Opportunities and help do not always come served on a silver
platter. As a matter of fact, they rarely do and so they tend to be missed.
I was recently reminded of this as I recalled a situation from quite
a while back. I used to do some translating at the courthouse as
I was building my own business. As part of my business educational
process, I read a lot of books on business planning and marketing.
One day, while I was at the courthouse, I left one of my marketing
books, Dan Kennedy's The Ultimate Marketing Plan, at the main
counter. By the time, I remembered leaving it there, an hour and a half had passed.
My heart had skipped a beat. Not because the book was expensive.
It cost about $20. I didn't want to lose it because I found the ideas in it
to be of great value and I had highlighted and scribbled in the book
some of the top ideas I wanted to implement. In other words, the value
of the book was already much more than the $20 I paid for it.
The criminal courthouse counter was insanely busy that morning.
There were a lot of people standing in lines, and I was sure that the
book would be gone. I was rather surprised when I found the book
sitting on top of the counter, right where I had left it. I grabbed it and left.
As I drove away from the courthouse, I thought to myself, "What would
have happened if I had left a $20 bill on the counter instead? Would it
have been there, untouched, just as the book was?" I am sure that it
would have been snapped up in seconds. Many of the people at that
courthouse were poor, if not on welfare. They would have recognized
the value of a crisp $20 bill, but they didn't recognize the value of ideas
offered in the book. Had someone taken the book, read it, and decided
to apply the ideas to their job search or to starting a business, they
would have received far more that one $20 bill.
There are many hidden opportunities in life and business that you may
not notice as you only look for the obvious. When a customer or your
boss snaps at you in anger, do you only see the obvious irritation of
the moment, or do you see the value of turning that conflict around for
everyone's long-term benefit? When you get invited for a business
meeting that interferes with your night in front of the TV, do you consider
the benefit of meeting new people and learning from them, or do you
only get annoyed because you won't see your favorite soap opera that night?
In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki talks about similar concepts
when he shares how a story of how his "Rich Dad" taught him about
creating money. According to Robert's "Rich Dad", poor people look for
a paycheque, rich people create opportunities to make money. With
that book left on the counter after hundreds of people would have
passed it in that hour and a half, it was clearer than ever why there are
so few people who are rich - financially, personally, spiritually, or in their
relationships. The good news is that, because so few people even look
for opportunities, you will increase your chances of improvement
dramatically when you START looking beyond the obvious.
Do me a favor, will you? Next time you pass by some equivalent of
a marketing book sitting on the counter, looking like it's been left there
just for you, pick it up. You never know - an opportunity may come
disguised in work clothes, but a single idea may just turn something
really important around for you!
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity,
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
Sir Winston Churchill
A man, destitute and down on his luck, keeps going to Church to pray
to God. "Please, God, I need to win the lottery. Please help!" Next day,
he comes back. "God, I asked to win the lottery, I didn't. Please help!"
Next day, the same thing. Next day, he is back. "God, I have been a
good person. Why won't you help me? I really need to win the lottery!"
Finally, a voice comes from up above. "I would help you, but the least
you can do is to buy a ticket!"