All eyes are opened, but not all see the same.
Everyone looks, but each observes differently.
When I look into the eyes of many people I see something I call the humanitarian contact lens. If you try to wear it, you will begin to see centers of lack and centers of surplus all around you. In time, you will not be able to rest until you find a way to help the downtrodden that populate the centers of lack. Your waking wish and sleeping thought will be that the centers of surplus could just have a glimpse of what obtains on the other side. Seeing the wasteful spending, or should I say inessential expenses, of the centers of surplus will rile you up and moisten your eyes. And each time one of the the few philantropically-inclined ones come along, hope is inspired in you that wealth will flow from centers of surplus to the centers of lack someday.
But if you could borrow a pair of entrepreneurial contacts from me, you will see the same things that the humanitarian contacts see; but you will also see more. Scattered all around the centers of lack, like gold nuggets strewn across the riverbank, are opportunities; but you need my contacts to see them. What my contacts do is that they condition your eyes to spot opportunities.
Developing countries like to say that the First World was built on its resources, human and natural. But, if they only wore my contacts they would see that decades after being left with our resources, we still go cap in hand begging for crumbs falling their tables while our resources remain untapped or are being misused. My contacts will help you see a people begging for a flow of resources from abroad while standing atop a greater heap of resources. Honestly, the solution is not abroad; the solution is around.
I read somewhere that after the Korean war, aids and charities poured into the poor South Korea like a deluge until its State Department cut it off, on the grounds that it was hindering national economy. The South Koreans stopped looking up for alms and started looking inward for a way out, and they are the better for it. I wish our globe-trotting leaders, junketing around the world in search of foreign aid, could take a leaf out of their book.
I will let you in on one easy tip for spotting opportunities. Just like the cooler part of the stone is always its underside, the opportunities in life are the flip sides of difficulties. When you see a long queue anywhere, remember it's an opportunity looking for a more efficient manager. When you see bureaucracy in a business, remember it's an opportunity waiting for the business consultant to come around. When you see scarcity in a community, remember it's an opportunity lurking till the smart suppliers show up. When you read about massive failures in examinations, remember it's an opportunity begging for tutors.
Read me again next week for more on my contact lens.