You are an architect. You are also a construction worker, a home decorator, and a painter. So am I. Before you stop reading this and decide that I am going crazy, hear me out. You are building a house. So am I. Getting closer to insane you are thinking? This, of course, is an analogy. Your life is like you are building a house. One of the most important steps is to draw up plans. Can you imagine if you just started building a house with no plans? You wouldn’t have measurements, you would not know what kind of materials to use. There is a good chance that you would get through a couple of days and have to start all over again. You would make a lot of mistakes and it would take just south of an eternity. Then again, if you have a great set of plans, you know how long to cut the lumber, who to call for the plumbing and things go generally smoothly. If there is a problem, you can look at your plans and make an intelligent adjustment.

You might be thinking, “Only an idiot would try to build something as valuable as a house without any plans. For the most part, you would be right. Who would try to build the most valuable thing in their life with no plans? A lot more people than you think. I am not talking about actual houses, but the metaphor works for something even more valuable. Didn’t we just say that your house was the most valuable thing in your life? The only thing more valuable than that? Your life itself! Did you wake up with a plan for today? Are you someone who just wakes up to go to work and pay the bills? Do you have long term plans for your life? I actually had someone tell me, “I am just going to work until I retire. Then I will figure it out.” So, let me get this straight. You are going to wait until 60+ years of your life have passed before engaging that mass of grey matter that sits on top of your neck? Even if your plans would have to wait to be enacted until you retire, they would stand a lot better chance of achievement if you began planning and taking action now.

Plans are a great first step. They are a necessary first step. Guess what? You can’t sleep inside of a set of plans. You can’t park your car in a set of plans. There are many people who are great planners, but that is as far as they get. They spend their whole life planning. You have to get off your butt and start building. Just like house construction, there is a way to go about this as well. You don’t start building a house by assembling a roof. No, you start by laying a good foundation. How about your life and your goals? Do you have a good foundation? What are you building your life on? Are you selecting the best materials or going with whatever is cheapest? If you were building a lifetime house for you and your family, you would of course select only the finest quality materials. Guess what? You only get one life! You best select the best quality people, places and things to put in it.

One more quick thought before we wrap this post up. This idea came to me in the shower. Don’t all ideas come to you in the shower? When you are building a house, those investing in said house will want you to complete it in a hurry. What happens if you rush construction? You cut corners. You compromise safety and with the first big storm your house collapses. Same with your life. Sometimes the people invested in you and your life will want you to rush into things. Don’t. Take your time and build your life right. That way when the storms of life come, you know your house will be able to take it.

If you think of building your life like building a house, you will do so in a careful and well thought out manner. We could get into decorating your life and what you would want it to look like, but that is a personal preference. If you only were able to live in one house for the rest of your life, you would do everything to make sure it is a good one. Well my friend, you only have one life to live, so make sure it is a good one.


Last post we talked about the frustration of road construction and how we can view it differently. I am going to share another method for not being set back by life’s little challenges. This great and power secret (which really isn’t a secret at all) is to find the humor in the situation. Like the meme I found above in regards to road construction signs. I never thought about how the ‘end road work’ sign could sound like a protest. It made me laugh out loud when I read it. Guess what happens every time I pass one of these signs? You guessed it, I chuckle to myself. This is particularly good because I am usually just leaving some road construction I have just driven through.

Steve Rizzo calls this ‘getting in touch with your humor being’. He says that when stuck in traffic he talks like the lion from Wizard of Oz. Why? Because it makes everything more humorous. What if you picked your favorite comedian and tried to imagine the situation through their eyes? I find Groucho Marx works good for this, but that is a personal preference. What about a famed explorer? How about a television reporter who is covering your situation? A narrator in the movie of your life? “Margie looked down at the floor to discover the bag of powdered sugar she was carrying had left a trail showing where she had been.” Does this sound a little absurd or insane to you? Good! Life can be both a little absurd and insane. Go with it.

Doing this does two very important things for us. First, it adds something to laugh at. The more time you spend smiling and laughing in life, the better your life is. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it reduces the amount of stress in a situation. It may even transform it into a situation that causes you to laugh. Do you know what you call a life that has less stress and more laughter? A better one! Who would not want a less stressful, more joyful life? I know I would!

I will continue to search for the humor in life. Lucky for me, and for all of us, life is constantly supplying us with situations full of humor if we are looking for them. I have a lady that also supplies a great deal of humor. If you are not so blessed as to have a spouse who does the same, there are plenty of ways to add humor to your life. You can add an app to your phone that sends a joke a day. Perhaps get a group of friends together that look for funny signs. That way you all are working to bring humor to the group. What about a funny day by day calendar? How about joining a humorous social media page? The more ways you find humor in life, the more ways YOU win!

Road construction

Sometimes your life improving can be as simple as changing your perspective. This was brought home by something very common, yet very frustrating – road construction. In Wisconsin, where I live, there seems to be two seasons, winter and road construction. By the time the ice and snow on the roads disappear, they are replaced by orange barrels. This can lead to many unpleasant surprises. This can range from the simply frustrating longer commute times, to the more expensive flat tires and repair to your cars suspension system.

This had been taken a step further this year in my very own neighborhood. I live on the east side of our fine city. Most of what I enjoy doing is in the west part of the city. Normally, not too much of an issue. The drive is roughly 10 to 15 minutes for most places. That is until recently. They closed two of the main streets that connect where I live to the west part of the city. Just the other day, I went to pick up some flyers I had made up for my upcoming book signing. This should have been a 10 minute trip. It ended up being a 20 minute trip. With the current price of gasoline, this was a bit irritating. What I did learn was an entirely new way to get to where I was going. It also showed me a few different businesses I had either forgotten about, or never knew about. It was taking this detour that introduced me to them.

Another good thing about this detour caused by road construction, it caused me to use my brain. Often, we can get in a rut. How many of you take the same route to work every day? You drive on autopilot almost. When one street is closed, it can throw us for a loop. Much like no longer having to remember phone numbers because they are all stored in our phones, our brains tend to get a little lazy. What were to happen if we were in an emergency situation and we had lost our cell phone? Would we still be able to contact our work or our loved ones? By having to consciously come up with a new route to travel, and having to be alert on that route, my brain was getting a little bit of a workout. What happens if we never make our bodies workout? Do you not the same result could happen to a mind that no longer has to work?

Viewing the inconvenience of the road closer in this light, I found I had a lot to be grateful for. The new path caused me to be more alert and forced my brain to put in a little more effort. With cerebral decline becoming an issue the older we get, it is wise to take advantage of any brain workout we can fit in. The detour also introduced me to a host of new businesses and some that I forgot about. It allowed me to see a different part of my city I may have never had the reason to explore. These reasons turned the curse of road construction into a blessing. Next time orange barrels block or slow your progress, think of what benefits you may get out of the situation.