Have you lost the art of daydreaming?

A child is daydreaming in a classroom.I read somewhere that if you were in the midst of trying to discover where you wanted to go in life, then you should look retrospectively on your imagined life. Sounds kind of strange doesn’t it? So many times, when we try and think of what we want to become or do in life, we subconsciously place all kinds of limitations on it. We don’t realize many times that we are doing this. We somehow use the successes and the failures of our past to place mental leashes on our dreams. Since we live in the real world, that play world that we lived in as kids slowly disappears as life slaps us in the face. Bit by bit, we stop dreaming during the day; sure we dream at night, but daydreaming  just stops. My teachers used to write to my parents on my report card that I daydreamed too much in class.

I will admit that I did daydream in class. I had so many things that I wanted to become and had quite a vivid imagination. Imagination is very underrated. It is necessary for the advancement of almost any discipline or task we put our hands to. If it wasn’t for imagination, the wheel would never had been invented, much less self driving cars.

After thinking of the challenge put before me, I knew that it was going to take some effort since I hadn’t done this in quite awhile. Most of my daydreaming of late had taken on a very pragmatic nature. Dreaming like I did when I was a kid was going to be a task.

Ground rules for daydreaming

First off, there are some rules you have to keep in mind or rather non-rules. Keep these in mind as you start daydreaming.

  • If money were not an object
  • If there were no time constraints
  • Throw every pragmatic or logical assumption out the window
  • Let your dream have absolutely no boundaries
  • Nothing is silly or stupid
  • Don’t judge your dream even before you get started
  • To hell with thoughts like “it’ll never happen so why dream it”
  • Don’t be afraid to even include friends and associates that you have enjoyed working with in the past in your dream
  • Once you have come up with your dream, write it down amping it up even more

To get you started, I am going to share my wild, no holds barred dream. As I said, this is a retrospective dream, looking back on my imaginary life. Here we go, don’t judge me!

My daydream – an example

“I can’t believe where I am today. At one time, I felt as though God had forgotten why He created me, but now I see that it was to prepare me for where I am today.

It started long ago. All of my life’s experiences created skills that were necessary to prepare me for this. I thought that I was only created to do one thing, but God showed me He created me to do many things, not just one thing. I was always interested in Rocketry. Little did I know that I would discover anti-gravity. This allowed man to escape earth’s gravitational pull without the use of millions of pounds of thrust. We were able to lift more payloads to space using the space that once was used for propellant to hold mission critical payload. After we escaped earth’s gravity, my team, using photon power, propelled the spacecraft to light speed, enabling man to explore new worlds that were once impossible to reach.

photon rocket in outer space.

Anti-gravity also has commercial success as hover boards, passenger planes and other gravity bound products that suddenly “took off”. Tires on cars are a thing of the past. With my profits from anti-gravity, I was able to finally create Walt Disney’s Epcot. It is a place where the most creative minds live and work to create things that benefit mankind. It is not an amusement park, it is what the original plan for Epcot was supposed to be.

The friendships that I created came out of retirement to pull together to make the vision a reality. Steve Story is our corporate attorney who oversees our legal department. Phillip Shucet has found civil engineers like Gary Mackey to create the structure and thoroughfares in Epcot. Jim Tomlinson heads up the hospital. Mike Padden heads up our architectural department. Laurie, my wife makes sure that my creative thinking time is undisturbed. She heads up the ice rink as well as the culinary school.

We now have hologram vision, another invention of mine that beams the picture from your TV into your living room. Fortunately the FCC keeps bad content from jumping into people’s living rooms!

I have a weekly TV show called “Don’t Stop Dreaming”. I found out in my 60’s that acquiring stuff wasn’t important, acquiring dreams was more important. I had stopped asking “What if…” but one day I decided to rekindle my imagination and let it go wild. It had been so long that the rusty gears took awhile to get going, but once they did, they started spinning like a top. Something in my life had jammed the gears, but now they were making up for lost time. I couldn’t stop the ideas from flowing. It was as if God was birthing new ideas in me every day. I said that I wanted to be used and was I ever! There were a lot of obstacles along the way, but with God’s help and a faithful team of dreamers, doors kept opening. A half century ago, I felt as if God had whispered in my ear that He was going to use me for something extraordinary, and let’s just say, it has been far more extraordinary than I could have dreamed.”

Ok, that was my dream. What is yours? You may have no idea. First you have to learn to daydream again. Learning to daydream, using your imagination is not as easy as it once was when we were younger. It’s going to take a little bit of practice. I do this best when I am in a quiet place with paper and pen.

Now, go start daydreaming!

How to beat Amazon

Does Amazon or eBay impact your business?

If you own a small business like I do, you know the dent that Amazon and eBay are putting into your sales. I have been racking my brain, trying to figure a way to keep my piece of the pie. I’m experimenting with this idea, not a new one, but may work to keep those people that use all of my work and effort putting together page after page of helpful information to assist them in buying machinery on my site as well as my brick and mortar store; only to have them take the model or part number and leave my site or store and search for the lowest price on their phone.

Amazon LogoIn my business, people aren’t buying apples or eggplants without part numbers, they are buying products that have a specific product number, model number or part number. This makes it VERY easy to compare my prices against everyone else. Now some of you may be saying, so what, the lowest price wins. My reply to you is, if Amazon always wins, then EVERY single store other than Amazon will go out of business because NOBODY can compete on price like Amazon. Jeff Bezos and his crew don’t care if they have to buy the market and lose a few billion dollars to own an industry. They have deep pockets. If it isn’t Amazon, it’s an Ebayer who has somehow managed to distribute one of our same lines that are living in a doublewide trailer selling things at 5% over cost because he has no overhead. (and no possible way of growing either) There is an old adage in business. “If you live by price, you die by price.”

Another business down the street selling similar products to mine was seeing a phenomenon that he didn’t know how to combat. A customer would come into his Lawn Equipment store and ask for a gear for his riding mower. The employee would look up the make, model, serial number of the mower. They would both pour over schematics (parts diagrams) and finally locate the broken part. After this 20 minute search, the customer would state, “Just give me the part number so I can think about it.” The employee would give out the part number only to never see the customer return. After a while, his boss kept asking why these people never purchased anything. He said, “We had the part in stock and if we didn’t we could have ordered it for him. Why didn’t he buy it?” The employee replied, “Well, they just ask for the part number and then never come back.” His boss finally realized what was happening after searching for that part number on the web, only to find that Amazon was selling this part at a cost that made him spill his coffee all over his keyboard. “When did Amazon get into the Lawn Equipment business?” he said to his staff. His staff told him that they themselves were purchasing most anything for their personal use on Amazon. Sure enough, after a little searching under many different categories, he found that the top selling products from any category he could think of was being sold on Amazon.
“Geez, how are we ever going to sell anything if everyone
riding lawn moweris doing this?” he lamented to his staff. That was the moment that he decided to never give out part numbers again. He was more than willing to help customers, but he starts everyone discussion at the parts counter with, “I’m more than glad to find the part for you, but I expect you to purchase this from me as I do not give out part numbers.” Ever since then, the customer either leaves or gladly supports his local business.

I have an online store

99% of our business comes from our online store and only 1% comes from walk-in customers nowadays. I have seen my profit margins slip every single year as more and more companies start an online store thinking only of profit and not of providing a service. They compete on price alone and figure they will win, only to realize that Amazon is going directly to the manufacturers and agreeing to purchase millions of dollars of the product if they will give them the top 200 selling products to sell. Amazon is glad to sell at a loss with free shipping to boot! Amazon is stealing all of our lunch money so that we can only buy things in one place. Did you know that Wal-Mart is considering scaling down their retail business and going into health care due to Amazon and the other online companies starting to cut into their profits?

My Plan of Action

Ok, so here is my plan. From now on, we are not going to show part numbers on our site. We will, of course, have a list of all of the manufacturers and model numbers along with a plethora of information and parts diagrams. We will continue to have a customer service team that will answer your email questions and talk with you on the phone to help you find that part or unit to keep you going, but we will NOT provide part numbers so that you can search it again to find the cheapest price out there. The last time I checked, my employees don’t want to work for free, my landlord wants his rent check and the lights don’t stay on if I can’t pay the light bill. For those of you that know your part number, because you already used my site or one of my fellow online peer’s sites to research your part number, you won’t find the part number on our schematics. Yes, you can find the part by searching by part number, but we won’t hold out a billboard saying, “Hey, here is the part number and here is my price. Now, go shop me against everyone else in the world to get it cheaper.”

Amazon Tombstone

If every business would start to do this, maybe we could put a dent in Amazon and these crazy Ebayers. It’s worth a try. What do you have to lose?

Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model X Sounds!

Have you ever heard a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X?

This is just an idea for Elon Musk and his Tesla team, but I digress. After 11 months, Tesla finally delivered my Model 3. This is the understudy to the Model S, but it is quick, even with the standard motor. It goes 0-60 in 5.1 seconds. This is the same speed as 1995 Chevrolet Corvette LT1. Not bad for a base Model 3.  Being this is my first electric car, I found myself going faster than I should have due to no engine sound.

Tesla Model 3

As I was accelerating with no audible sound at all,  I got this idea. Flipping through the 15″ dashboard screen noticing ALL of the controls and settings that are accessed through the screen, I said to myself, “Why not download all of the coolest car engine sounds there are out there, synchronize it with the accelerator pedal and send it through the speaker system?” You would be able to pick your engine sound and volume of course and as you accelerate, you get that familiar sound of the engine, and not just any engine, a Ferrari,  Dodge Hemi or any other engine! Can you imagine the first ride of a passenger? You simply turn it on before you leave the parking lot and they think you have some massive engine under the hood. After a few miles, you simply dial down the volume to 0 and they look over at you like, “Hey your engine just died.” All you say is, “Gotcha! This is a Tesla dude!”

Return to Austria – Chapter 1

“Put that down.”
“Not another move or I’ll shoot.”
“You’re only a boy. You don’t belong to them.”
“Stay where you are.”
“Come away with us. Before it’s too late.”
“Not another step. I’ll kill you.”
“You give that to me, Rolf. -Did you hear me?”
“I’ll kill you.”
A Nazi soldier holding a gun.
I moved closer to grab the gun. Bang! The Luger fired right as I was grabbing the barrel. The hot molten lead pierced my chest. It was as if someone had drained all of the energy out of me as I fell to my knees. “Georg! Maria screamed.” She came running from behind the fenced in crypt area.
“I didn’t mean to…..the gun just went off!” Rolf insisted.
Everything was getting darker and darker as I felt the blood running down my chest onto the cemetery floor. How could it end this way? We were so close to escaping the horrors that were descending upon Austria.

“Georg, I’m going into town. Do you need anything?” Maria said as she woke me from my afternoon slumber on the front porch of our Vermont home.  “No, I don’t believe so, thanks” I replied. As Maria left, I slowly came back to the present. This wasn’t the first time that I had this dream. I always woke up right after the feeling of life was leaving my body. I was getting tired of this dream, and now it seemed as though I was having this dream more often. It had been so many years since we left Austria, our home, our country and our way of life that we had known for so many years. We left Austria due to the Anschluss of the two countries and the Nazi occupation of Austria. We had never returned. Don’t ask me why. I had never even applied to become a citizen of our new home, the United States; my heart was still in Austria. Each year that passed, the more I longed to return to Austria if nothing else to see what had become of my beloved homeland since the war was long over. What happened to our home? How about the convent that my wife left? Did either of them survive that awful war? So many questions and very few answers.  It’s the answers that eluded me. I had plenty of questions. Time wasn’t on my side as I found it harder and harder to get around due to arthritis that had taken its toll on my body. I felt as though time was ticking away and my desire to return was becoming more of a recurring thought, just like this bad dream.

My phone rang, waking me from my daydreaming of Austria. “Hi, father,” Brigitta said on the other end of the phone. “We  were wondering if you and mother would be interested in coming over to our place Saturday night.” “I imagine we could. Is there a particular reason that you wanted us to come over?” I asked. “No, not really, John and I have both been discussing something, and we wanted to run it by you and mother.” “You aren’t thinking of moving to that retirement community in Florida that we visited with you last year are you?” I said thinking that was the reason for the invitation. “No, not at all. we want your opinion on something that we were going to do and wanted to see if you and mother would be interested as well.” “Oh well, ok, I will ask your mother when she returns. Love you.” I replied with relief. They had been talking about moving to Florida since both of them had retired earlier that year. They wanted to leave the cold winters of Vermont behind now that their kids were on their own. I couldn’t believe that my children had grandchildren. Where had time gone? I felt very blessed, though we had lost our beloved Liesl 3 years prior. That was a tough time for both Maria and me. I’m not sure that I would have recovered if it had not been the love and support of our other children. Maria and I were very fortunate to have such a close family. For many years we all toured the United States as the Trapp Family Singers until the children wanted to pursue their futures and not live in the shadows of another life that we once enjoyed. Our family lodge in Stowe was still going, although we had left the daily running of this to Kurt who was much younger than Maria and me. He was more than glad to answer the myriad of questions about the family.
A hotel in Austria.

Suddenly, I heard the top of the mailbox slam as the postman delivered his daily stack of junk mail with a few interspersed pieces of fan mail from those that had stayed at our lodge. I got up from the chair on the porch and walked around to where the mailbox was. With the advent of email, I wondered why people still bothered with mailing letters. It was probably due to the same reason that I went to the mailbox each day; a thing of habit. As I leafed through the mail, I tossed the junk mail in the wastebasket inside the doorway that was placed conveniently there for such things. In the middle of the stack of mail, there was an actual piece of mail that looked like a letter. The handwriting on it had a sort of strange writing on it. Some of the letters looked like the writing of friends that we still corresponded with in Austria. My heart leaped as I enjoyed anything from our homeland. I quickly turned the envelope over and tore it open. I unfolded the letter, and the first sentence hit me like a hot poker. I couldn’t read the next sentence or the next word. I fell over into the chair next to the doorway. It was as if my dream had suddenly just forced it’s way out of the recesses of my mind and grabbed me by the throat. How could this be? How could I have this dream only a little while ago and now my assailant was here again, but instead of a Luger, he had wielded a pen. My heart was racing instead of bleeding, but the mental pain was just as real as my dream. I opened the letter again, now that I was sitting down and began to read where my life had almost ended over 50 years ago.

“I never meant to pull the trigger. You have to believe me. I’m sorry Captain Von Trapp. If you will only let me explain why I am writing and why I never contacted you since that night you left Austria………”

NEXT-NEVER AGAIN

 

For more short stories, click here.

 

Why do you blog in the first place?

For us bloggers out there, why do you blog in the first place?

Is it to get subscribers or followers or likes? If this is the reason you blog, then you are simply one of the millions that post to social media just to get feedback that someone likes what you posted. Really? Think about it for a minute. If we showed someone a funny picture or told them a story face to face, would we ask them, “Did you like it? Did you think it was funny? Will you tell other people about it? Please like it. Give me a thumbs up.” I don’t think so.

I am a newbie blogger and I’m already exhausted.

I enjoy writing my content, I really do, but I don’t write it to impress you. I write it because for me it is therapy. It’s sort of like a public journal of thoughts I wouldn’t mind talking to you about in person. They say that if you are a blogger, you should spend most of your time promoting your blog instead of writing it. I get that, but what if the purpose of your blog is to share good ideas and thoughts with others? If you spend all of your creative time in promoting your blog, then it would seem that your blog content would be rather thin as you just want to create content fast enough to publish it. It’s sort of like a writer rushing the end of his or her story just to meet a deadline. Have you ever read a book where the end just sort of happened? You are sitting there reading the last sentence saying to yourself, “That’s it? That’s the ending!!!!???”
Quill pen with the writing 'The End'

What we create, should be an extension of ourselves.

We shouldn’t try and copy someone else or you end up just being another version of other people. Why would you want to do that? I don’t know about you, but I know that I have good ideas and that what I write is worth reading and my music videos are worth listening to. Logging in to your site stats every 2 hours to see how many people have viewed it is simply neurotic. What I have done is to link these blog posts to my Facebook page, have a link in my personal email address and share those certain posts that I think others will appreciate with just them. You have to do a little self promotion or what you write won’t matter because nobody will see it, but spending the majority of your time self-promoting instead of being creative is not what I want to do. No, I will not be a Huffington Post, but I don’t want to be that blog anyway. That’s not the reason I started doing this and hopefully that is not the reason that you started doing this either.

Follow Gill

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: