Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Book Nook - Memoirs of an Ordinary Guy: The Everyday Experiences that Changed My Life

 A middle-aged father, husband and entrepreneur, Daniel Stuart Olmes is just an ordinary guy. Yet, as he attests, “I’m able to live an extraordinary life.” In Memoirs of an Ordinary Guy: The Everyday Experiences that Changed My Life, Olmes shares his awakening to the amazing world around us — and within us — through stories about the small moments and chance interactions with other ordinary people that have brought him to a fuller understanding of what it means to be alive and why he was born.


“Every day, we encounter things that can inspire us to see the world a little differently, to take pause, to learn something new, or even to recognize the Divine,” Olmes reflects. “They can be a person, a memory, a character in a book, seven miles of asphalt, or even a can of Coke. They are anything and everything, and their gifts are many: a new perspective, a sense of peace, an important lesson, or perhaps a glimpse at another level of our being. They’re a delicate reminder that there’s always something beautiful to see, always something important to learn, and always a better way to live — a better version of ourselves.”


In Memoirs of an Ordinary Guy, Olmes presents a collection of short stories — all true events from his life — to not only chart his spiritual progression but also to inspire readers to find a new road to happiness. Along the way, he offers seven simple but powerful lessons:  


1. No Complaints Necessary. “To complain, in my personal opinion,” Olmes asserts, “is to dishonor the struggles of so many. It’s a moral surrender and a foolish compromise of perspective and gratitude.”


2. Find Examples of Others’ Endurance ... like Olmes did when his path crossed with a frail, hunched over, 90-something woman wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and clutching a gym bag in her hand.


3. See Your Miracles ... like Olmes did, twice, in his 20s, while recovering from alcohol poisoning (he’s been sober for more than 15 years) — and making your own. “We’re all capable of performing miracles,” he assures. “Most of the time in very small ways.”


4. Own Your “Greatness” (which isn’t the same as wealth and fame) and learn how to seize opportunities to be a great human being. “It takes hard work and diligent study,” he acknowledges. “A great person is tireless in their well-doing.”


5. We are ALL Connected. (Yes, every one of the planet’s eight billion people.) Why small acts of kindness and simple recognition of our common humanity can truly make a world of difference in someone else’s day and maybe even life.


6. Find Your “Pearl” ... the one thing you’ll cherish above everything else in life — and find God (or YOUR sense of the Divine) in other people by cultivating the patience and humility to look and pay attention.


7. Why Happiness is a Choice .. .and why, ultimately, in his conviction: “Love is the only thing that matters.”


Memoirs of an Ordinary Guy is Olmes’ open invitation to everyone to be more mindful of the extraordinary possibilities within our reach and the love all around us every day.      

Can you share a little bit about the title? Why "ordinary guy?"
This wasn’t the first title of the book, actually. Ordinary guy was something I chose later to set a particular tone for my narrative. I wanted readers to recognize that I was just a regular dude who was speaking on the beauty of his experience; someone who was real, well-intentioned, down to Earth, and relatable to most people. It was important that I also not take myself too seriously and remain focused on my end goal, which was to tell a series of stories on the everyday experiences that changed my life—stories that we all share in one form or another.

Why did you write this book?

I wrote this book to remind readers of just how much beauty and love there is in the world. I feel today that we are bombarded by information and a lot of it is negative, and it’s actually distracting us from the subtlety and real beauty of life. As I stated in my Author’s note, these stories are a reminder that there’s always something beautiful to see, always something important to learn, and always a better way to live—a better version of ourselves. I hope my readers walk away from reading my book and see the world a little differently.

How can it benefit people to read the stories of other "ordinary" people who have found happiness?

I think it can benefit people because this is a real journey, one that everyone will recognize and embrace but one they’ll come to acknowledge is easily forgotten. We live in a crazy, fast paced, and competitive place where it’s very difficult to survive much less slow down and appreciate the subtle beauty of life and the people we meet day to day. The everyday experiences are certainly difficult to remember, also. Many of the most beautiful experiences, and those with profound lessons and beauty, become lost. This book will help people remember similar experiences in their own life and help them keep their eyes open to those in the future.

How can happiness be accessible to all, regardless of background or circumstances?

I think happiness is accessible to all because happiness is not a function of what happens to us. Happiness is how we choose to look at what happens to us, and that choice is never taken away. I say that fully acknowledging how that choice can be far more difficult for some, that there’s an enormous amount of suffering and disparity in the world. Fundamentally, though, the experience of life is largely a choice and can be viewed one way or another. Unfortunately, often times we make a poor choice with the information we’re presented. We choose negativity over love and a host of misconceptions over basic human truths.

But there’s a solution, and it’s to look in new and different places to find real beauty and love—fundamental truths. And when we do this, our view of world will change and the real miracles in life do reveal themselves. We go back to the basics. We find a comfort in simple things. And we reconnect with our greater purpose, which is bringing to life this thing called love!

Find joy and love in ordinary, everyday experiences.


By most measures, Daniel Olmes is an ordinary guy—but he’s learned how to live an extraordinary life. In Memoirs of an Ordinary Guy, Daniel asserts that we are all capable of being extraordinary and redefines what it means to be just another ordinary person. He is living proof that extraordinary is there for all of us. It doesn’t mean rich or famous. It doesn’t mean better. To Daniel, “extraordinary” means grateful, honest, happy, loving, fearless, and faithful. Doing extraordinary things is not what makes us extraordinary. Being extraordinary is having an extraordinary perspective on our lives and the things that happen to us. Daniel’s narrative will inspire everyone to view their lives differently, remind us of the stories that we all share, and spark a renewed curiosity about a world that’s anything but ordinary.

About the Author

Daniel Stuart Olmes is a husband, father of twins, entrepreneur, and aerospace and defense executive residing outside of Washington, D.C., in the Northern Virginia suburbs. Currently the president and chief operating officer of a mid-sized government contractor, he is an avid reader, runner and volunteer, spending most of his time on the baseball field as a Little League coach. He has founded two companies: Middleburg Capital, a commercial real estate investment firm, and Hellen Systems, a technology company focused on a national security initiative to create a ground-based backup for the Global Positioning System (GPS). He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Virginia Tech in 2000.


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