Gratitude and Faith

Posted in General, Motivational, Spiritual

Gratitude and Faith dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator2If you are stuck in reverse and continue to live in the past, try changing how you look at things. Be grateful for the good that happens and the blessings you have experienced. Expect good things in the future and give thanks for them now. Your attitude will dictate whether you get yourself in gear, but your faith will give you the gas to move forward and a compass to guide you. A great attitude and faith will take you to a place of peace, prosperity, and purpose. Let the past be in the past and fix your eyes on where you want to be. Appreciate what you have, and stay the course. Great things await you. Enjoy the journey.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Truth About Ourselves

Posted in General, Motivational, Relationships

The Truth About Ourselves1 dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

Why So Many People Are In Denial

The impact of not admitting your faults is devastating, inhibiting, deceitful, cruel, and complicates your life in ways that you never imagined. Come to terms with who you are. Change those things that are rude, crude, selfish, and mean. You will be a better person and you will be a lot easier to be with. Admitting your faults does not make you weak, it makes you human.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

 

Artificial Intelligence

Posted in Business, General, Motivational

Artificial Intelligence dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator.Although robots taking over would be fun to write about, this is about the dilemma of the worldwide education system. I am referring to the artificial intelligence we are holding as the gold standard in education. This is the problem: Everyone seems content to teach to the test.

If you are new to education or perhaps a parent, you may be unaware of this issue, but it is alive and pervasive in education. Standards are set with expectation that certain levels of achievement much be achieved in order to graduate to the next level. The intent is good but the method is flawed. What is lacking is helping kids identify their passion and use that to fulfill their purpose in life. Isn’t that a fundamental desire of everyone on this planet? We all have that burning question: Why am I here?

I do not argue against the 3 r’s. We need to read, write, and be able to do math. What I have issue with is mandating courses regardless of interest or natural talent. We do give latitude when kids get to high school, but that is too late. Think about the millions of dollars that are wasted every year with kids going to college and then deciding after one, two, or three years or more that they took the wrong path and basically need to start over. How many kids finish college every year without a clue about who they are and what they are good at? Too many.

What I am suggesting is that we need to be helping kids identify their natural abilities and then encourage them and their parents to help that seed grow. We are doing a disservice to children to use cookie cutter approaches and neglect to teach them the very basic thing that will help them in life: How to learn. At early ages, much of learning takes place through play. Children learn basic social skills, rules of games, how to be competitive, how to win, and how to lose. Why have adults forgot to have fun in learning? Play is still an incredibly effective way to learn, regardless of age.

Along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, we need to add responsibility, reasoning, and relationships.  We need to inject emotional intelligence into our artificial intelligent world. We have to help kids discover very early on who they are and then encourage them to use their God-given talents in whatever they want to do in life. When they learn what their talents are and use them, they will come alive and fulfill their destiny…and that is what we all want, isn’t it?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

 

Shifting Sand

Posted in General

House hangs off cliff

There is a proverb that says a man built his house on shifting sand.  The winds came and the house collapsed.  Another man built his house on solid rock.  When the winds came, it withstood the storm.

This proverb could apply to building a house, building a business, or building a relationship.  If there is not a firm foundation, it is going to collapse when the storms come, and as you know, in life…the storms WILL come.

What can you do to build a firm foundation?

  • Don’t take shortcuts.  Whether you are building something physically or emotionally, take the time necessary and use quality ingredients.  If you are building something physically, the foundation is the most important piece of the structure. Make sure it is properly mixed, properly cured, and adequate in width and depth. If it is a relationship, the foundation of any relationship is made up of trust, respect, and love.  If you have that as a foundation, it can stand any storm that life might throw at you.  Take one of the elements out, and it is likely to fall.
  • Don’t be deceived by the lure of the sand. I recently watched a million dollar house be burned to the ground because it was built on a cliff, and the ground below eventually gave way.  The house was going to fall into the lake, so it had to be burned to the ground to protect boaters.  What a tragedy that a structural engineer was not brought in to test the land first and see if it would stand the test of time. Insurance did not cover it because proper precautions were not taken. What a lesson to learn.  Talk about learning something the HARD way!
  • Have you ever seen a business that could not stand because it lacked a firm foundation?  There is a reason that most businesses fail in the first five years.  Lack of vision, lack of focus, lack of resources all contribute to the demise of thousands of businesses every year. Everyone goes into a business with great expectations of success, yet few are prepared for the storms. No business will make it without clear vision for where they are going. It takes great fortitude to not let the setbacks sink the ship or get you off course.  Stay on course, and make sure you have the provisions to see you through the storm.  Having a good crew is critical to success.  Few people make it solo in this day and age.
  • The cornerstone is the most critical piece of a solid foundation.  The reason it is so important is that it is the first stone set in the foundation, and all others take their place in accordance with it. If it is not aligned properly, everything else will be askew.  Make sure your cornerstone (physical or relational) is properly aligned.

May your foundations be firm, blessed, and secure.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Is There Anything That Duct Tape And WD40 Can’t Fix?

Posted in General

Is There Anything That Duct Tape And WD40 Cant Fix dan skognes insurance finance investments motivation blogger speaker entrepreneur

There is a joke in my house that I am “Mr. Fix-it.”  I have a talent for taking something apart and not knowing how to put it together again, or putting it together and it working worse than before….or not at all.  I call it a “gift.”  LOL

If you have this gift, you will be smart to remember that a call to the plumber or electrician is much cheaper and a lot less frustrating in the end.

I learned a long time ago what my limitations were.  I just am not mechanically minded.  I don’t do plumbing, electrical work, or handle large equipment.  I really tested fate when I used a chain saw to chop up some tree limbs we cut down.  Thank God I still have all MY limbs.

I love Duct Tape and WD40.  They are two multipurpose products that just beg to be tried for something you need bound together or loosened apart.  One binds, one loosens.  How simple is that? Depending on what state you are from, you just might be using Duct Tape for about everything from holding on your bumper to taping your commode in place.

Now personally, that is where I draw the line.  I am not going to have tape on my bumper or my commode, I won’t wear a costume of duct tape, and I won’t be wrapping gifts with it.

Many years ago I bought my parents an expensive clock from Germany for their home.  It finally quit running, so my dad got the WD40 out and doused the insides of the clock.  I was MORTIFIED that he would do that.  I would have taken it to a clock store and had someone look at it to see what was wrong, but you know what?  It worked.  All I could do was laugh about it after the fact.

I have since used the tape to hold more than a few things that were in need of repair, and the WD40 is simply amazing at what it will loosen.  I found out it even takes off the tar that gets on my car when going over recently repaired roads.  How cool is that?

I also found out that there are Duct Tape and WD40 in Heaven. Matthew 18:18 says:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

You gotta love that!  Even God uses Duct Tape and WD40!  LOL.

P.S.  IMPORTANT NOTE: You are not supposed to put WD40 on your wife.

1st Corinthians 7:27 says:

“Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed.”  Apparently the Duct Tape is OK.

If she balks at the tape, don’t call me.  Take it up with God.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

When Is Right Wrong?

Posted in General, Relationships

When Is Right Wrong dan skognes insurance finance investments motivation blogger speaker entrepreneur (320x200)

If you are left-handed, you know that the world was not made for you. It first dawned on me in grade school when I sat at my desk.  It was obviously made for a right-handed person.  Then the spiral on the notebook was on the wrong side.  And when I wrote left to right, I always got ink or pencil marks on the bottom of my hand!

We lefties have a joke that says, “At least we are in our right mind,” which technically is true.  That kind of irritates me though.  The right side of my brain controls my left side.  I can’t get away from it. Sheesh!

They say that left-handed people are more creative, and that is probably true.  We HAVE to be. We drive on the left side of the road, but we yield RIGHT of way. GRRRRR.

If you are a conservative, guess which side you are on? Right!  When you say the Pledge of Allegiance, which hand do you place over your heart? Right!  If you think outside the box, they say you are “Out in left field.”  And that is not a compliment.

Even in the Bible the left symbolized the dark side.  When God separates the good from the bad, guess which side the bad ones go on??? Left! Guess which side of God Jesus sits on?  Right!

We are “left” out, but it is “right” on.

Historically, the left side, and subsequently left-handedness, was considered negative. The word “left” itself derives from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, meaning “weak.”

The Latin adjective sinister/sinistra/sinistrum originally meant “left” but took on meanings of “evil” or “unlucky” by the classical Latin era, and this double meaning survives today, and in the English word “sinister”.

Even the word “ambidexterity” reflects the bias. Its intended meaning is “skillful on both sides”. However, since it keeps the Latin root dexter, which means “right”, it ends up conveying the idea of being “right-handed at both sides”.

In Sanskrit, the word “वाम” (waama) stands for both “left” and “wicked.

A “left-handed compliment” is considered one that is unflattering or dismissive in meaning.

I remember stories of people not much older than me that had to learn to be right-handed!  Their teachers thought that being left-handed was wrong and they were doing them a favor by teaching them the “right way.”  At least I was spared that.

About 15% of the population is estimated to be left-handed.  I am not sure what causes it.  I had two brothers, both left-handed, and my sister and parents right-handed.  Go figure.

I am not really complaining about the biases against lefties.  It is what it is.  Unfortunately, when someone says “It is what it is,” it is never a good thing….but apparently it is the “right” thing.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Jackson

Posted in General, Motivational, Relationships

Jackson - dan skognes insurance finance motivation blogger speaker entrepreneur

Jackson was a rescue dog.  He was to be put down within a day of him being rescued.  He was not a puppy. He was a large dog, and a mixed breed on top of that; so the odds were not in his favor that anyone would take him.

Fortunately for Jackson, my Grandson listened to his Aunt (who has worked with a lot of animals), and took Jackson home.  He is probably the best dog I have been around.  I have two dogs of my own, Laila, a boxer, and Molly, a Lhasa-poo.  They are sweet and I love them a lot…but Jackson is special.

He is not even my dog, but I feel in a way that he is.  When I first met Jackson, he just took to me.  He loved me for no special reason.   I can’t explain it, but he just wants to be around me.  He likes sitting next to me and loves it when I give him attention.  He is very needy that way…LOL…but I admit it.  I love him.  He follows me everywhere I go.

Our daughter and son-in-law take good care of Jackson, but even they are a little shocked at how much Jackson loves me.  When we are dog sitting and he is spending a few days with us, they sometimes have to encourage him to leave!  He look at me as if to say, “Is it ok for me to go with them?”  LOL.  That does NOT go over especially well with them, by the way.

Jackson has a unique trait.  EVERYONE loves him.  He has a disposition that is magnetic.  He makes people smile, and they love his eyes.  They are multi-colored.  We are not sure what breed he is, but probably part Greyhound and part Catahoula.

Jackson is one of those dogs that looks like he is smiling.  He has a happy face.  He loves to play, to ride in the car and go anywhere.  He loves to go for walks…and especially to go to the dog park.  He just likes being around people and their dogs. He loves taking naps, and loves playing with the toys.  He especially likes getting the squeaker out of the toys. That almost sounds like a profile for a dating site.  He loves long walks on the beach and romantic times by the fireplace, too.  LOL.

He is very smart, and knows how to figure things out. If you hide a toy in something, he will work on it until he gets it.  He does not get upset or discouraged. He just finds a way to get what he wants.

A few things Jackson has modeled for me:

  • Love everyone.  He never meets a stranger.
  • Love people just because.  He only wants to love and be loved.
  • Enjoy the day.  The simple things we do matter.  Take joy in the simple things.
  • Smile a lot.  It makes other people smile when you are happy. They want what you have. Wag your tail (only if you are a dog…LOL).
  • The one dog you may be overlooking at the pound just may turn out to be the best dog in the world for you.  It does not matter what breed, how old they are, or how large they are.  Look into their eyes…and into their heart.  You will know when you see it.
  • Jackson did not know he was one day away from meeting his Maker.  We don’t know when our time is going to come either.  Live each day like it is your last.
  • Pursue what you really want, and don’t give up!

I fondly refer to Jackson as “My Son.”  He is not mine, but he sure has made his impression on my heart.  So, in a way, he IS mine. He is a good boy!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Signs You Are Getting Old

Posted in General, Relationships

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There is nothing good about getting old.  Seriously.  I don’t like it.  It dawned on me when I went back to my college homecoming that I was part of the club.  When I was in school I remember seeing all the “old people” come to homecoming.  The funny thing is, when I went back to homecoming not long ago, I still saw all the “old people.”  Somehow I had missed looking in the mirror.  

I started thinking about some of the things old people have in common:

  • They begin sentences with, “I remember when we didn’t have a ______________.”
  • Their backs go out more than they do.
  • Their teeth are like the stars, they come out every night.
  • Hair grows in all the wrong places.
  • Hair is missing from all the right places.
  • They look forward to watching Wheel of Fortune every night.
  • They get excited about Sr. Citizen Discounts.
  • The schedule that used to be filled with work is now filled with activities with the grandkids and being a baby sitter or chauffeur.
  • They have discovered that the naps they dreaded as children are now their friend.
  • They have a hard time watching an entire movie without dozing off.
  • They are less fashion conscious and tend to have their “favorite” outfits that usually have holes in them or paint on them.
  • They have a morbid curiosity to see who is in the obituary each day.
  • Their memory is fading on what they did today, but they can tell you what they did 30 years ago in great detail.
  • They shrink.
  • They long for “The good old days.”
  • They will just blurt out what is on their mind without any forethought and people just forgive them because they are “old.”
  • They break wind when they feel like it.
  • They tell you the same story for the hundredth time.
  • They see people that are in their 50’s as young.

There are just way too many things on this list that I can identify with, and I don’t like it one bit.  Now if I could just remember when I left my glasses. 

Here is to all of my Senior friends.  May your days be as long as your memory allows. May they be filled with laughter, peace, and of course…..Wheel…………….Of…………..Fortune.  How old is Vanna White anyway???  She is like the female Dick Clark.  She does not seem to age. I want a job like hers.  I know I could touch the letters that are called just as good as she does.  Just sayin.’

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

When Less Is More

Posted in General, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Image

“Here lies Lester Moore.  Four slugs from a 44.  No Les no more.”  Funny tombstone, and the funny thing is, it is REAL.  But what I really want to talk about is when less is more, and why that can be a good thing.

The top 10 things where less is more, more or less:

No. 1.  Less talking and more hearing.  That would solve half of our problems in life.

No. 2.  Less fighting and more loving.  That would solve almost everything else.

No. 3.  Less taking and more giving.  That would wipe out world hunger and homelessness.

No. 4.  Less sleeping and more working.  That would solve the unemployment problem.

No. 5.  Less self and more of others.  That would eliminate the attitude that the world revolves around me and solve most of the wars that are being fought.

No. 6.  Less sitting and more walking.  That would help eliminate the heart attack problem we have in America.

No. 7.  Less super-sizing and more salads.  That would wipe out obesity for the most part.

No. 8.  Less blaming and more taking responsibility.  That would keep more families together.

No. 9.  Less working for money and more working for your passion. That would ignite the flames of creativity and production would soar. People would actually find their purpose in life, doing what God created them to do.  How cool would THAT be?

No.10. Less of me and more of God.  That probably should have been the first thing.  If I get that priority straight, the other 9 will follow.

I hope that less is more in your life…..more or less. LOL

Our lives are stressful enough without adding to it guilt, shame, unforgiveness, anger, hatred, and bigotry.  Less of all that, and more of Shalom!  That’s what I’m talking about!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Hurt People Hurt People

Posted in General, Relationships, Spiritual

Hurt People dan skognes leadership development trainer coach consultant motivation blogger speaker

Have you noticed this?  People that have been hurt are the very ones who turn around and hurt others.  That is a pretty sick cycle that we can all find ourselves in…perpetuating hurt.

How do we break the hurt cycle?  How do we not inflict pain and suffering on others?  It begins with dealing with our own pain and suffering.  It means we have to learn to forgive.

You may be thinking, no way am I going to forgive them for what they did to me.  I will never forget what they have done, and they are going to PAY for it.  That is dangerous ground to be treading upon. It is actually a very slippery slope, and you will slide down to a level that even you yourself find disgusting.  You may even cross the line of breaking the law and injuring someone….or to the extreme, taking someone’s life.

Principle 1.  Forgiveness is a process. The deeper the hurt, the longer the process.  You may have to forgive someone a hundred times a day because every time you think about them, you get angry.  Let go of the anger and make a conscious decision to forgive.

Principle 2.  Forgiveness is cleansing.  It clears your heart and your mind to actually make rational decisions.  If you have a problem making sound decisions, check your heart and see if you hold unforgiveness in your heart towards someone.  That could be the very thing that is clouding your judgment.

Principle 3.  Forgiveness breaks the hurt cycle.  It allows you to extend grace and mercy to those who have wronged you.  It allows you to act…instead of react.  It helps you have self-control.

Hurt people are all around us.  They are cutting you off in traffic, flipping you “the bird.”  They are yelling, screaming, conniving, scheming, stressing, and making their lives a mess.  They are lashing out at people around them and making sure that THEY feel the pain.  Is that how YOU want to live?  I hope not.

My hope and prayer for all of us is that we break the hurt cycle.  Don’t you want to live in peace?  You can, but you have to make the effort.  The old saying is, “No pain, no gain.”  I say, “No pain IS gain!”

Shalom!

Dan Skognes