Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Amid difficulty lies opportunity

Opinion
Written by Personal Finance
Chinkee Tan
Business Mirror
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5080:amid-difficulty-lies-opportunity&catid=28:opinion&Itemid=64

For the past few weeks, I have been receiving a lot of invitations to speak at company kick-off sales for their respective organizations. The hot topic that is being requested all the time? “How to succeed in tough times.”

The economy is going to slow down this year. All you hear are the cries of economists, businessmen and governments, moaning that things aren’t good and will not get better anytime soon—tough times are right around the corner.

This reminds me of a story of an executive who lost his job. Finding a job during those times was so scarce, he was forced to look at the classified ads and saw an opening in the zoo—a zoo that was well-known for its main act “George the Gorilla.” Unfortunately, George fell ill and died, resulting in the decline in the zoo’s revenues. The owner then thought of a great idea by making a replica gorilla suit that looks like George.

In short, the job opening was for anyone who is willing to act, eat and swing like a gorilla. Desperate to find work, the executive accepted the job. He walked, ate, played and swung like a gorilla. He was a great hit since he had more tricks and was smarter than the original gorilla.

One day, as he was swinging passionately from one of the tree branches, the branch broke off and he fell into the next cage, the lion’s cage. The lion started growling and was about to attack the gorilla. Out of panic and fear, the executive in the gorilla started to shout: “Help, I am a man! I am not a gorilla, help!” The lion moved in closer and whispered, “Shut up! Do you want us to lose both of our jobs?” This is what I call “tough times.”

When I was interviewed at the start of the year in the program of Joel Zobel of dzBB 594, Bangon Na Bayan, I was asked if I see tough times this 2009.

The first thing we should ask ourselves is: “What are tough times?” The answer is that it’s all about perception.

What you see is what you get—all the predictions and projections of the experts often become self-fulfilling prophecies because they are creating the “perception” that things are ”tough.” But are they really that bad?

You can look at a glass of water as half-empty or half-full.

Ask yourself which perspective you are going to take. Do you see tragedy or opportunity?

Here is my take for this year. In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.
I can still remember the later part of the administration of President Cory Aquino. Our country was suffering from a severe power shortage. Businessmen in the manufacturing and retail stores were all complaining that workers can’t work efficiently and sales are at an all-time low.

Surprisingly, my business was booming during those times! My business? I was one of the few manufacturing and marketing rechargeable electric fans. Anything we manufactured was immediately sold. Business during those times was booming! Why? I found an opportunity in times of difficulty. It is all about finding the right business at the right time. It is all about perspective.

To prove a point. Try reading this sentence, “OPPORTUNITY IS NOWHERE.” How did you read it? Did you read it as “ Opportunity is No Where”? Or did you read it as “Opportunity is Now Here”?

We need to be resilient and have a keen eye for opportunities during tough times. Let us not deny that we will definitely face challenges and trials during tough times. However, no matter what happens, we should never give up. One thing I learned in life: Situations, circumstances, hardships and challenges in life can stop us temporarily from moving forward. But it is only YOU who can stop yourself permanently. Be resilient. Find ways and means so you can get what you want in life.
Position yourself and prepare yourself in tough times.

Remember, tough times won’t last, but tough people do!

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Chinkee Tan is the best-selling author of the book Till Debt Do Us Part; a lifestyle trainer, speaker, and a Registered Financial Planner. For speaking engagements, please contact bedebtfree@chinkeetan.com or log on to www.chinkeetan.com and www.income-tacts.com. Join the 14th RFP Program (April 18 to June 6, 2009). Visit www.rfp-philippines.com or inquire at info@rfp-philippines.com/Tel. No. 634-2204.

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