Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Opportunity

You may have heard these stories before. If so, please bear with me. 3 stories. 

There was a new news reporter. First day on the job. It was that country’s independence day celebrations. The Editor asked him to cover the independent day celebrations on one of their aircraft carrier ship. The reporter goes there. There was a huge fire. Half the ship was destroyed. He comes back and told the Editor that there was no news to report because the Independent day celebrations were cancelled. 

Editor told him the fire on the aircraft carrier was the biggest national and international news. And this idiot did not grab the opportunity to cover that. 

There was a shoe company. The owner sent one of his sales managers to an African country to find out if his company has any opportunity there. He goes there and comes back and said no one in that country is wearing a shoe and therefore we don’t have an opportunity. 

He sends another sales manager to the same country. He goes there and comes back and said no one in that country is wearing a shoe and therefore we have lot of opportunity to sell shoes to all of them.

The above 2 examples may be fiction. But the following really happened. 

A female TV reporter in Seattle went to the Bill Gates’ home to interview him. During the interview, the reporter asked him the secret behind his being rich. Bill thought for 3 minutes before answering her. 

He then gave her his personal check book and asked her to write her name and fill up any amount she wanted to in that check and he will sign. The reporter thought it was a joke and said I didn’t mean that. I asked you a question and want an answer. Bill Gates repeated a second time asking her to write her name and fill up any amount. The reporter again did not do that. 

Mr. Gates took his check book back from her. And he said: You could have walked out of my home as the richest TV reporter in Seattle. I gave an opportunity and you did not grab. The reason I am rich because I do not miss an opportunity that is presented to me.

18 comments:

  1. Wow that's amazing...I completely agree with this....we as humans are scared and nervous when anything different than a script is presented to us....that's why we fail to grab it...I also believe....we should also be mentally aware that when an opportunity comes my way I will be prepared and grab it....we usually are soo caught up in mundane activities that we dont put an effort of what may come....excellently written SG....

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    1. Thanks for your comments Dee. I am glad you are prepared to grab when an opportunity hits you. Hope it is a good opportunity.

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  2. That's a great anecdote from Bill Gates. But, I am sure it was not to be taken literally. Because in that case, it would have meant he became rich by the wrong way!

    Frankly the message I got from it was something different. It is that however tempting an opportunity is don't grab it, if it's not correct. I would appreciate the reporter for not using that opportunity to become rich. Or, if Bill Gates was so insistent, she could have written $1.

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    1. Hey Pradeep, why would it not have been correct?.....the reporter could have gotten the money to help others.......

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    2. Thanks for your comments Pradeep. I understand your perspective.

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    3. Hi Dee,

      Thank you for providing a different perspective. Frankly, I didn't think on those lines at all.

      You are right, the reporter could have taken a huge sum of money and used that to help people. Only that she should be someone who can safely invest a very large sum of money in a productive manner. If she has no business acumen, then it is better to decline the offer rather that waste someone else's hard-earned money. Gates would have used it wisely.

      While I agree with your point of view, there seems to be something wrong with the analogy that Gates offered.

      Why I thought it wasn't right for the reporter at that time to accept the cheque was because in that particular context of the interview, where the reporter is actually looking forward to a good quote from Gates for her story, a blank cheque (and getting rich) is not her priority (especially at that time). I thought she did the right thing by remaining focussed on her work, for which she came to meet Gates. Like probably any journalist would do, she persisted with her query. I think it's even unrealistic to imagine that any journalist at that point would immediately write an amount and pocket the cheque then and there!

      I gave a good thought to what you suggested. While I am convinced with your point of view (that's perfectly fine), and I agree with Gates' advice not to let go a good opportunity, I am not fully convinced by that anecdote, and even by that quote of Gates.

      If such an incident did happen, and Bill Gates did say such a thing, it was a wrong example to drive home a good point.

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    5. Hi Pradeep,

      I completely understand the point you are trying to make.... not sure if this is a true story.... but in my opinion you never know how, when and where an opportunity would knock.... and when it does, not only should we be able to recognize it, we should also be able to take it on..... in the above example.....when he handed a blank check ..... we always think about....1. I didnt do anything to earn it, and donno what I have to give up for getting that sort of money 2.how huge an amount can I enter......

      I think of it as 1. What are my goals in life (repay a student loan or start a news channel that reports reality or start a training center for fresh new reporters)
      2.you can enter an amount that you truly need at that point in time instead of an atrocious number and waste away your life

      The above story can be a good example of anytime an opportunity presents itself .... we should take it at face value and think before we reject it.... you never know if that was the only opportunity we would get to turn a bad situation into a good one....

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    6. Hi Dee,

      Ya, that's true. I was probably thinking in a bit of an old-fashioned, moralistic manner, getting bogged down in the correctness or otherwise of it all.

      I must thank you for showing me a different way of looking at that particular situation mentioned in the anecdote. And you have illustrated it very well.

      I really enjoyed this conversation. Rarely do comments in blog posts lead to good thought-provoking discussions.

      Take care. And stay safe.

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    7. Hey Pradeep, I enjoyed it as well... very few people are able to truly understand others point of view and accept it. I am glad you are one of them....Stay indoors and safe

      -Dee

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  3. The issue with such fly-by-the-night lucky money arrivals is - lifestyle. With that money, the reporter would have created a richer lifestyle that she wouldn't have been able to sustain with her income.

    People like Gates have earned the money and they know how and where to invest it wisely.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. I understand what you are saying. People who suddenly get lot of money (like a lottery) they are unprepared for how to spend that money.

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  4. Once Suki Sivam, one of the best Tamil orators, was asked, "which speech of yours is the best you think?" He replied, "my next". Like this, Rajan, each and every blog of yours is out beating your previous one.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Gowri. Thanks for your complements.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Krishna. Long time no see. How have you been? Also, thanks for your complements.

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  6. Opportunity touches the feet of the fox and the cat, where the fox started thinking of ways to escape from the hunter, whereas the cat ran away from the scene. Good topic as always yours is,SG.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sarala. You gave a wonderful example.I liked it.

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