Winners Always Win – And So Can You

Good morning. It’s Hump Day and we’re halfway to the weekend. I hope your day is starting off just right.

As you look forward to your day, there are things you know will happen. They’re just certain. You’ll eat. You’ll have to use the restroom. Somebody will cut you off in traffic, and for a moment you’ll be upset about it. These things are as certain as the sunrise. Even when the sun is hiding behind clouds, you know it’s there.

Mom always used to say there are three things in life that are certain – death, taxes, and changing planes in Atlanta. You can complain about them. You can even try to avoid them. But unless you choose to live under a rock, those three things will be a part of your life at some point. Okay, the first one happens regardless, but you get the point.

But good things happen, too. You woke up this morning. That’s always a good thing. Odds are the car will start when up turn the key. Traffic may be heavy, but you’ll get there. Somebody will smile at you during the day, and that odd person who wants to be everybody’s friend will stop by to say hi. Certain things are just … well, certain. You can count on them like clockwork.

Have you ever met somebody who just can’t seem to lose? No matter what they touch, it turns to gold. They get all the breaks. They have the perfect job, they live in the perfect home, and drive an awesome car. They eat cake and never get fat, they run and never get tired, and they always have the perfect solution to any problem. Nothing ever seems to bother them. Must be nice!

Part of it is perspective While you’re complaining about heavy traffic, they’re saying, “Where? I didn’t have any problems at all today.” And you know you both drove the same route. How is it possible that they didn’t hit any traffic? Well, maybe their perspective is a little different than yours. If they grew up in Los Angeles, any traffic that moves is pleasant.

It’s also possible that they were too busy singing along with their favorite songs on the radio to even notice the traffic. Or maybe they were listening to a motivational CD, where somebody else is telling them they can have anything they want, and then tells them how to do it. Sure, they see all the cars, and they stop at the red lights. But they’re too busy thinking about good things to notice the bad.

Successful people all share a few common characteristics. At the top of the list is belief. They don’t just think it’s possible they can accomplish a goal, they believe it’s a sure thing. Other people may get a chuckle out of their enthusiasm, but it doesn’t even faze them. They just keep doing what needs to be done and end up laughing all the way to the bank.

Armed with that belief, they do what it takes to succeed. It’s not hard when you know the inevitable result. If the boss offered to send you on your dream vacation at the completion of a project, how hard would you work to make that happen? On the other hand, if the boss said, “Hard work gets noticed around here,” the reward is a little less certain. Successful people keep the goal in front of them all the time. They know the outcome – they just haven’t attained it yet.

Finally, successful people don’t get mired down in the details. Yes, traffic is heavy. And how, exactly, is that impacting their ability to succeed? A year from now, as they check in at the airport for that dream vacation the boss never promised, will they even remember this morning’s traffic? No, because their mind is already too busy thinking about the next goal.

A friend often asks what your goals would be if you knew you couldn’t fail. I have that little gem on a note at my desk. If you knew success was inevitable, as certain as sunrise, taxes, and changing planes in Atlanta, what would your goals be? Do you think just maybe you’d be setting them a little higher?

You see, the successful person does all those amazing things for one simple reason – they decided to do it. They took that first step because they knew they could take the last. Every step in between is just part of the journey. And if heavy traffic gets in their way, they simply find a way around or use that time to plan the next move. Belief, action, and resolve. Those are the traits of a winner.

What goals would you set if you knew you couldn’t fail? You were born to win, and there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Aim high, believe in yourself, and don’t let anything get in the way. You’ve got this!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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

It’s Only as Hard as You Make It

Good morning! I hope your day is starting nicely.

Have you ever gotten halfway into something and wondered why you put it off so long? It’s so simple, you should have done it weeks ago. Or maybe you’ve thought, “There has to be an easier way to do this! I’ll never get this done!”

All too often, we make things harder than they have to be. I’m a planner. I love to plan things out. I want to know exactly how things will progress and what to expect. All the tools and materials have to be right there at hand (except the ones I forgot, of course), and I’ll study the landscape for several minutes or longer before I get started. By then, I need a break.

Okay, that’s how we approach a job we really don’t want to do. Tell me I have to make a pitcher of Pina Coladas, and I’ll be right on it. Tell me the kitchen sink isn’t draining, and I have to draw up a set of blueprints. I’ll grab the plunger, run a coat hanger down the drain, or try any of a dozen other ineffective remedies to avoid what I know I’ll eventually have to do. Just take the drain apart, Dave!

And once I get started, it’s not really that hard. For me, the hardest part is getting down on the floor and situated in front of the cabinet so I can reach the drain. Once I clear a few things out of the way and put my wife’s favorite pan under the drain to catch the inevitable deluge, taking the drain apart is simple. Within three minutes, I’ve cleared the trap, put things back together, and all is well.

Hopefully you won’t have any drains to clean out today. Hopefully I won’t. But how many things during the day do you approach with an equal sense of enthusiasm? Things you know you need to do, and if you don’t get them done, they’ll still be there waiting for you tomorrow. Nobody is going to swoop in and do the job for you, and if they do it’ll be for their benefit, not yours.

I mentioned last year the concept of eating the frog. It’s pretty simple. If you’ll have to eat a frog sometime during the day, just do it. Get it out of the way first, and then the rest of the day will be pretty pleasant, by comparison. And if you have to eat a bunch of frogs, eat the biggest one first.

I didn’t dream up that little gem, but I think it carries a lot of wisdom. But it also needs some perspective. Because your willingness to eat the frog depends to a large degree on how it got there in the first place. Sometimes the boss sets it in front of you and said, “This is your job today – bon appetite!” In that case, you do what we’d all do. You pinch your nose and dig in.

But sometimes the frog is there because you went looking for it. You have a goal or dream, and it requires you to step outside your comfort zone and do some things you’d rather not do. But it’s the only way to accomplish your goal. So, you put the frog on a plate, grab the salt and pepper, get the proper place settings, put a napkin in your lap, say a prayer, and … the frog is still there. Damn.

Or worse yet, the frog hops away and now you have to chase it down and start all over. Because the path to success didn’t magically change while you were planning that first bite. You can plead, bargain, plan, and look for shortcuts all day long, but the fact remains – if you want the reward, you have to eat the frog.

And when you finally do, you often find out it’s not really a frog. It may not be filet mignon, but it’s usually not quite as revolting as we first thought. You may never come to truly enjoy it, but if you do it enough times, it just becomes a part of your day. You do it without even thinking about it. Then one day you look up and there’s the Emerald City, so close you can reach out and touch it.

Do the things you need to do. And when you come to one you’d rather not do, then get it out of the way first. Anything worthwhile is worth the effort. Keep your eye on the ball and don’t sweat the small stuff. Success isn’t always easy, and the path isn’t always smooth. But none of that matters once you reach the goal.

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

Every Score Can Be a Winning Score

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

A good start for me is going through my morning routine, and then sitting down to hammer out a few words for you. It’s become such a part of my day that, on weekends, I’m almost lost without it. But I figure we all need a break, and it gives my mind a couple of days to just reflect and see what the new week brings my way.

One of my greatest concerns each morning is making sure I can write something that’s worthy of the time and effort, and something that you’ll find worthy of your own time in reading it. There are days when I’m just not sure about that, but the clock says it’s time to wrap it up and leave for work, so I take what I’ve got, polish up a paragraph here and there, and just run with it.

And it’s funny. On the days when I think I’ve hit a grand-slam, response isn’t always what I’d expected. And on days when I think, “Well, there’s always tomorrow,” you folks seem to find some hidden gems that I wasn’t sure I planted. Sometimes, you just never know.

It seems to go that way through life. The gift that you picked out at the end of an exasperating several hours of shopping, simply because the store was about to close and time had run out, is often the gift that receives the best reaction. “Really? You wanted a new toaster? I had no idea!” Okay, I threw that one in for fun. Guys, don’t follow my gift advice. It’ll get you in trouble.

But the point is, you never know what another person is looking for or may need until you put it in front of them. Each of us are very different, and what makes one person shrug their shoulders will often make another person’s day. And, on any given day, most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

A couple of years ago, my grandson was telling me about some new sneakers he wanted. I had learned by then that, if they were worthy of his attention, the price tag was at least half of what I pay for my car each month. These things should be come with a full matching wardrobe. But he’d look at the “sale” price and say, “That’s a good price! These shoes are worth almost $400!”

Now, at the risk of offending some footwear aficionados, there is not a pair of sneakers on the face of the earth that’s “worth” anywhere near that amount of money. If you were to take the cheapest shoes and the most expensive, the difference in manufacturing cost is probably less than $20. I tried explaining that to him, but beauty is in the eye of the teenager who thinks it’ll improve their image.

I remember him showing me online reviews. “See, these are really good! Everybody that has a pair loves them!” Sure, you probably won’t find too many people who are willing to admit they spent that much money on a pair of shoes that weren’t worth the cost. And, expectations play a huge role in our perception. If you think you got a bargain, you did. At least in your own mind.

But I told him that, when you read online reviews, skip the best and the worst, and focus on what’s in the middle. Because that’s where the rest of us spend our days – somewhere in the middle. And when something adequate but unremarkable comes along, we tend to quietly accept it and move on. But sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.

You don’t find too many people raving about a specific brand of canned green beans, but nearly every grocery store in the nation stocks the same brands. Why? There’s nothing all that special about them. But people keep coming back to buy more, without fanfare and without the need for a massive advertising blitz. It doesn’t have to be spectacular. It just has to satisfy the need.

We all want to hit a home run in most things we do, especially in those things that come from within. But, as I mentioned several days ago, the Baseball Hall of Fame opens its doors to players who can get on base one time out of three. You don’t have to hit a home run every time. You just have to give it your best and be ready to run the bases when you do connect.

In a world that rewards excellence, it’s sometimes hard to know our own value, especially when we think we fall somewhere in the middle. As others rise to the top, we may wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” But the truth is, every one of us has value far beyond what we know. Tap into that value, and it’ll take you to the top of your own mountain.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved