HOW POOR ARE YOU?
Tom and his friend went to Bombay for vacation. On getting there, they saw the deprivation, poverty and hunger that ravaged the millions of inhabitants of the city. Many were walking bare-footed. As they went back to U.S. after the vacation, Tom’s friend told the story of how everybody was wallowing in poverty and walking barefooted. But Tom went into deep imagination of how a shoe business would prosper there. He, thereafter, designed a shoe at a cheaper price for the Indians, patented it and got a shoe industry to produce it for him en-masse. Hundreds of thousands of the shoes were shipped into India. The rest is history, as they would say. Tom became an instant millionaire. Let’s take Tom and his friend as two salesmen who were sent to an island to sell shoes. The first salesman, upon arrival, was shocked to realize that no one wore shoes. Immediately, he sent a telegram to his home office, “I will return home tomorrow. No one wears shoes here.” The second salesman was thrilled by the same realization. Immediately, he wired the home office saying, “Please, send me more shoes. Everyone here needs them.” It’s all about perception. Some see the doughnut; others see the hole in the doughnut. One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from the trip, the father asked his son.
“How was the trip?”
“It was great, dad.”
“Did you see how poor people live?” The father asked.
“Oh yeah,” said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” Asked the father. The son answered: “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then, the son added: “Thanks dad for showing me how poor we are.”
According to Charles H. Parkhurst, “The heart has eyes which the brain knows nothing of.” William Blake added, “If the door of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” It’s never too late, believe me. More than hundred years ago, a man looked at the morning newspaper and to his surprise and horror, read his name in the obituary column. The newspaper had reported the death of the wrong person by mistake. His first response was shock. “Am I here or there?” When he regained his composure, his second thought was to find out what people said about him. The obituary read, “Dynamite King Dies.” And also “He was the merchant of death.” This man was the inventor of dynamite and when he read the words “merchant of death,” he asked himself a question: “Is this how I am going to be remembered?” He got in touch with his feelings and decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered. From that day on, he started working towards peace. His name was Alfred Nobel and he is remembered today by the great Nobel Prize. I have said it here time without number that the only perfect human being is the person who can walk on water and I don’t know if there is any human being who can do that. It goes to show that as human beings, we are bound to make mistakes. But the problem is, some of us don’t learn from our mistakes. Some think it’s too late to make corrections. But come to think of it, is it ever late to start all over again? Colonel Sanders had the construction of a new road put him out of business in 1967 and so he retired from the railroad broke and alone at 65 years! He got his first Social Security check for $105, and he got mad. But instead of blaming society or just writing congress a nasty note, he started asking himself, “What could I do that would be valuable for other people? “His first answer was, well, I have this chicken recipe everyone seems to love! He went and started knocking on doors, telling each restaurant owner his story: “I’ve got great chicken recipe, and I think if you use it, it will increase your sales. And I’ll like to get a percentage of that increase.” Well, many people laughed. They said, “Look, old man, get out of here. What are you wearing that stupid white suit for?” Instead of feeling bad about the last restaurant that had rejected his idea, he immediately started focusing on how to tell his story more effectively and get better results from the next restaurant. He spent two years driving across America in his old, beat-up car, sleeping in the back seat in his rumpled white suit because he couldn’t afford a motel room, getting up each day eager to share his idea with someone new. Often, the only food he had was a quick bite of the sample he was preparing for prospective buyers. All in all, Colonel Sanders was rejected 1, 001 times before he heard his first yes. Few years later, at the age of seventy-five, Colonel Sanders sold his fried chicken company for a finger-licking $15 million! Today, there are thousands of Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises in hundreds of countries all over the world. Dear reader, that you are alive means you still have the opportunity to make corrections in any aspect of your life. Be bold enough to take responsibility. Remember, we must not forget that there are still cave dwellers: the caves are our hearts.
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