Turn the Impossible Into the Inevitable

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

Normally at the start of a new week we’re full of anticipation about all the great things we’ll accomplish. Okay, more like mixed feeling about all the things we’ll witness. After last week, I think we’ll all be content to make it to Friday intact. Let’s face it, some parents go into the school year knowing they’ll never receive that congratulatory letter from the principal about their kid’s scholastic achievements.

It’s all about expectations – those visions we have of a certain outcome based on what we’ve seen to this point in time. Both of my daughters were capable of honor-roll performance, and I had a strong desire that they’d always do their best. But there were those days when I was happy just to see them get on the bus. You learn to accept life’s little blessings as they come.

I was listening to a motivational speaker a few days ago, and he talked about the progression of our expectations. Very often, new ideas immediately go into that circular file labeled “impossible.” The objections start before the idea is fully developed. “There’s no way this can work! If it were that easy, everybody would be doing it!” Giving up is easy when we don’t have any skin in the game.

But then we give it a second look, and maybe even test the water just a bit. It’s like a baby standing next to a coffee table, letting go for a few seconds at a time. It’s a leap of faith, backed by a lifetime of experience that says, “Sure, other people are doing it, so it’s not impossible. But in my case, it’s improbable. I’m just not as smart, or as strong, or as (insert your favorite attribute here) as they are.”

This would be a good place to examine why we consider new ideas in the first place. We don’t change the things we do simply for the sake of change. We have a goal. It could be as simple as finding an easier way to do a routine task, or as grand as achieving a lifelong dream. And a lifetime of experience has taught us that doing exactly what we’ve been doing isn’t producing the desired result.

Something needs to change. But that same lifetime of experiences is nagging at us the whole time, adjusting our expectations to nothing more than we’ve come to know. “What makes me think I can do this? What I want is for special people, and I’m not that special. Besides, I’ve lived my whole life without it.” Sound familiar? It’s a self-defeating attitude that seeks to avoid any form of disappointment.

But if the goal is strong enough, we give in and take that first step. We may keep one hand on the table, because we know how easily we can fall. But lo and behold, here we are still standing! The floor didn’t rise up to slap us, and odds are if we try another step, we may succeed yet again. This isn’t just possible, it’s probable! Sure, we’ll fall down. But the odds of success are moving into our corner.

Finally, we enter the realm of “inevitable.” You do something enough times to realize that, as long as you keep taking the right steps, you will eventually end up where you want to be. It’s no longer a matter of luck – it’s a law of nature. Success isn’t something you have to control. It happens because you’ve put something in motion that you can’t stop. All you have to do is meet it at the other end.

As we begin a new week, it’s inevitable that we’ll encounter experiences over the next few days that we can’t begin to anticipate. Some will be good, some not so good. And a lot of that depends on our expectations. If we expect good things, good things happen. We’ll still encounter our share of challenges, but challenges are a lot easier to manage when you expect to win.

I’ve said this before, but a professional baseball player expects to get a hit every time they step up to the plate. It doesn’t matter that, two-thirds of the time, they have to take that lonely walk back to the dugout. They’ve felt success. They know what’s possible. And they know that, as long as they stand at the plate and swing at enough good pitches, a base hit is inevitable. Maybe even a home run.

Focus on the dream and do the things you need to do. Nothing is impossible if even one other person has done it, and it’s only improbable if you don’t give it an honest try. That only leaves two other possibilities – probable, and inevitable. Expect great things this week, and great things are that much more likely to happen. Stare down that fastball and swing for the fences. Then get ready to run!

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

That’s It! I Want My Dessert!!!

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

Today is a new day. A fresh start. A chance to spread a little cheer and find a little for myself. No, I’m not drinking. I make it a point never to do that before breakfast. Aaannnd, I just finished my breakfast, so all options are on the table. Boss, if you’re reading this, I’m just kidding! (wink-wink).

Okay, my past few posts have been pretty heavy. Life works that way sometimes, and every now and then we need a good shot of reality. We’ve been there. I read this morning that today marks 5 years since 2020 began. I think we can all relate. So, excuse me if I get a little silly for a change. I’ve been accused of that once or twice, usually by my pastor.

Of course, he’s the guy who says we can’t just jump straight into Christmas. We have to observe Advent first. I never really knew what that meant, but let me explain what I’ve picked up over the years. It’s winter. It’s cold. It’s snowing. And before we’re allowed to celebrate the coming of Christ, we have to immerse ourselves in the drudgery that came before him. Got it?

Well, as much as I love my church and my pastor, here’s a novel idea. We’ve been through Advent for the past 10 months. Can we give ourselves time off for good behavior and find something to be happy about? I think we’ve earned it.

Sure, there’s something to be said for acknowledging life’s challenges so you can better appreciate the good stuff. It’s like eating Brussels sprouts before you can taste dessert. I get it. But there’s a reason I didn’t gain a lot of weight as a child – I didn’t get a lot of dessert. Some things just aren’t worth it, and those pungent green cootie-heads are at the top of the list.

But there’s also something to be said for stepping around the mud on your way into a party. Just because it’s there, that doesn’t mean we have to wallow in it. Not alone, anyway. I’m told mud-wallowing with friends can be a little … shall we say … exhilarating? But you still come out smelly, and nobody wants to be around that.

So, we look beyond the obvious and find something a little more enjoyable to occupy our time. Like dessert. Yes, I know, vegetables are loaded with vitamins. And I haven’t found a single vitamin since childhood that I want to taste. But I’m told there’s a whole industry for those of us who don’t like the flavor of vomit, so they make these things we can just swallow instead. Voila!

But this isn’t about vitamins or leafy green, semi-edible vegetables. It’s about finding a little joy. It’s about happiness. It’s about getting past all that surrounds us every day, the chains we can never seem to fully escape, and immersing ourselves into a world where people smile and laugh and sing. But no dancing. That’s where I draw the line. If you’d ever seen me dance, you’d understand.

Sometimes, my friends, we have to turn off the news, shut down the computer, and escape into an alternate reality where things like hope and victory prevail. We have to dream, to envision a more fulfilling existence, and plot … I mean, plan … a strategy for achieving it.

We can’t change the world around us, but we can change its effect on us. We can’t control circumstances, but we can control our reaction to them. We can’t change what has been to this point in life, but we can influence what is to be. And it all begins in that magical part of our brain where anything is possible.

Sure, at some point you come back to reality. At least I hope so. As much as I love the vision of traveling the beaches of the world, there are things right here that require my attention. Important things, like my job, the house, a leaky faucet, this mess in the basement … damn.

But here’s the point I want you to take away from this message – without dreams, none of the rest even matters. Work is important, but only if there’s something you’re working for … something other than a bill next month that’s not doubled because you couldn’t pay it this month. There’s more to life, friends. A lot more.

We don’t need any reminders that 2020 isn’t over, and 2021 isn’t shaping up very well, either. We can’t escape the challenges that surround us, but we can work our way around them. And it all begins with a dream. Okay, and letting ourselves sing happy songs right after Thanksgiving. Put up the tree, turn on the lights, and skip right to the good stuff! You’ve earned it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Enough To Be Your Best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You’re Going to Think Anyway, Think Big!

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

Yes, I’ve been away again. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve undoubtedly seen the dozens of pictures my daughter posted from her trip to Orlando for my granddaughter’s birthday. Well, as you may have guessed, we went with them. For personal reasons, I don’t talk about these trips in advance, but we sure did have a good time. Got to visit my dad as well, so that was a pleasant bonus.

Okay, so eight days into 2020, what are your plans? The first thing on my list is to not repeat the stunt I pulled this morning. There’s nothing like a cup of hot coffee on a cold morning. And nothing quite like dumping the entire cup all over the dining room table, my computer, three light blue placemats, a stack of mail, and the motivational book I’m reading that’s teaching me not to cry over spilled coffee.

Hopefully I’ll be able to read the second half of the book, now that the pages are coffee stained. Oh well, some people pay extra to “age” photographs with a similar effect. Maybe my book just increased in value. Either way, I’ll finish reading it. Here’s a tip – any time travel includes flying, along with all the associated airport waiting time, take along a good book. It sure beats staring at the clock.

As a kid, I used to read everything I could get my hands on. Sometime in my twenties, I stepped back from that a bit. And once I started writing professionally, I stopped reading altogether. When you stare at words on a page (screen) all day, it’s nice to take a break from it in the evening. It’s kind of like cleaning toilets all day and then coming home to a mess in your own house.

But over the past few years, I’ve developed an affinity for motivational books. The one I’m reading now is one of the all-time greats – The Magic of Thinking Big. I know, thinking big is just dreaming big, right? Well, yeah. And a lot more. It’s about finding the value in yourself that allows you to succeed at anything you desire. Every one of us was born to achieve. But first, we have to dream. That’s how it works.

Since the beginning of time, people have watched birds soar through the air and dreamed of being able to do the same. The freedom of being able to go anyplace you want, over any obstacle, and with a view of the world unlike any other. And they tried. I imagine a lot of people met their demise at the bottom of a cliff, for one shot at accomplishing the impossible. Still, they tried. And tried and tried.

We all know how that story ends. As I boarded a plane in Jacksonville yesterday morning, our pilot announced that we would have a one-hour, eighteen-minute flight to Washington DC. He then told us that trip would be over ten hours by car. That’s the result of thinking big. It wasn’t enough to soar over a hundred feet of sand dunes in North Carolina. Our dreams took us higher, faster, and farther.

That’s the way dreams work. Anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. If you can imagine something better and truly believe not only that it’s possible, but that you can do it, your mind will fill in the blanks and show you how to make it happen. Every modern convenience we enjoy today began as a dream. And we’ve only scratched the surface.

As we basked in the warmth of a water park on January 2, I began to dream. That dream quickly turned to a burning desire, and then a commitment. I want this. I want the ability to do this any time I want. And why stop in Orlando? There are lots of warm places in January. The Caribbean, Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia … the list goes on. And the only thing standing in the way is me.

If you’re going to think anyway, why not think big? Forget all the negativity that holds you back and focus on the reality that you can accomplish anything. And, that being the case, why dream of small achievements when you can just as easily have so much more? This isn’t about material gain. It’s about maximizing your own potential. It’s about enjoying life on your own terms. It’s about success.

So, as you begin the new year, take a little time to dream. Then take those dreams a step further. Think big! The world is more than happy to let you know if your dreams are too grand. But remember, Wilbur and Orville Wright were told it was impossible to fly. Anything that can be built can be built for you. And if it hasn’t been built yet, then get busy and show the world how to make it happen!

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved