If you look for something in this world you can usually find it. Big and small. Good and bad. Whatever you want you can usually find.
I’ve been around a number of business people over the years. And hopefully I have a long life of getting to spend time with many more. It’s not a universal trait, but a common thread among entrepreneurs, managers, etc. is at least a little optimism toward the past, present and future.
Many entrepreneurs I’ve met look back fondly at the early days of their business. They almost appreciate those times more if they were really a struggle. They appreciate the struggle maybe because it makes them fell good about where they are now no matter what the revenue number is or however they want to look at success.
When I first started Ghost Blog Writers I looked at it fondly at the time. I had one client paying me $50 ever week for a post. I couldn’t believe it. I had a full time job and in the evenings and on weekends I would write blog posts. For my personal blog and for that client. Then I got a second client. Then a third.
I was making $600/month on top of my salary from my employer. My salary wasn’t much since I was entry-level. That $600 came in very handy for a 23 year old. I’m sure I had mega million dollar dreams when I quit my job to work full-time with Ghost Blog Writers. And I’m definitely not there yet. But I try to appreciate the last 10+ years of doing it.
It all seems to come down to what we compare our lives against. I was watching some TV show recently and a character said, there is always a bigger bear. It’s true. If you always look for the bigger bear and compare yourself to it then you risk setting yourself up for failure.
I remember reading Ted Turner’s autobiography. He made and lost billions with the rise and fall of the AOL stock. Most of us looked at the headlines and figured, well he still has a billion dollars. But for him it was a pretty difficult pill to swallow after having nearly ten billion.
But Ted was pretty good about perspective. It could have come from a lot of places, but I do remember his father’s death having a strong impact on him as he said in his book. His father owned a billboard company. And he purchased a larger billboard company. Shortly after he took his own life. Now, there might have been more going on, but the weight of it may have played a part. At least according to Ted.
Ted was only in his 20s at the time. He took over for his father and fought through some financial struggles to make the company very successful. Eventually he got into cable television in the late ’70s and his fortunes really rose.
One thing I try to remind myself is that a middle class person today has more technology and comforts than the richest person in the world just two or three generations ago. I love golf. Toward the end of his life John Rockefeller loved golf. I can buy the best golf ball ever made for $4. I can get in a car here in Wisconsin and play a world class golf course for a couple hundred dollars. I can bring my iPhone with that has satellite imagery with yardage and slope overlayed on it.
Old John barely got to see the emergence of the automobile.
It’s all about comparison. Do it wrong and you may wind up being angry or frustrated about your work. But do it the right way and you will probably end of smiling and even feeling inspired about what you can accomplish in the next five years or more.