Life Isn’t All Great
I did a keynote presentation for a great company last week called Ingram Micro, a $300+ billion, Fortune 100 company. In my keynote, I discussed:
• How these are the most exciting and opportunity-rich times to be an entrepreneur in all of human history (why that is, statistically).
• How technology is leveling the playing field (redistributing the wealth) between big business and small business, disrupting status quos, control of distribution channels, and direct and immediate access to massive global consumer markets.
• How more “new wealthy” and new millionaires will be produced in the next 10 years than have been created in the last 110 years—combined.
I also talked about tuning out creative-spirit-crushing negative news media (as we’ve discussed in How to Change the World, Fuel for Growth, Info Power) and focusing instead on what is positive and right with the world—the abundance and prosperity, and the role models, mentors and people doing extraordinary things in the world today (a la SUCCESS magazine).
Afterward, in the lobby, an attendee asked me this question for clarification: “If we are just supposed to focus on the positive and not the negative, what about the reality of what’s going on in our business, industry and market economy? We can’t just ignore it and assume everything is positive, can we?”
My answer: “No, of course not. I am not suggesting don’t acknowledge reality; in fact, that is where change and opportunity begins.”
Reminds me of something Jim Rohn used to teach, who also didn’t believe in blind positivity. He would say, “If you are broke, the best thing to affirm is ‘I am broke.’ In fact add, ‘I am age 40, I live in America and I’m broke.’ Put that on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or car dashboard. Let that motivate you to start taking some serious action.”
No, I said, I am simply suggesting that you look at the reality of problems with a new set of eyes. Instead of seeing them only as problems, see them as opportunities. I reminded him that the business of entrepreneurialism is finding a problem (a need) and solving it (providing a solution). Problems are like food, water and oxygen to the entrepreneur. It is the best possible scenario. Problems are the doorways to gold mines. Look at the changing world as a giant new harvest of opportunity, creative potential and prosperous possibilities.
To start this subtle but massive shift in mindset and view of the world around him I suggested that he write down the top 10 “problems” he sees with his business, his industry and his marketplace, then ask himself the following questions.
I suggest the same exercise for yourself–your breakthrough idea might come out of it:
• What’s great about this? Name three benefits this situation creates?
• What did I do to contribute to this? What could I have done to prevent this or hedge against it? What can I learn from this? What new opportunities for reinvention do I now have?
• How does this change things? Who has been disrupted? Where is there now a void in the market? What need is now not being served? What new needs have been created?
• Whose customers have now been liberated? How can I attract those newly liberated customers?
• What are the biggest problems my customers are facing? How can help provide a solution?
• What are the biggest problems my competitors are facing? How can I take advantage of that?
• How is technology changing my business? How can I be a leader in that future?
So, no, life is not all great. And that’s a great thing! If it were, it’d be much harder for us to find problems to fix and needs to serve, and thus our fortunes in helping make a difference.
Yes, see the reality of the world and all it’s problems; just see those problems with creative, helpful and opportunistic eyes!
What questions do you ask yourself when presented with a problem to see the benefit or opportunity in it? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.