Since this is the weekend after America ’s Thanksgiving this message shares a humorous story that’s very funny in a way but contains a serious message about why we should always be thankful for what we have.
This story compels me to tell it but as you will see the picture is sort of embarrassing, sop maybe a after holiday Saturday when not so many readers tune might be a good time to sneak it by. If you have logged in stay with me. There’s a laugh and I hope a powerful message. I missed perhaps the biggest (I mean huge) financial opportunity ever given to me because I was not thankful.
Then we’ll see some shots of a Barro Viejo renovation in Cotacachi. Here’s the TV room of the renovation.
First the story.
I spent a lot of time in the 1970s in Hong Kong . While there one of the businessmen I met a man that had a neat little business selling 1 square inch pieces of China . He provided officials deeds all wrapped up in neat little cardboard tubes. Back then China was the bad guy and the idea of owning a piece of this action appealed to tourist. I guess.
Anyway about a decade later I found myself living in London . This is where a little synchronicity comes in because as I scanned this photo I noticed the date it was taken on the back, 24 May 1978, almost exactly ten years after my first trip. The month of May must mean something for me.
I had nice offices in Artillery Row very near Buckingham Palace . They were expensive and business was slow. I was stressed to pay the rent and such. One venture I set up to make money was with a friend (Peter Warner). We started a business because a celebrity had died and we somehow thought the idea of selling square inches of his home would make some sort of sense. We tied up a piece of property in the celebrity’s estate and turned on the publicity machine to let people know that were selling these inches land. We charged one British Pound per square inch.
Our publicity efforts worked right away. The Daily Express came out and took this photo. They brought silly hats and cigars to make us look like cowboys or something. I guess they viewed the celebrity as a cowboy because he came from the south of the US . It’s odd how various cultures perceive one another. Of course the Daily Express is not what you would call understated either. They call themselves the greatest newspaper in the world too this very day. See http://www.express.co.uk/
Anyway the next day this lovely picture appeared on the front page of the Daily Express telling all about our amazing venture.
I’ll leave you to guess which one is me.
Fantastic, we thought as we sat back and waited for the money to flow in. Was I thankful for this early start? Not a bit. Disappointed is a better word. No calls came. No business resulted except another reporter called examining us about whether taking those pounds out of the country violated exchange control regulations in place at that time.
What a let down. I had held such high expectations of immediate success. So rather than let this be a valued experience and a start to build on I abandoned the project and let my claim on the real estate go.
Probably a good thing as well. No one can make money selling square inches of land. Right?
Perhaps. That is what I convinced myself. But the land did become worth something. The celebrity who had recently died was Elvis Presley and the land we had a claim on, to sell square inches, was a property that at that time no one quite knew what to do with. It was for sale cheap and was called Graceland. Its still called that but its not cheap anymore.
The moral is clear. At times we are given something of such huge abundance that we cannot even imagine. Yet we can get so wrapped up in petty concerns that we forget to take a Bird’s Eye Vue. If things do not proceed exactly as we expect, (do they ever really) we become frustrated, discouraged and all too often quit rather than look at every aspect of the gift that providence provides.
This Graceland story is a great gift to me for two reasons. First had I held onto that land and made a huge amount of money back then at that young age, chances are I would have entered into a self destruct mode. Second, as it was this gift become the lesson, recalled every time someone mentions the King.
Rumors are still that he’s alive and well in Detroit.
I am thankful for that valuable lesson, for you, and for this opportunity to share.
Have a great weekend.
P.S. Learn how to see opportunity that is beyond our ability to see. Join us for our January 5-7, 2007 course “Inspired Investing Beyond Logic’ in Ecuador . See details at https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/va/
Inspect real estate while in Ecuador as well. See Barro Viejo properties like this one our last group viewed
This is an interior shot of a 5,000 square foot Barro Viejo renovation just down the street from our hotel in Cotacachi.
Here is the kitchen of the same renovation