Until You Take That First Step, It’s All Just a Dream

Good morning. It’s Friday!!! I hope your day is off to an awesome start.

It’s been a long week. I know, we established that fact yesterday, but I think it bears repeating. It’s been a really long week! Okay, it’s been four days. The same four days that precede every Friday. But there are times when you’re pretty sure somebody snuck in a couple of extras just for you. Okay, I’m done whining. For now.

On a brighter note, I’ve gotten up every morning this week to send out some words of inspiration. I had slipped into a habit of letting other things get in the way, and it feels good to have accomplished my goal for the week. That’s assuming I actually finish this post and send it out. But the first few words are always the hardest. After that, it gets easy.

It takes a lot more energy to get your car up to speed than it does to maintain that speed. Not that the arresting officer really cares about that, but it’s worth noting. For that matter, it takes more energy to start your car than it does to run it for the next several minutes. And I’m like a car. A really old car with a carburetor and manual choke. And leaded gas.

Work fascinates me. I can sit and stare at it for hours. I didn’t make that one up, but it sure seems to fit my personality sometimes. And thankfully, I have all kinds of other things to do instead. Productive things. You know, like surfing the internet, reading social media, watching TV, staring out the window. Or my personal favorite, planning the work. I do that a lot.

By the time the day is done, I can curl up in bed with a smug grin on my face, knowing I’ve stayed busy all day and truly deserve a night of uninterrupted sleep. Well, apparently my body knows the difference, because I haven’t had a night of uninterrupted sleep since 1982.

There’s nothing quite like setting a goal and achieving it. And, as we’ve discussed in the past, a goal is something that you, and you alone, can control. If the outcome depends on anybody else, it’s a dream. But dreams can be distilled into goals that, if we accomplish them religiously, can influence the outcome and stack the odds in your favor.

Like eating fried foods and chocolate. If your dream is to gain weight, all you have to do is set a goal of eating more junk. Voila! You win!!! On the other hand, if your desire is to be healthier and lose some weight, your goal may be to eat more fruits and vegetables. I know. Blech! There are pills that will help us lose weight. Can’t we mix them with chocolate? Don’t say it … I know.

But the problem with any goal is that you have to actually do something to achieve it. And, more often than not, you have to do two things – you have to do what you need to do and stop doing what you shouldn’t. Which is why you see people dipping strawberries in a fountain of milk chocolate. They got the first part right – just not the rest.

The first step is always the hardest. Whether it’s cleaning a room, chopping down trees, changing your diet, or starting a business, nothing happens until you put forth the effort. Once you get started, it’s easy to find distractions … oops!  I mean, it’s easy to keep going. Yes, distractions are everywhere. But if you stay focused on the objective, it’s not hard to finish.

I’m getting ready to take on a few very large projects. Some are a lot more enticing than others, but they all need to be done. I’ve thought about them, and I’ve planned them down to the last detail. There’s only one thing left to do – as a popular comedian often says, “Git ‘er done!”

Once you take that first step, the next one is that much easier. And the more progress you make, the more clearly you can see the end. That doesn’t mean another job just as big won’t be waiting for you. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Set a goal, find the time, and make it happen. Sometimes, just getting out of the chair is the hardest part. But once you get started, your focus changes and things get done. Like this post. I’m done. All it took was sitting at the keyboard and shutting off the internet. Do what needs to be done and stop doing the rest. Now my day can begin. Hopefully yours as well.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Is It Friday Yet???

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

You know how you go through the whole week thinking it’s a day later than it really is, and then you wake up on Tuesday realizing it’s not Friday? Okay, Monday was a long day. So were the others that followed. Today is Friday, right? Pleeeeze, somebody tell me it is!

Mom used to always say, “Stop wishing your life away!” Okay, that was usually when I’d make comments about wishing I was older or that Christmas would hurry up and get here. When you’re nine, those things are pretty important. Now? Not so much. Christmas comes fast enough, and I’d be thrilled if the aging thing would slow down a little.

It’s not that I mind getting older. I’m perfectly happy to have lived this long, and I hope to be a lot more wrinkled and gray before it’s all over. I’ve earned this. That’s not to say I deserve it, because I’ve been pretty hard on this body over the years. Every now and then it reminds me.

I’ve often said the closest I come to weightlifting is standing up after dinner – if I want to sweat, I’ll eat a plate of Buffalo wings or bend over and tie my shoes. The end result is pretty much the same. Yes, I say that tongue-in-cheek, because I know the damage I’ve done over the years. But you know, sometimes you have to laugh at yourself. Besides, it beats others to the punch.

Aging is a double-edged sword. It’s a badge of honor, proof that you escaped danger enough times to tack on a few more years. But it also comes with the realization that you may not have as much time left to do all the things you wanted. We talked about this yesterday, and I won’t go into that now, other than to say it’s a time of reckoning.

My grandson was telling his girlfriend the other night that I’ve had a picture of a motorhome on my desk for several years, as a reminder of my dream. He’s right. On that picture it says, “If not today, when?” It’s still there, even though we bought an RV earlier this year. It’s a daily reminder that the dream is only half-fulfilled. Now we need to hit the road.

My dad, who has spent 88 years managing finances from a safe and practical approach, shocked me when he said, “I’m glad you bought this now instead of waiting until you were too old to enjoy it.” I about fell over. But he made my point perfectly – there’s a certain age for all of us where we crest that hill, and things start to move downward. It’s just a fact of life.

I’m not there yet. I’ve still got plenty of good years left, or so I hope. But you never know when life will throw a knuckleball. You’re driving to work, and somebody takes your spot in the road. You get a hearing test and find out you need brain surgery. Your company closes. A pandemic strikes. The economy tumbles. Any of a thousand things that can instantly change your life.

And that’s when it hits you that you still had things you wanted to do. Odds are, you’re not done yet. But you may have to re-assess your capabilities and tailor your dreams to fit. And that, I think, is probably one of life’s greatest sorrows. Because you’ll always know if you’d just started sooner, you might have been able to do it all.

We can’t go back in time and start sooner. Today is today, and in a few short hours it’ll be gone. And sure, the opportunities you have today will probably still be there tomorrow. But every day we fail to capitalize on those opportunities is one less day we can enjoy the rewards. And it’s that much closer to the day we may no longer be able.

Aging is one of life’s greatest blessings. If we’re lucky, we reach that certain age having accomplished most of our goals. I can’t imagine much that would feel better than looking back over a lifetime of accomplishments, with just enough spark left inside to take it one step further.

Yes, life is passing by quickly enough. Instead of living for Friday, maybe we should make the most of the days leading up to it. You never know what tomorrow may bring. Make things happen today and you won’t have to wish you had later.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are Your Dreams Keeping Up With Your Age?

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

Today is my youngest grandson’s birthday. He’s five, and all that that implies. I called this morning to sing happy birthday, but not before I had him checking for chest hair. He’s pretty sure he’s all grown up.

And you know, I remember times in my life at various ages where I was pretty sure I was grown up. Like in first grade, when I was in “real” school and discovered an affinity for girls. I had similar feelings of maturity just about every year in school. And it doesn’t stop there. I sometimes even feel grown up today. I know. Delusions are just a normal part of life.

But when you think about it, everything is relative. To me, the little guy is just five. He’s only aged a year since his last birthday – that’s 1/62 of my life (so far, thank you). But to him, he’s aged by 25%. That’s a pretty huge jump. With each year that change is a little less dramatic until you’re in your 60s and it’s just another day.

Okay, first things first – every birthday should be a celebration. Yes, it’s just another day. One out of 366 (it’s leap year). But it’s still a special day and we should take advantage of that opportunity to make the birthday boy or girl feel special. It’s just a simple way of letting them know we’re happy they’re a part of our life. We should all do that a little more often.

And I know a lot of people don’t really want the attention, or at least they say they don’t. One of my daughters loves having the entire restaurant staff sing happy birthday, and the other dares us to let anybody know. Oh well, we’re the parents and embarrassing our kids in public is our God-given right.

But I get it. After a certain number of birthdays, the parties and cake are just fluff. And at my age, nobody would dare put that many candles on a cake, because it would collapse under the weight. You’d need a blowtorch to get them all lit and I’d need a bottle of oxygen to blow them all out. And you know what happens when you blow oxygen on a fire. There goes the house.

One of the blessings of having so many birthdays is that we don’t feel that much older each year. One of the downfalls is that we don’t feel that much older each year. It’s like taking a 1000-mile trip. You don’t notice every milepost along the way. But each “Welcome to our State” sign is a big deal, and there’s nothing quite like reaching your destination.

It’s the same in life. You don’t really notice each new wrinkle or age spot, but one day you wake up and realize an old person’s body has taken over your own. I notice it every time I get a haircut, because the barber stands behind me throwing somebody else’s gray hair all over the floor. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

It’s hard to see gradual change. Every day, things look pretty much the same as they did yesterday. And because we don’t notice the change, we don’t notice the lack of change. By this point in my life, I was supposed to be happily retired and living the good life. But somehow, I’ve allowed age to progress without much movement toward that dream. How about you?

Time moves on. That’s one of life’s certainties. And it happens whether we’re ready for it or not. It’s like looking at the calendar and realizing the bills are due or you’ve got a final exam today. Nothing changes the reality of those situations – not even burning the calendar. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Are there personal goals you’d hoped to accomplish by now? The correct answer is yes. So, here’s the real question – for those goals you’ve missed, is it all over or can you set a new date and try again? Or maybe you can modify the goal just a bit. That’s okay, as long as it’s still your dream and not what life decided to let you have.

All through life, we trim our dreams to match our reality. Whether that reality is constrained by age, education, income, or physical limitations, redefining dreams is something we do a lot. But we should never just let those dreams die. The key is finding ways to work around those limitations to enjoy life on our own terms.

You can’t stop time, but you can manage it. No matter how old you are, you still have time to dream and to accomplish those dreams. Put some of that time to work for you. There’s no telling what you might accomplish.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Keep It Simple – Then Make It Easy

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

Mom always used to say I have diarrhea of the mouth. Don’t read that again – you got it right the first time. Seems there would be kinder ways to tell somebody their breath isn’t minty fresh. And no amount of Listerine made it any better. Believe me, I tried. All that did was give me medicine breath. Turns out Mom was just saying I talk a lot. Well, duh!

If you’ve been following these posts any time at all, you’ve probably figured that out all on your own. I’ve never been at a loss for words. Even at work, when somebody else writes a 12-page functional requirements document, mine is 50 pages. If I’d been paid by the word all these years, I’d be rich.

There’s something to be said for getting the point across clearly. Nobody has ever accused me of producing work that lacks detail. The problem is getting people to actually read it. Even the developers who need the information toss it aside and say, “Just give me the Cliff Notes version.”

Years ago, I was a lead writer on a program writing Air Force maintenance manuals. Some of my writers would agonize over which word to use, or whether to use a comma. I always told them, think of how the technician will use this book when it’s finished. They’ll take it out of the box, stack it on the floor, and climb on top of the stack to reach the paper cups on the top shelf.

Not a really comforting thought, especially if you live directly under an Air Force base landing approach. But it does put things in perspective. Keep it simple. Nobody cares about punctuation when they’ve got a wrench in one hand and grease is dripping out of the landing gear motor all over their freshly starched uniform. They just want to get the job done.

You see, the job is simple – it’s just not easy. We talked about that last week, but what does it really mean? Simply stated (like how I threw that in there?), it means it’s not rocket science. I can explain it so anybody can understand. But beyond the explanation, it still takes a little skill to make it happen. And that skill comes from experience.

In fact, our procedural manuals were written on that very premise. We would bold key words in each instruction so the more experienced technician could just focus on those words. “Tighten the attaching bolts in an alternating pattern to 16 ft. lbs.”  A pretty neat concept, if you ask me. But do you think anybody even noticed the spelling in the middle?

Okay, you can stop reading the sentence – I didn’t misspell anything. I’m just making a point. Sometimes, we get so bogged down in the details that we overlook the simplicity of what we’re trying to do. And let me tell you, I’m the king of that domain. I can overthink anything. It keeps me from making any huge mistakes.

The problem is it keeps me from not making mistakes as well. You see, there’s a point where we need to stop thinking and start doing. Are there things I’ll need to consider along the way? You bet. And fate has a way of putting those things in front of you at just the right time. Does it matter what you’ll do if a traffic light twelve miles away turns red? No. Not until you get there.

But if you don’t start the engine and put your foot on the gas now, you’ll never get far enough to find out. Planning isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but too much planning stands in the way of action. At some point, we need to actually do the work. And that’s when we begin to find ways to make it easy.

My business is built on a very simple concept. Anybody can do it. The same is true of just about everything I do, from my day job to writing these posts and changing the oil in my car. But none of them are particularly easy. They take practice. And after a while, you get really good.

Learn the concepts, and then put them into practice. Handle obstacles as they arise, based on what you’ve learned along the way. Taking something that’s simple and making it easy is just a matter of doing it until it becomes second nature. You’ll encounter new challenges as you grow. But with each success, you’re that much better equipped to overcome whatever may come your way.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Pull the Weeds and Feed Your Dreams

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

I just had the most relaxing weekend ever. Friday evening my son-in-law came over with a chainsaw and we started some “tree” removal in the back yard. Okay, these weren’t technically trees. They were weeds that somebody ignored for several years until they were twenty feet high with a stem six inches in diameter. And that somebody would be me. There, I said it.

Saturday my pool of available help decreased by a third, so I had to go rent a chainsaw to finish the job. While I was at it, I decided to remove all the shrubs and a tall evergreen from the front of the house. And two more of those weeds on steroids. Actually, one of them really was a tree.

I was almost finished when the chainsaw started smoking and stopped spinning, so yesterday I took my reciprocating saw out to finish the rest. It’s done. Okay, it’s piled up across the front of the house in the flower bed that hasn’t had flowers for the past 17 years, waiting for my grandson to come over with his truck and haul it off. The neighbors are so happy.

I also managed to finish off my left shoulder and lower back. But my Fitbit says I burned about 17,000 calories, so I really expected to step on the scale this morning and get a pleasant surprise. Yeah. I gained two pounds. Surprise!

This is a job I needed to do two years ago. You know, before my back problems were diagnosed. Actually, I should have taken care of it the moment I saw a three-foot weed growing through the fence, and another one with maple leaves growing right next to the basement wall. They’re easy to pull up at that point. A year later they have roots. Deep roots.

They say when you look at an iceberg, you can only see 1/3, because the other 2/3 is underwater. Well, that’s pretty much the way it is with weeds. And if you don’t get the entire root – if you leave just one sliver – it’s coming back with a vengeance. I’m pretty sure these “trees” I cut down will have fresh sprouts by this weekend.

As I look around the house, I see lots of things I’ve been planning to take care of for the past 14 years. You know how it goes. The first weekend it rains. The next weekend you visit friends. A week later, you take a drive in the country. And a week after that, it’s raining again. Before you know it, the year is 2020 and the list is still growing. Just like the weeds.

But one day fate steps in and says, “You’re going to do this, and you’re going to do it now.” Our toilet has been a little loose on the floor. I knew what the problem was. The bolts were corroded, and the plastic flange was cracked. And I kept saying, “I need to fix that.” Well, Friday it spoke up for me in a voice that sounded like dripping water coming from under the toilet.

And you know, when these things happen, we suddenly find the time to do what needs to be done. But when it comes to our dreams, the things we desperately want for ourselves, the answer is usually the same … “One of these days.”

I often think about one of the first riddles I ever learned. What day never comes? Tomorrow. Because when tomorrow comes, it’s today. Oh, I laughed hard at that one. Okay, I was six. But at that age, I learned what should have been a lesson for life. Tomorrow never comes. And it’s the same with all those things you said you’ll do “one of these days.”

Today is the day. Do it now. Make time. Okay, so there are things you just can’t do right now. But I’m pretty sure there are other things that’ll get in the way later. A leaky toilet always takes precedence over your dreams. Count on it.

Pull the weeds before they become trees and fix the toilet at the first sign of trouble. It’ll save you a lot of time and expense later and leave you that much more time to work on your dreams. We have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, and 8,760 hours in a year. You can spend that time living the dream or cutting down trees. The choice is yours.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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

It Ain’t Over Until You Quit

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

A friend at work once asked, “What time do you get out of bed in the morning?” She was referring to the fact that, by the time she woke up, she already had a morning post from me. Back then, I was getting up at 5:00 every day. Now, I’m lucky to be up by 7:30. I’d like to say it’s because I work so hard and need more sleep. But we all know the truth, now don’t we?

Last week I was writing to you from the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was a beautiful campground with amazing scenery. And most of the week, the weather was perfect. Made it hard to stay inside and work all day, but the bank says I have to keep putting money in if I want to keep taking it out. They’re picky like that.

We did get to the pool most afternoons, and I was able to spend a little time over lunch getting some sun in the hammock. Now, if you want something to jump-start your amusement today, picture me getting into a net-mesh bed that pivots at each end. Have you ever watched people at the carnival trying to climb a horizontal rope ladder? The neighbors thought it was funny.

As I quickly learned, there’s an art to getting in and out of a hammock. Well, getting out is pretty easy. It happens when you least expect it, with no effort whatsoever. But unlike cats, people don’t always land on their feet. Thud!

It would have been easy to just leave it sitting there for the next victim, but I wanted some sun and stretching out on the patio just isn’t my cup of tea. Besides, I’ve learned one of life’s brutal truths – at this age, getting down on the ground is a long-term commitment. Might as well change the oil while I’m there, because I’m not getting back up any time soon.

But when there’s a will, there’s a way. And, if you’re lucky, a much younger granddaughter to show you how it’s done. Sit in the middle, let it stop moving, then very slowly rotate sideways and lie back. Then shift to the middle because you’re still not centered and when you’re packing this much weight, there’s not much room for error. I finally got it right.

It’s that way with a lot of things. You see something that looks simple, maybe too simple, and think, “I can do this!” Well, you can. It just may take some practice. That’s the whole premise of those carnival games, where a carnie with six teeth and an IQ to match shows you over and over how easy it is. And $100 later, you finally realize there may be a secret he’s not telling you.

The thing is, once you learn that secret, it really IS simple. Sometimes, the hardest part is just trusting our instincts and not overthinking it. A business friend and mentor tells me all the time, it’s simple but it’s not easy. And he’s right. The concept is so simple, anybody can do it. But making that concept work takes effort.

And, like getting down on the ground at this age, it takes a little of that long-term commitment. All too often, we find something that could lead us to our dreams, but when the money doesn’t start rolling in within a few days, we quit. “That just doesn’t work.” Yes, it does. But it only works if you do. Off-ramps are plenty, and the moment you take one, it’s all over.

All through life, there are flashing signs that say, “Exit here!” They pop up at every hint of failure and keep flashing until we turn them off or just ignore them and keep driving. And once you drive past, the flashing stops. You can’t see it anymore. Sure, there will be another sign down the road. Lots of ‘em. But as long as you keep your eye on the goal, they’re just glitter along the way.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Enough To Be Your Best

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

I saw a tee shirt not long ago that I almost bought for my grandson. It read, “Mom said I could be anything I wanted to be, so I became a smartass.” Hey, if the shoe fits. I probably had a little to do with that myself. You know, telling him there’s nothing he can’t do. His mom is to blame for the rest. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. She got it from her mom.

We tell our kids this kind of stuff any time they aim for the stars or come up short on their report card. The conversation is pretty much the same. “Yes, sweetheart, you can become the best baseball player ever to live. You just have to want it!” With the report cards it’s a little less lofty. “If Johnny can get an A in math, so can you. You’re just not trying hard enough!”

Well, time for a bite of reality. It’s called “limitations” … the outer boundaries of our natural abilities. If your kid brings home a C on their report card, it means they’re pretty much like everybody else – no better, and no worse. It also means you don’t have to spring for a new bicycle or whatever else you may have promised for better grades. Learn when to be satisfied.

The fact is teachers don’t award grades based on effort. If they did, some of the slowest kids in class would bring home straight As, and some of the geniuses would be scraping the barrel. Grades, like many things in life, are based on our ability to master whatever it is we’re trying to do. And, while effort certainly plays a part, there’s a little more to it than that.

My youngest daughter is one of the smartest people I know. If she decided to study medicine, there’s little doubt she could learn to be a brain surgeon. But if you’ve ever seen how she shakes just buttering a piece of toast, you’d run the other way. I’m not sure what causes that, but it’s a physical limitation that would prevent her from ever holding a knife in the operating room.

I always wanted to be a pitcher on my baseball team, and the home run star of the league, too. But I spent my time in right field – you know, where the dandelions grow. Nobody ever hits the ball to right field unless they were aiming for the dugout and missed. The rules said the coach had to let me play, so he put me where I could do the least amount of damage.

When it came to batting, let’s just say I was a better outfielder. I think I got one base hit all year, and that was only because the other team was too dazed at the initial shock that Dave actually hit the ball. But, here’s an important point to make. As I was grabbing my bat and helmet, I made a completely incredible announcement – “I’m getting a hit this time!”

Could I have become a stronger player? Absolutely. Could I have hit more home runs than Freddie Chadwick? Never in a million years. My physical stature just wasn’t sufficient to hit the ball that far. Yes, I could have built more muscle and hit the ball further. But some of that is just in the way we’re built. The same goes for grades. You do the best you can do.

Can you accomplish anything in life? Well, within certain limitations, yes. If you’re confined to a wheelchair, odds are you won’t be winning the Boston Marathon any time soon. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete, and that you can’t turn in an impressive performance. It’s just a matter of priorities – what’s most important to you?

We don’t have to reach the very top to succeed. Do you need to be the richest person in the world, or just make enough money to enjoy the life you want? Sure, both are technically “possible,” but one is a lot more feasible. And within the bounds of “feasible” lies that all-important realm of “believable.”

It’s hard to find the energy to chase a goal we don’t believe we can achieve. Whether that’s better grades, a perfect golf score, a home run, or achieving financial success, it all has to start with belief. And belief only extends to the limit of our natural abilities.

Can you become a better student? Yes. Will you ever get straight As? Maybe. Can you hit the ball a little better, or improve your financial status? Absolutely. To what limits? Well, there’s only one way to find out. When you reach a goal, set a new one. Then just keep doing that until you can’t go any further. You may not reach the very top, but you can get closer. And sometimes, that’s good enough.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

How Secure Is Your Income?

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

I woke up this morning thinking back to when I was a young boy, probably 12 or 13. Yes, I can remember that far back, thank you. Times were a lot easier then. Not because times have changed that much, but all I had to worry about were pimples and girls. As it turnHow Bied out, there wasn’t much I could do about either of them, so all that worrying was for nothing.

One of our pastimes back then was daredevil stunts on our bicycles. Understand, this was way before the days of bicycle helmets, which probably explains a lot. Yes, I bounced off the ground a few times. And our default response was to figure out what went wrong, then do it again a little faster.

That was in the days when Evel Knievel was a star, and you could instantly spot a home with an adolescent boy by the makeshift ramp in the front yard. It was pretty simple, actually. A narrow sheet of thin plywood propped across a big rock, with a loose gravel approach and a car parked in the landing area. What could possibly go wrong?

Suffice to say we suffered our fair share of scrapes and bruises, and I’m pretty sure Dad knew the source of those scratches on the side of the car. We’d hit the ramp, the plywood would shift, we’d go off sideways, and flip over the handlebars when we landed on the front tire. A little Bactine and some fresh bandages, and we were at it again. “See if you can find a bigger rock!”

If this sounds even remotely familiar, welcome to my world. I wasn’t a daredevil by any stretch. I was just a typical boy having fun. And I guess that mentality hung around long enough to drive some of the decisions I make today. No guts, no glory. I’m pretty sure my car has a spare tire, but I couldn’t begin to say if it has any air in it because I’ve never checked.

Dad used to drill that into me … “Check the air in that spare tire, boy!” Okay, Dad came from an age where tires were a little less reliable and driving around on “may-pops” was a time-honored tradition. He’s told me several times about a short trip where he got a flat, put on the spare, and then the spare tire went flat. Sometimes, you just can’t win.

Driving around without a spare tire isn’t overly intelligent, even though a lot of newer cars don’t have one anyway. But it’s something we never think about until we need it. Then all of a sudden, we find religion. “God, PLEEEEZE let this thing have air!”

We’re in the middle of some very unsettling times, and all indications are that we’re nowhere near the end. In fact, it seems to be ramping up again. Millions of people are unemployed, and those of us who were lucky enough to keep our job the first time may not be so lucky again. A lot of companies are barely surviving and one more blow will finish them off.

The question is, do you have a spare tire? Does it have any air in it? “I’ve got a few bucks in the bank.” That’s great. How long would it last if you had to live on it? For most of us, the answer is “not long.” A month or two? Maybe six? What happens after that? Hopefully that spare tire is capable of breathing in new air, because it’ll go flat long before you’re done using it.

Now, more than ever, we need multiple streams of income. I’ve always been able to add in a little with stand-up comedy and freelance writing, but it’s never quite enough to live on. How about you? If you had to suddenly start paying the bills without a weekly paycheck, what would you do? This isn’t about doom & gloom. It’s about having something to fall back on, just in case.

Dig the well before you get thirsty. I didn’t make that one up, but it’s one of my favorite quotes. Are there things you could do to earn an income if you suddenly lost your job? Sure, there are dozens. But most, if not all, will take a fair amount of time to get started and up to speed. Meanwhile, those bills just keep coming.

The time to start is now, before you need it. Hopefully the need will never arise, but what’s the worst that happens then? You have extra money and have to figure out how to spend it? That’s a problem I could live with. And if the need does arise, you simply shift gears. Challenges are only a problem when we’re not ready for them. When we are, they’re just another path to success.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Just Visualize Your Dreams – Get Pictures!

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

I’m writing to you today from a tropical beach, complete with palm trees, coconuts, a salty breeze, and wooden lounge chairs just beckoning me to come lie in the sun. That’s my view right now. Okay, if my mouse pad was a little larger. You know, like large enough to cover an entire window. Sometimes we have to take what we’ve got and add a little imagination.

I know what you’re thinking. Mouse pad? Do people still use those? Bet he hears screeching tones when he connects to the internet! Yes, I get it. I’m old. Well, old enough. But the fact is, the RV tabletop is too shiny for the mouse to work right, so my wife bought me an old-fashioned mouse pad from the ‘80s to go with my black knee socks and sandals. So there.

If you’ve been reading these messages any time at all, you know I’m a big proponent of using visual images to feed your dreams. And if you know that, you know how much I yearn for a sunny beach. Jimmy Buffett said it best. “Salt air, it ain’t thin … it’ll stick right to your skin, makes you feel fine.” Yes, it does. And I need me some. Next trip.

You probably already know this, but our mind thinks in pictures. Even in conversation, if somebody mentions another person’s name, you immediately see their face. If they mention work, you see your cubicle or toolbox. And if they mention Paris, you see the Eiffel Tower. Well, people don’t talk about the beach often enough, so I carry a picture of my own to keep it fresh.

Keep those pictures where you’ll see them all through the day, and the dream stays fresh as well. I kept a picture of a motorhome on my desk for almost five years. Now I’m looking through the window. Don’t worry, it’s mine. You can get in a lot of trouble looking through somebody else’s window. Don’t ask me how I know that.

But, as I’ve mentioned before, the motorhome isn’t really the dream – it’s the means to achieve the dream, which is to travel across this nation and wake up each morning to a different view. It’s to take the grandkids on vacations they’ll never forget, and to explore places we’ve never been. And it’s to figure out where we want to retire. Or should I say, on which beach?

See, that’s the fun thing about dreams. They don’t have to be realistic. I know how much it costs to live on the beach, and the bank says that’s not happening any time soon. Well, the bank doesn’t care, but the people selling beachfront property might. Still, it’s not like you can’t make a little more money. Or a lot. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

There are campgrounds in this country that cost as much per night as I typically spend for a week. And they’re full of people who probably didn’t bat an eye at the amount. It’s all a matter of perspective. If a hamburger is what you can afford, a steak is astronomical. And if a steak is what you can afford, there are still restaurants whose prices will make you choke.

But that doesn’t, or shouldn’t, stop you from dreaming. As long as money itself isn’t the dream. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a nicer house, a nicer car, a bigger boat, or even a better cut of meat. Granted, all of those things pale in comparison to what matters most in life, but nothing says you can’t live it up along the way. Just keep it in perspective.

Pictures feed dreams. Now, I don’t have a picture of steak and lobster on my wall, but if somebody suggests it I can conjure up an image really quick. What I do have are travel books and RV campground guides to feed those dreams. Besides, no matter where I go, I can get just about any kind of food I want. Getting there is the first priority.

Next time you see a picture of something you’d like to enjoy, cut it out and put it where you can see it every day. The more you look at it, the more real it begins to feel. And when it begins to feel real – even possible – you begin to find ways to make it happen. Ways you may never have imagined. Odds are, nobody else did, either. Which makes the road that much faster for you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved