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Monthly Archives: April 2009

How To React To The Swine Flue “Crisis”

Filed under Current Events, Thinking Out Loud...

Old McDonald had a pig but then he caught swine flu and his farm went into foreclosure.  The sky is falling.  The world is ending.  We’ll all be dead by Tuesday.

Thanks to the constant barrage of media attention, we are now all familiar with the swine flu “crisis” that will apparently destroy the planet by this weekend.
Now I don’t mean to belittle the situation, and I certainly understand that there are some serious health risks associated with this disease.  That being said, here is exactly how I’m responding to the situation…

  • Don’t Stress About What You Can’t Control – I’ll do what all the experts tell us to do…wash your hands more, be more cautious with human contact, drink lots of water, etc, etc, etc.  But I’m not going to move into a cave and live in isolation out of fear.  I talk about this a lot but there are some things in life you just can’t control, but you always have control over your response to a situation.
  • Proactive NOT Panic – Like I said, I’ll do the things necessary to keep myself safe and healthy, but do you know how much energy I’m going to spend worrying about all this?  ZERO. 
  • Keep Living Life – Next week I’m scheduled to speak at a pretty big event in Texas…where apparently the swine flue has come to live.  And guess what?  I’m still going.  I won’t be packing any masks, gloves, or radioactive biohazard suits (where do you get those anyway?).

Overall, I’m just trying to keep things in perspective.  Stop stressing people.  Don’t let the media hype you up over something.

You’ll be okay.

Now put down your heart medication and return to your regularly scheduled life.

UPDATE: Just got word that the national conference I was speaking at in Dallas next week has been canceled.  Stupid swine flu.

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Do You Remember The First Time You…

Filed under Thinking Out Loud...

Last night I was on a flight home and there was a guy sitting behind me that was extremely excited about this flight.  He was probably in his mid-30s and was with a lady I assumed to be his wife or girlfriend. 

Over the course of the flight, I gathered that this was one of the only flights he had ever been on in his life (you can learn a lot by eavesdropping on others!).  As we took off, we was commenting on everything he saw out the window. 

“Look, there’s a gas station!” 

“There’s some kids playing baseball!” 

“There’s a radio tower!” 

Yes, this man was excited to see a radio tower from an airplane.  You can’t make this stuff up.

At first I was tired and annoyed at his observations of every little thing he saw.  But after a while, I found it interesting. 

So often there are things, activities, events, and even people in our lives that we were once extremely excited about but have now become commonplace.  I was on the same flight as this guy, and I wasn’t nearly as excited as he was.  But I bet I was the first time I was on a plane. 

So I guess my question is what are those everyday experiences in your life that you were once excited about but now have become mundane or even dull?  Examine your friendships and relationships and see if the rut and routine of life has set in and taken the place or exhilaration and excitement when you’re with that person. 

Just thinking out loud…

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Service Learning Trip For Students

Filed under Students

I wanted to introduce you to an amazing organization that offers service learning opportunities for students.  The organization is called Students Today Leaders Forever and offers week-long trips called Pay It Forward Tours.  They travel around to major cities and offer students the chance to do community service projects, while also allowing time for site-seeing and hanging out. 

I’m at the ND State Student Council Conference right now, and one of the former state officers is a guy who helped start the organization.  It was cool to connect with him, and they really seem to be providing some great opportunities for students.  The costs for the trips are also extremely reasonable and shouldn’t break the bank for anyone. 

Just wanted to give them a shout out…make sure to check out their site at     

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What Do You Say To Someone Who Is Dying?

Filed under Family, Personal, Thinking Out Loud...

This morning I’m driving up to a nursing home to visit my grandmother. 

Unfortunately, she’s been a lifetime smoker and has never really been in the best of health.  She recently found out she has lung cancer which is quickly spreading throughout her body.  I’ve been keeping updated on the situation from my dad and family members and it sounds like she may have just weeks left in her life.  She has even expressed that she’s ready to die and when someone her age with her health mentally checks out and gives up on the situation, it’s just a matter of time. 

I’ve never been extremely close to her, but she is nonetheless my grandmother.  It’s sad to see her in this condition and giving up on hope. 

So this morning when I go visit her, it may be the last time I see her alive.  It’s a sobering thought, and I promise you I’m trying not to depress your Friday!  But I guess this question has been running through my mind…

What do you say to someone who is dying? 

So often death is a sudden and unexpected event (a car wreck, heart attack, etc) but when you have the opportunity to say that final goodbye, what do you say? 

Here’s what I’m going to try and do…

Share memories.  Tell stories.  Laugh.  Look at the positive.  Get our minds off the fact that this may be the last time we talk. 

I don’t know that there’s a good answer to this question.  You always want to say just the right thing at just the right moment…hopefully that will be the case today. 

YOUR TURN: What would you say to someone who is dying? 


The Last Lecture…What Would YOU Say?

Filed under Books, Thinking Out Loud...

On my trip last week to Utah, I read the book “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch.  I’m sure most of you are familiar with it, but in case you haven’t heard of the story, the book is basically about a college professor in his mid-40s who finds out that he has cancer and only 3-6 months left to live.  With a limited amount of time left, he decides to give his last lecture, which is essentially a summary of many of the life lessons he’s learned that he wanted to pass on to others, especially his children. 

It’s a very sobering book but is also very inspirational considering what this man and his family battled through and how he continued to remain so positive in life. 

But as I finished it on the flight back from Utah (and tried to casually brush away a few tears!), it definitely got me thinking…

What would I say if I had a Last Lecture? 

Better yet, what would you say?  If something tragic happened, and you had a limited amount of time left, what would you teach others?  If you had 1 hour in front of a group of people, what would you tell them?  And on top of that, would your life match up with what you were telling others to do?

YOUR TURN: If you had a Last Lecture, what would you say?     

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Go One Week Without…

Filed under Thinking Out Loud..., Time Management/Organization

Most of us could probably categorize ourselves as being busy.  We have a lot going on and rarely slow down. 

One simple concept I’m continually reminded of is that of capacity.  We all have limits and boundaries to what we’re able to accomplish with our days and with our lives (not to be confused with “days of our lives”!).  We’re very good at adding more and more to our lives but have difficulty when it comes to subtracting. 

So that’s what I want to challenge you to do. 

Subtract something.  Not permanently (and least not yet).  Just for 1 week…7 days…168 hours.  Nothing major. 

What would you be willing to subtract for 1 week?  Could you go one week without…

  • Television
  • Mirrors
  • Internet or Email
  • Talking
  • Spending Money
  • McGriddles from McDonalds

What could you subtract for 1 week? 

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Are You Done Working Yet?

Filed under Family, Thinking Out Loud...

When do you stop working?  I’m not talking about when you physically clock out for the day, but rather, when do you mentally turn it off?

Here’s what got me thinking about this…as you may know, recently we moved into a new house, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a home office in the basement.  So I lock myself away for a few hours each day and get stuff done but every time I come out and see my 3 year old daughter Sydnee, she always asks me the same question…

Are you done working yet Daddy?

Of course, she just wants to play and so most of the time, I’m happy to give in to that temptation to skip work for her!

But it’s a valid question and one worth considering in your own life.  Between school, work, hobbies, and extracurricular activities…when are you done working?  When do you slow down to catch your breath?

Something to think about…

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12 Things Teenagers Should Know About Money

Filed under Money & Finances, Students

In order to help promote the new site, I partnered with 12 other money bloggers to do a community series of posts.

Here’s what we did…as you can see from the title of this post, I wrote an article called 12 Things Teenagers Should Know About Money (And How To Teach Them).  Then we had 12 different money bloggers each post one of the points.  If you’re interested in reading each of them, here are the sites they are listed at…


I Figured Out How To Fix The Economy…But I Need Your Help

Filed under Blogs, Current Events, Money & Finances, Websites

Have no fear, I know how to fix the economy.  Better yet, I know who can fix the economy. 

It’s not the President, Congress, or Oprah.  And no it isn’t Superman, Wonder Woman, or even Chuck Norris (who of course is in a league of his own). 

The person who is going to help fix the economy is….(wait for it)….(drum roll)…


That’s not a typo.  You can help the economy (and you can prevent forest fires as well just so you know). 

Sure the economy is in rough shape because of a variety of different factors but if you and I each figured out how to handle our money better, maybe, just maybe, things would begin to improve.  So where do you go to find the knowledge that you need? 


We’re launching a brand new site to help students find the answers they’re looking for regarding savings, investing, personal finance, and all things money.  Each day, we’ll be answering a different question submitted by a student on subjects such as budgets, scholarships, credit cards, debt, insurance, living on your own, taxes, and so much more.

So stop what you’re doing, do not pass GO, and head straight over to  Browse around the site, check out the How To Use This Site page, and don’t forget to register for your chance to win $100!   

I thank you.  Chuck Norris thanks you.  And so does MacGyver and MacGruber. 

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If Today Was Your Last Day…

Filed under Media, Thinking Out Loud...

Most days when I’m working, I listen to Pandora, which is basically a free, customized internet radio station.  One song that has cycled through my “station” lately is by Nickelback called “If Today Was Your Last Day.”  For one, it’s a killer song that I’m loving, but it also has an amazing message to it.

If you’re a sports fan, you probably heard last week about the tragic death of Anaheim Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was killed by a drunk driver.  He was 22 years old.  Here’s a young guy who actually just pitched the night before in the game and a few hours later, he’s gone. 

It is a sober reminder of how short life can be and the importance of living life to the fullest. 

So I guess my question to you would be, If Today Was Your Last Day, what would you do differently?  How would you talk to people?  Would you handle your money differently?  Would you still have an bad attitude when things don’t go your way?  How many people would you apologize to, hug, or say “I Love You” to?   

Finish this sentence: If today was my last day…     

(Also, in case you’re interested, here are the lyrics to the Nickelback song…you should definitely scan through them.) 

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    Grant Baldwin is a relevant leader and an engaging communicator who is making a significant impact in the lives of students across the country.

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