream any other time of year, but this is when we really stick our neck out and go for the gold. “I’m gonna quit smoking, lay off the booze, stop chasing wild women, lose 200 pounds, and become a millionaire!” Okay, alcohol is usually at the root of those aspirations, but you get the idea.

This is a time when we dare to dream just a little more. Because we’re not talking about what we plan to do tomorrow, or even next week. Besides, for a lot of people, tomorrow will involve an ice bag and a lot of aspirin. But it’s easy to make plans when you’ve got a whole year to get started. And therein lies the problem. The end of January comes, and you say, “But I still have eleven months!”

Then comes February, and March, and April.  By June you’re saying, “As soon as summer break is over, I’ll get started.” Then comes September and the kids are back in school. And guess what? You still haven’t made a step in the right direction. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Well, this time we get not only the start of a new year, but a new decade. Now, if you took that to mean you’ve got ten more years to get started on your goals, we need to talk. The idea is to get everything done long before then so you can start on something else. Because, trust me, nothing you can dream of today can hold a candle to what you could potentially do ten years from now.

What stops us from dreaming, or at least halts those dreams before they ever take flight, is one simple question … how on earth can I ever do that? It’s been said that when there’s a will there’s a way. Sometimes we don’t have to know how we’ll do something. We just need a goal. In a little over three hours, my job will come to an end. I don’t know how I’ll find another one. I just know that I will.

So, instead of worrying about the details of how you’ll accomplish your goals, take a day or two to just focus on the dream. Put it in writing. Get pictures. Fill in all the details. Make that dream so crystal-clear in your mind that you can see and feel it wrapping closer around you with each passing day. It doesn’t matter how you’ll do it. What matters is knowing the end result.

I’ve asked this question several times in the past – what would your goals be if you knew you couldn’t fail? For the next two days, approach your dreams from that perspective. Put failure out of your mind and just focus on the goal. Then see what kind of ideas pop up over the coming days. You already know what to do. All you need is a reason to do it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day, and a safe and happy New Year!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who Do You Trust?

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

As I was waking up this morning, it occurred to me that a year ago I was sitting on the couch recovering from brain surgery. And here I am a genius again! What a difference a year makes. Okay, in all fairness, they only took a small piece and apparently, I wasn’t using that part anyway. It’s been said that we only use 3% of our brain. The rest is just sitting there waiting for something to do.

A few things amazed me about that whole ordeal. First was how quickly you can go from carefree and healthy to a very real danger to your life. Somehow, my brain had worn a hole in the bottom of my skull and spinal fluid was leaking into my inner ear. Which means that part of my brain was exposed to anything that made its way into my ear. So yes, I was the textbook definition of an airhead.

Another thing that amazed me was how quickly I recovered. The surgery itself only took two hours.  I spent a night in recovery, a day in ICU, and a day in a regular room. Two days after the surgery I was home. Thirty years ago, I’d have been in the hospital a few weeks. That’s partly due to insurance companies trying to save money, but it’s also because of advances in medical technology.

Finally, it amazes me that I could walk into a hospital of my own free will, put on a gown, lie down on a bed, and let a complete stranger cut a hole in my head. I believe that has to be the epitome of trust, and I’ve ridden in a car with my grandson. Believe me, you don’t fall asleep on that ride.

Sure, I’d met the surgeon once before, but how often do we put our complete faith in people we’ve never even met? We’d like to think they know exactly what they’re doing, but even an airline pilot has checklists and a flight manual to make sure nothing is forgotten. And think of the ground crew who have never flown a plane in their life and are probably getting paid barely above minimum wage.

All through our lives, we place varying levels of trust in people we don’t know. Even a trip to the grocery store involves trust. We see other cars coming our way and trust that they’ll stay in their own lane. We drive through green lights trusting that nobody else will run a red light. And we park our car between two painted lines, confident that whoever parks next to us will do the same.

So, where is that leap of faith when it comes to doing things for ourselves? We see somebody living the life we’d like to enjoy, and think they must be pretty smart. No smarter than us, mind you, but they’ve obviously found some secret to success that we never thought of. Yet, as soon as they say, “It’s simple … let me show you,” our defenses go up. It must be some kind of scam.

Granted, there are people out there who don’t deserve our trust. But, by and large, human beings are pretty honest. And when somebody, especially a friend, offers to help you achieve some of your own dreams, odds are they’re being sincere.

So, all that’s left is your ability to trust the person best able to make these things happen – yourself. And that’s where we usually come up short. We look at an opportunity and think, “Yeah, it may work for some people, but I could never do that.” Yes, you can. I don’t care what it is, if one person on this planet can achieve success at anything, so can you. It’s just a matter of how badly you want it.

You can’t do anything in life without placing a certain amount of trust in others. You flip a switch expecting the light to come on. You turn on a faucet expecting water to flow. But it’s the trust you place in yourself that will allow you to move from where you are to where you want to be. Instead of looking for excuses, look for possibilities. Make it happen. You’re closer than you think.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When It Comes to Optimism, We're All Mutts

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

The movie Pretty Woman was on this past weekend (again) and I found myself watching (again). Either I need some better cable options, or Hollywood is falling down on the job, because it seems the same movies keep playing over and over and over. Last week I jokingly mentioned the Forrest Gump channel. If you missed that movie last time it was on, have no fear – it’s coming again.

One of the scenes I always enjoyed in Pretty Woman was when they went to the opera. As the lights were dimming for the opening act, Richard Gere told Julia Roberts that a person’s first reaction to the opera is very dramatic. They either love it or hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.

It’s that way with my morning posts. Sometimes I’m really happy with what I wrote, and other times I feel I left something on the table. But the responses let me know that, even when I think I missed the mark, it was just what at least one person needed to hear that day. That’s why I love reading the responses. It puts us on a more personal level.

Yesterday, a very perceptive friend responded with a tough question – “Are you talking to yourself?” I know I give this impression of a rock-solid optimist who never frowns and always sees a brighter future, but the truth is I’m no more delusional than any one of you. Well, maybe a little. But the point is, there are days when I need to read my posts as much as anyone.

Having a positive outlook doesn’t mean you’re never down. There will be days when you feel the weight of the world crashing down, and times when hope is about as distant as that exotic destination you know you’ll probably never get to visit. Some days you won’t feel like doing anything, and dreams go from a burning passion into a silent resignation that nothing will ever change. It happens.

On the other hand, feelings of despair don’t necessarily mean you’re a pessimist. In a world where everything has become so polarized that you’re either this or that and there’s no in-between, your personal outlook is likely a mixed bag of good, bad, and indifferent. It doesn’t mean you’re mixed up. It just means you have emotions like every other person, and some days one is more prevalent than the others.

It means you can see a better life, with enough clarity to be drawn to it, but with enough restraint to keep you from getting in over your head. It means you believe in yourself enough to dream, but you also live in a world where reality says some dreams will take a lifetime of work. And it means you have the ability to shed tears like anybody else, but you also know the sun is shining on the other side.

This is a time of year when a lot of people experience feelings of immense joy and excitement. It’s also a time when just as many people fall into a deep depression that even they can’t quite explain. Same day, same weather, same traffic, same everything. But it affects us all in very different ways.

The point is that none of us are a complete package of optimism or pessimism. Yesterday, I’m told, was National Mutt Day. Well, maybe we should haver been celebrating ourselves, because in a lot of ways, we’re mutts. There are no absolutes in our lives or our outlook on life. We all have a little of this and a little of that, in varying proportions. That’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us human.

Sometimes, the best way to talk ourselves out of a mood of despair is to talk somebody else through the same transition. It may not change everything on the spot, but it does help us look a little closer to find that ray of sunshine we so desperately need. And in helping others find hope and possibilities, we find hope and possibilities for ourselves.

Life is in a constant state of flux, and no mood ever lasts forever. Feeling down doesn’t mean you have to stay there, and when you’re on top of the world, there will still be days when things aren’t perfect. None of us will ever be happy and optimistic all the time. The best we can do is look for those things that bring us closer and focus on them until the clouds go away. And they will. They always do.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Enjoy Today – You Can Grow Old Later

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

It’s officially Hump Day, but for most of us in the United States it’s an early Friday. Since tomorrow is one of the biggest holidays of the year, most companies give their people a day to recuperate. Not like recuperating on New Year’s Day – that one usually involves a hangover. Recuperating the day after Thanksgiving usually involves Pepto Bismol and a lot of sitting around.

Today I add another candle to the cake. As if we’d actually put that many candles on a single cake. Even if it didn’t collapse from the weight, we’d set off every smoke detector in town. I’ve officially reached what the Social Security Administration has deemed the age of “early retirement.” That doesn’t mean I can retire. It just means I have an excuse for dreaming about it.

There was a time in my life when I thought this was old. Like, REALLY old. And, to my grandkids, I guess it is. My grandson asked me yesterday if I’ll be 91. I told him someday. Not for another 31 years. But at that age, they can’t really tell the difference. There are kids and old people. And I guess I fall into the second category.

I don’t feel old. Well, let me correct that … my body feels really old. It just feels like it has to be somebody else’s body, because the rest of me hasn’t quite caught up. Granted, there are days when my wife would argue that point. I guess I can be a bit of a grump sometimes, but the kids can too, so that’s not really a valid measure of age. Right?

That said, people tend to judge our age by how old we act. I know a lot of people much older than me who have a zest for life that I hope to someday master. I imagine they’ve had a lifetime of practice, and I’m sure there are days when their body doesn’t feel up to the task. But they don’t let that get in the way. They just keep on plugging, making the most of every single day.

And it’s hard to think of somebody like that as “old.” It’s not that we deny their age. We have eyes, and it’s obvious they’ve made a few more trips around the sun than the rest of us. But they have eyes, too, and it’s the sparkle in those eyes that defies their chronological age. It’s heartwarming, adventuresome, and even a little ornery. You wonder sometimes what they may do next.

George Burns once said you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old. We must think a lot alike, because I’ve always said aging is inevitable, but growing old is a matter of choice. He was always somebody I admired … 100 years old, with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes that never faded for a moment. If I live to be that old, that’s exactly the kind of person I hope to be.

Our whole lives, we’ve worked to build something. Whether that was intentional or consequential, we’ve put in a lot of time getting where we are. Hopefully it’s at least close to where we wanted to be, because I don’t think anything makes us old faster than resigning ourselves to a life that’s less than we’d hoped for. That’s why so many people get old at such a young age.

The day we stop having something to look forward to, we begin giving in to the reality of time. We not only look old, but we feel old … mentally and physically. As kids, we were constantly reminded to act our age. Well, this is the time when that happens. And the only cure is to have a dream, along with some genuine sense that it’ll actually come true. Without dreams, we’re old already.

If you want to stay young, or at least young at heart, the prescription is simple – hang onto your dreams. And don’t just dream, do something about it. Every day you let slip past is a day wasted. Because the time will come when our bodies can no longer accommodate the dreams we kept putting on hold. Make the most of life now, while you still can. There’s plenty of time to be old later.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Mood Won’t Strike Until You Poke It

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

Imagine, if you will, a surgeon with a patient on the table, doing what surgeons do. The patient is asleep, the incisions have been made, and the heart is fully exposed. Halfway through one of the most delicate procedures known to man, the surgeon puts down his scalpel, pulls off his mask, and says, “Sorry folks – I’m just not in the groove today. I’m gonna let this one slide. Go tell the family.”

I don’t believe that’s ever actually happened, but it would certainly change the day for several people, least of all the person clinging to life on the operating table. But you have to wonder how many times the surgeon was a little more tired than normal or had an argument with his wife before leaving for work. The patient has no idea, but it’s likely the surgeon isn’t at his very best that day.

No matter how good we are at what we do, there will always be days when we’re just not fully up to par. And it would be easy to just go back to bed until we feel more energized. But we know from experience that, when we put things on hold because we’re not fully in the mood, that mood never gets any stronger. We just waste the day beating ourselves up for not doing anything.

If you do that on the job, you’ll probably be invited to sit down with the boss for a one-on-one chat. The first time may be friendly and constructive, but if it happens too many times you’ll find yourself looking for someplace else to spend your days. Employers are pesky about these things. They pretty much expect our best every day.

But when it comes to your own priorities, those dreams that make you smile and inspire visions of a happier life, you’re in business for yourself. You’re the CEO, the CFO, the Vice President of Marketing, the Production Manager, and the company’s sole employee. Nothing gets done unless you do it yourself.

So, here’s the question … if you were paying yourself to work toward your dreams, would you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth? Or would you call yourself into the office, lay down the law, and issue an ultimatum? I think, if we’re being completely honest, most of us would say we’re a pretty good employee on the job, but not so good when it comes to our own priorities.

There are lots of reasons. After a full day on the job, it’s not easy to carve out time to go to work for yourself. It’s dinnertime, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and the kids need a little quality time as well. Monday night you go bowling, Tuesday is movie night, Wednesday you go out for ice cream, and on and on it goes. Who has time for anything else?

So, pick up the calendar and look for a day when you won’t be doing anything. I dare you. Even if you find one, something else will see that empty day and sneak in to fill the time. Another week goes by, another month, and eventually another year … and still you’re no closer to your dreams than you were to begin with. Yet somehow, we just keep giving ourselves a pass.

At some point, we need to become that grumpy boss nobody wants to see. We need to set goals and demand results. Not from other people – this isn’t their dream, it’s yours. If you want anything to happen, you have to make it happen yourself. Nobody but you will complain if you take a night off. Unless you hold yourself to the fire, nobody else will. It’s all on you.

You don’t have to be completely up to par every day, but you do have to be committed. A little effort is better than none at all, and when you take those first steps, it’s easy to get in the groove and keep going. Success happens when your dreams are bigger than your excuses. Make the time, and make the time count. The reward is yours to enjoy.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved