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