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

You Can’t Have Green Grass Without a Little Bit of Poop

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

You know how you buy something, hoping you’ll never need it, but you think it’s a good idea anyway? Like car insurance. Nobody wants to use car insurance. We hope we’ll never need it. But it’s one of those necessary evils. Too bad the deductible is more expensive than the window some idiot shot out with a BB gun. For that matter, it’s more than the value of the whole car.

Well, I got through the weekend without having to call a claims adjuster. But I do remember telling my wife about a month ago that we should buy a first aid kit for the RV. Because, accidents happen. Especially when a clod like me is walking along, looking down at the ground, completely oblivious to the bedroom slide that’s sticking out right in front of his head. WHAM!!!

I didn’t knock myself out, but I did have to re-level the coach after I picked myself up. It’s not like I hit the corner from not stepping far enough to the side. That would be too easy. No, I walked right into this thing full speed ahead. There’s a gear track along the side that’s used for opening and closing the slide. The top of my head has six perfectly spaced holes to match that gear.

On a positive note, it did get me out of making the bed that morning. Small victory, but that’s a tough job. You’d think somebody would invent some kind of tongs to grab the sheets and blanket and tuck them into a crevice three feet beyond the reach of any normal human being. I’m thinking a fireplace poker may get the job done. But only if she’s not watching.

Right about now, some of you are racing through your brain to come up with some kind of bed-making solution that every RV owner on the planet will pay big bucks to buy. All I ask is that you send me a free prototype since I’m the one who gave you the idea.

The whole purpose of this outing was to simply run the coach through its paces, make sure everything works, and figure out what we still need to buy. I did get it weighed yesterday, and we’ve got another 1200 pounds to go before we start overloading the suspension. I’m not sure how that translates into shopping dollars, but I have a feeling we’ll find out.

One thing I haven’t been able to figure out yet is our dog. He loves to go for a walk, and he marks every tree, shrub, stop sign, fire hydrant, and tall weed along the way. No inhibitions whatsoever. Until it’s time to poop. He still hasn’t figured out that it’s okay to do that on a leash. Well, not ON the leash, but you get the idea. I’m thinking a fireplace poker … never mind.

Yes, with men it all comes down to fires and the implements that allow us to create and exercise dominion over them. With my wife, it’s about placemats and bedspreads and napkins and rugs and vacuum cleaners and how do I manage to track in so much dirt every time I walk inside? Um, because it’s there. Duh!

Every new adventure comes with new challenges, new joys, new heartaches, and apparently, the occasional injury. The alternative, of course, is to never try anything different. But that means never knowing what might have been. Every married couple tried something new. Every parent took a risk. Everybody who has ever been employed gave it a shot.

Life is about opening doors to see what’s on the other side. It’s about setting goals and chasing dreams. And it’s about accepting the risk that things won’t always be just perfect. But it’s in those moments of imperfection that we find a spark of creativity to solve life’s most difficult challenges. Like making a bed that was never intended to be made.

Unless we’re willing to accept those moments of imperfection and the risks they present, we’re destined to stay right where we are for the remainder of our lives. To most of us, that’s a risk we’re not willing to take. We do want more. We want to accomplish more. And the only way to do that is to stretch your boundaries and try something completely new.

You were born to thrive, not just survive. Make the most of every moment, and never let an opportunity slip past. It may not be the opportunity you were hoping for, but it may be just the one you need. And isn’t that what really matters?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Stop Waiting For the Right Moment

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

I was thinking the other day of a tee shirt slogan from back in the 70s … “When this crisis is over, I’m gonna have a nervous breakdown!” Social media is loaded with memes about what we’ll all do when this ends. One was particularly funny. It said, “We’ll all come out of this one of three ways – hunk, chunk, or drunk.” That pretty well sums it up.

I don’t drink much these days, but I do have a workout bench literally two feet behind me all day. So, I guess it goes without saying that I won’t come out hunk or drunk. That weight bench is loaded with papers, old mail, and printer supplies. You know, like the treadmill that used to be there. Around here, a treadmill is just a really expensive clothes hanger.

Oh, I had good intentions. I always do. But if you take your intentions into Starbucks with $3.95, they’ll give you a free cup of coffee. I took mine to the dinner table instead. And now I’m paying for it. But I don’t want to talk about weight again. Seems we just did that a couple of days ago.

I always had a set of criteria that would magically drive me into action. “That’s it! If my weight goes up another five pounds, I’m going on a diet!” “If it ever warms up, I’m cleaning the garage!” “If it ever cools off, I’m cleaning the garage!” “If that grass gets a foot taller …” Well, you get the idea. We always seem to let fate decide whether we do the things we need to do.

My post from last year popped up on my feed yesterday, and it was on this very topic. When there’s something we need to do that’ll bring us closer to our goals, we always seem to wait for the perfect moment to get started. It doesn’t really matter if those goals are grand or mundane, getting started is left to some twist of fate over which we have little or no control.

And that twist of fate doesn’t always have to be something good. It’s like sitting on the porch as the river is overflowing into your yard. You’ve got sandbags and a shovel, but you’re waiting for things to get bad enough before you put them to use. “If that water gets a foot higher, we’re shoring up!” No, if that water gets a foot higher, you’re swimming.

A friend confided to me once that he needed more money. The roof was leaking, the car needed repairs, and the bills were falling behind. I suggested he start a side business to supplement his income and he said, “Yeah, I guess if things get bad enough, I may have to consider that.” Excuse me? How bad do they have to get? Would foreclosure do the trick?

It’s easy to make plans when we really don’t intend to do anything about them. And it’s even easier when you put those plans at the mercy of something you can’t control. And then the water rises another foot. “Well, it’s kinda late for sandbags now.”

And the problem is, we do this whether it’s something we really need to do, or just something we’d like to do. “Oh, that’s just a dream. I’ve lived without it this long.” Well, how important was the dream? Was it something you just thought about once or twice? Because that’s not really a dream. It’s a brain fart.

Not taking action on our dreams is no different than not taking action on our needs. The consequences are a little different, but in the end we’re left to wonder what might have been. And friends, that’s one of the worst feelings in the world – knowing you could have at least tried to change the situation, but never did. And for what? Because things never got bad enough?

I’ve heard people say if they lose their job, they’ll change careers. I’ve heard them say if the car breaks down one more time, they’ll fix it. I’ve even heard sick people say if they get any sicker, they’ll do something about their health. Seriously? How bad do things need to get in order for us to do what we should have done in the first place? “Well, it’s kinda late for vitamins now.”

We all know the things we need to be doing. But if we wait for the perfect set of circumstances, we’ll never do it. Instead of waiting for things to get better or worse, forget the circumstances and just do it. Life on the other end may be completely different than anything you’d imagined. You may never get back to where you were. And isn’t that pretty much the idea?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Past Is Gone, But The Future Begins Today

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

A couple of days ago, oil was trading at -$37.63 per barrel. Read that again. Did you see the minus sign? That means below zero. If you were somehow able to get your arms around a barrel of oil at the right moment this past Monday, somebody would have paid you nearly $40 to take it. I’m not even sure how that works, but I’d like to give it a try.

In eighth-grade we were learning about the stock market. The teacher gave us all $50 to invest (fake money, naturally) so we could do a six-week test of our investment savvy. Most of the class invested in several different things – you know, in case one failed. And most of them lost. Apparently, an affinity for candy necklaces doesn’t always translate into stock gains.

But that was back in 1971 and Walt Disney World had just opened. At the time, their stock was just under $1 per share, so my buddy and I put our money together and bought 100 shares. By the end of the six weeks, the stock was up 40% and we won the challenge. And the teacher still hasn’t paid up.

Earlier this year, Disney stock was trading at a little over $140. So, an investment in 1971 would be worth at least 140 times its initial value today. In 1986, Microsoft stock was selling for just over 10 cents per share, and last year it topped out at $190. Imagine waking up today and finding 1000 shares of Microsoft under your pillow. Where’s that tooth fairy?

Yes, hindsight is 20/20. Had we known way back then what a $100 investment might been worth, I’m sure most of us would have taken the plunge. On the other hand, I’d have probably invested it all in 8-track players. That was a hot commodity back then. So were slide rules. You know, until Texas Instruments came along.

Right now, I’d bet a lot of us are wishing we’d made some different decisions a few years, or even a few months ago. Those decisions may have been health-related, financial, career-oriented, or even just how much time we spent with family. And like it or not, the piper always gets paid.

I don’t think any of us are naïve enough to believe life will somehow go back to the way it was. Those days are gone. All around us, the world is changing. Retail stores are no longer spending their money on cash registers. They’re spending it on robots. The drive-thru at our local pharmacy just put in a new carrier system that’s twice as fast as the old one. It’s about time.

Things we never thought we’d see have come to pass. I remember a time when people said, “If gas ever hits a dollar a gallon, I’ll walk!” Those same people said we’d never see personal computers in every home, nobody wants to carry around a phone all day, and we’ll never let somebody else pick out our meat and produce for us. Famous last words.

We like to think the secret to capitalizing on a trend is to get in on the action before everybody else does. I’d love to own a souvenir shop on the beach. But apparently a few other people had the same idea. You know, like eighty years ago. That’s not to say a new store couldn’t survive. We went to Gatlinburg a few years ago, and there’s a pancake house on every corner. Literally.

Which only means that what was a good idea 50 years ago may still be a good idea today. All too often, we look right past the obvious solutions because they’ve been around so long. Sooner or later, they’ll have to collapse. Right? Well, those pancake houses probably aren’t doing so well today. But home-based businesses are stronger than ever. We’re home anyway.

It’s easy to pass on opportunities that are outside the mainstream. It’s even easier when we know somebody who already tried and failed, or our neighbor’s cousin had a friend whose brother couldn’t make it work. Well, guess what? Businesses fail. It happens every day. And every day, new businesses in those same industries succeed.

So, here’s the real question. Are you where you want to be today? Can you survive another six months in your current situation? What if it happens again this winter? If the decisions you’ve made haven’t put you where you want to be, maybe it’s time for a change.

The opportunities are there. And right now, most of us have time to do something about it. I’d be happy to share some ideas if you’re up to it. There are dozens of things you could be doing. Some may work, and others may not. But just sitting there isn’t really an option. A year from now, you’ll be looking back on the decisions you made today. Make them count!

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Luck Isn’t Something You Trip Over

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

There’s an old tradition in show business that says when a friend is getting ready to take the stage, you never say “good luck.” Somebody, at some point in time, fell flat on their face after being the recipient of such a prayer, and decided it must be because the gods of karma turned the blessing against them. There’s no other logical explanation – certainly not a lack of talent or preparation.

So, when you want to wish your friend a strong performance, you give the karma gods something else to consider. “Break a leg!” That’s the kindest thing somebody can say as you’re taking the stage. Unless you’re as clumsy as I am. I’d rather take my chances with good luck.

One night my ankle rolled as I was taking the stage and I took a nosedive in front of a sold-out crowd. The audience thought it was part of the show. And in complete honesty, it probably got a bigger laugh than any of my jokes that night. I stood up, took the microphone, and nodding to an imaginary person backstage said, “Break a leg … thanks jackass!”

No, it wasn’t an intentional part of the show. The ligaments in my left ankle are about as strong as a politician’s conscience. It’s an old war injury. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Never mind that the country wasn’t technically at war at the time. It happened on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean when I was in the Navy. That’s all you need to know.

Bad luck? Maybe. The doctor said I would have been better off if my ankle had broken, but that’s not the way it turned out. And, since that time, I’ve learned to deal with the fact that it’ll clock out on an unauthorized break any time it feels like it. At that point, the best I can do is try to steer myself away from anything hot or sharp. Falling down is a foregone conclusion.

When somebody we know has several bad things happen in a row, we say they’ve had a run of bad luck. And when everything they touch turns to gold, we attribute that to luck as well. “Some people just have all the luck.” Yeah. Especially people who do things like, I don’t know … work, keep their eyes open to opportunities, and take a few calculated risks along the way.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know the next sentence by heart. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. Delivering a strong performance onstage requires two things – an audience that wants to be entertained, and a performer who’s ready to deliver. And the same is true in everything we do. Opportunity and preparation. Put the two together and good things happen.

But, like any mathematical formula, the order of operations makes a world of difference in the result. If you wait for opportunity to come knocking and then try to get onboard with the preparation side of the equation, it’ll be gone before you know it. Like the six-o’clock bus, opportunity doesn’t wait for anyone. There are too many others already waiting for it to come along.

Preparation has to come first. You have to get dressed before you go to the bus stop and wait for something to come along. That habit can keep you out of jail, too. Or so I’m told. Opportunity pretty much demands that you’re ready for it. And while you’re standing on the curb in your bathrobe, the people who got dressed first are on their way to earning a paycheck. That’s just how it works.

Besides, unless you’re prepared to make the most of an opportunity, you probably wouldn’t recognize it anyway. Oh, you may see it. But you won’t be able to truly appreciate it. You’ll say things like, “That’ll never work. I have a cousin who tried that once and he’s still broke. I’ll just wait for a prettier bus to come along.” Well, guess what? There is no prettier bus coming. Get onboard or be left behind.

Opportunity knocks, but it doesn’t knock the door down. You have to leave the door open just a crack and be ready to jump on the right opportunity when it comes. Be picky, but not so picky that you spend your life waiting for a prettier bus. Sometimes, a worn-out pair of sneakers fits better than the flashy new pair. But you’ll never know unless you put your feet in and lace them up.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Wait For Luck – Make Your Own

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

A few days ago, I stumbled across a video montage of people who were involved in close calls that almost resulted in disaster. There was the guy walking down the street and a speeding car slid into a light pole inches away. Another person stumbled off a train platform and was pulled to safety with less than a second to spare. You know, the kind of videos that make you go, “WOW!”

Thankfully, luck was on the side of each of these people and they lived to tell the story of what could have been their final moment. Some would say they were the beneficiary of divine intervention, that it just wasn’t their time. I won’t argue either way, except to say something or someone was there to save them from certain death. And that, my friends, is the textbook definition of luck.

We tend to attribute lots of things to luck. One person just seems to catch all the lucky breaks, and another attracts nothing but bad luck. Casinos invite you to try your hand with Lady Luck. Game operators at the carnival call out, “Do you feel lucky today?” And what about the lottery, the ultimate test of luck? You put down a few dollars and wait for random numbers to pop up.

And then there’s the person who started out working alongside you in an entry-level position, but through several promotions and pay raises, now enjoys an office instead of a cubicle, tropical vacations instead of tent camping, and a home on “that” side of town. Meanwhile, you’re still struggling to pay the bills. Yes, some people seem to get all the luck.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but luck has nothing to do with it. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. It’s the result of recognizing an opportunity and being in a position to capitalize on it. That may mean learning new skills, taking a few classes, or simply going out of your way to meet the right people. But without that preparation, luck will simply pass you by.

Sure, we’ve all seen cases where somebody got a promotion simply because of their last name. The boss’ kids will always have some level of preference when it comes to promotions. But, in most cases, they have to be up to the task, or they’ll get passed by. Business owners don’t achieve success by putting imbeciles in positions of leadership. If they do, they won’t be successful for long.

More often than not, if we’re really honest, we can look beneath the surface and see a pattern of preparation that puts one person in a position to succeed while others around them feel left out. Sure, we have names for the people who come in early, stay late, and always have the report on the boss’ desk early. But when opportunity comes along, who do you think will get the first shot?

Success isn’t a matter of luck. It comes to the person who can spot an opportunity and is prepared to capitalize on it. Winning the lottery is luck. It takes no skill, and no preparation other than buying a ticket. Ever wonder why nearly 70 percent of lottery winners are bankrupt in less than five years? There’s your answer. Success takes a little more effort.

I talk a lot about dreams and goals, and hopefully you think about those things just as much. And make no mistake, the opportunities are there. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. But unless you’re prepared to capitalize on those opportunities, they’ll move on to somebody who is. And preparation begins with an open mind.

How many times have you seen somebody achieve incredible success in the most unlikely venture? Odds are, they weren’t the first to be exposed to the idea or opportunity. But they approached it with an open mind and put in the effort while others scoffed at their ambitions or simply looked away without a second thought. Was it luck? Or was there a little more to it?

For any goal you may have, or any level of success you wish to achieve, the opportunity is there. Find that opportunity and you’re halfway there. Maybe you’re ready today, maybe not. But once you know how to succeed, it’s easy to put the remaining pieces in place. Don’t rely on luck. Success comes to those who make their own luck. It’s there waiting for you. What happens next is up to you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved