Here’s something that might shake you up a little. There will be more buildings erected in the next ten years than have been built in all the preceding centuries of human civilization! How about that? That’s putting all of the construction of centuries into a single decade!
And the same sort of thing is possible with a person – or a business. It is quite possible for a man to achieve more in a single year than he might normally accomplish in a lifetime. A business that has struggled along for years, barely keeping its head above water, can, with a new idea or an improvement of an old one, suddenly find itself swimming in giddy prosperity and with nothing but lots of black ink on the balance sheet.
We tend to take, I think, far too many things for granted. I know, for example, a man who retired at sixty as president of a large company he helped build. He then started a brand-new business which today has sales in the neighborhood of three hundred million dollars a year. When I saw him last, he was in the eighties, hale and hearty, and having a wonderful time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he retired and did it again. Two careers instead of one – or eve three or four are possible.
Now I’m not saying this is necessarily a good idea. It wouldn’t be for everyone. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t just go along with the way things are generally done, just because everyone else seems to be doing it that way.
If you follow the leader, it’s impossible to ever be anything but second best. And sometimes it’s a good idea to sort of stand off and look at yourself – to ask yourself if you’re doing what you really want to do, because you want to do it that way; or if you’re taking things for granted.
A friend of mine has a sign in the elevators of his building which reads: “If I continue to do things the way I’m doing them now, where will I be in ten years?”
It’s a question each of us might ask himself once in a while. The buildings which will be built during the next ten years won’t look like the buildings built ten years ago. They’ll be different in many ways – better, more efficient, more comfortable, more attractive. What about what we do for a living? Are we keeping up with the Changing World in our own lives? If we’re not, we’re modern dinosaurs, and the world will pass us by without so much as a backward glance.
A lot of people who think nothing of riding on a brand new, faster, improved airplane are still running their homes, their jobs and their businesses the same way they were running them ten – even fifty years ago.
The person who says what was good enough for my father is good enough for me is wrong. What was good enough for old dad wouldn’t stand a chance in the world today. And the way we’re doing things today will be old-fashioned maybe five years from now.
Well it’s something to think about, isn’t it?