Your Limitations Are Somebody Else’s Strengths – Team Up!

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

It’s hard to believe December is finally here. This has been the longest year ever, I do believe, and not just because it had one extra day in February. That was just icing on the cake. I’ve always said that when you skip a Monday at work, you get four more to make up for it. I’m not sure if that explains 2020, but I’m willing to consider all possibilities.

Normally by now we’d be getting in the holiday spirit. Houses would be decorated, trees would be up, department stores would be bustling with shoppers, holiday music would dominate the airwaves, and in the parking lots people would be giving one another the finger as they battled for the last “good” parking spot. Okay, that’s pretty much all year.

My outdoor lights have been up for a month, but we just turned them on last week. That’s not as much about preparation as a fat guy who isn’t safe on the ladder anymore, a day of decent weather, and a grandson who needed money. You play the hand you’re dealt. Besides, he’s young and bounces easier than I do. If I hit the ground, things break. Like underground pipes.

I decided one day that I needed to inspect the seals on our RV’s roof. The book says that needs to be done twice a year, and I’m all about preventive maintenance. Yes, I’m really that old. Only problem is, inspecting the seals means getting up there where you can actually see them. On a rounded fiberglass roof. Twelve feet off the ground. With an asphalt safety net. No thank you.

I’ve always been able to fix just about anything. I learned these things out of necessity. When you can’t afford a mechanic, you figure it out. With each success, I became more confident. There were setbacks. Like that time I replaced my brakes and five miles down the road the pedal went to the floor … with a Cadillac stopped in front of me. That’ll get your attention.

But I learned something from each mistake. A fraction of the air it takes to stop a semi will mess up your whole day in a hydraulic brake system. Go figure. And we won’t even talk about the time I repacked the rear wheel bearings on my VW Beetle and later that night my left-rear tire went bouncing across A1A in Key West. Oops!

My greatest challenge was acknowledging my limitations. And there was really only one. I had no fear of tearing an engine apart, but I’ve never seen the inside of a transmission because transmissions are the automotive version of Mouse Trap. I have this vision of removing a single screw and twelve springs go flying across the room. “Transmission broken?” It is now.

But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to recognize those limitations a little better. It’s not that I can’t do the job. I could climb under a car just as easily today as I did forty years ago. It’s getting back up that’s a problem. That, and this knuckle on my left hand that likes to lock up any time I bend my finger. So, I have to keep that finger perfectly straight. Don’t take it personally.

There are things we do really well, and for each of us, those things are different. Can I open a clogged drain line? Sure. Am I the best person to do it? Not in a million years. Tell me to wire a new switch, and I’m completely in my element. But when it came to brain surgery, I paid somebody else to do it. My wife pretty much insisted on that.

There’s no shame in admitting our shortcomings. Whether related to age, ability, agility, or just a general willingness to do the job, there will always be some things we do better than others. And for those things we can’t do quite as well as we’d like, there are others who can do the job with their eyes closed. At least that’s what my surgeon said.

It’s the same when it comes to our dreams. If we’re the expert on how to achieve those dreams, why are we still dreaming about it? Sometimes, we have to throw a question out there and listen to the responses. They don’t all have to make sense. They don’t even have to be something we wanted to hear. But all too often, the most insane answer is the best.

Have you ever found something you’d lost, and then proclaimed, “It was in the last place I looked!” Well, duh! But that’s pretty much true of all the things we seek. Learn where they can be found and how to get them, and it’s simply a matter of doing the work. You don’t have to be an expert. You don’t even have to hire one. All you have to do is open your mind and listen.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You Know Why, You Can Always Learn How

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

Well, the repairs on the RV only took a few hours. Less time than it took me to drive it there and back, and let’s not mention the cost in gas. Warranty repairs aren’t always free. But it’s back, and ready to go. They fixed almost everything. What’s left requires $3 in parts and another six minutes of labor. In other words, they’ll bill the factory $712.

The one thing they didn’t fix is the satellite radio. I was right. The antenna wasn’t hooked up. Apparently, there’s no antenna TO hook up. That’s a factory option nobody told us about. Seriously? With the price tag on that thing, they couldn’t install a $50 antenna and tuner? I’m glad I asked about the steering wheel. I’d hate to pay extra for that.

I could cry and write a bunch of letters, but it won’t do any good. So, I’ll just fix it myself. I can install an antenna in less time that it would take to drive it back to the dealer, and for a fraction of the cost. They wanted $260 to give it a wash. I wish I was making that up.

Things usually cost more than we expect, and they’re never quite as simple as we think. That’s why, when we see something that’s really simple and doesn’t cost much at all, our first thought is, “There must be a catch. It can’t be that simple!”

When I replaced the front hub on my old truck, the instructions made it look easy. “Remove the three bolts shown and slide the old hub out.” Yeah. They forgot to mention a sledgehammer, jackhammer, gear puller, and other “special” tools required, plus all the colorful language that goes with it. It took four hours, and now I have to go to hell. But I saved $200.

It’s that way with most things. When I decided to remodel our bathroom, I convinced my wife it would be done in two days. Hey, it’s her fault for believing me. We’d been married 25 years, so she knew better. Well, it took eight days, and that didn’t include the trim. See, when the room is usable again, that’s when I stop. Trim is just for looks. That part took a year.

Which is why she stood so firmly when I said I wanted to build a house – you know, with my own two hands. I know how it’s done. My grandson and I built a shed from scratch, and it’s beautiful. Still missing some trim, but hey. And a house is nothing more than a big shed with electricity & plumbing, right? I can do that. I’ve got books that make it look really easy.

And I think that’s why we tend to doubt ourselves so much when we get ready to take on something new. Sure, it LOOKS easy. Any dummy can do it. But I’m not just any dummy. I’m a special kind of stupid! Believe it or not, I’ve actually heard people say that. Then you show them how it’s done, and they prove their original point. So, we hire an expert.

But not a one of those “experts” was a pro the first time out of the box. They made mistakes, broke things, installed them backward, and didn’t use the right words. I wondered about that as my brain surgeon told me goodnight. He said, “I just did the same surgery a half-hour ago!” Yeah, but are they still alive? Details, doc … I need details!

Well, even a brilliant brain surgeon had to learn somewhere. We tend to sell ourselves short sometimes and say things like, “That’s just not my strong suit. I’m a dummy when it comes to that!” No, you’re not. You just haven’t been taught how.

I talk to people all the time who want to start a business. When you ask what kind of business, some have a general idea, some can draw out details on a napkin, and some have no earthly clue. And years later, most of them are still talking about it. Why? Because they weren’t born with the required knowledge, and they’re not willing to learn as they go.

Colonel Sanders started his business with nothing more than a recipe and a dream. Sam Walton started with one small store in rural Arkansas, and Albert Einstein couldn’t speak fluently till the age of nine. Not a one of them was “destined” for success. But that didn’t stop them.

And it shouldn’t stop you. Find a mentor. Read some books. Learn as you go. If knowledge is all that’s standing in the way, get some. Develop your talents. You’ve got what it takes. All you have to do is put it to use.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who’s Your Expert?

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

Hump day came a little early this week, or so it would seem. After a three-day weekend, it was hard getting back to work yesterday. I sat there valiantly trying to remember what I’d worked on the previous week, and my mind went blank. That’s either a sign that I didn’t do anything, or that I’m consciously trying to forget it. I’ll go with Door Number 2.

Experts say that’s a sign of stress and, since I’m no expert, I guess I’ll have to take their word for it. On the other hand, who died and put them in charge? I mean, at what point in their life did somebody lay a hand upon their head and say, “Forever more, you shall be known to all mankind as ‘Expert’”? I think they’re making it up.

If you want somebody to believe what another person is saying, all you have to do is use the “E” word. “She’s an expert!” Wow. I didn’t know that. Why didn’t you tell me that in the first place? An expert? Okay, where do I sign up?

We’d like to think we’re not quite so gullible, but the facts would suggest otherwise. As a comedian, I can’t count the number of times I received a solicitation for a “business of comedy” class that promised to teach me all the secrets of success, taught by somebody I’ve never heard of and who never achieved any appreciable success himself. As they say, those who can, do – the rest teach.

I’d like to think most people who tout themselves as experts at least read a lot of books on the topic and learned from the true masters of their craft. But more likely, they’re just trying to sell a book of their own. You see, anybody can become an expert simply by making a bold declaration – “I’m an expert!” Get a couple of people to agree with you on that, and you’re off to the races.

I’ll be the first to say that, when it comes to motivation and success, I’m certainly no expert. More accurately, I’m an enthusiast. I know what I know because somebody else wrote it first, and I formulate all my ideas based on a combination of the things I’ve read and some of my own observations through nearly 62 years on this planet. After a while, you learn a thing or two.

And, even though my banker may not be overly impressed, I’ve enjoyed a fair amount of success over the years, largely because of what I learned from others. I guess I picked some pretty good teachers. And believe me, there were plenty of people along the way trying to convince me I’d never make the cut. You know, people who knew absolutely nothing about what I was trying to do.

Have you ever noticed the people who are most vocal about a given topic are usually the people who know the least about it? They think turning up the volume will make up for a lack of knowledge and people will flock to their side to hear their opinions. But the people who know the most, the ones from whom we should truly want to learn, just sit there quietly and nod.

Still, when we have that rare opportunity for a successful person to offer some suggestions, what’s the first thing we do? We go straight to our best friend and eagerly await their advice, even though they’ve never even attempted the suggestions we were given and have no experience on which to base an opinion. In less than a minute, that uninformed opinion becomes our source of truth and we quit before we even get started.

And it’s not that your friend really wanted to crush your enthusiasm or keep you from attaining your goals. But we all speak from the only reality we’ve come to know. I’m sure if your friend knew the secrets to success, they’d share those secrets with you. The question is, have they ever been successful in what you’re trying to accomplish, or are they just talking?

None of us are experts on everything, and we can all learn something from those around us. That includes your best friend who was so generous in dispensing advice. Not advice in how to succeed, but in how to pick an idea apart. Because, that’s really all they know. They speak, not as an expert on succeeding in your chosen endeavor, but in finding fault with those who do.

If you ask people for advice, they’re usually happy to give it. The key is asking the “right” people. Successful people are usually just as quick to offer advice as those who aren’t even willing to try. The question is, which one will you choose to follow? Who will have your ear today? You decide what goes into your brain. Choose wisely.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved