Where’s Your Pony?

Is it coincidence that the turn of year occurs right after a joyous holiday celebration, yet at the beginning of winter, the darkest, coldest, most crawl-under-the-blankets time of year?

Our traditional string of holidays starts with Halloween, a time of letting the ghosts out to remind us of their presence. There is of course thanks and a season of giving.

The end of year is a time to celebrate accomplishment, yet also a time for reflection, to tromp though the murk, surrounded by alligators to salvage lessons from the wreckage of all that didn’t go as hoped.

This year I was fortunate to find time for quiet reflection and something led me to pondering an unsuccessful venture I was trying to sort out.

When confronted by one’s own shortcomings, there’s a fork in the road. One way leads to depression and paralysis and the other to revelation and an energizing sense of renewal if pursued courageously.

Napoleon Hill, in Think and Grow Rich said that in every failure, every disappointment, every calamity there is a seed, if one looks for it, of equal or greater benefit.

Put another way, there were these twin boys and their parents. One of the twins was a dour, complaining pessimist while the other an absolute incurable optimist. No matter what happened, the pessimist found a reason to complain, while the optimistic lad discovered something to celebrate.

This was a wonder to the parents, and to see how far it would go, one year as the holidays approached they decided to put their boys to what they thought would be the ultimate test.

Christmas morning dawned and the twins were directed to separate rooms where Santa had delivered each their presents.

In the pessimist’s room was a wondrous stack of sparkling gifts. But the boy couldn’t find the one thing he’d really wanted, and so was glum in spite of it all.

On the other hand, when the optimistic lad entered his room, what found was quite different. In the center of his room, was an enormous pile of stinking horsesh*t.

Well, the parents, curious to see how the boys were getting on, visited the room with all the shiny gifts first and found a morose lad whining about the toys he didn’t get.

Puzzled that the optimist hadn’t come running back after seeing what was in his room, the parents cautiously opened the other door and found the boy excitedly digging, flinging horse manure everywhere and apparently having the time of his life.

When his incredulous mother asked the youth just what he was up to, he replied, “Isn’t this great? With all this dung there must be a pony in here somewhere!”

Hey, you have to admire the attitude.

In my dark reflections about unsuccessful ventures, the question I asked was, where were the benefits Hill spoke of? Let me just say for now, I got some profoundly interesting answers.

Point is, sometimes you have to plow through a bunch of crap to find the gold nugget. In direct response marketing, there’s no failure, only testing. What mess do you have to clean up that might yield benefit?

Where’s your pony?

Best of Success in 2012!


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You miss 100 percent of all the shots you never take.  ~ Wayne Gretzky