The Future is Closer Than You Think

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

If you’ve been missing my morning posts, join the club. I’ve missed writing them. A lot. Sometimes life injects its own set of priorities and, like anything else, once you miss one or two days, it’s that much easier to miss the next one, and the next one, and the 365 after that.

I think, with all of us, there comes a point where you wonder if what you’re doing is really making a difference. And that’s important. If we do anything, we should do it with a sense of purpose. My purpose is really simple – I want to spread a little hope and inspiration in a world that seems hell-bent on doing the exact opposite. So, buckle up.

We talk a lot about dreams – things we’d like to accomplish, the lifestyle we’d like to enjoy. But it’s hard to focus on dreams when we’re struggling to survive. Ever heard of “Maslow’s Pyramid?” It’s a pretty simple concept. All the good stuff is at the top. And no matter how high you climb, one good kick in the shins will knock you right back to the bottom.

So, how is this economy working for you? It’s hitting us all pretty hard. And in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s getting worse. We can complain and point the finger of blame all we want, but there’s nothing any of us can do to change it. That leaves us with two choices – make more or spend less. And buy some shin guards.

When things get tight, our first instinct is to cut spending. And that’s probably the fastest way to get started.  But there’s only so much you can accomplish by tightening the purse strings. If you don’t believe me, go to the grocery store. On your way there, swing by the gas station and fill your tank. Cursing is optional.

No matter how hard we try, the things we need to survive and get through life are becoming more expensive, and much faster than we are. Inflation in the US is currently 8.6 percent. That’s the highest in 40 years. How much was your last pay raise? I rest my case. The company calls it a “cost-of-living increase,” but somebody forgot how to add.

Granted, for most of us, there are certain things we could cut back to reduce spending. My wife and I travel around the country in a 38-foot motorhome, so I guess there are a few things we could do. I could also give up bourbon, but that’s not happening, either. And the bathroom scale says I could buy less food, but we all know the scale adds at least ten pounds.

So, let’s agree that cutting spending is a short-term strategy with limited scope. It may help pay next month’s electric bill, but that’s going up, too. And, I’m betting your mortgage and car payments haven’t come down, either. Cut expenses all you want, as long as they get their money each month.

So, why is a “motivational humorist” spreading such cheer? Well, the future is what we make of it. Unless you’ve got a suggestion on how to restore a vibrant economy, let’s focus on increasing our own income. That is within our control, and of the two options, it’s the one that offers the best long-term potential. But it can take time. The time to get started is now.

If a hurricane were coming your way, you’d take some precautions. You’d cover the windows, bring in the lawn furniture, and stock up on bourbon. You’re prepared. And what’s the worst thing that happens if the storm fizzles out? You’ve got a cozy house with extra seating and plenty of bourbon. Win-win.

This is one of those times when we have to prepare for the hurricane, a term quoted from the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the nation in describing our economic future. Or, as you’ve heard me say in the past, it’s time to dig the well before you get thirsty.

There’s little doubt we’re headed for some tough economic times. We can keep doing what we’ve been doing and hope for the best. Or we can start digging that well now, before things get worse. If the economists are right, you’ll be glad you did. And if they’re wrong, whatever will you do with that extra money???

That’s all for now. Get started on that well. I’ll share some more ideas on that in the coming days. Meanwhile, it’s good to be back with you. Have an awesome day!

© 2022 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Make Success the More Attractive Option

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

In Sunday’s sermon, our pastor pointed out the fact that it, according to studies performed by somebody who at least claims to know, January 12 is the date by which most New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside. That means if you got through the day yesterday with your resolutions still intact, you’re above average. Kinda sobering, isn’t it?

This doesn’t mean that most people fell off the wagon and had a bad day in the first twelve days of the year. It means they simply quit trying. Out with the new, in with the old. It wasn’t that important anyway. Besides, there’s always next year. And the year after, and the year after that. Yet, according to a Quinnipiac poll, about 75% of Americans are optimistic about a brighter future.

Well, not to be the bearer of bad news, but the words “brighter future” imply change. That means we can’t keep doing the same things we’ve been doing and expect better results simply because we’re good and we deserve it. If we want our future to change, we have to change our present. That could be simple or extreme, but the longer things stay the same, the longer they’ll keep staying the same.

I guess what troubles me the most isn’t that people slip up and fall off the wagon on their resolutions so early in the year. Falling down is a part of moving forward. We all do it. But, if the people who conduct these studies are correct, it means that the majority of people stopped even trying to get back up. They fell down, possibly into a comfortable position, and just decided to stay there.

When we decide to make a change, we often give ourselves an out … a place of refuge in case things don’t go according to plan. My wife wanted to sell our house, buy a motorhome, and hit the road. I want to buy a less expensive motorhome and keep the house. You know, just in case. Now, you can decide for yourself which of us has the better plan. But it does illustrate my point.

One school of thought says before you make a drastic change, have a fallback plan. Give yourself an out in case you need it. Of course, that gives you the option to chicken out when things get a little rough. On the other hand, nothing says commitment like jumping off a cliff in a glider you designed and built yourself. It’s called sink or swim. Success is the only option. Other than … you know.

But most of the changes we decide to make aren’t that clear-cut. If your goal is to go on a diet and lose weight, what happens if you fail? Well, you go back to eating the foods you’ve always loved and never have to exercise. If your goal was to quit smoking, failure means you get to avoid nicotine withdrawal and foul mood that goes along with it. You simply go back to what you were doing.

Unless we find a way to make failure more unpleasant than success, we’ll never change anything. “I’ll donate five dollars to a rival political party every time I use the F-word.” That’ll get your attention! Especially if you commit and don’t give yourself a free pass just because you slammed your finger in the car door. Or you accidentally broke the yolk on your egg. You know, whatever.

The best way to make failure more unpleasant than success is to focus on why you want to make a change. See yourself in a smaller bathing suit by summer. Better still, go online and order one. Commit. Get rid of all the ash trays. Commit. Write a check to you least favorite politician. Then deposit that money in your vacation account. Every day, you get to decide which is more important.

If you’ve made it to this point in the year without completely giving up on your goals, you’re ahead of the game. The odds of success are already in your favor. That doesn’t mean you haven’t slipped up once or twice. It means the dream is still stronger than the urge to give up. And as long as you keep your priorities lined up that way, there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving your goal.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Your Tomorrow Begins Today

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

Yes, I’m back. Hope you enjoyed the break. Okay, I hope at least a couple of you missed your morning dose of motivation. I’ve missed my time with you. As I’ve said many times before, sometimes these morning messages are as much for me as anyone. Either way, I’m glad to be back.

We took a nice trip across the country for a weekend business conference in Denver. And we drove, all the way from Ohio … 2,435 miles round-trip. I guess it would have been faster and easier to fly, but there’s something about experiencing the trip that makes it all the more enjoyable. All told, our (almost) new car has been in 18 states over the past two years. I guess we must enjoy it.

It was our first time in that part of the country, and it was nice to be able to spend time with a bunch of old friends and a few hundred others we’ve never met before. As a bonus, I have a cousin who works just a couple of miles from our hotel, so we were able to get together for the first time in at least ten years to share dinner and laugh about old times.

The program itself was motivating. I didn’t go out there hoping to be set on fire – I just wanted the inspiration to re-focus on my goals and come back with the energy to do something constructive. We had at least a dozen different speakers, all very accomplished in their own lives, and the message they shared was focused on one simple premise – your future begins today.

You see, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done to this point in life. We’ve all made some mistakes, and maybe we’ve accomplished some magnificent feats as well. But that’s in the past. Whether we enjoy or languish in the life we’ve built, that’s all in the past. From this day forward, we will build the life we enjoy (or suffer) going forward. It can all change in an instant. And that instant is now.

We met people from all walks of life with stories that, when you boil it all down, sound eerily similar to our own. They worked hard. They had bills. They worried about the future. They fought. They struggled. They wondered how they would ever take care of all the things they needed to do and still have time to plan for tomorrow. Sound familiar?

Some started out wealthy (at least on paper), and some were flat broke. But they all had a dream and the drive to do something about it. That dream may have been material, like a new house or car. It may have been to strengthen their relationship by working together on their dreams. It may have been to pay medical bills, save for college, or simply to have more time to enjoy the life they’d built.

Again, if you took their story and changed the names and a few other details, they could have been talking about any one of us. The difference is they got up and did something about it. They saw an opportunity to build a better life and made the most of it. And, as a result, they enjoy a lifestyle most of us can only dream of. It took time. It took effort. It took persistence. But it was worth it.

No matter what you’ve done in life, good or bad, your future begins today. You can build on the good and make it even better, and you can work past the mistakes to get back on track. It’s all a matter of desire and drive. But you have to believe it can happen – not just that it’s possible, but that if you put in the effort and never let up, it’s inevitable. There’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

If I learned one thing over the weekend, it was that all of those people on the stage don’t have a single thing on me – not one personal characteristic or inner gift that gives them an edge the rest of us don’t have. The only difference is how they put those talents to use. And if any one of them can do it, there’s nothing stopping the rest of us from doing the same thing.

You have dreams. We all do. They may be simple or grand, but to each of us they’re equally important. And all that separates you from your dreams is belief and action. Believe you can achieve, do the things that need to be done, and success is simply a matter of time.

That all begins today. Forget any mistakes you’ve made and look past where you are right now to where you want to be. Then make a plan and get busy. Do the things that need to be done and don’t stop until you reach your goal. It’s there waiting for you. All you have to do is go get it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved