It’s Christmas, But Are We All Failing Life Miserably?

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Evelina and I love Christmas.  This time of year we usually plan a lot of activities involving Christmas by visiting McAdenville (Google it), Christmas shopping in the hustle-n-bustle, tree lighting services, parades…you get the point.

This past week we visited the Christmas Village in downtown Charlotte to see the tree lighting and to shop the vendors for special gifts.  And of course I did my usual which is watch people and their behaviors.  I don’t know why I do this, but I simply cannot escape it.

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There were a lot of people and the area for the village was packed, often times leaving little room if any to walk or maneuver from one vendor to another.  We spent much of our time saying “excuse me” or “I apologize” as we bumped our way through the crowd.  What surprised me (not really) was the fact that we did not get one single return courtesy from another person there and we were bumped into, run into, pushed past many times; too many to count actually.

It is no secret that I really don’t like crowds and maybe I am hypersensitive because of this fact, but I don’t think it should be okay to be discourteous.  At one point I positioned myself in an area away from the crowd so I could watch people to see how many apologized or excused themselves when they pushed their way through other people and not one time did anyone say anything.  One instance resulted in a lady having half of her hot chocolate spilled and the offender just kept on walking.

It is becoming evident to me that we’ve failed (or are failing).  I see this occurrence too often and it seems to be the norm in today’s world.  Every time I watch people’s behavior I feel myself becoming so negative.  I feel negative writing this post as a matter of fact.  But I don’t think this topic should be ignored simply because I don’t want to be negative.  It is my belief that the smart device and social media are behind this growing trend.

Society as a whole has become addicted to their devices and because of this addiction the world around us becomes invisible.  We forget that this thing around us is a live, breathing, actual place which depends on real, live interactions with real, live people.  It is not uncommon for a drug addict to steal from family, the same family that loves them.  The addict becomes so focused on his or her next fix that the only thing that matters is getting that fix and everyone else becomes irrelevant.

I tend to be a bit pessimistic and possibly a touch judgmental and I admit to being so.

But I still think we are failing.

Danny

Never, Ever Listen When the World Says ‘No’!

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Danny

Never, Ever Listen When the World Says ‘No’!

In 2016 I was at a point of decision.  My business was not doing as well as I wanted and my insurance premiums were skyrocketing.  The proverbial writing was on the wall and I knew I had to make a change.  So like many others I began putting my resume together and applying for jobs hoping that my efforts would lead me to a solid company who would give me an opportunity in sales.

The first company to reach out to me was a furniture company by the name of Brook Furniture.  I interviewed with a district manager which led to interviewing with a regional manager in a restaurant in downtown Charlotte.  I wasn’t exactly sure if this was the right job for me, but I was certain I could do the job and they needed help, therefore I continued through the hiring process.

During the interview the guy couldn’t have been less interested.  We met at a restaurant in downtown Charlotte and he ordered a huge ice cream dessert and commenced to eating it throughout the interview.  He asked a lot of questions which I answered honestly (probably my downfall) and in the end he explained to me that he didn’t see having a place for me in their company.

At that moment I felt a bit confused.  I honestly thought the job was mine and he said ‘no’ which I was not expecting.  It was at that moment that I realized getting a job in sales with little sales experience was going to be more difficult than I had thought.

I guess I could have taken that ‘no’ as a sign to find a different line of work, but I didn’t.  I took that ‘no’ as motivation to interview better and try harder.  That ‘no’ led me to a better opportunity and my diligence impressed my current employer enough to give me a ‘yes’!

I think we listen to the naysayers too much.  We allow other people’s opinion to influence us too often and I say don’t ever listen to anyone IF you believe in yourself.  If you believe in something then I say let your desire drive you to getting what you want.  Let your self-belief be the foundation for working through the struggles.

Don’t quit and don’t give up until you have pulled every bit of effort out of your soul.  Sometimes giving your best effort is the best result.

Danny

Have Young People Lost the Skill of Math?

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Danny

Have Youngsters Lost the Skill of Math?

On this past Sunday Evelina and I ventured out to participate in one of my favorite activities of the year-Christmas tree shopping.  There is a local tree lot near our house so I jumped in Little White Truck and headed out to find the perfect tree.

Evelina met me there and it only took us 10 minutes to find our gem.  As the young man trimmed the bottom limbs and stump I went to the hut to pay.  I handed the young lady a $100 bill to pay for our $69 tree.  I expected her to reach into the register and quickly hand me a twenty, ten and single bill.  Instead she grabbed her iPhone, typed in her security code, opened the calculator app and used it to do the math.  100 minus 69 =31.  I stood amazed as did her coworkers as she then reached in the draw and counted out my change.

As I stood there waiting for my tree she used her calculator several more times, all of which to do simple math problems.  100-80=20.  80-75=5.  For a brief moment I thought to give her the benefit of the doubt until one of her coworkers teased her about the quality of education she was receiving at her university.  At that point I was even more amazed.  This kid is going to graduate college and she cannot do simple mathematics without a calculator.  How is this possible?

Have we gotten to a time in our history when kids cannot perform simple operations without using a device or running to Google?  And I’m not talking about complicated calculations.  I’m not expecting someone to calculate the launch angle necessary for a rocket to hit the moon.   100-69=31.  Are we devolving into the human form found in the movie Wall-E?

100-80=20.

My personal belief is that we ARE becoming more lazy and that technology (with all its advantages) is doing as much harm as it is good in some instances.  It isn’t technology that is at fault, but it has a lot to do with our reliance on technology.  Spellcheck.  Google.  Smart devices.  For heaven’s sake there are kids who don’t use their hands to write.  40% of kids who took the ACT in 2016 lack the reading and writing skills needed to pass a basic college level writing course, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

I know I sound like the proverbial old guy standing on his porch yelling “You kids get off my lawn”, but come on!  80-75=5?  Really?  I find it hard to believe that if pressed this girl could not have come up with 5 as the answer without using a calculator.

Sometimes I think humans are evolving…then this happens and hope comes crashing down around me.

Maybe it is time for Jethro Bodine to start teaching math in our schools.

Naught x naught = naught.  Shouldn’t be too hard to do that math!

Danny

Lessons from mom

Take It Upon Yourself

While my son and I helped dad pack things up, after my dad was mentally and emotionally able to sell the property and mobile home in south Florida where we’d first landed after relocating in 1985 from West Virginia, I found several things that answered some questions I’d had for many years.

Along with several diary pages that mom had written in the 1960s and 1970s, I found an unsigned letter to her that made me question which is more important taking advice from family or from friends.

The statement in the letter that got me was, “I’m disappointed in you that you feel that your friends understand you better than your family (and me).”

I have an idea of who the letter is from, but I am not sure. It was typed, single spaced on one sheet of paper.

As of this moment, it doesn’t matter to me who…

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A Really Sad Reminder That Life Does Not Last Forever…

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Danny

A Really Sad Reminder That Life Does Not Last Forever…

In the last 2 months I have lost 2 friends from high school.  I wouldn’t say either were close friends now, but back in high school they were in my larger circle of friends.  The latest friend to die was a girl named Tonya (name changed for privacy reasons) and her death has hit me fairly hard.  When I was in high school my mom’s company did business with her mom and dad so she and I would talk here-n-there between classes and had kept in touch via Facebook.

She was a kind person who would often comment on my blog and/or FB posts with words of encouragement and always seemed interested in how I was doing as I dealt with the impacts of MS.  She leaves behind a husband and 3 daughters ages 10, 13 and 17.

She was in relatively good health and went to bed one evening and died in her sleep.  I cannot imagine how her family is feeling at this point and attempting to imagine their position leaves me feeling empty and incredibly sad.

I guess if you must die now that is about as peaceful a way to go as any other.

Tonya was my age and it is hard for me to accept I have gotten to the point in life when my friends are beginning to die.  In a way it forces me to contemplate my own mortality.  What have I done with my life?  Am I wasting the time I have remaining?  Am I spending enough time with my family?  But more than these questions, I have been sad.  And the sadness I feel is real and subtle.  It isn’t a crying my eyes out sadness, but a foundational sadness, a tangible shaking in my soul, quiet type sadness.  It is hard to explain, but it has disturbed my complacency.

This coming week Evelina and I will attend her funeral and I will see many friends from high school.  Her family will bury her and life will begin to move again.  Her husband will return to work eventually, her kids will return to school and life will continue on; minus a husband and a mom.  The reality is their life will never be the same.  October 31st will always have a different meaning.  It will be sad in many ways.  It will bring about happy memories.  But life will never, ever be the same.

One day I hope someone has good things to say about me.  It is difficult for me to imagine not being alive, but I understand there will come a day when all of my questions about the after-life will be answered.

I would prefer the after-life continue to be a mystery for many years to come.

Danny

I Need a New Beginning With My Blog

Danny

On November 26, 2014 I created my first post on WordPress and hit publish.  And 4 years later I am still at it; tired, but still blogging.  And until recently I had posted every day for over 1500 days, a streak that I am quite proud of having achieved.  I went from a daily view high of 149 in March 2015 to having days I clearly 5,000 views.  I went from 0 views to over 1 million views in under 3 years which resulted in over 100,000 comments!  I will admit that I am incredibly proud of having reached and exceeded all of my blogging goals including eclipsing 50,000 total followers.  All of these numbers mean one thing…I am tired.

Honestly, I am worn out.

So with that said some changes are coming for Dream Big.  At the end of this year I will be terminating the Partner program.  I will not be publishing a post everyday, excluding the Let Me Ask You A Question post, and I will be reblogging on a limited basis.  I need to do these things because blogging has become a habit, something I do out of routine with little passion behind it.

I will be posting my thoughts from time-to-time, but I’ll be doing it when I find inspiration or have a thought I’d like to share, not because I feel like I need to post something.  I just want blogging to be fun again and I want to control my page instead of feeling as though my page controls me.

Writing a blog is an interesting journey and it has been so much fun watching this thing take on a life of its own.  Dream Big has developed into something that I never envisioned which is a hub for others to connect.  When I first began my blog I thought I would share some thoughts on my journey from an underachieving procrastinator to an entrepreneur.  What I didn’t realize then was how many bloggers would use my page to find other like-minded people.

I might take more pride in this fact than any other.

Happy Saturday!

Danny

Doing This For the First Time Ever…

DannyFor this first time ever I am going to take a short hiatus from my blog.  I will return on Monday with new questions and posts.  I have posted something every day for nearly 3 years and I need a break.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and Ill see you Monday.

Danny

Good Morning From Athens Georgia!

Danny

Good morning all from Athens Ga!  I only have one quick thought for the day…

I’ve always had it in my mind that I would never let anyone out work me.  Someone might have more experience, they may have more resources, but they will never out hustle me.

Sometimes you have to commit yourself to out-hustling those around you.

Have a great Thursday!

Danny

Return From One Trip and Repacked For Another…

Danny

We are back from our weekend in New York and all went well.  The bride and groom are off to their honeymoon and the wedding went without a hitch.  We always have a wonderful time in NY and the wedding excitement just added to the experience.   Our flight got back yesterday late afternoon and after a round of laundry, unpacking and repacking, I am back on the road this morning!  Quick turn-around for me.

This week I will be in Athens, Ga to conduct some training with sales executives from across the southeast.  I’ll be working with my mentor this week which will be nice.  It isn’t often that he and I get to train reps together.

With that said, I hope you have a great week.  Remember to hug your loved ones and spend quality time with them!  Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Danny