By Bill Scott, President, StoreReport LLC
As I write this first sentence, I am not even sure I will publish it. My computer is a vast landscape, consisting of words in the form of sentences, paragraphs, articles and partially written books that even I have forgotten.
The truth is, my trusty computer made its way to that great data center in the sky last Friday, and I am sitting here typing on my laptop as I wait, not so patiently, for the Fed-Ex guy to deliver a replacement from Dell, and trusting that Carbonite will be able to deliver on its promise to restore the billions of bits of data that hang in the balance. Maybe what I have just written will be edited out. Maybe this article will just languish in storage waiting for the next big crash.
So goes life. Some of the things we do end up being only important because they led us toward something else, and their existence is nothing more than an embarrassment of things we shouldn’t have wasted our time on. Calm down. If you are young, you have your whole life ahead of you.
Having an opinion on a subject can act as a shield that protects us from the bad things around us, or it can be a chain that grounds us from the one chance that could have resulted in success that would have led to the glorious life all of us strive for in one way or another.
It’s a known fact that males of the human species don’t like to ask for directions. Sometimes it amazes me that we get anywhere at all.
Imagination is the First Step to Success
Once, I attended a seminar where a well-known personality taught us how to imagine our way to success.
It was a simple technique really. In one of his exercises he had us imagine that we were driving the car of our dreams. Then he instructed us to go into great detail in describing every little morsel of the experience. The smell of the leather seats, the exhilaration I felt as I pressed the accelerator and heard the roar of the great beast, the wind in my hair, the rhythm of tires on the pavement, the inertia experienced while negotiating a sharp curve, the looks I received from envious motorists as I flew past them like a rocket and approached the horizon, sailing into the setting sun. In other words, I employed all of my five senses of hearing, smelling, tasting, seeing and touching as I imagined my dream as if it were my reality.
When we were done, he asked us one simple question. “While you were enjoying your imaginary ride in your idea of the world’s most fantastic vehicle, did you imagine how you are going to pay for it?” The roar of laughter erupted in the room as we all looked at each other and shook our heads.
Imagination can be a dangerous toy, but without it, it is doubtful that cavemen would have progressed past the entrance to their caves. Hunger drove us out, and if we were lucky, tales of warnings prepared us for what was to come. If we had not taken those warnings to heart, we would have most likely been eaten on our first venture out, and my ancestors wouldn’t have survived to produce me.
I get emails, calls and requests daily from readers who are not afraid to ask, “How do I go about getting into the convenience store business?” They are wading in the imagination stage. They are seeking information and encouragement. Before it’s over, they will want it so badly they may be willing to sell their very souls for the opportunity. Yet, with so much at stake, they are ashamed of their ignorance, and they rarely ask their questions in a public forum.
Fear of showing their lack of knowledge probably killed more cavemen than did the saber-toothed tigers, so, in many cases, knowledge needs to be scattered around in places where it can be found. Those of us that ignore the fear of criticism are the driving force behind progress.
Kudos to the writers, because they are the catalysts that determine if, and how, we think.