There is a story about two shoe salesmen from competing companies who are sent to Africa to assess the market for shoes. This took place at the turn of the century when Africa was just opening up as a market.
Salesman One scouts around for a few days and then heads for the telegraph office to contact company headquarters. He writes:
“Research complete. Unmitigated disaster. There is no market for our products here. Nobody here wears shoes.”
Likewise, Salesman Two from Bata Shoes does his research and heads for the same telegraph office. Once there, he composes the following:
“Research complete. Glorious opportunity! There is a huge opportunity for our products here. Nobody here wears shoes!”
And that’s why signs promoting Bata appear all over Africa, even in the remotest of spots. It’s why Bata’s shoes are known as the shoes of Africa.
Opportunity and Possibility
This story demonstrates how opportunity and possibility are a function of state-of-mind. Meaning, when things look limited, when opportunity feels dried up or non-existent, it might be that the true limitation is in your mind – your state-of-mind.
Where we come from, the quality of our minds, in any given moment is shaping our version of reality in that moment. Which means, how we see it is up for grabs. Beyond our momentary view of a situation, lies an infinite potential to see it in a whole new way.
When entrepreneurs, salespeople or leaders, see that limited options are a reflection of their mind and not truth, they understand where their greatest leverage is—in their ability to let go of assumptions, conclusions and declarations, and to ask, “What else?”. They open up to new thought and their innate creative potential emerges.
Opportunity depends on what you see
Years ago, I lived in La Conner near the water. It was gorgeous. Often, when sitting looking at the water, Linda Pransky would point at the water and say, “Look, there’s a seal.” I would look and look and yet I could not see them. Literally, even though she would point, I struggled to see it. Then I sort of got obsessed about it. I would call out to her, “Look, is that one?”. She would laugh because it would be a log or a bird or a buoy. This went on for a long time and became a standing joke until one day, I called her over and said, “Look! There’s one – right” And finally, the answer was, “Yes”.
The seals were always there, I just couldn’t see them. The same happens when we look at a situation, our business, or a perceived problem. Our options may look limited but what if more creativity, more possibility, more opportunity is actually out there and we just don’t see it in that moment.
New Opportunities from new Possibilities
Every one of us has the potential to see anew, to have a shift in consciousness, to go from confused to clear, from feeling hopeless to hopeful, from a feeling of lack to a feeling of full.
Beyond our current thinking, resides an infinite creative life force. All of life is infused with this, including us. It’s innate.
In a different quality of mind, a different state-of-mind, it not only looks different, but we experience ourselves and the world differently.
This knowing allows us to not take things at face-value. In that freer mind, we access more potential. We see new possibilities; new opportunities and a new reality takes shape.
Author: Barbara Patterson