Time Flies: Take some Risks and Make 2009 Count!

My Grandma and I both graduated from West Point Jr.-Sr. High in West Point, NE. She graduated from high school in 1930. I graduated in 1990. We attended our class reunions together. It was her 70th and my 10th. She was sad because only a handful of her classmates were left. It was hard to see the sadness on her face. I think she knew it was the last time she would ever attend her class reunion. I was disappointed because my classmates were so serious. To be honest, all I wanted to do was catch up with everyone and talk about the “Glory Days.”

West Point’s class of 1990 is now planning its 20th class reunion, and things have certainly changed. Instead of using snail mail and phone calls, we are making plans via Facebook (If you are not familiar with Facebook, you can check it out at Facebook.com). My classmates no longer seem as serious as they did 10 years ago. People have gotten jobs, lost jobs and grown businesses. We have moved, gotten married, divorced and widowed. We have all lost loved ones. We have all faced both tragedy and triumph.

The one thing we have in common is this: Another 10 years has passed.

My Grandma used to tell me that time would go by faster as I got older. As usual, she was right. Life passes by quickly, and we all need to embrace each and every day. Do you ever find yourself watching the clock or hoping the day goes by quickly? Remember, time is something we never get back. Wishing for a day to end is the same as hoping your life goes by even faster than it already does!

How can you make 2009 count? Rediscover your passion and head in the direction of your dreams. I am convinced that society is missing out on vast amounts of human potential because so many of us never really “go for it” and pursue our true passions. Instead, we cling to what we know because it makes us feel safe and secure.

The most precious resource we all have is time, and we must use it wisely. We cannot get back today or yesterday, so pursuing our dreams cannot wait.

Pursuing dreams takes confidence and the ability to take risks. When you pursue your dreams, there will be times of self-doubt, there will be times when you second guess yourself and there will be times when you think you just cannot do it anymore. In order to make your dreams a reality, you must believe in yourself and in your dream.

Believe in yourself to the point that you are willing to take risks and to fail. Be willing to fail until you succeed. After all, learning from our mistakes is one of the best ways to move our dreams forward.

Does the thought of taking risks or failing seem too scary? Then, you may have to change your mind about risk and failure. Consider the following questions: Is it really a risk to pursue your dream? Or, is it more of a risk to never pursue a dream and regret it later in life? What is failure? Is pursuing your dreams failure? Or, do you truly fail if you never tap into your human potential and share your unique talents and dreams with the rest of the world?

Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors in history, viewed failure as a learning tool and as a success. Edison held over 1,000 patents and founded 14 companies. Each time he pursued an invention he failed. However, he viewed his failures as a way not to do something. Each failure was a learning experience that advanced his idea.

We can each make 2009 count by remembering one of Edison’s most famous quotes,

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves”

Go out there and astound yourself this year! Time is going to move forward. What we decide to do with our time is up to us, so make every minute of 2009 count!!

Time Flies: Take some Risks and Make 2009 Count!

My Grandma and I both graduated from West Point Jr.-Sr. High in West Point, NE. She graduated from high school in 1930. I graduated in 1990. We attended our class reunions together. It was her 70th and my 10th. She was sad because only a handful of her classmates were left. It was hard to see the sadness on her face. I think she knew it was the last time she would ever attend her class reunion. I was disappointed because my classmates were so serious. To be honest, all I wanted to do was catch up with everyone and talk about the “Glory Days.”

West Point’s class of 1990 is now planning its 20th class reunion, and things have certainly changed. Instead of using snail mail and phone calls, we are making plans via Facebook (If you are not familiar with Facebook, you can check it out at Facebook.com). My classmates no longer seem as serious as they did 10 years ago. People have gotten jobs, lost jobs and grown businesses. We have moved, gotten married, divorced and widowed. We have all lost loved ones. We have all faced both tragedy and triumph.

The one thing we have in common is this: Another 10 years has passed.

My Grandma used to tell me that time would go by faster as I got older. As usual, she was right. Life passes by quickly, and we all need to embrace each and every day. Do you ever find yourself watching the clock or hoping the day goes by quickly? Remember, time is something we never get back. Wishing for a day to end is the same as hoping your life goes by even faster than it already does!

How can you make 2009 count? Rediscover your passion and head in the direction of your dreams. I am convinced that society is missing out on vast amounts of human potential because so many of us never really “go for it” and pursue our true passions. Instead, we cling to what we know because it makes us feel safe and secure.

The most precious resource we all have is time, and we must use it wisely. We cannot get back today or yesterday, so pursuing our dreams cannot wait.

Pursuing dreams takes confidence and the ability to take risks. When you pursue your dreams, there will be times of self-doubt, there will be times when you second guess yourself and there will be times when you think you just cannot do it anymore. In order to make your dreams a reality, you must believe in yourself and in your dream.

Believe in yourself to the point that you are willing to take risks and to fail. Be willing to fail until you succeed. After all, learning from our mistakes is one of the best ways to move our dreams forward.

Does the thought of taking risks or failing seem too scary? Then, you may have to change your mind about risk and failure. Consider the following questions: Is it really a risk to pursue your dream? Or, is it more of a risk to never pursue a dream and regret it later in life? What is failure? Is pursuing your dreams failure? Or, do you truly fail if you never tap into your human potential and share your unique talents and dreams with the rest of the world?

Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors in history, viewed failure as a learning tool and as a success. Edison held over 1,000 patents and founded 14 companies. Each time he pursued an invention he failed. However, he viewed his failures as a way not to do something. Each failure was a learning experience that advanced his idea.

We can each make 2009 count by remembering one of Edison’s most famous quotes,

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves”

Go out there and astound yourself this year! Time is going to move forward. What we decide to do with our time is up to us, so make every minute of 2009 count!!

Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D. is the Chief Innovation Officer of Wild Innovation as well as the Unit Leader at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Kimmel Education and Research Center in Nebraska City, NE.

Ask Dr. Connie your questions about cultivating your leadership and entrepreneurship skills by e-mailing her at creimers2@unl.edu.

Tis the Season for Saving Green!

My family finished our Christmas shopping today, and it made me think of great ways to Live Green, Save Green this holiday season.

Here are my TOP 5 suggestions for you last minute shoppers:
1.  BUY LOCAL:  This strategy saves gas and energy.  In addition, money is invested in YOUR community and its businesses!  
2.  REUSE:  Think before your wrap!  Reuse wrapping paper and gift bags.  The wrapping paper is much more of a challenge; however, gift bags and tissue can be used a zillion times!  Even better-use cloth bags or baskets that can be reused for a variety of purposes!  Newspaper works great as gift wrap too!  There are no rules here, so get creative!
3.  REDUCE:  Donate instead of Gift-Giving:  My husband works with a woman who does great things at Christmas.  Her family adopts a family in need instead of buying gifts for one another.  What a wonderful idea!
4.  RECYCLE:  I think we all have a few items we have never used.  Why not give them to someone who might appreciate them?
5.  REMEMBER:  The reasons for the season.  After all, it is not about giving and receiving gifts.  
Have a great (and very green) Holiday Season!!
-Dr. Connie

As promised, I wanted to share more about how the environment and are economy are intertwined.

Let’s start here: The world’s population has doubled to over 6 billion in the last 40 years, and United Nations projections indicate it could climb as high as 10.7 billion by 2050. Most of the growth will occur in the poorest and least developed regions of the world, which already must work to resolve issues related to shortages of quality food, soil, air and water as well as lack of access to education, healthcare and global political capital.

More developed countries face many of the same but also different issues. Agriculture has been so successful that many people living in the developed world enjoy a high degree of food security but are separated from the primary production of agriculture. Most see only products in attractive wrapping on their grocery shelves. For these people, it is difficult to understand the role that food security plays in political stability and comfortable living standards as well as the cultural and educational achievements, that they enjoy.

For cripes sake, I actually had people ask me how to eat peaches from the two peach trees in our backyard this year. Have we become so used to eating our food out of a can or box that we can no longer figure out how to eat something as simple as a fresh peach? Pretty scary!

The Importance of Conventional Ag, Value-Added Agriculture & Natural Resources

Pressures on farmers to produce higher yields from their land to feed a growing population has accelerated the adoption of technologies that are less labor intensive but require higher levels of energy and natural resources. Traditional agricultural practices in developed countries have contaminated the water and soil. Health concerns, such as cancer, have been related to chemicals used to produce food. Further, obesity and Type 2 diabetes have been associated with poor quality foods that are high in saturated fat and calories but low in nutritional value.

There are signs of a shift in buying trends. Some individuals in more developed countries are beginning to demand more organic and locally produced foods free from chemical inputs such as hormones and pesticides. However, these production practices traditionally require intensive human input, including labor and time. They also sometimes require a greater land mass. Significant changes, including mechanization and the introduction of chemical pesticides, have helped increase agricultural production over the last century. However, global food shortages, increased contamination of natural resources and rising rates of consumer consumption continue to threaten the welfare of humankind.

As the population grows, more food must be grown on a smaller amount of land using less water and fewer inputs. Rapid increases in consumer consumption and waste production must be addressed. Innovation in both thought and technology is needed to change current trends causing environmental degradation as well as concerns related to human health and the well being of wildlife. The environmental, educational, political and socioeconomic disparities between people around the globe creates a leadership challenge that must be approached from a holistic perspective unlike the world has ever experienced.

World leaders must change attitudes, beliefs and behaviors on a global scale. Scientists, politicians, business and community leaders must work together to create a global vision of environmental sustainability that can be achieved in short order.

Common sense Lesson #4: Teamwork is essential in our global world. We need to work together to change the planet.

That said, ultimately we are the ones who control our own destiny. More on this next time!

Leadership and the Environment

Leadership challenges associated with environmental issues are vast. Why are countries and organizations so slow to realize this critical issue, which also directly relates to our economic growth or decline?

Degradation, alteration and contamination of natural resources, issues related to food security and quality as well as threats to wildlife are causing critical concern. The growing population combined with issues related to quality and quantity of natural resources in problematic. It is time for us to discuss the need for leaders around the globe to work together and create a collective global vision designed to motivate individuals, communities and organizations to greater levels of social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

My Grandma was a leader in her community, and she expected results from her elected officials.

Common Sense Lesson #3: As individuals, we have to be willing to step up to the plate and lead. We also have to expect more from our businesses, organizations and political leaders, and we must let them know how frustrated we are with their actions (or lack of action in many cases).

The environment and our economy are closely interlinked. More on this in my next post! Stay tuned…

My Grandma’s Green: Common Sense

My husband and I were upstairs sleeping in Grandma’s house and were awakened by the smell of sizzling bacon and the sound of West Point’s local radio station playing loudly in the background. We went downstairs and ate a wonderful home cooked breakfast with Grandma. Afterwards, my husband and I started cleaning up the dishes, pots and pans. I started scraping the bacon grease out of the bottom of the frying pan and Grandma stopped me cold, “Connie, what are you doing? I want to save that grease. It’s still good!”

My Grandma was green before it was trendy, and she always viewed living sustainably as a necessity. Grandma saved a lot of money by buying only what she needed and by reusing everything from plastic margarine containers to glass jars. Her “green” habits were developed by necessity (she survived the Great Depression) but practiced by choice.

Grandma often told stories of life during the Great Depression. People worked together and did what they had to do in order to survive. Instead of purchasing something special for the high school their senior year, Grandma’s class fund was used to buy coal so they could continue to heat the school. We used to love looking at Grandma’s wedding dress. Every time she showed it to us, Grandma told us how her veil was used as a baby’s blanket during the Great Depression.

My Grandma saved money and the planet the old fashioned way. She worked hard, rarely paid full price for anything, did not buy things unless she really needed them and reused whatever she could. Bottled water? $5.00 cups of coffee? Neither one of these products made environmental nor fiscal sense to her.

It’s common for people in my Grandma’s generation to live conservatively. It is however, uncommon for most people living in the United States to live so frugally. If more Americans (me included) lived like my grandparents, living green while saving money would be a way of life. Today’s consumer habits have contributed to environmental degradation as well as social and fiscal irresponsibility, both of which have created the need for a new consumer attitude.

Consumers must get back to the basics and use more common sense. We all know how important it is for all of us to reduce, reuse and recycle. This is a great first step in the right direction. However, we also all have to rethink. We have to rethink what it is we are doing to the environment, our bank accounts and each other.

The next time you make a purchase ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Keep in mind, there is a big difference between needs and wants. Absolutely needing something is much different than merely wanting it. I need clothes for work, but I may not need twenty sweaters and thirty pairs of shoes.

Everything we buy and use has an environmental price tag. It took resources to make your purchase, and it takes more resources to discard it.

Our purchases also have a real price tag. Think creatively about ways you can save money. Use what you already have to make do. When Grandma was out of spaghetti sauce, she used ketchup. This may not have been one of my favorite meals, but it was one of the most memorable!

What about changing our attitudes towards each other? We are so quick to judge people by material things. We judge others by what they wear and what they drive, their occupation and sometimes even their last name. Making assumptions on material items can lead to us to make false assumptions about others. These assumptions and expectations also pressure most of us to put on some sort of show that we can neither afford nor maintain.

I have often wondered, what would Grandma say about today’s challenging economic situation? She would simply use her common sense wisdom: Don’t buy anything unless you really need it, and reuse everything. This common sense approach to green living puts less pressure on the environment while also saving you two other precious resources: time and money! She would also tell you not be so quick to judge a book by its cover. Some people are doing what they can to get by and others may just be as frugal as my Grandma!

Common Sense Lesson #2: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. But, more importantly: Rethink!

My Grandma died three years ago. It was the day after my 34th birthday. She was 92. This was a defining point of my life. Grandma lived through the World Wars and the Great Depression, which were defining moments of her life. Grandma was a woman of greatness who knew what was important in life: family, food and the environment. She was one of my role models and one of the most influential people in my life. Grandma often told stories of her life as a child and young adult. These stories will be used throughout this blog. Each story held meaning and a common sense lesson for us all to consider.

My Grandma graduated from high school in 1930. I graduated in 1990. We attended our class reunions together. It was her 70th and my 10th. She was sad because only a handful of her classmates were left.   Only three other people showed up for her reunion.  The rest had all either passed on or were unable to attend.  I was sad because my classmates were so serious. To be honest, all I wanted to do was drink a few beers, catch up with everyone and talk about the “Glory Days.” It was clear that she knew it would be her last class reunion. I can only imagine how that feels.

My Grandma grew up in my hometown.  She lived in town often told stories of how she had to fight off snakes and dogs with a stick everyday when walking to and from school. She never did like dogs, and she hated snakes. I would too if I had to defend myself from them everyday.

This may seem strange to many of us, but as a child my Grandma lived in a small town that was in its infancy. There were no paved streets or sidewalks. Many people, including my parents, did not even grow up with indoor plumbing.

Education was incredibly important to her. She believed in investing in an education so much so that she became a school teacher herself. Common sense lesson #1: Invest in Yourself- even if you have to Fight Snakes and Dogs off with a Stick.


Education is a great investment.  Our human capital (education, skills and abilities) opens the door to opportunities, increases our earning potential and typically has a great return on investment (ROI).

I am so excited about starting this blog!  The purpose of this blog is to help people live more green while saving their own green.   

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