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January 15, 2010
A Tale of Two Salespeople


Here is a tale for you to consider:

Two Salespeople for a leading athletic shoe company are sent to a developing-soon-to-be-superpower in the early 1980’s.  After a week of working to find leads, each salesperson reports back to the corporate office...

The first salesperson reports, "Prospects could not be worse.  Nobody here wears athletic shoes.  Let’s not waste our time, efforts and resources."

The second salesperson sees things a bit differently.  "This place is unbelievable!!  Everyone here needs our shoes.  We need to get started right away!"

So the question I ask you...is which report would have come back from you ?

Most people have a hard time looking at potential situations and seeing where the opportunities exists.  Inventors, entrepreneurs, and explorers all are recognized for their ability to see beyond the present and look to the possibility of "what may be". 

If rich rewards and recognition are found with opportunity, why don’t more people seek them?  The answer, lies in one word...RISK (which is another another word for fear).  Are we willing to risk time, money, comfort, and reputation trying and create, innovate and develop new ideas?

Most people have a certain "comfort zone" that we all tend to live within.  The fear of failure is an overpowering emotion that stifles our creativity and prevents us from becoming innovators. 

We are hard wired at an early age to avoid risk at all costs.  In school and at home we are beaten down to fit in and become a part of the norm.  Do it this way...or you will be punished...

In a now famous lecture, Dr. Randy Pausch attributed some of his success in life to his parents who allowed him to color on the walls at his home, helping to release some of his creativity.  He also explained that the brick walls in our life are there for a reason...there are there to determine if we want something bad enough to work hard to get it...(If you haven’t seen this lecture, it’s a MUST SEE...click HERE to see it).  

The biggest opportunities in life ironically also take the most work and have substantial risk.  Rewards are reserved for innovators. 

In the world of innovation, there are only two kinds of people, victims and creators.  Creators focus on finding solutions, welcoming bumps in the road, breaking through the brick walls.  They know that overcoming hurdles will ultimately lead to better solutions.

Meanwhile, for victims, small problems (not to mention the BIG problems) lead to inaction.  They become paralyzed by the problems (potential problems that don’t even exist yet) and would rather sit back and complain rather than create solutions.

I have a good friend who is currently an attorney but would like to start her own business.  She has talked with me and several others about different business ideas that she likes.  We all have discussed in great length about how she can put these ideas in motion.  After three years, she has done absolutely nothing with these ideas yet continues to complain about her current chosen profession.  The fear of going some place new is greater than pain of staying where she is at...she is a victim not an innovator.

Steve Jobs, one of the greatest innovators or our time, has also created some of the greatest failures (anyone remember NeXT computers?).  Thomas Edison failed over 1000 times to create the light bulb...Gates...Buffet...Branson...Dell all can list several failures among their great achievements. 

Failing is as much a part of success as heavy breathing is a part of running.  The trick is understand that a creator sees every small failure as a big opportunity to gain knowledge and experience.  They view every problem as an opportunity to break down the barriers that stand before them...the same ones that will keep others out...

The key is to success (and failure) is DOING...not thinking or talking about doing...there will ALWAYS be problems along way...but creators figure out a way to solve the problems...creators create solutions.

John F. Kennedy once said, "Some people look at things that are and ask Why?...I dream of things that aren’t and ask Why Not?"

Which person do you want to be a creator or a victim?...(hint:  it’s not too late to change)

Thank you very much for your continued support supporting of OptiFuse as we try to break down the brick walls.

Jim Kalb

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