Are You A Hero Or A Zero?

By: D. A. Slinkard
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Seriously, stop it! Now, I want you to tell your family to stop feeling sorry for you and stop with the excuses they keep making for you. We have too many people running around with the victim mentality, blaming others for their own life failures — excuse after excuse when the truth points back to the person staring back in the mirror. The place you are at right now in your life is because of life choices you have made; but this is reality for too many people who are afraid to admit it.

When I look at the world, I notice our society is teaching our men to be more feminine and our women to be more masculine. Values we once treasured are but a distant memory of the way things used to be when our men were men and our women wanted a hero, not a zero. To get back the mentality that made America great, we are going to have to change the way we think. Honestly, the only feminine thing about me is my wife. Sadly though, we have role reversals throughout society in which moms are having to be dads and dads are having to be moms. If only we could keep the core nucleus of the family together, and we do that by making better choices.

Life is all about choices, and if you make a bad decision, then you are going to get bad results. If you make good decisions, then you are going to have positive results. If we had our moralities back when it came to choosing our spouse, and if we did not rush to make decisions, just maybe we would not live in a society with a divorce rate greater than fifty percent. How different would our society be if parents stayed married because when they said, “I do,” they actually meant until death do us part? Don’t believe me, ask the child who has been impacted by divorce.

There is a misconception that somehow people wake up one day and they are in a bad situation. This is not how life works. The person who is down and out is at this point in their life because of a culmination of decisions they have made over the course of time, yet the same can be said for the person who is thriving in life. We all want to find success in life, and we all have different definitions of success. The question becomes are we going to make good decisions or bad decisions?

We need to pay attention to the daily decisions we make because the results of today are directly related to the choices we made yesterday. There are too many people out there looking back on their life wishing they would have done more with their life, taken advantage of the opportunities they had. These are nothing more than the choices they made. When you hear someone say they regret the things they did not do, they are saying they regret the choices they made.

Start today with the mindset of being intentional. I wonder how different my life would be if someone would have told me twenty years ago to be intentional in my decisions because, no matter what, I would eventually have to live with them. Good or bad choices – we reap what we sow, and some of us like what we are getting while the majority of people go through life with dread and wondering, “What if…”

Do not let this be you. Decide now that you are going to do something with yourself and the choices you make. Most notably, though, is getting past feeling sorry for yourself. Everyone on the planet has had something horrible happen in their life, and just because something bad happened to you, it does not make you special. It is a tough reality that was hard for me to understand, but I eventually got it through my head that someone else had it rougher than me. I no longer played the victim and decided I would do something different.

I think about who I am today versus who I was as a teenager, and I cannot begin to tell you the difference. Youth is wasted on the young because of the stupid decisions they make; but you can decide now whether you are going to be the hero or the zero. The decision is always yours.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
What do you want to accomplish in 10 years? What do you want to accomplish in 5 years? What do you want to accomplish in the next year? What do you want to accomplish in the next 3 months? I start this article with these questions because many of us have an idea of what we want to accomplish yet go about life thinking in terms of 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years. Too often we think about what we want to do tomorrow but fail to live our lives for today.

I think about the phrase, “Coulda, shoulda, woulda,” and how many of us will look back on our lives and say, “I wish I could have…I wish I should have…or I wish I would have with my life?” We need to stop thinking about the 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and start thinking about the 3-month time frame. Even though the older I get the faster time seems to fly by, thinking in terms of years gives us a temporary break from having to act fast on our goals.

When we think of 1 year we silently say to ourselves that we have 364 more days to go after the goal. What happens is we adopt a non-urgent mentality and the 364 days dwindles down to being yet another year passing us by with no monumental change in our life. We begin to reflect upon our lives and think in terms of failures or how our lives are incomplete versus seeing our lives for what they can be. When we see ourselves in the negative light of being a failure or feeling incomplete, we begin to make excuses.

It is much easier to make an excuse than to actually take the necessary actions to generate the desired outcome of any situation. I believe this mentality is what separates the “haves” from the “have- nots” in society. How many hateful words are spoken about someone who finds success compared to the words of sympathy for those who failed because they did not take the necessary action? It amazes me how much compassion we show people who fail to achieve versus those who actually do. Think about the participation trophies, we demean the true winner by trying to include all, and this has created the “snowflake” mentality.

Life is short, and the Bible tells us that our life is but a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away. We must listen to the Good Book and then go do something about it. Open up the obituaries in the newspaper and realize that could be any of us in there. We cannot take our time on Earth for granted and we must act with a sense of urgency, with a sense that today may be our last because it just might be.

This is why we must think in shorter time frames of accomplishing our hopes, our dreams, and our goals. We can lull ourselves to sleep thinking we have all this time available us until suddenly we become but a memory to someone else. So, now is the time to think about what is important to you and just go do it. Pick up the phone and call that family member who you haven’t spoken to in years. Make the decision now to go to the local university and pursue that college degree you have always wanted. Decide now to start that business you always knew would give your life meaning.

Any successful person will tell you it all started by them taking that first step. The old Chinese proverb states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” No one will ever have all of the answers of life, but the best lessons learned are those we learn along the way. How many times did we think our parents were ignorant and did not know anything when they tried teaching us life lessons? How wrong we were?

When you step out on your journey to living the life you have always wanted, you will have problems along the way. Rich people have problems in their life just like poor people; and those who do not are buried in the cemeteries. We never know when our time will come to an end, but we must be prepared to act today – not 1 year from now, not 5, not 10. We can be anything, do anything, but we must take that first step.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

Suck It Up, Buttercup

By: D.A. Slinkard
Life is all about not giving up. We will all have bad things happen to us along this crazy thing we call
life, but what is most important is how we respond to those crazy happenings. Recently, I was hospitalized for 12 days in the Huntsville Hospital (not to be confused with The Hilton) due to me having Crohn’s Disease. I can tell you from first-hand experience how easy it is to become a Negative Nancy (sorry to all Nancys out there) when life is not going how you planned. There’s one thing you can do, and that’s to suck it up, buttercup.

We need to realize how good we actually have it. While in the hospital, I received word that a fellow church member was also in the hospital on the floor above me. Sadly, she had fallen and broken both ankles, and, I believe, a hip and a wrist. It was at this point in time that I realized how fortunate I was that, even though I was fighting an infection in my body and a Crohn’s flare, at least I had the ability to be mobile. We need to understand that no matter what bad things are happening in our life, there is someone out there that would surely trade our sorrows for theirs.

Be thankful. Show gratitude. Being thankful and showing gratitude are going to affect your attitude. Taking the time to be thankful for what you have, not concerned with what you don’t have, is going to impact the amount of gratitude you have for what life offers us. We must be prepared for when seasons inevitably change in our life. Truth be told, we are all battling the storm of negativity. We are either going into, in the middle of, or coming out of a storm, and we must stay steadfast in our attitude even when our circumstances suggest otherwise.

I think back to my oldest daughter and her basketball team. During the regular season they lost 7 times in 10 games, finishing in fourth place out of five teams. Then came the time for the rec league tournament, and life has taught me that the regular season means nothing when there is a tournament involved! We had our first game against the last-place team to see who would go up against the tournament favorite. The girls could have been negative, especially having only won 30% of the time during the regular season, but they were not. They played so well and advanced on to face the number one team in the tournament, who finished the season with a perfect 10 wins and 0 losses.

The girls had a decision to make – do we just give up facing the undefeated team because they are supposed to win or do we come out and fight? Dealing with 9- to 12-year-old girls you never know what you are going to get, but what I found them displaying was a ton of heart, a ton of courage, even when their previous history showed they should just roll over and give up. It reiterated the point that it is not always the dog in the fight so much as the fight in the dog, and these girls had a ton of fight in their bodies. When the final whistle was blown, the girls were victorious and Goliath had been taken down.

The girls had qualified for the championship game through hard work and determination. Their success was not handed to them; they had to fight hard to qualify to play for the distinction of being the Athens Rec League Tournament Champions. The girls had one final test standing between them and finishing the season number one in the tournament. They had to go up against the number two team, who finished the regular season with 8 wins and 2 losses.

The final game was intense and was a battle for both teams. In the end though, we ended up losing by a mere 6 points, which still felt like a victory especially when watching the girls put the second-place medal around their necks. Sure, we might not have won the championship trophy, but it certainly felt good knowing where we came from and where we finished. This made me realize an aspect of how life works. We might not always finish out as number one, but we must remember to never give up, even when the odds are against us. And always be thankful for what we have.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

Attitude Is Everything

By: D. A. Slinkard
“Attitude IS Everything,” we are told. This is such an important business mantra that is used often in the workplace, but ultimately could and should be the approach to how we live our lives every day. What these three words mean holds a different connotation for you than it does me. When you think about these words, I want you to visualize what comes to mind. Whether these images that float in your mind are positive or negative can dictate how you view the world around you.

For myself, I am not the kind of guy where the “glass is half-full” nor is the “glass half-empty.” For me I like to think that my cup overflows with the emotional effects that my attitude has on the world around me on an everyday basis. Let’s face it, the world is full of negativity in which the running joke is the evening news beginning by telling you “Good Evening,” and then proceeding for the next 30 minutes telling you why it’s not.

How we respond to events that happen to us, even if we think they are beyond our control, is actually well within our grasp. If you want to know how your day is going to turn out, then ask yourself one simple question. How is my attitude going to be today?
In the world of business, I see all kinds of attitudes. I see good ones, I see bad ones, and I see ones that I will never soon forget. To make the biggest impact upon yourself, your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors, but most importantly your customers, you must maintain a positive attitude even when the world around you suggests otherwise.

I have found the overall satisfaction of my customers increasing when my attitude exhibits an overwhelmingly positive approach. The saying that “misery loves company” holds no weight in my life, nor should it in yours. If you tend to be the negative person in the room, might I suggest you make some subtle changes. I recommend that you commit yourself to only thinking positively, and withstand any negative thinking that might cross your mind.

I understand that in life it is so much easier to be negative. Negativity requires so much less effort than what it takes to be positive. To my knowledge, there is no medication out there that is designed to make you hate life. There’s plenty out there for you to enjoy life, but none exist to bring you down from your emotional high.

I oftentimes get complimented on my attitude, and from a business perspective I relish in this. When customers notice my positive attitude, I realize they are not receiving this same energy level down the street. Your positive attitude can set you apart from your competition. When your customers feel uplifted by your daily approach, they will want to do business with you. Before you can get to this point though, you are going to have to work on your mindset.

We have all overcome obstacles that have stood in our way. Personally, my father died when I was 15 years old and my mom abandoned me less than 2 years later. I could have been negative. I should have dropped out of high school, gotten mixed up in drugs or become a statistic you read about in the paper. I should have never graduated high school, let alone college. I did, though. All because of my attitude.

Do not get me wrong; there were many lonely nights I found myself crying out to God just asking, “Why me?” For several years I took the victim mentality that I “had it so rough,” but then I realized there are people out there who have it worse than I do. This helped change my way of thinking. Being able to reflect upon the obstacles others faced helped me to realize what I was going through was easy compared to what others were facing.

As you are reading this, I want you to realize that the way you conduct business and your life needs to change today. You can make a difference to your customers, and I urge you to let your positiveness shine through to them. No matter what your definition of attitude has been, I want you to start today by realizing that Attitude IS Everything. Go be the difference you want in the world.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
It seems to me that January 2018 is going just as fast as the entire 2017 year, and I’m wondering when it is going to slow down. Then, I realize that time slows down for no one and we must be prepared to be victorious. Yes, victorious for 2018, as it seems the previous year was done and over with before many of us were able to achieve the hopes, dreams, and goals we thought we would have. So, I am going to ask you, “What are you waiting for when it comes to grabbing 2018 by the horns and slowing it down?”

The first few weeks of this year, I have been busy with a variation of activities from church, to work, to even just trying to stay warm. I am definitely not looking forward to the utility bill because I believe the heater has been running full blast pretty much all month. Honestly, this kind of weather makes me despise the people six months from now who will be complaining about how hot it is. There are always alternatives to every situation, and I would much prefer summer than winter any day of the year. If you are one of the people who complain about all the seasons, next time you go to say something, please just stop.

We are all busy in our lives, but we must make the decision to control our year. We have an idea of the goals and activities we want to complete, so now we need to map out the game plan as to what we are actually going to do to make this happen. Sometimes we make our goals and know the things we need to do, but put them on the back burner for later on when we have time. I am telling you from what I am already seeing in 2018, you are going to just have to do it. You are going to have to force the activities into your day. Otherwise, we are going to continue upon the same path we traveled down last year in which we get to December and we say, “Man, we sure left a lot undone. How did that happen?” Well, it happened because we enabled it to happen. We allowed the distractions to take place, we allowed ourselves to say, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” and tomorrow was replaced with something else.

At this point the year is almost 1/12 of the way through as we draw closer and closer to February. My question for you is how close are you today to your goal versus where you were on the 1st of January? This can be a tough question, but it can also be a revealing question to help see how positive or negative your year is going. If you are in the same position at the beginning of the year, then you are not taking the necessary steps to achieve success in 2018. It will not happen because you are not doing enough to make it happen. What will you do differently to make sure you hit the goal? What will you do differently to make sure you are your own definition of success?

We live in the land of opportunity, but some people will tell you that is a falsehood. Anyone who suggests you should give up on your hopes and dreams, just know that they are a person who has already given up on theirs. These are not the kind of people you should be wanting to take advice from because they will lie to you about other things. I personally think you should brainstorm about all the things you want in life, picture the career you would want, the house you would want to live in, and then think about how you can achieve that success. Sadly though, too many of us know what we want, but we become too lazy when it comes to the thinking part of the how to get it.

There are people every day who know what they want, and they take the time to think about how they are going to do it. We have these very people in Athens, Alabama, but many of us lie to ourselves and say that could not happen to me. This way of thinking must change for you to have an impact in 2018 and realize that just because someone else cannot do something, it does not mean that you cannot. What are you waiting for?
By: D. A. Slindard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D.A. Slinkard
We are just a few days into the new year and I want to start this off with a question – How is your year going thus far? Hopefully everyone reading this is generating the kind of success imagined at the end of 2017. If you are not as successful as you hoped for or you have not even begun to concentrate on what you want to accomplish in 2018, it is time to build momentum in the early part of this year. Too many people derail their weeks, their months, their years, their lives, all because they fail to concern themselves with the right mindset.

I want you to think about everything you want to accomplish this year and make a list of these items. I want you to list this items in the order of importance to you as a necessity for making 2018 a success for you. When you make this list, I want you to envision these items as if you will not fail in your endeavors. Too often we limit our thinking and our lives because we have the fear of failure instead of approaching it with the mindset of “What if I don’t fail?”

This needs to be the year we no longer take the haphazard approach of the “what if.” How many times have you heard someone empathetically ask, “What else can go wrong?” and behold something else adds to the negativity. Asking questions with negative connotations adds no value to our lives or what we want to accomplish.

To build the momentum in 2018, your focus needs to be on activities that help you reach your desired results. As you look at your list and the actions needed to achieve success, if you find an item that moves you further away from your goal or is not producing positive results, then you need to purge that item now. How many times do we quash our own dreams by wasting our time and our efforts on things that bring absolutely no fruit to our lives?

Maybe that should be our goal in 2018 – not to waste our time or our efforts on meaningless things. Seriously think about how “busy” we Americans are with our lives and the amount of distractions we have. We wonder why we struggle to find the elusive work-life balance, but is it really any wonder with the emergence of technology? I can remember the days when the only way to talk to someone on the phone was to call their home number, and if the person was not home, then you would not be talking to them.

Technology has made us readily available through our computers, tablets, phones, even those Dick Tracy smart watches. Although we are available for communication, is this killing our momentum for success? I am going to tell you that it is. How much more successful could we be as a society if we were able to “de-technology” ourselves from our electronic devices? As I write this article, my phone keeps dinging, and what do I do? I stop writing to check my phone notifications; and before I realize it, I am lost ruffling through email after email, text message after text message. This is the same old story for numerous people, and what little motivation was had is lost because of the distractions we must fight against.

Thus, for 2018, with your list in hand, I urge you to make it a priority to “de-technology” yourself so you can have the success in the upcoming year that you desire, and just maybe you will be able to cut out some of life’s distractions. This may be easier said than done, but until you try it, you have no idea what will and will not work for you. If you are able to eliminate just a fraction of the distractions in your life, what kind of improvements could this make for you and your family?

How much more productive could you be in your entire work-life balance if you were able to focus just a little bit more attention on what is going to bring you success in 2018? This is what our resolve must be for the upcoming year; we must look at life as, “What if we cannot fail?” The time to build momentum is now by looking at your list, knowing you will achieve success, and taking action.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
Ready or not, here it comes! 2018 is upon you even if you are not ready to flip that calendar into a new year. I was recently looking back and could not believe how quickly the year had flown by with many things that I wanted to accomplish in 2017 just being left undone. Does this sound like you? We are in the same boat, but the difference is that I am not making the same mistakes in 2018.

If you look at the road we had in 2017, it really was a beautiful journey we had together. We have spoken about attitude, we have spoken about persistence beating resistance, and to be honest we have hit on just about every kind of subject there is when it comes to a positive mental attitude. If you want success to happen it is there for the taking, but you must be willing to grab it.

My final article for 2017 is going to be about goal setting for 2018, and I want you to think long and hard about what it is you want to accomplish in the next year. You really need to put some thought behind this because 2017 is proof that time waits around for no one. If you are not living the life that you feel destined to live, now is the time to change. If your life is not going the way you want, now is the time to change.

What a wonderful time of the year it is as we put the final wrappings on 2017, and whether it was a good year or a bad year, it makes no difference, the question is what did you learn from the previous 12 months? If you didn’t learn anything, then what a shame because that’s a prime example of someone just wasting their time away. Stop doing it. You have one life to live. One shot to be all that you can be. What are you going to do with it?

Before you can know what you are going to do in the future, you need to know where you were in the past. What went well for you in 2017? What were some of the year’s highs for you? What could have gone better for you? More importantly, what did you learn about 2017 that will keep you from making the same mistakes in 2018? Life is all about learning and when you learn, you grow, but when you stop learning that is when you stop growing. We need to keep growing because we are not finished with what we have started.

I am curious; what is the one thing you would do if you knew you could not fail in 2018? Open your own business? Write your first book? Pop the question? Go ahead and take the time to think about what your one thing is and then decide to act. You must act upon that decision. The success we have written about in 2017, the success you want in 2018, it all hinges upon the thought process you just had about that one decision.

I am going to tell you that whatever is on your mind about this decision, you need to take the time to just go do it. There is no better time than now to act upon that which your heart desires. You cannot get the year 2017 back, but you can make sure that you make up for it in 2018. I know I have my ideas in place, I know what I want to achieve and you better darn well believe that I will not be leaving loose ends in 2018 like I did in 2017.

We are going to need to be aggressive when it comes to what we want to accomplish. We are going to need a plan, and the plan needs to be deliberate. Everything we do in 2018 needs to be with an intent and with a purpose to make sure we achieve the success we missed out on in 2017. There is no looking back, no time to clean up spilled milk; there is only time for us to look ahead and know that we will be successful because mentally we will be so much stronger in ‘18 than in ‘17. No holding back.
By: D. A. Slinkard

Stop Wishing Your Life Away

By: D.A. Slinkard
It is hard to believe the end of 2017 is nearing and 2018 is fast approaching. I was recently speaking with my father-in-law, Denny Urhahn, about how quickly life goes by. He made a comment about how oftentimes we wish away our life before it happens, and it all made sense. He pointed out that as kids, we wish we were a teenager, we wish we were sixteen so we could drive around town. Then we wish we were eighteen and considered an adult, then it is twenty-one. Next, is wishing we could retire and then when we reach retirement age, we go back to wishing we were young.

Now, this does not happen to everyone, but I would say this occurs with most people. We always think that life is going to be better when X happens or when I am X years old, I will be able to do this. The truth is we cannot sit around waiting for life to happen to us or for us because life just does not work like that. We lie to ourselves that when we reach a certain age we will start doing the things we know we should be doing, but the truth is we do not have the necessary discipline to do so.

We go about wishing for things to happen in our life. We get so caught-up in our dreams that we fail to realize how to make those dreams turn into realities. I want you to think about any invention that man has ever created, and I want to point out that even it started as a wish. Someone out there wished there was an invention to solve XYZ problem, but instead of just wishing upon it, they actually went out and made it happen.

We have to take advantage of every step of our lives and in doing so, we must stop wishing away our lives. We need to take the time to realize what it is that we want, what steps we need to take to achieve it, give ourselves a time frame for it, and then start taking massive action towards achieving our wish. Doing these steps is how we are going to turn those wishes into realities.

I understand that going from wishing life would happen to making life happen is difficult for many people, but we need to reflect upon how some achieve greater success than others. I do not believe they are luckier than other people and that is why they have success. I have found the harder I work, the luckier I get. It is about hard work. I hear jealous people say another person’s success is because of their last name.

Well, if having the “right’ last name is going to bring you success, then why not head down to the courthouse and legally change yours? Sounds silly to do so, right? Yet we have people make that excuse every day because they do not have that right last name. Probably my favorite excuse for others’ success is because of who they knew. Why is this a problem? How many times do we reach our limits and we need others to help us get better? Parents do this with their kids all of the time, and we need to understand that using our resources to help obtain success is not necessarily a bad thing.

Whatever in life you are wanting to achieve success in comes down to one simple step you must take. It is not about wishing success or hoping success … not at all. The one step we must take is to decide. We must make a conscious effort proclaiming exactly what it is we will do. When we get stuck on our wishes it is because we have not fully committed to our dreams. With anyone that has success in life, you will find a certain level of belief in their own ability. Anyone stuck on the sidelines of their wishes is someone who is not committed 100% to the task at hand.

You must decide you are going to be a success. You must decide you are not willing to accept failure as an option. You must decide you are going to do “Whatever It Takes” (W.I.T.) to obtain success. Most importantly, you must decide you are going to leave the wishing and hoping for those who will not succeed while you do what you must to achieve your success. Go be great!
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D, A, Slinkard
When I was a kid if you were a loser you knew it. If it was sports and the other team won, you watched in agony as the team received their trophy for being the best of the best! You were envious with the hardware they would be taking home as you left empty-handed. In school when it came to the art contests, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that I had no ribbon indicating a first, second or third place. In fact, my artwork was not deemed worthy of any kind of ribbon. Yet, we live in a society today that is quick to hand out participation awards.

That’s right; we have taught our kids today that just showing up and not being the best is worthy enough to receive a piece of paper telling how great you were because you participated. I cannot help but chuckle when I think about the future generations of weak sissies we are raising up. Recently my girls were in a birdhouse making contest, and keep in mind they are ten and twelve years old. Now their birdhouses looked like they were made by a ten-year-old and a twelve-year-old, and they did not place in the contest. What excites me though is how disturbed they were when they each received a participation award for entering the contest.

It gets me excited because if more adults thought the same way my two children do, then we might be able to raise up a society of do-it-yourselfers instead of raising up a generation of people who feel entitled to everything in life. To reach success in life, every child on the face of the planet needs to be taught that they will need to work hard for the success they want. No one is going to just give them their dream home, their dream car, etc.; yet, too many parents are teaching their kids not to worry about the messes they (the kids) make because their parents will clean it up for them.

What are we teaching our children? We are teaching them that no matter the outcome, they are winners in life, when in reality they are far from winning at times. I am all about positive thinking, but we have many people who are beyond positive, and they have become delusional by making everyone feel more like winners and less like losers. These children who go about life thinking they are winners, are faced with the harsh reality that they need to produce more effort if they are going to achieve success.

Instead of increasing their actions, they buckle because they do not know how to handle the pressures of life. Their entire life they have been lied to because people told them they were winners when in fact they were losers. How do we overcome this? We must first start being honest with ourselves and our children. We can no longer lie to our loved ones and pretend they are doing a good job when in actuality they are not measuring up. We are too worried about hurting their feelings, when all we are doing is prolonging the hurt until they are older and life smacks them right in the face.

What is the world going to be like in the next fifteen to twenty years when these participation award recipients find out that life does not give out imaginary awards for lackluster results? We have to instill a competitiveness in our children, our grandchildren, now. We cannot wait. They need to be taught to be self-motivating, goal-oriented individuals who are able to self-sustain for their own good. Parents, please allow your children to learn from youthful mistakes; you do not always have to swoop in to save the day for them. Believe me, if you keep doing it, then your children are going to continue to rely on you well past the age you intended.

I write this article because we need to work on the mindset of tomorrow’s leaders. A failure to do so not only hinders ourselves but more importantly limits the ability of our children to become great leaders. People complain about the direction we are headed, but who is to blame? We enable this destructive behavior when we should be teaching our youth that participating does not make you worthy of a trophy, no matter how special you think you should feel.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
If you want success in life, then you must learn how to Be Consistent. I have been reflecting upon what contributes to the success of an individual, a group, a team, or even an organization, and I believe the biggest impact that can be made is to be consistent. What does this mean? What does this look like? The definition of consistent is, “acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.”

One can say that the words, be consistent, is all about the process the individual, group, team or organization has in place for how they go about their daily routines, and I could not agree more. We are all consistent in our lives whether we understand it or not. We have all built consistencies in our lives that impact the successes and the failures we will see in our lifetime.

Sometimes we obtain failure because we are consistently taking the wrong actions or behaviors. Other times we obtain success because we are consistently taking the right actions or behaviors. What we must do though, is take the time to become students in the game of life. We must slow down enough to properly evaluate what we are doing on a daily basis that brings us triumphs and brings us tribulations.

I love the positive consistencies of life; and that would be why I wrote about the importance of the daily “To Do List” in the last article, because we have the power to decide how our days will go. Either the day will run us or we will run the day, but either way there will be a result. Why not try to impact that result and be in control?

In fact, once we take the time to examine our lives and home in on the good, the bad and the ugly, we can actually use the daily to-do list in our favor. We can begin to teach ourselves how to be consistent in various areas of our life that previously we thought were beyond our control. The funny thing is that when you start to pay attention to certain areas of your life, you’ll notice quickly both good and bad changes in these areas. If the change is positive, keep on doing it but if the change is negative, then you must re-evaluate the action you will be taking.

The bad thing with being consistent in a positive manner is the amount of work it actually requires. This goes back to the self-discipline article I wrote which basically stated that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. As I have touched upon before, we all know what we should be doing, but knowing and doing are two completely different things. This is where we have to take the time to be intentional, as we set out to be consistent.

In Galatians 6:7, the Bible states, “…For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” – and this is a leading reason we must focus on the intentions of what we want to achieve. If we go at it half-heartedly when we sow, then the result is we are going to reap half-heartedly. You are going to get back what you put in. Now, this is another hard point for many people. Take a look in the mirror and tell me what you see? Do you see a person who is giving 100% of everything that you have, or do you see someone who is cruising through life?

If you are just cruising through life waiting for someone else to bring your dreams to you in the middle of the night, I’m going to go ahead and tell you it is just not going to happen that way. If you want to achieve your dreams, you’re going to have to go get them for yourself. You are going to have to be consistent in everything that you do to help ensure the success you are looking for.

If you say that you have already figured out how to be consistent, then might I kindly ask you to mentor someone else so they too could hopefully achieve the same level of success. Let’s be honest; we all are consistent in our lives but the question that remains is simple. Is it a good consistent or is it a bad consistent? What are you going to do to make yourself better today than you were yesterday?
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store