Happiness Rocks!

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

Have you ever met somebody who just always seems to be happy, no matter what? They work all day, sometimes in a job most of us wouldn’t care to do. They put up with petty people whose only goal seems to be making everybody else miserable. They go home to a family that doesn’t appreciate them, or maybe to no family at all. And yet, they never seem to let it get them down.

Sometimes you wonder if they’re living in a fantasy world. Or maybe they’re just “not all there”. It happens. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen have developmental handicaps. They may never be able to complete a crossword puzzle, solve a complex equation, or do any of the things most of us take for granted. Yet they find inexplicable joy in the simplest of things.

I’ve often looked at some of these people and wondered who has the real handicap – them, or me? We think we’re better equipped to “make it” in life, but we’re the ones grumbling all the time and they’re the ones smiling.

Sometimes the perceived handicap isn’t developmental, but simply situational. Maybe they’ve had a run of bad luck over the years that would have brought most “normal” people to their knees. Whether it’s job losses, family losses, poor health, or a dozen other things, they just can’t seem to catch a break. Yet some of these people are the happiest. Maybe they’re just delusional.

I guess that would be a simple enough answer, if it were true. But the more likely answer is, they’ve learned that the secret to true happiness is to stop looking for something or somebody else to make it happen. I’ve often said it’s not what happens to us that makes us miserable – it’s our reaction to those events. We choose, in the moment, whether to brush it off or give misery a permanent home.

And if we believe that, we must also believe that happiness works the same way. We can’t make people do things that will make us happy. We can’t make the sun shine, we can’t control the lottery numbers, and we can’t make heavy traffic magically clear a path just for us. Life happens. The only thing we can control is how we react to it.

We can always point to any number of reasons we shouldn’t be happy, about a particular situation or about life in general. And yet, nobody ever says, “I had a choice – and I chose misery.” It’s easier to blame somebody or something else. And when we’re happy, we never seem to accept credit. We always point to some other person or event as the source of our happiness.

But, as most of us have been told our entire life, happiness comes from within. Bad things will happen. Unpleasant people will try their best to ruin our day. We can’t control any of that. But the moment we decide to dwell on it, we embrace the misery that comes with it.

Mom used to always say, “Shake it off.” What’s happened has happened. You can’t change that. It’s forever written in the history book of your life. And it’s natural to be unhappy, maybe even devastated, about some of the things we’ll experience along the way. Some of that pain never goes away, and happiness doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten. It just means we’re not letting it define us.

We can find misery in the fact that we’re not living our dreams or find happiness in the simple the simple things in life. We can find misery in the things other people do or find happiness in our ability to do better. We can find misery in the behavior of a rebellious child or find happiness in the memory of all those hugs and kisses in the past.

And, no matter what, we can find happiness in the future, because the future has not yet been written. We can’t change what’s already happened, but we change or at least influence most of what’s yet to come. There will be bumps in the road, to be sure. And one day this journey will end. We can’t change that. But we can choose to make the most of every experience along the way.

Choose to be happy. It won’t work every minute of every day. But the more we practice, the easier it becomes. And when that day comes when we need to pull out all the stops and make use of every trick we’ve learned along the way, we’ll be that much better equipped to handle the situation. And that, my friends, is happiness at its very best.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Recharge, Then Get Moving!

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

To follow up on Friday’s post, I left the hospital later in the day and got to spend the weekend at home. I’ve got some follow-up appointments with a couple of specialists, but they pretty much confirmed what my wife already knew – I’m a little dizzy. But in my defense, she knew that years ago and married me anyway. Go figure.

I spent most of the weekend resting at home. I did a few things, including some of the cleaning and reorganizing I’ve been putting off, and I did a little work for my business. But I also spent a fair amount of time in a recliner just relaxing. It seems to have been the perfect mix.

We all need to recharge our batteries. Even those things we love to do, the things that excite us the most, still take a toll on our energy. And every now and then, we have to slow down long enough to build some of that energy back up. But a battery that spends its life on a charger isn’t of much use to anybody. It just sits there doing nothing all day. Sound like anybody you know?

The key is knowing when to turn the charger off and put that energy to use. It’s all about balance. The harder we work, the more often we need to recharge. But the more we just sit around and recharge, the less we’re able to get done. And after a while, sitting around becomes a drain of its own. When you need to get up and do something, the energy just isn’t there.

Do you remember the old nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries? They were the original rechargeable batteries, and they did an amazing job. But they had one inherent flaw – if you recharged them too soon and too often, it reduced the amount of charge they could hold. Manufacturers called that “battery memory.” After a while, the battery was just incapable of holding a full charge.

We’re not so different. When we let ourselves drain down too far, we slow down and our ability to perform is significantly weakened. Do that long enough and we just stop. But if we spend all our time on a charger, rejuvenating after every little bit of effort, there comes a point where that little bit of effort is all we can do. Some call it laziness. I think there’s a little more to it.

When you exercise, you strengthen muscles and build endurance. Do that regularly, and a few things happen. At first, it hurts. You go home tired and the next day you wake up sore. But after a while, it just becomes part of your day. Your body looks forward to the workout, and rewards you with more energy during the day and the ability to work longer and harder without wearing out.

Your mind is much the same. As the old saying goes, use it or lose it. A lot of what we do during the day isn’t entirely physical. In fact, even when you’re exercising, you’re thinking. But thinking about what? Are you focused on how tired you are and how bad you smell? Or are you thinking about the good you’re doing for your body, and the great things you can do once you get back in shape?

Sitting around isn’t an entirely bad thing. But put that time to good use. Turn off the TV and read a good book. By “good” I mean something that’ll rejuvenate your mind and spirit. There’s nothing wrong with a good romance novel if that’s your thing. But balance it with some positive reading as well. Every bookstore has an entire section devoted to self-help and motivation. Pick one up.

Or just sit quietly and think about your goals. What will it take to accomplish those goals? What do you need to do first? What’s standing in your way, and what can you do to fix that? Talk it over with someone who shares your dream. Two heads are better than one. You’re still resting your body, but you’re keeping your mind active. And an active mind can solve any problem that comes along.

And when the rest is over, get up and get moving. You do it at work every day. They don’t mind you taking a little break now and then, but they expect you to get back to it when the break is over. Do the same for yourself. Your job will reward you with a paycheck. But you can reward yourself with so much more. And after all that work, don’t you deserve it?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Adversity May Come, But the Dream Lives On

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

I’m writing to you from the last place I expected to be this morning – a hospital bed. We’re not really sure what’s wrong, but every time I sit up or even roll over in bed, I get extremely dizzy and try to pass out. But, I’m in good hands and we’ll get to the bottom of it.

Funny thing is, if I can sit for a minute or two I’m okay. This started when I woke up yesterday morning and I made it through the whole day, working, walking around, even driving. But the doc sent me here because of past heart issues, and the first time I tried to get off the bed for an x-ray, the dizziness hit again.

So the problem isn’t sitting up – it’s changing positions. I guess until we figure this out, the answer is that I need to learn to sleep standing up. Horses do it, so it’s not impossible. Okay, if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re taking life way too seriously, and that’s something I try not to do.

But sometimes we have to take it seriously enough to make the necessary changes. When I got the news about my brain surgery last year, that was a real wake-up call. It was a reminder that life keeps moving whether we’re ready or not. Those plans we made for “someday” won’t wait forever.

I started the week mentioning that I have a goal with a tight deadline. That deadline is coming closer by the day, and things like an unexpected hospital stay can really get in the way. But we have to pay the hand we’re dealt. My goal hasn’t changed. All that’s different is the playing field.

Adversity comes to us all, and it never checks to see when would be a good time to visit. It just barges through the door and makes itself right at home. We can either drop everything and cook adversity a nice hot meal, or just shove it to the side and keep doing what needs to be done.

I have little doubt I’ll be out of here later today. I’m sure there will be some more tests before I go, and some may not be all that pleasant. But the bottom line is I’ll do whatever needs to be done and makes the necessary adjustments going forward.

We can plan life to the smallest detail, but life doesn’t always respect our plans. What’s important is that we stay focused on the goal and never let anything stand in the way. The more we do that, the more those plans tend to come our way. We don’t need everything to work exactly as planned. We just need to make the most of what we’ve got.

Lots of things will come your way today. Some planned, some unexpected; some good, and some not so good. But as long as you stay positive and focused on the goal, none of those things can ever stand completely in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When Fear Clouds Your Dreams, Find Those Rays of Sunshine

Good morning! It’s Hump Day. I hope your day is off to a great start.

Well, by the end of the day the week will be half gone. Depending on your perspective, that could be good or bad. If you’re having a particularly tough day at work, the weekend can’t get here soon enough. But if you’re not making the desired progress on your weekly goals, it’s coming too fast.

I talk a lot about dreams. That’s because I want you to focus on your own dreams enough to decide whether they’re important enough to do something about them and, if they are, to find the inner drive to get up and do it. There is literally nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it.

But dreams, like anything else, come with a cost. That cost can manifest itself in a dozen different ways. Attaining our goals takes work. It takes time. We may need to learn new skills, or step outside our comfort zone. Others may scoff or maybe even ridicule us. And the final attainment of that dream may involve elements of a life we’re not entirely sure we want.

Back when I had just gotten out of the Navy, my wife mentioned that she’d read about jobs in Australia that paid a lot higher wages, and for Americans working abroad the income was tax-free. It was tempting. I’d been to Australia, and it was beautiful. And the thought of that much money was hard to overlook.

But it would mean leaving our extended family and moving halfway around the world. It was a price I just wasn’t willing to pay. Even now, I complain about winter weather every year and dream of life in a place where snow is only found on postcards from the north. But both of my daughters and all four grandchildren live within twenty minutes of my home. I’d have a hard time leaving them.

Sometimes, it’s not even the reality of what will change that competes with our dreams, but the fear of what might change. How will attaining our dream affect the people we care about? How will it impact our career? What if we get where we want to be, only to find out it’s the last place we want to be? Fear can fuel the imagination faster than fresh logs on a fire.

Sometimes the attainment of our dreams involves changes we may welcome on the surface but may include consequences we’re not quite so thrilled to pursue. And it’s that fear, or even the reality of those changes, that can hold us back from chasing our dreams.

And sometimes that fear isn’t about the attainment of our dreams, but in somebody close to us pursuing their own. It’s said that Neil Diamond dropped out of college to chase his dream of being a professional entertainer. I can imagine his parents weren’t too happy about that. But it was his dream, and sometimes we have to simply accept what we can’t quite understand.

Part of that involves a closer examination of our dreams. Maybe not so much dreams, but our visions of how we want our life to be. Which specific part of our own life will change because of their dream – not only the attainment of that dream, but their pursuit of it? How will it impact our own life, and are we willing to make that sacrifice? More importantly, are we willing to hold them back?

If we look deep enough, we can often find compromise that wasn’t readily apparent. My dream of moving south comes with the cost of leaving our grandchildren behind, and that would certainly impact us all. But it would give them a place in the sun for vacations, and it’s not like we couldn’t just get in the car and come back for a visit.

For every challenge, there’s a solution. When I began comedy, I took my wife along on some of the trips so we could share the experience together. It was a way for her to share my dream while enjoying her own dream of seeing places she’s never been. And she was able to see firsthand my excitement in performing. It didn’t remove all her concerns or minimize her own sacrifice. It was simply a compromise. And it made me appreciate coming home that much more.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Crunch Time, and the Ball is in Your Court

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

Yes, it’s Saturday and here I am. Surprise! I normally don’t write on the weekends, but we’ve been on a topic most of the week that I wanted to finish while it’s fresh in your mind and mine. Okay, and a friend asked me to write this today instead of waiting till Monday. This one is for you Katie.

Our common theme this week has revolved around a few interrelated premises. First, moving forward takes faith in yourself and your ability to reach your goal. Second, if you keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing, the results will never change. And finally, to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

In talking with people about their dreams, the discussion always ends up in the same place. “I’d love to do that, but it takes money.” In other words, “I can’t afford it.” And that’s okay. If we could afford everything we want, there would be nothing left to desire. And desire is what drives us to do a little more each day.

People tend to get squeamish about money, because we’re taught that we should appreciate what we’ve got and that it’s selfish to want more. But we’re also taught that laziness is one of the seven deadly sins. So, which is it? Are we supposed to simply accept life as it is today?  Or are we supposed to get up and work to make it a little better?

The answer to that question has to come from within. If you’re happy with life as it is today and don’t want anything more, just keep doing what you’re doing. That doesn’t make you lazy. It just means you’re content. But if you want something more, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with working to achieve it.

When we begin to put our dreams on hold or accept the reality that what we’re doing just isn’t going to make it happen, it all boils down to one simple question: “Are you open to other ways of making money?”

Notice, the question isn’t “Do you want more money?” Sure, we all do. It isn’t even, “Are you willing to work harder to make more money?” Most of us are doing that anyway. Besides, we’ve already established that if what you’re doing today isn’t getting you visibly closer to your goals, you need a different approach. So, let me ask again. Are you open to other ways of making money?

Think about that for a moment. “Are you open …?” That doesn’t mean, are you willing? Most of us are willing. It means, is your mind open to things you may not have considered? “… to other ways …” This isn’t about working harder at what you’re already doing. We already know that’s not getting the job done. It’s about trying something new.

I remember reading in the early 1970s that sanitation workers in New York City were making $30 an hour at a time when the minimum hourly wage was $1.65. In today’s dollars, that would be $130 an hour. Now, do you think sanitation work is glamorous or exciting? Probably not. I’m pretty sure those guys didn’t think so, either. But how well could you live on that kind of money?

Sure, there’s a limit to what we’re willing to do, but within the bounds of decency and the law, where would you draw the line? Is it more important to have a career that’s the envy of all your friends, or to end each day in a comfortable home surrounded by a healthy family with plenty of food on the table, no bills to worry about, and the ability to escape it all for a couple of weeks each year?

Are you open to other ways of making money? This isn’t a philosophical question. It’s something each of us needs to answer for ourselves, right now. If the answer is no, then take another look at that list of dreams and start deciding which ones you’re willing to cross off. If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for?

Are you willing to try something different? Are you able to find personal pride in working to make your life better, even if others think it’s a waste of time? Are you willing to spend the next few years of your life doing the things most people won’t do so you can spend the rest of your life doing the things most people can’t do?

Do you want to dream, or live your dreams? That’s really what it comes down to. And the answer to that question, or rather the inevitable result, depends on your answer to all those other questions. Read them again. Today is the day you can begin to make a change. It’s all up to you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Soar With the Faith of a Baby Bird

Good morning. It’s Hump Day! We’re halfway to the weekend. I hope your day is starting off well.

As I was shaving this morning, I heard the sound of birds outside greeting the new day. It’s been a long winter here in southern Ohio, so that’s a sound I haven’t heard in a while. Okay, there are some stubborn species that have never heard of flying south for the winter, but this is typically a sound we associate with springtime. It’s about time.

As I listened to them chirping at one another, two thoughts came to me. First, I’ve never seen or heard of a bird that wakes up in the morning with a scowl on its face, grumpy about the interruption in its sleep. They all seem to wake up happy and full of life, eager to face the new day. Seems to me we could learn a thing or two from that.

I also thought about the little ones taking their first flight. That has to be a scary experience. It’s hard enough to leave the nest for the first time, but that’s when they realize just how high in a tree the nest really is. “Thanks mom! You expect me to step out of this thing and just flap my wings. What if it doesn’t work???”

Years ago, I saw a picture of a baby bird staring over the side of the nest getting ready for that first flight. The caption read, “It can because it thinks it can.” Just as a small child sees its parents walk upright, a baby bird sees its mother fly in from the big blue sky with food for the whole family. There’s never any doubt in their mind that they can do the same thing. It just takes a leap of faith.

Faith is the unwavering belief in something for which we have no physical proof. It means to know something deep down inside that others may doubt. It’s the ability to see into the future and know the outcome before you take the first step. And, for a baby bird, it means flapping your wings just a little harder to turn that long drop to the ground into the miracle of flight.

A friend often asks, “What goals would you set for yourself if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I’ve quoted her before, because I think they’re powerful words. If a wizard waved a magic wand over you and told you that you could now accomplish anything and everything your heart desires, which of your dreams do you think you’d tackle first?

Sure, the first couple of times you might go into it with the mindset that this may work, and it may not. After all, our lives have mostly been a mixed bag of wins and losses. But, unlike a baseball game, we can step up to the plate as many times as we want, and when the game appears to be over, we can declare extra innings. It’s not over until we say it’s over. We just keep playing until we win.

I was listening to a motivational CD yesterday where the speaker said that every time a baseball player steps up to the plate, he expects to get a hit. He stands there because he knows the right pitch will come his way. He swings because he knows he can hit the ball. He never expects to strike out. Yet the Hall of Fame opens its doors for the player who can get a hit one time out of three.

That means the best players return to the bench seven times out of ten. And all they’re thinking about is their next time at bat, and that their own batting average proves they’ve got what it takes to hit the ball and get on base. They don’t step up to the plate knowing they’ll get a hit. They do it because they have faith in their ability to succeed.

You have the ability and the power to succeed at anything you set out to do. Okay, I don’t suggest jumping off a tree limb and flapping your arms, because there’s this thing called gravity that can mess up your day. But you get the idea. There are very few things in life that you can’t accomplish if you have the faith and courage of a baby bird.

So, again, what would your goals be if you knew you couldn’t fail? Would you keep doing what you’re doing today, or do you think you’d set your sights just a little higher? We all dream of things we’d like to have or goals we’d like to accomplish. They may seem a little far-fetched, and others may get a chuckle out of your ambitions. But the only thing holding you back is your own self-doubt.

Remove that doubt and all things become possible. All it takes is a little faith. You can do this!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Are You Waiting For?

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

Now that the weather has warmed up, what’s changed in your life? Okay, I guess if you live on the other side of the equator, we could ask the opposite question. But the same premise applies. What’s different in your life because of the change in the weather? Do you suddenly find yourself with less time to do the things you want to do?

Something I hear from people a lot is, “I’m just so busy! Between work and the kids and sports and gardening and my book club and Game of Thrones … I just don’t have the time to take on anything new.” I get it. We’re all busy.

Today’s message loosely ties with yesterdays in the simple fact that when we consider our goals and the things we need to do to accomplish them, it usually means trying something new. Or, more accurately, it means adding something new. Your schedule is already crammed full, and now that dream is demanding a little of your time as well. What gives?

More often than not, the time is there if we really want something. If you kept a vacation brochure at your desk for some exotic location, people at work might get the idea that’s something you’d like to do. And through the day, whenever you had a few minutes to catch your breath, you’d gaze wistfully at that brochure, dreaming of the day you’d be in that picture. That’s how dream-building works.

So, what if your boss came by and made you an offer. “Give me five extra hours each week for the next year and I’ll send you on that vacation, all expenses paid. Split the time up any way you want, but give me a good five hours each week.” Would you do it? Sure you would. Odds are, you’ve put in those extra five hours most weeks anyway, between skipping breaks and working through lunch.

We can always find time when the reward is guaranteed. But, given the opportunity to put in that same amount of work doing something for ourselves, where maybe we could take that vacation not only next year but twice every year, it’s amazing how hard it is to find the time. “I’m just too busy.”

Something I’ve learned over the years is that we’re only as busy as we allow ourselves to be. Sure, earning an income means putting in a forty-hour week, sometimes longer. And when you factor in everything from getting dressed in the morning through the evening commute, you’re already putting in an extra 8-10 hours a week. If you typically eat lunch at your desk, add another 5 hours.

Beyond that, there are other things that demand our time. Family is at the top of the list, especially kids. But do you actually spend all those remaining hours before bedtime interacting with family, or do you have those moments when everyone else is busy doing their own thing and you’re left to your own thoughts?

The time is there, but sometimes we have to be a little creative. What if you could step away for lunch and use that time for yourself? What if you could take a notebook to the soccer game and draw up some plans? What if you could make a few phone calls while the kids are doing their homework? What if you could meet an associate for coffee after work while the traffic dies down?

We all get 168 hours each week. Some of those hours are already spoken for, but if you’re being completely honest, you probably have at least half of those hours available for whatever you want. Sleep will naturally take up some of that time, and we all need to find time to rest.

But as we discussed a couple of weeks ago, you can accomplish a lot in fifteen minutes. Do that twice a day and you’ve just found three and half hours every week that you didn’t think you had. Add in an extra hour each day on the weekend and maybe a half-hour in the evenings, and now you’re up to eight hours. What could you do with an extra workday at your disposal?

No matter how young or old you are, no matter what’s going on in your life or what’s about to settle down, there will never be a “good” time to take on something new. There’s only today. And the longer you delay that decision, the longer it’ll take you to reach your dreams.

If there’s something you want, make the time. You may be surprised how easy it is once you get started. And with every day, every hour, every fifteen minutes, you’re that much closer to your goal. The time will never be better. You just have to make it work for you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved