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

By: D.A. Slinkard
I just don’t have time! Congratulations, as you have just read the sentence most often repeated with the most amount of conviction throughout the United States. I oftentimes question how long we must lie to ourselves and to others before we decide that we are going to be honest with who we actually are. For instance, I can be honest with myself that I do not want to work out. I know that I need to, but knowing what I need to do and actually doing the behavior are two different things. The great thing about this concept is that I am not alone because many other people suffer from the same prognosis.

Simply put, if it is important to us we will find a way, if not we will find an excuse. If you are an individual who finds themselves with more things to do than you have time, then might I suggest that you prioritize your life a little bit better? Some of you may be thinking that you prioritize your life just fine, but again it is time for you to be honest. If you do as good of a job as you think you do, you would be accomplishing more than you are achieving.

In the past I have touched upon the “To-Do List” but have not really expanded upon the topic until now. In the retail industry, I am oftentimes asked how or what makes the biggest impact to my success. Sadly, the majority of the people that ask this question leave the conversation feeling disappointed, as if they expected me to answer with some great philosophical strategy that would revolutionize the world. My answer is simple – I write stuff down, and I give it a number upon my list of things that I need to accomplish.

Writing things down sounds obviously easy enough to do but many people struggle with this elementary act. Something could have happened during the day that required our attention, but because we did not write it down, we forgot about it. We remembered when it was too late, and we become our own worst enemy.

If you go back to my self-discipline article, you will find where I touched on this subject, but I believe our lives need to be dominated with the words of self-discipline. I think about the term “overnight success story” and what I have found is that many times these people who have been “lucky” in life actually were very diligent in achieving their success. People fail to realize that the overnight success story was actually ten years in the making. Many times we see the end result of success and confuse it with the beginning result.

Life doesn’t work that way. I read a quote a long time ago that stated, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” Sadly though, we have become a society that thinks we can have success the easy way, somehow we can obtain great things by only working four hours per week. If people would spend as much time working hard as what they do when trying to get out of work, how much better would their life be? If these people utilized the written to-do list, they would be so fixated on what they are trying to accomplish that they would not have time to focus upon anything else.

Having success in life is about building a process of what you need to get done, making your list and then attacking said list. This is something that everyone knows they should be doing, but just like me and working out, there are a ton of people out there that cannot do what they know must be done. You have to find a way to make your list important to you and figure out ways to get beyond the hurdles that will occur in your life. I can’t tell you how many times I breeze through items one through nine but hit a mental roadblock on completing the remaining six items.

I remember an individual telling me a decade ago that they attack their to-do list by putting things they dread doing first. This person found more enjoyment from their day by attacking the “don’t want to” items first, proceeded by the tasks they enjoyed doing. Personally I was never able to get the same excitement doing it this way but to each his own. No matter what, it’s important you have a to-do list.
By: D.A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
What kind of support system do you have? What kind of people do you have to lift you up when it feels the weight of the world is against you? If you cannot answer these questions, then why are you trying to go at life alone? Life is all about having the right support system. Take your house, for instance, in which the wrong support system leaves you living in a home with a weak foundation. The storm comes and then you see how well you can pray! Yes, I said pray.

Sadly, we live in a world that is afraid of offending someone, and we have backed ourselves into our little Christian corner with no way out, as we are surrounded in a world of sin. It amazes me how quickly our society has changed even in my lifetime, and I think about the Good Book and the scripture of Hebrew 13:8 which states, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” If it was an abomination to God 2,000 years ago, then according to Hebrews 13:8, it’s an abomination today!

I write all of that to come full circle to the support system. The first part of that support system begins with having God in your life and the relationship you build with the man upstairs. A few articles back, I wrote about having the right priorities, and in having the right priorities, it is imperative to make sure you have the right people surrounding you. The business books I read tend to suggest that if you want to know the character of a person, just look at the five main people they hang out with.

I’m just going to say that these books haven’t been wrong, as they have been pretty accurate when it comes to depicting the character of an individual. I’m writing this to suggest that either you need to reconsider who is surrounding you or you need to get some people to surround yourself with. I’ve been surprised at the number of people who try to go at life alone without seeking out the guidance of others.

For myself, my support system starts with God and then it goes to my wife. I can tell you that if I am in the dog house, then my demeanor changes and before anyone gets any ideas, I am not blaming my wife. I take full responsibility for the idiotic words that spew out of my mouth. Folks, I get in the dog house because I deserve to be in the dog house. Once I get out of the penalty box and I’m back in the good grace of my wife, my demeanor once again changes.

What I’m saying is that if you are not lifting each other up, then truly you’re just tearing each other apart. So make your spouse a part of your support system because they play more of an instrumental part of your success than you realize. Besides, if you are not lifting up your spouse, then you have a foundation that is weak. Maybe this is why 50% of all marriages now end in divorce.

The next portion of my support system would be Nick Garcia. He is a co-worker that happens to be the store manager for another location within Staples. However, I am able to bounce ideas off of him because he understands the work atmosphere. The next person who is a part of your support system needs to be someone from within your industry. This person can either be a mentor or a friend, and when I say mentor/friend, let me clarify something. Your support system needs to be with members of the same sex because mixing the two sexes on this type of support system tends to hurt the support system with your spouse. Ladies, gentlemen, just don’t do it.

The next portion of my support system comes down to my neighbor Billy Taylor and my father-in-law Denny Urhahn. They have seen the sunrise and sunset more than me, and they have something that I have not yet gathered. They have life experiences that I don’t have because they have lived longer, and we can all learn from those older than us. We need to humble ourselves to make ourselves ready to learn, ready to use a support system.

I challenge you to either reignite your support system or start up one and see how it changes your life. Remember, you’re only as good as the five closest people who surround you!
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
If I could tell you how to achieve everything in life that you wanted to achieve, would I have your attention? Obviously I do, as you’re on to sentence number two, and this article is going to be about getting the things in life you want. Sometimes we get what we didn’t want because we weren’t clear enough on what our actions should be to obtain our heart’s desire.

Too often in life we have bad things happen to good people all because of their inability to act fast enough. Businesses go under because they cannot sell products fast enough in quantities great enough to keep the creditors at bay. Success in life is all about taking the right action to achieve that which is important to us.

I’m going to ask you, “What is it that you are wanting to achieve with your life?” Go ahead and think about this one question and really dig deep for your answer. Now with the answer firmly within your mind, I want to ask you, “What has been holding you back from achieving your desired outcome?”

Studies from the Napoleon Hill Institute suggest that 95% of the world population is comprised of people walking around life with no purpose. I was taken aback by this number, but then it made sense why the richest 1% of the world holds as much wealth as the rest of the world combined.

This is not an article bashing the 1%, because honestly who wouldn’t want to be in that category for financial wealth? Regardless though, the secret to separating yourself from the 95% walking around without a purpose is to learn how to find your purpose through this article. I want you to think about your life and the energy it takes to make it through each day.

Now I want you to picture a rudder on a boat, and if that rudder becomes lost while out in the Tennessee River, the boat begins circling around. Eventually you’re going to run out of fuel. But keep in mind you had enough energy (fuel) to get back to shore; however, because your rudder (purpose) was lost, you didn’t obtain success. Your boat and your life were just going in circles.

What you need to do to find your “definite purpose” in life begins by answering the following four questions. Your answers should be deliberate and with a purpose because otherwise you’re doing the same thing you’ve always done, and you’re gonna get the same results you’ve always gotten. Here we go:

1.) Decide your definite purpose in life.
2.) Write out a clear statement of this purpose.
3.) Write a plan for how you will obtain the object of your purpose.
4.) Create an accountability group of like-minded individuals, which is also known as a “mastermind” group, to help you achieve your goals.

You have two options when it comes to answering these questions: You can fly through them and see how quickly you complete the assignment, which will have you walking away feeling much the same way you did prior to the exercise. You’ll rush through it and miss the entire purpose, seeing no benefit. The alternative way to handle this is to take some time to really reflect upon the questions, and be sincere in answering the questions listed.

I say sincere because after all, this is your future self you are writing this for. This exercise is for who you will become, not for who you are in this very moment. The hardest part is truly finding what that definite purpose in life is, because we have too many external factors that dictate what we think we should be going after. Your definite purpose in life only holds meaning for you. It holds no weight for your parents, for your spouse, for your brother or sister, just you. Be honest with yourself when you write out the answers to these questions.

You want to write the answer to the first question and keep it in a place you can see it every day. You will need daily affirmation of what your purpose is to help achieve it. You will want to utilize your mastermind group to help you stay on course. You want to allow them to be your rudder when yours gets lost along the journey. You will find your true self when you find your definite purpose and in doing so will separate yourself from the other 95%.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
I have a confession to make that has been bothering me for the past two hours after I made the decision to do my horrendous act. Let me go ahead and get this off my chest so I can go about my day. It all happened on Saturday, August 26th about 9am CST as I was leaving the soccer fields after having a great practice with my team that I coach. I saw an individual I knew and quickly greeted him and when he kindly obliged my greeting that is when it happened.

I lied to him when he asked me how I was doing as I replied with, “I’m living the dream.” Are you kidding me? As soon as the words had no more than left my lips I was ready to vomit. What does that phrase, “living the dream” even mean and why would I utter such a lie? I immediately thought about how many other people lie to their friends, to their families and even to themselves by telling the lie that they are living the dream.

The truth is, I am not living the dream as I am on a continual search to be a better person today than I was yesterday. I am willing to go out on a limb and suggest that all the other people out there who say they are living the dream, well, they’re lying too. If you cannot be honest with yourself then who can you be honest with?

If you have been lying to yourself and uttering that you have been living the dream when you actually haven’t been; might I suggest the buck stop here. What are we going to do about it? I suggest we change the way we think about how we are going to attack life. Yes, attack life and do so with a purpose.

The best-selling book of all time tells us in Proverbs chapter 29 verse 18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” What kind of vision do you have in your life? Are you living a life that is thriving or one that is barely surviving? If you are barely getting by then how can you lie to yourself and say you are living the dream?

What does your vision look like for your life? How do we go about getting that vision the Bible talks about so we do not perish? With anything in life if we have no purpose for what we are doing then we will not find the success that we so desperately want. I do not know of anyone that sets intentionally to be mediocre yet too many of us approach our days and our lives with the “average” mindset.

My wife and I went to that average restaurant to eat. My friend was telling me about that average movie he saw with average actors. Do we rant and rave about average things in our life? No, yet somehow we all have this notion what the average life should be. 2 ½ kids, white picket fence, dog barking in the backyard, that’s the average dream that was preached growing up.

Truth be told is we do not even know what average is today because if you look at life we have a divorce rate greater than 50% of married couples. We have kids growing up without dads and moms being a part of their life. This average life does not sound appealing to me at all yet everyday we have friends, family members, even ourselves, falling for the average gimmick.

That folks is all it is, average, is nothing but a gimmick. You wouldn’t tell your kids to go make average grades in school yet our actions tell our kids to go live average lives. Why? It’s time that we practice in our own lives what we preach in our kid’s lives. Go be GREAT, and leave the average to someone else so they can be delusional and think that average is a good thing. It is a horrible thing and you should do everything in your power to gain that vision of how your life needs to be.

If you don’t, that dream you thought you were living is going to turn into a nightmare. You’ll be living the dream but it will be someone else’s dream. Either you can create the vision for your life or someone else will create their vision for you. GBG- Go Be Great and forget about being average.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store