Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where to Draw the Line?


As part of a course I was doing, it was recommended that I read a book called Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. In one chapter, Mr Hill tells the story of a man named Darby who got caught up in the fever of the gold rush days. After much backbreaking work Darby actually unearthed a vein of gold.

Now he would need machinery to mine the gold, so he went back home and told his relatives and neighbours of his find. They got together the money for the needed machinery and then Darby and his uncle returned to work their claim.

At first the returns were quite amazing and it seemed they might just have one of the richest mines in Colorado. In fact just a few more cars of ore and they would be able to clear their debts and begin to realize a profit.

Then suddenly the vein of ore disappeared. They continued to drill, desperate to find it again, but, finally, they admitted defeat.

Darby managed to sell all of his equipment to a junk man and then he and his uncle caught the train home.
The junk man, however, called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a reassessment. The engineer advised that the vein of gold would be found just THREE FEET FROM WHERE THE DARBYS HAD STOPPED DRILLING.

Can you imagine how Darby must have felt when he found out? He went home still owing his relatives and friends for the money he borrowed for the machinery, and it took him many years to pay off his loans. Yet if he had just persisted a little longer – just another three feet of digging - he would have found the mother lode.

The moral of this story, of course, is not to give up on your dreams. I suppose that’s the big difference between those who succeed in this life and those who don’t – the ability to keep on keeping on.

However I need to know where do you draw the line? How far do you go with pursuing your dream before you admit defeat? In hindsight, it is easy for us to shake our heads and say how unfortunate it is that Darby didn’t press on for that extra three feet and claim the untold riches awaiting him.

Then again, what if Darby had continued drilling, plunging himself further and further into debt, and never actually finding that elusive vein of ore? We would have said what a fool he was to persist in chasing rainbows.

I would hate to be known as the person who stopped three feet short of my mother lode. But I would also hate to be known as some one who was so obsessed with an idea that I lost sight of everything else of value in my life.
©Lyn Murphy 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Learning From My Mistakes


Earlier this year we made a big decision. We decided it was time to explore our options as far as earning an income. While we are managing okay with our current cleaning business, we are not getting any younger and we are not sure just how long we can continue with our current workload. So we decided to branch out into the world of E-commerce: to see if we could make money by way of an online store.

Now I did what I thought was adequate research before I committed us to any particular path. But the truth is we were green as grass and had no idea what we were doing, which made us easy targets for the scammers. How can you possibly distinguish truth from fiction without any kind of yardstick against which to measure it?

Yes, I got scammed. I spent money on a couple of schemes which, despite hours of work and frustration, have never earned me a cent. In fact all I ended up with was an inbox full of spam and a string of phone calls from people trying to sign me up for even more fraudulent scams.

Thankfully I am, by nature, a very cautious person. Because of this the damage to our finances was limited and we still have one iron in the fire – an online store selling waterproof digital cameras, which could well turn out to be a viable business. But there was a period of time in which I was very angry with myself. How could I have been so stupid and gullible – to let myself be taken in like that? As if we can afford to throw money down the drain that way?

Yet, in the last few weeks as we have finally gotten our website up and running, I have had to revise my opinions. After all, without those earlier failed attempts, I wouldn’t have learned the basics of writing HTML codes, a knowledge which has come very much handy with this venture. And, without those previous attempts, I wouldn’t have known how to promote our site by submitting it to the various Search Engines. I wouldn’t have known the value of writing articles and blogs in order to get my name ‘out there’ on the Internet – to gain a small following that I can now invite to visit our new site.

In other words, my past mistakes are proving to be a very valuable tool for shaping my future opportunities at success.

Of course there is a lesson to be learned from this. I often find myself momentarily overwhelmed by a sense of regret when I think back over my past life and the many, very foolish mistakes I have made. If only I had done it all a little differently. If only I had thought a little harder and longer before I launched myself into the making of life changing decisions.

But the truth is that I did what I thought was right at the time. I really only learned the error of my ways afterwards – and then it was too late. All I could do was to take the things I learned from those mistakes and try to use that knowledge to go forward. Just like I’m doing now.

©Lyn Murphy 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Have a Happy Life


There was a poster on the wall of the Office I cleaned this morning. It was entitled “How to Have a Happy Life”. Now I didn’t have time to actually stop and read it, but a couple of lines caught my eye.

I gather the sentiments expressed on the poster were penned by a Vet – a piece of advice on how to have a happy life based on the example of the behaviour of man’s best friend – the dog.

One of the sentences which really jumped out at me was something along the lines of this:-
Always rush to meet your friends and family with undisguised joy and affection. Never be afraid to let them know how happy you are to see them.

It’s so true, isn’t it? Our doggie friends will bound to greet us with unabashed enthusiasm – even if we have only been gone for an hour. They never meet us at the gate and launch into a tirade about how we left them home alone all day, or how we obviously forgot to bring home their favourite snacks yet again. All they really care about is that we are home with them once again.

Another of the lines said something about taking every opportunity to frolic in the fresh air and sunshine. Have you ever watched a dog when he is released to go for a run? The animal is almost beside itself with excitement – rushing hither and thither exploring, sniffing, trying to take in everything at once. And no matter how many times you take the dog for a walk, along the same path, he will do the same thing. He will never stop and sit on his haunches and yawn because he is bored with the same old, same old.

The last little gem of wisdom I gleaned from this hastily scanned poster was a sentence about allowing people to touch you. Dogs, in general, loved to be touched. They will come and push their velvety noses into your hand to get a pat, or plant their head in your lap and look up into your face with those big brown eyes until you give in. They are not in the least ashamed to come and beg for attention when they feel the need for it, just as they are never hesitant to give their undivided attention to you.

I’m not actually a dog lover. I don’t intend to start launching myself at my husband when he comes home and furiously licking his face, or galloping along the footpath sniffing the bushes. But maybe I could be a little less inhibited in my enjoyment and enthusiasm for life and my loved ones.

How about you?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Me I Used to Be


There I was doing my most unglamorous Tuesday morning job of sweeping the leaves and the cigarette butts from the sidewalk, wearing my most unglamorous cleaners outfit – and she strode by all long legs, gleaming blonde tresses and youthful beauty.

For a moment there I was overwhelmed by a sense of loss. I will never look like that again – with smooth, unlined skin unmarked by the ravages of time. Even if I lost the fifteen or so extra kilos I’ve managed to acquire since the days of my youth, I would never be able to look good in short skirts and form fitting shirts. All I could ever hope to achieve would be to look like ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’.

But then, in the midst of my sudden depression, it occurred to me that even back in those long gone days when I was still young and glowing with the radiance of my youth – I never really found much solace in the state of my being.

I found myself thinking that I really wasted so much of my life. I was so busy fretting about things that I see now were of little consequence in the overall scheme of things. I was always in such a hurry to get on with things. To finish school. To leave home. To get married. I never just took the time to revel in being young.

Then it occurred to me that I might still live for another twenty years or more. Things certainly won’t get any better with regard with wrinkles and sagging body parts, that’s for sure. So, in ten, or fifteen years time, I will be looking back on today as ‘the good old days’. As I shuffle along with my walking frame, I will probably be thinking that at least, back then, I could still cope with demands of my cleaning job.

As I said, I felt as though I squandered the opportunities of my youth by being in such a rush to move forward. The last thing I want to do is waste the opportunities of the present by lamenting what is now in the past.

My family and friends don’t see me in terms of my age, or how many wrinkles I have. To them I am just ‘me’ and they love me accordingly. Maybe I need to learn to love and appreciate the me I am now rather than to long for the me I used to be.
©Lyn Murphy 2010