Are You Prioritizing Your Dreams?

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

It’s April 1, a national holiday for practical jokers and wannabe comedians. It’s a day when great deals really are too good to be true, and everything on the Internet is met with a little extra skepticism. And it’s the one day a politician’s word is as good as anybody else’s. I’m not sure that’s as good as it sounds.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, April is a symbol of hope. Winter is gone (mostly), flowers bloom, and small animals abound. Oh, they were there before. But now we can see what they’re up to, instead of wondering how much insulation and wiring they’ve destroyed in hibernation. It’s a good thing squirrels are so cute. Besides, one is barely enough for a sandwich.

April is also the time when we start to think about getting started on those projects we dreamed up over the winter. I didn’t say we actually start them – just that we think about it. But Mom always said it’s the thought that counts. Come to think of it, my wife says that a lot, too. I’m beginning to think that’s just a tactful way of saying, “Nice try.”

Planning projects is easy. You dream it up, figure out what it would take to make it happen, and then start listing all the things that are standing in the way. “It’s too cold right now. As soon as it warms up, I’ll get started. As long as it doesn’t get too hot. But I’ll have to set aside time to do the taxes. And then there’s graduation and summer vacation, and then … well, I’ll get to it.”

We all have good intentions. And I’m told they come in real handy for paving the road to perdition. Several years ago, I tore down our backyard storage shed to make room for a new one. But in the process, I stepped on a rusty nail and my foot got infected and then it got too hot to work outside and then winter came and then … well, you get the picture.

It was a year before my grandson and I actually built the new shed, and that’s a personal best for me. Notice I didn’t say we finished the new shed – we built it. I still need to put on the front and rear trim pieces and install soffits to keep the birds out. But it’s reasonably weatherproof, and that was my goal five years ago. Get the lawnmower in out of the rain.

And we haven’t even talked about the missing baseboards from new flooring that I installed twelve years ago, the cracked vanity top in the bathroom, the new faucet we bought for the kitchen, or all the clutter in the basement and garage. I told my wife it’s the thought that counts. She said the same thing about dinner. I guess two can play that game.

Home projects are one thing. Sooner or later, they have a way of prioritizing themselves and eventually you don’t have a choice. But what about all those other things you wanted to do? That business you wanted to start, the trip you planned to take, or the book you’ve been meaning to write? Well, maybe this winter when there’s nothing better to do.

The longer we put things off, the easier it is to do. After a while, it just becomes routine. Dream it up, put it off … dream it up, put it off. The boss has this stuff figured out. They dream it up and set a deadline. Otherwise, nothing would ever get done. Except coffee. They said “take initiative.” Isn’t that when we do something without being told? That’s a good thing, right?

It’s not that we’re lazy. Far from it. The problem is that life doesn’t stop just because we have other plans. It doesn’t even move out of the way. It’s like that old lady in the grocery store who parks her cart in the middle of the aisle as she searches the entire selection of canned soup looking for that one flavor the store doesn’t sell. And I didn’t even want soup.

Meanwhile, we wait for that perfect opportunity to get on with our own plans. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the perfect opportunity doesn’t exist. Sometimes you have to just push the cart out of the way and move on. Or do like the boss does – dream it up and set a deadline. Put it in writing and give it to somebody else so they can nag you till it’s done.

We can’t control life’s interruptions any more than we can control the weather. But unless our dreams take priority, they’ll never get done. Spring has begun. And another one is just a year away. The question is, will you begin the next one living your dream, or thinking about it?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Care Where You’ve Been

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

A couple of days ago, the container ship that had been blocking the Suez Canal was finally freed. Investigators will try over the next several months to determine how it got stuck in the first place, and attorneys will certainly offer their opinion. But I’ll bet nobody is as relieved as the guy who was standing at the helm when they hit the sand. “Starboard? Is that even a word? C’mon Captain … right or left???”

If you’ve never served aboard a ship, let me share some insight. The Captain doesn’t “drive” the ship. In fact, he’s probably never touched the steering wheel. It’s usually a junior crew member who didn’t have anything better to do at the time, so he got stuck at the helm taking orders from somebody else and will catch the blame the instant something goes wrong. “I told him hard to port!” Really? When?

A few days ago, there was a meme on social media showing a tiny excavator next to this massive ship, digging away handfuls of mud in an attempt to set it free. The caption said if you think there are unimportant people on this planet, remember that 12% of the global economy is in the hands of a guy who shovels dirt for a living. That puts it in perspective.

For every great feat of mankind, it’s the people in the trenches who make it happen. Elon Musk gets a lot of credit for electric cars and private spaceships, but I doubt he’s ever turned a wrench on any one of them. He comes up with an idea, pays others to develop the idea, and then pays even more people to do the grunt work. He may be a visionary, but he’s mostly just the rich guy at the top.

It’s said that 10% of the population controls 90% of the wealth. That’s true. In fact, it’s probably a little optimistic. And if you don’t believe that, look around you. Count the number of apartments you pass on your way to work, and then count the number of mansions. How many dump trucks do you see for every limousine? How many executives are there in your company? How many workers?

That’s why it’s so hard for those of us who spend our days in the trenches to imagine ourselves at the top. “Get an education, go to work, and climb the corporate ladder.” That’s the advice we’re given. And it’s good advice, if you’re a really patient person with dreams of mediocrity. But what happens when you realize your ladder is too short or is propped against the wrong wall?

A while back, I heard the story of a man from Central America who moved to New York City with barely enough money to live for a couple of weeks, and took a job parking cars while sleeping in an abandoned car every night to save money so he could eventually move his family to join him. He was a hard worker, but one of those people everybody overlooked. Until somebody found him sleeping in their car. I’m sure he moved a lot.

Still, he had a dream – he saw his family living with him in a home they owned. It was a simple dream, but one that burned within him every day. It got him up in the morning, prodded him to work hard all day, and gave him a reason to put his trust in a complete stranger who said, “I can help.” That stranger didn’t offer a handout – he offered a plan.

For most people, it would be hard to wake up every day in somebody else’s car and see ourselves living in a mansion. Especially in a strange country where we can barely speak the language. But that’s exactly how this story ends. He took a simple opportunity and applied it to his dream. Granted, that dream was modest at first – a home of his own. But in building that dream, he made even bigger dreams possible.

If you don’t think you have what it takes, you’re not seeing the big picture. Maybe you think you lack the education or skills. Maybe you’ve made some mistakes in the past. Maybe you were born poor, and on the wrong side of town. Or maybe you’ve worked your way up that ladder and think you’ve reached the highest point available to an “ordinary” person like you.

Ordinary people achieve extraordinary results. Success isn’t for the select few – it’s for anybody who has a dream and a burning desire to achieve it. It’s for those who will not be denied, who are willing to go that extra mile when everybody else is watching TV. Don’t define yourself by your spot on the ladder. See yourself where you want to be. Is it possible? Absolutely! Can it happen? Well, that part is up to you.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Have to Wait if You Get Started Now

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

Okay, I realize that for most of you it’s afternoon. It’s only 9:30 here. It’s not my fault Arizona decided to start the day so late compared to everybody else. Well, unless you live west of here. My workday starts at 5 AM. I don’t care where you’re from, that’s early. On the other hand, I get to knock off at 2 and head to the pool. So, there’s that.

As I look around, I’m surrounded by what was once a dream. Living in an RV, surrounded by palm trees, mountains, and a clear blue sky, and everybody who walks past either waves or stops to talk. Stress exists, but on a distant planet. You know, somewhere outside the front gate. This is what we’ve dreamed of. Well, except the scorpions.

People ask sometimes if it’s hard living in such a small space and moving from one location to another. I guess that depends on how you look at it. The view out our front window right now is awesome, and we can change it any time we want. Having the ability to move means you’re never stuck with the local weather. Don’t like snow? Head south!

For us, it was all part of the dream. Getting out and seeing the country (even west Texas), chasing the sunshine, sampling the local cuisine, and meeting new people every day. So far, most of that has come to pass. Okay, as it turns out, there’s still a Burger King on every corner, so I’m not completely convinced there’s any such thing as local cuisine. But we try.

Should we have waited a few more years instead of doing this now? Maybe. My bank statement could make a financial analyst cringe, but this was our dream, not theirs. And there’s something to be said for doing things like this before you’re too old to enjoy them. Okay, that ship already sailed, but you get the point. We’re not getting any younger. It was now or never.

We always think there will be plenty of time to chase our dreams, and that our financial situation will somehow be a lot better later in life. Well, ask somebody who’s made it past 50 how well that worked out. Sure, we may make a little more money, but expenses pretty well keep up. And your health doesn’t care what you had planned. It has plans of its own.

That doesn’t mean you just chuck it all and start living the dream. Depending on your situation, that can be a quick way to make the dream come to a premature end with little to no hope of ever reviving it. On the other hand, we see a lot of young couples living on the road, enjoying the experience before life forces them to put down a set of roots.

And let’s be honest – what makes it all possible is money. Not necessarily a huge bank account, but the ability to replenish it as you go – a source of income that doesn’t stop the minute you leave home. A friend once told me that when you can make money from home, then home can be any place you want. “There’s no industry there!” Awesome! Sign me up!

Maintaining that income is simple if you just open your mind to possibilities you never considered. When you’re the boss, you decide when and where you work. When you need more money, you work harder and give yourself a raise. If you want a vacation, you take one. And nobody tells you that you’re too young or too old, or that your job has been outsourced.

Find an income like that, and you open a whole world of opportunity. It’s not easy, but it’s not hard. You just have to be open to new ideas, and willing to take a chance on the one person you can count on the most. Sure, you have to ease into some of these things. But with that in mind, how long do you plan to wait? Rather, how old do you plan to be when you finally get there?

Nobody visualizes themselves at beach in a wheelchair or dragging an oxygen bottle through the streets of Rome. When we see the dream, we’re vibrant and healthy, living life to its fullest. Maybe you can’t start the dream now. That’s okay. But the sooner you take the steps to make it possible, the sooner it’ll happen. So, what are you waiting for?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Skepticism Steal Your Dreams

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

So, yesterday afternoon when I finished work, I decided it was time for a swim. That’s one of the advantages of RV living, if you’re in a park with a pool. Especially if the pool is heated. That’s what it says on the park’s website – heated pool. What that means is they allow the sun to shine on it when it’s not hidden by clouds. I came back out so fast I didn’t even get wet.

I should have expected no less from the park that put me in a site where my living room slide is in the bushes and I can only open my water service bay door halfway because there’s a power pole right next to it. But right next to me are five empty spaces with tons of extra room. So, I did what any normal person would do. I left a crappy review online. So there!

Something I learned long ago is that RV parks and hotels aren’t always honest in their advertising. Go figure. They use wide-angle lenses for pictures of the pool, brag about amenities that are more like tripping hazards, and think the word “resort” means anything a step above the local truck stop. Last night my wife heard gunshots. I wish I was making that up.

It’s tough when all you have to go by is somebody else’s assessment of how great their place is. Nobody ever says, “It’s a bed with a bathroom. If you’re tired enough, it’ll do.” At least then I could make an educated decision. But I can’t stand dishonesty in advertising. All the exaggeration and half-truths. Which reminds me, I need to update my resume.

It’s funny how the rules change when we’re promoting ourselves. If you don’t believe that, read a few dating website profiles. There must be a book of adjectives some of these people are using, not to mention Photoshopping their head on a Chippendale model’s body. I’ve got a six-pack! Well, a four-pack … I drank two last night after I came back from the pool.

So, it’s no wonder people get skeptical when you try to sell them a product they’ve never used, or show them a business they’ve never seen. They know how it works. Most of them have a resume, too. You brag about the good parts and gloss over the rest. It’s like that asterisk on weight loss products that says, “When combined with proper diet and exercise.” Well, duh!

But as a consequence of our mistrust, however well-founded, we end up missing a lot of things that may have been much better than we’d imagined. Like that crawfish etouffee I ate last week. Sure, the waitress recommended it. She said it was her favorite. I think her boss was watching. But she told the people at another table that fried shrimp is her favorite.

So, yeah, I wondered if it was all she made it out to be. Much like those nagging questions about a business that promises unlimited income potential. If it’s that good, I wondered, why isn’t everybody else eating it? Maybe they know something I don’t. And why is the waitress over there nibbling a cheeseburger when nobody’s looking?

It’s hard knowing who to trust. I once interviewed at a place that offered a paltry $5.50 an hour to start. When I asked about advancement, the Human Resources rep assured me it would get better. “I’ve only been here a year and a half, and I’m already up to $6.25 an hour!” Wow!  All that in less than two years? Better sign me up twice, because that’s how much I’ll need to live.

Yes, that was a long time ago. But the premise is pretty much the same. The people who want you to say yes can give you a dozen reasons to say that, but it doesn’t mean things are working out that great for them. Take that business opportunity your friend offered to share. You already know he’s broke every payday, so why would you take his word for it?

Well, consider this. Maybe he’s just getting started. Maybe he hasn’t found his groove yet. Maybe he never will. That doesn’t mean the opportunity itself is bad. It just means he’s not making the most of it. Like that waitress nibbling on a cheeseburger. The crawfish etouffee is fine. In fact, it was awesome. It just wasn’t something she put to good use that day.

A little skepticism is normal, especially when the advertising is so great. But when we judge something new by somebody else’s experiences, we miss the opportunity to create our own. So, the waitress likes cheeseburgers and your buddy is broke. And the pool may be a lot colder than it looks. But shouldn’t you at least stick your foot in to find out?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Hit That First Bump Fast Enough, and You’ll Sail Right Over the Rest!

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

You know how there’s something on your bucket list that you’ve always wanted to do, and when you finally get to do it, it’s almost like waking up on Christmas morning to find out there’s no Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? Worse yet, your dream toy is there and it breaks the first time you play it. Oh well, at least you got new socks and underwear.

That pretty much describes my first visit to New Orleans. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for most of my life, and I have to be honest … a little Bourbon Street goes a long way. Thankfully, there’s more to the Big Easy than dive bars and live rodents. We went back a few days ago for a second look. The French Market and Riverwalk was thoroughly enjoyable. And no rats!

One of the things about traveling is that it’s full of surprises, some good and some not so good. Like that first stretch of interstate right after the “Welcome to Texas!” sign. They could have put up a smaller welcome sign and spent a few dollars on one that said, “Speed Limit 65 – Go Ahead – I Dare You!” We left the ground twice. In an RV, no less. Evel Knievel would have been proud.

It would have been really easy to take the next exit and turn around. But then I’d have to go over that same stretch of road again, so that alone made it worth driving the remaining 877 miles to get to the other side. Once we got past the torn-up pavement, the drive was mostly pleasant. In fact, some parts were beautiful. I guess there’s a reason people actually live here.

There are two sides to most things, and if we bail out at the first sign of trouble, we may never see the good parts. Ever met that person who changes jobs every six weeks because they had a bad day at work? “This place sucks! It’s hard work, and these rules are for the birds! I’m not enjoying this one bit!” Um, okay … you think maybe that’s why they call it a “job?”

Every job has its days. Every city has its slums. And every state has highway features that would bring a dirt-bike to its knees. Okay, not every state … so far, just Texas. Still, that’s not all there is to Texas, or New Orleans, or even the world’s worst job. There’s always another side worth exploring. And once you find it, you never really want to leave.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days, or some Texas-sized bumps in the road. That’s all part of it. But when those bumps pop up, you have two choices. Slow down or turn around. Or you can just floor it. If you’re going fast enough, that first bump will launch you over the next two or three. I’m just saying.

It’s the same when we’re chasing a dream. That vision of success is what keeps us moving, but success has to be earned. Entertainers learn this early on – it’s called paying your dues. Granted, success comes a lot easier for some people, and ability is only part of the equation. There’s also hard work, determination, heartache, and a certain amount of luck.

A Roman philosopher once said that luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. Opportunity is always there. Preparedness is the part we have to master. Part of that is building the necessary skills. Part is carving out the time to do the work. But the biggest part is the mindset that we won’t let a few bumps in the road turn us around.

When we first got off the highway in New Orleans, it was in a neighborhood the police try to avoid. It would have been really easy to turn around and never go back. We only walked three blocks down Bourbon Street. See one drunk sleeping on the sidewalk, you’ve seen ‘em all. But, after driving all that way to get there, we had to give it one more chance. And I’m glad we did.

As you chase your dreams, life will throw all kinds of obstacles in your way. You may have the perfect plan to get there, but then reality raises its ugly head and reminds you that not everything is fun. There will be parts you absolutely despise. But if the dream is worth having, it’s worth working through those parts. And who knows, you may even come to enjoy them.

Giving up is easy. People do it every day, and very few of them are living their dreams. That’s no mere coincidence. But for those who won’t be denied, who ride over the bumps and keep on going, there’s a reward far greater than any challenge we faced to get there. Keep going. Every obstacle you face brings you one step closer to your dream.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Opportunity Knocks, But You Still Have to Open the Door

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

It’s the first day of February. For those of us here in the US, tomorrow is a special day. It’s the day we watch a clown in a top hat translate the squeaks of a large rodent into prognostications about the weather that the most experienced meteorologists with the most sophisticated equipment can’t guess beyond the next few hours. Let me answer that for you right now. It’s gonna be cold!

For those of you in parts of the world that don’t rely on folklore to tell you if you need a jacket, here’s the basic premise. The clown in the top hat takes a groundhog out of a fake log. If the groundhog sees his shadow (it’s sunny, or the TV lights are especially bright), it means an early spring; no shadow means we’re in for at least six more weeks of misery. High-tech, huh?

And we don’t stop when it comes to groundhogs. When I first moved back to Ohio, everyone was talking about the wooly worms. “Did you see the fur on that one? We’re in for a cold winter!” “See which way the geese are flying? It’s about to snow!” “My dog was scratching his butt on the ground this morning. It’s gonna storm tonight!” Or maybe his butt itches. It’s hard to tell.

One my granddaddy taught me is that, when the trees show the back side of their leaves, it’s about to rain. That one is based at least a little bit in science. The shiny side of a leaf doesn’t absorb much water, so trees flip their leaves over to let the porous side catch the rain. Or the wind is blowing hard enough to flip them over. I’ve never actually asked a tree.

It’s an effort to explain the unexplainable, which means it’s probably very explainable to some people, but not to us. You know, smart people. The ones who can explain the molecular structure of a carbon atom but can’t balance a checkbook. That’s a different kind of smart. And then there’s my grandson, who hasn’t mastered either. He’s too focused on shoes.

It’s normal to be amused, if not somewhat enlightened, by folklore. After all, Granddaddy lived to be in his 90s and was pretty smart, so he couldn’t have been wrong about everything. It’s also why we gaze suspiciously on black cats and kids are afraid to step on a crack in the sidewalk. Except my youngest daughter. She finally confessed that she jumped on every crack in the county.

While folklore may have at least some basis in fact, superstition is simply a way of passing the buck for things that don’t go as planned. “It was just bad luck.” Couldn’t have been anything we did, right? You know, like blowing money at the carnival instead of paying bills. Or sitting in front of the TV instead of searching the online job boards. “Nobody wants to hire me. I just can’t catch a break!”

Well, as I’ve suggested in the past, if you want better luck, you have to do something about it. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. And, since opportunity is always there, luck is the natural result (or consequence) of our preparedness to make the most of opportunities as they arise. Let’s face it, the right person can turn a pile of manure into a mountain of gold.

Yet, when you ask somebody why they’re still right where they were ten years ago, the answer is usually the same – “I’m waiting for the right opportunity.” Oh, the “right” one. Got it. Because all those other opportunities just weren’t worth your time, especially the ones that required you to step out of your comfort zone a little and actually … you know, work for it.

Now, that may sound harsh, but if you give it a moment of thought, you’ll realize we all do that to some extent. We want something better, and we know we need to work for it. But work at what? That’s where we get hung up. All too often, we close our eyes to opportunity because it’s not exactly what we were looking for. “What would my friends say?” I don’t know. Are they paying your bills?

To be fair, every opportunity isn’t for everybody. We have to find something that fits our values and, to some extent, our comfort zone. As long as we realize comfort is a constraint that holds us back. It keeps us from trying new things. And that’s okay if you’re happy the way things are. But if you want new things, you have to try new things. That part will never change.

Opportunity is there. The question is, what will you do about it? Will you take advantage of opportunity, even if it’s not exactly what you’d imagined? Will you achieve your dreams, or make excuses? Luck doesn’t just happen – we make it happen. Make yours work for you.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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