I Have Become Judgmental & Negative the Last Few Years

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Danny

I have become judgmental & negative the last few years.

In part because I find many people in today’s world to be self-absorbed and inconsiderate which has created in me a default mechanism to “everyone around me sucks”. But there are good people in the world so I am on a new mission in life to be a better version of myself.

Less judgmental mainly.

I am working to give people the benefit of the doubt and remind myself of 2 key facts…1. I am not without my own faults (those who work with me will attest that I’m not the easiest person to be around sometimes. Don’t believe them, then ask Evelina.) and 2. I don’t know what others are going through at the moment I’m judging them.

#2 is really important for me to remember because I don’t really know what others are going through and being kind could help them in ways I’ll never know.

 

Danny

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Is It Imperative To Live An Inspired Life?

Danny

Is It Imperative To Me To Live An Inspired Life?

In 2014 I began this journey on Dream Big Dream Often.  I didn’t have many goals when I first started, other than taking over the world!  Seriously, all I wanted to do was build a platform that would allow me to purge my soul and mind.  I was curious as to how many people might relate or hold valuable the beliefs that I held as critical for my life.

Along the way this blog has taken a life of its own.  People from all over the world read my scribbles and I am still awestruck by the fact that hundreds of thousands of visitors find my site each year.  Who would have ever thought a guy living in North Carolina could reach so many people!

The main purpose of me running Dream Big has been to inspire others.  To lead by example and try to express to my readers that life might be tough, but humans are tougher.  If we aspire to inspire we can do amazing things.

I believe it is so important to live an intentional life.  At my core I must know that I’m making a difference.  I must know that I am seeking to add value to the world around me.  I must know that there are people out there who read something I’ve written and say “If this idiot can do it, then I can do it!”.

I have my own opinion on living an inspired life.  A few of the things I believe encapsulate this are:

  1. A deliberate focus on helping others.
  2. A willingness to put the needs of the team above the needs of self.
  3. A willingness to step out of the comfort zone and do something meaningful and long-lasting.
  4. The courage to stand on principles and have an opinion.

Of all my thoughts on inspiration these are the ones that I believe help drive me.

I’m curious to know if you think it is important to live an inspired life?  And what other factors might you add to my short list?

Danny

It’s Sad, But I Think Technology Is Making Us Lazy

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Danny

It’s Sad, But I Think Technology Is Making Us Lazy

This past week I sat in a sub shop eating my veggie sandwich and watching people.  There was a gentleman sitting in the corner of the restaurant on his mobile device.  Another gentleman sat in the opposite corner on his mobile device.  A couple sat behind me and barely said 2 words to each other as they scanned their mobile devices.  And each of the employees had their mobile devices out on the counter or within reach.

This phenomenon has revealed itself time-and-time again.  Ask someone to do simple math without their device and they are stumped.  Ask someone to spell without spell check and look at their face…”receipt” or “reciept”?   Google tells us when to use “accept” versus “except”.  Google gives us the answer to “Who was that guy that starred in that movie that time when I was eight?”

Are we evolving or are we devolving because of technology?  One of the simple criteria I use in making decisions is “does it make me better?”.  Sometimes I debate in my mind and wonder if technology is making us better.  I’m not sure where I stand on this point, but I definitely think technology is making us lazier.

Kids gaming inside for hours and having to be coerced into playing outside and then having to ask “What do I do now?” is a problem.  Spending countless hours per day staring at a computer screen has been proven to cause irreversible damage.  Mobile device addiction is a real thing.  Social media addiction is causing depression rates to soar to an all-time high in young people.

Are we better?

Then I look at the impact technology has had on the practice of medicine and I can say without hesitation we are better.  Technology has made the automobile more reliable and we are moving to a more eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels.  Air travel is safer than ever.  And in a weird way technology has made war safer.  Technology has connected the world in ways humanity never imagined.

And just when you think things are getting good…

…the smart phone enters the picture and begins to create isolation and separation.  People just love these devices and I’m a huge fan of my iPhone!  I can check the weather, watch YouTube videos, play games, etc.  It is a distraction from standing in line or waiting on a friend to show up to an appointment.

I don’t know if we are better off now than 100 years ago, but I am grateful that the chances of me dying from influenza are slim.  So maybe in some ways we are better off, but in other ways we are worse off?

Danny

It’s Not That I Hate People, I Just Prefer To Be Alone

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Danny

It’s Not That I Hate People, I Just Prefer To Be Alone

I am melancholy by nature.  Lately I have been a bit more melancholy than usual due to some heavy issues going on in my life.  I’ve taken a step back from blogging every day.  I’ve taken a step back from a lot of things.  I’ve spent more time in introspection than usual over the last few weeks.

Websters defines melancholy as “a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.”  I think many who know me might be surprised to hear me describe myself as such because typically I have always been the life of the party; I’ve always been “fun Danny”.  The interesting thing is I’ve always felt like I had to be “on” and I really don’t like that feeling.  I’ve always been outgoing, but I’ve always felt like an introvert.  It’s a strange dynamic and a stressful place to live.

As many of you know I live by a rigid set of rules.  For instance, I don’t read fiction, ever, I don’t listen to music with much vocals, I do not own a television, I wake up 3 hours prior to my work day beginning, etc.  My rules serve some important functions, but the problem with my rules is they create a tremendous amount of rigidity in relationships.  This happens because I put my expectations on others who think differently, act differently and see the world from a different perspective.  Others have a different definition of success and they have different goals.

Nonetheless my rules impact my view of people which makes me want to spend a lot of time alone.  Other than Evelina I prefer to be alone, inside and away from the world.  The perfect day for me is to sit at home with a good book or my tablet to watch Youtube videos about ancient Egypt or Bigfoot/cryptozoology.  It’s not that I hate people, but I just prefer to be alone.  People complicate things and get in my way of doing things exactly the way I want them done in the time frame I want them completed.

When you combine my view of people with my melancholy nature it creates the image that I’m negative.  Or at least that’s how I think some people take me or understand my actions.

Maybe I am negative.  Maybe not.  As long as people leave me alone I’ll be just fine.

Danny

I’m Not Sure What I Believe About God

Danny

I’m Not Sure What I Believe About God

When I was a young boy we went to church on a regular basis: every Wednesday night, every Sunday and every Sunday night.  I had a great youth group to be a part of and we were all pretty good friends.  God and Jesus weren’t really pushed down our throats, but the church was a Bible teaching church and believed that life, Earth were all created by God in 7 days, Adam and Eve were the first humans and if you didn’t confess Jesus then you would go to hell.  I think these beliefs are fairly typical of most Christian churches.

When I left for college many of these ideologies were challenged and I abandoned most of these beliefs.  At this point it has been proven that our planet and universe have been around for more than five thousand years, humans evolved from a primitive form of proto hominins who had limited faculties and it is highly unlikely that the world was created in 7 days.

I look at some of my early beliefs much in the same way humans once believed the Earth was flat.  Or that people who suffered from seizures were possessed by demons.  Or that witches in Salem existed resulting in thousands of innocent women being brutally murdered.

As I have interacted with people from around the globe and met people from all religions my eyes have been opened to the fact that the world is an enormous place with people who hold differing world-views.  My views have been influenced by many people and have become an amalgamation of my experiences.

As the title reflects, I’m not sure what I believe about “God”.  I do believe there is a higher power in this world, I just don’t know what it, he, she is exactly.  I’m fairly certain God isn’t a person.  It is easy for mankind to view a deity in our form as it is the only form we know.   Maybe God takes on a human form?  I don’t know.

I am always put off when someone pretends to know or believe as definitive fact something that humans cannot possibly know.  I have no idea if aliens helped build the pyramids, but I doubt it happened.  I don’t have any insight as to Nessie being a real creature living in a lake, but I have my doubts.  And I will never state as fact what happens when we die because I have no clue, nor does anyone else.  As it stands, we are all guessing.

And we guess about a lot of stuff, but I’m satisfied not knowing.  It actually feeds my curiosity and that makes life that much more interesting.  Not knowing sometimes is most of the fun.  It forces me to dig for information.  It challenges me to expand my mind.  Not knowing allows me to use my imagination.  Not knowing makes anything possible which is exciting and scary all at the same time.

So, what is “God”?  I have no idea and I’m okay with not knowing.

Danny

There’s 1 Truth In Life…Change Will Absolutely Happen

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Danny

There’s 1 Truth In Life, Change Will Absolutely Happen

Every morning I wake up around 4:00-4:30 am.  I grab a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and I head downstairs to make my morning coffee.  Two creams, two Truvias.  I hit the Power button on my laptop and check emails from 3 separate accounts, delete what is trash and add the rest to my To Do list.

Next I select SportsCenter to play in the background while I begin working my way through my To Do list.  I like sending emails out early because I imagine no other human is up at that hour sending mail and there are many times when I will get a response back quickly.  I usually work until 6:30 am after which I’ll grab a shower, get dressed and head out to begin my day, usually leaving the house by 7:05 am.

The longer I ride this rock around the universe the more I find myself set in my ways.  I don’t have to really look at the clock at this point as I can feel the time and sense when it is time to shower.  We all have routines and to some degree we all get set in our ways.  That is until something happens that rocks us or disturbs our complacency.

We rely on our routines and our minds have to have them to operate.  If the mind had to focus on every single task like driving or brushing our teeth or making coffee, it would become completely overloaded which would result in a meltdown.  So routines are a necessary thing.

Then something happens that isn’t normal; isn’t usual.  Typically change occurs in the form of a death in the family, unexpected pregnancy, getting fired from a job or maybe the shock of an unexpected birthday party.  Regardless, change will happen.  And ironically change might be the only thing that is consistent in life.

Evelina and I are going through some big life changes right now, some really good and some not so good.  I think I told everyone about Evelina’s broken arm and surgery.  Then she had kidney stones and a surgery for that.  Those 2 events disrupted our life for 4 months.  Talk about disrupting routine!

We are now in the beginning stages of building a new house and I’m having to deal with the stress associated with the home buying process.

At my age I don’t like change a lot.  My routines have left ruts deep like a motocross track.  They serve an exact purpose which is to allow me to get from task-to-task without using much thought or energy.

Image result for motocross ruts

And now even bigger changes are on the horizon, news that I’ll probably be sharing in the coming months so be on the lookout for an update!  I’m trying to be more flexible these days and I’ve been working diligently on being more patient.  I’m changing slowly, but surely, but I would hazard a guess that Evelina would say more slowly than anything else.

I hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Danny

I Wonder Why I Get Bored Easily

Danny

I Wonder Why I Get Bored Easily

In 2014 I was forced into working for myself.  I had gone out on disability at the end of 2013 due to a MS symptom flareup which knocked me on my butt.  To supplement our income I began buying items at auction and reselling them online.  It wasn’t much, but it kept the bills paid; and it was fun!   Over the next year the business began to grow and take on its own identity resulting in me buying and selling furniture.

I would travel to auctions across North and South Carolina buying vintage and antique furniture, loading up my truck and heading home to clean it and sell it.  I learned a lot.  I struggled a lot.  But then in 2016 my passion for it shifted.

Going to auctions lost the shine.  I had to talk myself in to wanting to make the drive and go through the hassle of sitting for hours to buy a few pieces of vintage gold.  I didn’t enjoy it any longer.

Throughout my life I have recognized this pattern.  I discover something new.  I become obsessed with this new thing.  I get bored with new thing.  I move on to something different.  For many years I thought I had an issue with “sticktoitiveness”, but over the last few years I have realized that after 2-3 years of doing something I become bored.

I’m not sure why I am geared like this.  My dad worked his entire career for the same company a feat I admire, but could never do for myself.  The thought of doing something over and over just isn’t for me.  For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me, that I should be able to stick with one thing for a long period of time.

But over the last few years I realize I’m okay with switching and changing things up.

I wonder if there are others out there like me?  Do you find yourself bored with your job, hobby, relationship?  Do you find yourself wanting a new challenge?

Why You Should Always Do the Right Thing No Matter What

Danny

Why You Should Always Do the Right Thing No Matter What

Do you believe that life has a way of coming full-circle?  I do in many aspects.  Some might say that eventually you will pay the price in the afterlife, but I also think those who do the wrong thing pay prices during this life.

I was recently involved in a situation in which a lady got caught doing something wrong with money.  I don’t know why she did what she did, but I don’t think the beginnings of her actions began with ill-intentions.  I think she got away with an impropriety the first time and then it snowballed from that point.  Regardless of her motives, she knew what she was doing was wrong, yet she continued her pattern for over a year before getting caught.

The whole scenario was a reminder to me to always focus on doing the right thing…no matter what.  A friend of mine always says “It’s never the right time to do the wrong thing and it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

My personal belief is that doing the right thing returns to a person in positive vibes and doing the wrong thing returns in negative vibes.  I do believe that life comes full-circle and that acting contrary to this principle is unwise.  Ultimately we will all reap what we sow.

I wonder how many people live their lives focusing on doing the right thing?

 

The Last 3 Weeks Couldn’t Have Been Crazier!

Danny

The Last 3 Weeks Couldn’t Have Been Crazier!

Wow is all I can say.  As many of you might know Evelina broke her arm before Christmas ice skating and had to have surgery to repair the broker bones.  She finally got her pins removed and cast off just before Valentine’s Day and we thought we were in the clear.  Life could get back to normal.  Nope.

Near the end of February she began experiencing pain in her back which resulted in an emergency room visit to discover she was passing another kidney stone.  We’ve been through this situation several times in the last few years.  The urologist decided to send her home and keep an eye on the movement of the stone.

After a week we had to go back to the ER and this time she was admitted for 2 days, surgery was performed and they were still not able to remove the stone.  At 8 mm this stone was one of the largest the doctor has ever seen and it was lodged in the ureter so deeply that he was not able to remove it.

Last week they were able to remove the stone successfully and Evelina is now recovering nicely.  Just when we thought things were turning the corner I found out yesterday I have bronchitis which is producing a wicked nasty cough.  Medicine, medicine, medicine.

We are sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Danny

The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Tracy Kauffman

Author Don Massenzio

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I’m happy to feature author Tracy Kauffman in this edition of the 2019 Author Interview Series. It’s interesting to see which questions authors select from my list to reveal a bit about themselves and their work to those of you that read their interviews.

Please enjoy meeting Tracy Kauffman.


tracyk.

  • What do you think are the elements of a good story?

I believe descriptive words  relay the story so it makes the reader feel they are there instead of being told the details of the story.

  • Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?

I believe other authors are allies because they can help each other in so many ways.  Authors know how to get their work done, published, marketed etc…. It’s always good to keep your author coworkers as friends and allies.

Marketing

  • What marketing technique have you found to be the…

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