You Can't Fail If You Don't Try

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

No, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth. No, my account wasn’t hacked by a political troll. I didn’t have my morning coffee until mid-afternoon yesterday, so that’s my defense against anything I may have said or done that made a few heads spin. But I know you’re my friends, and if my lack of coffee went further than I’m aware, I’m sure I can count on you for bail money.

It’s the first Monday in a new month. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, that would be the dead of winter. I’ve often wondered why people south of the equator don’t just advance the calendar six months so we can all dread February equally. Or maybe we should just turn our calendar back six months, though enough people whine about August already. I’m not sure I could handle that.

This is typically a week when those of us who made resolutions take a few moments to reinforce our goals. That’s not to say we’ll do anything more about it – we just admit we blew it and remind ourselves why it was important in the first place. For another week or two, most local gyms will still be pretty well packed. But by mid-month, all those workout clothes will be in a Goodwill bag.

I have to say I’ve done pretty well with my resolutions so far. Granted, cutting certain words out of your vocabulary isn’t that great an accomplishment, especially when you’re not out in morning traffic every day. But I’m trying. I had a few others as well, and I’m hitting about 50% on those. Half the battle is recognizing where you’re falling short. But the other half is doing something about it.

We make a big deal about New Year’s resolutions, but they’re really no different than any other goal we may set during the year. So let’s stop calling them resolutions and just call them what they are … pipe dreams. Okay, goals. Some would say the two are about the same, but I say there’s one big distinction between the two. Intent. Premeditation. The willingness to see it through.

A goal without a plan is just a dream, and a plan without action is somebody else’s roadmap to success. And years down the road, we’ll tell people, “I had an idea about that once, but I failed.” No, you didn’t. You can’t fail if you don’t try. And that’s what stops most of us from taking that first step. Inaction is life’s only certain hedge against failure. It’s also a guarantee against success.

Which brings me to an important point. The absence of failure doesn’t mean you’ve succeeded, and the absence of success doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Read that again. You can’t fail until you stop trying, but success will still take a little more effort. And as long as you’re in the hunt for success, you haven’t failed. Both are absolutes at opposite ends of the spectrum. Action is what lies between.

So, try this. Find the most obnoxious person you know and share your goals with them. Tell them the great things you’ll do in the coming year, and then sit back and await the inevitable barrage of criticism. Then do yourself the best favor you possibly can. Succeed. Not just a little, but all the way. If for no other reason, than to rub their big fat nose in it. By then you’ll be able to afford the protection.

A goal is simply a dream with a due date. But as long as you’re willing to give yourself a free pass on that due date, it’ll never happen. Figure out what needs to be done and do it. See it through to the very end. And if it still doesn’t work, at least you’ll have earned the right to say you failed. But odds are, you’ll be telling a completely different story.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Time Is What You Make Of It

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

It’s been a busy week on my end. Not busy in the sense that you would normally think, but sometimes it’s all about perspective. For some people, getting out of bed every morning is productive. I’ve made a little more progress than that, so I guess I can’t complain. At least I haven’t had to shovel snow (or pick up frozen lizards out of the yard). Yeah, that last one was a news story that caught my eye.

I did have a job interview this week that went really well. I’m sure at least a dozen other who applied for that job felt the same, but they have room for a few of us, so I guess we’ll find out. Meanwhile, I’ve been doing some cleaning in my basement which, over the years, has become the collection area for everything nobody wants to mess with right now and is unwilling to throw away.

Some people take time off from work just to stay home and catch up on things like this. I’ve never liked working vacations, so I let the company set this one up for me. And, since I don’t have the option to go to work each morning, it’s a good time to get caught up on all those things I didn’t do before because I was too busy working.

Notice I didn’t say all those things I couldn’t do … didn’t and couldn’t are two different things. We always love to say we can’t do something because we don’t have the time. But let somebody suggest a movie, or invite you to card night, and suddenly time isn’t so much of an issue. Time can pretty much materialize any time we want it. And if it doesn’t, we find ways to bend it.

Here’s a question I ask people a lot. Think of someplace you’d love to go on vacation – someplace really nice. And not just for a few days, but for a couple of weeks. Now, if the boss were to come to  you and say, “Give me an extra 7 hours every week – split it up any way you want, but it has to be 7 hours – and I’ll pay for that vacation,” would you do it?

Everybody I’ve asked has said absolutely, they’d put in the extra time. Notice, we didn’t say what the boss wants you to do for those 7 hours each week. Maybe he needs somebody to clean toilets. Maybe he needs somebody to make sales calls. Maybe he needs somebody to demo products. But not one person has even asked that question. For 7 hours a week, they’d do pretty much anything.

Yet, when I ask those same people if they’ve ever considered starting a side business, the number one excuse is, “I just don’t have the time.” Okay, let me get this straight. You can find 7 hours every week for the boss, but you can’t find time to do something for yourself, something that could someday buy a vacation home instead of just a two-week visit?

Part of the issue is that we tend to trust our employers more than we trust ourselves. That money is pretty much guaranteed. You know, until they say, “You’ve done a great job, but we just don’t need you anymore.” Now I have all the time in the world to build a business. Yet, I’ve spent most of that time dawdling around the house, reading, and working on a few freelance assignments.

Stepping out on your own takes courage. There’s a risk involved. That risk may be financial, and it may be personal. You might have to buy some equipment, tools, or inventory. You might have to invest in a website. You may have to spend a little on advertising. But, for the most part, you can manage those costs and thereby minimize the risk. There are businesses you can start for less than $100.

But the real fun starts when you tell your family and friends about your new venture. “Are you serious? That’ll never work!” Ever heard of a man named Gary Dahl? In 1975, he came up with the idea of putting a rock in a box with straw bedding and breathing holes, and selling them for $4. You think people laughed at the idea of a pet rock? Absolutely. Gary Dahl laughed all the way to the bank.

If a man can become a millionaire, almost overnight, selling imaginary pets disguised as a rock, there’s not much you can’t do to make a little extra money yourself. Maybe not a million dollars, but would a few hundred a month make a difference? Would it pay for that vacation you for which you’d gladly invest 7 hours a week?

Invest those 7 hours in yourself. Don’t tell me the time just isn’t there. You just haven’t looked. But if you find that time and use it to your own advantage, a vacation may be just the beginning of the great things you can do.

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

© 2020 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

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

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

Winter Blues Got You Down? Then Get Busy!

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

Well, winter is in full swing here in Ohio. I know, some of my friends in the great white north are saying, “You just now figured that out?” And to others in the southern states, all this means is a light jacket in the morning. Regardless of where you live, it’s gotten noticeably colder. And change isn’t something we all handle with a sense of complete grace.

I first heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) a couple of years ago. I guess it’s been around since the first caveman had to hibernate for the winter, but we live in an age where every human emotion has to have a name. It’s like bipolar disorder. It’s nothing new. I knew people in high school who could flip in an instant. We just had other names for that.

But that feeling of cabin fever, of being stuck in the house forever, of breathing the same air all day and never getting any fresh oxygen to replace what we’ve used, and staring glumly out the front window, is all part of what we’ve come to know as SAD. I guess that’s an appropriate acronym. I wonder if the person who named it did that on purpose?

According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms are pretty clear – oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain, and low energy. Check, check, check, and check. Causes can be anything from a disruption to your normal circadian rhythm to reduced serotonin and melatonin levels. But before you medicate yourself, talk to your doctor. Odds are, you just have the winter blues. But you never know.

Oddly enough, the Mayo Clinic also lists symptoms for summer SAD. Seriously? What would that be? Suntan? Sand in your toes? An urge to plant flowers or eat ice cream on the front porch? I guess I’ve never considered any of that to be an ailment. Funny – one of the symptoms they mention for summer SAD is weight loss. Guess that’s why I don’t understand. I’ve never had it.

Call it what you want, I think it’s mostly just the natural human tendency to resist change. Whether we like the way things are or not, change throws our system out of whack. That’s why so many lottery winners are bankrupt within a few years. The change is too sudden, and they can’t handle it. So they subconsciously do everything imaginable to get back where they were – their comfort zone.

Okay, so being broke is a comfort zone? That’s hard to digest, especially for people who are broke and desperately want things to be different. But there’s a certain level of confidence in what we know, good or bad. We know what to expect each day. We know how to handle it. And we know how it will affect us. Sometimes, change is a little more intimidating than just going with what we know.

Two things can help us adjust to change. First is making the change slowly, so we can adjust as it occurs. Anybody who has ever quit smoking cold-turkey knows exactly what I mean. Trying to taper off slowly may not be as effective, but it’s certainly less stressful. It’s the sudden change of quitting on the spot that brings on those powerful cravings and mood swings. So, whenever possible, slow it down.

Secondly, you need that feeling that you deserve the change – it’s something you’ve worked for, a goal you’ve been trying to achieve, and you’ve made the necessary sacrifices to make it happen. It’s not change that was thrust upon you, like the onset of winter. It’s something you wanted badly enough to earn it.

If winter isn’t having the desired effect on your emotional health, the best thing you can do about it is find something else to occupy your time. Instead of staring out the front window, play some games or put a puzzle together. Pick up a hobby. Read a good book. Better still, write one. Start a business. Anything constructive will take your mind off the weather and give you something to feel good about.

Yes, Seasonal Affective Disorder is real. Most of us feel it to some degree, even if we love playing in the snow. The key is to find something better to occupy your mind. Make it something constructive, and when the snow melts, you’ll somehow feel you’ve earned it. Now, if we could just find a way of making us feel we’ve earned winter. I’m not sure I can spend that much time on the beach.

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

© 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