Posted by: scotpro | August 17, 2008

Puzzles

I watch folks go nuts for Su Doku, I sit next to people on airplanes passing the time with crossword puzzles and the such. These are not something I’ve ever gotten addicted to. Addiction may be a strong word here, but whatever it is I’ve not been bitten by that bug.

However, the bug that has got a lifetime hold on me is that of experiencing as many things as possible, from the simple to the extreme. The thing is – I find unless I push myself and seek out extreme experiences, experiences fall into the category of “everyday life stuff”. What’s “pushing the envelope” or extreme to one may be “over the top” to some and “vanilla” to another, I’m not judging the activity or experience, only pointing out that there is so much more to do than most can even imagine possible.

You’ve heard it said that life is not a spectator sport – Well, if there have to be spectators, let them watch you.

While hiking Upper Lost Man trail on Independence Pass (12,095 feet, 3686 meters, feels like your on top of the world), outside of Aspen, Colorado recently someone on the trail said, “Don’t forget to look up”. I looked up and a whole new puzzle piece fell into place for me, what in the world am I missing when I’m not looking? The next day I was on a trail closer to town, more of a game trail (a narrow trail trampled by game animals but passable by humans), and as usual I was looking straight ahead and to the right at the river that lent a soundtrack to our hike. My friend grabbed my arm and said, “Whoa, look…”. He pointed up just above the sight line into a tree. One of the uncountable beautiful pieces of architecture and building nature has to offer.

Yep, that is a hornet nest. I took several pictures and decided I would pick the best one and make a jigsaw puzzle out of it. You see, each step in life is kind of like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, and at the end you get to see if you put the pieces together to form the “picture” on the box, a completed puzzle that looks like you imagined it would.

Basically for me it comes down to this… What challenges me and where do I have to push myself to grow, in that area? What experiences can I bring back and share with sufficient excitement that I may inspire others to go out and start putting the puzzle pieces in place. The cool thing is that everything is made up so the picture is ever changing, and it takes a bit getting used to so don’t worry and enjoy the views from the top.

One last thing, even when you think your at the top of the world don’t forget to look up, amazing things are on the horizon, and at least as important… Right in front of you, just above your sight line.

Posted by: scotpro | August 16, 2008

The First Thing Sold

Someone once asked me what the first thing I sold was; after all, that’s pretty much what it all comes down to: sales.

I told him that my brother and I sold grapes door to door. We’d pick them off our back fence, bag them up, load the wagon and start the rounds.

During the grape “off-season,” we’d scour the neighborhood to collect and redeem coke bottles.

On the weekends, my brother and I would go to the local golf course, thrash through the brush, find golf balls, clean them up and sell them back to the golfers. You may have seen the dramatization of this in the movie “Radio Flyer”.

We also ordered a “backyard fair” from the back of a comic book and held the fair in the front yard. A big hit. I don’t remember if we actually made any money, but it didn’t matter: we had a great time.

A highlight was when a neighbor lost his rooster. We lived in a suburb of Los Angeles (the last place you’d expect to see a rooster unless you lived there 50 years earlier), and we were promised a big reward if we found it. My brother and I donned our expedition attire and set off to find the rooster. We figured they couldn’t fly, so how far could it have gone? We struck gold close to home: the rooster had slipped through a hole in the fence and made its way to a vacant field behind the house. We returned it for a whopping .25 cent reward — a whole quarter.

It was all in the experience. Sure we expected more; sure it would have been sweet to go around the corner and buy a couple of well deserved vanilla soft-serve cones dipped in that magical chocolate “shell”; magical because when the ice cream guy turned the cone upside down, the ice cream didn’t fall out.

My brother and I had a mission (an idea), agreed to take on the task at hand (core group: me and my brother), start looking close to home (develop and execute a plan: it couldn’t have gone far), find and bring home the rooster.

I guess the point here is that in some fashion or another, this is exactly what is done today: Get a bright idea, build a core group of people around the idea, develop and execute a plan.

I believe this is how all great ideas that are pursued get to the marketplace.

I do the same thing today: I get an idea, build a core group of people around the idea, develop and execute a plan.

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