virgin islands scene

Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese.
-- Billie Burke


Monday, March 4, 1996


It’s no secret that working for a living has changed forever. No longer can anyone be assured of having a job for life. This is true all the way from the executive board room on down.

Jobs are disappearing, never to return, in spite of a healthy economy, and in spite of the fact that there is plenty of work to be done, and plenty of work being done. It is simply being done less and less in the context of a traditional job.

Work is being outsourced, done by temporary and contract employees, done by employees working overtime, done by entrepreneurs. And even though jobs are disappearing, there is still plenty of opportunity.

There is more opportunity now than there has ever been. The problem is that most people are completely blind to it. We have become so ingrained with the idea that opportunity can only come from getting paid to do a job, that we miss most of the opportunities which come along. Everyone is after money. The way to get money is to produce something -- be it tangible products, or services, or ideas -- that you can exchange for money. That’s the model that we know so well.

However, in our focus on money, we lose sight of the true opportunities that are all around us. The biggest opportunities come to those with vision. To people who solve tough problems, who dream big dreams, who try things that have never been tried. The most successful businesses do not simply create products or services in exchange for money. They pioneer new ground. They dream big dreams and create a visions so grand that people are compelled to follow them.

For the better part of the industrial age, people have been able to enjoy rising standards of living, just by learning how to use the tools of industry and by doing the jobs assigned to them. This goes for engineers, accountants, assembly line workers, technicians, salespeople, managers and most other workers. An honest day’s work in the service of someone else’s vision, in return for good pay.

That is all changing. Technology is providing the leverage that once was supplied by a well-run corporation. The result is that one individual, properly equipped, can do the work of hundreds. All of a sudden, the dreamers and the visionaries no longer need all the dedicated employees.

Too many people have become too good at using the tools of production, and no good at figuring out what to do with those tools. For the most part, we were not taught in school to be creative -- we were taught to be productive. We’ve concentrated all our lives on the “how” and never thought about the “why."

To prosper in the coming information age, we must become masters of the “why.” We must dare to dream big dreams, to explore uncharted territory, to develop new concepts and follow our vision. For the person who can do that, there is infinite opportunity. Look around you. For everything you see, ask yourself “why?", “why not?” and “what if?” You’ll see opportunity in every direction.

Don’t depend on your competence, or your expertise, or your specialized knowledge to carry you through life. Look inside yourself and find a vision. Find a “why” and you’ll suddenly see a lifetime of opportunity.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1996 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.