The Blind Spot

Posted in Funny, Motivational, Relationships

Blind Spot dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coachI was teaching in an elementary school recently and having a discussion with a young boy about his homework assignment.  I noticed he was looking intently at my face.  He suddenly blurted out, “Ewwwww….you have HAIR in your nose!”  LOL.  It is a good thing I was not drinking my coffee because we both would have been drenched at that point. I said, “Buddy, you do too. Everyone has hair in their nose.” He shook his head in disbelief.  I am sure he was going to have a chat with Mom about that one when he got home. Hope she was not drinking coffee when he told her.

Isn’t that just human nature?  We tend to see flaws in others and never think it might apply to ourselves. I know for me because I am a writer it is very easy to pick out grammatical errors in the writing of others.  However, I know for a fact that I often don’t see the same mistakes in my own writing. I can’t explain it, but I guess that is why most writers require an editor before publishing. We know what we are saying and somehow overlook the structure or grammar problems in our own work.

I think it must be a defense mechanism that is built in naturally, but it is not necessarily a good thing. We can’t seem to see ourselves as others see us. That explains how people can struggle with things like anorexia. They see themselves as overweight and yet they are thin as rails.

To really “see” yourself clearly, there are a few things you can do to clear your vision:

  • First and foremost, you have to admit you have blind spots. If you can’t admit that, then don’t read any further. If you don’t think you have any, ask someone who loves you to tell you the truth. I have a feeling you will be surprised.
  • Ask people who know and love you to let you know when you are getting off the right path. It does not matter what it is, you just need someone who will speak the truth to you in love, not just tell you what you want to hear.
  • When you find yourself focusing on the faults of others, it is time to rewind and look in the mirror. Find the beam in your own eye before you start removing the spec from your brother’s eye. It is a lot less hypocritical if a huge beam is not sticking out of your own eye. Right?

Clearly seeing yourself can be both enlightening and disheartening at the same time. Sometimes we have faults that are toxic to ourselves as well as to others. You have probably known people who struggle with addictions. If they can’t break the addiction on their own, they need professional help. If you have a friend or a loved-one who is an addict, the worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. The second worst thing that hurts is when you enable them.

If you have a tender heart, I know how hard it is hard to confront and how easy it is to enable, but I guess that is what is needed: “tough love.” True love is willing to say no. It is willing to intervene. It makes the difficult decision that goes against your heart’s cry and the cries of those you are enabling. Really loving someone is making a decision for them that they can’t make for themselves.

P.S. Now that I am painfully aware of my nose hair, I have purchased a trim kit. It is the least thing I can do to minimize the trauma on the kids I encounter.


Dan Skognes

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Posted in Funny, Motivational, Relationships

Superman Badge dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach

The other day I had the opportunity to teach in an elementary school, and it was my job to fill in for a variety of classes throughout the day. The first class I went in to was pretty rowdy.  I think they had several bowlfuls of Captain Crunch before school started. One of the little boys came and showed me a paperback book on The Adventures of Indiana Jones.  He asked me if I had ever read it.  I said, “I AM Indiana Jones.”  LOL.  His eyes got wide and he asked, “Really?”  Then he declared to the class that I was Indiana Jones!  From that moment on, I had their attention.

One little boy asked me if he could have my whip.  I said, “No, how would I fight the bad guys if I ran out of bullets?” Then he asked for my hat.  I said, “No, how would I keep my head warm? And besides…it makes me look cool.”  LOL.

They asked me who was my favorite superhero.  I told them Superman.  I always wanted to be him when I was growing up.  The next thing I know this kid hands me a Superman badge to wear that he had made for me. I proudly wore it over my name badge the rest of the day. I got to be my superhero all day long. How cool was that?

Another class had this girl who was celebrating her birthday. In this class the birthday person wore a tiara (like what you see in beauty pageants). I asked her if I could see it. Immediately a chorus went up from the kids, “Put it ON! Put it ON!”  I asked them, “You want to make your teacher look ridiculous?” “Yes!” they shouted. So…I put it on.  I forgot they all had IPads with cameras! It sounded like a bunch of paparazzi rushing to get a photo of a star. They were hooting and hollering over that silly photo.  Then their regular teacher came back.  LOL. She asked me if they had behaved, and I said yes because they really had been good kids. Then they showed her the photo and she laughed too.  They got a good photo of her laughing at my picture.

One of the girls I taught that day came to me immediately as the class began and informed me in a whiney voice, “I have a headache.”  I looked at her sympathetically and asked back in a whiney voice, “Does it help when you whine?” Her eyes widened, she smiled back at me, laughed, and shook her head no. I asked her if she wanted to go to the Doctor, but she was ok.  I suspect she did not get enough sleep or had too much Captain Crunch and was crashing from the Crunch. By the end of the period she was not 100%, but she was at least talking with some of the other kids and feeling better.

Here is what I learned that day:

  • To speak with kids, if you want to capture their imagination, talk their language. Whatever it is THEY are interested in, you have to be able to talk about it with them. You don’t have to KNOW about it, just be willing to TALK about it. Of course, if you KNOW about it you have a lot more credibility.
  • It is OK to pretend. Kids get that. Adults seem to have lost that gift for the most part.
  • Never forget that whatever you do or say is likely to be captured on camera. We live in a digital age, so think before you decide to do something stupid, like wear a tiara.
  • If you are sick, don’t whine. In fact, if you are feeling good, don’t whine. Nobody wants to hear it and it does not make others feel sorry for you, so stop it. When a whiner hears someone whine back to them, it IS pretty funny.
  • Kids are a lot like old people, they just say what is on their mind. I think that is why I get them.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

Money dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coachEverybody needs it.  Everybody wants it. It is like air in that it is pretty hard to live without it. One thing I know for sure is that money reveals character. Whether you have a lot or whether you have a little does not matter in relation to character.  What matters is how you handle it and how you feel about it because that reveals the real you.

There was a show when I was growing up that was called The Millionaire.  It was a cool TV series where an extremely wealthy man would find someone in great need and give them a million bucks. I think we all have fanaticized about THAT happening. There were no strings, but how they responded to the immediate wealth was fascinating; some turned out very well and some not so good. Their true selves were revealed in how they responded.

Most recently there was a show on TV called The Briefcase. It was a short-lived series where some middle-class family was given a briefcase containing $100,000. They were told they could keep it all, give part of it away, or give all of it to another family that was as needy as they were…possibly even needier. They were given clues over a period of days as to what the other family was like and the depth of their need. At the end of a few days they had to make their final decision. What they were NOT told was that the other family had also been given $100,000! They were in the same boat about what to keep and what to give away. It was fun to watch and interesting to see how people changed as they came to grips with the decision they had to make. It was an agonizing time and they often vacillated back and forth before they made their final decision.

I know we need money, but do I want to put my trust in it? No. In fact, our currency tells us who we need to trust. “In God We Trust” is printed on it, but do we do that? Unfortunately, often we don’t. Even though we know God is there for us and with us, even though He has our best interests at heart, and even though He has done many things to bless us before…we succumb to fear.  When there is lack of money the danger is that money becomes our god, and we may find ourselves doing things that are less than intelligent in hind-site.

Money, by the way, is not evil. Many people misquote the Bible when it comes to money.  It is the “love” of money that is the root of all sorts of evil. When we worship and love money, we are headed for some very hard lessons that will be painful and possibly fatal. It would be interesting to know how many people are depressed or have committed suicide over it. I think we would be shocked if we knew the depth of the problem.

We will only know peace when we learn to be content regardless of what we have or don’t have. Think about it: if we are always chasing the dollar, how can we ever truly be at peace. We need to chase God and pursue Him with all our heart. When we step into our God-given destiny the money will take care of itself.  Will we still be tested? Absolutely! God will continue to peel away the layers to reveal Himself to us and reveal any flaws which we might still be holding on to.

Money is a terrible taskmaster to serve. It is unloving, unkind, and without feeling. In reality, money is just a tool. We can use it or abuse it. We can steward it, or we can worship it. We have to decide where we stand in relation to God and money. We cannot serve both. So…who will you serve? I am putting my faith and trust in God.


Dan Skognes

When Your Back Is Against The Wall

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

When Your Back Is Against The Wall dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coachIf you live long enough, you will face a no win situation. This is where your options are few, and none of the outcomes are favorable. It is a tough situation because if you make the wrong decision it could end up costing you financially, relationally, or even cost you your life. Have I got your attention?  Good.

What do you do when your back is against the wall and you don’t know what to do? I will tell you what I have found that works. It may sound counter-intuitive, and it is.  It may go against how you feel, but I will explain why this makes perfect sense. Here is what I have learned:

  • When you don’t know what to do, hit your knees and pray. If it is a major decision it is a good idea to fast and pray. There is something about fasting that helps focus your thoughts and sharpen your senses.
  • Don’t trust your heart. I have made so many wrong decisions because I trusted my heart. The Bible says the heart is deceitfully wicked, who can know it? Yet…many people seem to make snap decisions with their hearts instead of really thinking through the consequences. Don’t trust your feelings.
  • Listen to that still small voice. You know what I am talking about. It is that voice inside that tells you, “You are making a big mistake. Stop!” Listen to that warning. If you are married, both of you need to be in agreement.  If one of you has a gut-check, don’t do it. You will save yourself a lot of grief if you will not move forward when you hear that voice.
  • Here is the hardest part: wait on God. This is counter-intuitive and goes against everything we see and feel.  But…here is the truth: God’s timing is perfect. He is always on time, but it is in His time. Do you trust Him? If you do, then wait.  If you don’t, then ask Him to give you the faith you need to sustain you through the trials you face. Waiting on God is not passive.  It does not mean you sit back and eat bonbons all day. You actively seek, knock, and then wait on God to open “the right door.”

Proverb 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean NOT on your own understanding (God’s ways are not our ways). In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and he WILL direct your paths.” As the old hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way…to be happy in Jesus…but to trust and obey.” Hebrews 11:6 says: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Psalm 119:105 says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.” Read God’s word, trust Him, put Him first in all you do…and He will direct you. Be willing to wait for what is best. The bottom line is, we HAVE to trust God. The good news is that He is trustworthy.


Dan Skognes