A Boat That Isn’t Rocking Isn’t Going Anywhere

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

Forty-three years ago, almost exactly to the minute, I was sitting outside a Navy recruiter’s office in Fort Lauderdale waiting for my recruiter to arrive and take me to a land far, far away. At least that’s how it felt. Over the next several hours, my life would change in ways I could never imagine. And over the next 12 years, I was slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) changed into the person I am today.

I’ve often wondered where I’d be today if I hadn’t chosen that path in life. I had opportunities for some pretty high-paying work as a commercial artist – you know, back when people drew pictures instead of computers. But, as a result of my time in the Navy, I followed a more technical path and ended up with a job that suits my personality completely. I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

It’s easy to look back and wonder how our lives may have changed if we’d done things differently. I look at mistakes I’ve made over the years and I wish I hadn’t made some of those choices. But everything we’ve done in life, both good and bad, has led us to where we are at this very moment. One minor variation along the way would have changed our lives completely.

So, here’s the question – if we can so clearly see how the decisions we’ve made have led us to where we are now, why is it so hard to see how the choices we make today will affect the rest of our life? We always seem to think as long as we don’t change anything, we’ll continue on our current path indefinitely. “Things are going fine – don’t rock the boat.” Sound familiar?

But the reality is, a boat that isn’t rocking at least a little isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s probably not even in the water. Now, boats may look real pretty sitting there on dry land, but they completely miss their only intended purpose until they’re allowed to roll with the wind and waves. And in doing so, we accept the risk that, sooner or later, storms will come. It’s just part of owning a boat.

And it’s part of anything we do in life. Starting a family is one of the most wonderful blessings we’ll ever experience. To see a baby come into this world, one that’s of our own flesh and blood, is nothing short of incredible. Yet, with the first poopy diaper, we realize it’s not all marshmallows and roses. A thousand diapers later, reality starts to set in. This will be an E-ticket ride to the very end.

Now, we could have made the choice to just leave things as they were. “We’re doing fine, just the two of us. Life is good. Don’t rock the boat.” And I know a lot of people who have made that very choice. It works for them, because we all have different values. Sure, they’ll never know the thrill of holding a grandchild in their arms. But they’ll never know the heartache of seeing their child in tears.

We all make choices every day. To some degree, each of those choices will have an impact on our life moving forward. Even the breakfast sandwich I defrosted last night. I know the nutritional value in that sandwich, and suffice to say it’s not the best choice I could have made. Even now, I have the option to take it to work with me or just leave it there. I know the decision I’ll make. We all do.

I probably won’t feel any immediate effects from eating a sausage & egg biscuit instead of a bowl of oatmeal. But over time, those choices do stack up. Much like the other choices we make on a less frequent basis. Do you take a class to develop a new skill or spend that time at home? Do you start that business, or stick with what you know? Do you ask that girl out, or play ball with your friends?

The choices we make today will have some level of impact on our life, some more than others. And not making a choice is a choice in itself. You may think you’ll stay right where you are, but the reality is, you’ll just sit still as the world passes you by. The most beautiful home will eventually fall down if nothing changes.

Rock the boat. Take a few risks. A whole new life is waiting to be discovered. There will be some storms along the way. But unless you’re willing to go through those storms, you may never know the wonders that await on the other side.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When You Know the Destination, the Path Will Present Itself

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

Have you ever walked through an airport and seen people lined up for a plane going to someplace you’ve never had any desire to visit? In fact, you’ve never even heard anybody talk about going there. You think, “Is that the best they could afford?”

But what we never seem to think about is the fact that, for a good number of those travelers, the plane’s destination isn’t their final stop. It’s just a place to stop and change planes for someplace better. And, if you look a little closer, you can usually pick up a few clues. If they’re wearing short pants and sandals, it’s not likely they’ll be spending a lot of time in Detroit.

Sometimes, we find ourselves on a journey we never thought we’d take because it leads us to someplace better. I mentioned a while back that, when I was in high school, trash collectors in New York City were being paid $30 an hour. Now, that’s decent money today, but imagine how much it was forty years ago. It would be the equivalent of more than $130 an hour today.

Now, I seriously doubt that when the kindergarten teacher went around the room and asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up, that a single person said, “I want to drive a garbage truck!” More likely, they saw an opportunity to do a job most other people weren’t willing to do, and to make a lot of money doing it. Do that for a few years and you open up a lot of options.

Likewise, none of us took on our first job in high school with the intent that it would be our lifelong career. I made okay money bagging groceries, but it was more about having a little money in my pocket without having to cut grass in the south Florida heat to get it. It was simply a way to get closer to the path I really wanted to be on … you know, being a rock star.

Now, how exactly does bagging groceries prepare you for life as an internationally-acclaimed recording artist? It doesn’t. There were a dozen other jobs I could have done, from fast food worker (been there) to pumping gas at the service station (yes, I really AM that old). It was simply a way to get from point A to point B, with point B involving some extra money to buy stage equipment.

Along the way, my career changed. Several times, in fact. If anybody had told me as a teenager that I’d end up as a business analyst for a health insurance company, I’d have fallen down laughing. If they’d told me I would start that journey as an electronics technician, with detours in long-haul trucking and stand-up comedy, I’d have never believed it. Yet, here I am.

And you know what? This still isn’t the final leg of my journey. I love the job I have today, but let’s qualify that statement with, “If I have to get up and go to work, I’m very happy with the job I’ve got.” But it’s not what I want to do every day for the rest of my life. At some point, I’d like to step back, hand over the reins, and see what all these retired people are so happy about.

And you know what? It takes money to retire, just as it takes money to buy stage equipment. I’ve been building a business on the side so that, instead of having to divide my savings by the number of years I hope to live, I can maintain an income through retirement. Financial experts call that “diversification.” I call it survival.

And, if you’d told me forty years ago that, of all the businesses out there this is the one I’d have chosen, I wouldn’t have believed it. But when we’re looking at the destination, it’s sometimes hard to know the path we’ll take to get there. You go to the airport and tell the ticket agent you want to go to Tahiti. Next thing you know, you’re on a plane for Detroit. Who would’ve guessed?

If you know your destination, how you get there becomes a little less important. You don’t mind doing something you hadn’t imagined beforehand, as long as it takes you where you want to go. And, it’s not like anybody is asking you to ride in the back of a dump truck. There are lots of ways to get where we want to go in relative comfort and ease. We just have to pick one.

It’s when we close our eyes to possibilities that the destination becomes harder to achieve. The quickest path to that destination may be the last one you’d have considered. But once you’re on that plane, it doesn’t matter where you stop next. All that counts is where you’re going.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved