Do You Know What you’re Worth?

Every painting in your local museum can be replicated.

The Louvre, one of the most famous museums in the world, is no different. Each color can be mixed to perfection, each stroke of paint can be put on an identical canvas in an identical way and aged until it is indistinguishable from the original.

So why is the original so much more valuable?

The value is in the person who made the painting.

The person who made the first painting had knowledge and experience, gained from their hard work and the work of the people they learned from. They had opinions and beliefs that shaped their view of the world. They had events in their lives they shared with no one else. They had a way of interpreting the world and universe around them that no one else had.

The painter was unique.

The same can be said about you.

Out of all the billions of people that have ever lived, you are the only you there is or has been or will ever be. Forget one in a million, you are rarer than one in a billion. That is thousands of times more precious. The amount of money you make or the respect you demand or the value you bring to your loved ones, community, or the rest of the universe only adds to that value.

Have you ever felt worthless?

Be reminded that you are valuable, even if no one in your life currently acknowledges it.

Let Your Frustrations Be Your Guide

Do you know that all those pesky robocalls you receive can be blamed on a surly undertaker?

When phones first became widely used way back in the 1880’s, there used to be thousands of people employed by the telephone companies as switchboard operators. These operators would physically change the connections of the wires at their boards to route the call to its destination.

Almon Strowger was frustrated when he found out that he was losing funeral customers to a competitor. The competing undertaker’s wife was a local switchboard operator, and had been secretly routing calls meant for Strowger’s business to her husband’s business instead. The last straw was when he found out that the funeral of one of his friends was being held by his competitor.

Wanting to cut out the crooked middleman, or middlewoman as the case had been, Strowger developed the first automatic telephone exchange. Over time, his invention and the future improvements that followed all but eliminated every switchboard operator job that existed.

Take a moment to be thankful for all the things you don’t have to do yourself because technology has simplified it for you.

Today, phone calls in the United States are measured in the billions every month. Can you imagine how many of us would have to be employed as switchboard operators to handle that volume of calls? Nothing else would get done! Though to be fair, the operators would catch most of those robocalls before they even got to you.

What currently frustrates you?

Instead of staying frustrated by it, find what you can do to solve it.

Being Overshadowed By A Cloud

My wife and I had the chance to be in Nashville for the solar eclipse to witness the totality, something I’ve never experienced before. Though a cloud obscured the sky above downtown during the totality, I still stood in wonder as the sky darkened to twilight, then dusk in the matter of seconds. The streetlights blinked on and birds began flying erratically in the air. The world seemed to quiet as the city held its breath, trying to capture the magic of the moment.

The last time I witnessed an eclipse was in second grade, and I had to work for it. With the eclipse coming, my teacher Mrs. Wallace made us all craft pinhole viewers out of shoeboxes. Each took their shoebox and angled it so the the light of the sun shone onto the back of the closed box, allowing us to safely view the “picture” it made from one side. It was explained that while it wasn’t safe to stare directly at the sun (you’ll go blind, kids!), you could safely look at its image the little pinhole created.

That lesson always stuck with me. When something big happens, I tend to look around to see what effect the event is having on the environment and the people around me. That’s why I don’t think I was cheated by having a cloud in the way during the totality. I still got to see how it affected the people and things around me.

Imagine the eclipse from the perspective of the moon. Many things had to go right for it to fully eclipse the sun to the Earth, and there were years of preparations for conditions to be just right for the perfect performance.

And then a cloud got in the way for the people in Nashville.

When you prepare and plan for an event and try to control everything so that people can see your brilliance, all too often something that cannot be controlled will “ruin” your moment or steal your thunder. Do not be discouraged and take the disruption in stride. You cannot see the full extent of your influence and do not get to see all the fruits of your labors immediately. When starting a new marketing campaign, it can take months or even years to see the full effect of the new advertisements. But you will see them. The audience may not laugh at the right time, or they may not have an earth shattering revelation that transforms their lives in a flash of glorious light radiating from their face. But they will still have listened. Your art or craft may never be more than a hobby to express yourself. But you’re still better for having shared it with existence.

Do not let the uncontrollable stop you, or even slow you down.

Even the shadow will be an experience to behold.

Shaving My Head For A Cause… A Year From Now

My father always encouraged me to be involved in supporting charitable organizations. Even if you can only give a dollar there is value in supporting events and causes you believe in. My most recent organization I’ve desired to support is Locks of Love, but I want to give them something more than just money. To this end, I will donate my hair.

This will take about a year to grow, as they require a minimum of ten inches of hair in order to create a viable wig. They also request that you do not stay out in the sun for extended periods because of the damage to your hair, as well as not perming or dyeing it, again because of the damage it does to your hair. My hair is already wavy, and I’m a computer geek so sun damage isn’t going to be a problem either.

The Beginning Of The Rest Of My Life

I was given two major pieces of advice from a very good friend and mentor of mine last year, and I’m happy to say that I followed the first bit of his advice to the letter.

Last weekend I married my best friend.

She is the one person who I can laugh with, can spend time with doing nothing and everything, and the one person who I am glad to see every day. It is Wonderland to have her by my side, and for the two of us to go on every life adventure from here on out. If we are judged by our choices, I know that this will be weighed one of the good ones for me.

I love you, Lacy Lynn Jabas, my bride.

Thank you for the excellent advice, Roy. I look forward to sharing your wisdom with others, now that I’m on the other side of the looking glass.

A Sudden Spurt Of Maturity

I’ve been asked to be a godfather and, Marlon Brando jokes aside, holy cannoli.

When the heck did I grow up?  Even the shadow of that kind of responsibility shifts your perspective of the world.  I care for the kid a great deal and want nothing more than to see him grow into a man and keep the wonder of the world that he has intact.  But to be responsible for him if the worst should happen?

I have no hesitation about my decision, but now I have one more reason I shouldn’t ride a bike into the grand canyon.  I guess that means becoming one of the first astronauts on Mars is out too.

Heh.

Life Uninterrupted

Now that I am back in the States, it stands in even greater relief how I have no free time.  No time to explore any crazy ideas, pursue interests or hobbies, or even write a few lines in this blog.  I feel stretched even thinner than when I left for Italy.

We all choose what we give up to grab hold of something new.

One Of The First Crazies

Who in the world was the first person crazy enough to look at that horizon, that endless blue barrier, and say “I am willing to risk my life and the lives of others to see if there’s something past that?” Standing here, where the water is large enough to not see the end of it, I can understand why people in ancient times thought the world was flat. It seems like such an insurmountable thing to sail into that great blue with not but a hope that you won’t die.

My question to you is, what is your great blue barrier? What is the one thing that you look at as something that cannot be crossed, cannot be changed, cannot be challenged?

And what if there’s something past it?

Are you crazy enough to risk your life to cross that barrier? Because if you are, your life will never be the same. Italy has been one of my big blue barriers. What’s yours?

Ciao.