Don’t Just Look Ahead – Look Forward

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

It’s hard to believe this year is almost over. I read a post last night that said the way this year has gone, after 11:59 pm tomorrow, the clocks will change to 11:60 and just keep going from there.  It’s like all those butter-tub leftovers in Mom’s refrigerator. Some of those things are NEVER going away.

On the other hand, woe be to the person who dares to open one up, especially if the lid is bulging. You take those things straight to the dumpster, in tongs, at arm’s length, and still wear protective clothing. I think that’s the way 2020 will be. Throw it out and don’t dare take a peek to see what you missed. You can thank me later.

It’s been said that there’s a reason the windshield is a lot bigger than the rearview mirror. I guess that means what’s coming is more important than what’s passed. Besides, if there’s a semi with no brakes coming from behind, it’ll fill that mirror soon enough. And when you stop spinning, whatever was in the rearview may be in the windshield. Then it’s important again.

On the other hand, I once rode a rollercoaster where the trains on one track were facing backward. A mirror sure would have been nice there. Not that it would have done any good, because once you start up that first hill, you’re just along for the ride anyway. Oddly enough, it was a smoother ride not seeing what was coming. Facing forward, I always got beat up.

Sometimes, not seeing the future is a blessing. If we knew everything that was going to happen long before it does, we’d just spend that time worrying about the bad stuff and trying to make the good even better instead of just enjoying the ride. Oftentimes, I’ll ask my wife what she wants for dinner, and she just says, “Surprise me.” Okay, I only fell for that once.

There’s that part of us that needs to have a plan and know what to expect. It’s especially true with men. I think women are a lot less rigid about that, because they can always blame us. But statistics show that women, on average, live longer than men. Could it be that all the worry and planning and anticipation not only takes the fun out of life, but shortens it as well?

Besides, if you knew exactly what was going to happen, what would you do to change it? What could you do? I guess that depends what’s coming. If it’s a bill that’ll come due next month, you can spend that time trying to earn a little extra money. If it’s a tornado in the next county, all you can do is hunker down and hope for the best.

It all goes back to the serenity prayer. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom always to know the difference.” Powerful words. Yet it’s something we never seem to fully embrace, because we want the power to change everything. You know, so we can screw that up as well.

Knowing what to expect every minute of the day means you don’t have to put any thought into what you’re doing now or what you’ll do next. And the moment we stop thinking, creativity goes right out the window. Sure, you know what’s coming. You have a plan. And your plans never change because you know the outcome already. Boring!

Some of life’s greatest moments come when we least expect them. A race car driver learns to steer out of a sideways slide in one instant of unexpected drama. A chef creates a masterpiece recipe by substituting one ingredient when they run out of the other. And businesses learn a whole new way of marketing when a virus closes their stores.

Sure, one day the race car driver looks like a hero and the next day they spin out of control and hit the wall. Sometimes the chef creates a legendary recipe, and sometimes it can’t go in the trash fast enough. And, sometimes new ideas change the face of business forever, and other times it’s like the “New Coke.” I’m betting a few executives lost their jobs over that one.

But as long as we straddle the rails on the known path, we never push ourselves to try anything different. We take life exactly as it comes, with no thought of changing anything. And yes, change is scary. Sometimes it leads to disaster. But life’s greatest successes came as the result of somebody stepping off the rails and trying something new.

Look ahead, not to see everything that’s coming, but to see the opportunity that’s waiting. Embrace obstacles. Learn from every mistake and gain from every loss. You already know how the story ends, so don’t let the bumps and dips spoil the ride.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Sometimes, You’ve Just Gotta Bend the Rules

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

Have you ever had something you really wanted to do, and everybody tells you that you have to earn it first? You know, pay your dues and all that happy stuff? It’s like sitting down to dinner as a child, staring at the chocolate cream pie sitting in the middle of the table, just beyond the pile of steamed Brussels sprouts on your plate. That, my friends, is the definition of cruelty.

I tried pinching my nose, mixing them with mashed potatoes, and spitting them into a napkin. Okay, a paper towel. We weren’t a napkin-and-china kind of family. And believe me, Mom caught onto that one real fast. It was like she had some kind of magical powers, X-ray vision to see inside a crumpled-up paper towel. Or maybe she was doing the same thing herself.

No matter what we want, there’s a price to be paid. Ask anybody what that price is, and you’ll get pretty much the same answer, because they all asked the same question and got the same answer. It’s like some sort of conspiracy. “Let’s make them all think the only path to happiness is a life of toil and sacrifice!” Um … can I see what’s behind Door #2?

I was chatting with a friend about this very topic this morning. She said we’re supposed to work and save and sacrifice until we have at least $1 million in our retirement account before we can even think about enjoying what we’ve been working for. Those are the rules, and we’re not supposed to even challenge them. And she didn’t like the rules any better than I do.

But who made the rules? They certainly never consulted me. I could have given them a few suggestions that would have made their heads spin. But 117 years ago, a couple of brothers in Ohio had the insane notion that men could fly. Seems to me that one worked out pretty well. Sometimes, rules are made to be broken. Rules, not laws. Apparently there’s a difference.

All our lives, we’re told to get a good education, climb the corporate ladder, and save for retirement. And that’s a great plan, for some people. But it doesn’t work for everyone. After 13 years of school, I couldn’t think of going back for more. So, I joined the Navy, and spent the next two years in school. They pretty much insisted on it.

Then I tried my hand at climbing the corporate ladder. That’s when I learned one of life’s most valuable lessons. Some ladders are a lot shorter than others, and some people get to skip a few rungs along the way. Worst of all, most of us find at some point in our lives that we’ve been scrambling like crazy to climb a ladder that’s propped against the wrong wall.

So, what if we were to try something a little out of the ordinary? What if we were to build our own wall, burn the ladder, and put in an express elevator instead? Who says we can’t retire until we’re 65? Who says we have to have a million dollars in the bank first? Who says you can’t live the dream until your body makes more noise than your first car?

What if somebody had suggested an alternate plan, way back when we were younger. Sure, get a good job. But while you’re at it, build something else on the side, something that will continue to supply income long after you decide to retire? Would you have followed their advice? Have you already done that? Are you willing to try it now? Nothing like putting you on the spot.

No matter what the destination, there’s always more than one way to get there. If you stick to the same path everybody else is on, it’s a lot more crowded and you miss all the fun along the way. Sure, you’ll have to stick your neck out a little and take a few risks. But you may just get there sooner, before all the good spots fill up. Isn’t it worth a try?

There’s nothing wrong with getting a good education and building a career. But if you’re working for that day when somebody else tells you it’s okay to stop, you may be working a long, long time. And that’s okay if it’s what you want. But if you want something better, to live your dreams while you’re still young enough to enjoy them, you may have to buck the system.

A new year is beginning, and along with it, a new opportunity to shape your future. You can decide, right now, whether you’ll continue to climb that rickety old ladder or find a faster way to the top. I guess it all depends what’s waiting for you when you get there. If it’s important enough, you’ll find a way. It all starts with a dream and the audacity to achieve it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Sideline May Feel Safer, But It’s Pretty Hard to Score

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

Well, Christmas is behind us, and that means just a few more days of 2020. I don’t know of too many people who will shed any tears over the passing of this year. Tears of joy, maybe. You know, like when my wife handed me a brand-new guitar Christmas morning. I cried a little. So, there, I said it! My daughter is still in shock. She hasn’t blinked in three days.

Somebody shared a post Saturday that said, “It’s 364 days till Christmas, and my neighbor already has his outdoor lights up!” Yeah, I would be that neighbor. In fact, mine will likely be up until April, or until my grandson needs some cash, whichever comes first. I’m betting on him to win that race. In fact, he may come through before the end of the week.

Sure, it’s funny, but it’s something to think about. In a few short days, 2020 will be in the mirror and we’ll have 12 months to try and undo all the things we messed up this year. You know, so we can arrive at this point in 2021 and say, “Next year, it’s gonna be different!” Seems to me I said that a year ago. And a year before that, and a year before that, and … you get the picture.

And you know, I really can’t complain about my life to this point. I have a great job, a roof over my head, food on the table, and an RV for those times when we need an escape. My health is good, I can still crawl under the car and get back up, and, as of this moment, none of the bills are late. Of course, the new stack isn’t here yet. The Postal Service says they’re “in transit.”

There’s a meme making its rounds on social media, suggesting we should not openly declare that 2021 will be our year. Instead, we should sneak in quietly while nobody is looking, and just blend in with the wallpaper. That way, we can get through most of the year completely unnoticed. Because, you know, bad things never happen if you’re invisible.

That may be true to some extent, but in my experience, trouble seems to have no problem finding me, no matter how well I hide. It’s like sitting in the back of the classroom, hoping the teacher can’t see that far. But they can. And they all know the only reason we’re sitting in the back is because we weren’t prepared for class in the first place.

So, while we may escape a few of life’s challenges by fading into the background, we also shield ourselves from the very thing we do want – success. I don’t care who you are, there’s something you want that you don’t have today, material or non-material, and there’s a part of you that will never be completely fulfilled until you achieve it.

So, yeah, you can hide from 2021 and all the bad karma you think is waiting for anybody bold enough to stand up and say, “Enough of this! It’s my turn to win!” But, in doing so, you accept the very existence you were hoping to avoid. Maybe you’ll get through the year unscathed. But you’ll be sitting there a long time waiting for that winning lottery ticket to drop out of the sky.  

Never once have I seen an ad on TV for the local water plant. They don’t come looking for us, because they don’t have to. If you want to turn on the faucet and get water, you have to call them. Good fortune is pretty much the same. It doesn’t have to come looking for us, because there are enough other people already in line. If you want a piece of the action, you have to get in the game.

Will 2021 be “your” year? That’s up to you. But I can assure you, if you try to sneak in and find a seat in the back of the room, you’ll miss a good portion of what could have been in your future. Sure, some of it will be unpleasant. Some may even be catastrophic. But catastrophe seems to know where you are anyway. Doesn’t it make sense to stack the odds in your favor?

You have dreams and goals. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t. The question is, what will you do about them? Will you quietly take a seat in the back and hope good fortune comes looking for you, or will you go out and find it yourself?

Every new year is a new opportunity. It’s what we make of those opportunities that counts. Make 2021 the year that you won’t be denied. Reach for your dreams and don’t let anything stand in the way. Then let’s get together a year from today and see how we all made out.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can’t Wear a Blindfold and See the Light

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

Yesterday, somebody mentioned that Facebook has gotten extremely polite lately, with fewer argumentative posts and a lot more pictures of babies and kittens. Somebody asked the question, “Is it possible they finally put a stop to the monster they created?” Because that’s how it works. When you can’t stop writing nasty letters, you blame the people who make pens.

Well, let’s agree on one point. Social media is nothing more than a platform on which we can share thoughts. There’s no inherent requirement that we pick fights or debase those who disagree with us. We do that all on our own. Social media just allows it. Kind of like a mother watching her two kids punch one another. “As soon as this is over, you’re both grounded!”

When I first started writing motivational posts, I noticed within a few weeks that my daily feed had gotten a lot more positive. People weren’t arguing. They weren’t looking for reasons to be offended. And it was entirely possible to celebrate a birthday without the conversation devolving into a political debate over which party wants us to live longer.

I remember thinking, “I’m making a difference! People are reading my posts and becoming more positive!” Okay, every writer wants to think they’ve touched their readers in a way no other person ever has. That’s why we do it. Believe me, it’s not for the money. And the last time I checked, there’s no line of groupies waiting by the front door.

After a day or two of basking in my newfound greatness, it occurred to me that just maybe the reason I was seeing so many more positive posts is that all of the negative people on my feed had unfriended me. One even offered the theory that maybe I’d joined a cult. You know, you could hand some people a bag of gold and they’d complain about the weight. Oh well.

The truth is, when I began sharing inspirational messages, I also cleared my “friends” list of anybody who couldn’t share a recipe without a political dissertation, whether I agreed with them or not. I needed a break. In a week’s time, I unfollowed close to 200 people. So, I guess it’s no wonder I was only hearing from positive people. They were the only ones left.

Dave Barry once wrote, “I can win any argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.” I think there’s a little more wisdom than humor in those words. Come to think of it, I haven’t been invited to a party in years. Um, hello?

But the point is simple. If you want to reduce the negativity in your life, change the channel. Step away from negative input and look for something a little more worthy of your time. “But I need to know what’s going on in the world!” Okay, but there’s a difference between consuming news and drowning in it. Especially when the “news” is somebody else’s biased opinion.

Your mind is like a computer. Every bit of input it receives is stored away in permanent memory that, at this age, I can’t seem to access as easily as I once did. But it’s there. And as new ideas are received, they’re validated against all that data we’ve stored over the years. If it matches what’s already there, it’s stored as “fact.” Everything else goes into the “BS” file.

That’s great if you’ve been filling your brain with positive thoughts. That becomes your basis of truth, and your brain will subconsciously seek out proof of that mindset. If, on the other hand, you’ve been filling it with negativity, it’ll seek validation of that as well. Either way, everything we see and hear is run through the filter we’ve already established in our mind.

It’s why one person sees a storm on the horizon, and another sees the blue sky overhead. They’re both looking at the same sky. The difference is one expects storms while the other expects sunshine. And expectations are nothing more than regurgitations of what our mind has been programmed to believe.

Shut out negativity, and your daily “feed” automatically becomes more positive. Challenges become opportunities. Despair yields to hope. And you realize that, behind every cloud, the sun still shines. It’s not about denying facts and living in a world of delusion. It’s about equipping your mind to work through life’s tribulations to find the happiness that awaits those who do.

As a technical writer, I had a sign over my desk … “Garbage in, gospel out.” Sure, it’s funny until you realize I wrote aircraft maintenance manuals. But our brains work pretty much the same way. Garbage in, gospel out. Make sure you’re storing information worthy of remembering. Your happiness depends on it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You’re Willing to Try Anything, You Can Accomplish Everything

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

There’s an ice cream commercial on TV asking a simple question – what would you do for a Klondike bar? Okay, first I’d have to drive to the store, because we don’t have any and the Klondike delivery guy hasn’t been around lately. My guess is he ate all the inventory. That’s what I did. Of course, his freezer is a lot bigger than mine.

I remember when I was in my twenties, I would do pretty much anything to make a little extra money. Well, you know. Anything moral and at least mostly legal. Over the years, I’ve always had a second job. I delivered pizzas and newspapers, worked for a moving company, drove a semi, and did custom woodworking. All this was in addition to my day job.

Back then, if you asked me what I would do for extra money, I had a simple answer. “I would skin-dive for Roto Rooter!” A little disgusting, maybe, but after three years of spending my nights on the receiving end of a few dozen bowling lanes, clearing pin jams and dealing with drunk bowlers, there wasn’t much I wouldn’t try.

My grandson is a lot the same. He just wants to make money. He’s done construction, landscaping, remodeling, and demolition. He’s done oil changes, driven a forklift, worked in a lumber store, managed a coffee shop, and made pizzas. And he’s only 20. Let’s just say he moves around a lot.

But the point is, he’s not afraid to work. He’ll do pretty much anything if he thinks he can do the job, and somebody is willing to pay him. I’ve seen him work three jobs at a time. Chip off the old block? Yeah, I’d say so. His mom is a hard worker as well, so I guess she gets at least some of the credit.

But I’ve never heard this kid say, “I’m not doing THAT for a living!” It all comes down to a simple question of opportunity … I need a job, and you need somebody to work. Let’s do it. And as a result, he’s gained a lot of skills that most kids his age will never have. If I were to list all the different jobs I’ve had, you’d think I was making it up. The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Because I’ve done all those jobs, because I put need ahead of ego, there aren’t too many things I wouldn’t at least attempt today. I can do some pretty complex car repairs if needed. I can fix plumbing, though I’d rather not. I can do household wiring, carpentry, basic construction, and even gutted & remodeled our bathroom. I started twelve years ago and finished last week.

A little exaggeration, maybe, but you get the point. People who are willing to try anything can do anything. Success is a simple matter of making the decision to do it. That’s not to say there won’t be setbacks along the way, and the end result may cost almost as much as hiring a professional. But there’s something to be said for doing it yourself.

In my business, I seek out people with needs. Those needs may be self-imposed or thrust upon them by circumstances beyond their control. They may be financial, health-related, or simply to make the most of the things they already have. But the bottom line is, something needs to change. They dream of a better life and will do anything to achieve it. “Except that.” Really?

Well, then maybe the dream isn’t as strong as you think it is. I doubt many people, when asked in second grade what they wanted to be when they grew up, enthusiastically replied, “I wanna be a Wal-Mart greeter!” But you know, when the need is there, you do whatever it takes and worry about your ego later. And who knows, you may work your way up to cashier someday.

It’s easy to make a list of the things we want, and it’s just as easy to make a list of the things we’ll never do to get them. And that’s okay – life is about choices. You can choose not to do anything to achieve your goals, and life can choose to reward you by leaving you right where you are while somebody else gets the golden egg. Somebody who wasn’t so picky.

It’s hard sometimes to see beyond our immediate objections when opportunity knocks. It may appear too complex, or too difficult. You may think it’s a little beneath your dignity, or that others may laugh. The question is, how strong is the need? How powerful is the dream? If it’s something you want badly enough, there really isn’t much you won’t do to achieve it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You Want to Win, You’ve Got to Play

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

There was once a young man who was convinced happiness was his to behold, if only he could win the lottery. Years went by, but luck never fell his way. Finally, he turned to prayer. “God please! It doesn’t even have to be a mega-lottery! Just enough to make my life better. And I’ll even donate some to charity!” We always throw that one in there for good measure.

Well, this went on for several more years, and still no luck. And his frustration was beginning to show. “What’s up, God? The Bible says, ‘ask and ye shall receive.’ So, when is it my turn? When do I receive?” As he settled back into a corner to sulk, this booming voice came down from the Heavens. “Help me out here, Jim … buy a ticket!”

We’ve all met people who seem to have all the luck. Everything they touch turns to gold. Success is attracted to them like ants to a picnic basket. They walk around all the time with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. They live in the nicest house, drive the nicest cars, and vacation all over the world. It’s enough to make you sick.

And you sit there watching in amazement, certain that sooner or later, luck will come your way. It’s the law of averages. Sit in one place long enough and sooner or later the bluebird of happiness will land on your shoulder. It has to land somewhere, right? And a moving target is harder to hit. Yeah. Tell that to the pigeon that just flew over as you were walking into church.

Okay, I’m just gonna throw this out there. Luck is absolutely a factor. It’s a huge factor. In fact, most success would never come without a certain element of luck. Surprised? All this time I’ve been telling you that you can accomplish anything, and now I’m saying it only happens if you encounter some good luck? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

But you can’t hit a home run from the dugout, and you can’t catch the winning pass from the grandstands. Luck plays a part, but first you have to be in the game. You have to step up to the plate, bat in hand, and stare down a fastball. You have to plow through a line of blockers and run down the field to … okay, that’s why I never caught the winning pass. I don’t run.

And, in all honesty, there’s a little more to it than that. I never really wanted to run. While the star hitters were at batting practice, I was riding my mini bike. While the football team was in the weight room deadlifting Volkswagens, I was drawing pictures. Oh, I got to play. League rules, you understand. But my position was usually tackling dummy. Wonder why?

You see, merely stepping onto the field isn’t enough, unless you’re hoping a fast pitch will accidentally hit your bat and ricochet over the center-field wall. You also have to be ready for that perfect pitch and know what to do when it comes. It takes muscle to swing the bat that hard, not to mention a well-developed eye-to-hand coordination. It takes practice.

I can’t remember who said this first, but success is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. We all think opportunity is the hard part, but it really isn’t. Anybody can try out for the team, or apply for a job, or start a new business. Opportunity is the easy part. But unless you’re ready to capitalize on that opportunity, it’ll just move on to somebody who is.

The two things you can control – the only two things – are stepping up to the plate and taking a swing. Sure, your swing has to be good, but that comes with practice. You know, stepping up to the plate and taking a swing. The rest largely relies on factors beyond your control – the speed of the pitch, the curve of the ball, the dryness of the pitcher’s hand – and just plain old luck.

Success in any endeavor relies largely on luck and it won’t always go the way you’d planned. Jobs will come and go. Customers won’t always want what you have to offer. Kids will eventually follow their own path. But the longer you stay in the game, the better your odds of scoring a hit.

Opportunity is the game itself – to capitalize on opportunity, you need to get in the game and play your best every day. The more times you step up to the plate, the more passes you throw, the better your odds of success. Luck will still play a part. You can’t change that, but you can stack the odds in your favor. Control what you can. The rest will work itself out.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Put A Little Adventure In Your Life!

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

On my personal page, I wrote a few days ago that it’s been 44 years since I left home for a career in the Navy. Lots of things I’ve forgotten about the 1970s, and for good reason. But I’ll never forget that day. In fact, if I think hard enough, I can probably remember something significant from every hour.

I joined the Navy to see the world and sail the seven seas. In my first four years, I saw Orlando, Memphis, and Key West, and the closest I came to sailing was getting drunk on my friend’s boat. In the second four years, though, I more than made up for it. My last cruise took me all the way around the world. Okay, the first half was in a plane, but it still counts.

At the 12-year mark, I traded in my sea legs for a tractor-trailer rig and spent the next year driving across 22 states. By the end of that first year, every truck stop I pulled into on the eastern half of the country, I remember thinking, “I’ve been here before.” More often than not, I was right.

 We’ve been doing the RV thing, part-time, for just under six months. And already, we’re finding a lot of familiar scenery and a couple of favorite gas stations. On our next trip, we’re actually planning the first day to get us as far as a Cracker Barrel where we spent the night on a previous trip, simply because they have a parking space that fits our coach perfectly. Wow.

Thankfully, most of our trips have been to someplace different. This next trip, after we pass that Cracker Barrel, will be something new. Okay, we’ve been there before, but in a car and we stayed in a hotel, so that doesn’t count. And while we’re there, we’ll spend some time in our campground directory planning out the next trip. This is what it’s all about.

There’s something to be said for stability and knowing what each day will hold, but life should be an adventure. We should try different things, visit different places, make new friends, sample different cuisine. Says the guy who can go into any of ten different restaurants and never has to look at the menu because he always eats the same thing.

But every now and then, I shock my wife by ordering something different. Even the waitress is like, “Really???” Over the years, I’ve sampled all kinds of foods that a lot of people would never consider. Alligator, sushi, bison, frog legs, calamari, Spam … okay, that last one isn’t so exotic, but you’d sure think so the way some people react to it. Fried, of course. I’ll eat raw fish, but not raw Spam. That’s just gross.

The thing is, I enjoy a lot of things today simply because I was willing to give it a try. And there are things I’ll never do again, but at least I can speak from experience. There are places we’ve been that we never thought we’d care to see, and now we can’t wait to go back. Kansas isn’t one of them. Sorry. See one tumbleweed, you’ve seen ‘em all.

It’s that way with most things in life. When was the last time somebody offered you a chance to try something new, and you politely (or not so politely) passed? “No, that’s not something I’d enjoy.” Are you sure? I used to be scared of rollercoasters until I made myself get on one with my daughter. Now I’m the guy in the front seat, hands in the air, yelling, “Rock and roll!”

If you had asked me forty years ago what kind of business I’d like to be in, I’d have never given any thought to the business I’m in today. But in a time when workers are unemployed, stores are closing down, and entire industries are being decimated, I’m lucky to be in something that, so far, has proven resilient. And all because I said, “Sure – let me take a look.”

All through your life, opportunities will come your way. Some will be rather inconsequential, and some could be monumental. That’s not to say you should try everything somebody suggests, but if your default answer is always to shake your head and walk away, you’ll never experience anything beyond what you’re doing right now.

We started the week talking about habits. Recognizing opportunity is a matter of insight. Giving opportunity a fighting chance is a matter of habit. The people enjoying life to its fullest are those who are in the habit of saying, “Tell me more.” Be one of those people. Try new things and be open to new ideas. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You’re Capable of Dreaming It, You’re Qualified to Achieve It

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

Have you ever picked up a book and, in the first paragraph, you find a typo? By the end of page one, you find several more. Sentences started in lower case, words run together with no spacing, the same word twice in a row, and a few misspellings to round things out. It’s like watching my grandson cut grass when he’s in a hurry. And the end result is just as appealing.

I just started reading a motivational book on a premise I find both intriguing and insightful. It’s 51 pages long, so it should be an easy read. But the text is too large, it’s jammed into small margins, spacing is horrendous, and on the very first page it contains every one of those blunders I described. It’s like listening to Roseanne Barr sing the National Anthem.

I wonder sometimes if I’m just too picky. In all honesty, that theory has been suggested once or twice over the years. And, in all fairness, the writer’s message is sound. Reading the Bible isn’t always so easy either, but there are words in there we all need to hear. Sometimes the message is more important than the presentation. This is probably one of those times.

As a beginning writer, I often struggled with the realization that I had no formal qualifications to be a writer. I remember discussing it with a friend one time at a writing conference. She asked, “Do you ever feel like we’re just faking it?” Every single day. Because writing, like most art forms, comes down to one essential question – does anybody appreciate your work?

If so, you can call yourself a writer, an actor, a singer, a comedian, an artist –whatever passion you’ve chosen to pursue, because it’ all about public perception of your talent. And until public perception matches your own, there’s always a detour around those who would stand in your way. It’s called “Fake it till you make it.”

I’ve often said when I write my first book, it’ll be self-published. I have my reasons. First, it’s nearly impossible for an unknown author to get a publishing contract. If you do, it takes nearly two years to get your book in print. Then, if you want the book to sell, you have to get out there and sell it yourself. Well, if I have to write the book AND sell it, I should make most of the money. Right?

But there’s a downside to that as well. It’s easier to get a publisher for your first book than it is to sell a self-published book to a bookstore. There’s a stigma associated with self-published books, and for good reason. Important steps like editing, interior layout, and cover design are often omitted or amateurish. And the writing quality is often just as bad.

That said, some of the most successful books in existence were originally self-published. And many of today’s top writers earned their reputation the same way – by believing in themselves enough to invest in themselves, and then putting it all on the line. Somewhere along the way, somebody picked up one of those books and said, “Hey! This is really good!”

The same is true with many things in life. Nobody took Harlan Sanders seriously when he set out across the country to convince gas stations to sell his secret recipe fried chicken. In fact, his own family laughed at him. “The old man is nuts! He’s not even remotely qualified for this!” Well, you know the rest of the story. Maybe qualifications aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Have you ever been presented with an opportunity, one that has the potential to change your life, and talked yourself out of it because you didn’t feel qualified? Or maybe you did, but couldn’t find anybody to give you the backing you need because you lacked experience? For every business, every career, and every job, somebody was the first to give it a try. Every single one.

You should always arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before starting a new venture, but never let lack of experience or formal qualifications stand in the way. Get what you need the best way you can, and learn the rest as you go. Sure, you’ll make mistakes. We all do. But the greatest mistake you’ll ever make is giving up on your dreams.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Ready For the Next One?

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

Mom once told me that if I walked through a door and got punched in the face, I might not be so eager to walk through that same door again. And if it happened a few more times, I’d find a different door. Well, knowing me, I’d just open the door and duck. Until I got kicked.

I thought about that the other day as I read about more states opening up and allowing people to get back to work. I think it says a lot for our society that we are so eager to work. And, when you get down to it, we do like working. Okay, we like the paycheck. We’d like it more if it were bigger, but that goes without saying.

I’ve been working the whole time anyway, but that’s more a stroke of luck than genius. I learned long ago that I’m not good at sitting around. In 1984, Dad had a heart attack and I went on emergency leave. My ship sailed while I was home and, through a series of administrative blunders, it took three months to get me back onboard.

By the time I got back, my commander had decided I’d gone AWOL and was trying to process me as a deserter. I’ll never forget stepping off that plane when it landed on the ship, after a lovely 32-hour trip halfway around the world, waiting for the Master at Arms to put me in handcuffs. It didn’t happen, but life was never the same for me on that ship again.

The entire time I was waiting for a ride to the boat, my job was to check in every morning and keep my sea bag packed by the door. After a week, I bought a bottle of bourbon. A week later, I bought another. By the end of a month, I called in at 7:45 every morning and had my first drink at 7:50. It wasn’t pretty. My wife didn’t even cry when I left. Neither did I.

Over the years, I’ve had a few bouts of unemployment. That happens when you’re a contractor. But I learned a few lessons from that experience in my Navy days. First, no drinking. Get a hobby instead. In my second month at home that first time, I took up woodworking. It was pretty rudimentary at first, but over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Second, you need a plan B. We all like to think we have a secure job and that we’re so good at it nobody would ever think of putting us out to pasture, but that’s just our own ego stroking itself. And even if we are that good, nobody counts on a pandemic almost entirely shutting down the nation. A job isn’t much good if the doors are closed.

Well, we’ve mostly weathered the storm … for now. But already we’re seeing a spike in new cases and medical experts are telling us to buckle up because we’re likely facing a second round this fall that may be even worse than the first one. If summer is truly the miracle we’ve been waiting for, can you wait eight months for it to come around again?

One of the wisest quotes I’ve ever read was this: “Dig the well before you get thirsty.” We live in a nation where more than 60% of us don’t have enough in savings to cover a $1000 emergency. And we know the emergencies will come. They always do. It’s just a matter of when, and how bad it’ll be. And how long it’ll be before the next one comes along.

It’s hard to dig the well when you’re dying of thirst, especially when you don’t know how far down the water is. You get tired. You make mistakes. When the bills are stacking up and there’s no relief in sight, you take chances you wouldn’t normally take. Or, worse yet, you just give up and wait for the inevitable.

If you could put some extra money in the bank today, would that come in handy when things get bad again? What if you could build an ongoing income, even a small one, that’s independent of your current job and could continue through another round of shutdowns? Would that be a game-changer?

I’m willing to bet you’ve been given opportunities to get ahead of the situation. If not, talk to me. I’m happy to offer suggestions. What works for me may or may not work for you, but you never know unless you try. And maybe we can come up with something completely new between us.

If you’re not thirsty today, you will be. Hopefully it won’t be anything like the crisis we’ve seen, but it’ll still happen. The question is, will you be ready? The sooner you start digging that well, the better off you’ll be when the rivers run dry.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Opportunity Doesn’t Always Look the Way You’d Imagined

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

It’s been a while since I received any of those emails informing me that a long lost relative I never knew departed this life and left behind millions of dollars just for me. I’m beginning to think I missed my one big chance to be rich. I don’t even get the ones telling me “This is nobody you know, but I found a loophole in the law and we can still share in his riches.” I’m bummed.

And then there were the emails telling me I could get Viagra without a prescription, for a fraction of the normal price, from a website in Nigeria. Okay, maybe I’m confusing the scams. But what I want to know is, exactly what did I do to get on that email list? I even got a few for breast enhancements. Did they even look at my picture? I’m good. Trust me.

I don’t receive many of those emails anymore. I guess they ran out of Viagra, and rich people stopped dying in Nigeria. Come to think of it, that may be more than just coincidence. Maybe people live longer when they don’t … you know. But don’t quote me on that. I’m no expert. I don’t even play one on TV.

We do live in a time where things aren’t always as they appear. Job offers come out of the blue, and right away they ask for your bank information so they can deposit your paychecks directly. I’m all for easy money, but let’s at least get the preliminaries out of the way first. You know, like what is the job and where is your company? I only look stupid.

On the other hand, how intelligent is it to go to that much effort to steal the banking information from somebody who’s desperate enough to fall for an online job scam? Odds are, you won’t get much more than forty-two cents out of that account, and that’s only there because ATMs don’t dispense change. If they did, the account would already be empty.

Sadly, there are a lot of people in this world who would rather use their energy figuring out ways to bilk unsuspecting, hardworking people out of the money they’ve earned than to go earn some money themselves. I often wondered how many people fall for these scams. But it only takes a few. Throw enough bait in the lake and sooner or later you’ll catch something.

That’s why we tend to be so leery of opportunity that we let some good ones slip right through our fingers. More accurately, we look the other way without even thinking about it. And, for good reason. Some of those opportunities make the Brooklyn Bridge look like a worthy investment.

But every now and then, a good one comes along. And if it looks and smells the way we thought a great opportunity should look and smell, we jump on it. The problem is expectations don’t always match reality. What we think we’re looking for doesn’t exist, and what we’re really looking for is completely different than we thought it would be.

As the realtor pulled up in front of our house, my wife was reading the listing to me. Only one bathroom. Why are we even looking at this one? But we were here, so we took a closer look. Behind the refrigerator I saw a closet door. When I opened the door, there were stairs to a finished basement that wasn’t even mentioned in the listing. We’ve been living here 18 years.

Things aren’t always as they appear. Sometimes we have to take a closer look. One of my favorite quotes comes from Thomas Dewar, who said, “Minds are like parachutes – they only work when they’re open.” I’m not sure that means much to somebody whose parachute didn’t open, but the rest of us should probably give it some thought.

An open mind keeps us from jumping into something we should have avoided, and it’s that same open mind that can let us see the promise in opportunities we may never have considered. Every author knows the secret to selling books is an attractive cover. But some of the most successful books of all time had a plain cover with a simple title.

When something looks too good to be true, take a step back. But don’t discount it entirely. Dig deeper. Talk to people who have found success instead of those who never tried. Look beyond your premonitions to see what’s really there. It may be nothing. It may be a disaster waiting to happen. And it may just be the answer to your prayers. There’s only one way to find out.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved