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Winds have shifted

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Come to think of what you were doing two years ago, the way you were running business, the customers you had, the friends you had, the stories you used to cherish. You will realise that a lot has changed. Your life may probably be better now than yesterday or the opposite, your influence in the social and/or political or corporate spheres might have heightened or waned down. Your level of relevance in the society you live in has changed. All that points to a simple philosophy – the winds have changed.

If life seems to be on the negative side of you, then you have to realise that, as the winds were changing, you were still stuck in the status quo. You lived in the belief that the wind would always blow in the direction it used to. Possibly, you were in the comfort zone and you eventually took things for granted. When your colleagues were investing in themselves, you thought you were untouchable. When your colleagues were working hard, you thought your position alone in the company you work for would protect you from unforeseeable competition. We all fail in life because the moment we start comprehending that we have achieved, we grow thick skin that is impermeable to new knowledge, ideas and ideologies. We shut out all relevant information that is meant to enable us steer our boat in the appropriate direction.

What Andrew Grove said will certainly be true to most of us. He simply put it: “it is like sailing a boat, when the wind shifts on you but, for some reason, maybe because you are down below, you do not even sense that the wind has changed until the boat suddenly heels over. What worked before doesn’t work anymore; you need to steer the boat in a different direction quickly before you are in trouble, yet you have to get the feel of a new direction and the strength of the wind before you can hope to right the boat and set a new course.”

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It is obvious that, for most people, life is becoming a menace; earnings are shrinking and we keep on complaining. We have gotten accustomed to acquiring loans from more sources. Our complaint is always the same – we do not have access to capital to start business. That is the epitome of failure. Any little amount one has is enough capital, only that we position ourselves for businesses that are not within our reach; we do not have the spirit to start small. We want to copy successful businesses that have been there for so many years. We lack customer insight and knowledge of customer needs.

Jeffrey Fox gives a simple way, in terms of what to do when the winds have shifted. Fox has this to say: “Don’t look down on the business owner or the business that carts manure, or picks up dead carcasses from the highways, or rents rooms in flophouses to vagrants. Any business is okay if it is filling a customer need, operates within all laws.’

You will laugh at this lesson but this is true. Fox clarifies: ”It is okay to pick fleas of a dog, especially if it’s your dog. It is okay to pick fleas or to sell fleas, if that is your own small business. It is okay to scrub toilets, clean dishes, wax boats, sling hash, milk camels. It is okay to do any job working for a customer, because all jobs can be done with dignity…. no matter how mundane your company; no matter how unglamorous; no matter how unfashionable, or how pedestrian and unsuitable for the social register crowd, ownership takes away any sting in doing your company’s work.”

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When situations have changed, you need to change as well. Tears and mourning can never change anything. Complaining about your sorrows and even broadcasting them to your friends and the world will yield you no benefit. Take the road least taken and it will make a difference. Find something that will give you pleasure, explore it and you will make it great again. If your business is dying, note the changing trends of the wind then diversify before you are out of sorts. If your career is heading for the death bed, inject some changes to it to adapt to changing trends. Failure to notice the change in the direction of the wind will leave you desolate on a dejected island. Take the course of action now and all will be fine with you. Life will always never be the same.

Have you lost a job? Accept the situation and channel your energy towards other rewarding tasks. You never know that is an opportunity for you to explore the best you can become. You might have failed in school. Stop mourning over that. Possibly you will now realise the talent you have that will give you more money, more than you could have earned had you attained high academic qualifications.

The world does not talk of academic qualifications of Bill Gates, it talks of his wealth. The same was true with Steve Jobs. The world has nothing to do with qualifications of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. Mayweather is known more for his achievements than his academic background. Talent is the resource we least appreciate, yet it is the most rewarding.

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