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An old post for a new beginning.
(Originally posted on Aug. 8th, 2000) Some slight revisions and updates.
I am the needle, I am the bird, I am the dreamer that lives in reality.
I am the needle that will pop your ballon of fantasy thinking.
I am the bird that will poop on your parade of having a "brillant idea" that no one else can appreciate.
I am the dreamer that lives in reality.
Three people this week have called me. All three had need. Mostly financial need. All thought they had something of value. Then they talked to me.
If you ever do, be prepared. I don't blow smoke. I'm not going to encourage your fantasy. I won't buy into your "ground floor" opportunity. I've been around.
As previously posted, there are two things I can't do. One, I don't give people money. TWO, I won't do it for them.
My time, my advice, my counsel, you get. But be prepared, you may not like what I have to say. A local man taught me this lesson many years ago when I was making the rounds looking for financing for my "brillant idea". He said,
"Gordon, I don't invest in anything I can't control."
Weird, I thought at the time. That means no stocks, no JV's, no partnerships.
Yet, this man owns a few malls. He is rich. He lives by his creed. He is in control of his money. Hard for me to understand at first, but I've come to appreciate this philosophy.
The common thread that connected these 3 people this week? (And there is not a week goes by that I don't get e-mail, same as everyone else along these lines).
The one thing that LINKED all three people?
They didn't know what they WANTED. And of course without that there was NO PLAN.
But all three had an IDEA. IF only they could get financed. If only WE could see how brillant, how wonderful, how valuable their idea was. Two of them took great pains to ARGUE with me. They KNEW I was wrong. OH Well, maybe I am. I hope they prove it to me.
I encourage DREAMS. I want you to dream again. I want you to fulfill YOUR potential. But I want you to do it in the REAL WORLD, and that means obeying the real world rules.
Dien Rice has compared Newton's Laws with making money. But still there are those who want to FLY, they want to jump off a cliff and not get splattered on the ground. But they don't want to use an airplane, or helicopter, or kite even to get them soaring.
Nope, they just want to jump and flap their arms real hard, because they KNOW, that their IDEA is the one that is going to defy the laws of gravity, and success.
SQUARE ONE: You must know what you want. And you must know why.
"I need money because I'm in financial prison."
Then be a model prisoner and work your butt off for an early release.
"NO, if I only had XXX dollars, I could bribe the warden and guards and get out NOW."
OK, says I. But please leave me out of your escape plans.
I love to help people, but I also know from my days as a social worker, and here I go maybe will offend someone, but, OH WELL,
The reason our social services FAIL so many people is because they foster dependency upon the system rather than helping people become INDEPENDENT. Without a client, what is a casemanager to do?
Who pays the bills if we don't document the hours spent HELPING these people? My OPINION is that far too many organizations MUST create a co-dependent consumer, they must become the enabler for the person in order to stay in business.
The easiest thing to do in a group home is to tie the shoes of a person who doesn't know how. Or to buy them slip on shoes.
But I spent 5 years teaching ONE person to tie his shoes. Small efforts every day. It was hard for him, and hard for me.
It was AGAINST the grain. It was not with the program. It was not "correct". "Buy him loafers, and be done with the shoe thing," said his casemanager.
That is how many social services providers think.
But WE kept at it, everyday, a little bit, for 5 years.
I can still remember the first DAY he tied his own shoes. You would have thought he had invented chocolate cake or something.
It was all he could talk about. He tied and untied his shoes at the workshop. Much to the chagrin of his "casemanager" who found it all annoying.
A little act, a little daily effort, ACCUMULATED over time.
It was the breakthrough CONFIDENCE builder he needed. He was no longer stupid in his own mind. He was NOT a dummy. He was not (pardon me Julie) a RETARD anymore.
A simple little act we all take for granted, an act that most professionals thought was a waste of time, after all, he could be counting out beads and earning 25 cents an hour for crying out loud...
but he WANTED to learn to tie his shoes. It was what he WANTED to do, and he was prepared and willing to PAY THE PRICE to do it.
Five years of effort.
Within a month after first tying his own shoes, he was out of the sheltered workshop and in the community WORKING.
Because he BELIEVED he could. Becuase he KNEW he could. Because he could do ONE thing, tie his own shoes.
Those of you that called me, you found me to be straight forward and honest with you. You may not have liked what I had to say. But, if you will recall our conversation, I encouraged you. It wasn't all bad news. I saw hope in your projects, but not as you explained them to me.
Go to SQUARE ONE. Figure out what you want. Know the reason WHY...formulate a plan and commit to it. ADJUST as you go along.
There is no shortcut. Where will be in 4 years? If you keep going in the direction you are going, are you in for some really rough times ahead?
But if you accept the rules of the real world, there are no free lunches, that you have to do for yourself, that if you want other people to take you seriously, then you must take yourself serious first.
So, before you e-mail, or call or POSt...I want you to see that NEEDLE in my hand.
I won't and don't pop your balloon dreams for fun, I get no joy from doing it. But I am sincere in my desire to help you help yourself.
Take it, or find a new place to hang out. Fair Enough?
Gordon Alexander END of Original Post
PS. That was 6 years ago, seems like only yesterday. Where will YOU be in 4 years? It goes by quickly, better start doing a little bit NOW to get where you want to be in the future. Old stuff indeed. New? Well, The Beginner's Guide to Chatteling Course is now available at eBay for a little while.