Success is not something to dream about, lament others for having or simply hope to achieve. Hope can be as damaging as fear. It is that fear that I want to explore today and how it prevents people from using their potential and achieving success. Successful people are not a special breed born with the attributes of success. Instead, they are simply the people who allow the potential for success that resides within all of us to manifest itself.
The past few days as I was riding my bicycle through the blustery cold morning air I was thinking about getting back home to mail more of the items that I had recently sold on eBay. Some of which sold for incredible multiples of what I had paid for them at garage sales last year. Ironically it was all stuff I had no desire for but purchased only to assuage the feeling that my time was wasted by going to a sale and not getting anything from my want list. But my time is never wasted as each sale has the potential to have the items I want.
So it was on my journey to the first sale I was going to on Thursday morning. It was at 2609 East 71st Street in Indianapolis -- just over 25 miles from home. The advertisement for the sale read
"EVERYTHING MUST GO!!! ~Priced to sell~ When: Thursday 26th and Friday 27th Where: 2609 East 71st Street Indpls, 46220 Time: 9AM-5PM Some of many items that will be sold too cheap: tv stands pictures dressers antique hats motorized scooters motorized bikes futons golf clubs tools art deco items baby items paintball guns/stuff (masks, hoppers, barrels, and paint) beds Serta pillow top mattresses (queen and full) expensive comforters movies (dvds) antiques living room furniture dining room set etc etc etc......too much to list!! "
I envisioned a successful transaction as I moved with the flow of rush hour traffic along 86th Street. I wanted the DVD's and was also interested in the art deco items. I knew I would also take some things I didn't want but would be priced low enough that I couldn't possibly not make a profit reselling the goods. We would both achieve success. I would get some movies I like, turn a profit on a few items that would pay for the movies and the proprietor of the sale would be able to discard some unwanted items and get some money at the same time. But such would not be the situation for us.
He brings out a box of about 30 DVDs nearly all having been popular video rental store titles. They appear disheveled and on an individual basis as though they may have been through a few cycles on a clothes dryer. In my quest to be expedient I always offer $.50 each for DVD collections although this was one of the worst I had ever seen. He quickly retorted that they are $3 each. So I peruse the titles and come across three that I would like to have. I reluctantly offer $5. He responds with $10 which brings about an amorphous contortion of my facial muscles to display the thought -- you are an idiot. Adept to my visual cue he says he has a booth at a flea market and gets $3 for them there. I responded -- then why didn't you.
That's my long winded introduction into this subject matter -- the fear that grips people and inhibits them from using their potential to achieve success. This man -- by his words -- had a buyer for these DVDs at $3 each but didn't take it. Alternatively he had a buyer at $.50 each, and again, didn't take it.
This man is reluctant to commit to closing the deal because he fears that there will always be the possibility that he could have gotten more for one of the movies than he was asking or had been offered. It is not an inhibition on his part that is without justification. Of his 30 discs there was one which in nice used condition could fetch about $5-$7 on ebay including shipping. Thus he should be able to get more than $3 for his through a face-to-face sale. But he won't. Skimming over his selection of movies one cannot discard the first impression that it is all junk.
In this man exists the potential to be a regular and successful seller of DVDs. His fear prevents that from happening though. He could have rid himself of stale, damaged and mostly undesirable stock and replaced it with fresh material for his potential customers. He made a conscious decision not to do that. He allowed his hope which is based upon his ignorance to manifest a fear which guided his actions.
He was hoping to get as much money as possible for his DVDs -- beyond market price actually. When he encountered me he was confronted by his ignorance of his so-called business. Once I selected 1/10 of his inventory and offered 1/3 of the price I had for all he knew that those must be the better movies. He aptly displayed his ignorance by guessing at a price -- raising his $3 each price to now being 3 for $10 because he feared that he had set the price on at least one of them too low.
This is the crippling paradox of hope. Hope is a restraint. It binds us not to the future but the past. I am confident that this man didn't sell his DVDs this weekend. He is holding onto hope that he didn't pay too much for them. He is too ignorant to know the market price of his wares. Thus his hope to achieve maximum profit coupled with his ignorance has manifest itself in fear that his best films will be cherry-picked at a profit but the laggards will have to be sold at a loss. That is where he currently stands. His movies have already been cherry-picked. As he said, he sells them at $3.
One cannot know everything. That maxim should not keep one from educating himself and seeking subject knowledge to which he is engaged. had this man done that he may be able to achieve success. He has the potential within him now. He also has hope and subsequent fear that paralyze that potential.
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