Twenty-Five Feet of Sidewalk

I would like to start this day by thanking my fellow veterans and all those who serve. To all those who voluntarily stand to protect our country and to serve our nation, I thank you. We know not where each of you lay your heads tonight, yet we know where you live. You live within our hearts.

It’s a cold day here. It has snowed since yesterday morning, and our temperature is about 19. They predict we will probably get to 27 today. My advice, hot chocolate with marshmallows consumed by a window while enjoying the scenery. In an hour I’m going to go out and shovel the sidewalk because it looks like the kids will go to school today with only a two-hour delay.

I could stay inside and stay warm. But there’s a sense of duty to others within our community. I live a half a block from an elementary school. Many kids in the neighborhood will be walking on my sidewalk on their way to that school this morning. And, getting little ones where they’re going safely is an obligation to all of our futures.

What we do, we do for common good. And, whatever we do, will come back to us in time. We don’t do it for some future glory, we work towards the betterment of all. And what we do, we do because we know it’s the best we have to offer.

Who knows, the sidewalk shoveled allows a second grader to get safely to school. The second grader learns and shares ideas that other students and a teacher pick up. Somebody finds an interest in math or science or art. They discover a niche that they can work with and learn from and continue to work with it as they grow and learn more. Give it 15 or 20 years, and we may have an entrepreneur, or scientist, or an architect whose new creations inspire the world, work that may save lives, or solve mysteries of the universe or does something else marvelous and moves all of us forward.

I find it amazing what a tremendous effect shoveling 25 feet of sidewalk can produce.

Thank you for being with me today, I hope to be with you again tomorrow.






Warning: Use Wisely

We each have freedom. We can enjoy as much freedom as we give ourselves permission to use. The question is not really who may take that freedom away, instead the real issue is how much of the available freedom do we allow ourselves to use?

If we do not allow ourselves to use what we have, it will wither and go away. Any freedom that is given and yet not used out of some fear or doubt is not genuinely free. Just remember, there is a difference between concern and responsibility.

Our freedoms do not extend to hurting others. Yelling fire in a crowded theater that causes a stampede and hurts others is wrong. No one has the right to take a life for fun or profit. And no one should purposely plan to do ill will to others.

The freedoms we enjoy are those freedoms that were earned and handed down by our forefathers to promote the common good. They also gave us a set of laws, commonly agree to, and lived by which uphold those freedoms. Most of these laws are still used and respected today.

Our freedoms stem from a group of colonies agreeing to work together and signing up to throw off the yoke of tyranny. And, banding together for the common good and inalienable rights of all. We need to remember this as we go forward. We need to enjoy our freedoms and protect them from those who abuse them. Because the surest way to lose anything is to abuse it.

Just something to think about from the mean old Master Sergeant.

Thanks for being with me today, I hope to be with you again soon.

It Happened Again Last Night

It happened again last night. Reporting has gone on since early this morning and unfortunately, another day is framed. The pundits and prognosticators will be gathering in pronouncing their beliefs once again. And once again no one will get to the core of the problem.

If there were no guns, there would be bombs. Without bombs, there would be knives, sticks, and stones. Everybody will focus on the methods both pro and con and once again the core of the problem will be ignored.

We dare not look at the core itself, for it bears too much angst and shame. There is a pain in the mind that cuts the soul, and once again it replays the same. Limiting the methods only limits the count the ending is still the same. We can point the fingers and call others out, yet in the end, we are all to blame.

It’s bigger than all of us you see. And it hurts, and it’s random, and it’s you, and it’s me. We did not invent this we are not that smart. It was handed down to us from the very start. When brother kills brother, the idea is unleashed, and it stays forever, down to you and to me.

You’ve heard me talk about this before. To fix this, you have to agree, what we really have to fix is you and me. The fix is not external, and it’s not easy to find. To fix the problem we each have to look inside.

If we fix the problem that makes people want to kill, we fix the problem.  Everything else is a band-aid

We Held an Election

We held an election yesterday. I think most people were glad, and many participated in the election. Many more voted than in the same type of elections held in past years. Some people liked voting for their candidates or weighing-in on new tax proposals. I am sure that many more were happy to see the end of the political ads and robocalls.

One of the things that I enjoyed about the election was that there was no blue wave or red take over. Everybody got to vote, and there were winners and losers on each side. Some power shifts, yet proof that democracy stands. This means that as we move forward, America has to do the one thing it has done better longer than any other country on earth. We have to communicate, collaborate, and work together towards common goals to move our country forward.

Sometimes you hear gripes and grumbles about elections and how they have a tendency to interrupt our lives. And yet they are the most important thing we have. So to help the legislators, the judiciary and the executive branch, I would like to give them a response we used in the military when someone complained to us.

When somebody comes up, and complains to you about your chosen profession and why ‘this’ has to happen, and ’that’ has to be, all you have to do is smile and ask them a few questions. And, the discussion will probably go something like this.

Questioner: Why blah blah blah blah I hate it.

You:  I certainly understand and respect your concerns. Have you gone to the market lately and bought cereal?

Questioner: Yes

You: Was there only one type of cereal and they were almost out of it, or a whole aisle with various brands of cereals for you to choose from?

Questioner: Most of an Aisle, Lots of brands to choose from.

You: And, the last time you voted did your block leader come down and walk you to the polls and make sure you voted for whoever they told you to vote for?

Questioner: no

You: You’re welcome

We wish luck and good fortune to all those who have been voted into office.

Thank you for being with me today, I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Whatever You Do in Life, Own It

We often make excuses for why we have not done something. Rather than owning a policy, we blame the company. Rather than having our office or home the way we want it, we point to all the things we have to do and say there is not enough time. We’ll get to it as soon as the game is done, the show is over, or the weather gets better. We need to own what we do.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a student in school, domestic engineer, or work for a company, or yourself, whatever you do you own. This is true whether you want to possess it or not. Whatever you have and whatever you do reflects directly back to you. Everything from the aesthetics to the dots on the I’s and crosses on the T’s belong to you. Own it.

It is easy to blame others and point fingers. The problem is you cannot correct others unless they really want to be changed. The only person you can directly affect is yourself. So, is there an avenue for a change? Yes, you can own it.

It is pretty straightforward to make changes for the better. Understand what you can change, what is beyond your control to change and how you can best go about changing a particular problem. Most changes start with a smile on the face. Smiles don’t cost anything, and quite often they make people wonder what you’re up to. Attitude frequently does more to raise everyone’s spirits than anything else you can think to do.

The next thing is to be genuine and to care. If you really don’t care, why are you there? Were you standing there waiting for a bus and everything popped up around you? Did you need money and end up in a job found to be insufferable? Did you chase a dream that turned into a nightmare? Only you know the answers. And only you can make it better.

Before you tell me I’m right and head off to HR to quit the job, I have to give you a warning. Moving jobs is trying to change something from the outside and rarely works. If you move to a different position, you may end up in the same rut a year or two from now. To actually fix the problem you need to work from the inside out. From the inside of yourself, your thoughts and ideas, out to the office, the home, the customers, or whatever else you see that can be done better.

I believe you will find that working from the inside out has a more significant impact and is easier than you think.   Just own it.

Thanks for being with me today I hope to be with you again tomorrow.


Being Unpredictable

Being there, and consistency is fundamental to your growth. When people count on you, it is a good feeling. And yet, a little unpredictability is always a good thing. Unpredictability allows you to be you.

If you are too predictable, people start to feel that they know you. When they start to become complacent in knowing you, some may think they own you. Others begin to believe that they know your strengths and limitations. They feel they know what buttons to push, and what the results will be every time.

It’s nice to feel counted upon. It’s a little bit harder when others think they push one of your buttons and you will perform on cue. This is why I believe a little unpredictability is a good thing.

Many people think of unpredictability as the inability to be counted upon. Will or won’t the person show up? Will the report get done on time? Can the group rely on this person? This is one view of unpredictability. Unfortunately, it is two-dimensional in his thinking. There are more avenues to this, and much better ideas involved.

The next time that you have a task given to you by someone who thinks they know you, ignite your mental prowess and blow past their expectations. Just dazzle them with work far above their highest aspirations. And leave them wondering, “Wow, where did that come from?”

You won’t only impress others, you will impress yourself. I always find something special when I impress myself.

Thank you for being with me today, I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Whose Data Is It

We all like to read, and that’s a good thing. I know that we quite often read favorite authors, people who agree with our ideas and thoughts. And, we will talk with our friends and other people, using quotes, ideas, or data offered by the people we read.  Just as there is good and bad in everything, we have to be careful of the quotes and data that we use.

Facts, data, and ideas are almost never the whole story. You need to dig a layer or two deeper to find out the real information. Who ran the studies, and who paid for the research. This information is vital.

If someone gives you information in an article about the number of automobile accidents on the rise, it is good to take that second look. And, this is an excellent topic for our talk today. The data for the article could have been neutral data with just the facts from the department of transportation. On the other hand, data may have come from a pro-marijuana lobby blaming cell phone use so that people driving impaired from marijuana did not hurt their business. At the same time, it could be from the cell phone lobby pointing fingers at the distillery industry to deflect people from the idea it was due to not paying attention. The same could be true if the distillery industry were pointing the facts against the marijuana industry.

This is just a hypothetical example of what could happen. I know this sounds a little strange and long-winded. However, it is essential to understand what is real and what is a disguised agenda.

Before getting wound up or going off the deep end over an article showing data, take a second to do some fact checking. Especially if you are doing reports of your own or trying to help others to find or gauge what is of importance for some reason, take a moment. Just check where the data came from, and who sponsored it. It will give you a better grasp of the information and in turn more loyal readership.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.