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Life May Be A Consistent Challenge, But That Is OK

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Message Dale Schlundt
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I am sitting here on jury duty, waiting for my name to be called. I haven't decided whether it is better not to be called, ultimately just sitting here all day, or to be picked for a case and at least be doing something. I'll let you know on my decision later. Regardless, I began thinking, what a better time to write about a topic that we can all use, inspiration.

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Now to finish telling you about why this subject seems so relevant right now, I am an educator and this is my first day of spring break ... To top it off, my laptop will not connect to the internet. So if you are reading this article, you should know that I ended up restraining myself from performing a Steven Segal kick on my computer, despite the strong urge I am having to do so at the moment. Regardless of how my day seems to be going at the courthouse and the tasks I still need to complete at home (grading papers), which my civic duty is preventing me from accomplishing, my life is pretty good. The idea I am writing about for this piece is that the older I become, the more I realize that what my father told me was true. Life is a constant fight to survive.   But the good news ...that doesn't have to be a negative thing.

Now, when I say that phrase, "fight to survive", I do not mean I will have to shoot my way out of the building to get back to my car. So that's some more good news. Yet, the challenges, which every day brings as you are probably are aware, seem to be consistent and never ending at times.   We all have them, while they may be different for each individual; they are typically, nevertheless, always there.

In recognition of your own personal challenges, let's think about them for a moment ...Ah, just what we all want to do isn't it? Think about our stinking problems ..So let's begin. Perhaps, you are going through the hurdle of paying down your credit-card debt, recently had an argument with your significant other, or you might simply be a constant worrier on a daily basis.

How do we handle these issues? My suggestion is to accept that these challenges are there, and even possibly not going away.   That's right, perhaps permanent. Why?  To show ourselves we can not only live with them, but that we can live happily with them.   Reveal to yourself that there is more, an abundance of life enjoyment, both outside as well as in the "miserable jury room" if you will.

As I genuinely hope your problems will be gone in the quickest manner, I can also assure you if you are a living creature on this earth, new ones will soon arise. My argument being, find enjoyment, fulfillment, and internal acceptance especially with, as well as without, problems.

Personal examples can be difficult to give, but very effective at times. Therefore, I'd like to share one with you, because as I tell my students, who doesn't like a little gossip.   The example is from my class. This is my sneaky way of promoting that American History is just like a modern-day reality show, except that it is in the past.  

So to give you a look into one of my own personal experiences, I will begin by stating that I am a terrible salesperson ...Did I mention terrible? Yes, terrible would be the word.   Items that I have not sold (meaning I've at least given it a shot), include kitchen knives, men's underwear, medical services, and more. Not from lack of trying, to give myself a little credit. Regardless, I have embraced my shortcomings in sales, almost to the point of being proud ...I'm still working up to that particular feeling, though. However, what I have done is made it into strength, altered it, to make it become beneficial.

You see what I realized is, although I cannot sell products or services, what I can sell is ideas.   Ideas that cost individuals nothing accept their attention.   Attention and interest, something that they choose to give to me, rather than being something I try to get from them. In essence I am selling what I teach, yet it lacks any kind of sales like feel. I am so thankful for this lesson, which ultimately led me to become an educator.

I credit my father for this realization. I'll never forget, when I started out in business, I said Dad, "I am just not a good salesman".   His reply, "It doesn't matter what you do, you are always going to be selling something to someone" ... And that means what?..... What he meant was, for instance, if I am applying for a job I am selling something, that being myself. I have to prove to someone I can do the job, that I am the best for that position.   Writing articles, as I do quite often, I have to prove the editors that, "hey, that guy knows what he is talking about". Simply put, convincing decisionmakers that I am at the very least, credible. Of course this lengthy list continues.

So how does all this relate to the topic at hand? The answer being that selling was one of my personal struggles, challenges, or fights, if you will. Yet, what I learned, through a somewhat difficult path, is that to win or overcome, you have to embrace those hurdles. Not necessarily make them go away.

By the way, sat here all day and didn't get picked for jury duty. That being said, if I hadn't been sitting around here with nothing to do and if my internet actually did work, I might not have written this article.  So the verdict is out, jury duty was worth it. Face the challenges.

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Dale Schlundt holds a Master's Degree in Adult Education with a concentration in American History from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is currently an Adjunct Professor for Palo Alto College. Dale's new book Education Decoded (A (more...)
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