What Are You So Scared Of?

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

It’s Friday!!! Not that you needed me to tell you that. It’s like telling people how nice the water feels after they’re already in the pool. They know. Unless they’re shivering and turning blue, in which case they may know something you don’t. Sometimes, I’m the last to find out.

A few years ago, we were swimming in the ocean at a beach in Florida. The water was perfect, and not a cloud in the sky. And all around us little fish were jumping, obviously enjoying the day as we were. It wasn’t until a few months later that I found out jumping fish, especially 200 yards from a fishing pier, are a telltale sign of sharks. Perfect!

As it turns out, there was a shark attack that day a few miles north. But we were oblivious to any potential danger. Besides, most sharks aren’t maneaters, right? They take one bite and then decide we’re not worth the effort. I’m not sure which is more comforting. The realization that I’ll probably keep most of my leg, or that in the shark world, I’m about as appetizing as steamed broccoli.

When my oldest grandson was a toddler, we took him to a petting zoo. I still remember him running toward the goats, arms outstretched, and giving them a big hug. He didn’t hesitate for a moment. And they returned his affection readily. It was truly a beautiful moment.

His mom, on the other hand, stood back at a distance, constantly looking over her shoulder to make sure one wasn’t sneaking up behind her. You see, as a young teenager, we took her to the same petting zoo. She had a bag with a souvenir in it, but anybody who has been around goats knows when they see a bag, they assume it contains food. Suffice to say she was the center of attention.

As she tried to back away, the goats moved in closer until she was completely surrounded and beginning to panic. We laughed and moved the goats away, but to this day she’s scared to be around them. And I have little doubt if they’d moved in on her son that day, she’d have run the other way. “Oh well, I can make another one!”

Fear is not a natural instinct, it’s something we learn. It’s the result of one or more experiences that either ended badly, or in which those around us reacted in a way that tells us we should run for cover. The danger may be real or imagined, but there’s always that feeling that maybe we’re just the last to know.

Anybody who knows me knows I’m afraid of snakes. Oh, I think some of them are beautiful – behind glass. And they’re fascinating. But remove that barrier and you’ll remove me. Like now. I’ve often said I never run unless somebody is chasing me with a snake, and then I could outrun Jesse Owens.

I’ve often wondered what I’m missing, being held slave to a fear I can’t really define. I have a picture of my pre-teen granddaughter, who is terrified of a fly (no joke), with a huge yellow boa wrapped around her neck. A live one. The snake was beautiful. You know, in the picture. Then a moth flew by and she threw the snake. You’ve gotta have priorities.

They say the first step in overcoming any fear is to face it head-on. If that means holding a snake, I’ll pass. The goal has to be worth the effort, and that’s just not at the top of my list of priorities. But the reality is, I’ve been around snakes a lot more than I ever knew, just because they blend in so well. You know, like sharks swimming beneath the surface.

Throughout life, we’re surrounded by things we don’t know about that, if we did know, would likely cause us to step away. Conversely, we also encounter things that are no danger whatsoever, but our programmed response is to run. And quite often, after that initial escape, we realize we were never in any danger to begin with.

Fear drives us to action, but not always in the right direction. And when that which we fear is standing in the way of our goals, we have two choices – face it, or turn back. The question is, what do we fear most? That which is standing in our way, or never moving beyond where we are?

Fear can keep you out of the water when sharks are looking for food, and it can also keep you “safe” from the affection of a curious goat. And fear of mediocrity can drive us to work past that which would otherwise stand in our way. Some fears you may never overcome. Find those that are holding you back and focus on them first. If you do, the rest will fall into place.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Can You Spare A Roll Of Toilet Paper?

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

Last night my wife and I were out shopping and I couldn’t help but notice the empty shelves in three sections of the store – disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. There were a few packages of TP left, and we picked one up. Not because we’re afraid of being house-bound in the near future. Our pre-teen granddaughter will be with us next week. Need I say more?

We picked up a pack of 18 rolls that the packaging assures us will last as long as 72 rolls. Okay, I may be missing something here, but once upon a time it took a really big box to hold that many rolls of toilet paper. I don’t care how many plies you laminate together, a roll pretty much lasts a little over an hour in our house. Maybe a little longer when everyone is asleep.

I try not to make light of people reacting to something that can’t really be quantified right now, and is already disrupting lives in more ways than we may be able to comprehend. And it’ll get worse. But there’s just something a little amusing about people with a few items in one shopping cart and another full of toilet tissue. One lady even asked for an escort to the parking lot. I kid you not.

The last time I saw a run on toilet paper like this was in 1976. The nation was in the midst of a mild paper shortage, and late-night host Johnny Carson joked that the shortage had impacted the TP market. I worked in a grocery store and, for the entire weekend, we couldn’t keep it on the shelves. People were in a panic. Not because of a real shortage. Because of a joke.

Granted, this time it’s not a joke. I do find it amusing that a couple of brands of toilet paper seem to be immune to the panic. And if you go to the camping supplies, there’s no shortage of “rapidly-dissolving” toilet paper. As comedian Bill Engvall asked, just how rapidly are we talking about? From what I’ve read online, rapidly enough. Get some latex gloves while you’re at it.

I don’t think anybody knows for sure how badly this virus will impact us, and how long it may last. And I understand people being a little on the cautious side. Still, it makes you wonder, are they stockpiling food as well? Those shelves appear to be pretty well intact. Sales are brisk, however, in liquor stores, which may explain the increase in toilet paper sales. I’m just saying.

Okay, this is a serious issue. That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate some of the built-in humor. In fact, few things can trigger the release of immune-boosting endorphins like laughter. That doesn’t mean we don’t take the problem seriously, and that we don’t apply some common-sense preparations just in case. But don’t stop living in the process.

Will you catch Coronavirus? According to most experts, the odds are small. That may change over time, and then again, warmer weather could wipe this out in a matter of weeks. Nobody really knows. And even if you do catch it, there’s a chance you may not even know it. That’s both good and bad. Good for you, and bad for anybody you kiss. So, don’t kiss old folks. Except me.

It’s good to have a healthy fear of things that can do us harm, but don’t let that fear dominate your life. Make the necessary adjustments and go on living. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. Don’t sneeze on other people. And, for the time being, avoid crowds. It’s pretty basic – the same things we were all taught as children.

But don’t stop living on the off chance something else will come along and do it for you. Adapt and go on. This virus may be around a while, and it may impact all of us in some way. But fear won’t make it go away. In fact, fear triggers cortisol which can, over time, reduce your body’s ability to fight infection. The more we cower down, the more likely we are to be affected.

It’s natural to be afraid of something we can’t fully understand. Follow your own instincts, but listen to the experts as well. Not politicians – experts. Throughout history, populations have survived countless plagues and pandemics. We’ll get through this one, too. And hopefully with enough toilet paper to go around.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Beating Fear Is Easy – Just Find Something That Scares You More

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

Two nights ago, we had some pretty intense storms. Nothing like they had in Tennessee, but apparently enough to raise some fears locally. By “locally” I mean here … in this house. I wouldn’t know. Other than a clap of thunder that made me roll over and adjust my CPAP mask, I slept through it. Once I’m asleep, it takes a lot to get my attention.

It was just under a year ago that I was awakened from a deep sleep by loud voices and lights in the hallway. Obviously, something was seriously wrong. I remember thinking, “What has that cat done now?” Anybody who lives with a cat can fully understand that assumption. Then, I heard my daughter clearly say, “Multiple tornadoes on the ground!” Okay, that’s my cue.

To say we live in an area where tornadoes command attention is an understatement. My house was built in 1974. If you stand on the roof and look as far as the eye can see, it was all built in 1974. Or, rather, I should say re-built. There was a perfectly good neighborhood here before then. But in a matter of minutes, it was leveled. So yes, when the sirens go off, we respond.

Apparently, that’s what it takes to wake me up. Not the sirens. I sleep with my hearing aids on the dresser. You could put a siren on the front porch, and I wouldn’t hear it. It was pretty much the same when I was in the Navy. An onboard fire alert meant waking up just enough to see where the fire was. Unless it was under my bunk, I went right back to sleep.

General quarters, on the other hand, was something we couldn’t quite ignore. I’ll never forget the first time I woke up to those dreaded words, “This is NOT a drill!” I haven’t moved that fast since the time my sister walked in while my wife and I were … well, never mind. At least that time I put on the right pair of pants.

Things that alarm one person barely get another person’s attention. And things that get one person’s attention go completely unnoticed by others. Let my granddaughter see a moth, and it’s a full-blown panic. This is the same kid who got her picture taken at the circus with a six-foot snake around her neck. Let me see a snake and it’s a full-blown panic. Priorities. We all have ‘em.

Fear of anything, no matter what, is fear. It’s real. It may be overblown, and it may be unfounded. But to the person feeling it, fear is very real. And, make no mistake. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy fear of tornadoes. Fear of flying insects, on the other hand, can be a little amusing. And fear of snakes just means you have at least two functioning brain cells.

It’s said that the easiest way to overcome fear is to face it head-on. Okay, I’ve faced snakes and I screamed like a little girl. I have little doubt I’d do the same today. Facing down your fears takes desire and commitment, and when it comes to snakes, those two are not part of the equation. Still, I can at least admit my fear is a little silly. Apparently, so can my granddaughter.

Fear can be a healthy thing and, to the extent that it doesn’t interfere with the life you want to live, it doesn’t really hurt a thing. But all too often, all that stands between you and your dreams is fear … fear of risk, fear of the unknown, fear of people, fear of failure, maybe even fear of success. Yes, that last one is real. Much more real than we’d care to admit.

Because success, no matter how we’ve visualized it, means stepping into the unknown. It means living a life that’s different than what you’ve known until now. That change may be subtle or drastic, and you may never know until you get there. So, the real question is, are you ready to face the change, or would you rather just keep doing what you’ve always done?

Sometimes, it takes a five-alarm wakeup call to get us moving. I’m willing to bet thousands of people in Tennessee ran into their basement Monday night without even checking for spiders because something else brought out an even greater fear. It’s in those moments that we completely set aside previous fears for a more important objective.

What’s holding you back from your dreams? Fear of people? Fear of opinions? Fear of trying something new? Well, then find something you fear more – like never reaching your goals or living your dreams. Let that be the wakeup call that drives you past your other fears. More often than not, your fears can be overcome. You just have to decide which ones are most important.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Fear of Success Stand in Your Way

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is starting off well.

Years ago, I was working on an invention. It was one of those things that has eluded mankind for centuries and, if successful, would have revolutionized the world of machinery. Imagine, if you can, free energy – an engine that operates with no source of power other than itself. The idea was brilliantly simple. And, as it turns out, it was simply not possible. At least not in that form.

I remember my dad telling me that if it worked, I would be a billionaire. That’s a lot of zeros with a capital B. As I explained it to my daughters, along with strict instructions not to share that information with anybody, my youngest began to realize how our lives would be changed, even everyday things like going to a public park. And I’ll never forget what she said next.  “Daddy, I hope it doesn’t work.”

We talk a lot about dreams and success, and how fear of failure can keep us from taking the steps necessary to succeed. But there’s another factor that plagues us almost as much – fear of success. No matter how badly we want things to change, there’s a certain comfort in knowing what to expect each day.

Success means change, and that means moving into the unknown. It means moving toward a life we may be able to imagine, but with the realization that we can only imagine parts of it. The rest will unfold as we move closer to our goal, and there may be elements of that life we hadn’t considered. That may not deter us from chasing our dream, but it does add a level of uncertainty in the outcome.

It’s been suggested that, if you were to divide all the wealth in the world equally among every person alive, within five years all that money would be right back where it started. That’s a sobering thought. And I know what you’re thinking. “Not me! Give me that kind of money, and I’d be rich for the rest of my life!” That’s what people think when they win the lottery. Yet 70% end up broke within a few years.

Part of that is simply the concept of working for something, knowing you’ve earned it and the appreciation of that reward when it comes. In “The Miracle Equation”, Hal Elrod talks about entitlement, the belief that we deserve something we want for one reason or another. It’s often interpreted in the negative sense as the belief that the world owes us something more than what we’ve earned.

But entitlement also means focusing on a goal and working toward it relentlessly, no matter what results you may achieve (or miss) along the way, and knowing that because of all that work, you deserve whatever it is you’re working toward. It’s a sense of validation that we all need as we move toward our goal. Why do you deserve the life of success? Because you’ve worked for it.

As we move toward that goal, we’ll undoubtedly discover new things we’d never considered at the outset. It’s like taking a trip across the country. You map it out and can even visualize all the big cities and attractions you’ll encounter along the way. But the true magic of the journey is all those little treasures you never knew about until they were right there in front of you.

And make no mistake – you’ll have to go through a lot of detours and treacherous terrain to reach some of those treasures. But you get through because the goal is bigger than any immediate hazard. You know what’s waiting at the end, and inconveniences become little more than speed bumps. With every mile and every setback, you’re that much more resolved to reach your goal.

And it’s that resolve that carries you through the unknown – both along the way and once you reach your final destination. Success is rarely everything we thought it would be. And there will undoubtedly be some surprises once you reach that goal, some better than others. But it’s the experience you gain along the way that will enable you to deal with those issues once they arise.

If you put an indoor plant on the front porch in the heat of summer, it probably won’t survive. The change is too rapid, and the plant doesn’t have time to adapt. But that same plant, growing in an outdoor flower bed from springtime through the summer, will thrive all season long. And, depending on the type of plant, it may even survive a harsh winter and bounce back next year all on its own.

Success involves change. There’s no getting around that. But in making the changes necessary to achieve success, you prepare yourself for any unplanned changes that come as a result. It’s that gradual progression that enables you to adapt. And it’s the knowledge that you deserve whatever success you can achieve, simply because you were willing to work for it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved