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

By: D. A. Slinkard
Have you ever taken the time to notice how much we blame other people for our own downfalls? Turn on the news, open a newspaper or listen to the conversations from the local coffee shops, it seems that someone is blaming someone else for the pitfalls of our world, of our country and our society. To me, it seems we lack accountability on all fronts. I’m not turning this into a political diatribe, but I will say that the next time we go to point fingers at someone else, we need to realize we have three fingers pointing right back at us.

As I reflected on the accountability sentiments, I started seeing our societal demise coming to fruition all in that word, accountability. There was the friend who was rushing home from work because a work conference lasted longer than it should have. He was caught speeding and felt that the ticket he received wasn’t his fault but was the sole result of his boss being long-winded. Wrong way of thinking.

I was at a store the other night and heard a customer blame the cashier because the customer left her debit card at the checkout. Excuse me? How is the debit card being left at the checkout the cashier’s fault when the debit card being used has the chip? The customer was at fault, not the hourly cashier. Again, wrong way of thinking.

I listened as a small child blamed her parent for the bad grade she received on a school art project because the parent didn’t buy the right crayons. Again, wrong way of thinking. Did the parent correct the child and teach about that word accountability? Nope, and once again, we have the wrong way of thinking.

The examples are endless when it comes to accountability or the lack thereof. What we must do is begin to take control of our lives and realize that we are responsible for the life we have and the life we don’t have. Everything that we have gotten thus far in life is because of what we have and have not done. We cannot blame others for our failures when we are the ones that are responsible, yet too many people have the wrong way of thinking.

Now it’s your turn. Have you been placing blame onto others that you really need to take personal responsibility for? We are all guilty of this, but we must first realize there is an issue. When we are able to lift ourselves up beyond the point of blaming others, we are able to hold ourselves accountable for what happens and doesn’t happen in our life.

I truly believe that if we want success in certain areas of our life, there are two things that need to happen. We need to hold ourselves accountable for the results we get, and we need to become obsessed with what we want to achieve. I was reading a Tony Robbins’ book recently and a quote that stood out to me was, “there is no such thing as failures in life. There is only results.” I have to admit that I really, really liked that quote because of how true the statement is. If we are having success we don’t want to change a thing in how we are going about our business.

However, if things are going bad we are quick to look at things in terminology of success and failure. Not true. If we are not getting the results we want, then we must change the way we go about our business. Examining what works and what doesn’t work enables us to hold ourselves accountable for our results.

The next part is the truly fun part, and that is becoming obsessed about that which we desire. If you want success in a particular area then you must become obsessed with that area. The last article was about defining your priorities and this is no different. Think about how successful your priorities will be when you become obsessed with them?
How many times do we treat what we want to be successful at as merely a hobby? Are we going to have success? Are we going to be motivated to hold ourselves accountable? To find success in what is important to you, you must learn to become obsessed with becoming the best. When you have that obsession to succeed, you will no longer have to worry about whether or not you will hold yourself accountable.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
What’s the differences between successful people and unsuccessful people? What separates the one from the other? What makes one group standout from the other group? How can a person down on their luck turn their life around? I have written before that success means different things to different people. In my studies, I’ve found the one thing people struggle with in finding their so-called success is they do not know their priorities and what matters most to them.

In the last article, I wrote about seizing the day and this made me think about what struggles a person might have that would prevent them from being able to achieve their goals. Many of us know what needs to be done; we know what actions need to be taken yet we still fail to properly prioritize our life in order to achieve high levels of success.

Life is about balance. Life is about properly nurturing our bodies, our minds, our familial relationships and even our work relationships. Sounds easy enough, but too often we do great at one thing and fail miserably at another. There are some people who do great with their home life and struggle at their work life or vice versa. How do we maximize on all levels?

Going back to the word priorities, what do we need to do in order to obtain life balance? Growing up in a Christian family and being a firm believer in God, I believe the first priority in our life should be God. You may be nodding your head in agreement right now as you read this, but let me ask you a question that was even tough for me. Do you really make God priority number one? Many times I fail here but guess what, the first step is to admit the problem.

The next priority on your list should be your family, and if you’re married, it should definitely be your spouse. I hear people all the time who say their kids are their main priority. These are married people saying this, and I think maybe this could be one of the problems with their marriage. My wife and I have two beautiful girls (not allowed to date until they are 35 years old), and even though we may fight because I said or did something dumb, regardless though, for our marriage to work, I must put her as priority number two. There have been times she hasn’t been number two and that’s shame on me. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing to your spouse and if so, what are you going to do differently about it?

Priority number three then goes to your children and the importance of instilling discipline and respect into their daily lives. Discipline and respect are two words that are missing from many vocabularies of our youth. Parents, realize the importance of priority number three and build up our future leaders.

Priority number four now becomes our work. I’m guilty of putting this ahead of priority number three, number two and even at times number one. Hard to admit it, but very liberating even though I put myself out there. It is okay to admit we have faults even though we live in a world of Facebook in which if everyone’s lives were as great as their status updates, there would be no need for anti-depressants in our world. Yet, life isn’t grand, it isn’t as easy as the selfie picture would lead to believe. What we don’t see is the 99 deleted pictures in our efforts to make life look perfect.

Life will never be perfect. There will be struggles, triumphs, and even tears along the way. We have one shot at life – to make the most of it. Even though we will make mistakes, we must first learn to minimize our errors.

How we do that is to take the time daily to write out our priorities in order of what is important to us. Mine is God, Mindy, my girls, work. Yours will look different because we are different. When you make your list, don’t just write down words, but include what specifically you will do that day for that priority so you can come closer to perfection.

This is how we seize the day, this is how we get our lives back on track and this is how we know at the end of the day, we have done all we could possibly do for ourselves and our loved ones.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

We Must Seize The Day

By: D. A. Slinkard
I realized an important aspect of life after a recent visit with my mom — it stops for no one. My mom suffers from dementia and it is devastating for the individual and the surrounding family members who feel the strain of seeing the person and the impact the disease has on their loved one. I was rushed with so many memories from years past that I knew I couldn’t speak with her about them because she simply didn’t have the ability to remember to way back when.

Though I hold tight to the many memories of my youth, with the involvement of my mom and the role she played in my early years, I know that they are just that, memories. I understand now that I cannot get back today what I took for granted yesterday. How many more of us are facing this cold, hard reality today?

We never know what the future holds for us and we know not what success and failures lie ahead in our lives as time unfolds before us. Seeing my mom living in a shell of who she was really tugged on an emotional string for me and made me realize that I want to live my life to the fullest because there may come a day when the only thing to hold on to is the memories that others have for us.

Though I write this article today, there is a chance that she has no recollection of my visit or me telling her that I love her. Instantly the Latin words “carpe diem” or “seize the day” are prevalent to me as I understand the approach that is necessary for all of us to achieve success in our lives. How many times do we say, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” and it turns out that was the biggest lie we told ourselves today?

Why continue the strings of lies? Tony Robbins once said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Yet we, as humans, are creatures of habit who continue to do what we have always done before. This is where we must decide to go a different route, change the course our lives are headed and set out in a new direction.

We must seize the day and take a full blitz approach to the way we live life. There may be a time in which we cannot recall how things used to be but we can impact how things are for us today. How do we make this impact? We must cutout the distractions that currently plague us. I want you to think about the distractions you have on a daily basis. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I’m going to just check Facebook” and the next thing you realize hours have passed by.

Maybe you think I’m going to just check the news or see what email just came through and now your entire day has been thrown off course because you allowed yourself to get distracted. Seize the day. What steps can you take to make the most of your life? Another big lie that I hear is, “I just don’t have time.” We all have 168 hours in a week, and some do what others cannot do. Why? If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to accomplish it. If it’s not, you’ll make an excuse.

The difficulty comes into not making an excuse. It goes back to the biggest lie of doing it tomorrow. Spoiler alert- Tomorrow never comes! How we overcome this pitfall that many people face is to set out each day with a purpose. We must live each day with the purpose to seize the day. We must know what it is we want to accomplish, and we must take action. We all know what we need to do but few of us actually take the necessary action to accomplish our dreams and our goals. This proves that knowing is not enough.

Life is about action. Anyone who has ever done anything great before will tell you it required them to set their lives in motion. All it takes is knowing what needs to be done and then setting out on taking the necessary steps to put the knowing in to motion. Making a point to seize the day will keep your life headed in the right direction. Go ahead and do today instead of putting off tomorrow. Tomorrow may be Too late.
By: D. A. Slankard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

Sometimes in life, the only thing you can do is smile. Maybe you’re ready to eat at a restaurant only to find out the establishment has run out of the food you wanted. Or maybe the flight you rushed for was delayed by nearly 3 hours. Better yet, the hotel you had booked had a major pipe burst, and your room was no longer available. Possibly, you find out the news that your dog (more like a child), ruptured a disc in his back and would be paralyzed for the remainder of his life.

We have all been there when it seems like Murphy’s Law is becoming a way of life. The above-mentioned events all happened to me in the course of forty-eight hours. Talk about trying my patience! I was beyond frustrated and found myself ready to crawl back in bed, slide under the blankets, and pull them snug above my head. I have faced adversity in my life and I always seemed to handle it nonchalantly. Yet, here I was being beaten up with life, one event after another. This thing called being an “adult” was no fun for me.

I found myself being out-of-balance with life and my positive “can do” attitude was suddenly facing the test of tests. Then it happened. I met a lady who told me she was having a bad day as she found out that her uncle was suffering from cancer. It didn’t stop there, though, as she went on to tell me that her dad and her mom were also afflicted with the disease.

That stopped me in my tracks. The pity party I had already begun throwing myself suddenly meant nothing as this lady had more things to be worried about than I did. She said one thing that really resonated with me and that was, “Sometimes in life, the only thing you can do is smile.” I felt horrible for the situation she currently faces, and I felt even worse that I actually felt sorry for myself.

What we can learn from this story is that when we think we have it tough, there will always be someone else out there who has it tougher than we do. Sometimes people give up because they think there are no other options to life and they feel they are at their wits end. Truth be told, though, we should use the story above to energize us to face life’s obstacles in stride.

There’s a quote out there that says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff.” I cannot help but nod my head in agreement as I write this article. In the world of business, when we face that uphill battle we must realize that it’s not over until it’s over. Each day we must press forward and maintain the positive approach to our everyday lives. We must maintain a positive outlook even when the events unfolding around us suggest otherwise.

If you find yourself facing struggles in life, just know that someone else has it tougher than you do. What you take from this knowledge is that someone who was in a similar situation as you has also been able to persevere. Whether life is good or bad is a matter of opinion. Sometimes, being tested in life is a good thing because we are able to see how far we can go by how far we have been.

Instead of focusing in on the negatives, we need to bring the positive highlights to the forefront. We need to find the best in situations as opposed to looking at what has gone wrong. When we do, we are able to realize just how lucky we are. In fact, the things we take for granted are sometimes the very things that others set their life’s goals and dreams upon. We must count our blessings and strive to be better tomorrow than we were today.

There will always be times we feel the pressures of life, but what matters most is how we respond. We can either throw the pity party for ourselves and have others feel bad for us, or we can take the approach of the lady mentioned above and look at life and just smile. Good times, bad times, no matter the season we are in, we must realize that “Sometimes in life the only thing you can do is smile.”
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store