Uncovering Opportunity

wells“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.”     ~Orison Swett Marden~

I have a brash, maybe painful, question to ask of you?  Are you ready?

Yes, I am, Richard?  What is it you want to know?  Imagine – if you will – that life can bring to you whatever you wish for most.

Yeah, I’m with you, Richard.

And supposing that you wish to be rich beyond all imagination.  Let’s say, $10,000,000 in the bank and growing.

Sounds great, Richard.

So now you have your dream and you set about learning what it takes to be so rich.  You read the books, attend the seminars, listen to motivational messages, and write down definable goals.  You feel certain that in time your dream will become a reality.

That makes sense, Richard.

The trouble is that none of your ideas gel and the thousands of dollars you are investing in your future glory seem to be flushing down the proverbial toilet day by day.

That could happen, Richard.

But one day a stranger in front of the general store tries to light a cigarette with a match and the flame blows out over and over again before he can light up.  You are on your way to meet a man about your newest idea, and thus give scant attention to the man with the unlit cigarette.

I’m following you, I guess.  Continue Richard.

You call that busyness, but I call it a missed opportunity.  Your life will probably go on uneventfully and without that $10,000,000 in the vault.

A former metal worker and high school dropout, George G. Blaisdell, however, rakes in enough cold hard cash to buy ten yachts and five vacation homes from a depression-era driven company, Zippo Lighters.

Hmm, that scenario does happen all the time, doesn’t it, Richard?

Yes, it does.  If you become so obsessed with the theory of wealth that you develop a tunnel vision, then opportunity will pass right under your nose time and again, unknown and underutilized.

The Good Old Days


“People seem to get nostalgic about a lot of things they weren’t so crazy about the first time around.”     ~Author Unknown”

Maybe I’m becoming an old codger.

As you get older and regrets begin to creep in ever more frequently to your daily thoughts, the ability to act on your dreams becomes exponentially more difficult.

I can remember my lightning-quick speed to run down balls on the singles tennis court for hours on end in searing heat without gasping for air.

I can remember filling out job applications and submitting resume after resume expecting that sooner or later someone would give me a chance to become rich.  The sooner seemed to become the later before the cock crowed.

I can remember looking with romantic eyes at every woman, hoping, and sometimes expecting, she would be turned on by me.

I can remember the wanderlust urge which brought me to Japan some 35 years ago.
And then somewhere down that road the lights seemed to dim.

The good old days of wine, party, song, romance, dreams yet to be, mountains yet to be conquered, millions yet to be made…seemed like a fading echo.

And the body – once bouncy and ready to pounce – now slumped soberly in front of a computer hoping that the Internet could be the great equalizer to all which ails me inside and out.

Japan is a challenge for us all, unless we accept being stereotypical car traders, translators and quasi-educators scrambling to the next deal or contract until death do us part.

Many foreigners make lots of noise and posturing about making a financial killing here, but few do.  Why?  Because Japan requires patience and most entrepreneurial-minded foreigners are in a hurry for success.

The good old days were never as good as they may seem.  But they do teach us that if we don’t use our God-given talents to improve ourselves rather than fritter away the years in recklessness, our old age will be filled with remorse, bitterness and yes, poverty.

The antidote to the above is to have dreams and goals bigger than ourselves.

Before I had angioplasty surgery several months ago, I planned to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro on my 60th birthday and look out over Africa in celebration of life.  After the operation, I went into a funk.  My mortality and reality slapped me in the face.

But I’m determined to not live in the good, old days.  Somehow, I will get to that mountaintop or create a doable, comparable challenge.  That is my success in Japan.

I’ll fight to the finish.  Hopefully, you will do likewise.