New Year Brings Hope

To make 2018 the best ever, don’t let life get you down.

By Jim Callahan, Contributing Editor

There is indeed reason to be positive about 2018. In fact, I’m going so far as to label the new year “20-Greateen.”

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Did I mention that I’m at a public library typing this because the door of my residence was recently kicked in and the culprits got away with my personal computer and some other valuables? Sure, that was a big blow, but then again, I thank God for public libraries because I couldn’t communicate all of what has happened to me at the closing of last year.

I tell people that life is about keeping a balance. Sure, my computer was stolen and yes, my insurance has a $500 deductible. However, no one got hurt and by the way, who do you think decided to save a few bucks and agree to a $500 deductible? That’s balance, I guess.

At the time my computer was being hijacked, I was 40 miles into a 400-mile business trip. It was at this time, a kidney stone loomed large. I toughed it out and made the trip successfully.
I then spent three days in the hospital and left there with the stone still inside me, accompanied by a very uncomfortable stent. It seems that the stone settled in a bad spot and somehow infected the kidney. After two weeks of antibiotics to clear the infection, the medical experts now will attempt to retrieve or crush the stone and I will feel like a whole new man.

Talking about keeping your balance. There are literally thousands of ailments worse than a kidney stone and I’m grateful—not for having the stone but that the damage caused by the stone is reversible and I get to fight another day.

At age 77, I’m still somewhat relevant and get to do what is most important to me: trying to make a difference. And, there’s no better time to make a positive difference than the present.
So what are your plans for a“20-Greateen?” Do you have a course of action to improve your lot in life, or your position at your company, or maybe your relationships—whether they are with your spouse, siblings, children or close friends?

Indeed, what can you do to improve your productivity and performance?

What better way of signaling a serious change in attitude than a change in appearance? I’m not suggesting your appearance is poor or that you need to spend a ton of dollars. I’m suggesting that often when we feel stuck or stymied, changing your appearance can free you from the rut in which you may find yourself.

A different hairstyle can do wonders. A new suit can make the boss take notice. Even putting an extra shine on your shoes can make you feel like you can tackle the world.

Many years ago, during my growth and glory years, I felt that I dressed impeccably. One day I was pulled aside by the general manager of what is now a defunct company known as W. T. Grant. A very successful retail company in its heyday, by the time the founder died in 1972 at age 96, his chain of W. T. Grant Stores had grown to almost 1,200.

Getting back to the general manager—himself an excellent example of portraying a great personal look—he informed me very nicely that while I dressed well, I lost serious points by not keeping my shoes highly shined. It hit home and most of my fellow workers over the years would tell you they witnessed my version of shoe shining magic early every morning. So thanks to that particular general manager for shaping my view.

You get the point. It’s my opinion that when you are unhappy because you have fallen into an uncomfortable spot, whether it’s work, a marriage or just life, it’s easy to let your attitude and style slip a bit. Instead, take charge at work or take on that project you have been avoiding. If anything, ensure you have your insurance needs in check and don’t fret if the deductible comes due.

Take personal inventory of your place in life and be honest with yourself about what you need to do to improve upon it. Indeed, turn 2018 into “20-Greateen.”

Jim Callahan has more than 40 years of experience as a convenience store and petroleum expert. His Convenience Store Solutions column appears at Jim can be reached at (678)485-4773 or via e-mail at